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OO PPV RECAP
WWE RAW presents Unforgiven 
September 18, 2005

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

You know what? Some people have written in the last year or so, asking if it's possible if I could somehow do the same type of recap for PPVs as I do for RAW. And while I appreciate the core sentiment (which I choose to interpret as "Man, Rick, your RAW recaps kick all kinds of ass," which I happen to believe they do, too), there's two things working against you.
  
(1): the clock. I try to get home as quick as I can after the show to type up something that is good, but often times surface-y and fast. Because this is the one Recap I write that I know is read by more people who DIDN'T see the show than by who did. They wants results, dammit, and they want them NOW.

And (2): Hooters. The sound ain't great there, and as an   

added bonus, you put me with a couple of people, and I tend to spend my time conversing, being clever, etc. Instead of paying attention to the TV. Which all adds up to me not having the same level of detail for these PPV recaps as I do for RAW (which I now, due to wrestling's downward spiral of quality and appeal, watch by myself on my couch; so I can pay attention and come up with the observations that amuse the toughest audience of all... The Me).

This month, add a third item to that list (3): if WWE's not gonna try, then why should I? In terms of the build up for Unforgiven, I think it's VERY safe to say that the show was extraordinarily lacking. This left me in a spot earlier tonight where I left my house a bit later than usual (25 till the hour), and managed to miss the first 10 minutes of the PPV (although I should have been there 10 minutes before)... sadly, I forgot to factor in that today is the stupid-ass "X-Fest" (sponsored by my local "alternative rock" radio station, which has an "X" in its call-sign, because every market larger than 250,000 people is required to have one of those, and my guess is they are all owned by the same company and play the same pussy-ass mainstream shit despite the "alternative" label). It takes place about a block from my house at the county fairgrounds, equidistant from my house and the interstate I need to take to get to Hooters. And just my luck, the shitty line-up (which is an amalgam of crap-ass bands that the radio station plays, with a few decent underground bands tossed in; but the underground bands you could see at a bar or club for $8, and so paying $40 to see them play a 20 minute set in support of Nickel-fucking-back is something only a retarded tool would do) got done at 7:30. Rendering my path to the interstate clogged. Normally, I get mad at shit like this. Tonight: who cares? I was only going to see a shitty PPV I didn't care about. That is NOT what I should have been feeling if WWE had done it's damned job heading into the PPV.

And then at the PPV? Seems like the same dunderheads who were driving the boat the last month got to drive it again for the night. Because they forgot to come up with a finish. I mean: one that made sense, or even resembled a climax. I still don't know what happened in the main event. I just know that it left me and the (comically anemic, further underscoring the lack of appeal of this show's build-up) Hooters crowd confused and shuffling out of the place wondering we just saw. But I doubt WWE cares about that. By the main event, you've forked over your $35 and there's no mechanism available to get your money back (or you've forked over your $9 for chicken strips that are thrice as tasty and two-thirds the price at even another shitty chain restaurant like BW-3s), so there's no reason to deliver. WWE's got their money; they've squeezed the blood from the stone. Their interest in satisfying the crowd and perhaps finding some willing cows to milk, instead, seems dead. They'll just keep counting on about 180,000-200,000 dumbasses to keep paying them off every month, and take their balloon profits from one-off shows like Michaels/Hogan selling SummerSlam.

Fuckers.

This was a PPV that was surprisingly adequate, actually. Until the confoundingly stupid finish. But (a) "adequate" is not really "adequate" when you're asking for people to pay to view your show. It's barely even sufficient on and average Monday night. Yes, I didn't get pissed off at any point, but I also wondered why this was happening with a price tag on a Sunday night. And (b) I weigh (and have ALWAYS weighed) main events/finishes a bit more heavily than most when I analyze a show's overall quality. The taste left in my mouth at the end of the night.... that's what's most important.

Tonight? That taste was similar to what I can only imagine poop tastes like. And as the saying goes: don't shit in my mouth and call it worthwhile of Sunday.

What's got me so annoyed? Just read on. There was some good to go along with the flamboyantly tepid. But just not enough to undo a finish that I don't think will really be "finished" until some-fricking-body explains what happened tomorrow on RAW. And that kind of finish? Is hardly a finish at all. So here's my match-by-match results and analysis, admittedly half-assed (since that's still twice as much ass as WWE is using these days), but also with at least a FEW clever and insightful editorial comments tacked on in the traditional customary red italics:

  • On Heat: before I left my house, I saw the Heat match would be Tajiri taking on Rob Conway. I think it's safe to say I already knew what would happen despite not seeing minute one of the contest. I also think it's safe to say that this did nothing to improve my mood....  also of note: Coach proved that Jim Ross is not the only announcer who reads and loves The Rick, when he decided to nickname Todd Grisham "Tough Questions"; it's not coincidence, people.... and before I left, I did see Trish cut a very nice little promo, and then have Lawler ruin it by assuring us that it was the cleavage that mattered, not the words. Bleh.
     
  • Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc.: I'm sure I missed a video package montage or something as I was late getting to the show. I'm also sure that I didn't miss a damned thing.
     
  • Ric Flair beat Carlito Cool to win the IC Title. When I arrived, Flair was already at the point of being on the receiving end of a heel beatdown; it couldn't have been more than 5 minutes in. He fired up and went to the top rope. The crowd sensed this was a bad idea, but when Carlito intercepted Flair, Flair actually clubbed his way out of being slammed, and then came off the top to hit Carlito with a double sledge. Whooo! And then, in one of the PPVs few get-the-crowd-at-Hooters-making-some-noise moments, Flair celebrated for about 30 seconds straight like he'd just won the World Title again. High-fricking-larious, and a nice nod of the head to however many years of 99% futility when it comes to Flair's top rope antics. Sadly, Flair was so emboldened by this the he tried going up top again. This time, it did not work. But surprisingly, Carlito's offensive was VERY short-lived this time around. He hit a missile dropkick that I remember, and that was about it. Then it was Carlito's turn to showboat unnecessarily. He went and got an apple, and was going to apple-spew Flair. But just as Carlito had begun the chewing process, Flair caught him with an eye-poke, causing Carlito to choke on the apple. 
     
    While Carlito gestured (Broadly, as that is the finest manner of gesturing known to man) that he needed the Heimlich applied, Flair opted for a different manuever: the Figure Four. Carlito's choking threat seemed to subside, but the threat of Grievous Knee Injury remained.... so about 30 seconds later, Carlito tapped out to the Figure Four. Huh.
     
    After the match: Flair got on the mic and addressed the crowd, saying that this IC Title win, at this point of his career, meant as much to him as any of his World Title wins. And also that he was going to tear Oklahoma City a new one, as he celebrated All Night Long. Whoo! The he found a couple of comely young lasses in the front rows (unlike most Plants, they were actually kinda cute in a real-girl sort of way, instead of looking like OKC's Most-Off-Duty Strippers; well, except for the one brunette) and led them backstage. [What I saw of this was very fun. I'm not sure where Flair as Champ is going, and neither did anybody else I was with, but our guess is that it was done to pop the crowd, and that Carlito will probably regain the title very soon. I'd vote for tomorrow night, ESPECIALLY given what was to follow with Flair, but somebody else thought it might be held back for Oct. 3. We'll see. As long as they switch the title back soon, though, this was just fine by me. Fun, and satisfying, and thus, a very sound opener. I probably saw 5 minutes of this, so I'm guessing 10 total.]
     
  • Backstage: "Tough Questions" Todd Grisham tried to get a word with IC Loser Carlito Cool. Carlito sneered, impersonated Diva Search Ashley by remaining Mute, and then moved on. Again: this ties into my idea that despite losing, this probably ends with Carlito regaining his gold.
     
  • Backstage: Edge and Lita are conversing. I can't really make it out, but it's more of the same "Matt has nothing left, and tonight, I finish the job" talk from Edge. And then Horny Lita decided that it's such a foregone conclusion that she'd sap a bit of Edge's energy before the match. Among sapping other things. If you catch my drift. Ehhhh, I told you I was half-assing it... which is why you get Man Juice-related humor masking the fact that I really don't know what was said in this promo other than it ended with Lita mounting Edge, and Edge seeming not to mind one whit.
     
  • Trish Stratus and Diva Search Ashley beat Victoria and Torrie Wilson. Trish wanted to start for her team, so that meant they did a quick spot where Torrie was scared, and Victoria had to start for the heels. No matter: Trish dominated. So much so that she figured it'd be OK to tag in Ashley and let the kid take her shot at wrestling. Not so good. Reverse of how I would have handled it, actually: Ashley became your Babyface in Peril for an extended period. She wasn't bad, actually. But it also got to the point where the only thing she was really doing great was wearing an ill-advisedly short skirt (which looked cute -- if maybe 2 inches too short to be non-skanky -- when she was standing, but which only supplied endless crotch and ass shots when she tried to move around in it; I can only imagine how horrible the commentary got at that point). So after about 3-4 minutes of Ashley getting beat down in relatively simplistic manner, and us looking up her skirt, the hot tag came to Trish (who was attired more sensibly, although to celebrate her return to babyfacedom, she busted out short-shorts again for the first time in forever). House afire act from Trish, including deflecting attempted interference from Boobies McTitsalot without even batting an eye.... Ashley came back at that point to help out, and Trish hit a sweet combo-headlock-leg-scissors take down on Victoria and Torrie to set up the finish, which was the "I Refuse To Call It A Chick Kick" Kick on Victoria. Three seconds later, Trish and Ashley are your winners. [I would have booked this to avoid Trish pinning Victoria, just because that's your best bet for getting fans to care about a Trish/Victoria women's title feud. That said, I would have liked Trish and Victoria to carry more of the load of this match, instead of just 60 seconds at the start and 30 seconds at the end. But whatever: Ashley didn't look bad; in fact, some fans of the Lawler-type might argue she never looked better. This was maybe 6-7 minutes, and very adequate, and again with a satisfying babyface win.]
     
  • Backstage: Flair led his four willing consorts back to his limo, where he plied them with champagne... and then he stepped out of the limo and pulled a prescription pill bottle out of his tights. I assume we were to think this was Viagra, or a derivative there of. Flair popped a few pills. Stuck his head back into the limo. Came back out. Did a bit of mental arithmetic (even counting on his fingers). And decided to pop a few more. Stupid, yes. But funny as hell.
     
  • Big Show beat Gene Snitsky. As a side bet, we made the Rick Scaia Challenge on this one. I INSISTED, quite vehemently, that this match could not last more than 3 minutes unless WWE are retards. Funny: people were willing to take the side of the bet that says "WWE are retards." And sho 'nuff: after an early beatdown by Show, they inexplicably do an extended sequence where Snitsky attacks Show's arm/shoulder. Methodically. Which is to say: boringly (so boringly that they had plenty of time to rehash video clips from THREE FUCKING WEEKS AGO, ugh). So it's about 5 minutes in when Show makes his comeback and mercifully chokeslams Snitsky to get the pinfall win. 
     
    After the Match: Big Show apparently saw the three-week-old video clips while he was resting in an armbar, and decided to give Snitsky a receipt. He clubbered Snitsky twice with the ringbell. Whee? [Sucked. And it ended up sucking for twice as long as it should have. On the upside, the post-match crap with Show taking out Snitsky has me thinking that maybe Gene will be taking a much-deserved vacation. To where? I don't know. Just as long as it's not televised.]
     
  • Shelton Benjamin beat Chavo Guerrero. Here's where my interest in the show hit a nadir. As did the interest of all around me (at least a few of whom were wondering: "Kerwin WHO?"). So all I took away from the match is that Shelton started strong, then Chavo started attacking the knee. The knee attack seemed mostly sound, and lasted a few minutes. It all led up to a kind of "overhead-Boston-Crab," as I dubbed it. Shelton escaped that, and started his comeback.  Shelton's comeback seemed to frustrate Chavo, who decided to go to his golf club to once again short-circuit the uppity negro (hey, HE's the racist, not me, so just zip it, Junior). But Shelton was not to be denied. Just as Chavo moved in with the golf club, Shelton countered into a T-Bone Powerslam out of nowhere. One, two, three, and that's it. After the match, Shelton teased hitting Chavo with the golf club, but since he's a "nice guy," he didn't. Oy, the exact opposite of how I'd have booked that. [Anyway, probably around 10 minutes, and I'm sure it was OK... but it was "OK" in an unspectacular way, and "OK" in a way that few people care about. "Kerwin White" is simply not setting the world on fire. So as crisply executed as it may be, it's also a second-straight Heat-caliber match in a row, from an Entertainment Perspective. Also: let me reiterate my idea that the goal of this match SHOULD have been to give Shelton a hook with fans. To me, getting angry at a douchebag racist and whacking him with a golf club a few times would be the kind of intensity that would endear him to an audience; and instead, they did the finish where Shelton, purest Vanilla despite his race, just backed away and left without showing much in the way of personality. So forgettable....]
     
  • Backstage: TQ Todd Grisham talked to Matt Hardy. He won't die, but the gist I got is that he's willing to get pretty damned close to it if it means finishing off Edge.
     
  • Matt Hardy beat Edge in a Steel Cage Match. Pinfall, Submission, and Escape are the rules again in this, the second Cage Match we've seen in a week from WWE. All would factor in to the match.  And though they started in Eddie/Rey fashion, by going pretty quickly for some teased escapes, they also had a lot more than that in the tank.
     
    Edge dominated early, but when his first escape attempt was countered by Matt, the tides turned. Then Matt made an escape attempt, and that was turned into a top-rope powerbomb by Edge. Nice. Edge in control, now. And for an extended sequence, it was like Edge was going for another "knock-out" peppering Matt's head with kicks and cage-blows, some of them fairly creative. Crowd seems way into this, too, and I'm liking it plenty, myself. Eventually, Edge thought things were going well enough that he might make a Door Escape. So the door opens.... Hardy cuts him off. But while the door's open, Lita tosses the Money In The Bank Briefcase into the ring. Edge tries to use it, but that backfires, and instead Matt starts his extended rally. He uses the briefcase, and also DDTs Edge onto it. He's completely in control as he pounds away on Edge, even bloodying him by tossing him face-first into the cage.
     
    Matt's rally ends a few minutes later when a cage escape attempt backfires, and he again gets slammed off the top rope. Edge makes the for the door, and again Matt cuts him off.... but this time, before the ref can close the door, Lita gets into the ring. Kicking off a VERY hot closing segment, Lita and Edge try to double team Matt, but Matt is able to repel them for a bit. But when he focuses on Lita for just a mite too long (hitting her with a Twist of Fate, so she's done for the match), Edge pounces with a spear. Only gets a two count, though. Edge tries an escape. Matt catches him. Slams him off the top rope. Starts climbing up again. Gets to the top. Decides "fuck it, why not?" and delivers a legdrop off the top of the cage. Whoa. That's how you break a hip. And also how you pop the crowd. Matt makes the cover and wins the match. [Had to have been 20 minutes, and is the easy Match of the Night. Not that that's saying much, but this really was describable as "Very Good." The closing 5 minutes were excellent with tons of false finishes that seemed plausible. And the big finish? Hey, anybody who still thinks this is "real" might be demonstrably wrong, but Edge trusting his Mortal Enemy Matt Hardy to hit him with a top-of-cage legdrop without taking advantage is just the Highspot of the Night this match needed for a cool finish. If I did stars, this was maybe just shy of four of them.... or maybe right around 4, I dunno. Maybe if I'd been more into the first 5 minutes, I'd have a better sense of the match as a whole, instead of as the match after it got good.]
     
  • Backstage: John Cena is barefoot and getting his "injured ankle" taped up. And somewhere, Gene Snitsky popped a boner at the sight. The message: that Cena is in so much pain from last Monday that he probably shouldn't be competing tonight, but he's just telling the trainer to "tape it up, and let me go do my thing." Because he's so TOUGH. Ugh. You don't TELL, you SHOW. And Cena limping to the ring to fight SHOWS EVERYTHING you're spending this time SAYING to us; I no likey being bludgeoned over the head with the simple and obvious. Then, as Cena's being taped up, Eric Bischoff shows up. I'm guess to taunt, but again, I can't really hear. So what's Cena do for his punchline? Asks the trainer for some tape. And puts it on Bischoff's mouth. And that, my friends, is everybody's favorite petulant middle-schooler masquerading as a WWE champ.  PLONK, says I.
     
  • Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch beat Hurricane and Rosey to win the World Tag Team Titles. Hurricane started, and got some good offense in on both Cade and Murdoch, then tagged in Rosey to settle things down. Rosey isolated on Cade, and that was going very well.... until Murdoch left his spot on the ring apron and tried sexually harassing Flowerpot Extraordinaire, Lillian Garcia. Hurricane, being as chivalrous as he is predictably-stupid, managed to (commendably) save the damsel in distress, but only did so in a way that left him open to a sneak attack by Murdoch. Dum dum. Murdoch parlayed this into a hanging DDT from the ring apron to the floor, which was a rude looking bump. Hurricane is out, and Rosey gets distracted by this, turning him from the Dominant Fat Guy into a Babyface In Peril *snap* Just Like That (tm, Some Cool Broad). While Rosey is getting double-teamed and dominated, trainers come out and determine that Hurricane is in no condition to continue, so they start carrying him up the aisle. But as he's being carried up the aisle? Hurricane sees Rosey starting a ferocious comeback... sees Rosey making for the corner where he thinks his trustworthy partner will be... and for the second time in the match, Hurricane does something that is as noble as it is stupid! He stumbles back to the ring, and tags himself in. After appoximately 7.3 nanoseconds of offense, Hurricane's debilitated (or, if you're JR and love making up words "dehabilitated") state make him easy pickin's. Rosey's in no shape to help, so before Hurricane's flurry can even reach full speed, Murdoch wallops him with a clothesline at the same time that Cade chop blocks him, and Hurricane goes down. And he stays down for three. New champs. [Serviceable. I like that the story of the match sets up the babyface rematches, since they can argue that Cade/Murdoch really only beat half the team... which also gives Cade/Murdoch another shot to show yet another dimension of ability in those rematches. This was more about story than it was about action, and I think they did a good enough job with it. It's still free-TV caliber stuff, but TOLERABLE free-TV stuff, which is more than you could have said for the last couple forgettable contests. Interestingly, this was also the first heel win of the night. Huh.]
     
  • Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand introduced Chris Masters for an interview. Oh. My. Gawd. Talk about a meeting of the minds. So I decided to go introduce my weenis to the urinal, for a much more satisfying meeting. On my way back to my stool? Masters fumbled his last line. I forget exactly what he said, but I still remember what he was TRYING to say was "And when I get done with Shawn Michaels, the last thing he'll be worried about being broken is his heart." Meh: Chris Masters, expertly boring American since January 2005.
     
  • Shawn Michaels beat Chris F. Masters. In a VERY wise decision, they got really creative with the opening minutes of this match, instead of doing what I feared (which would have put the crowd to sleep).... no posing/posturing/slow-start. Instead, Masters jumpstart with a full nelson before the bell even rings, and releases it so that the ref has a chance to ring the bell to legally start the match.... and then as soon as Masters thinks he can move in to cinch his crappy finisher again, Michaels escapes and goes on a 3 minute tear. Nice. And necessary. And unexpected. My hat's off to the Script Doctor on this one, for realizing all the criticisms I've been making are valid, and then busting ass to come up with a start of this match that would reduce their significance.
     
    So with the crowd now fully into the match thanks to Michaels high-energy dominance, they do move into a more laid-back phase. Sadly, the Script Doctor is docked points for the transition, since Michaels lost the advantage by grabbing a chair, trying to use it right in front of the ref, and then having Masters take advantage of the ensuing argument. Ugh: anytime you have 20-year veterans making rookie mistakes? That's lame. So Masters goes on the offensive, and to his credit, represses the urge to use a resthold for upwards of 3 whole minutes. Now granted, what's left in the arsenal isn't THAT much more interesting, but it beats a bearhug. Lots of slams and clotheslines, it seemed. High impact, at least. And eventually, by the 10 minute mark, Chris F. Masters was sweating like a pig and clearly winded. Rest hold time. And his choice? Oh, sweet jesus, it was the La-Z Boy! Nee haw! A hold that not only looks painless, but looks like it's Michaels exerting all the effort to maintain the position!
     
    But that's only the Decoy Fire Up. Michaels escapes that with a mini-rally, but finds himself once again the target of Masters' methodical attack. Michaels is making it look good, though. And thanks to the opening segment, the crowd's more into it than I thought they'd be at this point.... although the interest seems to be dwindling as we limp towards Masters' next rest hold. What will it be? Wait for it.... wait for it....
     
    The Torture Rack! Way to not make it easy for ANYbody to draw comparisons between Masters and the biggest juiced-up, over-rated skidmark on the underpants of the wrestling industry that any of us has ever seen!
     
    At least on this hold, you know Masters is doing something (hey, it's hard holding a 220 guy up on your shoulders for more than 60 seconds; I know, cuz I've tried it, usually when drunk, and often with furniture damage as a result). This time, when HBK starts his comeback, it's his For Real Comeback. Complete with Flying Burrito/Nip Up/Macho Man Elbow Combo (and JR? once again called it the "Flying Burrito"; because he knows a good thing when he sees it; or at least, when he sees it being stolen and recylced by his favorite Internet Jackoff). This comeback brings us to End Game, as Michaels started tuning up the band.
     
    But of course, excessive showboating is rarely a good idea, at least not in the semi-main event of a PPV, so Masters is able to counter the Sweet Chin Music, directly into a full nelson. Michaels seems in trouble, but manages to get a rope break. Which, as all of us Assembled Masters Loathers noted, means that Masters RELEASED Michaels; Michaels didn't escape the Shitty Full Nelson. Masters, dumb as Orton, argues with the ref over the rope break. Michaels uses that time to recover. He approaches Masters. Masters dodges Michaels first attack and seems to reverse his way into the full nelson, again. But before it's cinched in, Michaels flips back over Masters, lands on his feet, and prepares a little snack for Chris F. Masters. As soon as Masters turns around, he gets to dine on Shawn Michaels foot. The superkick is enough to win the match. [I'm guessing around 15 minutes.... and just as I predicted, it hit its peak potential, but still came in only notches above "average."  The opening segment was so well conceived and executed that it extended the audience's patience with a very bland middle 8 minutes. And then it got good again at the end. Keeping the fans into the match was the trick, though, and the layout of things meant they succeeded in that. Still: it's just like I said.... you come out of it remembering Michaels contributions, and forgetting who the ass-injecting broomstick he was dancing with even was. As a bonus: my extraneous prediction about Michaels winning, but doing it without actually breaking the full nelson came true. I am so SMRT! Also of note: going into the main event, both previous title matches had a title change, and babyfaces are now 6-for-7... I assumed this was being done for a reason, and was feeling REALLY good about a satisfying, big time finish for the main event.]
     
  • Backstage: Ric Flair's limo door opens and four women emerge, looking quite satiated. Or, if you prefer my Swearengen, looking Freshly Fucked. Professionally Fucked by none other than the Nature Boy, if you weeee-il. The ladies, all atwitter, disperse, and Naitch finally exits the limo. Ass first. BARE ass first. Ugh. But again: also high-larious. He finally gets his bearings and seems quite satisfied his own self.... but then he walks two steps.... and he Flair Flops to the concrete. I do not know why, but this shit (despite being the kind of low-brow Hollywood Writer Monkey Comedy I normallyhate) struck me as outstanding throughout. It also went over huge with the Hooters audience. [Great: fucking THROWAWAY BITS are one of the very few perk-up-and-pay-attention moments of the show. Another bad sign.] Still, looking at the clock, less than 2 hours had passed, so Flair's FAR from "All Night Long," eh? I think this could play into an exhausted Flair losing the title back tomorrow night, if they want to run with the angle... if they did that? Thas? Thas cool.
     
  • I have no fucking idea what happened in the main event, but I get the impression that no matter what, John Cena is still the WWE Champ after facing Kurt Angle. That thing about expecting a big, satisfying finish to the main event? Forget about it. Didn't happen.
     
    Very basic back-and-forthy to start. Kurt wanted to out-wrestle and out-intense Cena. Cena brought the street fighting, though, and had enough answers to keep Angle from getting on a roll. This, however, ends about 4 minutes in, as Angle is finally able to get a shot in on Cena's leg, and isolates the body part. This is the vibe for the next 4-5 minutes, and it's done competently and crisply, but not really excitingly. I dunno. Maybe I was just being distracted by conversation and other shit again, but I THOUGHT I'd be more into this match if it was clicking...
     
    Angle's offensive ended around the 10 minute mark as Cena began a Babyface Fire Up. This was all his usual bag of tricks (shoulder blocks, wacky hip toss, etc.), and Hooters was so empty that when I asked if everybody else was hearing the same thing I did, they agreed: Cena's offense IS met by a surprisingly high-pitched squeal that seems out of place on a wrestling show. Just saying is all. But as Angle tries to cheat his way back to the advantage, he's also done a dandy enough job of playing the asshole that he's not getting much in the way of cheers, despite Cena's estrogen- (and adolescent-)based appeal. Angle looks like he's about to put a stop to Cena's comeback, and they enter into an extended triple-reverse-y spot that STARTS with an attempted F-U, goes into an attempted ankle lock, reverts to a bit more back-and-forthy, and ends with an Angle Slam. However, Angle had just been on the business end of a Cena rally, and can't cover promptly. By the time he doesn, Cena kicks out, and begins a Secondary Comeback.
     
    This one seems a bit more intense, a bit more desperate. So what's Cena do? Busts out the fucking Five Knuckle Shuffle. Oy. You should have done that during the more "feel good" comeback that had preceeded, not here where it felt like we'd flipped a switch and gotten into an intense part of the match where nobody in his right mind would try such retarded bullshit. Just watch The Rock's tapes, and note when and where he used the "People's Elbow." Usually not at any point when he was actually in danger of losing a match. Which Cena was at this point. Luckily, some convergence of the stars resulted in Angle countering the Five Knuckle Shuffle (which was smart, psychologically, but to me, it only makes Cena look like a bigger dum-dum). More back-and-forth, this time, leading to a ref bump. Immediately after that, Cena nails the F-U, but with no ref, he doesn't get the pinfall.
     
    Cena wasted time checking on the ref, and when he came back to Angle, Kurt had gotten his wits back enough to paste Cena in the ball-sac with a low blow. Advantage: Angle. It's a bit more of stompy-stompy for Cena's carcass, and then Angle brings the straps down and cinches in the Ankle Lock. Eric Bischoff decides this is as good a time as any to come on down to the ring for a closer look, and this is where Shit Gets Dumb. Bischoff, you can't tell if he's there to taunt or to be the ref. It sorta looked like the latter, but if that was the case, he didn't ring the bell at any point during the 90 second ankle lock, and you have to assume he COULD have. So instead, he's just sort of in the ring, taunting Cena and (in the direct opposite of the grand Broad Gesturing) signaling vaguely towards the timekeeper that he might call for the bell at anytime. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

    Then? After 90 seconds in the ankle lock (which is 89.3 seconds longer than Eugene or any other of Angle's recent Jobby Jobbers have lasted in it), Cena magically finds the power to roll over and escape. In doing so, he kicks Angle into Bischoff. Bischoff tumbles out of the ring, and Angle's disoriented long enough for Cena to grab the Gay WWE Title Belt (which Bischoff had brought into the ring), and whack Angle in the head with it. Problem: the ref woke up at this point, apparently saw the belt-shot, and called for the bell. Are you fucking shitting me? This is a PPV ending? 
     
    But wait, it gets worse:
     
    After the match: Angle's KO'ed by the cheapshot from Homey the Clown, but Bischoff has gotten back to his feet and grabbed the mic from Lillian Garcia's hands, declaring that "No way, I don't care if it was a DQ, that title belt is not going back to John Cena." Cena's response? Needy little petulant bitch that he is, he F-U's Bischoff. Really? Some guy points out that you're a fucking cheater, and you blind-side him? And you're the "good guy" in this? PLONK, again. So after Bischoff's done (fork stuck in him, and all), Angle tries to get some revenge for being ripped off. Cena having none of it, though, and it turns into a back-and-forth brawl outside the ring. At this point, NOBODY knows what the fuck is going on, because the match has been done for 2 minutes, Bischoff APPARENTLY awarded the WWE Title to Angle on a technicality, and yet: both men are still fighting back and forth.
     
    Angle eventually gets nominal control over things, and takes Cena over to the Spanish Announce Table. He considerately clears it of potential hazards, and seems intent on Angle Slamming Cena through the table. But guess again, you blue-eyed cueball! Cena reverses it, and F-U's Angle through the table instead. And then goes back into the ring. Where the ref gives him his title AND RAISES HIS HAND. While the closed captioning (to which I was now RIVETED, trying to figure out what the clusterfuck of a finish was all about) stated, "Your Winner, and STILL WWE Champion, John Cena."
     
    What? The? Fuck? Nobody knew what to make of it. Angle, at the very least, won the match. That was plain to everybody. He MIGHT have, through a Display of Assholitude by Eric Bischoff, even be the WWE Champion. But then they brawl for 2 more minutes, and Cena won the match and is still the champ? I don't get it. And further more, even if you eliminated my confusion over the tag-ending, just the DQ win for Cena is shitty. It's lazy, it's an insult to any fan who paid to see the show and who expected a finish. Putting the tag on it, though? That just makes it mind-bendingly frustrating. Like somebody is actually sitting in a room TRYING to come up with the crappiest possible outcomes. Seriously: who ever came up with this needs to be fired. Except: why do I suspect it was conceived of "by committee," and this was some kind of Great Compromise. "Hey, Angle doens't lose, but this way, all those shitty USA Network Homecoming Commercials we shot with Cena as the champ holding his faggoty title belt are still valid! Yeah! Let's do THIS finish! It's a win/win, baby! Everybody's happy." Except: nobody is. And you think I'm joking, don't you.... but I'm not. I half-suspect that "commercials for USA where Cena's the champ" are a HUGE part of why this match was booked the way it is. Because WWE has it's priorities about as wrong as they could possibly have them at this point.
     
    Anyway, last image of the show is Cena, with the belt and with his arm being raised by the ref, while his music plays. I still think that, for the sake of PPV predictions, the Official Result SHOULD be "Angle d. Cena, via DQ," but who the fuck knows? And when you don't even know what you just saw in the main event of a PPV, that's a pretty good sign that those who conceived of it know even less of what they are doing. Just an awful end to a show that was already teetering on the brink of mediocre. [Oh, and a quick assessment of the match, and less ranting about the finish? It was about 15 minutes, and is definitely your #3 match of the night, just below Michaels/Masters. Which is not meant as a compliment to Michaels/Masters, but rather as a testament to how your main event couldn't even get to the high side of "average." Even disregarding the finish, this was a little bit short, a little bit underwhelming, and a little bit formulaic.... then they tagged it with this nonsensical finish, starting with Bischoff's appearance? They started at "watchably average," and then got dragged down from there. Boo on that.]

 
Well, that's it. Not a worthwhile investment for any who spent $35 on it... and it's borderline whether or not it was worth the investment in TIME for anybody who only really put 3 hours into the show (like I did). Average for 2-and-a-half hours, and with a finish that seemed like an open declaration of war against fans who might selfishly have expected, you know, a climax.

Bah. Like I said: they half-ass it, so I half-ass it. As I hit this concluding paragraph, the total time invested in typing this up is 58 minutes. Which is 54 more than it deserves. I'll sleep on it, and if anything changes with regards to my frustration, maybe we'll have more thoughts/fall-out-etc. tomorrow in OO.
 
Otherwise, we'll at least have RAW preview and other news, so I'll see you then kids.

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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