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 2004 Discussion

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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:07 am

HHH, Randy Orton & Batista v Edge, Tajiri & Shelton Benjamin (RAW, 5/3/04)
- Helmsley looks doughy as Hell here. Not too far off Dick Murdoch levels of pasty, obviously subbing the beer belly for the "I'm currently cycling off the 'roids" belly. This was a blast. Tajiri and Batista really stood out as my favourites. Tajiri's awesome as the little shitkicker that comes in as a house o' fire and cleans up, then he tries his springboard elbow and Dave KILLS HIM THE FUCK DEAD. Really great cut-off spot. There's another moment where he forearm smashes him in the kidneys and it sounded totally brutal. Back to Tajiri: he hits a couple amazing kicks in this; the first is a back kick right to Orton's chin, and the second is out of this weird ass bridge from nowhere right to the side of Orton's head. Edge didn't really annoy me here. He wins a fist fight against Helmsley after five minutes of having said fist stomped to shit, but whatever, '04 Edge is still probably the least annoying or vanilla-y version of Edge I can think of. Fuck it though, Dave and Tajiri run the show and I loved it. ***1/2

Edge v Randy Orton (RAW, 5/10/04)
- Fuck, this was great. These two had so many matches in '04 that I don't remember which ones were good, bad, great, whatever. But this surprised me a little. Starts out with Edge going to TOWN on Orton's back with Orton selling it really well. I mean he really beats the shit out of him, wrapping his whole body around the ring post, launching him into the steps, etc. At some point during this psycho geriatric Flair decides against hanging out with the Wu-Tang Clan in Neverland in favour of helping Orton, and Flair is a fucking GREAT cornerman. I am seriously digging the shit out of everything in this '04 Flair run. He's great at taking a monster cheapshot, running his mouth, GIVING OUT INSTRUCTIONS! How many managers/cornermen actually MANAGE these days?! Fuckin' Flair does. There's a spot where Orton has this bastardised rear naked choke slash armbar... thing, and Flair's giving him pointers on the floor about how he should hook Edge's other arm with his legs to give him more leverage. Then he does it and Flair wooos and laughs like a nutbar. Lots of big time stuff being tossed out as they head down the stretch, like Edge spearing Orton in the BACK, sending him flying off the apron into the guardrail. Orton continues to sell the back like a king. Awesome nearfall as Edge counters a hurricanrana or something into a fuckin' Ligerbomb and Flair's up on the apron having a stroke. Finish is sort of screwy, but this is the kind of screwy I like. Flair sells a spear like someone's just unloaded a gatling gun on his stomach. I'd be shocked if I enjoy any of their other '04 matches much more than this. Haven't quite talked myself into voting for it, but it rocked, nonetheless. ***1/2

Chris Jericho v Christian (RAW, 5/10/04)
- I hate WWE style cage matches. In the context of a feud like Backlund/Sarge or Bret/Owen, I can deal. But if it's the blowoff to a hate feud, the whole escape the cage thing sort of ruins the internal logic of it all. And the Bret/Owen and Sarge/Bob matches are STILL the only two cage matches I can think of that use BOTH the through door and climbing over the cage to win aspect well. Jericho hates Christian for betraying him and fucking the woman he was digging who also betrayed him and now he wants to break his face, so he tries to escape the cage after a minute. Christian's a smarmy little douche and seems like the kind of person that would want no part of this shit to begin with, so him trying to bail is fine, but the babyface out for revenge trying it is silly. That said, they bring enough hate to outweigh the goofy WWE-isms, and I still think this is a good match. Christian gigs himself big style and his face is completely coated by the end. Great spot where Trish comes in to help and Jericho slaps on the Walls, and Christian decides against helping her so he can get the fuck out of there instead. Jericho's big cross body spot in this is a double edged sword for me. The fact he's trying to climb out and is up on top of the cage in the first place so soon kinda annoys me, but Tomko battering a chair off the cage like a headcase is a good excuse for Jericho to poleaxe Christian with the spot instead of jumping down to meet Tomko and his chair. If Austin was threatening to murder Angle if he got off the cage before trying that moonsault for no reason then it wouldn't have been as stupid. Jericho taking a risk by jumping back INTO the ring because LEAVING it is an even bigger risk makes sense. So yeah, good stuff, but I can't see this not being great if they were working an NWA cage match. ***
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:08 am

Chris Benoit v Shawn Michaels (RAW, 5/3/04)
- I like this more than their February match, and there's a good chance I'll vote for it. First few minutes are pretty 'my turn/your turn' and they do some stuff, but it doesn't really go anywhere or lead to anything. It does get Shawn's nip-up spot out of the way early, though (one gets the sense Michaels is happy to let Benoit lead here, which is something Helmsley was cool with... never, and it's total non-forumla Michaels as a result). Once they go to commercial after about 4 minutes things pick up big time, and from the moment they come back and Shawn's in control it's fantastic. Michaels legit controls about 85% of this, but it's as strong an offensive performance as I've seen from Michaels. He's good at working the back for a spell, then they tease heading to the finish after about 12 minutes, at which point he murders Benoit with the moonsault and throws him into the post. Benoit gets cut and from there Shawn works ANOTHER extended control segment. When they come back from the last commerical break Shawn has him in a sleeper hold (makes sense because Benoit's cut open now), and I'm thinking "okay, they've transitioned out of the back work into the head work really well and it doesn't feel like the back work was just there to kill time. Me likey.". Then Shawn starts dropping elbows on Benoit's lower back and I'm thinking "he's working BOTH?! Awesome". Nobody's gonna watch this and think it's an AJPW-level psychological masterpiece with Shawn using A TWO PRONGED ATTACK STRATEGY~, but it's smart stuff that I totally dig. Finish is bullshit and almost serves as a subtle burial to Benoit, but the body of this is awesome and with a better opening few minutes and a finish that doesn't make your World Champion look like a scrub, I don't think it's very far off being a top 5 Michaels singles match ever. ****
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:21 am

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit - RAW May 2004
Two Benoit matches in a row eh? No complaints. They really build up Shawn like he's been training for weeks for this, and he reflects that perfectly in the ring. His whole strategy of working the back, then the head, then both is just beaut. Moonsault to the outside felt pretty special for a RAW match too, although it looked like Shawn potatoed himself doing so. The finish is teased early enough, but there was some real pretty exchanges for avoiding eachothers finishers. Finish is BS but it doesn't taint the match. It's my first time seeing this but I think if I'd have compiled a list, this would've landed somewhere in the 60/70 region.

****1/4
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