Why, you ask? Well, even if you didn’t, let’s look at tonight’s slate. We had five matches on Raw this week. One was a divas match, the another involved Hornswoggle, one was for the Intercontinental Championship and the other two had Chris Jericho and Randy Orton choosing each other’s opponents.
Not a completely bad slate of matches on paper. But out of five matches, only two didn’t involve some type of run-in or interference. Two clean matches in the entire show. Hmph.
But I digress, time to point out the best and worst of this week’s episode.
The story between Jericho and WWE Champion Orton continued to build with two week left until the two meet up for the strap.
Jericho was first out tonight, happy that after Raw last week Orton accepted his challenge for Armageddon. Orton soon arrived on scene, however, and told Y2J that he didn’t get the shot because he’d angered Orton or gotten under his skin – but rather because Orton knew he could beat Jericho.
Jericho told Orton that he’d watched him become one of the best WWE Superstars, but that he was also cold, cunning, devious, vicious, etc. – but so was he. Orton and Jericho nearly came to blows two weeks early, but GM William Regal stopped them, offering instead a chance for the two to choose each other’s opponents for matches tonight.
Orton chose Umaga to face Jericho, while Y2J decided to offer the champ another opportunity to taste Sweet Chin Music at the hands of Shawn Michaels.
The match between Umaga and Chris Jericho was first, and upon returning from a break the duo are at ringside with Jericho on the offense. During the break, Y2J had kicked Umaga from the apron to the floor below then dove over the top rope to take the Samoan down.
Jericho soon felt the power of Umaga, however, as he was picked up and hurled out of the ring to the floor. Once he recovered enough to get back in the ring, Jericho felt a hard clothesline and splash from Umaga for a near fall.
Umaga dished out a kick to the head, then locked in a nerve hold to the neck of Jericho. Y2J slowly worked his way up and managed a drop toe hold to send Umaga into the turnbuckle head first. The recovery was short lived, however, as a charging Jericho got a foot to the face.
The Samoan Bulldozer was in heavy attack mode, pounding Jericho down into a corner and measuring for the Samoan Wrecking Ball. Jericho rolled away in time, however, then hit a flying forearm from the top turnbuckle to regain momentum.
Y2J dished out blows and chops while ducking retaliation from Umaga, then finally put Umaga down face-first into the canvas. Next was a Lionsault from Jericho which yielded a two-count.
Once up, Umaga whipped Jericho into the corner only to feel the ring post rather than his opponent, who had dodged the charger. It seemed as though Jericho would have the match in hand when he hit the Code Breaker, but Orton soon ran into the ring and nailed the RKO to end the match in a disqualification.
Move ahead to Orton vs. HBK. Michaels was quickly on the offensive and even looked to hit a fast superkick, but Orton escaped the ring. Shawn pursued, and being second back into the ring felt blows from the champion. The Showstopper quickly recovered and hit a swinging neckbreaker to put Orton down.
After a stomp to the head, HBK put a rising Orton back down with a side-headlock takeover. Orton rolled Michaels over for a pin attempt to no avail. Powering up from the mat, Orton tried to whip Shawn off of the hold, but Michaels held on tight. Orton eventually escaped and hit an elbow to put HBK down.
Orton next went for a suplex, which HBK blocked at first, then went over the top of Orton to land on his feet – only to catch an elbow. Soon, however, Orton’s ankle was reliving bad memories as HBK locked in the ankle lock. Orton managed to pull Michaels over into a pin attempt, after which HBK took Orton right back down into a second ankle lock. This time Orton would seek and find the refuge of the ropes and escape the ring.
After a break, the competitors are in a blow-for-chop exchange, through which Orton gets the upper hand with a kick. The momentum shifted quickly again, though, as Orton found himself clotheslined right over the top rope. HBK pursued and went to hit the Sweet Chin Music, but a dodge from Orton resulted in bad news for the timekeeper who fell victim to the kick.
Orton reentered the ring as Shawn showed some concern for the innocent bystander he’d just creamed. As Michaels returned to the ring, Orton hit him with a kick then a vicious DDT. Orton then stomped away at HBK, then dropped a knee to the head for a near fall.
Eventually, Michaels found the strength to regain momentum with a flying forearm and his signature leap-up from the mat. He then hit an inverted atomic drop followed by a backslide pin for a near fall. Next was a scoop slam for Orton, followed by the big elbow from the top rope.
Just as HBK was tuning up the band, Mr. Kennedy ran to the ring. He gained no advantage, with HBK reacting quickly by jumping over the top to attack. The two brawled into the crowd, letting Orton win the match by count-out.
Declaring himself winner on the mic, Orton soon discovered he wasn’t finished as Jericho came running out to avenge the RKO he’d received earlier. Y2J tackled Orton and dished out blows. Jericho went to lock in the Lion Tamer, but Orton escaped through the ropes to live another day.
Well, I’ve already harped on this. And I normally defend the occassional run-in. But having a night where the majority of matches end in run-ins or interference is a bit much for me.
Mr. Kennedy, who I think is great on a mic, was unfortunately involved in a silly angle tonight. He brought out some “stars” from HBK’s past – all sad imposters – including Diesel (Kevin Nash), Razor Ramone (Scott Hall), Marty Jannetty and even an imposter of HBK himself. They all had something degrading to say to the imposter HBK, but I felt relieved to see HBK come out and superkick the lot of them. Well, all except for “himself,” who he stared down briefly before the “fake-B-K” wisely chose to leave.
I was also disappointed with the Snitsky vs. Hardy match for the Intercontinental Championship. I mean, come on folks. If we’re going to have a title match, and especially one where the challenger is supposed to be a nearly unstoppable monster (granted, I’m not a big fan of Snitsky), can we actually spend some time in the ring?
Snitsky used the power game to control most of the match, but it seemed as if it were no time at all before Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind and Swanton Bomb to win the match.
Then the golden opportunity came to finally turn HHH heel again as he came out to “save” Hardy from a post-match beat-down by Snitzky, who dropped his chair and retreated at the sight of HHH’s sledge. The Game looked as though he were really itching to use his favorite toy on Hardy, but instead offered his hand and exchanged a few words before departing.
This after Regal made the HHH vs. Hardy match at Armageddon a No. 1 Contender’s Match and saying HHH had lost his edge because he was fueled by hatred, something he didn’t have for Hardy.
Well, maybe next week folks.
Short and sweet, I’m giving it to Orton and HBK. The two were putting on good match until it turned into chaos.
– Maria and Mickie James were defeated by Melina and Beth Phoenix in tag-team action. Phoenix pinned James clean, sending a message before their title match at Armageddon.
– During a backstage segment with Coach and Vince, names thrown out for next week’s 15th anniversary special included Hulk Hogan, Trish Stratus, Mick Foley, Eric Bishoff and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
– With Finlay gone, Vince put his “son” in a handicap no-disqualifcation match against Coach and Carlito. Undaunted, Hornswoggle quickly made a phone call. Then, after coming out for his match, he had Lillian Garcia announce that he’d hired protection, the APA! Ron Simmons and JBL came out and made short work of Coach and Carlito, even assisting Hornie with a tadpole splash to win the match. Afterwards, JBL did promos for just about every television appearance he makes during a week, leaving a frustrated Simmons to offer his trademark “Damn!”
– On next week’s episode, VKM says he will officially name the “greatest superstar in WWE history.”
– Stephanie McMahon showed up and begged her father not to come next week because many of the people invited didn’t care for him. She pointed out that he’d been beat up on Raw more than any other star. Vince said he loved confrontation, and if anyone had a problem with him being on his own show they could go straight to hell.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to email@example.com … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!