TV REPORTS KELLER'S RAW REPORT 1/10: Ongoing "virtual time" analysis of live show
Jan 10, 2005 - 10:09:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
JANUARY 10, 2005
LIVE FROM FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA.
-The show opened with Triple H coming to the ring with a self-satisfied smirk on his face. We heard more of his intro song than usual during this very long ring entrance. Jim Ross introduced the show during Hunter long trip to the ring. He put over the quality of the Elimination Chamber. Then, when talking about the night on a whole, he called it "hellacious." Lawler agreed. It's always fun to see how Ross describes really bad PPVs without being so obvious that he upsets anyone. He pulled it off this time. Hunter told the fans to "give it to him" and try to come up with some excuse for how he won the title again. He said he is a god inside the ring, then bragged about it being the start of his tenth title reign. He said fans last year predicted that when he lost the title to Chris Benoit that he had hit his peak and was on his way down. He then talked about a "best selling book" and "hit movie." At least for once he wasn't talking about himself. He said he was just starting to hit his stride.
Ric Flair then held the mic and said, "Being the man and staying the man are two different things." Ric Flair and Stan Lane used to have contests backstage to see who was in better shape, so they'd each have their pulse taken to see who's was lower. Flair and Gene Snitsky should have contests to see who has the higher blood pressure these days. Flair's head looks like it's going to explode every time he talks now. Hunter said the man who was dominant in the Elimination Chamber last night took both Benoit and Chris Jericho out of the ring. He said he is proud to call him a friend. He described him as a destroyer and a beast. Batista then walked out in a suit. Ross said it would be hard to argue with how he described Batista, saying he was indeed dominant in the EC in Puerto Rico.
At Batista walked out, Lawler said it sounded like Hunter was kissed up to Batista. Randy Orton then crashed the party. Hunter called him a loser and told him to go away. Orton said he pinned him in the EC with Batista's help after he had been eliminated. He said Batista has his back, but it's a shame he doesn't has his. He said he has the footage to prove it. Hunter said, "What footage?" Orton said Hunter had a chance to save Batista from an RKO, but he didn't take it. Batista rubbed his chin, curious to know if what Orton said was true. Hunter said there is no such footage. Hunter said if it weren't for Orton, it would have come down to Batista vs. Hunter, "the way it should have been." Hunter said they didn't need to see the footage. He told Batista and Flair it was time to leave the ring. Batista grabbed Hunter's arm and said he wanted to see the footage.
The footage showed Orton giving Batista a low-blow and then an RKO. Hunter, who was exhausted and bloody in the corner, stood and then collapsed rather than save Batista from the pin. Orton said he had an opportunity, but he didn't take it. Batista stared intensely in Hunter's face, waiting for an explanation. Hunter stammered and said by that point in the match he had been in the ring for 45 minutes getting his head bashed into ten tons of steel. He said he had lost a lot of blood and he didn't even know where he was. He said he tried to get up and help him, but his knees gave up. He said if he could have made the save, he would have. The fans laughed at the desperation in his voice. Orton told Hunter nobody is buying his story since just a few moments later, he was able to win the match and then balance on Batista's shoulders for the victory lap around the ring. Orton told Batista the thumbs up that Flair gave him will eventually become a thumbs down. "Trust me, I'm speaking from experience," he said. "If you don't want to do nothing about it, big man, then I will." He said right now the issue is between them, and he'll settle that later. He demanded Hunter give him a rematch later for the World Hvt. Title. Hunter paused. Eric Bischoff's music played.
Bischoff said before things got totally out of control, he wanted to set everyone straight. He said Orton did beat Hunter in a singles match last week and he put in a strong performance in the EC. He said Orton deserves a chance at the title. Hunter said, "No, no, no, no, no." He said based on Batista's performance in the EC, he also deserved a chance at the belt. He said therefore he was booking Orton vs. Batista in a no. 1 contenders' match later on the show. "Now that's a main event!" said Ross.
-A clip aired of Shane McMahon at the press conference in Japan last Friday announcing that for the first time ever, Raw and Smackdown would be produced from Tokyo, Japan. They showed Shawn Michaels and Trish Stratus praising the fans.
1 -- SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. MAVEN -- IC Title match
Ross said this was a Royal Rumble qualification match. Maven attacked Benjamin before the bell. With all the talk on the internet today about Maven not being ready to have a PPV caliber match with Shelton, he had to be inspired to prove them wrong with this match. Maven tried to twist off Benjamin's head as fans chanted "Maven sucks." Benjamin hit what Ross called a "Stinger Splash" at 1:30 and then hit a T-Bone for a clean and decisive win. It turns out Maven wasn't given much time to prove anything. Some kind of message is being sent to Maven.
WINNER: Benjamin at 1:48.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Good while it lasted. Maven has a lot more potential than being squashed by Benjamin indicates.
2 -- MUHAMMAD HASSAN (w/Khosrow Daivari) vs. HURRICANE (w/Rosey)
As Hassan walked to the ring, he exchanged words with Lawler. Hassan did some mic work before the match, saying last night was a historic victory over Lawler. He said he dealt a blow to the American media and each of the "sheep" who support its racist agenda. He said his personal revolution will continue. They showed Ross shaking his head and snarling at his comments. Daivari began yelling, then Hurricane's music interrupted. Ross said he's never been so happy to hear Hurricane's music. Ross again said Hassan and Daivari don't represent Arab-Americans. Lawler told Ross he was right when he said, "Love it or leave it." Of course, the great thing about America is you don't have to love it to stay here. The right to speak out, protest, and try to change what you feel is wrong with it is what makes America different than many other oppressive countries. Hurricane got in a little offense, but Hassan won clean quickly.
WINNER: Hassan at 1:54.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Too short to amount to much, but okay.
-WrestleMania Recall showed Pete Rose being chokeslammed by Kane.
-Backstage, Hunter told Batista that despite the crap Orton has put into his head, he wants him to know he has his full support later against Orton. He said he would consider it an honor to stand in the ring with him and defend the World Hvt. Championship. He said it would be more than an honor because Batista deserves it. Batista asked, "Do you really mean that?" Hunter said yes. Batista patted him on the shoulder and said, "I guess eventually we all get what we deserve." Boy how true that often is.
-They showed Edge heading toward the entrance tunnel.
3 -- EDGE vs. RHYNO
Another Royal Rumble qualifying match. Rhyno ran to the ring so he could, as usual, get the job over with quickly. Rhyno got in quite a bit of offense, as Edge was said to be still beaten down from the night before. When Rhyno went for a Gore, Edge caught him with a big boot. He then speared him and applied a new sharpshooter-like submission for the win.
WINNER: Edge at 3:39.
STAR RATING: 3/4*
-After the match, Edge said he didn't like that he was superkicked in the Elimination Chamber and cost the World Title by Shawn Michaels. He said he is fed up, sick, and tired. He demanded Michaels walk out to the ring. He said he wouldn't leave the ring until "you get your little prima donna ass out here." Ross and Lawler said they didn't even know if Michaels was there. They went to a break.
-Edge continued ranting inside the ring about being screwed time after time. Michaels finally walked out, with a t-shirt tucked into his pants as usual. He said Edge is pathetic because he thinks the world should roll over and hand everything to him on a silver plater. He said he knows because at one time he was travelling down the same road. He said he felt everyone was trying to keep him from being successful. Some fans interrupted with a "you screwed Bret" chant. Michaels addressed it by saying, with a grin, "What is it about you people, stay in your own country. If you think you're going to rattle the Heartbreak Kid, you're mistaken." It's difficult to tell fans they didn't rattle you when they just completely derailed your promo. He turned back to Edge and told him he needs to stop talking and take action. He told him to win the Royal Rumble like he did, "twice!" He then told him to go to WrestleMania and earn himself a World Championship. He asked Edge if any of that was getting through to him. Edge said, "Maybe I do need to slap some sense into myself." After a pensive pause, he said, "But I like this idea better." He then punched away at Michaels. They were separated by referees and agents not including Rick Steamboat. Other than Michaels's brief sidebar, both wrestlers did a great job on the mic for this segment. Edge is really finding his character. The comments about Canada have set up Michaels to be booed and Edge to be cheered on Raw next week in Toronto.
-They cut to outside of the arena where Michaels and Edge had taken their brawl. They had to be pulled apart once again.
-Simon Dean walked out and said Florida is known for many things, including fat ugly people. He introduced his fat burning pills. He called Rosey to the ring. Kane's pyro shot off. He walked to the ring to his music as Simon panicked. As often happens when someone is scared, an invisible force-field kept him from jumping out of the ring and running. Kane offered Dean a handshake. He poured out some of Dean's pills and chewed on them. Lawler wondered if they were chewables. Kane grimaced at their taste. Since when are pills supposed to be tasty? Kane then beat him up. Dean took a big bump on a boot to the face. Before he could chokeslam him, Snitsky hit Kane from behind with a chair. Snitsky broke the invisible force-field as Dean was able to flee the ring. Kane began bleeding from the mouth. Ross said it was an internal injury. Snitsky whipped Kane with Dean's weight-lifting leather belt, which brought out Ross's signature "government mule" metaphor. Ross and Lawler called for EMTs.
-Ric Flair approached Hunter backstage. He said he doesn't think Dave bought into what they've been saying. He said he thinks he's leaning toward Orton's side. Flair said they have to inspire him to be on their side. Hunter agreed he needed to be motivated. He told Flair to remind Batista that his record against Orton has not been good. Flair questioned the idea. Hunter said Batista is big on negative reeforcement. Flair said he'd do it, but clearly wasn't sure it was a good idea. I'm not sure it's a good idea to do anything to give the impression Batista doesn't have a good record against anyone.
4 -- CHRIS JERICHO & CHRIS BENOIT vs. CHRISTIAN & TYSON TOMKO
Jericho had his right elbow heavily taped. He looked to be in pain just getting into the ring. Ross said Benoit and Jericho were the first two in the EC and both lasted the longest, so it was opportunistic of Christian and Tomko to challenge them. Ross noted that Eugene was injured last night and will be out for a while. He said he felt bad for him. Lawler said the status of the tag titles is up in the air. They paced themselves for a long TV match with a solid, but methodical opening five minutes before Christian settled into a chinlock. Tomko tagged in. Benoit gave him a released German suplex and then hot-tagged Jericho at 7:30. Jericho danced in mid-ring before leaping onto Tomko's back. He followed with an oddly-timed bulldog where the bump came before the head-slam. Tomko, thanks to a Christian distraction, took over. Four-way action then broke out. Tomko mistakenly gave Christian a boot to the chest after Benoit ducked. Benoit put Christian into the Crossface as Jericho made Tomko tapout to a Walls of Jericho. Ross said he was proud of both Benoit and Jericho for being so courageous.
WINNERS: Jericho & Benoit at 9:07.
STAR RATING: **1/4
-Flair told Hunter that Batista did not respond well. He said he is in a bad mood. Flair said he still questions whether they are supporting him. "We are supporting him, aren't we?" asked Flair. Hunter said yes. Flair said, "Of course we are." Hunter said they are a team and he's going to prove his support for him tonight.
-Smackdown Rebound aired. Mostly highlights of Heidenreich & Paul Heyman vs. Undertaker.
-Lawler said he was excited for the pillow fight with Christy and Maria.
-They showed a replay of Lita landing awkwardly on her knee at the PPV. The evaluation today was apparently worse than believed right after the show, as it turned out to be the worst-case scenario - an ACL tear, not just a sprain, and she will require surgery and miss several months. Will Matt Hardy and Lita ever be healthy at the same time and on the same roster for more than a few weeks?
5 -- CHRISTY vs. MARIA
Lilian Garcia introduced the pillow fight. When Maria hit Lilian, she got involved. Christy and Maria danced on the bed together, jumping up and down. Lilian knocked them off with a pillow. Christy won with a flip bridge in a move that even the Queer Eye Fab Five from Bravo would probably find sexy. Lawler told Ross he's into meaningless statistics, so he'd add another one: Christy is 3-0 in lingerie pillow fights. Ross said, "That's why you're the best color man in the business."
WINNER: Christy at 1:14.
STAR RATING: Are you kidding? Who would have thought those '70s wrestling magazines were ahead of their time with the Apartment Wrestling photo series.
-They showed Batista and then Orton walking toward the entrance tunnel for their TV main event. They had good gamefaces on.
-A vignette aired for the arrival of Chris Masters, doing a bodybuilding narcissist gimmick and stealing some of Orton's ring entrance poses. Because it worked so well for Lex Luger and Mark Jindrak. Because there aren't enough of his bodytype already in WWE. The Laurenaitis influence continues.
6 -- BATISTA (w/Triple H, Ric Flair) vs. RANDY ORTON
Flair and Hunter came to the ring first and then sat at ringside. Orton came out, followed by Batista. It was strange that they didn't walk out with Batista. Ross made reference to Orton's dad watching back in St. Louis cheering on his son. I'm surprised Bob Orton Jr. hasn't been on TV at all nor has his background in the early WrestleMania era been pushed at all. Flair and Hunter consoled Batista at ringside after an Orton dropkick sent him to the floor. They cut to a break.
Batista dominated after the break. He applied a chinlock at 9:00. Ross said, "He gives new meaning to the reverse chinlock." Orton struggled to get to the bottom rope. He finally reached it, so after breaking, Batista quickly nailed Orton with a few stiff forearms to the head. Hunter got up and leaned on the ring apron. Some fans tried to start a "Let's go Batista" chant. Batista looked pretty winded despite having a chance to rest a bit with the chinlock. Batista stopped an attempted comeback by Orton with a spinebuster. Orton arched his back bigtime as he sold it. Batista then set up a BatistaBomb. Orton fought out of it and DDT'd Batista. Hunter and Flair looked worried at ringside. Orton knocked Flair off the ring apron, then Batista hit Orton with a low-blow. Orton fired back quickly with an inverted backbreaker. As Orton signalled for the RKO (one of the main reasons fans aren't as into him as WWE expects is his cocky set-up for that finisher). Batista blocked it. Hunter stood on the apron and offered Batista a chair. Batista yelled he didn't need Hunter or his chair. He told him to sit down. Orton knocked Batista into Hunter and the chair, then leverage pinned him.
WINNER: Orton at 14:15.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Batista's no Benoit in the ring. The finish fit well into the ongoing Hunter-Batista drama. Orton wasn't embarrassed with an overly pro-Batista crowd, although the crowd definitely wasn't against Batista. The show ended with Hunter and Flair looking worried and Batista looking upset.
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