TV REPORTS 9/7 WWE Ohio Valley TV review: Benoit-Basham, Cena-Nova
Sep 8, 2002 - 2:03:00 AM
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OVW TV review
Aired September 7 on WBKI 7
Taped September 4
Louisville, Ky. at New Davis Arena
Report by Rocko Jeremy Milburn, Torch Team Contributor
OVW is definitely coming up in the world. After being in reruns for the last six weeks following the death of Jim Cornette's mother, the promotion is back in a brand new "Davis Arena," (with air conditioning and indoor bathrooms!) and the production values are much, much better. The ring is bigger, the lighting is brighter, the camera angles are more imaginative. The walls of the new arena are decorated with large posters from the bigger WWE pay-per-views of the last few years, and for the first time, the wrestlers can actually make their entrances through something more elaborate than a plain black curtain. While it's not exactly a TitanTron, there is a fairly impressive entranceway. The capacity audience for the new room is said to be 500, and according to ovwrestling.com, about 500 were turned away at the door after the Arena hit capacity.
The overall feel of the show is about on the level of the current TNA product, although it could be argued that the consistent quality of OVW is actually a bit higher. There's no midgets in OVW, after all. This is a big show, billed as the Fall Brawl and standing at 2 hours. So, shaking off the review writing rust, let's get right into it: The show began with the same old cheesy montage, but once the show started, the camera panned over the large audience triumphantly as Jim Cornette crowed in the ring, understandably, about how far OVW has come. Jim Ross came out to his familiar Sooners Fight Song to put over that Louisville will always see WWE's Superstars before anybody else. A year ago that would've been hyperbolae, today it's on the money.
J.R. brought bad news, Brock Lesnar would not be competing due to an injury "at the hands of the Undertaker." The Revolution came out and Henry Basham hypothesized that Brock's not injured, just scared. This brought Brock out to the ring in jeans and T-shirt, complete with the title belt, to a nice pop from the audience. Brock let Basham know that he's not scared of anybody, but Cornette brought out his replacement before he could get into an altercation. Chris Benoit came to the ring, shirtless and angry. he snarled at Basham "You call yourself a Wrestling Machine?...I will make you tap." A "Benoit" chant broke out that you probably wouldn't expect to hear the likes of outside of Canada. After a couple of commercials about the superiority of Satellite Dishes to cable, Cornette let the viewers know that Brock Lesnar hadn't left the building. Hmmm. I wonder if that means he'll be back?
(1) Charlie Haas beat Chris Nowinski Nowinski cut a good heel promo about Louisville, referring to my town as "Lewis-ville." It's pronounced, by everyone who lives here, anyway, as "Looey-ville." Cheap heat, but the Harvard Grad certainly has no reservations about being the bad guy. Charlie Haas ran to the ring to AC/DC's "TNT" to a big pop (In my living room, anyway) and countered Nowinski's cheap heat with a cheap pop, taking up for Louisville. These two put forth a pretty valiant effort, but looked a bit sloppy in spots, but certainly good for an opener. Haas went over clean with a sort of augmented armbar referred to as the "Haas of Pain." Yeah. After the commercial, OVW's female referee Donna Derring appeared in the ring. In the past, I had no feelings about having this blonde chick as a ref, but this week, she appeared wearing a hot little black dress instead of the usual ref gear, and I suddenly think she's my favorite ref in business.
(2) Damaja (w/Victoria) beat Randy Orton Welcome back to OVW, Victoria. Damaja really worked hard in this one, at this point he might be the next guy to get called up. Orton looked great as well, coming off his big match with Brock on Smackdown. Contest winner Jackie Gayda ruined the match by punching Randy Orton's crotch while Victoria distracted the saucy ref, allowing Damaja to murder the perennial babyface with his brutal Brain Damaja. Damaja and his bitches celebrated afterwards.
After the commercial break, Kenny Bolin came to the ring to the Sopranos music with John Cena, Sean O'Haire, and Jerome Croney. Kenny namechecked his pal, Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban, about a dozen times. Cornette called him on the fact that the last time Kenny appeared on TV he was bragging that he would soon be on Smackdown, and obviously had not been. Kenny accused John Cena of sandbagging him, canceling his plane tickets to Smackdown tapings. Cena then launched into an excellent promo, complaining that Bolin's too fat to get on an airplane, too fat for WWE, and too fat to be seen with Cena. The former Prototype gave Bolin the cold, hard truth: he used Bolin to get to the big time, and now he's going to throw him out like a sack of garbage. "You use people. You give out car washes and movie passes and Steak'n' Shake coupons, although you obviously used most of those yourself, and now all you have to show for it are your fat man-boobs, because guess what? This time, somebody else used you." Cena then announced that he wouldn't need Bolin in his title match tonight, he'd have Sean O'Haire in his corner instead. It's really too bad none of this will be aired on WWE television, this was the kind of compelling promo and angle that could've made John Cena a breakout star.
(3) Lance Cade beat Rico Rico came out in full gay attire, to a massive pop. Pretty weird, even when you consider this was his hometown for a few OVW years (he was a heel until the last 2 weeks, after all). Perhaps it was because Shawn Michaels trainee Lance Cade, in his black chaps with little trunks and cowboy hat, looked even more like a Blue Boy model than Mr.Constantino. A pretty good match here, Cade is a pretty versatile performer; he's a large guy but still fairly aerial. Rico did the job after interference by Jerome Croney. After the match Rico pulled Croney's clothes off, revealing boxer shorts with the British flag emblazoned on them, spurring Cornette and announcer Dean Hill to do Austin Powers imitations. It was as bad as it sounds. After the break, Cornette turned up in front of a big new OVW sign with some dip trying to sell satellite dishes. Synn interrupted the sales pitch, stating that nobody came to hear this guy. I almost always support the heel on these things, I have to admit. Who wants their wrestling show turning into an infomercial?
(4) Matt Morgan & Mark Henry beat Seven & Travis Bain Mark Henry kind of reminds me of the frog from the Warner Bros. cartoons. When he's on OVW he worked his ass off. When he's on WWE TV, he practically sits down on a couch and eats Froot Loops from the box during any given match. The babyfaces went over in the average big man crowd pleasing match. A commercial break later, the new OVW champions Redd Dogg and Shelton Benjamin appeared in the ring with Jim Cornette and Tom Prichard. Tom let Shelton know that he's going to the big time, and both the competitors celebrated until Dr.Prichard (he plays one on TV) pointed out that only Shelton was getting the call. To this, Shelton half-assed that it was a hard decision and that he would work part time defending the titles with Dogg, but ol' Redd wasn't having it. Shelton said he would think about it, Tom warned him not to think too long; this window won't stay open forever.
(5) Mark Jindrak beat Sean O'Haire A nice WCW flashback. These guys put on a quick, energetic match. all the spots were very crisp and concise. Jindrak won with a killer inverted bulldog. If these guys can get past whatever WCW stigma exists in WWE, they could be big stars.
(6) Shelton Benjamin & Redd Dogg beat Nick Dinsmore & Rob Conway Dogg showed signs of a heel turn right off the bat, which makes me very happy. I never approved of the "Cat and Dogg Team." After a few minutes of grappling, Flash and Trash popped up behind Jim Cornette to complain about the match. Flash actually turned face just before the break in early August, but it seems that was scrapped. They ended up raising a ruckus, the in ring action spilled out over the floor, and before long Redd Dogg was smacking Rob Conway with a chair for an easy pin. Shelton Benjamin appeared angry, but it's unknown if that's because of Dogg's actions or that because he still has to split his time between Heat and OVW. Jim Ross joined Cornette for the rest of the show, and boy, did they sound like a couple of yaps at times, but it was fun. Cornette might actually be a fresh alternative to Jerry Lawler on Raw, although that will probably never happen. Never say never where Wrestling is involved, though.
(7) John "Prototype" Cena (w/Sean O'Haire) beat Nova (w/Big Bossman) Nova brought out Big Bossman as his back-up, to a decent pop until he opened his mouth, then you could hear crickets chirping. Once that was out of the way, this match exploded like an Atomic Bomb. These two guys are excellently suited for each other. After a dramatic series of reverses, high flying moves, and fancy maneuvers, the match ended when Kenny Bolin ran in with his briefcase to hit Nova as Cena held him in place (that old chestnut,) but then clearly opted to wallop Cena instead in a compelling turnabout. This allowed Nova to pin Cena, who sold the head injury big time. Nova retained the title.
(8) Doug "Machine" Basham (w/Victoria) vs. Chris Benoit The best technical wrestler in OVW against the best technical wrestler in WWE. Basham held his side of the deal up pretty well, he looked like he belonged in the ring with the Crippler. Although Benoit could've easily carried Basham, he didn't have to. Since we've seen Brock in matches with Basham a few times in the past, this Benoit scenario actually played out as a fresh alternative, but one has to wonder how Benoit feels about always being the second choice celebrity cameo for OVW events. Anyway, after the two men had fought to a standstill, Victoria made her presence felt by climbing into the ring. Before she could do much, referee Robert Briskoe went ahead and speared her shapely ass out of the ring. The rest of the Revolution ran out, then so did Conway and Dinsmore. Just as I felt a clustermess coming on, Brock ran out, popped Basham in the mouth from ringside, thus allowing Benoit to pull off a German Suplex for the win.
Overall, a pretty stellar event to begin what truly feels like OVW's new era. With Brock Lesnar hitting the top of the card fast and a bunch of other OVW alumnus making their mark in WWE, Danny Davis' little promotion have some serious glory coming their way, and the nice new arena and production values are a positive sign for the future of OVW.
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