TV REPORTS 2/13 WWE Experience review: Nelson reviews the Raw-Smackdown hybrid show
Feb 13, 2005 - 11:33:00 AM
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By Eric Nelson, Torch Team Contributor
The WWE Experience review
February 13, 2005
Aired on Spike TV
Hosted by Ivory & Todd Grisham
Report by Eric Nelson, Torch Team Contributor
Welcome to the recap of the WWE Experience. I wish I could pretend to have gone to Japan like two people we're about to hear from
Cue the "Funky Cold Medina" ripoff!
Segment one: Our hosts, Ivory and Todd "Theta Pi" Grisham, welcomed us from Grand Central Station in New York City. Ivory said there are 16 million people in the city that never sleeps, but there are "28" in Tokyo, Japan, home of the WWE last week. "You mean 28 million," Grish' corrected. "Oh, yeah, HA HAAA!" I love Ivory. She asked Grish' who the most popular Raw wrestler was on the trip. Grish' incorrectly guessed YOUR World Hvt. Champion Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Orton before Ivory said no, buddy, we're talking about Tajiri! The Japanese Buzzsaw teamed up with William Regal this past Monday in Tokyo to wrestle La Resistance for the World Tag Team Titles. Shots aired of the Saitama Super Arena crowd unanimously standing and applauding for Tajiri. Good for him!
Clips from Raw were shown of the La Resistance vs. William Regal and Tajiri match for the World Tag Team Titles. Regal got the hot tag on Tajiri, who both popped the crowd and cleaned house, using a spin wheel kick, a double back-handspring elbow, and some seriously educated footwork (I can't believe I just said that). Believe me, kicks to the head and torso were the order of the day. At one point, the ref tried to get Regal and Sylvain Grenier out of the ring, so Rob Conway brought his flag into the ring. Tajiri blocked the attempted flag shot and sprayed Conway in the face with the green mist. One head-jarring kick later and we have new tag team champions, Tajiri and William Regal. Tajiri said a few words on the mic, which got a good reaction, and then he and Regal hopped the rail to celebrate with the fans. And they were mobbed; it was a cool thing to see.
Our hosts said Japanese fans love WWE, but the WWE superstars love Japan just as much. Sounds like the segue to a...
Confidential Callback: The WWE superstars spent plenty of time mingling with the people, shopping and sightseeing and such. Simon Dean called it one of the best trips he's been on. Stacy Keibler said the fans were both enthusiastic and respectful. I'm not sure if that was an appreciative comment or a condescending one ("He's so articulate") but I'm sure she meant it. Shots of the fans aired telling who their favorite wrestlers are, such as "HBK Sexy Boy" and "Randy Orton, because he has muscles." It appears Randy Orton finally found a crowd that will chant "RKO" for him; he only had to go halfway around the world to find them. Stay there, Randy, stay there. We'll send you pictures of your dad's Hall of Fame induction.
Segment two: We're one week away from No Way Out, where the finals of the WWE Title Number One Contender tournament will take place. A quarterfinal match took place this past week. You read along silently while I type aloud.
Clips from Smackdown were shown of the John Cena vs. Orlando Jordan quarterfinal match in the Number One Contender tournament. Cena had the advantage with his litany of clotheslines and shoulder tackles. He took OJ down with a Blue Thunder powerbomb, then popped the crowd with a Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Despite hanging out with the WWE Champion (I guess nothing has rubbed off on him), it didn't take Jordan but one quick F-U to get pinned. The crowd went banana for Cena, showing he has worldwide appeal. By that win, Cena advances to the semifinals, where he'll wrestle Booker T next week on Smackdown.
Segment three: Grish' said, "How about that trip to Japan?" You didn't go! Liar! Ivory said Japan and the United States have pro wrestling in common in each one's storied cultures, so what better treat to give Japanese fans then a match between two of America's best?
Clips from Raw were shown of the Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair match. Flair tried to go to the top rope... do I even need to finish this thought? Michaels then hit a flying forearm, followed by a surprisingly well-executed 40-year-old nip-up. Michaels back body dropped Flair for the third time in the match, then followed a bodyslam with his top rope elbow. Geez, this looked like yet another squash (it wasn't), because the next thing we (and Flair) saw was Sweet Chin Music, which got Michaels the victory. The crowd loved and respected Shawn Michaels, and rightfully so; at one point in his career, he could have gone to Japan and had a five-star match with any top star in the country. Man, I wish it were 1996 again. Despite only seeing the squash part of this match, let me assure you that it was a quality contest and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Raw Action: Jim Ross gave as much of the international backgrounds of Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho as he could (which was about three-fourths, so that's a passing grade), while the two men traded submission holds. Benoit finally got Jericho to tap to the Crippler Crossface. The two men shook hands after the match; I hope they whispered to each other, "Hey, that Nelson guy is right, we should wrestle Booker T and Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania. Christian was being followed around by, of course, Tyson Tomko, but also a reporter, so Christian was babbling his fool head off. He did call his Japanese peeps "Jeeps," which was hilarious. The reporter saw Stacy Keibler and stopped in his tracks, then asked her a question about Randy Orton. Christian took offense to that, and gave Stacy a message to give to Orton: They'll be seeing each other later. Tomko asked if that was because Christian would be challenging him to a match. Nope, Christian said; Tomko would. Tomko spent the whole match working over Orton's head, giving the blue chipper about 18 more concussions over the course of the match. Naturally, then, Orton won the match, because a half-dead Orton is better than a 100 percent Tomko, right? Maven did his "I would have won the Royal Rumble" schtick, which brought out Batista, who squashed Maven like a grape.
Segment four: Japan loves WWE, but so does England, and it just so happened that a crowd of college kids (including a couple incredibly cute girls... Grish', if you got one of their numbers, pass it my way) were there in Grand Central Station. They knew that, while Tajiri was the most popular wrestler on Raw, Funaki was that man on Smackdown. These kids were coached well.
Clips from Smackdown were shown of the Funaki vs. Chavo Guerrero match for the Cruiserweight Title. Guerrero superplexed Funaki once late in the match, and both men were being counted down. Once they regained their feet, Guerrero hit a lucha-style tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a knowledgeable pop and a nearfall. Guerrero put Funaki on the top rope for another superplex, but (and if you've really followed Velocity and Funaki, you know what's next) Funaki threw Guerrero to the mat, then flew off with his tornado DDT for the victory and the title retention. Funaki came and left receiving a champion's welcome.
Ivory said that, of all the people who went on the trip, Teddy Long was conspicuous by his absence in Japan last week. That's because he was in Stamford, Conn., arguing his side of the Carlito Caribbean Cool petition to get ol' Peanut Head kicked out of the general manager's office. JBL's signature was the one that may have sealed the deal. Long still has his mark on No Way Out, though, having signed Big Show and JBL to a barbed wire steel cage match for the WWE Championship. JBL certainly had an interesting week, which we'll see all about in the...
Smackdown Lowdown: JBL intended to use a tranquilizer gun on Big Show, a la Kurt Angle a few months ago. Amy "Am I Fired Yet?" Weber was playing around with the gun when someone entered the locker room and smacked her with the door. The gun "went off" and Amy accidentally shot JBL "in the neck" with a tranq. JBL's batteries wore down immediately. Jordan, who was "in charge" of a very woozy champ, had to wrestle his match against John Cena, so he told JBL to stay put. JBL said, "OK," but then saw a seven-foot-tall inflatable dinosaur in front of him. But oh no, this wasn't a hallucination like Ultimate Warrior showing up in Hulk Hogan's mirror; this was a real plastic dinosaur. JBL brought it out to the ring and did some stupid, horrible acting and possibly ad libbing about dinosaurs and pizza. Had he shut his mouth, this segment would have been less painful and embarrassing to watch. As it stood, it was stupid. Big Show, who was as tired of this as I was, came out to confront JBL. Ah, but JBL was faking all along, and he attacked Show with his boot. Sneaky... the Basham Bros. came out for the attack, but Show made his big comeback, chokeslamming the Bashams. JBL took a powder because, hey, he's still got a barbed wire cage match next Sunday.
Segment five: The WWE Rewind showed Edge spearing Triple H two weeks ago. Ivory said Edge has complained so much for so long, but this last Monday in Japan, he finally had his chance at the World Hvt. Title.
Clips from Raw were shown of the Triple H vs. Edge match for the World Hvt. Title. Edge speared the referee to put him out of commission. Edge gave Hunter a neckbreaker, getting a visual three-count on that crappy move. Ric Flair then ran to the ring with a chair, but upon entry to the ring, Flair was speared out of his T-shirt. Edge took the chair and swung at Hunter, but Hunter ducked and back-suplexed the Canadian. Both men were down, but crawled toward the steel chair. This brought Batista out, who jerked the steel chair out of the ring and out of the hands of Edge... and Triple H? Ooooh! Edge climbed out of the ring, but Hunter bumped Edge into Batista and to the floor. Back in the ring, Hunter went for the Pedigree, but it was countered for the second time in the match, this time with an elevated DDT. Edge then went for a spear, but he was intercepted by an awakened Batista, who slammed Edge down with a spinebuster. As the ref got back to his feet, Hunter successfully used the Pedigree to get the win. Edge can now say it took two men - the Royal Rumble winner and the World Hvt. Champion - to beat him, and it'll be true. Batista helped Hunter back to his feel and raised his hand... the one with the belt in it... the belt Batista seems to want. He's hooked and he can't stop staring at that World Title belt, even when he got caught by Triple H. And the tension continues to mount.
Segment six: We get one more look at the Smackdown superstars hanging out in Japan. One Japanese lady with a Scottish accent called WWE "the most exciting thing in the world." One little kid chanted "6-1-9," which was cool. The majority of these clips were of fans dressed up as their favorite superstars and doing their impressions. There was a gangly Big Show and an even-more-greasy-than-necessary-mustached Kenzo Suzuki ("God Bless America!"). Man, Japan makes a big deal out of WWE! In the States, you're lucky to see four people talk to each other in line outside the arena. There needs to be more pre-show parking lot parties, dang it.
There, Ivory 'fessed up and admitted she would have loved to be in Japan last week. Honesty is the best policy, Ivory, thank you. She would have loved to be there to see Kurt Angle take on Rey Mysterio, though. This was a Number One Contender tournament match, and Grish' let us know that the winner would get a bye all the way to the finals (thanks to a draw between Undertaker and Rene Dupree last week).
Clips from Smackdown were shown of the Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio quarterfinal match in the Number One Contender tournament. Angle blocked Rey's second 6-1-9 attempt of the match by catching him on the way around and hooking an ankle lock. Mysterio flipped out of it, but Angle clotheslined him to the mat. Angle managed to get off one German suplex, but on the second attempt, Mysterio body-scissor-victory-rolled Angle into the second rope and this time hit the 6-1-9. He went for a hurricanrana, but Angle flipped him up and over and went for the Angle Slam, which was countered with an armdrag. Mysterio hit a great looking hurricanrana, then a victory roll for a two-count. A rolling quebrada also got a two-count. Mysterio went for another headscissors move, but Angle properly countered it with an Angle Slam. There were more counters in this match than your neighborhood Lowe's. Angle finally slapped on an ankle lock with a legbar to get the definitive submission.
Ivory glowed about the match, and rightfully so. Grish' reminded us than Angle, via his win, got a bye all the way to the finals of the Number One Contender tournament. Well, folks, we're back in the United States next week, where on Smackdown, John Cena will take on Booker T in the semifinal match in the contendership tournament. Who knows what's going to happen on Raw? Apparently not Grish' or Ivory, as they lent no insight. Oh well, I was gonna tape it anyway. Those two jokers took off, so that's my cue to say until next time, good night, fans!
Eric Nelson has been a Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter subscriber for almost nine years. If his subscription were a human being, it would have started fourth grade this school year. He's been reviewing the WWE Experience since May, making his review just a toddler, I guess. Please send any and all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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