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PostSubject: 2004 Discussion   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:19 pm

Discuss Raw in 2004.
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:47 am

Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Raw 2/16/04)
-Really good match. I loved Benoit just beating the hell out of Shawn at the beginning. Haven't seen him manhandled like that in a long time. Shawn gave it back to him with some chops(a little better than usual, but still weak), and elbows to the back of the head that looked good. They killed time in the middle with some abdominal stretches and sleeper holds that went on little too long, and eventually bored me. Benoit worked his back and Shawn didn't no sell it or nip up at any point, so I give him credit there. Finishing stretch was quite good, and built on spots they teased earlier in the match. The actual finish was ok - it set up the 3 way aspect well, but I don't think Benoit should of been losing to anyone at this point. This will most likely be in the bottom quarter of my list. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:05 am

Randy Orton & Batista vs. Chris Benoit & Edge (WWE Raw 5/17/04)
-Good match, just won't be on my list. ***1/2

Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Batista & Triple H vs. Chris Benoit, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels & Shelton Benjamin (WWE Raw 4/12/04)
-Unique, fun match. Hot crowd too. The opening section with Flair bumping and flopping for everyone, including a good chop battle with Benoit, may have been the highlight of the whole thing. Not much of a central theme here, just a lot of good action. Shelton played FIP for a few minutes. It was really awkward at first, but it got good eventually. Mixed feelings on the finish - On one hand, it did a good job of making the "Evolution is barred from ringside" stip of Orton/Foley at Backlash mean something, but on the other hand, Orton should not have been pinned here in the way he was imo. Not sure if this will make my list, but I figure people here will enjoy it. ***1/2

Randy Orton vs. Edge (WWE Raw 7/19/04)
-Interesting match. If I'm correct, both guys were in the middle of changing their face/heel alignment, so this seemed a little odd at times. In many ways, they trimmed the fat off the Vengeance match, and this flowed a lot better. Orton was even more vicious and focused on offense, and it was awesome. Even giving him a backdrop directly onto the black barrier on the outside as they went to the first commercial. He twists and grinds Edge's face with his hands and nails, and Edge starts bleeding from the mouth. Edge's performance here was a little better too, and the build to his spear was tighter. Really good match, better than Vengeance in some ways, but not in memorability and importance. Should be on my list. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:06 am

Chris Benoit vs. Kane (WWE Raw 6/28/04)
Well......Benoit had better title matches with Kane than he did with Triple H in '04. Draw your own conclusions. I could see something like this being my #100 pick. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:08 am

Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs. Batista & Triple H (WWE Raw 12/6/04)
-Good match, but the people were chanting "we want Flair" a couple times and he wasn't even in the match. I liked the way they teased tension between HHH and Batista here. ***

Trish Stratus vs. Lita (WWE Raw 12/6/04)
-A bit overrated. One of the better WWE womens matches ever, though. Lita almost killing herself with the tope was a pretty great spot. **3/4

Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Raw 5/3/04)
-Better than their other singles match in February. This had a big match, PPV feel. Some good angry lock ups at the beginning. They do some random stuff on the mat for a few minutes. Shawn seems motivated to have a good match here, even busting out some roll throughs on early Crossface attempts, an awesome looking Lion Tamer, and a moonsault to the floor later. His chops are still present though . He controls the first 20 minutes (!) or so, and it's a lot better than I would normally suspect after hearing that. Benoit takes a pretty large beating and even blades. He only ever really does suplexes, chops, and Crossface attempts when he's on offense though, so it's disappointing for me in the same way as a lot of his other '04 work is. He does pull out a BRIDGING German at one point however - how many times has he done that in the WWE? Shitty finish to a great Raw main event. ***3/4

Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Batista vs. Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Edge (Elimination Match, WWE Raw 6/14/04)
-As a 30 minute elimination match on free WWE TV, this really sticks out. It's better than I expected and should do fairly well on my ballot. There's a lot to like here, even Batista is fun in his role. A bunch of good workers busting their asses for the hell of it in a long TV main event....sorta felt like '92 WCW. ***3/4

Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Batista vs. Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Edge (WWE Raw 8/2/04)
-Same 6 guys as the previous match, but even better. One thing that stuck out to me is how Chris Jericho is like a totally different person these days than he his here. It's really great to see someone evolve like that. A lot of fun stuff in this match. I think the key to really enjoying most of these Evolution tags is whether or not you like over the hill Flair. I do, but his sloppiness does take me out of it sometimes, so I can certainly see why someone wouldn't love a lot of this stuff. The big thing here was to get Orton over as a threat to Benoit's title, and to set up the Edge/Jericho feud - and they did. Great finish to a very good match. ***3/4

Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton (WWE Raw 8/16/04)
-My memory was a little foggy about this match, but good lord is it great. All I can say is holy shit at the ass kicking Benoit hands out for the first half of this match. He really tests Orton here and makes sure he's man enough to be world champion. I love it. Orton's able to escape the punishment for a brief moment by rolling to the outside. They played off of Benoit's insane tope from the night before nicely here. Orton's finally able to comeback when he drop kicks him off the apron and into the barricade. Like the night prior, Orton whips him into the ring post and goes on offense. He also does a very good job of selling the leg that Benoit worked on for the rest of the match. Randy eventually gets down and sinks in perhaps his GREATEST headlock spot ever. He wrenched on it, cranked it, squeezed it, worked for leverage, spun around, yelled, etc. You really have to see this. Some more painful looking neck work by Orton, and they mix in some good hope spots. The crowd is really into it by this point. Benoit makes a comeback after Orton misses a crossbody off the tope rope. Orton takes some of the better looking bumps I've seen for Benoit's Germans here. Benoit locks in the Crossface, and even has a counter to the counter Orton used the night before to break the hold. Awesome. Great nearfall, and good finish. Memorable post match. It had great heat, but watching this now while knowing how badly they screwed this up is funny. They could of ran Benoit/Orton for another 6 months and I'm sure no one would of complained. Summerslam had the great booking behind it, but this was the better match.. Top 40, maybe even 30. A very high ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:09 am

Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton (2-2-04)
Pretty basic stuff from both guys. I loved the ref’s sell of the Orton dropkick. Looked like someone let out his parachute in a wind tunnel. Austin coming down with a new ref on his four wheeler and loading up the dead one was kind of funny. I really liked Orton’s chin lock here. He just grinded Shawn’s neck on his knee and it actually looked a tad painful. This goes about 11 minutes, and as I said, it was fine for what it was.

**1/2

Chris Benoit vs. Ric Flair (2-9-04)
This was pretty much Flair challenging Benoit to see what he was all about. Loved the chops on the outside. When you get Rasheed Wallace marking out you know you’ve done something. Said chops busted open Flair’s chest within a couple shots. Flair is able to hang with Benoit, and he even gets in the Figure Four, which made Jericho tap the week prior. Benoit is able to get in the Crossface which is sold as death due to it mangling Mark Henry the week before. About 9 minutes of really entertaining stuff from both guys. Even at his old age, when Flair has the right opponent he can look good.

***
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:10 am

Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels (2-16-04)
Both guys fight with a point to prove. Benoit wants to show that he belongs with the big boys while Shawn wants to prove that he belongs in the main event. Benoit ate a Super Kick the week prior, so he comes out pissed off. They go back and forth for almost 20 minutes, and being that both are two of my favorite guys ever, I was really into this. I know Buzz said that Benoit shouldn’t have lost, but I felt that Shawn going over the way he did was the right move. He really had no right to be in the main event at XX, but after beating the number 1 contender right there in the middle of the ring, he now had an argument. But, yeah, the match was fantastic.

****

Shawn Michaels & Chris Benoit vs. Batista & Randy Orton (3-1-04)
The roles are set early as Michaels and Benoit can’t stand each other and Orton and Batista don’t really care about the opposition’s feelings. Michaels plays FIP for a bit until Benoit comes in and pretty much wins the match in a matter of moments, only for Shawn to be pushed on Benoit while he’s applying the Crossface. Tempers flare, but the heels pounce to take back control. Orton is the cocky dick of the team and Big Dave is the cool bad ass. Late in the match, Benoit actually saves Michaels after Batista knocks him out. Benoit is in control, but as he is about to win again, Michaels tries to return the favor but knocks him on his balls on the turnbuckle while hitting Orton off the apron. Michaels tries to finish, but Benoit is no one’s mistake and he hits the flying headbutt on Michaels as he goes for a cover. About 14 minutes long and quite the interesting storyline advancer. Everything here worked well.

***1/2

Eddie Guerrero vs. HHH (3-22-04)
Not really any thing to note as this was pretty basic for 11 minutes. Still interesting being that it was the first and only time they met.

**1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:11 am

Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley & Shelton Benjamin vs. Evolution (4-12-04)
I’m a big fan of this. Flair was awesome in the beginning as the faces all got their licks in. Loved HHH getting tagged in and flipping out towards Benoit. The faces pretty much squash the heels until Shelton makes a rookie mistake and takes a beating as a result. Hot tag leads to the usual finisher palooza. I thought this all went together nicely. One of the best matches of the year.

****

Chris Benoit & Edge vs. Batista & Ric Flair (4-19-04)
Edge has a broken hand, so that becomes the target. Benoit is on a roll though so when he gets in he seemingly finishes it, but HHH distracts him and we get another FIP segment. Edge eventually gets back in and wins the belts. Simple yet effective.

***1/4

HHH, Randy Orton & Batista vs. Edge, Tajiri & Shelton Benjamin (5-3-04)
I really enjoyed the Edge/HHH interactions here. They had this intense chemistry that really told the story of HHH being afraid of Edge’s potential. Seemed to foreshadow a future program between the two later in the year. I just want to say that Tajiri is a fabulous tag team wrestler, whether it be as the FIP or the hot tag. He’s good in this and he was great in the matches tagging with Eddie in Summer 03. His tries to flip around but Batista is fucking big so he takes Tajiri’s head off. Orton is also really good here, just pulling Tajiri by his hair to the other side of the ring. Another Edge victory over Orton, which makes Edge the number one contender for the IC title the next week. Just a really good match that didn’t take away from the main event later on.

***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:11 am

Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels (5-3-04)
This match felt personal. Pretty much everything they did was intense and aggressive. Shawn is in control for the majority of it. Loved the spot where he body slammed Benoit, started heading to the top rope, remembered their last match where Benoit moved from the top rope elbow and then went back and slammed him again. Really showed that Shawn was taking things carefully and Benoit’s endurance was second to none. Benoit even does the same thing with another German suplex so he can hit the headbutt, but alas he misses. Shawn is pretty much on fire. Benoit had a good run, but all you need is one bad night against a great opponent. Benoit takes ALL of the top rope Moonsault to the floor and gets rammed into the turnbuckle trying the cover up his knees. Shawn even busts out the running dropkick (which, as simple a move as it is, I haven’t seen in years) and even hits the Teardrop Suplex. DESPERATION. Benoit gets a shoulder up for everything though. Maybe Benoit can’t be beat. They battle with each other as the ref gets bumped. Shawn audibly yells at Benoit to get up (It’s a trick! Don’t do it Chris!) and Benoit walks into Sweet Chin Music. HHH interferes and Benoit retains. Shitty finish. I still feel that they could have had Benoit go over clean and had HHH attack Shawn post match during the handshake and it would have accomplished the same thing. Still, a great match. Probably the best TV match of that year.

****

Randy Orton vs. Edge (5-10-04)
Hell yeah, didn’t even know they had another match. Orton is out to prove that he’s on Edge’s level, so he comes out alone. Edge pretty much beats the ever loving shit out of him and really attacks Orton’s back, so Flair struts his way to the ring. The distraction leads to Orton’s control segment. Orton really synchs in a Tazmission variation to keep Edge down. It soon becomes a stalemate as the super stiff shots start to ring in. Edge even hits a Spear resembling the one he’d hit on him in their April 2007 match as he nails Orton in the back and Randy flies onto the guardrail. I loved the spot where Edge hit the Edgecution and Orton kicked him in the face to kick out. Edge inches closer to the title win, so Naitch gets on the apron and accidentally eats a Spear. Orton retains soon after. No surprise, a really good match from these two.

***1/4

Chris Jericho vs. Christian (5-10-04)
Just a surprisingly hate filled cage match. Chirstian bled and got injured for 4 months. I loved when Trish came in and got put in the Walls, only for Christian to just leave her and try to escape. A worthy blowoff match.

***1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:14 am

Chris Benoit Vs Ric Flair - Raw 9th February 2004
Gotta agree with Viva on this match, its just 9 minutes or so of fun and entertainment. Nothing spectacular, nothing innovative, hell, nothing more than suplexes, chops and the odd submission move tbh . But when you get 2 guys of this calibre, and you happen to be a huge fan of both men and their styles, then its hard to not like this match. Benoit is constantly great, and Flair is still pretty good for his age, and Benoit's selling really helps make Flair look better than he actually is at that time. *** for the match, and no doubt virtually everyone on here will like it .

And off topic here, but I watched the contract signing between HHH and Benoit that takes place after the match, and DAMN, HHH is fucking awesome on the mic during it. Benoit basically doesn't speak, and HHH carries the whole thing absolutely PERFECTLY.

Shawn Michaels Vs Chris Benoit - Raw 16th February 2004
A fucking awesome TV match right here. Loved how they played off the altercation between the two at the contract signing the week before, with HBK tuning up the band during their stare down at the start of the match, showing Benoit that he is just one kick away from victory. Benoit slapping Shawn, then aggressively taking him down and punching the fuck out of him showed HBK than Benoit is pissed off and determined to win. A nice way to create a mini-feud of sorts between the two going into WrestleMania. Both guys do a nice job of wearing each other down, and the ending sequence is fuckign awesome. Benoit counters SCM into a crossface attempt, Shawn escapes. Benoit locks in the Sharpshooter, Shawn escapes. Benoit counters SCM AGAIN, lands the triple German's. Before Benoit can go for the headbutt, HHH comes out, and the distraction allows Shawn to nail Benoit with SCM finally, and this one is all over. Benoit looked strong throughout, with HBK getting a cleanish win, which still kept Benoit looking strong IMO as he only hit it due to a distraction. So Benoit was kept looking strong, and like Viva said, the win helped HBK have some sort of claim to being included in the WHC match at WM. **** for this one, and I can't wait to see their other match from a few months later... shame its on one of the episodes I have missing from 2004
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:15 am

Chris Benoit & Shawn Michaels Vs Batista & Randy Orton - Raw March 1st 2004
I really enjoyed this match, as it had a fantastic blend of storyline advancement and match quality. Benoit and Michaels went back and forth during the match, inadvertently breaking up covers and hitting each other etc, and every time this happened Orton and Batista were smart enough to take advantage, and in the end it was the dissension between Benoit and Shawn that finally cost them the match. Evolution came out looking better than they went in, and the WMXX main event got some more fuel on the fire. Great booking! ***3/4

Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley & Shelton Benjamin Vs Evolution - Raw April 12th 2004
Ok, WTF. Seriously, WTF? Is that Mick Foley wearing JEANS? Pretty incredible 8 man tag match. The crowd are fantastic, and all 8 men are as well. Nice hot start with the faces beating the shit out of Flair, good control segment from Evolution, following by a chaotic and hot finish too. When I saw Viva's rating for this match, I was expecting it to be similar to the big Dallas tag match from 00, where I think he is crazy and rate it a lot lower . However, this time he is right on the money, **** all the way.
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:16 am

Randy Orton Vs Chris Benoit - Raw 16th August 2004
The night after SS, and these 2 go at it one on one again! Benoit is pissed that he lost the title, and completely dominates Orton for the first 5 minutes or so of the match. Throwback to their SS match with Benoit trying his best to lock in the Sharpshooter, and Orton preventing it each time. Orton ends up on the outside, and it looks like Benoit is going for another suicide dive, but Orton moves out of the way, showing he has learnt something from the previous night. Benoit being the grizzled veteran is able to put on the breaks though, and instead hits a dropkick from the apron! Nice back and forth action for the rest of the match, with Orton controlling parts, actually making good use of the headlock (for a change ), and Benoit using his awesome offence. No clean ending for this match though, with Benoit finally locking in the Crossface, countering numerous reversal attempts from Orton, only for Evolution to show up and get him to break the hold and walk into an RKO. Every bit as good as their SS match, though I did prefer their PPV match just a little bit more. ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:17 am

Chris Benoit & Edge vs. La Resistance (5-31-04)
Crazy ass backwards crowd here. Benoit and Edge (the two Canadians) get massive heat and La Resistance (an American and Frenchman) are over to the nth degree. Damn French Canadians. This is pretty basic stuff, but with the added hot crowd it makes this standout. Grenier and Conway actually win clean as a sheet too.

**3/4

Randy Orton vs. Shelton Benjamin (5-31-04)
I really like their Bad Blood match from a couple weeks later (curious how Buzz feels about that one) and this is how it came about. Match starts out like you'd imagine, and then they conk heads and Orton gets busted open hard way. Their characters match up nicely in this as Orton, who considers himself to be the most talented and gifted athlete in the game, can't match up to Shelton's athleticism, thus he's forced to heel up it like a smarmy douche. Loved when he headed to the back and Shelton chased him, only for Orton to simply turn around and punch him in the face. Orton gets way too cocky after that and eats a T-Bone suplex when he throws him back in the ring. Not on the Bad Blood match's level, but still a really entertaining 10 minute match. I might actually be underrating this now that I think about it.

***

Chris Benoit vs. La Resistance (6-7-04)
Benoit is barely able to hold off the French team, but for the most part he's just getting killed out there, so Edge runs in and it's a D.Q. Bischoff comes out and this leads to....

Benoit & Edge vs. La Resistance & Kane
Benoit is out so Edge takes his beating. Once Benoit comes in and faces off against Kane it becomes fucking money though. Great interaction that actually made me WANT to see their match at the PPV. Good booking there. Match is nothing special.

**1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:17 am

Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton (6-7-04)
Never really felt like they were trying to have a good match. Basically this was Orton's job to wear down Shawn 6 days before the PPV with Evolution watching up in the sky box. When Orton gets in trouble, Batista calmly makes his way down to the ring through the crowd. Then Big Dave simply walks up to Shawn on the outside of the ring and rams his face into the ring post like it's just another day and Shawn is busted open. That was pretty a pretty awesome little segment. Just small things like that make Batista look like a legit bad ass. No surprise he started getting over without having mic time or quality matches. Evolution was pretty much being booked perfectly around this time. Anyway, Shawn takes his punishment and comes back for the win. Then he runs through the crowd and he and HHH brawl in the sky box to go home. Not really a fabulous match but a great segment.
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:19 am

Triple H Vs Chris Benoit - Iron Man Match
Only the second time I have ever seen this, and while I do think it is better than I remembered it, I am going to lower my rating. Reason being that I think I overrated it just a little back then . I gave it ****1/4 then, but I would struggle to give a match like this that kind of rating these days... and that's what happened here lol. For an hour match (well, less with breaks), this is easy as fuck to sit through. One thing I really thought was great about the match is how there are no boring parts to it. No long winded control segments, just non stop action with submission holds and the occasional count out attempt passing for rest periods. So unlike a certain other Iron Man Match *cough*HBK/Bret*cough*, this match is constantly great all the way through. Unfortunately, the match suffers overall because, well, nothing stands out. At all. Nothing is spectacular, everything just seems like what you would expect from a HHH/Benoit match. The leg work from Benoit, and the back/sternum work from HHH are both very well done, and both actually lead somewhere (aka getting some wins) which I really liked, its just that they didn't pull out anything special. That, along with the crappy Eugene end don't do the match any favours. However, keeping the action as good as it was (don't get me wrong from what I said above, the action was pretty great) for that length of time really earns it some points in my book. I still much prefer the Angle/Lesnar and HHH/Rock Iron Man matches to this one, and from what I remember of the HBK/Bret match I would probably put this one ahead of it (I should give that match another watch soon though as I currently rate it higher). ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:44 am

WWE Championship Match, RAW 28/6/2004: Chris Benoit vs. Kane
Great stuff here. The stipulation in this match was Benoit could only win by submission. What I loved about this match was that both men for the majority of the time are on their toes and wrestle a quicker pace then what you traditionally see in big men vs. small me matches . Benoit wrestles very intelligently, I would compare it to Bret's matches with Diesel, both wrestle smartly and find innovative ways to try and take the bigger men down. But the only difference is Bret is more methodical and dictates the pace much slower, Benoit is always on his feet trying and works at a much more faster pace using his speed advantage over Kane. Both styles work effectively. Kane also does well here, feeding into Benoit's ability and speed and showing the frustration of not being able to keep this on a ground level where he can inflict some damage. A lot of nice spots that fit well with the story and Benoit's desperation and fear of losing, with a drop toe hold on the steel steps, and Benoit dropping Kane's arm off the rope as hes about to be chokeslammed. The finish has Kane tapping out to the crossface. Really good stuff here. Highly reccomended. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:45 am

Orton/Flair/Batista vs. Benoit/Jericho/Edge (6/14/04)
Love this match. One of my personal favorites from this year of Raw. Significant being that it was about 40 minutes on free TV, and it went well over the run-over period that WWE is allowed. It pretty much starts out as most Raw 04 tags do (uh...awesome?) with the faces dominating the heels until we go to commercial. HHH is on the outside coaching team Evolution due to him being involved in a 45 minute HIAC the night before. The heels are being massacred (Flair in particular, he takes about 100 chops and does like 20 Flair Flops....it's fantastic) so they keeping switching out of the match until they get a matchup they like. That matchup is Batista's huge arm upside Benoit's head. Benoit takes his beating, which is always a fucking win in my book, until he makes the HAWT TAG~! Batista has been giving the blunt of the punishment to Benoit, so he remains in the match because he's big and strong and....eliminated. The faces hit the Spear--->Flying Headbutt--->Lionsault combo to send Big Dave out. The seeds of Batista's dominance have been planted, but he's still a little green, so he was overmatched in the end. Moments later, Orton hits the sickest RKO ever on Jericho while Jericho had the Walls locked on Flair. He catches him and kind of fades to the left right into where the camera is positioned. Might look awesome with 3-D glasses on. Ric Flair's job here is to be martyr to the faces and allow Orton to come in and win. Flair takes a beating but can't be put down. Orton hits another RKO (see how they're building the legitimacy of the finisher and Orton) on Edge this time and it's 2 on 1 with Benoit on the low end. He quickly makes Flair tap, but this is what Evolution wanted. A fresh Orton vs. a beat up Benoit who had to wrestle twice the night before. Orton again tries the RKO, but Benoit reverses into the Crossface, which Orton rolls out of before being locked into the Sharpshooter and tapping with HHH flipping out on the outside. Orton fell, but he eliminated 2 guys and if he got the RKO on Benoit it would have been over. Plus he avoided the Crossface. If Benoit wasn't so good then Orton might have been able to win, but Benoit struck first. Orton was still young at this point and his day where he would be better than Benoit would soon be here, but for now, the World Champ stands tall. Uh yeah, great match, which isn't really a surprise anymore.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:46 am

Orton/Flair/Batista vs. Benoit/Jericho/Edge (6/14/04)
So yeah, this is pretty awesome. Not quite as long as Viva claims it to be (its 20 fucking minutes, not 40!!! ), but just as awesome.
The more and more I see of Evolution, the more I love them. They just worked so well as a team, and with the experience of Flair from his Horsemen days, they work better than the majority of stables throughout the years (way ahead of the likes of DX, NWO, Nation, Corporation etc). One part in particular that I loved was when Flair was taking those German suplexes from Benoit, and before he gets the third one he shouts for Orton to get in the ring, so Orton charges in and prevents Flair from taking another. Everyone knows about the SD 6 from 02-03, but is there such a thing as the Raw 6? If there is, these might be the guys. So many tag matches throughout the year revolved around these guys, and so many of those matches were awesome. Less about the MOVES~! and more about the tag team/stable psychology. Batista, while getting eliminated first, was made to look like gold as he took out everyone for the majority of his time in the match, and it even took all 3 guys hitting finishers to send him to the back. Flair was more about putting the other guys over with his crazy antics and awesome selling, and Orton looked like the future world champion he would soon become, as it was his RKO that took out both Jericho and Edge, and very nearly ended Benoit too.

Rating: ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:47 am

Triple H vs. Shelton Benjamin- RAW 3.29.2004
Excellent stuff here, Triple H really makes Shelton look great here, not in terms of a 'carry job' sense but in terms of giving Shelton the chance to show what hes made of, it feels like a test for Shelton and he pulls it off. The match almost reminds me of the Bret/Kid match, where you can feel Shelton's desire to want to make an impact and what better way then to score a victory over the current Champion Triple H. Shelton works the match like a pro, knowing when to tease combacks and making them valuable and mean something at just the right moment. This is probably my favorite Shelton performance, the pacing is great as the match flows fluidly and smoothly as they transition from methodical pace to switching gears in bringing the excitement and faster pace that gets the audience on their feet but that also serves the story of Shelton proving that he deserves to be in the main event. I also like Triple H's work, such as the little slap on the face in the begining which seems to imply 'welcome to my world' as he shows Shelton that hes the Best in the business. Shelton returns the favor as he outwrestles Triple H in the opening moments as if to say hes not intimidated and he looks forward to the challenge. Triple H is also effectively grasping his veteran instincts throughout the match, knowing that he has to keep Shelton grounded and off his feet, otherwise Shelton's speed advantage could potentially be dangerous. Overall really good stuff here, I wish Shelton would give more of these kinds of performances because the talent is definately there. ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:47 am

Raw 2004 (05/17) - Randy Orton & Batista vs Edge & Chris Jericho
This rules the planet quite simply. The crowd are roaring, the stakes are high and this one feels special. The atmosphere and heat in this one is amazing. It really feels like must watch television and a tag contest that means something. Edge & Orton wanna rip each other's ball sacks off, Batista's out to kill fools and Jericho's got that burning look in his eyes. Each man gives their all in this one and every little move is hit with that extra intensity, with that extra "zing" if you get what I mean. See - the reason all of these tags work so well is because the entire concept of Evolution vs the rest was delivered flawlessly throughout the year. They're an awesome stable full of different characters and styles who are all hateable assholes in one way or another. But they just seem "big" as a stable and the way they are booked throughout the year makes the audience wanna pay to see them get what's coming to them. To sum up, everything during the year involving Evolution emotionally invests you, feels important and creates and absolutely enthralling dynamic which as a member of the audience sucks you into the match so much. Anyway, each man plays their roles perfectly in this. Batista's a wrecking machine working his ass off, giving a performance that would make his "revolutionised" 2007 ownards self proud. He delivers everything very well and they create the powerhouse dominance theme superbly. Meanwhile both Orton and Batista cheat throughout, double team, taunt to the crowd and play the role of cocky youngsters extremely well. Not to mention Jericho and Edge gel together super smoothly to create an exciting team full of guts, speed and intensity. Jericho gets EATEN with a mega Batista clothesline halfway through and has to be taken to the back. This leads to an awesome handicap showdown with a great climax, using the "odds against the babyface" formula. The pace is frenetic, the nearfalls are plentiful and the drama is as good as it gets. Everything's built up fantastically to this gripping finale. Evolution get depserate and have to resort to cheating to win. The heels are left with the audience wanting them dead despite recognising their immense talent, Edge looks like gold and a hell of a lot has been achieved. Superb stuff.

***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:48 am

Raw 2004 (07/05) - Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho
Title's on the line - with the long term, arrogant champion defending against the beloved home town fan favourite. Sound familiar? It should. Sort of like a mini replica of HBK/HHH 2003. Hell, Batista even ends up playing the role of Flair as he comes out to ringside once Orton is in a whole lot of trouble. It's structured very similar too - with the hometown hero dominant shine period to open, the methodical heel beatdown targeting a body part in the middle and the desperate, frenetic climax at the end. It's really similar in terms of quality too. HBK/HHH might be the better match due to more time, a more comprehensive approach and a greater significance/set of intangibles - but this one just about has it trumped action wise. It continues to build up Orton as World Title status, makes Jericho look the best he has in years and includes two of the best singles performances either man would put on that year. It absolutely DEMOLISHES their No Mercy 2007 encounter. Jericho's on fire in this and the crowd adore him throughout. He plays to them constantly and has them in the palm of his hand. This is one of my favourite Jericho babyface performances. Nice storytelling as Jericho is unstoppable in the beginning and is dishing out the beating of a lifetime to the shocked Orton - so stable mate Batista comes out to ensure there will be no title change taking place tonight. Batista gets involved straight away, smashing Jericho's arm against the ring post to create a focal point for the middle section of the match to be centred around. Orton works it expertly and utilises a sound strategy to get him back on top. The arm work isn't meaningless, as later in the match when Jericho is close to winning Orton sidesteps out of the way, leaving Jericho's arm flying into the ring post. There's plenty of trash talking, hair pulling, Batista interference and classic heel mechanisms incorporated too. Orton here was far more impressive as a worker than what we usually see nowadays. The finale is excellent and psychologically sound too, with Orton trying to do anything to escape with his title while Jericho fights through the pain of his arm and showcases resillience while he goes in a frenzy near the end. Ultimately, Jericho proves to be the better man and has Orton in the centre of the ring trapped in the Walls of Jericho, so Batista decides enough is enough. He blatantly interferes and the cocky heel escapes with the title that was rightfully Jericho's. Great, great match. It truly does rival HBK/HHH from the year previous in a lot of regards, but the fact that it falls shorter in importance, uniqueness and booking advantages means it doesn't quite have the tools necessary to go that next step into 'fantastic' territory. It gets damn close though.

***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:18 am

Raw 2004 - Randy Orton vs Rob Van Dam
This is an Armageddon rematch for the title. This time RVD's majorly pissed off. Orton's been putting him through misery and he wants to tear the youngster apart. This time Orton's got no Flair to protect him - he's gotta get down and dirty and FIGHT. And fight he does. RVD comes out with more strike orientated offence in the beginning which suits the story of the match. He's not as flashy. He's all about inflicting pain on Orton and even his flashy moves seem to have more of a purpose than usual - obliterating Orton rather than just being done for the sake of it.

RVD smashes Orton legit face first into the ring post before Orton can cover up. NASTY shot. He continues to go on a frenzy and Orton bleeds the hard way. Now, the next part is awesome. Orton sees his own blood and lifts it to another level. He goes into a crazed state. RVD's smashed his pretty little face up and it brings out a never before seen side in Orton. He hits everything from this point on with 100% viciousness. He's just relentless, crazy and psychopathic with his offence. It's great psychology too and gives this match a very unique feel. His offence is typical 04 Orton greatness and RVD sells his ass off.

We get some satisfying RVD payoff spots at the end and a big feel of chaos as both men fire on all cylinders. Orton hits a sick DDT from the turnbuckle and that's all she wrote. This one had a meaningful story, continued to make Orton look like gold and included one of RVD's better story focused matches. It's well worth watching, works some fresh elements flawlessly and gives us yet another well developed title match full of depth and HATE. Hidden gem here.

***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:20 am

Raw 2004 - Chris Jericho, Edge & Chris Benoit vs Ric Flair, Randy Orton & Batista (Elimination)
Actually, Cal, you were wrong. It's not 20 minutes long, it's 30 minutes. And 30 minutes of greatness. Like how the SD 02 fourway seems to be the showcase match for that period, this tag feels like one huge demonstration of what made Raw great during this time period. All the same stuff applies here as in my other Evolution tag review - as in what made all these tags work and feel special. It's just an awesome rendition of stable wars at its finest - with the good guys teaming up just for the sake of standing up to the heel bullies. The action is top notch and as you'd expect with all the time it got - it has plenty of depth and a heap of material too. There's the usual heels cheating and working together, awesome babyface shine periods and payback spots, isolation tactics, nearfalls, twists and turns and intense beatdowns. Like viva said, the running over time thing did make this one seem very meaningful, special and makes it standout from the crowd. There was a score to settle and they weren't going to cut any corners in giving the audience a memorable war. Orton looked like an absolute star in there the whole time. It featured 6 great performances. Batista was great in his role and the psychology in them all needing to work together to eliminate the biggest threat was great. Then the heels just tried to flat out survive at all costs. Flair stooged brilliantly and played an entertaining character. Only problem is they redid the same sequences with him a million times because of his limitations. So he was exposed here over this long match and it got repetitive. Still, this was physical as all hell and will probably make my list. The showdown at the end was great and the climax felt like it went forever from the last 4 people remaining onwards - in a good way too. It never dragged and made all 6 men look great in one way or another. There's not many 6 mans I've watched that are better than this, and the elimination stip added so much story, psychology and focus throughout the match. The story constantly evolved and the match went from strength to strength as you never knew what was going to happen next. I truly do admire the elimination tag concept and they worked it superbly here. Now that I think about it, this is pushing very close to four stars. It's right up there anyway.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:12 am

Benoit vs. Kane (6/28/04)
FUCK ME, this was great. Not only is it easily the best Kane match I’ve ever seen, but it’s one of the best TV matches from Raw this year. I seriously can’t think of a Kane match with more consistent heat than this one since the 90s. Kane came off looking super legit throughout, even though he’s never really a guy who fans buy as a threat to the title. The stipulation was perfect for the whole “Benoit-fights-the-odds” story they were going for. A really strong payoff finish too.

***3/4

Orton vs. Edge (7/19/04)
Match was about half as long as the Vengeance one, and I still say it’s a little better. Felt like a big deal main eventing Raw, and the way they laid it out, it was built like a really good WWE Title match. Crowd was in it for the majority of it and both guys looked like future main eventers, which you could tell was the whole point of it.

***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:12 am

20 Man Battle Royale for #1 Contendership at Summerslam (7/26/04)
Easily the best battle royale I’ve ever seen. Nice little stories going on throughout like the team of Edge and Jericho uniting to stop Evolution. I’m also a mark for the big man showdown that used to always take place in these, and Kane and Batista had one here. The Jericho/Orton finale was great. Not as good as Angle/Eddie from January in the SD Rumble imo, but great for what it was. I’d easily take the SD Rumble over this in terms of enjoyment, but this was still fucking great for the type of match is was.

***1/2

HHH vs. Benoit (7/26/04)
Cal really hit it on the head in his review of this. Everything they do is really good, it’s just that there’s something holding it back from achieving greatness. They wrestled a perfectly acceptable opening portion of the match and then transition from Benoit working over HHH’s leg to HHH working over Benoit’s torso. Everything that is done is executed crisply and smartly. The body work is paid off greatly, as you would always hope. Benoit goes down by 2 falls, but makes a comeback to tie it out of sheer will and determination. This leads to Evolution coming out and Benoit getting busted open because of it (blood can be so important to a match, as demonstrated here). All seems lost until Eugene comes out and Benoit escapes by the skin of his teeth. Again, everything done was totally fine but there just isn’t a certain intangible to make it memorable. This just happens to be a great match that gets a lot of time. Still one of the best matches of the show’s year, but it leaves you wanting more.

***3/4
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