Approx 17,000 in attendance
Announce Team: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (RAW); Michael Cole & Tazz (SmackDown!)
Champions going in:
WWE Champion: John Bradshaw Layfield
WWE United States Champion: Booker T
WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Spike Dudley
WWE Tag Team Champions: Billy Kidman & Paul London
World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Benoit
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Edge
WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance
It’s hard to believe that this event is ten-years-old now. I still remember watching it live on PPV when I was 14, excited just because the card looked pretty awesome on paper.
We get your usual opening video montage, although it’s a little crappily edited and drags a bit longer than normal. Certainly not one of the best opening videos, but meh.
Big pyro explosions and the crowd seems pretty hot for this show. We get the usual announce team introduction, then SmackDown takes the reigns for the opening match.
The Dudley Boyz vs. Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman & Paul London
The Dudleyz get boo’d. Spike comes out with the Cruiserweight title. This was when he was “The Boss” of The Dudleyz. I always thought this storyline was shithouse. We’d seen Bubba and D-Von beat the shit out of Spike for years, now all of a sudden they bow to his every command because he’s now a heel? Shit storyline.
The cruiserweight team gets a decent little pop on their way to the ring. I actually forgot that London and Kidman were a team for a while, they come out with the WWE Tag titles. They were actually a pretty decent team, if a little mismatched in the persona department.
D-Von Dudley and Billy Kidman start the match with a lock up. A quick corner brawl kicks it off with D-Von overpowering Kidman, but the tag champ bounces back with a flying headscissors from the corner followed by an arm drag and a dropkick for a quick two-count.
Double back elbow then an assisted standing moonsault on D-Von gets the two as London maintains control. An impressive dropsault gets a little pop from the crowd. Bubba intervenes in the match and hair whips London to the mat. Clothesline gets two, only because Mysterio felt the need to break it up. No way would that tag champion have been able to kick out of that clothesline without help.
D-Von tags Spike in who legitimately seems to have some heat with the crowd. Double foot stomp from the top rope! A bit of nice heel double teaming on London while the ref takes a break to have a chit-chat with Mysterio.
Bubba gets the tag: “GOODNIGHT YOU LITTLE PIECE OF CRAP” he shouts midway through a vertical suplex. Bubba definitely wins for the mid-match smack talk. Elbow drop and a tag to D-Von who applies a chinlock. The fans start rallying behind Paul London. He fights out of the hold and runs into a powerslam. Kidman comes in and breaks up the pin. Bubba gets tagged as the legal man. He charges at London but accidentally hits D-Von and knocks him off the apron. Enziguiri takes down Bubba and both men crawl to their respective corners. Hot tags to Spike and Mysterio. Big flapjack on Spike followed by a springboard leg drop over the head for the near fall. Frankensteiner from the top rope and a springboard seated senton to Bubba. Spike with a headbutt to the gut on Rey, Kidman makes a blind tag. Top rope dive to Spike. London is back in the ring, the faces clean house. Double dropkick to Bubba followed by a big senton plancha from London.
Spike eats a 619 then gets absolutely crushed with the Shooting Star Press. D-Von breaks the count by dragging Kidman out of the ring. Mysterio goes for a springboard dive to D-Von, but misses and crashes into the barricade. Clothesline to Paul London at ringside and he sells it with force to the point that it even gets a minor “holy shit” chant. Back in the ring, Kidman walks into a 3D and takes the fall at 8:07.
Very standard tag team fare with all six men basically on autopilot, with the exception of perhaps Paul London, who was the standout performer here. The match was a bit short, the rushed ending kind of killed the crowd early as well, I think they were really hoping for a babyface win here, but The Dudleyz bland ’04 heel run would not be stopped (until their release shortly after).
The action gets sent over to a better announce team as we segue straight into the “Till Death Do Us Part Match”. I hope the WWE pays Kane well for the amount of horrendous storylines they’ve forced him to work through over the years. Seriously, I’m hard pressed to think of anyone who’s had to work through a bigger series of bad storylines and writing than Kane.
Till Death Do Us Part Match – Winner Marries Lita
Matt Hardy vs. Kane
This is just one of those stories that could only ever happen in a wrestling ring. I just love how it ignores everything about the legal system, society and common sense. That’s my favourite thing about it. And the fact that a woman is somehow forced into a position where she might have to marry the man that raped her.
Lita gets her own entrance and the King comments that she looks bigger than usual, she must be showing already. Jesus Christ…
Matt Hardy gets a non-reaction from the Toronto crowd. This was before Edge banged Lita making Matt Hardy hot property in the WWE.
Kane gets a bit of a heel reaction though.
Matt slugs away at Kane as he gets in the ring. Clotheslines and a dropkick in the corner. Matt hits an early Side Effect, using the bottom rope for a near fall. Kane gets dropkicked to the apron, his head hung through the ropes. Matt comes off with a second rope leg drop over the head for a bit of a pop.
A botched tornado DDT from the corner gets another near fall over Kane. The big man eventually gets some offense with an uppercut. Some typical Kane brawling action, punches, kicks and choke holds. Eventually Matt low bridges him to the outside of the ring. A big Twist of Fate on the outside drops Kane and Matt slides back into the ring while the referee counts Kane out. Because that’s how real men win matches when their bride to be is on the line – via count out. Kane does his typical sit up and suddenly gets a burst of energy at the count of 9 before jumping back in the ring. Lita puts a ring bell in the corner of the ring while Lita distracts the ref. Matt smacks Kane over the head with the ringbell – I guess you could say he “rung his bell” ha ha ha. Ugh. Kane gets a ropebreak from the pin. Matt goes up top but jumps straight into a chokehold. He fights out of it and goes for the second Twist of Fate. Kane pushes out of it and drops Matt with a big boot, before going up top himself. But Matt crotches him and joins him on the ropes before going for some kind of awkward right handed DDT. Of course, this leads to a big flying chokeslam from the top rope. I guess that did look pretty impressive. Kane gets the pinfall at 6:08. Lita looks like she’s going to be sick and does an incredibly girly run out of the arena, girly even for a girl’s standards.
Oh no, Lita will have to marry Kane now, I wonder if a “non-divorce clause” was written into their match contract?
Overall, average match, it was mostly just a one-sided brawl. It was a big too short to really become offensive, and Kane at least made Matt look like somewhat of a threat in the ring until the very end. But really, this is nothing anyone will remember.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews “The Legend Killer” Randy Orton about his upcoming match. 2014 Randy Orton promos and 2004 Randy Orton promos have an interesting contrast, as in 2004 he’s kind of trying to show charisma rather than succumbing to his robotic personality completely.
John “The Doctor of Thuganomics” Cena interrupts the interview and lays down some phat insults on Orton. Kind of funny seeing them together here when they were both pretty young men in their twenties.
Cena’s interruption legitimately seems to throw Orton off track. You can almost see him wanting to shout out “LINE” as he fumbles over the script.
Match #1 in a Best of Five Series for the WWE United States Championship
Booker T © vs. John Cena
The audience don’t care about Booker T or his US Championship. But they cheer big time for Cena. That’s right, no boo’s here, this is 2004 John Cena where crowds gave him 100% of their support. Not 2014 where half the crowd squee and the other half boo the shit out of him.
Slugfest starts the match off with class, Cena wins the exchange with a clothesline. The two decide now’s the time to lock up. Booker goes into a wrist lock, Cena reverses with a wrist lock of his own. But the champ elbows his way out of it. Hip toss by Booker gets blocked and he takes a short arm clothesline for it. Cena comes off the ropes with a half-botched Throwback for a two count.
Booker T hangs Cena up on the ropes – balls first – then knocks him to the outside. The usual ringside brawling. Back in the ring, Booker hits his typical offense. Arm wrench heel kick. Knee drop gets two. “Let’s go Cena” chants gets The Doctor of Thuganomics fired up as he slugs his way back into the match in true Cena fashion. But Booker lets the wind out of his sails with a jumping leg lariat. Booker throws on a weak camel clutch that Cena brute forces his way out of, but Booker keeps control following a spinebuster and a sidewalk slam. Rear chinlock on Cena, just in case they didn’t catch their breath enough in the camel clutch spot.
Cena fights back, small package gets two. Booker with a clothesline. Scissor Kick completely misses its mark and Booker T lands ass first. Slugfest that Cena wins. He’s going into Super Cena mode! But Booker lands a flapjack. Highlight of the match comes, Booker T executes a perfect spinaroonie! He walks into the
FU Attitude Adjustment for the win at 6:26.
I think someone forgot to give Booker and Cena the memo that SummerSlam is kind of a big deal. Fans expect a certain quality of match when they’re paying the big bucks for shows like this. It’s a letdown when two solid talents capable of so much more go into cruise control and deliver what they most likely had been delivering on house shows every week.
Backstage, we see Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff planting the seeds for the great Bischoff/Long feud of ’04. Yep.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Triple Threat Match
Edge © vs. Batista vs. Chris Jericho
Y2J probably gets the biggest pop of the three men entering, although Edge gets a nice “hometown” reaction, at least to start with.
Batista cheap shots Edge on the ropes immediately, knocking the champ out of the ring. Jericho cheap shots Batista from behind and they brawl in the corner through some “Y2J” chants.
Batista quickly takes control with a back elbow and shoulder thrusts in the corner. Jericho comes back with a cross body but Batista catches him into a powerslam for a near fall. Batista Bomb attempt, but Edge jumps in and hits Tista with a chop block. Wouldn’t want your opponents to beat each other up too much would you? Edge brawls with Batista in the corner and goes up to the second rope. He jumps off, straight into a gut kick. Snake eyes. Jericho grabs Batista from outside of the ring. Edge with a nice standing dropkick and Tista botches the fall through the ropes.
Jericho and Tista sell outside of the ring while Edge starts getting some serious boo’s from the crowd. His hometown of all places. Edge takes on Tista outside the ring, drop toe hold into the ring steps.
Jericho and Edge square off in the ring and the fans are very strongly behind Jericho – and against Edge. Slugfest leads to Edge kneeing Jericho in the gut. He goes for the Edgecution, Jericho reverses and attempts the Walls of Jericho. Small package counter gets two. Jericho hits a crossbody but Edge rolls through and uses the ropes in a pin, as if he wasn’t already getting enough heat. Jericho kicks out though. Double leg takedown in the middle of the ring and Y2J locks in the Walls of Jericho. Edge starts crawling to the ropes and the crowd are demanding that he taps. Jericho pulls him back to the middle of the ring. Batista comes in and breaks up the submission and sends Jericho shoulder first into the ring post.
Edge goes for the Edgecution, Batista reverses out of it, but stumbles into the Edgecution anyway. JR calls it a tornado DDT. Come on JR, come on. Pin gets a near fall. Edge lines Batista up for a spear, the crowd seems to even back Batista more than Edge now. Jericho comes in and saves Batista by clotheslining Edge. More of this “saving” crap in a match where it’s every man for themselves.
Batista with a big spinebuster on Jericho. Edge breaks up the pin. Spinebuster attempt on Edge but he counters into a schoolboy pin for the near fall. Edge low bridges Batista to the outside, and we have Jericho vs. Edge again. Roll up on Edge gets a near fall. Jericho ducks a big boot and lands the one handed bulldog. Batista is on the apron, Jericho hits him with a springboard dropkick, then turns around and walks into a Spear from Edge. Edge retains at 8:26.
Not a bad match, it kind of lacked in the psychology department. You could tell that the two veterans were really walking Batista through in places, but he seemed to more or less hold his own. Some of the match was silly and the most entertaining aspect was probably the completely anti-Edge hometown crowd. Not bad but not good enough.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle with Luther Reigns
This match is probably a big reason anyone bought this pay-per-view. Angle and Guerrero had some slick chemistry both in the ring and in their promo work, and they had an excellent match at Wrestlemania XX. A rematch was inevitable. Even without the WWE Championship to drive this story, they built a nice little angle that questions if Eddie could outwrestle Kurt.
I’m only afraid that the addition of Luther Reigns in Angle’s corner could taint this match.
The two lock up, some sexy mat-based wrestling to start us off. Amateur wrestling takedown by Angle, but Eddie comes back with a fireman’s carry takedown. “Let’s go Angle” chants, Eddie goes for the ankle. Angle with the go behind into a waist lock, Eddie counters with a side headlock. Angle with a double leg but Eddie comes back with a headlock takedown. Short arm drag and a top wrist lock keeps Eddie down for a few seconds. Eddie backdrops his way out of the hold and hits an arm drag, followed by a tight arm bar. Eddie with the arm wringer and a wrist lock. My boner for how tight this bout of technical wrestling goes down to half-mast when Angle breaks up the wrestling and throws in a German suplex.
Eddie locks in the Ankle Lock on Angle and the crowd goes a bit mental for it! Angle with a thumb to the eye, breaks free, early Angle Slam brings Eddie down. Kurt lowers the straps. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN! Ankle Lock on Eddie! Eddie locks on his own Ankle Lock at the same time as we get a 69 of Ankle Locks. Kurt gets the better of the position and Eddie is forced to get the rope break. While the ref is distracted with Angle, Luther Reigns boots Eddie in the face for the hell of it. Another Ankle Lock doesn’t last so long, Eddie gets to the ropes. Angle starts working over the leg on the ring post. STF in the ring, but Angle gets bored and goes into a different leg hold where he’s more vulnerable to an attack from Eddie. Eddie rakes the eyes while Kurt undoes Eddie’s boot laces. STF again, but this time Eddie fights out of it. Jawbreaker stuns Angle. Angle Slam by Eddie Guerrero!
Both men get back up and go into a slug fest. Three Amigos, Eddie limps to the top rope. Angle gets a burst of energy and hits Eddie with a running belly-to-belly superplex from the turnbuckle. A pin gets a near fall. Angle Slam attempt is countered beautifully into a tornado DDT. Eddie goes up top, he’s feeling froggy. Frog Splash gets nothing but canvas. Kurt hits the Angle Slam this time, but only gets three-count and is somehow shocked, as if the Angle Slam only ever guarantees the victory.
Angle rips Eddie’s boot off and locks him into the Ankle Lock. Eddie rolls through and Angle collides with the ref. REF BUMP!
Eddie takes his boot and clubs Angle with it, then knocks Reigns off of the apron. Nonsensically, Eddie drops the boot and plays possum while the ref gets up to see Eddie and Angle both down and the boot in the middle of the ring – and I guess he’s somehow expecting the referee to DQ Angle? Why do we have to suspend our disbelief and believe that Eddie belting Angle with a shoe is the equivalent of the mightiest of chairshots? Why is him belting him with a shoe any more hard hitting than if he simply kicked him with shoes on?
Eddie hits the Frog Splash but Angle kicks out before three, and Eddie can’t believe it. Angle comes back to life, somehow recovering from the mighty shoe blow, and locks Eddie into the Ankle Lock for the four hundred and eighty-seventh time this match. He finally taps out and Angle is awarded the win at 13:37.
This match started off brilliantly. I loved the build-up, I loved the work and the counter wrestling and mat wrestling was brilliant. I could sit through hours of that and not get tired of it. And the story was there too. The question the story raised – can Eddie Guerrero defeat Kurt Angle without cheating? And this match answered it – no. But what tainted it was the outside interference from Luther Reigns. Sure he barely got involved, but his mere presence gives Eddie an excuse and makes Angle look like a big bald hypocrite. Meanwhile, the ending of the match with the boot being treated like a weapon? That was an insult to the fans’ intelligence in my opinion.
Ending aside, this was still a good match and thus far, the best match on the card. It didn’t supercede their Wrestlemania match in my eyes, but they still gave us a fun bout.
Triple H vs. Eugene
What an epic match this will be. Triple H comes to the ring alone, I guess after careful consideration, they decided Triple H shouldn’t need an entourage of wrestlers to help him defeat a mentally handicapped person.
Eugene more or less gets booed here. I’m not sure how meaningful that is given that so far tonight, the Toronto crowd has booed Edge and cheered Kurt Angle. I think around this time, Eugene’s gimmick was still getting cheers in most places.
Slugfest between the two men and some generic brawling from one side to the other. Eugene hits a back body drop and the fans are already sick of this match. Trips retreats to ringside and Eugene follows up with a double axe handle from the apron. Triple H grabs Lillian Garcia and uses her as a human shield, getting mass heel heat. Why are heels only just now using her as a shield?? Lillian gets dropped and Trips blindsides Eugene. A ref rushes out to help Lillian to the back from her shocking ordeal.
Triple H dismantles the Spanish announce table! They attempt a suplex from the apron to the table (because apparently the table is just THAT close to the ring), but Eugene obviously blocks it and suplexes Trips back in the ring, much to the disappointment of the audience that wanted to see Eugene get suplexed 15-feet from the ring to the announce table.
Mounted punches in the corner and Eugene gets all of it. Triple H stumbles out and sells it in true Nature Boy style. Trips starts feigning a leg injury and the ref throws up the crossed fists. It’s obviously a work but really it wouldn’t surprise me if Trips did blow out a quad from taking a punch to the head. While Eugene’s back is turned, Triple H makes a miraculous recovery and nails him from behind. A couple of backbreakers slow down the pace of the match.
Eugene counters a scoop slam and hits a few knockdowns. Triple H begs for mercy, in true Nature Boy style. I daresay Triple H has been spending some time with Ric Flair. Eugene offers his hand in mercy, but pulls Triple H into a Rock Bottom. Eugene goes for the People’s Elbow, and even flashes a priceless People’s Eyebrow, but he runs into a double A spinebuster.
The fight goes outside so Eugene can get whipped into the ring steps, and he gets a bit of a nasty gash on his arm. Back in the ring, we see the typical Triple H offense. Slow plodding match, punches and chokes. Sleeper hold! Because that’s what this match needs right now…
Eugene gets out of the sleeper. Trips goes for the Pedigree but it’s countered with a back body drop. Eugene starts hulking up! Oh no! Inverted atomic drop and a clothesline on Trips. Kick, wham, STUNNER! Trips bounces out of the ring and Eugene goes to collect him as Flair comes down the ramp. He catches Eugene’s attention while Trips recuperates. But Trips takes the Big Boot and the Atomic Leg Drop, but he kicks out at two! Must be a nice ego boost for Triple H to say he’s taken a Stunner, Rock Bottom and a Hogan Leg Drop all in one match and kicked out.
Eugene jumps into a Pedigree attempt, but he counters with a catapult into the corner. Trips stumbles out and takes a Pedigree from Eugene! Cover, but Flair helps Trips with a ropebreak. Because the Pedigree is the only move that Triple H would find impossible to kick out of, obviously.
Flair keeps interfering and the ref kicks him out. William Regal decides to come out and nail Flair with THE POWER OF THE PUNCH. Regal gets a bigger pop than anyone else in this match. Eugene turns around and eats a Pedigree for the three-count at 14:06.
I’m not going to say that the Eugene character had much long term appeal. In fact, a character like his wouldn’t survive in the more PC WWE we have today. And the fans turning on Eugene was inevitable unless they could find a way to evolve his character. But regardless of what Eugene’s future (or lack there of would have been), this match is just another example of Triple H burying another guy who was gaining momentum. We all knew Triple H wouldn’t put over Eugene here, but the fact that this program happened just reeks of Triple H flexing his creative control to hold another guy down and maintain an iron rule over the Raw roster. How nice of him though, to step away from the World Heavyweight Championship scene for a moment so he could grace us with his presence in the upper midcard dregs.
As far as match quality goes, it was dull and the live crowd turned against it.
Hold onto your hats because the Match of the Year is coming up…
TEAM DREAM (a bunch of nobodies and Michelle McCool) vs. TEAM DIVA (Molly Holly; Jazz; Stacy Keibler; Gail Kim; Nidia; Victoria) – captained by Trish Stratus
Once in a lifetime, we see an epic match come together. A dozen of the world’s most talented models come together on the second biggest wrestling pay-per-view of the year to compete in the greatest dodgeball contest we have ever seen. And Jonathan Coachman is the only mortal with the iron will and integrity to call this clash of the titans down the middle.
Team Diva get all the balls to start with! Oh no, it’s on… They miss, and Victoria is eliminated! Stacy manages to avoid the DODGEBALL OF DOOM but she ends up eliminated too. As do Jazz and Victoria. Molly and Nidia miss both ball shots. Molly gets eliminated. A ball comes at Gail but it seems to brush her hair. The referee calls it an elimination! That’s the biggest farce since 1997 Montreal! It’s Nidia versus Team Dream! Can she do it?? No. She can’t. She gets eliminated.
All of Team Dream survive.
After the “match”, Trish and Victoria have a catfight because that’s what girls in the WWE do.
This has no place on any wrestling card ever, anywhere. A total waste of time that no one gives a shit about and achieves nothing at all, short term or long term.
JBL © with Orlando Jordan vs. The Undertaker
I imagine JBL and Undertaker must have been feeling pretty nervous having to top the performance of Team Dream. Undertaker has some mighty big shoes to fill. He gets a decent pop from the bizarre Canadian crowd. JBL gets some heat too. Award for the guy with the worst job of the night is JBL’s limo driver, because backing that massive as fuck stretch limo out through that incredibly narrow passage is going to take an awful lot of turns in front of 17,000+
Lock up in the ring, and JBL gets thrown to ringside immediately. Brawl at ringside, Taker slams JBL’s arm into the ring steps. Inside the ring, “old schoooool”, but JBL brawls his way out of it. Swinging neckbreaker and JBL works on Taker’s arm. But Taker brawls back. Sidewalk Slam on Undertaker gets a two-count for JBL. The champ goes up top and hits a flying shoulder block. That’s something we don’t see from Bradshaw everyday. Gets a near fall though.
Undertaker battles back, “old schooool” connects and the Dead Man follows up with a reverse STO, JBL gets the rope break to escape the pin. Triangle choke by Taker and Orlando Jordan helps JBL get the rope break again. A big bootfest ensues leading to Jordan being knocked off the apron.
JBL goes low with a chop block and spends a decent chunk of the match working over the leg. Jordan distracts the ref while JBL smashes Taker’s knee with a chair. JBL works relentlessly on Taker’s leg with elbows while the crowd seem to be making their own fun with a Mexican wave. For a minute I thought the audience were actually getting into this, but no, they were just popping for themselves.
Taker counters a leg lock into a half crab and I don’t think anyone gives a shit. JBL gets dumped to ringside then gets worked over on the apron near the tables while the crowd starts chanting “Spanish table!”
Vintage Undertaker leg drop on the apron and the crowd boo when the action goes away from the table and back to the ring. JBL goes up top again, but Undertaker crotches him and nails a superplex for a near fall. Last Ride attempt gets blocked and JBL returns to the old leg assault. Taker tries to fight back with a Chokeslam, but JBL counters it, then walks into a sloppy as shit spinebuster for the near fall.
Both men get back up. Taker ducks a clothesline and hits a flying clothesline of his own. Snake eyes and a big clothesline gets a near fall. Orlando Jordan gets in the ring and distracts Taker while JBL recuperates and hits a big Clothesline from Hell! The pin gets a near fall though.
Ref bump and a double big boot spot leads to Jordan bringing the championship belt into the ring. JBL nails Taker with it and pins him for another near fall.
JBL forces the Dead Man in the corner and nails him with the mounted punches, but Taker counters with a Last Ride and somehow JBL kicks out of it. Taker goes for the Tombstone, but Jordan jumps in the ring with the title belt. Taker drops JBL and beats down Jordan, then snatches the title belt before whacking the champ with it. The ref sees and calls for a DQ and the fans shit on it. I’m surprised they even noticed the match ended.
Taker brawls with JBL to the outside of the ring and scoop slams him onto his limo. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN. Taker walks off, but of course he’s not done here, judging by the shoddy material on the roof of the limo, he’s still got to at least Chokeslam JBL through the roof. Yep, he does. Undertaker walks off and JBL gets stretchered out.
This was exactly what you expect a Bradshaw and Undertaker match to be. Seemingly endless brawling, a dead crowd, topped off with a finisher and kick out fest with the usual run-ins and ref bumps included. When the crowd is cheering for a table more than for your match, then you have a problem.
World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit © vs. Randy Orton
Main event time! The match WWE pretends didn’t happen. One of them at least. A couple of side notes first though. There seems to be quite a mix of Benoit AND Orton fans in attendance, judging by the signs in the crowd. It’s just surprising that there are Orton fans in the audience. Another note – neither of the world title matches received a video package or anything, not even like a recap of any parts of their feud. Meanwhile Angle & Guerrero and Triple H & Eugene both got video packages. Just thought that was a bit odd and worth a note. Maybe they were afraid the show would run over time or something, not too sure.
Orton gets a mixed reaction to the ring, and it’s awesome to see that it’s JUST Randy Orton. Being that Batista and Triple H’s matches were earlier in the night, I was a bit afraid that we would have the whole Evolution gang at ringside. But this looks like it’s going to be an old school challenger versus champion match.
Benoit gets a nice sexy pop from the Canadian crowd.
The two lock up, Orton with an arm wringer and into a wrist lock. Benoit reverses with a drop toe hold and slaps on a side headlock. Orton forces Benoit into the corner and they make a clean break. Test of strength sees Orton initially overpower Benoit, the champion being bridged over, but Benoit powers back and locks on an overhand wrist lock. Orton trips Benoit and misses a knee drop. Benoit comes back with a nice deep arm drag and into a key lock. Orton gets back to his feet and fires back with a shoulder block, but he stops to do a pretty boy pose. Benoit recovers and hits another arm drag. Orton fights his way out of an arm bar. Dropkick attempt misses, and Benoit goes for the Sharpshooter! Orton reverses into a Sharpshooter of his own for a big pop. Benoit reverses THAT Sharpshooter with his own Sharpshooter. Benoit tries to switch it into the Crossface but Orton escapes the ring. Sharpshooter looks a bit silly on Orton, being he’s half a foot taller than Benoit.
Back in the ring, Orton goes to pin Benoit but uses the ropes for leverage. It must be a blue moon because the ref actually sees and calls him on his bullshit.
Orton hangs Benoit up on the ropes and he falls to the apron. A bit of an awkward brawl and Orton for some reason joins Benoit on the apron. Benoit nails a very snappy DDT onto the apron, but it only gets a two-count.
Orton escapes the ring again. He takes a baseball slide from Benoit. Benoit then goes for a crazy suicide dive and just launches himself head first into the ring barricade, missing Orton by a mile. If you wonder how Benoit’s brain got to the way it was – you can refer to this move.
“Holy shit” chant from the crowd as Orton capitalizes with a pin back in the ring and gets a near fall. Orton nails a brutal overhead backbreaker transitioned into a neckbreaker that the fans appreciated. Chin lock of doom on Benoit! A staple of any Randy Orton match.
The champion fights out of the hold, ducks a clothesline and we have a meeting of the minds. Both men return to their feet. Benoit gets the better of a slugfest and nails a beautiful northern lights suplex with a bridge pin for a near fall.
The fight goes up to the top rope where Benoit attempts to superplex Orton. But it doesn’t work and Benoit gets chucked off back into the ring. High crossbody connects for a near fall. RKO is blocked, Benoit follows up with a clothesline. German suplex release and the Sharpshooter! Orton’s fading! Orton’s fading! Wait, no he’s not! He gets to the ropes and the ref calls for a break. Orton then takes six consecutive German suplexes. I think I would’ve just tapped.
Benoit goes up top for the flying headbutt, but he ends up eating Orton’s boots. Randy crawls in for the cover, but Benoit rolls him into the Crossface out of nowhere – beautiful! Orton rolls through successfully and then runs to the ropes. Benoit tries some forearms over the back. Orton comes back and tries another RKO, Benoit blocks it and goes for the Crossface again, but Orton spins out of it and hits the RKO! Pin gets three and Randy Orton becomes the youngest ever World Heavyweight Champion at 20:10. The crowd pops big time and Orton sells it and treats the win like the big deal that it is. The best? Benoit returns to the ring, offers his hand to Orton and shouts “be a man!” Orton shakes his hand. No sucker punch, no low blow, no RKO. Just a handshake for a well performed match.
This was excellent and a saving grace for another otherwise disappointing card. The post-match storyline sucked because Benoit quickly slipped back to being a midcard obscurity while Triple H resumed his reign of terror by turning Randy Orton into a jobber and undoing everything good about this match. Nevertheless, this was a top notch performance and Benoit put over Orton with absolute class and style. If it just had five more minutes, it would have been A grade, but I guess they needed those minutes to tell the Diva Dodgeball story.
SummerSlam 2004 is one of those shows that looks great on paper. Some big main events, a Wrestlemania rematch, and a couple of decent midcard bouts to bulk up the card. Unfortunately it all just fell short. The six man tag deflated the crowd early on. Kane and Matt Hardy delivered some typical Raw brawling and Cena and Booker treated the event like a house show. The Intercontinental Championship triple threat was too short to really become anything but a time filler while Triple H and Eugene was just nonsense that no one really cared about. The Undertaker and JBL put on a match that might have impressed people in the 80s while the whole diva dodgeball thing was a blatant waste of time. Still, I guess it was a foretelling of the WWE’s attitude towards women. Out with the gorgeous, beautiful and talented divas that knew how to wrestle; in with the gorgeous and beautiful divas that don’t.
The two matches that saved the card from being the most disappointing SummerSlam in history were the Angle and Guerrero match and the World Heavyweight Championship main event. And even then, as good as these two matches were, they still had some room for improvement. It just felt like most of the workers rocked up to this show in cruise control mode and very few people stepped up to the plate to really perform. To top it off, the heels won all but one match on the card. And the match that a babyface won was part of a Best of Five tournament anyway so it didn’t really matter and no one cared.
Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton
Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle
Triple H vs. Eugene
Most of the card
PPV Grade: D-