Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Random Network Reviews: Armageddon 2004
I feel like the only brand exclusive Pay-Per-Views I end up reviewing are Smackdown ones. Usually I’m partial to Smackdown over Raw, but these can really be hit or miss. I recall nothing about this show, though I do remember that JBL was in the midst of his long reign as WWE Champion, while John Cena was a few months shy of dethroning him for it.
The opening video package informs me that JBL will be defending his title in a Fatal Four Way tonight. Michael Cole and Tazz are on commentary and hype this as Hotlanta, though it’s Duluth.
There have been a ton of odd pairings in history, but Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree may be the strangest. RVD and Rey hit their 420 leg drop early, which Michael Cole gives a dumb explanation for. Something about their show sizes or something. Come on Michael, we know why RVD names a move 420. Rey goes to sunset flip Kenzo outside but he holds on, only for RVD to assist him in finishing it. He sets Dupree up on the barricade and comes off with his corkscrew leg drop. Inside, Dupree gets in some shots but he can’t tag out since Kenzo is laid out at ringside. It leads to him getting double teamed, but Kenzo is in shortly to wear down RVD. Things break down before Torrie Wilson runs out to chase Hiroko away. They had a feud of sorts going. The heels now work a heat segment on Mysterio. A funny spot comes when Dupree does his French Tickler dance and Kenzo does it with him on the apron. Hot tag comes to RVD who does his thing. Rey comes in and RVD assists him in setting up a double 619. Tazz says his 12 2 18 joke about a double 619. They ran that into the ground. Five Star Frog Splash hits to retain.
Surprisingly good here. I knew that RVD and Mysterio were more than capable of a good match but I was unsure about Kenzo and Rene. I do feel that this lasted a bit long but it was still a solid tag team match.
We get a promo from Daniel Puder who is going to face the future Miz in a Dixie Dogfight. It’s a dreadful promo.
Kurt Angle comes out for his Gold Medal challenge or whatever. He reveals his opponent to be Santa Claus. Kurt somehow turns this serious by saying that he loves his daughter but she only wants to ever write to Santa Claus instead of talking about him. Kurt has the bell rung, takes down Santa and makes him tap to the Ankle Lock. I would count this as a match but it really isn’t.
These are the two finalists for Tough Enough. We get a video package recapping the season, which also featured the future Ryback. This is basically a boxing match with odd rules. Miz surprisingly comes out and, if I were scoring the fight, wins the first round. They go all three one minute rounds with no knockouts, so it’s up to the fans. Teddy Long asks the fans and they choose Puder.
It’s hard to really judge something like that. They did the best they could though it was just two guys wailing away on each other in one minute bursts.
Both guys get interviewed after the minute. Miz makes one minor mistake but Daniel Puder looks lost when a microphone is put in front of him. It’s rather embarrassing.
Backstage, Booker T and Eddie Guerrero are discussing how much they want to get their hands on JBL. Classic Eddie here as he says that he could easily pin Booker to win the title tonight. Booker laughs and says the same thing back basically, causing Eddie to laugh. Eddie brings up the Undertaker and Booker says he’ll take him down too. They talk about teaming up until Undertaker shows up and stares them down. It’s actually pretty funny.
Here we have a prime example of why brand split Pay-Per-Views should not happen. Charlie Haas is pulling double duty tonight as he will also referee a match later. The Bashams were recently announced as JBL’s Secretaries of Defense. Despite being low on talent, the idea of the Cabinet was great. Haas is emotionally overcharged due to being part of a love triangle with Dawn Marie and Jackie Gayda. Look Charlie, there are far worse things to be caught in between. Some “boring” chants start, which I honestly can’t disagree with, even though I love Charlie Haas. Holly gets the mild tag and even uses a flying clothesline because I guess the boring chants got to him. Haas is outside so Dawn comes out to check on him, bringing out Jackie. They get into it, which distracts Holly. This allows the Bashams to utilize twin magic, which is obviously where the Bellas got it from, and steal it.
Dull stuff here. I like Charlie Haas but nothing about these two teams were appealing. It was boring until the end.
During the Carlito/John Cena rivalry, Carlito’s bodyguard Jesus “stabbed” Cena in a nightclub. With the injured kidney, Cena won the US Title back from Carlito in short order. Judging by the commentators, this was the debut of the spinner US Title. Cena attacks quickly and even when Carlito brings a kendo stick into play, Cena shrugs it off and goes after Jesus’ kidney. We got some blood following a kendo stick shot. A kick to the skull is next, as Cena is dominating this. He tries to throw Jesus off a section of the crowd but Carlito stops it. While fighting through the crowd, Cena chugs a fan’s beer. He was getting more over by the show. In the ring, Cena plants Jesus with the FU, ending this beating.
This was pretty much an eight minute squash match. Jesus would never appear on Pay-Per-View again and John Cena was about to have a monster 2005 so this made sense. He kept it entertaining and got his revenge, which is all you can ask for.
We get a backstage segment between Charlie Haas and Jackie Gayda where they make out and Haas slaps her butt. That Charlie Haas is a pretty lucky guy.
Research tells me that this was the pretty much the end for both girls. Dawn would go on maternity leave before being released and Jackie would be done in about six months. This is just two girls swinging on each other and none of it looks very good. They do the trademark spot where they roll onto the referee. Dawn ends up rolling up Jackie with tights and Haas counts the three.
Trash. Two girls that cannot wrestle went out and put on a stinker. I won’t give it the dud score since it was short.
Post-match, Charlie Haas admits to having an affair with Dawn Marie. He breaks off the engagement with Jackie because she makes love like a dead fish. Haas calls Dawn hot but dumps her ass too. He leaves alone to boos. Okay Charlie that was a bad move dude. Now you get no booty.
Before the match, Big Show gets a good luck kiss from Joy Giovanni. If that doesn’t help you win, nothing will. Big Show just tosses Mark Jindrak around, so Kurt Angle refuses to tag in because he needs to learn his lesson. He tags Kurt and forces him in. Show dominates for a while but the numbers game takes its toll. Remember how Jindrak was supposed to be in Evolution? Things would be very different. Nothing special is really happening here. It’s just three guys working over Show in various ways. It screams Smackdown TV main event, rather than PPV bout. When Show manages to be alone in the ring with Jindrak, he plants him with an F5 to win. Commentary continually mentions that it was indeed an F5.
Basic TV match here. The crowd was relatively dead as this show has been underwhelming to say the least. This was the definition of standard fare and it wasn’t very good.
SMACKDOWN’S NUMBA ONE ANNOUNCAH! Funaki interviews himself before the match but is interrupted by heel Spike. I thought the crowd was dead for the previous match, but this is a whole different level of silent. Spike Dudley was actually doing very well as the “Boss” and heel Cruiserweight Champion, protected by his older brothers, who are currently out with injuries. The work they’re doing in the ring isn’t bad, it’s just heatless. They do a countout spot tease but the crowd doesn’t care enough to pop for it. It’s interesting to see Spike throwing someone around since he’s one of the smallest guys in history. Funaki nails a sweet double stomp from the top while Spike was in the tree of woe, which probably could have been a finish if it looked a bit better. However, it is a rollup that moves the belt to Funaki in shocking fashion.
I get that they wanted to go for the shock factor, but this was a dumb move. If I remember right, Spike Dudley was doing solid work as the “Boss” character and should have dropped the belt to someone that was built up. Not in a heatless match that nobody cared about.
Eddie Guerrero’s tobacco sauce style shirt that said Latino Heat was great. The crowd is finally awake, even chanting “Taker” during Undertaker’s entrance. Wisely, JBL leaves the ring, leaving his three challengers to fight. He sneaks in for a cover after Undertaker takes down Booker, but the referee is basically blind and misses it for like a whole minute. He ends up in between his challengers and is used as a pinball, getting hit from every angle. Booker and Eddie team up on Undertaker as JBL escapes to rest outside. Eddie and Booker turn their attention to JBL but the partnership ends when Booker breaks Eddie’s pin attempt. We’ve seen it a million times. Things get hardcore as JBL clears off the announce table, with intents on putting Undertaker through it. Taker counters though and we go back in the ring. JBL has been fantastic as the opportunistic champion trying to get pins at every turn. Undertaker starts to get in control, hitting everything in his path. He goes for Old School but Eddie tries to interrupt, only to eat a boot. Taker then finishes Old School. JBL goes to a sleeper hold on Booker, but Eddie brings out a ladder to a pop. He takes out Undertaker with it before going inside. It doesn’t come into play though as Booker rallies and nails everyone. Scissors Kick connects on Eddie for two. The brawl goes outside where JBL powerbombs Booker on the table, but it nearly goes back as he gets tied up in cables. JBL uses an elbow to put him through the table instead. Undertaker answers by hitting the Last Ride through the other table on JBL. Eddie plays possum in the ring, so Undertaker goes after him, but it fails as Undertaker catches him in a chokeslam anyway. He goes for the Last Ride, but Eddie blocks it by nailing him with the title. He hits two Frog Splashes but Undertaker somehow kicks out and sits up. Eddie begins to do his old WCW beg spot before using a low blow. Eddie uses the ladder again, before climbing it and hitting a third Frog Splash. He hurts his knee though and can’t cover in time. When he does, JBL pulls the official out of the ring. A third ladder shot sends Undertaker outside before Eddie sets it up in the corner. JBL charges, but eats the Three Amigos only for Booker to break things up. Scissors Kick on JBL but Taker stops the pin. It’s his turn for a close call now. He decides to chokeslam everyone before signaling for the end. As he goes for the Tombstone, Heidenreich appears and attacks Undertaker. JBL crawls over to cover Booker for two and the same happens with Eddie. He tries it on Undertaker, who sits up, only for Heidenreich to pull him out and lock him in a cobra clutch. Clothesline from Hell on Booker is enough for JBL to survive.
That was a lot of fun. It was what I expected from a Fatal Four Way involving a heel champion but JBL was fantastic in this role. Also, bringing in ladders and tables added to it and we had tons of near falls and close calls that were really cool.
Overall: There are only two good matches on this entire card and that’s the opener and main event. Even with them being good, neither are must see. Everything else is pretty much a chore to get through. Not only were some decisions baffling but some of the matches seriously made you question if you were watching a Pay-Per-View or an episode of Velocity. My next will be none other than