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WWE RAW presents Taboo Tuesday 
October 19, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Full disclosure: we set things up at a friends house for Maximum Crapulence tonight.  Two TVs to cover the PPV and baseball, subs from Dayton's Finest Sandwichery (Milano's), and his parents had even already dropped off his Halloween Candy (knowing that he wouldn't bother with it himself).  Oh, and beers.  All the fixin's.

The point is that I was understandably distracted while watching the PPV. Wrestling was a big part of the night, but it wasn't the only part.  In fact, I remain distracted as of this moment, as the ballgame is still in the 8th inning.

But I figure it's as good a little Irony Device as I can come up with, since I am a victim of circumstance and will be serving up a mediocre PPV Recap. I mean, it'll get you where you need to go, but it won't wow you, and it's all because of outside factors screwing things up.  Because there can be no better description of the just-completed WWE Taboo Tuesday 

event: due to outside circumstances (in this case, I'm guessing Shawn Michaels' knee injury is the ONLY reason he and HHH were not granted the main event slot, forcing a still-unready Randy Orton to bring the show limping home), Taboo Tuesday accomplished most of what it needed to, but in decidedly anticlimactic and underwhelming fashion.

So why keep telling you how shitty I'm gonna be here tonight, when I can just get on with the recappening, and SHOW you?  Here are the full results of tonight's Taboo Tuesday pay-per-view (with VERY sparse editorial comments tacked on in red italics):

  • Opening Explanationing.  We get the music/pyro/etc, and a welcome from both JR/King and the Spanish Announce Team. Then Jonathan Coachman introduces himself to us as our Master of Ceremonies (in the "Control Center").  To give us the idea of how voting works, Coach brings out the 7 title-contending (or title-holding) divas to announce what outfits they'll be wearing later on tonight. A straw poll of the live crowd favors "Schoolgirl Outfits." We are led to understand that if the live crowd and internet voting deviate, COACH has the power to break the tie.  Huh?  But in this case, it makes no difference.  The internet overwhelmingly voted for Schoolgirl Outfits, too.  So OK, we all understand how this works?  Good, let's get started....
  • Shelton Benjamin defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Title. Jericho entered first, and as before Coach led us in a live straw poll followed by revealing internet voting results. Both agreed again: Shelton Benjamin is the man to challenge Y2J (Batista was #2, Coach a distant #3).  Also, I conducted a vote of my Fashion Sense, and decided that William Regal's new "Born Naughty" t-shirt (briefly glimpsed backstage while passing over the losers) is one of the VERY rare wrestling t-shirts that I might allow to grace my torso. Assuming it doesn't have any gay-ass crap on the back (like all too many WWE shirts).  The match?  Um, christ, this is where I'm really gonna be hurting: on the play-by-play... it's pretty back-and-forthy, as I recall, since neither man had a huge advantage, fan support-wise.  It was actually pretty surprising: I had been in the school of thought that Shelton got a big pop for his cool angle last night, but would be dwarfed in popularity by Jericho.  Not quite; they were mostly equals, it seemed, and when Jericho pulled out some of his endearing Dick Moves (the double bicep, foot on chest pinning combo, for instance), he was booed lightly.  They sped things up with some near falls around 10 minutes, and then after a double reversey spot, Shelton ended up in PERFECT position to land his sweet-ass T-Bone Powerplex finisher.  And it was enough to put Jericho down for the 3.  New champ.  Afterwards, Jericho graciously awarded the title belt to Benjamin, which seemed to go over pretty well.  [Seemed fast paced enough, if maybe a bit flat since neither man had the fan favorite edge. So therefore, maybe not the best choice for an opener.  But 12 minutes of these two isn't gonna suck, and I like the move of getting Shelton his first singles gold. Kid's got nowhere to go but up.]
  • Shawn Michaels was revealed as the #1 Contender to Triple H's World Title.  First, Todd Grisham interviewed all three backstage (with Edge pulling the "I deserve it" whiny act, Benoit doing a sweet job with a "Voice of the Smarks" promo about how if you're sick of all this HHH on TV then you should vote for him since he's proven he can make HHH tap, and finally Michaels admitted that he's hurt pretty bad after RAW but if fans vote for him he'll promise to leave it all in the ring for them).  Then Coach did the straw poll, and it was ALL Michaels.  Then the internet voting is revealed: Michaels wins that as well, but it's a narrow margin, and NOT surprisingly (if you read my column Monday), Edge is the strong #2, with Benoit trailing.  See people: that's the Real World for you.  I don't like it, but at least I'm realistic enough to acknowledge it.
  • Trish Stratus won the "Fantasy Battle Royal," last eliminating Molly Holly, to retain her Women's Title.  For as much as I'm sure she wishes she was appreciated for more than looks, Trish sure as hell got into the spirit of this thing with an insanely hot outfit. Everybody else looked about as you'd expect, except for Jazz (who ripped the sleeves off her shirt) and Molly (who looked like she just stepped out of 1983, complete with leg warmers). And pretty much, that's all I remember of this match till the finish.  Cuz my friends were all "hey, get Molly out of there," and I got sick and tired of arguing, "No, get Stacy out of there," so I shut up and watched baseball.  I kept an eyeball on the match, though, and End Game was Trish, Molly, and Stacy, with Heel Miscommunication ALMOST sending Trish out over the top (but she saved herself in a nice spot that would make Shawn Michaels himself proud).  Molly and Stacy, while Trish was dangling, did a spot together in which Molly was able to dispatch Li'l Miss Oh So Purty.  Unfortunately, Molly opted to gloat over her handiwork, just as Trish was recovering.  So Trish snuck up from behind and tossed Molly out.  Huh, how about that.  Then Trish went out of her way to make bitchy, "Hey, tough crap, every woman for herself" faces.  [Whatever. It was, what?, five minutes of saucy outfits, with a finish that ACTUALLY seems like it might be inching towards having the two most talented women in the division feuding. Maybe.  Not good, but definitely harmless.]
  • Backstage: La Resistance claim that now that they know they are facing Chris Benoit and Edge, they still don't think they've gotten enough advance warning to defend their titles, and they are contesting their Tag Title Match "under protest." This is not insignificant, probably.
  • Gene Snitsky beat Kane in a Chain Match.  Prior to the match, Coach did the voting routine, revealing the chain (inexplicably) had won. What of Steel Chair?!?!? The way the match played out, it would have been awkward-seeming enough... but that was only amplified as Kane and Snitsky threw unconvincing chain shots that they were clearly not quite as accustomed to. Chairs? THOSE they'd know how to swing.  Anyway, this was conducted Slobberknocker Style, with lots of Restaurant Quality Hosses causing Business To Pick Up.  Luckily, though this plodded a bit and was overlong, I'm happy to report that they left the Bowling Shoes at home.  Lita was out with Kane, but was mostly a non-factor (though it was clear she WAS supporting Kane, as one time she did pull the chain away from Snitsky).  The flow of the match was non-existent, with Snitsky just dominating vast stretches of time.  JR was heard to theorize that "Maybe losing his son has changed something inside Kane," which I dunno... maybe a bit too subtle for the story that would have gone over best here (which would have been a match that was NOT an interminable 15 minutes in length).  Punch, kick, chain, punch, kick, chain, repeat.  Like I said: not awful, probably better than ANYthing you'll see out of Taker/Heidenreich, either.  But also just NOT what anybody wanted to see, and overlong as hell.  Finish really annoyed the piss out of me, too.  The rules CLEARLY made the chain legal, but in the end, Snitsky goes for a steel chair, and uses it to Pillmanize Kane's neck (a la what Kane did to HBK in June, RIGHT HERE, in Dayton, OH).  The ref does what?  Nothing.  He allows it, and after they made it seem like the match was just a No Decision, Snitsky dashed back in and the ref gave him the three count.  What the fuck?  Just a really off-kilter finish to an already off-kilter match.  After the match, Kane was tended to by EMTs and did a stretcher job (while Lita was doing her level best to play the Concerned Spouse); but while Kane was being wheeled back, Snitsky attacked again, and stomped away some more on Kane even though he was cinched to a back board.  [Huh.  HUGE outing for Snitsky, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  The length of the match was not good, though.  Just too much.  And then the sloppiness of the finish? That was the biggest crime of all.  Just ring the damn bell and give Kane a DQ win, and it's all good, cuz the STORY is still Snitsky's ass-whomping of Kane.  Do it this way, and it just seems dumb.]
  • Backstage: Edge declares that he's already been Tag Champ 10 times, and he considers his tag title match to be a "consolation prize."  He also offers the fans a VERY sarcastic "Thank you."  Edge, it turns out, does possess non-zero amounts of Prick!
  • Eugene beat Eric Bischoff in a Loser Shaves His Head Match. This time, they shook things up and did the match first. And the match? Nothing, really: Bischoff started fast with Karate Fighter Action, but as soon as Eugene showed signs of life, he faked a knee injury, and when the fakery was revealed, Eugene got mad, Eugened Up, and pinned Bischoff after a Hogan Leg Drop o' Doom.  It was 90 seconds, tops.  [Eh. And that's being charitable.]
  • After the match: Coach went to the voting, and after the Internet came up in favor of Head Shaving, Coach feigned being Hard of Hearing, and said that HE thought the Servant stipulation was the favorite of the live crowd, and since he has the power to break ties (aha, I see now), he's going to go ahead and save Bischoff's hair and make Bischoff Eugene's servant for All of Five Minutes.  Cue "No Chance," and Mr. McMahon is out to enforce the Spirit of the Law.  He says Bischoff will get his head shaved, or he will lose his job.  Bischoff milks it (probably for too long), but sits down to leg Eugene start the barbering.  Then, Vince decides to punish Coach for his shenanigans: Coach is made to wear a dress (in a funny spot, Vince tells Coach to button it up, unless he's a "slut" who likes "his business" hanging out in the breeze).  We cut back to Eugene and Bischoff, where the going is slow, but where we've gotten rid of enough of Bischoff's hair to reveal his roots.  "Gray as a ghost" announces Mc. McMahon, who proceeds to declare Bischoff a "phony," and tells him and Eugene to get backstage and finish the job.  Whee.  [Harmless fun, I guess, but probably WAY overlong for something that was probably funnier to Vince McMahon and his Ritual Humiliation of Those Who Cross Him Fetish than it was to most of the rest of us.  It stank too much of inevitability to be really funny or entertaining to me.]
  • Backstage: Michaels is getting geared up, and Edge interrupts him to call him selfish for not bowing out of the voting and for accepting the World Title Shot even though he's hurt so bad that EVERYbody knows he can't win.  Michaels is mute, but Edge is again Bringing the Prick!
  • Chris Benoit beat La Resistance to win the Tag Team Titles.  This was EXACTLY when Boston was having its four-run inning on the other TV, so I was EXCEPTIONALLY distracted.  I got the part where Edge came out with Benoit and started the match, and went about playing the Tweener In Peril (fans were actually split evenly between Edge and La Resistance), and then hot tagged Benoit.  When Benoit got the fans behind him and went to more of a standard Babyface In Peril bit, Edge SEEMED to be wanting to tag in...  but as soon as Benoit finally got to the corner and tagged in, the ref got distracted and DISALLOWED the tag...  Edge acted upset for all of 10 seconds, and then just decided "To hell with this," and he walked out.  Cameras followed him all the way to his car, which left the parking lot.  In the ring, Benoit made a huge comeback, Germaning anything that moved, and then knocking Grenier out of the ring and Crossfacing Conway.  All by himself, Benoit got the tap out win at about the 15 minute mark.  [Like I said, this was the least-paid-attention-to match of the night for me, but it seemed to do a really nice job telling its story, and fans responded PERFECTLY to both Edge's walk-out and Benoit's superman win.  Just remember: La Resistance wrestled under protest, and it wouldn't surprise me if a Heel GM found something fishy about a partner-less Benoit holding the tag belts, so stay tuned...]
  • Backstage: HHH is interviewed, and makes it clear that not only does he HATE the Taboo Tuesday concept of letting fans decide his fate, but he also thinks Shawn Michaels is a faker, and he won't fall for it... he's going to the ring sure that Michaels is 100% and he won't be caught off-guard.  Punchline: Michaels might be pretending to have a broken leg now, but when HHH gets done with him, he'll have one for real.  Nice.
  • Red Headed Spaz beat Carmella in a Pillow Fight.  The voting and wardrobe change was 5 ridiculous minutes of crap.  The "match" was 60 seconds of more crap.  And I don't recap crap. [You put this on here to give Christy a chance to impress fans with something; instead, it's just stupid, pointless titillation that could have been done by 95% of the women in the audience.  Well, 95% of the do-able ones; you know what I mean.  This is NOT how you "make" a diva unless all you really care about is making another Terri Runnels.]
  • Triple H beat Shawn Michaels to retain the World Title.  OK, so the deal is that Michaels really is hurting, but by making that injury part of the storyline and by having Michaels OVER-selling it at times, I think they might have double-reversed live fans into thinking this was just part of the show... the result is that the opening minutes were kind of slow (since Michaels was just THAT limited in what he could do), but live fans seemed out of it, like they were expecting the other shoe to drop.  And finally, after about 10 minutes (seemingly 4 of them spent in a Figure Four spot), Michaels DID start his comeback, but it was far from the blow-away fireworks people were expecting.  Still, just by sheer force of timing, charisma, and execution, this got REALLY hot by the end.  He got a low-blow in behind the ref's back.  He got a DDT for a near fall.  He hit the Macho Man Elbow for another.  He got rid of Batista when Batista tried to interfere.  Crowd is going NUTS by this point, and even I was feeling it (against all good sense).  So of course, while the ref gets busy getting rid of Batista, that's when things go to hell.  Michaels DOES hit Sweet Chin Music on HHH, but no ref.  So he gets up.... and WALKS RIGHT INTO A SPEAR FROM EDGE.  Dammit dammit, son of a bitch.  Edge makes his way out through the crowd (shouting, "It should have been me").  HHH crawls over, drapes an arm over Shawn... 1, 2, 3, and it's all over.  DAMMIT AGAIN.  HHH is hauled away by Batista, with his World Title in tow.  Michaels eventually gets to his feet in the ring, and gets a deserved ovation while making the kind of gestures that are probably supposed to make you think it'll be a good long time before we see him again (more on his injury status tomorrow in OO).  [People credited Ric Flair with the Broomstick Principle in the late 80s. Well, I defy anyone to show me a case of ANYBODY, EVER, in the history of wrestling doing a better job of being a One Legged Man in an Ass Kicking Contest.  Not exceptionally action-packed, but so magnificently put-together that by the end, this was EASILY the Match of the Night.  A perfect final 5 minutes or so that make Michaels seem double-tough, make HHH seem like a lucky SOB, and make Edge seem like the REAL difference maker of the entire PPV event.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff has been reduced to a gray crewcut (NOT bald, fricking liars).  And he berates some backstage workers who snicker at him. 
  • Video Package: A complete rundown of the night's voting/matches. I'm sitting here wondering if they had to take time to erect the cage or something, but no, it's the standard cage-lowered-from-above deal once we get there, so this was just filler.  Huh.
  • Randy Orton beat Ric Flair in a Steel Cage Match.  Be-dressed Coach DID reveal that voting was overwhelmingly in favor of the Cage, and with less than 15 minutes of time left in the show, we kick it to the ring.  And out of the gate, it's a lot of Flair, who takes it to Orton with chops and cage-shots, bloodying Randall inside of 2 minutes.  Crowd seems to be cheering Flair, and flat-out ambivalent towards Orton.  Orton got a mini-rally at the 5 minute mark, and drew blood on Flair after an awkward spot on the top ropes where Orton stopped ramming Flair's head into the steel, but Flair kept ramming his own head in for a second or two.  Match really was punchy-kicky (and choppy, natch), with two very respectable crimson masks through in for effect.  Rules were that you could win by pinfall, submission, or escape, and as we hit the 8 minute mark, Flair got in a rally by using a pair of brass knucks and attempting an escape.  Orton pulled him back in at the last second, and Flair dragged a steel chair with him.  But when he tried to swing it, Orton ducked, hit an RKO out of absolutely nowhere, and scored the pinfall win.  Huh.  Maybe 9 minutes, and that's our PPV main event?  After the match, Flair offered the Handshake Of Respect to Orton (and was booed for doing so), but Orton accepted, and then the two embraced (with Orton doing this half-disbelieving look of "Huh, did I really just impress my idol or will the other shoe drop?") to close out the show.  [A poor choice for a main event.  I know that Michaels is hobbled, but he and HHH had a much more intense match that ALSO had a much better constructed finish.  This struck me as another case of WWE having an idea for what they want to do with Orton, but not knowing how to accomplish it, resulting in a flaccid, fabricated Attempted Moment.  This might have felt kind of cool on the mid-card or as the semi-main event, whereas Michaels courageous effort -- and MUCH more importantly, Edge's impactful run-in -- would have given the main event a more climactic feel.]

Well, you folks know how I have this Main Event Fetish, and when a show ends tepidly, I no-likey.  It also probably doesn't help my mood that as I typed up that last match's recap, the Yankees went down in Game 6. And didn't do so in particularly classy fashion.

So maybe what I'll do is wrap this up now, and tell you to give me a night to sleep on it (and to make sure I fully integrate how WWE's circumstances -- like HBK's knee -- impacted decision making), and I'll break this thing down with a clearer head for you tomorrow in OO.  Sound good?  OK, see you then....


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