Friday, December 2, 2016

Random Network Reviews: Armageddon 2005

Armageddon 2005
December 18th, 2005 | Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island | Attendance: 8,000

The final Pay-Per-View event of the year 2005 is a Smackdown exclusive show. An interesting note for this event is that the World Heavyweight Title is not defended. Actually, the Cruiserweight Championship is the only belt on the line. That’s not something you see very often. This would be the sixth of nine Armageddon Pay-Per-View events.

The opening video package hypes the main event match between Randy Orton and the Undertaker and their feud that spanned 2005.

John “Bradshaw” Layfield w/ Jillian Hall vs. Matt Hardy
JBL cuts a promo beforehand about how this is the pinnacle of Matt’s career. He throws in some serious jabs, including one about Matt losing Lita to a “main event wrestler”. Ouch. Matt attacks from behind because of this. JBL quickly turns it around and ties Matt’s head up in the ring ropes, big booting him. JBL stays in in control for a while, beating on Matt. Matt finally starts to make a bit of a rally but it is never threatening and then JBL hits the Clothesline from Hell, earning a fairly easy win.

Winner: JBL in 6:44
So, this wasn’t what I expected. I mean, I figured JBL would be the aggressor, but Matt Hardy barely got anything in. This was basically a prolonged squash, which isn’t how you want to start your Pay-Per-View. *

We get footage from Smackdown where Melina banged Batista to try and get him to not face MNM later in the night. Then, when they finished, Batista was all like “Thanks, but I’m still gonna kill MNM”. He then proceeded to do that and win the Tag Titles with Rey Mysterio. Then we cut backstage where the Mexicools tried to run a train on Melina in exchange for canceling the match. Yup, this actually happened.

The Mexicools vs. MNM w/ Melina
This was originally supposed to be for the straps from what I can tell but the title change this past Friday made this a normal tag. The first big spot comes as Psicosis does a corkscrew dive onto MNM. Super Crazy goes to follow but Charles Robinson stops him, so he just jumps over him. Super Crazy could still do decent stuff despite getting pretty out of shape by this point. Both teams trade relatively impressive double team moves for near falls. Psicosis begins to play the face in peril, which works since MNM had gotten good at drawing heat. Super Crazy gets the hot tag and does his thing. Melina gets involved but is knocked to the floor. Crazy comes close to winning but Nitro breaks up the pin. He and Mercury then win with Snapshot.

Winners: MNM in 8:55
Solid tag team match here. This should have opened things as the crowd was very anti-MNM and were much more into this than the opener. They worked tag formula well, played to their strengths and had a good match. MNM was a damn good team that probably got split too early. ***

Booker T and Sharmell are interviewed about Booker’s upcoming match. It’ll be match four in the best of seven against Chris Benoit. Booker is up 3-0 and is looking for a sweep.

Match Four in Best of Seven Series
Booker T w/ Sharmell vs. Chris Benoit

Their Best of Seven in WCW was great, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the first match in this series, which I reviewed a few months back. The early goings are different than expected as it is Booker who is timid, despite having a commanding lead. Neither guy really gains a real advantage for a rather long time. Booker finally seems to when he knocks Benoit outside. Things start picking up as they go back and forth. Booker has the triple Germans scouted so he counters, but eats another suplex anyway. Then Benoit goes into the Three Amigos, in honor of the recently deceased Eddie Guerrero. Benoit continues the barrage with the three Germans and signals for the end. Sharmell sneaks in with a low blow and Booker hits the Scissors Kick for two. The crowd absolutely believed that false finish. Benoit goes back to the Germans, hitting another trio. We get a ref bump before Benoit locks in the Sharpshooter and Booker taps. Sharmell hits Benoit with the broom but Benoit no sells it, only for Booker to hit him. Benoit doesn’t care and locks in the Crossface, making Booker submit.

Winner: Chris Benoit in 20:09
Early on, this was pretty dull. What they were doing made sense but it just wasn’t very interesting. However, the third act of this match was pretty fun. I’m not fan of a ton of interference, but Benoit overcoming it all while the fans bit completely into everything was well done. ***¼

Teddy Long and Palmer Cannon come out to promote Christmas. Vito and Nunzio show up as Santa and an elf asking for gifts of their own. Cannon brings out the Boogeyman as their gift and he does his thing.

Even though the match isn’t on now, we get a lengthy video package chronicling the Randy Orton/Undertaker rivalry. I’ll admit, a lot of what they show looked pretty cool.

Bobby Lashley vs. Paul Burchill and William Regal
This is only a few months into Lashley’s run. Lashley no sells some of their offense but the numbers game takes its toll. However, even when Burchill nails a nice flying knee off the top, Lashley kicks out at one. Hell, while he’s feeling the effects of their work, Lashley suplexes the hell out of Regal. Lashley then goes off and wins, defeating two men on PPV.

Winner: Bobby Lashley in 3:38
About as good as one could expect considering this was a glorified squash match. ¾*

Josh Matthews is at the “Friendly Tap”, a bar owned by referee Tim White. White hasn’t officiated a match since he got injured while overseeing the Jericho/HHH Hell in a Cell match back in 2002. Tim White doesn’t really want to speak but when he finally does, he says that everyone in his life has left him and he’s been in pain since that night. Josh makes a terrible joke and White attempts to walk off screen to shoot himself with a shotgun. Yup, that’s two lame segments on this event.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Juventud (c) vs. Kid Kash

It’s like WCW and ECW collide on a WWE Pay-Per-View. Judging by Juvi’s waist, calling him a cruiserweight might be a stretch. He attacks before the bell to take the advantage, before botching a rana. Kash focuses on the leg arm of Juvi for a bit. I’m not sure how I feel about this since it seems like a random body part to work. Despite it being random, the work Kash does on it is solid. He tries a moonsault but Juvi gets his knees up. He then hits a massive top rope rana but the crowd doesn’t pop for it at all. Kash gets his foot on the bottom rope. Juvi just can’t put him away and misses a 450 leg drop. Kash then hits the Dead Level Brainbuster to win the gold.

Winner and New WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Kid Kash in 9:25
They were given a solid amount of time and did their best with it. The arm work was odd though as it only lasted a short while and then was forgotten about. Also, the crowd was completely dead for it and having both guys be heels didn’t help. **¼

Batista and Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show and Kane
Both teams currently reign as the Tag Team Champions of their respective brands in this interpromotional match. This was about six months before Show’s ECW run but he’s already pretty massive here. Batista starts against him and they play the game of Show overpowering him for a while. It’s cool to hear commentary be one-sided as they are firmly behind their Smackdown guys. When Rey and Kane come in, Kane no sells his stuff as much as possible. As expected, Big Show and Kane end up working a heat on Rey Mysterio, which is the clear way to go. The monsters on the resilient little man is perfect. One of the shots from Show to Rey is especially brutal. Instead of going for the hot tag though, Batista just gets pissed and charges in, taking Big Show out. Rey goes for the 619 but it’s blocked and he eats a massive Chokeslam for the finish.

Winners: Big Show and Kane in 8:37
There was potential for a pretty good match here but it didn’t get the time it needed. Mysterio is the perfect guy to build a hot tag with considering his size and how over he is, but instead they didn’t let it marinate and it felt very rushed. Take out the two nonsense segments we’ve had on this show and put that time here and you could have had a damn good match. **

Hell in a Cell
Randy Orton w/ Bob Orton vs. The Undertaker

I appreciate that Randy Orton doesn’t show much intimidation at the start or during Undertaker’s entrance. He’s beaten Undertaker before and should have some confidence. He uses his speed and athleticism early but strikes allow Taker to get in the driver’s seat. Orton is now beaten from pillar to post and gets busted open as Undertaker grates his face across the cell. Undertaker is being vicious, even choking a bloody Orton with a chain. Randy’s blood stains the ring post after he fails to use the steel steps and ends up sent into it. Orton pulls an RKO from out of his ass that hands Undertaker up on the top rope, swinging the momentum again. A successful steel stairs shot busts Undertaker open. The weapons continue to be used as Orton hits Undertaker with a chair but he is up quickly and throws Randy around outside. Inside, Taker misses a big elbow drop and Orton gets a table like his name is D-Von Dudley. It doesn’t get used yet though as Undertaker I sent outside, where Bob Orton pulls his hair through the cell. Taker turns it around and pulls him into the cell, giving us our third blade job of the match. Taker is in control inside, getting some near falls. It’s interesting to see how resilient Orton has looked throughout this. Orton puts Undertaker on the table and splashes him through it, overshooting it a bit, for two. After some counters, we get a ref bump. Uh-oh. Randy counters a Chokeslam into an ugly RKO. Nick Patrick, from a punch, becomes the fourth person to blade. With a new official running in, Bob Orton is also able to get in the cell. Orton takes the Last Ride and his dad pulls the referee out. Undertaker lays him out and goes back in. He tries a Tombstone but Orton counters and hits one of his own. He has the match won but the official takes too long and Undertaker sits up. He takes out Bob again before beating Randy with a Tombstone.

Winner: The Undertaker in 30:31
While I don’t think this match was bad, it is on the lesser side of Hell in a Cell matches. Not only was it easily forgettable, but I do feel like it was overly long. It didn’t need to be a half hour and while I liked Randy Orton looking resilient, there was a bit much going on. It’s like they tried to do a ton of extra stuff and it didn’t click the way it has in other situations. ***

Overall: 4.5/10; Below average. There was potential for this to be better than it was. There are some solid matches (HIAC, Benoit/Booker and the MNM tag), but the rest of the card underwhelmed and they wasted time with some overly long nonsense segments. It also felt longer than three hours, which is never good. Up next on “Random Network Reviews” will be Starrcade 1999!