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Orton's Destiny vs. Orton's Density 
August 3, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


There's absolutely no way this recap'll be as good as you're used to out of me.  Unless I'm like even more awesomer than you already think I am.... which, if I may be brutally honest about myself for a second, is Entirely Possible. 
It's 90-something degrees, and 90-something percent humidity... or at least, it feels like it. And my intent is to breeze through this recap a bit faster than usual. I'll still make sure you get the important events and all my clever jokes... but play-by-play might suffer a bit.  I'll try to be as detailed as usual, but if it's just not happening as I sit 

here making my own gravy, I thought you should know the reason why.

On the upside: I was back on DVR, and I can get back to Not Recapping Crap (in fact, I was FF'ing so heavily that I was caught up to real time WAY too early: during the second-to-last commercial break... and I gave myself the extra 10 minutes till 9:40 before I started, so that should give you an idea how much time they wasted on Diva Search nonsense and the SD! Rebound to go with the 30 minutes of commercials), which will save some time...  and weather.com says that if I can make it through till tomorrow mid-day, a cold front moves through, and then we're looking at 6-7 straight days of highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.  And if you want to know what The Rick thinks is sexy, well, my pants have become ill-fitting at the mere THOUGHT of a week worth of Highs in the delicious 70s in the dead of August, baby! So I'll be back to my normal self before you know it.

Here's last night's RAW.....

Video Package: Iron Man 4 from last week.  I don't recap stuff I already recapped.

Opening Theme, Kind Of: we get about 20 seconds into hearing about how we refuse to see the change, indeed, or whatever, when suddenly, the opening montage freezes, and the Disembodied Voice of Triple H interrupts.  He's saying, "I'm stopping this show. Cut the music, I'm stopping this thing."  

"Triple H Starts The Show By Stopping It" Theatre

HHH walks out (no music, lest we risk a babyface pop), and does a few moments of heavy breathing on a mic to convey that he is angry. Then he begins talking.  He says last week, we was supposed to become a 9-time champion, that he fought and clawed for an hour until he needed an IV to put back into him what he'd left in the ring. But it was all taken away from him.  By a simpleton, by a moron, by a man who cannot even comprehend the significance of his actions.

[Kids, does it make me a bad person that at this exact instant, I was SHOUTING at the TV for HHH to say the name "Randy Orton"? And then to do the "Give me your title shot" bit that I suggested?  Or do I just need to lay off of Randall's below-average intellect? And if I do, can I start back up again in about 20 minutes?  OK, good, that's what I thought...]

Anyway, sure enough, HHH is talking about Eugene.  And HHH promises that he will make Eugene pay in sick, brutal, and disturbing ways for what he did. And he wants to start making Eugene pay RIGHT NOW.  So he starts screaming "Eugene!  EUGENE!" over and over again.  You can insert your own joke: (a) if you are older than me and/or have actually-good taste in cinema, please insert "STELLA!  STELLLLLAAAAAA!", or (b) if you are my age or younger and/or have "Star Trek 2" in your top 5 movies of all time because you are a Cinematic Cretin who last cried at a movie when Spock died, the obvious reference is "KHAN!  KHHHHAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!".  I really want to accuse HHH of classically Shatneresque over-acting (in a good way), though, so I'm leaning towards the latter.

But no Eugene.  Instead, it's William Regal.  "Dear, dear.  Someone has sure gotten his knickers in a bunch, hasn't he?" Cheers. "Now, you didn't think I'd really let that poor lad come out here, did you? In fact, Eugene's not even here tonight." Boos, and the last Regal would hear all night, because from here on out, he's GOLD, baby.  Gold.  In fact, he's so good, I'm going to try something I don't normally do here, and semi-transcribe the entire thing.  Because it really was spot-on in every way:

"What kind of a man would let Eugene into the building last week? [an aside, almost rhetorical] Rather a perplexing question, is it not?  [now getting all lathered up] What kind of diabolical villain would suggest to Eugene that he get involved in your match last week? [now settling back down and smiling contentedly] It was ME, Sunshine!"  [big pop]

"You see, you and me, we know each other quite well, don't we? Let me give these fine people a little history lesson... it was 11 years ago, we were a tag team in WCW. In fact, I was your mentor, wasn't I? Yes, indeed, I was. And let's face facts: some people, people like us, we're just born naughty.  That's why we gravitated towards each other. And if you had used an abused anyone other than that poor lad Eugene, I would have applauded your cunning, sir." [now a bit of a pause, Regal's repressing emotion]

"But for a clever man such as yourself, it was rather foolish of you to have abused that poor disadvantaged boy, because now" -- getting REALLY fired up -- "YOU HAVE MADE AN ENEMY OUT OF ME! And if you're looking for a fight, well LOOK NO BLOODY FURTHER!  Because I will gladly go back there, change into my ring attire, and meet you back in that ring and I shall battle you with every ounce of vile and venom that runs through my veins!" [huge pop, and "Regal" chants]

Regal smirked and stared-down HHH, who for his part was frothing and clearly wanted Regal to make good on his promise.  Just an awesome opening bit, and another example of why Regal is not that far behind Tajiri on The Rick's List of Wrestlers That He Really Likes Even Though Nobody Else Does.  Everybody will point to the WCW history lesson and "we're quite alike" bit as the highlight of the promo, and that WAS very cool.  But what made it for me was the very end, where Regal felt the need to do the "change into my ring attire and meet you back here" tag; because (and this'll probably sound stupid to you, but hey, I gotta be me) "Look no bloody further" might have sounded like The Logical Punchline to YOU, but there's something so uniquely and GENTLEMANLY bad-ass about Regal when he does stuff like spell out for you the very civilized way he's going to kick your ass.  It's like two weeks ago when he faced down HHH, and paused to gingerly remove his suit coat before commencing the fisticuffs.  It'd be dumb out of almost anyone else, but Regal does it, and it's awesome.

Important Business: while Regal and HHH are staring down, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler finally get to do the Welcome To RAW bit that they had to skip because of HHH's interruption.  They tell us that tonight, we'll be seeing a huge six-man main event with Benoit/Jericho/Edge taking on Evolution Lite, plus the Diva Search, the Highlight Reel, and lots more....


Diva Search Part 1, The Eliminationing: I don't watch crap, I don't recap crap.  

Rhyno/Tajiri vs. La Resistance (Non-Title Match)

Rhyno and Tajiri are out to RHYNO's entrance, which according to WWE Bylaw Section III, Paragraph B, Subsection 8 (governing Ring Entrance Etiquette for Makeshift Tag Teams), that means that either (a) Tajiri will score the win and have HIS music played after the match, or (b) they will lose and Rhyno's music was just used because he's not a damned useless Cruiserweight.

La Resistance are out, and immediately start wasting time by pausing at ringside to wave their Quebec flags.  Mistake.  Immediately, Rhyno and Tajiri POUNCE (eat it, Brown!), and they don't let up.  La Resistance didn't even get their sparkly robes off... after about a minute of solid ass-handing-to, the final spot is Rhyno trying to Gore Grenier, but Grenier dodged, and Rhyno took out Conway. So Tajiri figured he'd take the already-beaten Grenier and wrap him up with a fancy pinning combination.  1, 2, 3!  Tajiri wins!

But play Rhyno's music again? I'm gonna have to report that sound guy to the Board; Tajiri with the win, play Tajiri's music! Maybe only 90 seconds, but VERY effective in terms of getting everybody else in the world convinced that Tajiri and Rhyno are as bad-ass as *I* think they are.


An Interview with Grammar Killer Randy Orton

Tough Questions Todd Grisham is being kept down by the Man: he doesn't even get to ask a question. And when Randy Orton turns the tables by interrupting Todd as asking HIM a Tough Question ("Do you believe in destiny?"), Orton doesn't even let him finish. Because Orton DOES believe in Destiny, and thinks it was his destiny to lose the IC belt so that he could win the World Title at SummerSlam and become the Youngest World Champion in History in so doing. Orton does the math for us, and declares that if he wins at SummerSlam he'll beat Brock Lesnar (who was 25 when he wont the title at SS two years ago) by a good year or so.  This little element, by the way, is a fine example of a "storyline" that nobody other than WWE really cares about... but Orton's really driving it into the ground.  Including a bungled phrase or two (something about how he's accomplished more than all of us -- PLURAL -- have accomplished in our entire life -- SINGULAR -- which might strike you as a small thing, but which just irks me because it makes it impossible for me to take the guy THAT seriously when either he's Dumb or he's Unable To Accurately Memorize His Lines; because if he was halfway intelligent and just speaking naturally from a general outline, this shit would NOT happen). 

[And christ, Orton-fellators, keep it to yourself if you have any witty observations about my typos; YOU try typing at the Speed of Thought and see how many things you screw up over the course of 20,000 words a week!  In fact, I dare Randy Orton to a Dumb-Off: I *know* I could cut that promo 100 times without making even ONE mistake, much less two mistakes EVERY TIME.  How much of what I do here at OO could Orton do without exposing himself as a total dolt?]

Anyway, then Orton moves on to Phase Two, which is talking about Chris Benoit. Orton gives him the pseudo-respect, calling him "the best... for now." And then promises to defeat Benoit just like he has all the other legends (and for cheap heat, he's sure to mention San Antonio's own Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin; nice work there, Randall!).  There's another awkward line or two in here ("they've all been laid down by the hands of the Legend Killer" should PROBABLY have been something more like "they've all been put down AT the hands of the Legend Killer"), and then Orton closes with some smirking pretty-boy-ness, or something.  

Just not a really effective promo at all: I get the impression it was supposed to lend some weight to Orton's sudden and random title push by introducing the concept of "destiny," but come the fuck on. Destiny?  That's just as bogus and random and weak as using the Battle Royale last week.  If you ask me, "Does The Rick believe in Destiny?" the answer is "No" (then again, there's a LOT of things I don't believe in), but I'll also admit to believing in the ILLUSION of destiny when the proper events converge. And the lack of a foundation for Orton's push means there is absolutely nothing upon which to build this illusion of "destiny."  The fabricated issue of "youngest champ ever" is also a non-factor to 99% of fans.  And more than anything, when you have a promo like this that was clearly carefully plotted and over-written to make sure that these perceived-of-as-key points got across, you had Orton working off a written page and fumbling a few lines instead of being in his comfort zone and In The Moment as he has been for a few of his more recent solid promos.  I remain a firm believer in there being better ways and better times for Randy Orton to ascend to main event status that do NOT involve SummerSlam in 2 weeks.

SmackDown Rebound: I don't recap recaps.

Backstage: Lita and Stacy are chatting, when up walks Matt Hardy.  He asks for a moment alone with Lita, and Stacy suddenly remembers she's got a match coming up or something.  Alone with Lita at last (except for you, me, 2.5 million other viewers, and a camera), Matt says he's been thinking, and all he really wants is to be with Lita.  And to be a family.  Him, Lita, the baby.  Whatever it takes: he wants them ALL to be together.  He says, basically, he's asking Lita to marry him.  Lita says (almost a quote) "Oh, Matt nothing could make me any happier, but...".  And then Matt just cuts her off by diving in to seal the deal with a kiss.  But you know what?  I'm quite confident she never actually said, "Yes."  Why do I once again fear the worst?


The Lovely Miss Tomko (with Trish Stratus) vs. Rosey (with Stacy Keibler)

I don't know whether it's the new duds, or if Rosey's just working a bit harder now that they're giving him the promotion to full super-hero status or what, but the guy's got a bit more sizzle than he's had since I was won over by him and Jamal as "The Island Boyz' at HWA/Pillman shows 3 years ago...  basic stuff here, as Rosey got a few quick moves in, then Tomko managed to take over, then Rosey hit the comeback.  And by "hit the comeback," I guess I mean "Gave WWE an excuse to show Stacy in slow motion at ringside doing cheer-leader-y stuff instead of showing the match."  Because the gimmick here is that she'd do something TV-G Suggestive anytime Rosey hit a highspot.  Needless to say, this was a License To Annoy for Lawler.... in fact, they were in the middle of a slow-motion cart-wheel replay (at King's behest) when Rosey hit a big spinebuster in the tiny, live-action screen to set up the final spot.  He was gonna go up top, but got distracted by Trish hopping up on the ring apron.  He went over to sanction her, but Trish dropped down, and Tomko recovered and hit from behind with the Big Boot of Suck.  Rosey's down for the three count.  Trish and Tomko celebrate, while Stacy looks pained.  Awww.  About 4 minutes, and surprisingly not bad at all.  But why do I fear that the best idea they have for Christian upon returning is teaming with Tomko against Hurricane and Rosey?  If that happens then Trish really WILL be wearing the pants in this faction....


The Highlight Reel with Those Crazy Canucks

Jericho's already in the ring as we come back from break (and sporting a new shirt that is at the opposite end of the I Might Actually Wear It Spectrum from the ill-advised "Sexy Beast" shirt from earlier this year).  And there's no time to waste here, because Jericho wants to introduce his guest, his tag team partner later on tonight, and the reigning InterContinental Champion... Edge!

Edge is out, and after a pause, he grudgingly shakes Jericho's hand.  And Edge only gets saltier after Jericho announces that he's just heard from GM Bischoff that at SummerSlam, the IC Title is on the line in a triple threat match: Edge vs. Batista vs. Jericho.  Jericho picks up on Edge's growing hostility, and says that if this is about the battle royale last week, he was just doing what the rules say: it was every man for himself, and if their spots had been reversed, Edge would have done the same thing and eliminated Jericho.  Edge says maybe, but he still can't believe Jericho's massive ego.  Because together they had eliminated five men in that battle royale, and if they'd kept working together, they could have eliminated Randy Orton and one of them could have been going to SummerSlam to face Chris Benoit.  But no: Jericho had to have the glory, and he tossed Edge, and then, when he went one-on-one with Randy Orton, he got dumped.  "In fact, Chris, I haven't seen you dumped that bad since Trish Stratus!".  OOHHHH, NASTY!  Edge's new gimmick seems to be "Friar's Club Roast ZingMaster."

Jericho has to kind of shake that one off, but he cowboys up, and says if Edge's theme posits the question "You think you know me?", then Jericho DOES know Edge... Edge is the ass clown who's going to lose his IC title at SummerSlam to Y2J!  Edge doesn't like that, and turns his back, disrespectfully, on Jericho.  Jericho tries to turn him around, but when he does, Edge swings around and pastes Jericho with a right hand.  And the brawl is on.  Edge gets the better of it, eventually landing a Spear.  Then he goes outside and gets a steel chair.  He's gonna use it.... but then, he thinks better of it, and doesn't.  Crowd boos him for being a wuss.  Edge goes over, instead, and helps Jericho to his feet.  And Jericho responds by punching Edge hard in the jaw.  Edge goes down.  Jericho leaves the ring.  Where does this leave our main event, where these two are scheduled to team up?!?

Interesting set-up for the expected face Jericho vs. tweener Edge vs. random heel match...  neither guy was booked to look exactly like the face or the heel, actually.  They kind of let the fans decide.  And as the fans did all night, they seemed to appreciate the guy who was the bigger dickhead, and in this case, Jericho landing the last blow meant things ended with "Y2J" chants.


Triple H vs. William Regal

HHH was in the middle of posing on the stage, about 20 seconds into his theme when William Regal struck from behind. And Regal just went medieval on HHH, throwing him into various metal things up on the stage, tossing him into the announce table, punching him and kicking him and generally making HHH his bitch.  Finally, Regal decided to head in the direction of the ring, and started booting HHH down the ramp, and then tossed him into the ringsteps, and finally into the ring after 3 minutes of wicked brawling.  The ref decided, "OK, that was all legal, so now I'll ring the bell and start the match officially."

And the first thing that happened?  HHH took out a pair of brass knuckles and leveled Regal.  Regal was on the mat bloodied, the knucks were in plain sight, and the ref called for the immediate DQ.  Regal is your winner in about 15 seconds of "official" action.  But the unofficial action is just getting started...

With Regal out and bleeding, HHH headed outside the ring to grab his trusty sledgehammer from underneath the ring.  When he got in the ring, Regal was surprisingly able to short-circuit the attack by punching HHH in the gut... and Regal spotted his old friends, the brass knucks, and put them on... and that's when, from out of left field, HHH suddenly sprang up and blasted Regal in the head with the sledge.  Regal goes down in a crumpled heap, and is leaving puddles of blood on the mat.  Ewwwww.  From there, it was more sledge hammer blows to the head, a lot more bleeding, and even an uber-asshole knee to the testicles from HHH.  Regal is absolutely destroyed.

Finally, enough refs are out to stop HHH, and he backs off, allowing the trainers to tend to Regal.  He's put in a cervical brace and strapped to a stretcher while HHH tries to taunt the crowd.  If ever there was a time for an "asshole" chant, this would have been it, but instead, there's about 25% cheers mixed in with some boos for HHH. And again, I reiterate my general sense that WWE is SEVERELY mis-reading the fans if they think they're gonna get anywhere with Face Orton vs. Heel HHH, and think it means trouble for just about EVERYthing they intend to do with Orton/Benoit and the eventual implosion of Evolution.  But that's neither here nor there.  

Once Regal is about to be stretchered out, HHH saunters back down to ringside and grabs Regal's neck brace and twists (dick!) so Regal can look HHH in the face.  "Tell Eugene that this is what's gonna happen to him," is HHH's message to Regal.  Then on his way out, he shoves Regal's stretcher to the ground.  Again, an asshole move that got some cheers.  JR sold it with indignity as we wrapped it up....

The brawl/match part was a huge "win" for Regal as he continues to lay claim to a spot AT LEAST on the upper mid-card, and followed through on the momentum built in the excellent opening promo. The post-match angle SORT OF puts some heat on the HHH/Eugene feud by showing how pissed HHH is. It was, in fact, a great showcase of what *I* like and appreciate about HHH; and unfortunately, if it's what other people like, too, then that's when you get into the realm of part of the crowd cheering for one of the most heinous beatdowns of the year.  Probably THE most heinous beatdown of the year, actually.  This is what Evolution vs. Foley WANTED to be back in February....  anyway, my point is: really good segment, I'm just not sure if it's getting the E where it wants to go.


Backstage: HHH is washing Regal's blood off his hands and face, when up walks Eric Bischoff....  Bischoff says that what HHH did was good, and that it deserves to be rewarded. So at SummerSlam, Bischoff is making HHH vs. Eugene. And all he asks is that HHH be washing Eugene's blood off his hands after that match, the same way he is now.  Jerk.  HHH seems to think this is a fine idea.

Diva Search Part 2, The Talent Competitioning: I don't watch crap, I don't recap crap.  Only good thing: I noticed that it was not Michelle McCool who got the boot earlier.  Whee, and a winner is me!  Except not really...  

The Return of The Suck

OK, so I'm FF'ing the diva search bit, and I'm a little slow on hitting play, and I catch Kane in the middle of a sentence in a backstage skit with Lita.  And I want to know what the set-up here is.  So I rewind, and make sure to catch it right BEFORE the cut away from the diva search.  I probably shouldn't have.  Because what I got for a "set up" was Kane standing there lightly holding Lita by the neck, Lita looking nice and relaxed, and then a second later, some female producer saying "And action!" (or something along those lines), at which point, Kane suddenly tightened his grip and Lita started looking in-pain.  And we're off to a rousing start!  Jesus....

Anyway, Kane is backing Lita into a wall of boxes or something, in a vaguely threatening way, but Lita decides to get defiant.  "You let go of me, or else!" she says.  "Or else what, Lita? You'll scream?" asks Kane.  Which is fine with Kane, because then her beloved Matt Hardy will come to the rescue, and Kane would love to get him another piece of that punk.  In fact, he wants Matt in a match at SummerSlam; Lita's very comfortable with that because, as she notes, Matt's beaten Kane before.  Kane thinks Lita sounds mighty confident, and Lita again hits the "yeah, cuz he's twice the man you are" line.

Kane says if she's so sure, why not raise the stakes on the SummerSlam match.  If Matt wins, she can have her storybook marriage to him. But if Kane wins, Lita must marry Kane.  Lita's not so sure, but after some goading from Kane, she agrees.  Oh, sweet Jesus, can we please take up a donation so he can hire a hitman to go to Stamford and put a bullet in whoever the fuck thought THIS was the next logical and compelling direction to take this angle?  Lita's "logic" such as it was is that Matt will win, and then this way, it'll all be over at SummerSlam.  Kane's retort is that he'll beat Matt, then Lita will marry him, and yeah, it'll be over that way, too.

I appreciate the cock tease of saying "either way, this crap will be over after SummerSlam," but I'm not believing it for a second.  Kane prepares to leave and hits the only good line of this entire ridiculous and ill-conceived skit: he says "It's just too bad you won't be able to wear white at our wedding, Lita."  And then Lita slaps him and calls him a Bastard and leaves.  But Kane just keeps chuckling because (a) girls don't slap very hard, and (b) he did just make a funny.


Kane vs. Maven

Match is a total squash, with only the sparsest of hope spots for Maven.  Mostly, this gives JR and King an excuse to talk about the implications of Lita agreeing to Kane's match.  Ross, actually, dares to opine that Lita is stupid for agreeing to it, but stops short of dissembling the storyline into its various components of logic holes and stupid melodrama.  After about 3 minutes of one-sided action, Kane wins with a chokeslam.  Then he grabs a mic and tell us, "This is what I'm going to do to Matt Hardy at SummerSlam, and then Lita will be mine after the first-ever Till Death Do Us Part Match."

Oh lord.  The awful just got SO bad I almost just have to laugh.  "Till Death Do Us Part Match"?  This has the stink of 1993 all over it.  I'm talking the pure cheese of Papa Shango and Giant Gonzales and completely failing to understand what the audience actually wants to see....


SummerSlam Hype: JR and King run down the line-up, including SD! brand matches.  I don't recap hype. And anyway, if you really care, just look for a SummerSlam Banner Ad coming soon to an OnlineOnslaught near you!  Then click it, and watch the fractions of a penny roll right into my bank account as you read up on all the Hot PPV Line-Up Action!  You see, I'm not even ALLOWED to recap the hype, because then I'd be, like, stealing a sponsor's thunder or something.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

Diva Search Part 3, The Alleged Titillationing v3.0: I don't watch Coach narrating as bimbos flail around in bikinis to the very-apt "Walk, Idiot, Walk" by the Hives. I don't recap Coach narrating as bimbos flail around in bikinis to the the very-apt "Walk, Idiot, Walk" by the Hives.  Because when I need it, I know where to find porn.


Evolution Lite vs. Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit/Edge

Orton, Flair, and Batista all enter together, and get a nice long entrance (I think they absorbed the 3 minutes that HHH DIDN'T get because of Regal's impudence earlier).  Then when the faces enter, it's Jericho first... and the World Champ, Chris Benoit, comes out second?  And EDGE gets the final entrance?  What gives?  Are they pre-demoting Benoit, or am I Thinking Too Hard?

Edge doesn't even pause to confab with his partners, he just sprints into the ring and goes after Orton, quickly gaining an advantage.  The first opening Orton gets, he sneaks away and tags in Flair.  Which sets us up for our comedic mocking of The Man: he's made the patsy in the babyface corner, eventually flopping for us after a few teases.  When we end up with Benoit vs. Flair, they go into ChopFest Mode, trading shots in a corner until Flair comes back with the always-effective Eyeball Poke.  I think they briefly let Batista into the match, here, but as soon as he did his job (pounding down Benoit), Flair ended up back in there.  He managed to get Benoit into a Figure Four at about the 5 minute mark, and after a bit of a struggle, Benoit reversed the hold, forcing Batista in to make the save.  Both guys were in a bad way, so they both made tags: Jericho's in (legally) and Batista's in (legally), and Jericho does a mini-house-afire routine on Batista, forcing Evolution to come into the ring, in turn forcing Benoit and Edge to make saves.  It's six way brawling for a moment or two until Team Canada manages to toss all members of Evolution Lita from the ring.  But all's not smiles and sunshine: Jericho and Edge are DEFINITELY giving each other the skunkeye, as Benoit stands between them... but this is as good a time as any, so let's take our final break for...


We come back, and somehow, Evolution is in control.  Specifically, Orton is working Chinlock Variation #137 on Edge.  And unlike most weeks, no "During the Break" explanation is given.  Viva La Chinlocks and Evolution: they are so awesome, their dominance Requires No Explanation!  This is actually only a really quick chinlock, and as soon as Edge shows any inkling of fire, Orton takes the chance to tag out and let Flair come in. [Ever notice how in big tag matches like this, Flair tends to do more work than you'd think a 55 year old man should do for the Evolution side?  And that it's almost ALWAYS the part of the match where Evolution has to take the beating?  I'm just saying is all...  there was way more Flair than I would have guess when I got this EXACT SAME match as the main event here in Dayton 2 months ago, too, and always with the same M.O.: showing ass so Orton and Batista didn't have to.  God bless Flair, I guess.]

Anyway, after Flair briefly retains control over Edge, Edge gets the tag in to Benoit (I'm DIGGING~! the "We Want Benoit" chants, San Antone), and Benoit goes to work on Flair for a few minutes.  A bit of that, and Benoit's had enough, so he tags in Jericho.  And sadly, Jericho can't keep it rolling.  Flair does something sneaky (I forget), and in comes Orton, now that it's the part of the match where Evolution is in charge.  Orton's offense consists mostly of that cool inverted back-breaker thingie, and then Chinlock Variation #545. This time for a good solid 2 or 3 minutes, it felt like.  Yes, Orton was SELLING IT~! by contorting his body to give the idea of doing anything it took to get Maximum Leverage, but man...  3 minutes of a chinlock just ain't gonna be exciting no matter what.  But in this case, it DOES provide the excuse for Jericho to finally start the superman comeback...  Jericho fires up, and actually puts Orton down long enough to make the tag in to Benoit.  And when Benoit's in this time, IT'S ON!

Benoit immediately grabs Orton for the Hat Trick of Germans... and let me say this: I may not have been much of an Orton Fan on this night, but I think I've found the one thing that Randall's better at than anybody else in the world. Namely, selling Benoit's Germans.  It's like he's taken the Rock's general heel body language, added a few tweaks of his own, and somehow, the end effect is VERY satisfying.  It's like he's trying to say "No, dammit, not this time," and he plants himself, but then Benoit just SNATCHES it back, and Orton really throws himself into it, and... well, if you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. And if you didn't, I figure I should say something nice about the guy tonight, so there it is: way to take the Germans, Randy.  Best German Suplex Bump Nation.  Honestly.  Too bad you can't do that for 25 minutes at SummerSlam.

Of course, once Benoit starts decimating Randy, Evolution must hop in to make the save.  And once they're in, Jericho and Edge are gonna be in, too.  Total chaos.  Benoit's fending off just about everybody, and HAS TO because a few moments into this, Jericho tries to hit Batista with a Flying Burrito, but Batista moves, and Jericho ends up taking out Edge.  Yeah, pat yourself on the back, idiots, cuz you saw it coming.  And you're the only one, I'm sure.  Benoit briefly makes a show of maintaining control by hitting Batista with a German or three, then one more for Orton, and then isolating on Flair.  In fact, he eventually works Flair into a Sharpshooter (and if you want a mildly-but-still-not-very impressive bit of prognostication, I called the exact finish before Benoit even had the hold cinched in; much like the Edge/Jericho collision, it was pretty much academic, though)... but Flair's not legal.  Ref is trying to explain it to Benoit, but Benoit doesn't care.  He keeps cinching it in for 30 seconds or so.  And BAM! that's when Orton strikes from out of nowhere, running up on Benoit from behind, and grabbing him for an RKO.  Orton makes the cover.  One.  Two.  Three.  Young Randall Orton has just pinned the World Champion.  Destiny?  Jerry Lawler seems to think so.  

I can't really bring myself to care that much about the too-lazy-and-formulaic (and too-fast) way they continue with Orton using "Destiny" as a plot device, but I DO care about the fact that this was a REALLY good 25 minute match to finish off the show.  Very exciting, and predictable or not, it did what it had to do (the only things it COULD do, really) for Edge/Jericho/Batista and Benoit/Orton.

Final Analysis

Is this a show that accomplished anything substantive in terms of Project Orton?  Nope, not in my eyes.  It didn't go backwards, or anything, it didn't outright suck...  it's just that if they think that Benoit/Orton is any more legitimate of a main event after this RAW, they're deluding themselves.  "Destiny" is every bit as cheap a cop out as a battle royale to determine a #1 contender.  "Destiny" is not real, but it can be a compelling plot device when you've created the right set of converging storylines.  WWE, until Orton predictably pinned Benoit in tonight's main event, has created exactly ZERO storylines upon which to build "Orton's Destiny." Which is too little, too late, I think.  Even a month later, with the right build up, and Orton/Benoit could be money.  Now, it merely seems the undeserving headliner to the second-biggest show of the year.

And yes, allow me to make the easy pun: Young Randall's promo earlier in the show was more indicative of Orton's Density than it was of his Destiny.  HA!  Because he's DUMB!  [I'll refrain from over-using this one in coming weeks, but it'll be hard... for as soon as Orton cut that promo last night, I had the immortal BlueKid's hit single "You're My Density" running through my head, and was coming up with myriad ways to reference Orton's Density at every possible turn....]

But you know what?  I really can't sustain any displeasure with tonight's RAW that goes beyond that kind of smarky, long-range, "theoretical" realm... as a 90 minute excuse to sit on my couch, it was actually reasonably strong and amusing.  So what if I have my strongly-held ideas about what should and shouldn't be headlining SummerSlam... fact is that the only time RAW sucked out loud was the nonsense with Kane/Lita, and then the Kane/Maven match with the Groan Out Loud tag line.  I'm not even going to give WWE the satisfaction of getting indignant over that shit; it's awful, we all know it, and it's baffling that the creative team doesn't.  'Nuff said.  Other than that, really not bad at all: even Orton's promo was just ineffective (not actually outright bad).

Oh, and it helps that I didn't see one second of the Diva Search, too, I guess.

So when you give me the caliber of awesome opening segment that Regal delivered with HHH, build that into a very-excellent mid-show brawl/angle that saw BOTH guys at their best, throw in ANOTHER of my Personal Favorites (Tajiri w/ Rhyno) getting showcased properly in an almost-important feud, have a potentially-excellent Edge/Jericho feud shoved into high gear in a a nice promo, and THEN cap it all off with a VERY good match that's worst crime was being a bit predictable (but how else to further the Edge/Jericho issue and ALMOST give Orton an excuse to be talking about Destiny?)... hey, that's a Rule-to-Suck Ratio that I'll take.

Throw it all together, and I'll say this... Wrestler of the Night: William Regal.  Match of the Night: main event six-man.  Angle/Promo of the Night: Regal opening the show to rebut HHH.  And when I arbitrarily arrive at my rating for the little box on the front page later this week: probably something solidly in the mid 3s.  On average, it worked out to be a lot like last week's show; even if it didn't peak as high (Iron Man), I sure didn't spend a half hour contemplating defenestration last night, either.  So somewhere in that range.

Solidly entertaining show, albeit one that is susceptible to certain kinds of smarky criticism.  Which I may or may not bring to you tomorrow, as I continue with additional thoughts and RAW fall-out in OO.  See you then. 


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