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RAW presents... WWE Bad Blood
June 13, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I gotta admit: this is not the pay-per-view I expected to see.  Yes, the main event did rule this and several near-by universes; but it did so as much more of a traditional WRESTLING match than as a Hell in the Cell bump-a-thon.  But it was won by HHH, who till recently was expected to be on his way out to go make a movie...  

And how about a world title match that included a grand total of ZERO crap involving Lita and which was about as psychologically sound a contest as you'll ever see?  Or Eugene once again finding new ways to be hi-fricking-larious?

I'm not entirely sure that Bad Blood flows smoothly from the last month of TV and last month of conventional wisdom, but I'm not gonna complain.  Pushing Kane/Lita to the back burner in favor of a kick-ass wrestling match is just peachy-keen with me.  Recent directional changes in the women's division and the HHHollywood division also worked out plenty fine, with semi-surprising finishes at the Big Show.

But enough preamble.  Here are the full results of the just-completed Bad Blood PPV (with editorial thoughts appended in red italics):

  • On Heat: I am told that Batista beat Maven.  Didn't see it, as I was in transit at the time, but I don't feel like I missed a whole lot...
  • Video package opening: make no mistake, the World Title might be on the line tonight, but HHH/HBK is the reason you plunked down your $35.
  • Chris Benoit/Edge beat La Resistance, via DQ.  Out of the gate, the challengers are en feugo for a good couple of minutes.  That comes to a crashing halt, however, when Rob Conway keeps the ref distracted to allow Sylvain Grenier to get up to no good with Edge at ringside.  From here, Edge is your Face in Peril for a few minutes.  He rallies with a cool little "duck the double clothesline and turn it into a double neckbreaker" spot, but when he goes to the corner, Benoit's not there (he'd been previously knocked to the floor by La Resistance).  If you're looking for reasons to suspect trouble between Benoit and Edge, there you go... but you DON'T want to keep watching, because Edge continued his rally and THIS time when he got to his corner Benoit was home, and made the hot tag.  Dissension, what dissension?  Benoit cleaned house for a bit, then things broke down into four-way brawling.  They again teased with Edge ALMOST spearing Benoit, but he put the brakes on.  Eventually, Edge and Conway powdered out, and Benoit locked in the Crippler Crossface on Grenier... but before Grenier could tap out, Kane made a surprise appearance: he just blatantly attacked Benoit to cause a disqualification at around the 10 minute mark.  When Edge tried to make a save, he got beat down, too.  Kane continued the assault on Benoit, targeting the back (bump into the ring steps, and then a chokeslam).  [Decent little match whose worst crime was doing exactly what it was supposed to: who cares if it was a bit formula or obvious, the idea here was to put Benoit in harm's way before he had to defend the World Title against Kane, and I think it all came across really well.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff was chatting with The Coach, and let it slip that he was banning William Regal from ringside, and also had a few nasty things to say about Eugene... but wouldn't you know it, Eugene was standing just off-camera, listening in, and he was so very, very sad to hear his beloved Uncle Eric scheming against him.  Bischoff tried to spin it like he was just concerned for Eugene's well-being, that he wanted him off RAW so that he wouldn't hurt himself like his favorite wrestler, HHH (quad tear), or his new friend, Chris Benoit (neck).  He gave Eugene an option to just go home with his happy memories of his two months in WWE... or going into the ring and risking his health in a match against Coach.  Eugene acted conflicted for all of 13 nanoseconds before declaring he wanted to wrestle.  Big pop!
  • Chris Jericho beat Tyson Tomko.  Tomko came out to Christian's entrance theme, which  is maybe kind of chumpy, except that just before he came out, I had joked about how he might as well just come out to Trish's music, and that would have been MUCH more emasculating.  Just your basic big man/little man match, it seemed to me: Tomko competently focused on Jericho's injured ribs, and only really got on my nerves when he busted out a bearhug (which is rapidly gaining on the Abominable Stretch on my list of Least Favorite Lazy-Looking Restholds).  Jericho fired up about 5 minutes in, and started a rally that was convincing enough that Trish decided she should butt her pretty little self into the match.  But it backfired, as Tomko whiffed on a clothesline and wound up colliding with Trish.  Trish goes down, Tomko stumbles backwards, Jericho nails him with the Ghetto Blaster (standing enzuigiri, whatever you want to call it) for the pinfall win at about the 6 minute mark.  Jericho is happy and smiley as he beats his retreat, and I think it's quite telling that the reaction shots are of Trish acting miffed and NOT of Tomko.  Sadly, she failed to slap the wuss around, though I'd like to think she kind of wanted to.  [Nothing special here, but at least Tomko kept up his end of the bargain enough to give us a watchable contest.  Strictly by the books, here, and I guess instead of having the Jericho vs. Christian's Soldiers feud continue via a cheap win for Tomko, we go the alternate route of having Trish be indignant and still wanting to on-up Jericho after he foiled her agayn.  I guess that works, too.]
  • Backstage: Tough Questions Todd Grisham is interviewing Randy Orton, but Young Randall quickly hijacks things for what (ohmygodtheworldisabouttoend) turned out to be about his strongest mic work that I can think of: when Todd asked him a tough question and Randy responded with the expected heel bravado, my Fellow Buckeyes didn't much care for that.  So they booed Orton.  And Randy no likey the boos.  He says he possesses "greatness," something that the meatbags out in section 213 don't have.  And to prove it, he grabs Grisham's mic and decides to go out into the audience to taunt.  He stops three times to speak some more: once, quite understandably, he parks himself near a rather comely lass.  But twice, he stops to pose with his IC Belt (which he proudly tells us he's held longer than anyone in seven years, and he celebrates his six month anniversary tomorrow night, RIGHT HERE IN DAYTON, OH), and quite embarrassingly, chooses to stop next to people with their own replica title belts.  D'oh.  The visual of holding up your title to cram down the stupid fat faces of the ungreat fans loses something when there's a guy with a World Title standing right next to you.  Randy keeps rambling and makes his way to the ring, where he promises more greatness "later on tonight" when he faces Shelton Benjamin.  For his final trick: he tried to get up on the second turnbuckle to pose, but he slipped and stumbled.  Randall Orton and Turnbuckles: Best Friends Forever!  He talked through the screw-up, though, and finished with a line about earning the fans respect later on tonight...  But what's wrong with RIGHT NOW?  Shelton Benjamin interrupts the posing and says he wants to start their match immediately.  A ref materializes, and oh, you better believe IT'S ON...
  • Randy Orton beat Shelton Benjamin to retain the IC Title.  I got to see all of about 2 minutes of this match (all of it an Orton chinlock).  We had some bad-ass weather pass through, and it knocked out the PPV for the entire match.  But I have Top Level Insider Sources who tell me EXCLUSIVELY that Randy Orton got a pinfall win in relatively clean fashion.  I wish I could say more, but I don't even really know how long or good the match was...
  • Backstage:  our PPV reception returned just in time for us to see a shot of Lita looking sad and lonely backstage, and JR saying something about that slimeball Eric Bischoff.  Again: I wish I could tell you more, but I'm a slave to the weather, here...
  • Trish Stratus defeated Lita, Gail Kim, and Victoria to win the Women's Title.  For those scoring at home: Victoria still has the shitty entrance theme, but did NOT dance for us in seizure-like fashion, so we're half-way back to non-crapularity.  Starting out, it was Lita and Trish battling in one zone, and Gail/Victoria duking it out in another.  Lita hit a pinning combo on Trish about 2 minutes in, and Tyson Tomko (realizing he's a waste of space and needed to make it up to Trish) broke it up.  But the ref saw it, and immediately ejected him.  A furious Trish was easy pickin's for Lita, but Gail Kim broke up the near-falls.  This was kind of the segue into Gail's Turn in the Spotlight: she and Victoria did some pretty cool spots, culminating in Gail's sweet-ass submission hold.  But Trish and Lita came back and BOTH pounced to break that up.  I think that pretty much spelled the end for Victoria (well, she and Lita did have a really awkward "you fucked up" moment, too, but for all intents and purposes, let's just say she's powdered out already).  Lita nailed Gail with a DDT (and Gail took it with an only SLIGHTLY less sympathy-inducing bump as compared to the one she took Monday)...  Lita made the cover... but Trish swooped in and picked Lita off of Gail and rolled her into a pinning combo.  One, two, three, and we have a new women's champ.  About five minutes, and except for that one Lita/Victoria hiccup, really good.  A big deal was made over Trish being the first-ever five time Women's Champ.  [I have no idea where you go from here, since this title change could not have come from more out of the blue.  But hey, you think I'm gonna complain about Trish winning the belt, then you haven't been paying attention.  I'd love to see her go Super Bitchy and throw it in Tomko's face that SHE is a winner, but HE is a loser, and so clearly she's wearing the pants in that stable.  Maybe forcing her to recruit somebody new to go after Jericho for a bit tilL Christian's healthy...  I dunno how you make that pertinent to the women's title, but, we'll see...]
  • Eugene beat Jonathan Coachman.  Regal accompanied Eugene to the ring, but then left, per Bischoff's orders.  And then Eugene commenced to bring the Funny.  I'd do more play-by-play type stuff, but I know that there's no way it would read on the written page the way it played in real life.  Yeah, it was a bunch of stuff that seemed REALLY stupid, but somehow, Coach and Eugene played it off perfectly.  Just a ton of fun.  Only really unexpected twist: Coach had a bikini-clad babe come out with a tray of cookies.  Eugene was VERY distracted by the cookies, not so much so by the babe.  Coach used that distraction to gain the edge for a bit, but shortly thereafter, Eugene hulked up.  He seemed on the verge of victory when Garrison Cade decided to come on out, and he distracted Eugene by ripping the head off a doll (previously given to Eugene by a chick in the crowd; the same one Orton had previously eyeballed, I think).  Eugene was upset, but when Coach tried to attack, he still saw it coming and dodged: Coach and Cade collided, and Eugene followed up immediately with a Rock Bottom and then a People's Elbow for the pinfall win at the 8 minute mark.  Regal came out and joined in the celebration as Eugene got more kicks by Stunnering both Coach and Cade to more big pops.  [Jolly good fun, folks.  I don't know how you couldn't be loving Eugene at this point.  He's good for 10 minutes of top shelf entertainment on any show.]
  • Chris Benoit beat Kane to retain the World Title.  Intense back-and-forth to start, with Benoit playing the Bad-Ass Card a minute or so in, when he gestured to Kane to Just Bring It, Big Boy.  Benoit tried to follow up with his usuall array of submissions, but it wasn't working: Kane was powering out with ease, and eventually took control of the match. He seemed to be focusing on the back and neck (following up on his previous attack, so it all made sense).  The only slow part of the match was a too-long and not-at-all-convincing chinlock of somekind by Kane...  but Benoit eventually worked his way out of that, and started chopping Kane down to size.  Benoit went to work on the left knee, and also kept on trying to apply the Sharpshooter.  He must have failed a good 5-6 times... but finally his work on the knee paid off: he got Kane into the Sharpshooter to a nice pop.  Kane got a rope break, though, and the match continues...  Benoit kept piling on with the Triple Germans.  Thought about going up for the Swandive Headbutt, but Kane did a Zombie Sit-up.  So three more Germans for you!  And this time, Benoit DOES go up top for the headbutt (after a deliciously evil Briar Blow onto Kane), and hits it.  Hurts himself in the process, though, so he's slow to make the cover.  Kane and Benoit are both slow to recover, but Kane regains the edge.  He decides to go up top, his own self, and tries a flying clotheslines... except Benoit has him scouted, and grabs the extended arm and drives him down into a Crippler Crossface.  In an homage to Monday's match, Kane again powers up, but Benoit's got A Plan: he floats over and reapplies the Crossface on Kane's other arm.  This is enough to confound Kane, who drops back to a knee.  Benoit then finishes things by holding onto the arm and rolling Kane up into a small package for a surprising pinfall win.  About 20 minutes.  [No Lita, plenty of really rock-solid wrestling.  They built on Monday's match, they built on the earlier Kane run-in, they built it up so that something as simple as Benoit FINALLY getting the Sharpshooter got over huge.  I've got zero complaints folks.  For as sketchy as the build-up to this match was, the end result was really quite satisfying.]
  • Backstage:  Todd Grisham interviewed the victorious Chris Benoit.  A really weird kind of "analytical" interview, but weird in a VERY good way.  Todd broke down some of the strategy/psychology of the match, Benoit expanded on those thoughts, and said he's once again proven he's "for real."  It was the kind of interview one of us Internet Jack-offs might have conducted, if that helps make sense of it for you...
  • Triple H beat Shawn Michaels inside Hell in the Cell.  We lower the cage and ring the bell at just about exactly 10pm (eastern), so these guys are here for the long haul.  And boy howdy, what a ride it turned out to be.  But not in a way like any previous Hell in the Cell match: the opening 15 minutes or so had a grand total of ONE cage spot (HHH got tossed in and came out wearing a tiny little sympathy trickle of blood, even though he was clearly caught on camera busting out the blade).  Things picked up when HHH gained the advantage and went to work on Michaels lower back with a ton of cool spots (some cage/ringpost-assisted, some chair-assisted, and some just plain old elbow grease).  Michaels mounted his comeback around the 20 minute mark with a Testicle-Focused Assault that quickly fizzled.  HHH regained the edge when they went back outside, and started using the ringsteps as props.  First, HHH back-dropped Michaels off the ringsteps and to the floor in a sick-ish looking bumps.  Then they took the steps into the ring, where HHH plastered Shawn with them to draw blood.  And THAT is a Crimson Mask, kids.  Made HHH's sympathy blade job look silly.  But the blood loss somehow made Shawn stronger!  He rallied again, this time borrowing another chair that HHH had brought into the ring.  He wailed on HHH with a few stiff chairshots to the head, and hey hey, HHH decided he didn't want to be out-bled by Shawn, so he hits a second bladejob and comes up respectably red.  But chairs alone don't jelly Shawn's donut, so he went under the ring and pulled out a ladder!  There's some ladder-related goodness, and then a TABLE comes into play to set up the Big Bump of the Match: HHH is on the table, Michaels goes to the top of the ladder, and drops the Macho Man Elbow through HHH and the table.  We're probably at about the 35 minute mark, here.  Both guys stay down after the big spot, and for the final 10 minutes, it's a lot of moving VERY slowly and selling the exhaustion factor.  Lots of near falls and false finishes.  HHH kicked out of a Superkick, HBK kicked out of a Pedigree.  But Michaels couldn't kick out after he got planted with two consecutive Pedigrees a few minutes later: HHH is your winner by pinfall about 50 minutes into a really exciting match.  [Like I said: they didn't do any of the "expected" Cell chicanery. We were sitting around being all smarky by noting that the cage had the "climbing holes" cut into hit and wondering how long it'd go before both guys were on top of the Cell.  I guess we might have been disappointed at being wrong, except that Shawn and Hunter brought a whole other kind of goodness.  Maybe not Match of the Year goodness, but still pretty much a kick-ass way to close out a PPV.  I guess pencil HHH in for a return to the World Title picture?]

An easy Thumbs Up call; even with Technical Difficulties, the last two matches came off about as well as anyone could have hoped for, and that's more than enough to satisfy me.

More thoughts/fall-out tomorrow in OO...


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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