Torch Flashbacks WWE DRAFT FLASHBACK - 2005 edition (06-06-05): Cena drafted to Raw, final hype for One Night Stand PPV, Torch Roundtable Reviews
Apr 25, 2011 - 12:28:56 PM
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WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 6, 2005
LIVE FROM ST. LOUIS, MO.
BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
-Eric Bischoff introduced the show and talked about how excited he was about who he drafted last night. They didn't mention which accounting firm oversaw the draft, as the NBA always does. Coach walked in and told him that Paul Heyman might show up tonight. Bischoff said nothing could bring him down. He said in just a few minutes everyone would see the first pick in the 2005 Draft Lottery and "it is without question Eric Bischoff's defining moment."
-The Raw opening aired. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and previewed the Batista-Triple H - I mean, Triple H-Batista contract signing for the Hell in a Cell match.
-Chris Jericho walked out with a full entrance. He said in just a few moments, a Smackdown superstar would be making their Raw debut. He said it might not be as "impactful" as his debut on Raw where he embarrassed the Rock. Jericho said he doesn't know who the person is, but he is standing behind the curtain. He then yelled, "Come on down!" Ross asked, "Is it a he or a she?"
There was a long pause. Then John Cena walked out. Lawler wondered how Bischoff pulled it off. Ross said it was the luck of the draw. He added that it was the biggest acquisition in Raw history. Jericho asked Cena, once the crowd quieted down, how it happened. Cena said he got the call moments ago and was told, "It's official, John Cena is Raw." Jericho said the last time there were two champions on the same show, he beat them both and became the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Jericho bragged up his crossover celebrity status, and said Cena, to be fully successful in his music career, has to go full out even to the point of alienating his fans. Cena said the fans are the reason he is there. He told Jericho he can do it his way, he'll do it his way.
Cena then held up the belt and said he had a message for Raw: "If you want some, come get some." Christian and Tyson Tomko walked out. Christian wiped his eyes and said they must be deceiving him. He said he heard the cheers in the back. "They reminded me of the cheers they used to give to another fraud in this town, a guy by the name of Mark McGuire." He said it won't take an act of congress for him to expose Cena as a fraud. Cena asked Jericho if he minded if he took care of Christian himself, since he's been badmouthing him for four weeks. He freestyled on Christian, ripping on him with a variety of gay-themed digs. He concluded, "This is the Highlight Reel, so you must be the ass clowns." Cena gave him a "five second pose." Christian took a swing at him. Cena took Christian and Tomko with a series of punches that showed a ton of light. Jericho helped out briefly and then laughed at the fallen Tomko. Ross yelled that it's going to be hell of a ride with Cena on Raw. That almost guarantees Cena will end up back on Smackdown somehow. Jericho and Cena shook hands.
Certainly they kicked off the Draft Lottery with a big bang, almost too big in the sense that I suspect a lot of viewers are just waiting - as I am - for something that will send Cena back to Smackdown. But if you're going to go one way or another, go for the extremely interesting draft rather than a dud. Up against game seven of the Eastern Conference finals, they have to go big. There's a reason they're not hyping the "post-draft lottery trading period" on June 30 and staying away from calling any kind of attention to the rules.
-Lawler plugged the beginning of the second Raw Diva Search beginning next week.
1 -- SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. MUHAMMAD HASSAN & KHOSROW DAIVARI
Hassan gave Benjamin a facebuster at 1:51 for a tainted three count, as Shelton put his foot on the bottom rope before the third count. The bell rang, but the ref corrected the bell ringer. As the ref explained his decision to Hassan and Daivari, they threw a fit. The ref ordered the match restarted as they cut to a break.
The heels had control of the match after the break, double-teaming Shelton. Hassan settled into an armbar. At 5:30 Shelton made his first comeback and hit a Stinger Splash on Daivari. He then tossed Hassan over the top rope. Shelton finished off Daivari with the T-Bone for the win.
WINNER: Shelton at 6:21 to retain the IC Title.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Daivari gives Hassan a chance to keep his singles match winning streak live.
-A clip aired of Triple H attacking Batista.
-The ECW PPV commercial aired.
-William Regal told Tajiri backstage that he "forbid" him from taking part in the ECW PPV. Chris Benoit walked in. Regal called ECW a nostalgia show. Benoit said it was a big part of wrestling history. Regal said it's sad how far Benoit has fallen. Benoit said he never asked to be the face of ECW, but they did give him a chance when no one else did. He said he was looking forward to Sunday and he'd have "fun" just like they've always "had fun" in ECW. Since when did ECW take on the motto of the WWF in the early-'90s, the precise motto they rebelled against - "We're All About Fun." Regal told Tajiri he had committed to be part of the anti-ECW brigade. He told Tajiri he was either with him or against him. Tajiri began chanting "ECW." The crowd joined in. Regal was flabbergasted.
-Coach told Bischoff backstage he kept hearing rumors about Heyman. Bischoff said Heyman probably started the rumors himself, and said everyone knows nothing Heyman says can be believed. Hassan and Daivari stormed in. Hassan demanded that Bischoff overturn the decision and give him the IC Title he earned by pinning Shelton. Bischoff said he couldn't because the referee's decision was final. He said next week a major power would be present to hear their grievance. Hassan assumed Bischoff was speaking of Vince McMahon. He said instead he was speaking of someone bigger than Vince - "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Hassan and Daivari weren't pleased.
2 -- CHRIS "MASTERPIECE" MASTERS vs. VAL VENIS
Val attacked Masters from behind during his ring introduction. Back and forth match with Val getting in the majority of the offense. Not much crowd heat except when Val almost yanked down Masters's tights. Masters bled inside his mouth. Masters, though, eventually finished off Val with the full nelson.
WINNER: Masters at 4:08.
STAR RATING: * -- Solid short TV match. Val showed good fighting spirit and energy. Masters held his own.
-Ric Flair told Triple H backstage that no matter what, he has to be sure Batista signs that contract. "Then we know what happens! The World Championship comes back to you, The Game, the best there is today." Hunter smiled and said, "I got it." Ross hyped that the contract signing was next.
-Bischoff stood center ring backed by eight or so security officers (Ace Steele and Jimmy Jacobs from ROH were two of them). He warned the crowd that rumor is Heyman was on his way to the arena and he's not alone. He dared him to show up. "ECW failed because of you," he said. "It didn't have an attraction like Hell in a Cell or a performer like the one I'm about to introduce." He said Hunter may be the greatest performer in the history of the industry. I'm surprised Hunter, given his anti-Tough Enough stance because it exposes the business, allows himself to be described as a "performer." Was Babe Ruth a performer? Or Michael Jordan? They're usually referred to as athletes or competitors or superstars, but not "performers." Hollywood actors like Rock and Johnny Depp are performers. Hunter went through his full ring entrance. Regarding John Cena's jump, Hunter said the draft doesn't mean a thing to him because it doesn't matter if it's Smackdown or Raw, "they all know, whether they want to admit it or not, there is not a man on this planet that can do what I do in this ring better than me." He said he would prove it for the 11th time when at Hell in a Cell he becomes World Heavyweight Champion again. Hunter said he prepared a video to prove it to skeptics in the crowd. "Let me warn you, it's not for the faint of heart," he said. "It's one of those parental guidance messages." He said Batista may not want to watch it, but he needs to watch it. A series of clips of past Hell in a Cell matches aired. Lawler said he was convinced. Hunter said lightning may have struck twice, but it wouldn't happen a third time. Batista's music interrupted Hunter's final words. "You're done talking," said Batista, who then admitted he's never been in a Hell in a Cell. "I don't know what to expect, and at this point, I don't really care," he said. "I know we're both going to get hurt, we're both going to bleed, we're both going to go until we can't go anywhere. We're going to hell. I'm ready to pay for my sins. How about you? You ready to pay? I don't fear the Cell and I don't fear you." Bischoff said it's time to make it official. Bischoff declared the match official. Hunter said, "You just signed your own death warrant." Batista said Hunter would have to kill him. He said he's prepared to kick the devil's ass at Vengeance. They shook hands and Batista yanked Hunter into his chest. Batista held up the title belt. Hunter took a few steps backward.
-They replayed the Highlight Reel with John Cena from the opening segment of the show.
-Clips aired of Victoria attacking Christy Hemme last week.
3 -- THE HEART THROBS & VICTORIA vs. CHRISTY HEMME & HURRICANE & ROSEY
Not the best match to have on at the same time as the start of the fourth quarter of the Heat-Pistons deciding game seven on TNT. Then again, Christy has actually done well in quarter hour rating performance, but otherwise the star power is lower relative to most everything else on the show so far. The Heart Throbs isolated Hurricane early in the match. Christy was tagged in against Victoria and went berserk on her. When she rammed Victoria's head into the mat repeatedly, the ref DQ'd her. She speared Victoria through the ropes, then had to be held back by Hurricane and Rosey.
WINNERS: Christy & Heart Throbs at 3:00 via DQ.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Backstage Bischoff talked to a "reporter," and then walked into his office and saw Cena. "I've been waiting to see you," said Bischoff. He offered him a handshake. Cena turned it down. Bischoff offered Cena a tag match teaming with Jericho against Christian & Tomko. Cena said, "I'm feeling that." Bischoff said they could have a great relationship. Cena took that as a proposal for a sexual relationship. He said he doesn't judge, but it's not him. Bischoff said he misunderstood. He told him he wanted him to join his anti-ECW brigade. Cena said he doesn't do politics. When Bischoff said he must not know who he is, Cena then reminisced about watching Nitro at 8 p.m. and then Raw at 9 p.m. with his friends.
-They went to a video package that replaced the Smackdown Rebound which featured Vince McMahon's original announcement on Raw as photos aired of many of WWE's top stars. The spot closed with a plug for Smackdown on Thursday.
-A clip aired of Viscera and Lilian. Back live, Lawler smiled at ringside and said there are rumors about those two running off together. Ross then said there's another dysfunctional relationship. A clip aired of Lita and Edge making out. Then Ross said he understands Lita has filed for divorce.
-Kane walked to the ring. Ross said Kane requested a match to get his mind off of his personal life being in shambles. Edge stepped onto the stage and said, "Maybe we should do this right here, right now." He took a few steps to the ring, then said, "On second thought, I've got a better idea." Lita stepped out with her really slutty top that almost entirely reveals her breasts. Lita said that Vengeance would be in Las Vegas, and she said she and Edge might decide to get married there. "They say Vegas is a city where everything that happens, it stays there," said Edge. "What happens to you at Vengeance will haunt you the rest of your life." Edge and Lita them made out again. Kane huffed and puffed. "That son of a bitch is kissing that man's wife!" said Ross. "I'm not the kind of the Kane Fan Club, but dammit, that's wrong." Kane's scheduled match was forgotten about.
-Clips aired of ECW posters being plastered all over New York City. Ross said, "Paul Heyman's been working overtime." A Sabu highlight promo aired.
4 -- CHRIS BENOIT vs. GENE SNITSKY
Coach joined Ross and Lawler on commentary. Coach said ECW is disgusting. Lawler said the fact that ECW went out of business should tell everyone something. Ross defended it, and didn't understand the anti-ECW people basically telling the ECW fans to go to hell. Coach said he'll be hosting "Extreme Heat" that leads into the PPV on Sunday night. Ross said a lot of wrestlers received an opportunity from ECW that led to them going to WWE. Ross said Snitsky would have fit in well in ECW. He had to have been fed that line from Vince McMahon through the headsets, because only someone like Vince who never saw ECW would think Snitsky fit the ECW mold. Ross knows better and wouldn't voluntarily say something like that which hurts his credibility with ECW fans. Benoit and Snitsky traded blows with a trash can and trash can lid. Ross said ECW on PPV would feature "animalistic, gutteral violence." That's definitely Vince McMahon wording. Benoit set up a table. Benoit knocked Snitsky onto a table as Ross said ECW is an uncontrolled environment where anything can happen. Benoit then did the throat slice gesture, giving Snitsky time to get up and knocked him off the top rope. When Ross talked about the passion of the fans and wrestlers, Lawler said the type of passion he likes is that on display by Edge and Lita. Snitsky knocked Benoit to the floor. The Dudleys then ran in from behind and gave him a 3D through a table in center ring. Then they fled through the crowd right past a big ECW sign held up by fans. Lawled yelled, "This means war!"
WINNER: No decision in 6:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4 -- A garbage brawl that exhibited ECW at its worst, and didn't reflect at all how Benoit wrestled when in ECW, and the talk of Snitsky being a great fit with ECW shows just how badly Vince McMahon is blowing his marketing of ECW. It feels really inauthentic. A this point it's pretty clear Vince got it in his mind to push the stereotype of ECW as the marketing approach for the PPV rather than taking to heart advice from those who really lived through it. Heyman's voiceovers on commercials are the only thing really ringing true so far in the hype for the PPV. Vince is basically hyping ECW One Night Stand the way WCW marketed Uncensored PPVs, which also reflected a distorted, uninformed, narrow vision of ECW.
[Commercial Break - Are WWE and the NBA in cahoots? A frustrating majority of Raw commercial breaks took place concurrently with commercials in the NBA Eastern Conference Championship game, which is in the final minute at this point.]
-Security backstage put the Dudleys and Heyman in handcuffs. Heyman said it's just like Bischoff to welcome ECW to his show, only to not have the guts to show up. Coach walked up and said Bischoff wasn't scared. Coach then told the cops to release the Dudleys and Heyman from the handcuffs. Coach told Heyman to bring his boys with him because Bischoff would address him personally. "You can bring the Dudleys, because I assure you Eric Bischoff will not be coming alone." Heyman said, "Looking forward to it." Heyman then got the Dudleys in a huddle.
-Ross plugged that the Draft Lottery would continue. They formally announced Cena & Jericho vs. Christian & Tomko. I'm guessing that there will be an angle to setup a future Smackdown feud between Jericho and Cena, as I think there's a good chance Jericho will be drafted to Smackdown and Cena will end up traded back to Smackdown on June 30 during the trading period following the fourth Smackdown of the month. Ross also plugged the return of Steve Austin to Raw.
-Bischoff stepped into the ring with Tomko, Christian, and Edge behind him. Bischoff said if he and his men can take him out tonight, he won't even have to bother to show up at One Night Stand. He said then whatever crumbs are left on Sunday, JBL and Kurt Angle will join in the destruction of ECW once and for all. An "ECW" chant began. Bischoff then said: "I'm gonna do something you never thought I'd do. I'm calling you out." Heyman and the Dudleys wree shown walking backstage. Lawler speculated they were leaving the arena. Bischoff laughed inside the ring. They made their way toward the ring by walking through the crowd rather than the official rampway. Heyman said: "Eric, you keep making mistake over and over and over and over again. You keep making this about me. It's not about Paul Heyman. It's about E-C-W. I'll give you credit Eric Bischoff." He then said Bischoff got by on the deep pockets of a corporate account. He said what ECW had was a bond with an audience he could never duplicate. "So help me god," said Heyman. "On my children's soul, I'll tell you ECW never backed down to anyone." The Dudleys entered the ring and faced off with the three heels from Raw. Bischoff stepped to the ring apron and said, "Well, maybe you'll back down from this." Bischoff then called extra troops to the ring including Maven, Sylvain Grenier, Rob Conway, and Snitsky. Ross said Heyman was trapped. Heyman said they never back down from anybody. Then he pointed into the crowd. Out walked Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Axl Rotten, Rhyno, Balls Mahoney, and Sandman. A huge brawl broke out. Ross yelled, "All hell has broken out at the Savis Center in St. Louis." Dreamer slidekicked Maven while he was upside down in the corner. Rhyno gored Edge. The ECW wrestlers held up a hand-made ECW banner as "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" played and the show ended.
PWTorch Staff Roundtable Reviews
Jason Powell, Torch columnist (8.0)
When Eric Bischoff sold his draft lottery acquisition as the biggest news of the year, it was hard to imagine that something as simple as John Cena showing up on Raw could live up to such hype. Much to my surprise, the Cena debut was red hot. The live crowd popped as if The Rock had walked into the building, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler came through with a terrific hard sell, and even Chris Jericho clapped like a star-struck fan when the WWE Champion walked to the ring. Cena held up his end of the bargain with a strong promo and edgy rap, and Christian's interruption was very well done. Really, the angle was flawless. Christian backers might complain that the brawl was too one-sided, but there's no harm done since viewers are so accustomed to seeing the CLB get tossed around. In fact, if Christian had held his own, it might have done more damage to Cena than it would have done good for Christian. Christian is definitely breaking out in a big way. His big night is coming, but this segment was all about Cena, and rightfully so.
It's hard to say whether the Cena jump will stick when we still have several weeks of trades and other draft storylines to get through. Regardless of where Cena ends up, this was the perfect move by WWE. If Cena stays, he's off to a great start. If he goes back to Smackdown, viewers who only watch Raw are more likely to tune in on Thursday nights as well now that they've been given a glimpse of Cena at his best. Given the success of this angle, I'd be shocked if we don't see Batista show up on Smackdown before the draft lottery is over. It's only logical for the company to expose its young, marketable champions to as many viewers as possible during this period. The only possible downside to Cena showing up on Raw and being traded back to Smackdown is that WWE fans will start to expect the biggest events of the draft lottery to be overturned in future years.
Here's a storyline possibility. Batista is drafted by Smackdown, causing Triple H to force his own trade to Smackdown. On the last night of the draft lottery, the general managers swing a trade that returns Batista and John Cena to their original brands, leaving Hunter behind on Smackdown. That would be one way to move Hunter to Smackdown without making it seem awkward when he abruptly ends his pursuit of Batista and the World Title he's obsessed over for so long. It could work, too, assuming Triple H accepts his fate and moves into a feud with Cena rather than badmouth the Smackdown brand like some of the Raw jumpers did last year.
I like the draft lottery gimmick, but I wish there was a way to make the picks seem more strategic rather than by the luck of the draw. In other words, I'd like to see WWE eliminate the lottery aspect of the gimmick. The speculation on this show should have been whether Teddy Long will respond by taking Batista this Thursday night. Instead, viewers don't know if they should expect someone as big as Batista or as irrelevant as Todd Grisham showing up on Thursday...
Triple H and Batista's never-ending exchange of "you'll have to kill me" lines sounded as if one of the writers stole it from a script that Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected back in the '80s. Batista is just too nervous on the mic right now. He's better than he's showing, but he's so shaky that WWE might want to consider making him the strong, silent type on television while having him practice his mic work off-camera and at the house shows. And who knows, the house show fans might even feel like they're getting something special if Batista talks more in person than he does on television.
The final segment of the night with the ECW crew was very predictable, yet very fun at the same time. I never thought I'd say this about anyone, but Axl Rotten looked like he ate Dusty Rhodes. Still, I'm looking forward to "One Night Stand" more than any pay-per-view this year with the possible exception of WrestleMania...
Bruce Mitchell, Torch columnist (6.5)
After Triple H and Batista tried to steal the show, Raw did a solid job of hyping the ECW with the mini invasion. This seems like a one show deal right now, though. The John Cena pick got the lottery off to a strong start and answered a lot of questions about who stands where in the WWE pecking order. They better fix Kane fast. I can't believe Steve Austin is working with those two failures and he wouldn't work with King of the Mountain.
Pat McNeill, Torch columnist (5.5)
This is the sort of WWE episode that's right on the edge. There's so much going on that you don't want to miss anything. However, by the time the show is over, you're disappointed and wondering if you wasted your time.
The highlight of Raw was the announcement that Cena has switched sides. There are a few weeks left in this deal, and you have to assume there will be other major moves on the way. Still, a Cena-Batista swap could be a good one. Since Batista is committed to be at Vengeance, you could have a rare double title defense show, then shuffle Batista off in time for him to headline the next Smackdown pay-per-view.
The actual wrestling on the show wasn't so good. It is worth noting that Gene Snitsky is better at hardcore wrestling than he is at regular wrestling. The Kane vs. Edge non-match is the sort of thing that really annoys diehard fans. Edge should have at least sent a jobber to the ring for Kane to abuse. Having Christy Hemme turn into a frightening instrument of vengeance was entertaining, but not very convincing.
I'm not sure how you're supposed to persuade wrestling fans to order One Night Stand, then order WWE Vengeance in two weeks, but I'm pretty sure having the slovenly, ring-rusted ECW alumni beat the crap out of featured Raw heels like Edge and Christian is not the way to accomplish it.
Wade Keller, Torch editor (7.0)
Newsworthy indeed, with three major happenings: Cena, ECW, and Hell in a Cell Contract Signing. All three should have been given a show to themselves without the other two elements interfering or watering down the impact.
The ECW hype hit a low point this week. The talk about how ECW is "fun" kills the image of ECW more than Vince McMahon admitting he owns the brand. The least compelling hook for a PPV purchase is gang warfare. ECW was better off as an abstract than featuring a bunch of black t-shirt wearing indy-looking out-of-shape wrestlers who look like they haven't showered since a really cool concert ten years ago that they all attended. It also belittles ECW to have Triple H not even acknowledge their existence. It makes the ECW PPV seem like a fly buzzing around Raw that will be forgotten as quickly as Hulk Hogan after his match in May with Shawn Michaels against Hassan & Daivari. (An update on Shawn Michaels's whereabouts would also be nice.)
I can't imagine Edge and Christian were excited about being part of the anti-ECW force, but for the sake of ECW, it was better having them there than Sylvain Grenier and Maven instead as the primary WWE heels on the other side.
The Hunter-Batista signing was solid. There's nothing spectacular about Batista on the mic. He's flattened out right now and there's no sign he has a surge in him. If what we see is what we get, he's not someone to bank on as a centerpiece for the next few years. If they move him to Smackdown (which I doubt they'll do), it might do him good. Right now he has to play into Hunter's narrow interview style right now rather than finding his own voice. He sounds a lot like Goldberg on the mic, and that's not a good thing.
The John Cena jump was as big as it gets. I expect Cena to work Raw for four weeks, end up being turned on by Chris Jericho, who will be drafted to Smackdown, and then end up back on Smackdown himself, perhaps by insisting he get traded there to go after Jericho. He could strong-arm Long into offering Eric Bischoff Undertaker or Kurt Angle or Big Show in exchange. If Batista keeps the World Title, Angle would be a great opponent for him either on Raw or Smackdown, wherever Batista ends up.
Cena's star is elevated either way by this as his jump was treated like a big deal and he was portrayed as a huge star. It's as close as WWE gets to the days gone by when major names jumped from one promotion to another. It's not the same thing, but it's not a bad manufactured alternative.
It was good to take a breather from Viscera and Lilian. It would have seemed trite on such a newsworthy show.
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