Las Vegas, Nevada
The show starts with a video package highlighting the history of the Hell in a Cell match. Triple H, Batista, Eric Bischoff and Jim Ross all talk about how painful of an experience it's going to be. "Never lock an animal in a cage," says Batista. Good line. Great video package like always.
As always, the hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. They are joined by Jonathon Coachman also for some reason. Guess they want to try the three man team.
Intercontinental Title: Carlito Caribbean Cool vs. Shelton Benjamin
My Pick: Carlito
The ring announcer, Justin Roberts, called Carlito the challenger. Oops. I guess Lillian Garcia is physically unable to perform due to big Viscera. Roberts also says that Benjamin in the challenger. At least that was right.
Benjamin with a fireman's carry takeover for a quick nearfall, starting out all aggressive. Takedown by Benjamin followed by another nearfall. He works over Carlito in the corner, but Carlito fights back with a back elbow. Shoulderblock by Carlito, Benjamin kips up and takes him down with a clothesline. Carlito went up the aisle, but Benjamin chases him down and brings him back to the ring. I missed something for about five seconds, then came back to see Benjamin jump to the top rope and come off with a clothesline for just two. Very good nearfall just five minutes into the match. Carlito punches out of the corner, then kicks Benjamin in the head as he falls to the floor, only to see Carlito throw him back in the ring. Carlito continues to work on the back with two hard bodyslams for just a two count as he settles in with a chinlock. Benjamin gets a quick rollup for two as Carlito tries to slow it down with a chinlock. Some in the crowd are chanting for Carlito, but the majority overrules them by chanting Shelton. Benjamin into the ropes and then he hits a flying back elbow to put them both down.
Carlito whip reversed by Shelton leading to a Samoan drop for the slow two count as the story of the match is Benjamin is messed up in the head or back, which is causing him to do slow covers. They slug it out with Benjamin getting the advantage by hitting two clotheslines and a back bodydrop. Inverted backbreaker gets a two count for Benjamin. Benjamin is slow to climb to the top, Carlito catches him there, but Benjamin leaps off and does a stun gun like maneuver on Carlito, sending Carlito in the middle of the ring as Benjamin goes on the floor. Springboard bulldog for one…two…no. Crowd thought that was it. Very good crowd. Benjamin went to grab him, but Carlito was in the ropes and now he's undone the turnbuckle. Spinning sideslam type move from Carlito gets two. Sidekick by Benjamin is caught leading to the Dragon Whip for Benjamin. In the corner, Stinger Splash by Benjamin is avoided by Carlito, he hits headfirst into the exposed steel and Carlito covers while holding the tights for three. Match was 13 minutes.
Winner: Carlito Cool
Analysis: **3/4 The replay showed that Benjamin really hit the turnbuckle right on the head, no hand there to block it or anything. Not a great match, but a good opener that the crowd was into. A nice finish that would make it seem like another match might happen.
They show HHH and Flair arrive.
Victoria vs. Christy Hemme
My Pick: Christy
Victoria's sporting leather. Yummy. Christy chases after her to start it out. Victoria stomps on her in the ring, whip into the ropes by Victoria is countered with a boot by Christy. She does some hair grabbing, then the ten rams into the top turnbuckle. Victoria counters by dropping her on the top rope, stun gun style. Hair pulling by Victoria. Clothesline in the corner, then some fun choking. Another choke by Victoria, hoisting Christy up in the air and slamming her down for three nearfalls. Crowd chants "We Want Puppies" even though that chant is about six years past its prime. Side headlock by Victoria on the mat, Christy oversells everything by yelling too loud so Victoria rakes her eyes. Christy goes for a rollup, but Victoria holds onto the ropes and sets her up for the Widow's Peak. It's countered by Christy, but not into a pinfall as Victoria prevents that with some more choking. Moonsault by Victoria misses as Christy rolls out of the way. DDT by Christy gets two, her first real move in the match. Victoria charges in, Christy goes for a roll up, Victoria stops it and gets the seated cover, grabbing ropes at the end just for the hell of it. Match was six minutes.
Analysis: 1/2* Not unwatchable. Just not very good. Christy is still very green as a worker.
Backstage, John Cena tries to channel the Rock by making fun of Todd Grisham in an interview. In the tenth grade, Grisham pissed himself and they called him Todd Pissem. Then Cena relates that to him being the new kid on Raw and that tonight is go time. Christian was that snotty kid who picked his nose and Jericho thought he was the rock star. "This ain't about fame or fortune or selling records. I fought like hell to get this and I'll fight like hell to keep it." Then some more high school references and said he's the kid voted most likely to kick somebody's ass. Pretty good.
Edge w/Lita vs. Kane
My Pick: Kane
Very long video package at the start. Man, this feud has really taken a while to develop. Edge and Lita are out first with Lita sporting her usual slutty outfit. I think she's a lot hotter as a heel, but that's usually the case with most women of wrestling. Kane is next.
Kane pounds away on Edge to start it out, then does the ten punch count in the corner only to do another 20 or so after the fans stopped counting. He's the fan loving monster. Whip in, back bodydrop and some punches in the corner. "We Want Matt" chant by the fans as the heel announcers talk about it being the highpoint of the wedding while Kane clotheslines Edge to the floor, then stalks Lita. Back in the ring as the crowd chants "She's A Crackwhore" at Lita. Yeah, Las Vegas criticizing the relationship of women is like Viscera calling people fat. Kane tosses Edge to the floor, then beats on him out there a bit with his usual stuff. He goes to ram Edge into the pole, but Lita blocks it, Edge shoves him into the pole and then hits a spear out on the floor. Edge with a baseball slide dropkick keeps Kane out on the floor. Back in, Edge with a shoulder tackle in the corner as well as an elbow slows it down.
My feed went out for about thirty seconds as Kane came back with punches, but Edge countered a slam with his reverse DDT like slam. Kane sits up, dropkick and he sits up again. Clothesline by Kane in the corner, irish whip and a double axe for Edge misses as Kane hits the big punch in the mouth. Snake eyes in the corner, then a clothesline gets two. Whip into the ropes, Kane with the one handed side slam. To the top rope, the Kane clothesline is countered by a dropkick. Spear attempt by Edge countered by a big boot. Here comes Snitsky, Kane shoves him out. Now Lita's in the ring holding a chair as Edge almost gets chokeslammed. She tries to flirt with Kane, but he chokes her down to the mat. He puts her head in between the chair, but Snitsky comes in with a big boot for just two. The ref got Lita out of there. Edgecution DDT countered by Kane. Snitsky comes in, Kane catches him, Edge with the briefcase shot. Kane moves, it hits Snitsky and Kane pins Edge after the chokeslam. Match was 11 minutes.
Analysis: *1/4 I figured Kane had to win a match at some point in this thing. Not much of a match, more of an angle. Overbooked at times, but the finish worked because Kane had to look strong at some point in this angle.
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
My Pick: Shawn Michaels
No stip on this. Just a regular match. Long video package to start putting over how good their first match was. Grisham asked Michaels backstage about Angle's guarantee on Heat where he said he'd make Angle tap out again. He basically guaranteed a win then said vengeance would be his. Angle is out first. I watched the WM21 match about six times since it happened. Still five stars. Still incredible. Michaels is next. JR says he saw Michaels first match in Louisiana when he was just 19. Never heard that before.
Tie up to start, Angle pushes him back into the corner. Angle ties him up again, Michaels gets ropes. Headlock by Michaels is stopped by Angle making ropes. Michaels gets tripped again by a leg takedown as he goes to the ropes again. Two armdrags by Michaels, then an armbar gets countered by Angle who grabs one of his own and drops the knee onto the left arm of Michaels, right around the wrist. Angle charges in, misses and eats a couple chops from Michaels as he goes to the floor. Four minutes in, still in the feeling out process, which makes me think this is going over twenty minutes. Angle pulls him down by the leg, Michaels fights out and Angle gets a single leg crab until Michaels gets the ropes quickly. In the corner, more chops by Michaels, they go out the the middle and Michaels goes for a fall, but Angle counters into an Ankle Lock. Michaels rolls through, sending Angle to the floor. They fight out there, Angle wins the struggle and hits a release German suplex that puts Michaels the back of his head on the announce table! Damn! Table didn't break. The count went up to like seven as Angle broke it, then rolled him back in for a two count. I don't recall a German Suplex table spot like that. Very painful.
Angle chokes Michaels in the corner with his boot, then stomps away on him. Forearm for Angle in the corner, then another one as we see Michaels is bleeding under his left eye, it looks like. They slug it out, Angle wins that and powerbombs him into the turnbuckle for just two. Man, I love these two. That spot always rules. I missed about two minutes of action due to a problem with my feed for the show. I came back to see Angle with a sleeper like maneuver, leaving Michaels to go on the ground on his back as they go for a couple nearfalls. Michaels fights out of it after about 90 seconds or so. He slugs at the ribs, then hits a back suplex as they do the KO spot in the middle of the ring. Match time is at about 16 minutes now.
They slug it out in the middle, Michaels wins that and comes off the ropes with the flying forearm. Angle gets up first, then Michaels nips (or kips) up, hits the right hands, inverted atomic drop, clothesline and now he goes up top for the big elbow. The elbow hits beautifully as he bounces up to his feet getting ready for the superkick. Michaels sets up the superkick, but Angle charges at him really hard and decks him with a huge clothesline, pretty much from hell. Either that or Pittsburgh. Great counter gets two. Angle Slam countered by Michaels into a swinging DDT for two. Another awesome counter for two. A couple more covers get two. Suplex attempt by Michaels countered into a German Suplex by Angle, he goes for more, but Michaels fights out with elbows, then walks into an Angle Slam. One…two…no. Ankle lock countered to an inside cradle for two. Michaels with a waist lock, Angle counters with an ankle lock. He rolls through it again, kicking Angle into referee Jack Doan, who is now out.
They're both back up, Michaels charges in and Angle backdrops him over the top to the floor. The timekeeper checks on Michaels to see his knee, Michaels audibly says "fuck" on camera and people check on him. Angle comes out, throws them away to show us that it was a work. In ring, the ref is up, a Michaels superkick is ducked, Ankle Lock by Angle. Michaels tries to roll through twice, but Angle continues to hold on. Very long hold here, well over a minute. When Michaels gets near the ropes, Angle pulls him out to the middle. Michaels continues to fight, refusing to tap and he uses the momentum to send Angle shoulder first into the ringpost. Angle turns around after a long delay, Michaels hits the Sweet Chin Music superkick. They're both out now as the ref counts to nine, then Michaels drapes the arm over for one…two…no! Amazing nearfall there. Coach says he's never seen anybody kick out of that. It's happened, Coach. Go watch some tapes, pal. Angle to the top, he leaps off with something and Michaels catches him with a massive superkick for the three count after 26 minutes. Wow. Again.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Analysis: ****3/4 I'm not going the full monty because I thought the ref bump was unnecessary. Still, the work in the match was phenomenal just as he was at WrestleMania. The ending was amazing. While the visual of Angle getting superkicked at the very end wasn't as impressive as the one Benjamin did to Michaels on Raw, it was still phenomenal. The reason this match was near perfect was because of the nearfalls and the counter wrestling. They were good, they were well thought out and they had the crowd buying into everything that they did. Post match, they both sold the beatings like the champs they are. Man, I love these guys.
Backstage, Coach interviewed Batista. Coach tells Batista he looks scared and Batista calls him a suck up. Then he says he's not scared and tonight is for every time HHH hit him with the sledgehammer. HHH is going to have to kill him. Yes, we get it. HHH meets him backstage. Nobody beats him in the Cell. After it's over, Batista will be nobody. Then they go to brawl and the officials break it all up.
In the ring, a long, black leather couch is in the ring. Roberts introduces Lillian Garcia out to the ring. She calls out Viscera, who is sporting the smoking jacket. She tells him the last couple of months that he has made her feel the way nobody has before. She says he's a sweet man, a loving man and a sexy man. Now he sits on the couch in the ring as Lillian sings a song to him. She sings a song saying the words "I love you" five times at the end. Then she tells him to stand up so he could hit the jackpot. She gets down on one knee, then says: "Viscera, will you marry me?" He says that's heavy, he has to think about it. Just when he's about to answer, The Godfather comes out with some ho's. I know he lives in Vegas, so this is probably a one time thing. Viscera checks all the ladies out, there's five of them. Man, I need to go back to Vegas. It's been a couple months. Godfather says Vis used to be a pimp in training. The girls couldn't wait to get a piece of him. Godfather apologizes to Lillian saying it's not about her. He knows about his appetite and it's nothing compared to his appetite for sex. Do you want to walk down the aisle or do you want take a ride on the ho train? Viscera checks out all the ladies. How many have diseases? I'd guess at least three. "There's only one thing I gots to say: All aboard the ho train!" Lillian starts crying as Vis dances with the girls. That took like ten minutes, I think.
WWE Title: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho vs. Christian w/Tyson Tomko
My Pick: John Cena
We get the video package to start it off. Jericho is out first as JR points out how Vengeance is special for Jericho because he won the Undisputed title at Vengeance 2001, not mentioning that was a December PPV that year. Christian is out next with Tomko. Cena is out next to what has probably been the biggest pop of the night. Lawler and Coach both pick Christian meaning it's not happening.
The Canadians beat up Cena although it's not together, more like taking turns. Jericho goes into the ropes to do a move on Cena, but Tomko pulls him out. Cena with his flipping armdrag move on Cena, then Tomko decks him as the announcers never call it. Ref Earl Hebner kicks Tomko out of ringside. Face plant by Cena on Christian, then an FU from inside the ring all the way to the floor. Wow, what a bump. Jericho comes in on Cena, gets a nearfall and chops him in ropes. Whip into the corner, Cena with a boot to the face. Another whip in, Jericho with a facebuster. Lionsault misses, Jericho with a sliding dropkick sends Cena to the floor. Jericho whips him into the railing at ringside, then chucks the timekeeper and rams Cena headfirst into the chair. He takes the cover off the Spanish table, then monitors and the crowd chants ECW. Suplex attempt countered by Cena into a DDT on the floor. No countouts apparently. Christian rams Cena head first into the ring steps, then rolls him in for two and sinks in with a rear naked choke in the middle.
Cena fights back with some clothesline, a diving shoulder block and his spinning side slam. He signals for the five knuckle shuffle, goes into the ropes, but Jericho pulls him to the floor and chucks him shoulder first into the steps. Meanwhile, Christian with a baseball slide into Jericho on the floor. He puts Jericho in the ring, Jericho goes for the Walls, Christian shoves him off into Cena who was on the apron and now on the floor. Christian goes up top slowly, Jericho chops him and goes for a superplex. Cena breaks that up, then hits a powerbomb on Jericho while Jericho does suplex Christian off the top. Cena covers Jericho for two, then Cena for two. That was a really cool spot even though I have seen it before. Cena with clotheslines on both guys, then a drop toe hold on Christian while Jericho was on the mat so they cracked heads on the ground. With both guys laying there, he hits a double five knuckle shuffle. Jericho whips Cena in, he covers for two, Christian covers Cena for two and Jericho pins both at the same time for just two. Cena and Christian double clothesline on Jericho, then they clothesline eachother as all three are down.
Jericho to the top, Cena crotches him on the ropes and whips Christian head first into Jericho's crotch. Yes, it's as painful as it sounds. Cena with the FU, Christian grabs the eyes and hits his reverse DDT for two. How come nobody ever grabs the eyes like that? Christian gets the belt, the ref tells him to put it back and out of nowhere Tomko comes in to kill Cena with a clothesline that just gets two. Christian walks into Cena, who backdrops him over the top to the floor. Jericho comes in and hits the Walls of Jericho. Jericho with a springboard dropkick on Christian, then another Walls of Jericho submission. Christian comes in out of nowhere for just two on Jericho. Whip in, Unprettier countered by Jericho, who shoves Christian into Cena, he catches Christian in the FU position, decks Jericho with Christian's feet and hits the FU for the clean after 16 minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: ***3/4 Really good match that had some well done creativity in it. It's hard to have good triple threats because a lot of stuff has been done to death in those matches, but they did some nice stuff here. The finish was well done with Jericho being in the advantage, then Cena catching Christian, disposing of Jericho and scoring the clean victory. That's two straight very good PPV matches for Cena.
Hell in a Cell for World Title: Batista vs. Triple H
Very, very long video package. Seems like I've seen this video 18 times in the past six months. This is the end of a very long feud, we think. HHH is out first. What's the over/under on how long it takes him to bleed? I say eight minutes. I'll take the under. Batista, sporting new white tights and white boots, is out next. I miss his old theme song. JR warns us that it could be ugly.
They shove eachother early on with Batista scoring the advantage, shoving him on the floor. They go back in the ring, Batista tosses him out and whips him back first into the cage a few times. Now it's HHH's turn to dominate a bit as he gets Batista out on the floor, whips him shoulder first into the steps and chucks him back first into the cage a few times. HHH goes under the ring, yanking out a toolbox that had a chain in it. HHH beats on him with the chain a couple of times with shots to the back, then he chokes him over the rope hangman style with the chain. Batista powers out of it with some punches, but HHH locks it in again, choking the life out of him. Batista fights out of it by dropping him throat first across the top rope. He whips HHH in the back with the chain now, then the ribs a couple of times. Out on the floor, he does the old Undertaker spot of picking the guy up and ramming him into the post and cage repeatedly. He dominates him some more out on…there's blood. Eight minutes! I called it! I don't know the seconds (I'm only keeping track of minutes), but it was about eight minutes. Anyway, back in the ring HHH hits a spinebuster on Batista. He goes under the ring, pulls out a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire and he cracks Batista hard in the back with it. Then he does it for a second time. Wow, there's blood pouring out of his back. Batista fights back, but he eats a facebuster, then out of nowhere Batista hits a hard clothesline as we reach ten minutes.
Triple H gets up, Batista has the barbed wire chair and cracks HHH in the head with it. Then he uses the barb wire as a cheese grater on HHH's head. That's just nasty. I love it. HHH bails to the floor, Batista follows and grates his face on the cage. Then he uses him like a javelin against the cage. Back in the ring, Batista misses a shoulder charge and goes shoulder first into the post. HHH sets him up for a Pedigree on the barb wire, but Batista gets out with a back body drop. He charges at Batista, who catches him and he hits a hard powerslam on the barbed wire steel chair. Ouch again. That wire is cutting their backs so it's not some fake crap. Batista grabs the chain, HHH waits for him and hits a DDT on the barbed wire chair. Man, they're really using that chair. Batista's bleeding now from the forehead and it's pretty manly. HHH rakes his face against the cage. Batista stumbles into the ring, HHH grabs the sledgehammer, Sledgie, from under the ring.
Batista prevents that, they slug it out and a Batista Bomb is countered with a back body drop. Batista gets up, HHH hammers him in the face with Sledgie (with his hand on the end of the sledge) for the dramatic nearfall. One of the first nearfalls of the match. HHH goes for another Sledgie shot, but Batista kicks him in the nuts. They're both dead, so Batista gets Sledgie and he charges in. HHH stops him with the chain around his fist and a punch to the head. HHH goes off the middle ropes with the chain on his hand, Batista countered that by cracking him with Sledgie across the throat. HHH spit out blood at the perfect time making it a great visual. Batista punches him as they get to their feet and he whips HHH into the corner so he could do his bump where he goes over the turnbuckle to the floor. On the floor, Batista whips him into the steps. He picks up the steps and rams the steps into HHH's face although we could clearly see HHH's hand on it. Not saying he should kill himself with stair shots, but it was a little too obvious. Very minor gripe, I know. I'm sorry. Batista brings in the lower part of the steps into the ring and props them up vertically in the corner, ramming HHH's head into them repeatedly. Then he whips him hard, back first into the steel steps. Thumbs down time, Batista Bomb is countered as usual by HHH with the low blow. Pedigree by HHH gets one…two…no. Crowd is shocked. Very good nearfall. Now HHH brings the steps to the middle and goes to Pedigree him onto it. Batista counters with a spinebuster on the steel steps! Holy Shit! That's nasty. Batista Bomb attempt, HHH has the Sledge, he goes to swing him with it, but he can't and Batista Powerbombs him hard to the mat for the win after 27 minutes. Fantastic ending.
Analysis: ****1/4 This match lived up to the hype of being a very physical, intense brawl that promised to give you something you hadn't seen many times before. They really did some innovative, great spots that will make this one of the most memorable HIAC matches I have ever seen. This is Batista's best match ever without much doubt in my mind. HHH was his usual awesome self. Great job by both guys.
This was a very, very good show. The lottery picks from Raw had a huge impact since Carlito did a pretty good job in the opener, Cena had his second straight good PPV match and Angle of course stole the show with Michaels in the match of the year candidate. Another highlight was the crowd. They were great and they came across like a smart crowd. I love Vegas.
Carlito/Benjamin was not a match that you're going to remember a week from now, but it was okay for an IC title match. I like Carlito as a character a lot. He has a ways to go as a worker, though. I wouldn't be too upset if Benjamin moved away from the IC belt. Benjamin vs. Angle would be an awesome feud.
The women's match was just okay. Christy still needs to have more matches to have credibility. The crowd was crapping all over her.
I don't think Edge and Kane have very good chemistry. Match was just average in a lot of ways. I guess that story will continue. Seemed like Matt Hardy was more over than either of them.
Michaels vs. Angle was almost as good as the first match they had. You could say that the early parts of this match were better because they had better chemistry this time around. It's just I can't call this five stars like the other one because the finish here was too contrived with Angle leaping off the top rope doing a move he never does. They tried too hard to come up with an epic ending, but it hurt the match a bit because it looked too fake and that's never a good thing. Still, it's such a minor gripe. Go see that match if you didn't and if you did see it then I assume you'll watch it again just like I know I will. Anybody that wants to get into wrestling or that wants to be a wrestler should watch their two matches because they told as good a story in their matches as any series of matches I can ever remember. Two dream matches that have come true. I can't wait for number three.
The triple threat for the WWE title was a fun match. Not the greatest match technically, but it was full of high spots, innovative moves and a satisfying ending that left the crowd happy. I'm interested in seeing where all three guys go from here. Cena's getting better as far as PPV matches go. Now let's hope he has better TV matches too.
The World Title match was very physical in every good way possible. Like I said above, this was Batista's best match ever. HHH was phenomenal. He made Batista look great, but it's not like it was a carry job. They both did their part and they made it work well. Great HIAC match. Maybe not HBK vs. Undertaker, but still very good and one of the more memorable title matches ever.
This is always tough, but if I have to pick three I'll go with three vets.
3. Triple H - He gave Batista his best match ever. Great bumping, great bladejob as usual and great, realistic brawling made this a memorable match.
2. Kurt Angle - It's hard to pick the better one between him and Michaels, but I just felt Shawn's selling was so perfect that he has to get the first spot. Angle was amazing, make no mistake about it.
1. Shawn Michaels - Like I said above, his selling of the ankle/leg was perfect. I'm yearning for Angle/Michaels III now.
I'll give this show a 9 out of 10. Maybe the best PPV of the year. It's certainly right there in the discussion along with WrestleMania 21 and ECW One Night Stand for me. All offered something great and different.
Overall, this wasn't just a very good show, it was phenomenal. Two matches over four stars, one of them being a match of the year contender and the rest of the card delivering satisfying results. The only thing I didn't like, really, was the Viscera/Lillian stuff that was just filler of an angle that I never really cared about much in the first place. That's just a minor blip on one of the best PPVs I've ever seen put on by WWE.
Best Raw PPV ever.
Smell ya later,
John - firstname.lastname@example.org
On an unrelated note, my friend Colin is having a fundraiser to help a family member stricken with breast cancer. If you could donate some money, even just ten dollars, that would be fine. If you can't, try to spread the word and help somebody out who needs it. For details, go here. Thanks in advance.