Hey there, party people, I am your venerable host Sean Carless and welcome to Wrestlemania 20! Wait. It's Backlash? Could have fooled me. I guess when they said "Where it all begins again" they really meant "Where it all begins again...and again". And by that I mean the fucking booking. One of these days we'll get a World title match that doesn't include Triple H. I just hope I'm still alive to see it.
We are LIVE from Edmonton ALBERTA! Home province of the Harts, and the only place in the world Cowboys have to shovel their driveways in the winter. It's true.
Before I get into the thick of things, I have to say that those of you waiting for me to lay into this PPV with my usual moxy, may be somewhat disappointed, because it was very good. Damn you WWE for taking food off my plate! But maybe that's for the best. I could probably do without a few meals. WWE booking: Adding 10 years to my life, while simultaneously making sure those last ten years are miserable. Thanks! Ahem.
Onto the show!
Heat Match: on HEAT, Val Venis, addressed by the announcers as being Canadian, (from the bustling porn capital of ...Peterborough Ontario? Dear lord) met Matt Hardy Version 1, who might think about upgrading his system sometime considering how many jobs he's done since coming to RAW. I wonder if Matt made the mistake of downloading that washer you see always popping up on websites, and now the system has been completely corrupted. I don't know. All I do know is Matt got cheered and Val got booed, despite his Canadian heritage... which must have baffled those in the back. Val ended up getting the win after a money shot, and Matt did another job. But considering Val's other career, Matt's lucky this particular "job" only entailed being pinned. In a side note, nothing says class like Val's new trunks, that had his name written in a semen font. I can tell you from experience that a lot of people don't tend to appreciate their clothes being stained with DNA. And believe me, I've been caught rifling through a few girls dresser drawers before, so I know....Ric Flair vs. Shelton Benjamin
Get this, news has recently come out that Ric Flair allegedly exposed himself to one of the stewardesses aboard the now infamous "Flight from Hell" (Perhaps Bradshaw picked up even more finishers while there?) and as a result, she's suing. There's also other charges being laid against other people on said flight as well. But surprisingly, not Brock Lesnar, despite almost bursting through the plane's airlock door in mid-flight, KILLING EVERYONE ON BOARD. Go figure. And worse yet? Lesnar HAS A PLANE of his own. I think I'd have rather taken flying lessons with JFK jr. or John Denver then get into an airplane with Brock Lesnar. (Which I understand he lands by having it flip in one big circle first then crash violently headfirst into the ground. It's all he knows!).
I sure hijacked this fucking match, eh? Wait. YOU CAN'T SAY 'HIJACK' ON A PLANE~!
Anyway, we're underway here, and Ric Flair doffs his robe, but thankfully resists the urge to pull out his member and dance around the ring ala Buffalo Bill to start. Good thinking. He should know better than to try and get into a penis competition with a black man. Anyhoo. Good opener here as the crowd is hot for everything Flair does. Benjamin gets some boos early, but ultimately wins the crowd over with his athleticism. The finish sees Flair attempt to pull out brass knuckles from his tights (but, hey, since it's Flair, who knows..) but Benjamin stops that by landing the stinger splash, crushing Flair in the corner. Shelton then goes up and hits a flying clothesline off the top rope that gets the big win.Winner: Shelton Benjamin. Gotta love the WWE. The only place in the world where destroying the elderly is not only tolerated, it's encouraged. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go live up to their example by delivering a flying lariat to my 65 year old neighbor who insists on walking his dog at 2 in the morning. WWE ftw.
-Backstage, Tard Grisham interviews Randy Orton. He says that tonight Foley will see a side of him he's never seen before. But since Orton is only wearing trunks here, I'm completely terrified as to what he means by that. Orton then equates Foley to an old dog, and we all know what you do to old dogs, right?. Umm, you clean up their shit a lot because they've lost all muscle control in their advanced age? Oh, he meant, umm, never mind. Huh. I think it's fair to say Randy won't ever have to worry about working with the SPCA any time soon. Just saying.Tajiri vs. Jonathan Coachman w/ Garrison Cade w/o charisma
Hey, it's nice to see Tajiri was able to escape that whole "Yakuza" thing. Heh. Apparently lifelong blood oaths to organized crime only hold up if you stick it out on one wrestling brand. Who knew? Who needs Witness relocation? Just go to RAW. No one will hold you to hundred year old traditions. Glad I cleared that up.
Anyway, the story here (besides "What the fuck!?) is that Coach wants "revenge" for being misted in the face by Tajiri. He even went so far as to employ a "Five star Ninja"; which as well know is the highest ranking one can receive in the completely fabricated black arts. Ultimately, the "Ninja" was revealed to be Al Snow, which ultimately proved that just because your occupation sees you savagely assassinate people in unpredictable and violent fashion, doesn't mean you can't also be a great father figure. It's true. He can throw Shuriken and raise your self-esteem. That's a winning combination.
I was expecting a comedy match here (even unintentionally), but what we got was Coach straight-up wrestling, which was odd. I mean, is it really a great idea to have announcers go toe to toe with your wrestlers? I mean, clearly there was a reason why Andre tore Hogan's crucifix off, and not fucking Gene Okerlund. Come on.
Anyway, Tajiri ends up tying up Coachman in the tarantula, and having things well in hand (feet?) when wrestling's favorite flavor of vanilla pudding, Garrison Cade, interferes with a sucker-punch to Tajiri, allowing Coach to score the pin (!). After the match, Todd Grisham school boys Chris Benoit and wins the World Title.Winner: The Coach; thanks in part to the man whose face is obviously living proof that you can indeed open the Ark of the Covenant and STILL survive to tell the tale, Garrison "Can't I just be Lance now" Cade. By Gawd.
-Jericho vs. Christian & Trish video package. THAT JEZEBEL~! She chose one guy who equated her worth to a solitary dollar over the other. My theory is that Christian offered up an AMERICAN dollar, which is worth close to a million dollars here. She probably made the right choice.Chris Jericho vs. Christian & Trish Stratus;
I'm kind of torn here. I mean, my heart is with Chris Jericho. But my erection is with Trish Stratus. Ultimately, I decide to go with my heart, because my erection is a user, and only shows up when he wants to, then leaves as fast as he comes. Yup.
Anyway, to further the Canadian conspiracy, Chris Jericho is announced as being a Winnipeg "native". It's bad enough they say he's from New York, but now we're supposed to believe he's an INDIAN now? Oh, they meant. Anyway, I guess we're just lucky Lillian Garcia was even able to say "Winnipeg" at all. Last time they were here, she announced him as being from the great province of "Winnetoba"... which you'll find on your imaginary map sandwiched right between Halberta and Blontario. Glad I could clear that up for you.
Very good match that sees Christian work the bulk of the contest with Trish only tagging in to get her cheap shots in. I can only hope that when me and the GF finally break up, she's as good a sport at taking my running back brain kick as Trish is. *fingers crossed*.
Anyway, Chris almost gets the Walls of Jericho on Trish at one point, but Christian breaks it up. From there, Jericho eventually grabs Trish and forces her over his knee and gives her a spanking. Good luck ever getting your favorite sweater back now, Chris.
Eventually, the two wear Chris down, and Xian applies a Texas cloverleaf, which had to be called as such because all of our comparable vegetation is currently buried under 20 feet of snow.Y2J, then incredibly reverses it into the walls, but this time Trish makes the save. Anyway, the finish sees, after several false finishes, Jericho catapulting Christian into Trish and finishing X-ian with a running enzuiguri. STAY STILL SO I MAY BRAIN THEE. 1,2,3.
Winner: Chris Jericho and committed relationships. If only it was that easy to get over heartache. Although, I'm more than willing to apply painful submissions on my exes and their new beau's in an attempt to, umm, ease the pain. Yeah, that's it.
- Backstage, Eugene is shown reading the Divas magazine. He then wanders into the women's locker room. Man, the hilarity of Eugene knows no bounds. Oh wait, yes it does. Anyway, Gail Kim and Molly Holly begin screaming despite the fact that both are pretty much completely clothed. I don't get the big deal. Although, if I had Corky from "Life Goes On" exploding into my stall while I was taking a shit, I might feel a little differently. Anyway, Regal then embarrassingly escorts Eugene from the premises, but is caught staring at Gail Kim's new breasts. They're made in Korea. Just like her.
-Benoit arrives~! Wait. Why is he an hour late? He lives like a few blocks from here. Lazy bastard. Oh ya, I guess, we're not supposed to remember he's from here. Man, umm, it must have been a heck of a commute from Atlanta, eh? That's better.Lita vs. Victoria; WWE Women's Title
Dear God, Lita is just brutal here. Since she came back, she's put in about as much energy into her matches as an old man wading into a warm bath. Lita is fast becoming, in my opinion, wrestling's version of the "dead lay", as Victoria does the bulk of the work, and Lita's just sort of "there" for the ride. Which is clearly ironic. If Lita put this much lackadaisical effort into her lovemaking, there's no way she'd know how to even do a Hurricanrana today...
Anyway, this is a rare face vs. face match, so the crowd doesn't know who to cheer. I say they boo Lita based on the fact that she was trained in Mexico, and HBK was trained BY a Mexican, and through a convoluted "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon" way, this means she should be despised. Yup. After some back and forth, Victoria pulls off her "I swear I'm not Epileptic" shimmy Moonsault (although Lita's entrance video may have induced it) but that only gets two. Victoria then gets her crazy side-walk slam but that doesn't get the job done either. No one can do side-walk slam slams in Canada, because the city takes a long time to plow and shovel them. DID I MENTION IT'S COLD AND DESOLATE HERE? No wonder all these Canadians are relocating to places like Atlanta, Manhasset and umm, Korea? Dear god. Lita regains the advantage soon after, and gets the twist of fate, but misses the moonsault. Victoria then wins the match with a small package that I understand was invented in a cold pool.Winner: Victoria. She's not the lady to mess with! And why would you? She voluntarily tears her pants off. That's an admirable trait in my book.
-After the match, bald headed Molly and Gail Kim attack both women. And yes, despite Gail having a long commute from the now UNIFIED country of Korea (WWE ended their differences for the sake of hometown continuity!), she still makes it to the arena quicker then the dude who has family here. Strange.Cactus Jack w/ BARBIE vs. (C) Randy Orton w/o KEN (do stick) Intercontinental Title Hardcore match;
I cannot say enough good things about this match. Both men worked EXTREMELY (HIYO) hard and each took some sick bumps. "Barbie" makes its appearance several times, and at one point Foley douses it in gasoline and looks to light it, when Eric Bischoff comes out and informs Mick that if he does, the Fire Marshall will shut the show down. Pussies. Hell, even if the fire does get out of control and burns the fucking place down, maybe it'll make its way outside and actually melt some of this fucking snow. DID I MENTION IT'S COLD AND DESOLATE HERE? Wait. I did. Never mind. Mick then pulls out a huge slab of wood wrapped menacingly in barbed wire. Foley tries to slam Orton on it, but Randy ends up slamming Foley instead, opening up Foley's arm. Holy shit, this guy does blade jobs on his arms. That's dedication! I'd tell him how much I love him, but I'm afraid his other ear might fall off and he won't hear me.
Eventually, both men are bleeding buckets, when Orton retrieves a giant pillowcase full of thumb tacks. (Which reminds me of this one really bad Halloween when I was a kid..). The spot of the night then occurs when Orton looks like he'll RKO Foley onto the thumbtacks, but Mick simply shrugs him off and Orton lands back first (with no shirt) onto thousands of tacks! Holy shit. Orton then sells it perfectly as the camera shows them stuck everywhere. Foley then goes for the cover, but Randy kicks out. Eventually, they brawl up the ramp, and Foley tosses the mangled Orton off the stage through a table, then crushes him with a running Cactus elbow while the EMTs were down tending to Orton. Awesome.
The two then eventually make their way back into the ring, but are unable to finish one another with the double arm-DDT and RKO respectively. However, Orton does get one last RKO out of nowhere to Foley... on "Barbie", that finally puts Mick down. EXCELLENT match. And here I thought that the only hardcore move Orton would have would involve him somehow wrapping barbwire around his arm, thus making his CHINLOCK UNSTOPPABLE. It ends lives and you catch your breath for 8 minutes straight. It's win/win!Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Randy Orton. Ah, barbwire covered Barbies. Brings back some great memories. Only my version led me to be none too popular amongst the young girls in my neighborhood. Maybe it's because I was 25 at the time. I don't know. (seriously, Great, great match, though).
-Backstage, HHH comes in and puts Orton over. He then says he'll spoil "Chris Benoit Day" tonight by taking back his title. Lightning WILL NOT strike twice in the same place he says. He then forces RVD to stand outside in the rain with a kite to make sure he's right. He's not too worried one way or the other though. Haha.
/5La Résistance vs. S.H.I.T. Storm (The Hurricane & Rosey)
It must be hard to follow the brutality of landing on thumbtacks bare-back, but, hey, if anyone knows about the horrors that can abound from being "bare back", it would be Grenier. Yup.
This match was just made earlier tonight, and is obviously used to cool down the crowd after the last contest. But once again, I say, do they need anymore cooling down? DID I MENTION HOW COLD AND DESOLATE IT IS HERE?
Decent match here, given the vacuum it's taking place in, but I have to ask; why is Hurricane not wearing a shirt anymore? Man, the Justice league is getting a little lax on the whole dress code lately if you ask me. I'm almost terrified to see what Flash ends up wearing based on his choice of handles. That's right. Anyway, one really awesome spot saw Conway pull Hurricane off the top, and hit a rolling neckbreaker while Hurricane's feet were still elevated on the turnbuckle. Very creative stuff. Anyway, Eugene ends up running out and plays with the Quebec flag, before getting into the ring and running the ropes repeatedly. This distraction allows Hurricane to pick up the win after executing an "Eye of the Hurricane" on Conway; however, in honor of Sylvain's plight I'm insisting it be renamed "Queer-eye of the Hurricane" for one night.Winners: Hurricane & Rosey! Wow. Based on Eugene's handling of La Résistance tonight, clearly, the cure to Canada's ongoing separatist problems is to elect a retard to the highest office. After all, it seems to have worked in the U.S.....
-HBK arrived earlier today. Footage of the Pope-mobile he came to the arena in is strangely edited out.Edge w/o heat vs. Kane w/o fire
Strangely, Kane's pyro doesn't go off here. That damn Fire Marshall has struck again! He up and stripped Kane of his super natural powers! This motherfucker would have came in handy in 1998. Probably would have saved a lot of people a lot of grief. And speaking of "pyro", I don't know how smart it was having billowing smoke and gas during Edge's entrance considering it's Holocaust Remembrance Day today. Maybe to make up for this little faux pas, they could just send out German Jon Heidenreich and have the crowd savagely murder him. Or maybe I have my own selfish reasons for wanting that.
Anyway, this match might as well have been held in the deep reaches of space, because that's about how much heat it had. Poor Edge.The guy's on the shelf with an injury for a year and comes back to complete apathy in his own country. And he's the one poor bastard allowed to still be a Canadian in this company! Wow. Although, the way he's looked lately, Edge looks like he may have spent his entire recovery time on a fucking deserted Island. And I thought Goldberg looked scruffy a few months ago. Edge takes the cake...which he likely then survived off of on that very Island. I'd make the joke about him yelling out in Tom Hank's fashion "I have created fire!" but the Fire Marshall from earlier has also forbid that joke. That's right.
Anyway, despite Edge working hard, the crowd was so disinterested in this match that they actually began chanting insults at Referee Earl Hebner, who may not have been the right referee to showcase outside of the main event, just saying. That'd be like throwing Hitler into a Jewish neighborhood in the 40's, then expecting people to concentrate on the fucking stickball game going on in the street. Anyway, after avoiding Kane's chokeslam, Edge ends up picking up the win after Earl gets bumped and he uses his cast to stun Kane, before finishing him with the big spear.Winner: Edge, and definitely not Kane. Remember when this poor bastard was getting a push? I guess that Undertaker "Ring" video he was tormented by didn't lead to a teenage girl crawling through his TV, (although I heard Jerry Lawler insisted on borrowing the tape in hope that it did) but just to 3 months of straight jobbing. Oh well.
-Judgment Day 2004 Promo. With John Bradshaw Layfield on top. It may not be the real end of the world, but you'll wish it probably was.HBK vs. HHH vs. (C) Chris Benoit; Triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
What a way to conclude Chris Benoit Day, which believe it or not was really decreed in Edmonton this weekend. But isn't it just like WWE to co-schedule it with the aforementioned "Holocaust Remembrance Day". And hopefully, with that said, the WWE has the good taste to not put the dude with the Iron Cross on his tights over today. Just saying.
As for how we spent Chris Benoit Day in the Carless House? Well, we chose to celebrate the occasion unconventionally, deciding to buck usual trends and simply have an evening of quiet worship before celebrating "The Wolverine" with a bountiful supper, devouring a special turkey with wings two sizes too small in his honor. Then the evening concluded with a lovely prayer by my father that ended with him blowing a snot bubble on my Mom, and chopping my grandfather in the chest as hard as he could, breaking all the blood vessels in his chest, and causing his death. A great time was had by all (Except Grandpa). God bless Chris Benoit. And God bless his Day.
Anyway, this was another excellent effort, and the heat was off the chart, especially for Shawn Michaels who from the word go gave you the impression that if he actually WON the title tonight, he'd last about as long as Dice Clay at a Feminist Rally.
All three men worked very hard here and it made for a fantastic match. And HBK even surprisingly resisted the urge to blade here, marking the first time in like forever he didn't get cut in a match. But hey, if these fans have their way, they might just work an unscheduled one in. Just saying.
Somewhat of a different dynamic to this one, as opposed to Wrestlemania, as they avoided unnecessary high-spots and simply told the story with near falls. And believe me, there were lots of those. The most surreal and entertaining spot of the night occurred when the Ref got bumped and HBK caught Benoit in the SHARPSHOOTER, and low and behold, here's Baby Earl running down to take the referee's place. Everyone in that arena must've collectively shit themselves. HHH then breaks up the submission attempt in one of the loudest pops of the night. For 30 seconds he could fuck anyone he wanted and throw as much soil on RVD as he pleased. Eventually Benoit disposes of The Game by launching him into the barricade and into the crowd where his wife, Nancy "Woman" Benoit is seated. Strangely, she avoided the urge to rip into his chest and devour his heart in a dark Satanic ritual (She was once married to Kevin Sullivan, it is possible...). Anyway, Benoit rolls back into the ring where HBK is apparently waiting with a superkick, but Benoit catches the foot and snatches Shawn's legs into the sharpshooter! HBK tries to get to the ropes, but Chris pulls him into the middle and right as HHH tries to get back into the ring to break it up, Shawn taps and Benoit retains. Definite Match of the Year candidate here. More so than my ass and your face, which was extremely close.Winner and STILL Champion: Chris Benoit! I kind of figured there'd be a sharpshooter finish for Shawn Michaels tonight, but in my version it involved Bret Hart sitting in the Uecker seats with a scope rifle. Oh well. AWESOME match. More stars than there are in the galaxy. Or maybe just 5 because that's how us Interweb know-it -all's roll.
/5FINAL THOUGHTS: GREAT show. Maybe one of the best single-brand PPV's ever. I mean, how many times can you say you've seen two of the best matches you've maybe EVER seen on ONE show? Hell, even the black hole that was Coachman attempting to wrestle couldn't suck this one into the abyss. I just wish I was from Chernobyl so I could give this more thumbs up. But I only gots two, baby, so that's all you get.
Sean Carless is a man of many hats. And he wears those hats to cover an ever-increasing bald spot. Sean's various scribblings have been read at Live Audio Wrestling, 411 Mania, Honky Tonk Man.com, The Toronto Star.com, and Lethal Wrestling. He has also cured AIDS.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).