Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Stick or Twist: WWE Vengeance 2005

WWE Vengeance 2005
June 26th 2005
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Attendance: 9,850

* Opening video hypes Cena getting drafted then the Hell in the Cell ("For every beginning, there comes an end"). Triple H, Bischoff, JR & Batista give their thoughts. Dave: "I know there will be pain, I know there will be blood; I just don't care". The set has a cool gambling/Las Vegas theme. 

Oh shit, look who's joined JR and King on commentary - Coach! This will be awkward. I remember interviews with JR and King on at the time and their sentiment was they didn't like it and they always try to fiddle with the formula and it doesn't work. If THEY weren't on board with Coach being there how were we meant to be?

Match 1: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match - Carlito (C) vs Shelton Benjamin

Justin Roberts wrongly announces Carlito as the challenger. He was drafted to Raw the Monday before the show & won the belt in his first match, like he won the US Title in his first Smackdown match. They highlight a botched heelo by Shelton as a factor in his loss & question his condition as a result. There are quite a few signs in the crowd for Carlito, with duelling chants greeting both men.

Fireman's carry and flash pin by Benjamin has Carlito begging off. King thinks that immediacy shows Shelton's worried about his condition & having a long match. He impressively jackknifes out of a Carlito headscissors for 2. Carlito resorts to blows but gets kneed in the breadbasket. Finally he knocks Shelton down, but Benji nips up and gets a clothesline, prompting Carlito to try leaving only to be cut off. Carlito ducks a Stinger Splash but Shelton leaps up top and hits a clothesline. 1, 2, no. Benji's starting to look dazed.

Carlito chokes Shelton in the ropes to get the advantage, kicking his head causing him to fall outside to "Shelton sucks" and "Carlito" chants. A trio of slams back inside gets 2. RESTHOLD draws Shelton chants. Carlito randomly jaw jacks with the ref and Shelton school boys him for 2. King suggests Coach gets Carlito's hair do, but not JR - wouldn't fit under his hat!

Benji comes back with a jumping back elbow and Samoan Drop. It takes him a while but he finally fires up with rights, a baaack body drop and inverted backbreaker. 1, 2, no! Benji goes up top but loses his balance. Carlito tries cutting him off but gets hot shotted on the top rope, Shelton bumping outside! Springboard bulldog! 1, 2... no! Carlito undoes the top turnbuckle and hits an awkward Protobomb variant for 2. Dragon whip by Shelton! Stinger Splash... Carlito sends Shelton into the exposed buckle and rolls him up with the tights! 1, 2, 3!

Winner: Carlito (still champion)
Verdict: 7/10. Carlito was surprisingly uninspired working Shelton over, but Benjamin's high spots and the timing of his comebacks helped make for an entertaining match.

* Video package for Christy vs Victoria shows Victoria losing her temper after losing a bikini contest, Christy losing her temper the week after, then Victoria broke a glass... something over Christy's head mid-interview.

Match 2: Victoria vs Christy Hemme

Victoria's heel version of her Milkshake song is interesting. Christy runs to the ring & chases Victoria before being cut off. Hemme punts Victoria when her head is lowered from a whip then bashes her head against the canvas & top turnbuckle, choking her only to get hot shotted. Victoria pulls some of Christy's hair in a hangwoman variant. Lots of chokes - what is this, an early 90s Undertaker match? RESTHOLD. Vegas: "We want puppies". God the screams in this match, it's like the women's final at Wimbledon! 

Insert Serena Williams level yelps
Widow's Peak... Christy tries a roll up escape but gets dragged up by the hair and bashed against the buckle. Moonsault... Christy moved! She looks angry and does some hair pull throws. DDT. 1, 2, no! That surprised JR, he was like "A DDTEEE!" Victoria charges Christy in the corner, Hemme tries her split-legged sunset flip but Victoria drops down and grabs the ropes to get the 3!

Winner: Victoria
Verdict: 3.5/10. Very little of substance here. Christy sold anger pretty well but her offence was shit. Surprisingly, so was Victoria's.

 * Todd Grisham interviews John Cena. His street lingo is pretty embarrassing in retrospect. He feels like the new kid and asks Todd if he ever was. T-Grish goes on a tangent, revealing he had an "accident" once and got called "Todd Pissham". Cena was like "WTF!?" and returns to the point... being new, he's a target. He calls Christian the weird kid at the back of the bus picking his boogers and Y2J the guy in leopard skin spandex who stuffed his crotch. Too bad for them Cena was "the kid voted most likely to kick someone's ass". The Champ is here!

* The Kane vs Edge feud is covered next, highlighting Kane and Lita's weird relationship before she turned on him at the Gold Rush final. Pain was Kane's only friend but now he's found a pain that hurts so much. We then see the awesomely ridiculous wedding where Kane came out from under the canvas. "By the power invested in me by the Lord... JESUS CHRIST!!" Kane: "I'M BAAAAAACK!"

Match 3: Edge (Mr. Money in the Bank, w/Lita) vs Kane

Kane chases Edge round the ring & gets cut off (just like last match, Dammit D'Lo) only to hit the corner 10 punch, punching past the fan's 10 count. He maims Edge in the corner. Vegas: "We want Matt!" Clothesline over the top by Kane, who notices Lita talking shit to fans so decides to stalk her. Edge fails at a sneak attack. Vegas: "She's a crack whore!" Edge rakes the eyes and avoids getting shit canned but Kane punches him off the apron. King: "These fans say slut like it's a bad thing." 

Kane goes to snake eyes Edge into the post but Lita pulls him down to help him escape, throw Kane to the post & hit the spear outside! Edge tries to get a cheap count out. Kane gets in at 8 only to eat a baseball slide dropkick. Edge stomps Kane all over, shouldering him in the corner and kicking the crap out of him springing off the ropes. Kane's absorbing Edge's rights and asks for more, but Edge slips out of a slam and hits the Edge-o-matic. Kane sits up! And gets dropkicked down. And sits up again! Corner clotheslines by Kane. Edge blocks one but leaps off the second rope right into an uppercut! 

Snake eyes & lariat by Kane gets 2. He gets punted lowering his head on a whip but comes back with a sidewalk slam. Top rope clothesline... dropkicked out of mid air by Edge! Spear... met with a big boot! Kane wants a chokeslam but has to kick an interfering Snitsky off the apron. Goozle... Lita's in the ring with a chair. She flirts with Kane - it doesn't work! He chokes her, gets the chair & tries to Pillmanize her neck!! As the ref stops it, Snitsky sneaks in with a big boot. Edge covers - 1, 2... no. Fans were biting on that. Edge-a-cution... Kane throws him off like a beast, then goozles Snitsky as he comes off the top. Lita distracts the ref & Edge goes to hit Kane with the briefcase but Kane uses the tron to dodge and it hits Snitsky! GOOZLE! Chokeslam to Hell! 1, 2, 3! Fans loved that finish.

Winner: Kane
Verdict: 7.5/10. Here's how you book a punch-kick match. The opening wasn't anything spectacular but the flow and timing these two had together caused things to really pick up. I was gagging for an Edge vs Undertaker feud after this (if he could get something like this from Kane, imagine what he could do with Taker), he showed much more chemistry with Kane than the year before at Backlash.

* Fuck yeah the Angle-HBK rematch is next so they show highlights from Mania. HBK is interviewed. He seems aghast when Todd claimed Angle guaranteed he'd be the first to make him tap twice. HBK: "Story of my life, 'HBK can you top that?' I dunno. One thing though GUARANTEED! VENGEANCE... will be mine."

Match 4: Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels

JR marks out over seeing Shawn's first ever match and calls both men future Hall of Famers. Massive HBK chants greet Shawn in ring. JR claims Kurt's been wrestling since five years old!

Ace go behind by Angle forces a rope break. Oh God, Shawn hangs on for a headlock and I'm getting flashbacks to that bit from Mania. Angle doesn't mess around though, trying a single leg takedown to "Angle sucks" chants. Kurt gets the first knockdown only to get hip tossed & arm dragged. Angle awesomely wrestles from the bottom up to regain control, kneeing Shawn in the arm, causing him to take a breather. MASSIVE chops by Shawn then force KURT to take a breather. Kurt uses Shawn's concern for his arm against him to get a half crab. Michaels gets the ropes. Sunset flip... countered to the anklelock but Shawn rolls through & clotheslines Kurt out. Shawn pursues him outside. 

An Angle Slam to the post like at Mania is countered. Kurt then ducks a chop to German suplex Shawn onto the Spanish announce table! Vegas: "Holy shit!" The table didn't break & King wonders if Shawn's head hit one of the TVs under the table top. Angle brings HBK back in, viciously knees him and gets a neckbreaker for 2. MASSIVE uppercuts by Kurt, who powerbombs Michales into the buckle! 1, 2... no. JR: "That may have been the damnedest thing I've ever seen." RESTHOLD. JR: "I wouldn't count Shawn Michaels out if he was on his deathbed." JR gives Shawn credit for using the chops that irritate Angle, but he hits the buckles from a charge and eats a HUGE German! 1, 2... no! 

Angle Slam... armdrag counter. HBK gets flattened with a clothesline for 2. Kurt tries a belly to belly superplex but Shawn knocks him off, only to jump into a regular belly to belly. 1, 2, no. King: "I've heard cats say 'quick as Kurt Angle'" RESTHOLD CITY, Kurt cranking the neck ala Orton. Michaels suplexes out and both men brawl. King: "I don't think Kurt Angle can ever afford to throw wrestling out the window." Flying forearm by Shawn! Nip up. It's the HBK comeback special. Jesus his knee nearly hit Kurt's skull on the top rope elbow. He tunes up the band... oh Lord Kurt STEAMROLLERS him with a lariat!!! 1, 2, NO! Another Angle Slam effort... countered to a swinging DDT! 1, 2... no! Kurt's mouth is bleeding.

Michaels tries a suplex but Kurt floats behind for a German! He holds on but gets elbowed SQUARE on the bridge of the nose. Angle Slam! 1... 2... NO. Anklelock attempt... small package by Shawn - 1, 2... NO. Kurt rolls out of a waistlock tremendously to get the anklelock! HBK rolls through & Angle collides with the ref. Oh God, Kurt backdrops Michaels over the top and Shawn lands right on the hurt leg, giving it the hard sell. One smark buys it hook line and sinker: "C'mon Shawn! Don't let us down! C'mon shake it off! *Doctors call for help* Oh c'mon!" Kurt drags him back in. The straps are down. Anklelock! JR: "I'll be damned, Angle's gonna do it after all." Angle holds on despite Shawn's kicking. Rampant HBK chants. He reaches the ropes but Angle drags him back to the middle. Shawn finally rolls through to send Kurt to the post.

JR gets pissed at Coach counting Shawn out. Kurt walks right into a GARGANTUAN SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!! 1... 2... NO! Shawn's still draped over Kurt so he keeps his shoulder up, and just to be safe the ref pretends his hand is hurt too haha. Kurt finally shakes Shawn off and randomly heads up top. JR: "What's Angle thinking here?" King: "You can't think like Kurt Angle, JR... your head would explode." Naturally he's swatted out of mid air with Sweet Chin Music! 1... 2... 3! King: "Coach, can you believe it?" Coach: "I can't believe it!" JR: "Shawn Michaels believes it!"

Winner: Shawn Michaels 
Verdict: 9.5/10. Phenomenal as you'd expect. It felt much more organic than the Mania match aside from the finish; rather than the forced "this is going to be a classic" layout of the first match this was just balls to the wall "it's another day at the office but that still means you're getting my best." One of my all time favourite matches.

* Coach snuck backstage to interview Batista. He doesn't fancy Dave's odds, claims it took shady officiating for him to win at Backlash (bollocks) & like an idiot calls him "scared spitless". So Dave calls him an "ASS KISSING suck up" and reiterates he's not scared of Trips or the Cell. "Triple H is going to have to KILL ME to take my title." Ohnoz, Hunter shows up, says nobody beats him in the Cell, cuing a pull apart brawl!

* Randomly there's a sofa in the ring, and Lillian Garica. She introduces the man that's made her like a whirlwind - Viscera! Oh lord. Vis is wearing a huge, ace Heffner jacket. King to JR: "I know you're happily married, but is your wife?" Vis scared her at first but he's shown her what a SEXY man he is haha. She invites Vis to sit down, dims the lights and serenades him with a dodgy song about wanting him to "fill [her] up inside" that degenerates into "I love you"s. Lillian gets on one knee & proposes! Vis says that's heavy which is rich coming from him, but he'll consider it.

THE GODFATHER is here!!! He brought some Hoes! They're wearing fuck all. King: "Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug - it's the HO TRAIN, JR!" JR: "I'm shocked to see The Godfather." King: "I can't believe that with these Hoes in the ring you're looking at The Godfather. What's wrong with you?" JR: "I just said I was SHOCKED to see THE GODFATHER. There's not a damn thing wrong with me!" Godfather says Vis used to be a pimp in training - and you're talking about getting married? You really want one woman for the rest of your life? Or do you want to ride the HO TRAIN! Vis pervs over all the Hoes. Vegas: "Save the Hoes!" Vis: "All aboard the HOOO TRAIIIN!" JR: "He's gots to have it." Lilian breaks down in tears which is impressive. Vis turns back to Lilian on the ramp & says sorry.

* The WWE Title match is next. They recap Cena's shock draft to Raw & Christian interrupting ("you talk like Snoop Dogg but look like Corey Haim"). Cena gave him a five second pose in a nice call back. Y2J was annoyed to hear Christian was number one contender, so he beat up Cena after tagging with him, convincing Bischoff to make it a triple threat.

Match 5: Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship - John Cena (C) vs Chris Jericho vs Christian (w/Tyson Tomko)

Cap's overalls look a little off white. King proposes commentary each pick a guy to bet on and fights over Cap with Coach. Coach: "I know JR will pick John Cena." JR: " don't matter who JR picks."

Y2J slaps the piss out of Cena and gets taken down but John winds up double teamed by the Canucks. They try to upstaging each other with chops but Y2J turns on Christian. Tomko botches low bridging Jericho out, so pulls him out & hot shots him on the barricade. Cena hits a jumping hip toss & stomps a mudhole in Cap. Tomko clubs John in plain sight of the ref, so he's naturally told "YOU'RRREEEE OUTTA HEREEE!!!". Some problem solver he is. Christian runs into a Cena body press, then tries to leapfrog out of the corner but gets FUed to the outside! 

Top rope reverse elbow by Y2J! Gets 2. A thumb to the eye cuts off a Cena comeback to small "Cena sucks" chants. Bulldog by Jericho! Lionsault... Cena rolls away but runs into a forearm and is taken outside with a baseball slide. Chris sets up the Spanish table to some ECW chants. Cena blocks the attempted suplex through it and DDTs Jericho on the title belt. Cap sends John to the steps & hooks a RSTHOLD back in ring. Cap: "You can't see me!" He runs into a Cena clothesline. King: "I think he saw him". Yet another "ducked head on a whip gets punted" spot as John gets the Protobomb only for Jericho to pull him out into the steps to stop the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cap baseball slides Y2J into referee Earl Hebner, who tumbles painfully onto the Spanish table. 

Chris rolls through a knee & tries the Walls but Cap kicks him off into Cena (who'd got on the apron) & rolls him up for 2! Jericho cuts Christian off up top, then Cena powerbombs Jericho as he superplexes Christian!!! Cena gets near falls on both, then fires up with clotheslines, slamming Y2J & drop toe holding Cap onto him face first! U can't C me... DOUBLE FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE. Sunset flips to Jericho... Cap school boys Cena off for a near fall. DOUBLE JACKKNIFE by Chris gets 2, so Cena and Cap double clothesline him then take each other out. E'rbody down! A collision in the corner sees Y2J fall outside. Roll up on Cap: 1, 2... no. FU... rake to the eyes & reverse DDT by Cap! 1, 2... no!

Christian is salivating, and his attempt to bring the belt in allows Tomko to sneak in & clothesline Cena (what is this night of shit run ins?). That only gets 2, so Cap has a tantrum & raises his own hands, but Earl pulls them down and tells him "NO!" Backdrop to the outside by Cena! WALLS OF JERICHO! Cap started to get back in so Y2J springboard dropkicks him & reapplies the hold. Cap sneaks a roll up on Jericho: 1, 2... no. Bulldog ducked... Y2J shoves Christian off an Unprettier attempt... into the arms of Cena! He swings Cap's feet into Chris and hits the FU! 1... 2... 3!

Winner: John Cena (still champion)
Verdict: 8/10. Lots of one man in, one man out stuff, but a great bunch of spots near the end with everyone involved at once, and all three pairings never dull together.

* Oh boy, the Cell lowers to the ominous cage lowering noise. JR puts over Trips has never lost in the Cell (well, one on one) & Dave's never been in it. The feud is recapped from the very beginning. After winning the Backlash rematch, Dave rather dickishly says maybe Hunter isn't good enough, causing him to walk out for a while. Dave then showed Sting level blind faith in trusting Flair only to be betrayed when H came back to make the challenge for the Cell match.

Main Event: Hell in the Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship - Batista (C) vs Triple H

The door is chained shut so the Cell hangs over the ring as both men enter. JR: "The list of men Triple H has beaten inside the Cell reads like a who's who: Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels." King: "Mick Foley openly admitted, JR, that he was never the same man after he faced Triple H inside Hell in the Cell." Ace, Dave's finally got his Saliva theme! He got a huge pop, dare I say bigger than Cena's. He's in all white which is playing with fire. In a great move, he doesn't climb the ropes when posing in the corners because he doesn't want Hunter jumping him. The Cell finally lowers & "the grandfather" in JR  warns the audience this won't be family viewing.

Rights by Trips to start, but Dave comes back with a clothesline and sidewalk slam. Both men block attempt to send the other to the Cell. Oh, NOW we get a lock up! Batista powers H down, clotheslining him over the top, slamming the back of his head to the Cell & whipping him into it before Trips comes back by whipping him to the post. Big time Batista chants, as Hunter knocks him off the apron into the Cell from a head of steam! JR: "The Cell has a sadomasochistic personality in my view. It waits for its next victim, much like Triple H." Hunter finds a toolbox(!) and gets a chain from it. He whips it over Dave's back. Urgh, he reaches over the top to choke Batista with the chain, then knocks him off the apron so it's even tighter! 

Quickly Dave fights back, hotshotting Trips, whipping him with the chain, driving him back first into the post and corner of the Cell over and over, then finally taking him face first into the Cell. That busts H open... but before the Animal can capitalise the Game hits a beautiful spinebuster! Holy shit Hunter finds a chair WRAPPPED IN BARBED WIRE & whacks Dave in the back with it!! The cuts open up quickly. Batista thankfully blocks a headshot, but eats a facebreaker. Clothesline by Dave. He's got the chair... JESUS he whacks Hunter right in the head with it! JR: "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" He rakes the barbs over H's face!!! Now he grates his face into the Cell. Snake eyes into the Cell! Trips eventually evades Dave's shoulders in the corner and tries a Pedigree on the barbed chair, but Dave backdrops out and gets a front powerslam on the chair. 1... 2... no. 

Batista gets the chain... and Hunter lures him into a DDT on the barbed chair! That's his cue to blade. Some dick yells boring as H rams the Animal's wound into the Cell. Hunter's got the hammer. JR: "Not the damned sledgehammer!" Dave slugs back, but his Batista Bomb is backdropped out of. Hammer shot by Hunter! 1... 2... NO! Big Batista chants. Hunter swings for a prone Dave... and gets kicked in the nuts. Batista grabs the hammer, roars and runs at H... and gets punched with the chain! 1, 2... no. Trips goes to the second rope for another chain punch... but Dave gets the hammer head right under Hunter's jaw! He spits blood on impact (yeah sure) & Flair flops. JR: "The slobber knocker of all slobber knockers."

Dave brings the base of the steps in the ring, props it in the corner and splatters Hunter's face into it. Thumbs up? Thumbs down... but Trips gets a colossal low blow. Pedigree!! 1... 2... NO! King: "He can't believe it, Triple H has lived and died by the Pedigree." H sets the stair base flat in the ring. Pedigree on the base?! ...SPINEBUSTER ON THE BASE BY BATISTA!!! Batista Bomb attempt... Trips grabbed the hammer & goes to swing at Dave... but gets hit with the Batista Bomb before he can strike!!! 1... 2... 3! What a great finish, with a great image of Hunter downed, hammer still in hand.

Winner: Batista (still champion)
Verdict: 9/10. Excellent weapons brawl. It started with fundamental "you use the weapon, I use the weapon" booking, but my God the way they upped and upped the violence was just phenomenal. It was great to see some different weapons from the norm (the chain, THAT barbed wire chair, the base of the steps as opposed to the top). Dave might not be a five star wrestler, but he's a great brawler who'll adapt to a gimmick or environment well. Major props to Hunter too.

Final Thoughts: Oh boy, I just loved Spring/Summer 2005 in WWE. This is one of my personal favourite pay per views of all time. It's only a six match card, so of course there's a bit of filler with that daft Viscera angle, but other than that they used the time between matches well with lots of hype packages and interviews. The women's match is the only one that's an outright dud. Besides that, you've got a decent IC Title match, a well booked Kane-Edge match, legitimately one of the best matches of all time from Kurt and HBK, a good WWE Title match and Batista and Triple H's best match together in a great Cell match with some pretty innovative violence. This is the definition of a keeper.

TL;DR - A great, focused show with little that failed to deliver.

Final Verdict: STICK