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Wrestling Today's Date:

Falls Count Anywhere


What happens in Vegas
stays in Vegas
and leaves a bad taste
in my mouth.
Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and I did the Vegas thing.

Well, this was not a happy week for Friday night wrestling. Back in the olden times, there was Friday night wrestling regularly on the DuMont Network. Most of the wrestling back in those days was pretty bad, but I tell you what, SmackDown! has had some bad shows of late, and this one wasn’t much better than the worst of them.

JBL came out with a burro and a sombrero and cut into the Loredo, TX fans. It wasn’t a bad promo, but it wasn’t cut against Rey Mysterio nor was it anything new. He’s done this same promo three or four times on TV from the days when he was feuding with Eddie, and now it’s just recycled. He does still have impressive delivery.

JBL followed that up by teaming with the slowly gaining momentum form of Ken Kennedy to take on Hardcore Holly and Rey Mysterio. Not a bad match, with Kennedy looking good and Rey doing a lot of his good stuff, but obviously not going as far out as he does when there’s bigger purpose. A nice hot tag to Holly led to a beautiful dropkick and a nice Full Nelson Slam. Kennedy took the 619, but JBL managed to get the Clothesline from Hell after Kennedy tripped up Holly and that gave the heels the win.

Batista enters as Eddie is dining on some good looking Mexican food. He promises Batista that they’ll become Tag Team Champs after their match with LoD. Batista, fearing that Eddie will get sick again, takes the plate away and starts eating it for him. This was really weak.

Melina took on Christy Hemme. Christy is trying, and Melina has had decent matches, but this just plain didn’t work. The ending was Christy getting tripped by Nitro which allowed Melina to get the pin. Wasn’t that nearly the finish of the last match? Christy attacked Melina after, and the rest of MNM gets involved, and right before they could give her the SnapShot, Heidenreich and Animal run in for the save.

In a fine debut on SmackDown!, Cowboy Bob Orton got pinned by the UnderTaker. This started with the Ace Cowboy saying that Randy wouldn’t be involved. Of course, that ended up not being the case. Randy came in after a ref bump and they teamed up on him and Randy revived the ref to make the count, but UT kicked out. UT tossed Randy aside and ended up getting a Tombstone on the Cowboy for the win. This wasn’t a great match, but as a storyline, it was good and I had a lot of fun watching it.

Russel Simpson (doesn’t he have a Def Poetry Jam or some such?) got squashed by Bobby Lashley. Lashley got a package beforehand that showed him training and cut in pieces of his match from last week. It was a well-done package. Lashley looks like he’s ready for a run and got the win with the Dominator. Simon Dean comes out and announces that he’ll take on Lashley at the PPV and then offers Bobby the Shake. He doesn’t drink it, and when Simon goes to punch him, he grabs his hand and Press Slams him out of the ring. Good stuff that.

The Peep Show was up with Chris Benoit joining up with Christian on the controversial (according to Michael Cole) edition. Christian said he deserved a shot at the US title because he beat Benoit. Booker came out and said he deserved it and then Orlando Jordan came and said that since Benoit couldn’t beat him in under 30 seconds last time that he deserved the shot. Good logic.

Theodore R. Long made a Triple Threat between the potentials which followed. It wasn’t a really good match, but Booker looked OK and Christian was at about 2/3 of his full working potential. The finish was cool as it looked like Booker was about to beat Christian when Orlando rolled the Book up from behind.

After the match, Benoit said that he’d give Jordan the shot, then said that since Christian beat him, he’d get the shot. Booker was looking dejected in the corner and Benoit said that he’d get the shot. A lot of confusion led to a Fatal Fourway between the guys set up for No Mercy. Nice storyline way to get there, but weak all around.

Vince McMahon showed up and talked with Palmer Cannon and Theodore R. Long. He basically asked who was going to be on the Homecoming PPV, and they said JBL, Mysterio, Eddie, Batista, Benoit and Christian. I bet they do a Six Man Tag. Vince then asked how Everybody Hates Chris is doin’ in their old slot and he says ‘Another great hit for UPN’, which may have been true the first week, but last week’s rating was down.

One's a false face...
Eddie Guerrero basically got his ass handed to him for a while by Animal in the Batista/Guerrero vs. LoD 2.0 match. Eddie is basically the best guy at playing heel while presenting himself as face. Lots of ref distraction. Animal worked over Eddie a lot. They went for the Doomsday Device, but Eddie countered with a rana. MNM ran in and hit Animal with a chair to get the DQ win for the champs. Eddie went to hit Mercury with the chair, but ended up hitting Batista instead. He then did the logical thing: he tossed the chair to Mercury and played dead so that Batista would destroy Mercury. Smart move. Eddie and Batista hugged after the match.

Again, not a good show, but it seems like they are trying to built towards the PPV. Then again, Homecoming is much more of a priority.

I’m told Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe from New York this weekend was the best match of the year and one of the all-time great US matches. I must get the tape.

Homecoming and flipping back and forth with the UFC Special
I really didn’t think that the night would feel as special as it did. Not only did they throw everything against the wall, but the crowd reacted like it was 1989 again and really drove home Homecoming as a major event, giving strong reactions to the people you wouldn’t expect.

I started by watching the Ultimate Knockouts special. It was pretty typical, but there were some awesome KOs, including my man, Tra Telligman, getting hammered. When Homecoming started, I switched over to RAW. Mick Foley came out first. He then introduced Rowdy Roddy Piper. It was weird to have the guest on Piper’s Pit introing the host, but it’s also obvious that Foley was always a huge Piper fan. Piper put Mick over as the biggest nut in wrestling history and they both got good pops. Randy Orton and Ace Cowboy Bob Orton came out. They talked about how Bob carried Piper’s career, making him into a superstar, which I thought they were going to say, and that Randy was raised right to be a Legend Killer. Randy attacked Piper, then Bob and Foley pulled them apart. Bob then attacked Foley. This is interesting and set the stage for the rest of the night, and most likely for the biggest feud in the last five years. Afterwards, Bichoff and Theodore R. Long had a conversation where Eric claimed that Teddy sent them out and Teddy denied it. Eric was wearing his Gi.

They must really pay Eugene a lot.
They showed all the legends at ringside. There were the guys you expected, Moolah, Mae, Nikolai, and a few that I was really glad to see, like Dr. Death Steve Williams, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race and One Man Gang. It was a nice scene. Kurt Angle came out to a good heel entry reaction. Then Shawn Michaels came out to a good face reaction.

The 30 Minute Iron Man Match began and you could tell these two wanted to do it right, as they’d both done 60 minute Iron Mans that were considered small disappointments. This was exactly how these matches should be done. They started fast, making a solid attempt to get things going and hook fans so they wouldn’t change the channel. I didn’t except at the commercials. Michaels and Kurt were both doing what they’ve been doing lately, with Kurt working mean. They did a lot of spots where the guys were trying to score fast pins, but they didn’t get any fast. It was so smart in booking.

They fought to the outside a bit with Kurt getting high elevated out of the ring and then Shawn trying a Baseball Slide. Kurt pulled him out and avoided the impact, allowing him to get an AngleSlam on the outside! They worked back into the ring. Kurt gave him the PowerBomb into the corner! Eventually Shawn went to the top and Kurt Angle Slammed him off and got the first pin. This segment, about 8 minutes or so, was brilliant. It set the table for the rest of the match, drew in the crowd and was just plain great work.

They then went to commercial, and it was a long one, allowing me to catch two nice KOs on UFC, including one from a punch that just looked awful.

Kurt worked Shawn’s back when we returned and later hit a gorgeous German Suplex. Nice pin combination followed Michaels getting tossed into the ropes and then rolling Kurt up, but he rolled through and turned it into an Ankle Lock, but Shawn turned that into a roll-up for the pin. Great series! Angle was upset and jawed at the ref. Kurt went back to work, but Shawn caught him with a Small Package for a near-fall. This time, they went for a suplex, but Kurt escaped and after another roll-up attempt, he got the Ankle Lock and cinched it in for the tap. Shawn sold his leg from then on.

We returned from a break with time running out. Kurt kept working the leg, but Shawn held out. He managed to slam Kurt, then hit an elbow off the top and then get the Sweet Chin Music for the pin. Even at 2-2. The final series was both of them going all out and Kurt caught a long Ankle Lock that Shawn managed to kick his way out of after more than a minute. He then hit a last second SuperKick, but he didn’t get the cover in time. Amazing match! Not quite as good as Mania, not on the level of Samoa Joe-AJ-Daniels, but damn good. Shawn got the mic and asked for Sudden Death, but Kurt just kept walking away. The crowd hated that decision, but keeping the two of them even so that a final rubber match can be on PPV is a good idea. Shawn hugged all the legends as he left the ring.

They showed Cena at the Hip Hop Honors. He does these things so well, and he even mingled with Snoop!

They introduced Kevin Von Erich to the crowd and he stood up and showed the claw hand to everyone. He was HUGELY cheered. With maybe four exceptions, his sounded like the loudest reaction of the night. Good to know the Von Erichs are not forgotten.

Vince wouldn’t make the Eric vs. Cena a NO DQ match. Vince was then introduced by Lillian “Future Mrs. Christopher” Garcia as the greatest, and best endowed, man in history. I’m only barely exaggerating. He ran down his best moments on RAW and then brought out Austin who got a HUGE response. Just amazing. He ran down his favorite moments and ran Vince down a bit too. This was old and didn’t go well until he gave him the Stunner.

Welcome home, Rattlesnake...
That brought out Shane, who got an interesting reaction before taking a fast Stunner. That brought out Steph. It was good to see her on TV again, and she looked hot with dyed blonde hair, and she and Austin had a nice series of exchanges. The two of them are just really good together. Steve thought she was flirting with him, and she had Evil Steph look (though no crimped hair) and slapped Austin, who then Stunnered her. This brought out Linda. They had a long exchange, which was kinda funny.

Best lines:
Austin: Your husband’s a piece of trash.
Linda: Well, that’s true.

She ended up drinking beer with Austin and then taking a terrible stunner. This wasn’t great, it went way too long, but it did get a reaction from the crowd.

I caught a good deal of the last two rounds of Josh Koschek, who I really like, and Drew Ficket on the UFC special. A slowish match, with Koschek mostly just wrestling him and not going for leg submissions when he had the chance and not trying hard to finish. When Ficket got a lucky knee (it looked like he was going for a bigger kick and just happened to hit with the knee, he had the presence of mind to go and get the Rear Naked Choke. Good ending, and Koschek may be done because of it.

Matt Hardy is gone from RAW after Edge beat him in the Ladder Match. Lita looked Hyper-skanky hot. Edge and Matt had a really good match that the crowd liked and at times loved. They wasted no time getting into the big spots. Matt put Edge between the top part of the ladder, stood on his back and squoze him as he closed the ladder on him. Edge set up a ladder with the ‘This is Not a Step’ part facing into the ring. Matt went face first into it. Edge climbed the ladder, then Matt knocked him off into the ladder that was set up on the corner.

At one point, Matt was about to PowerBomb Lita through the table, but Edge stopped him with the Singapore Cane (does anyone even remember the Singapore incident anymore?) and then put Matt through the table with the Splash off the apron. Lots of great bumps, a little weird selling, and Lita missed a cane shot. Matt went up and ended up holding on to the briefcase as Lita took the ladder out from under him. Edge then pushed him until Matt fell hard onto the ropes. Edge then tied him up in the ropes and Lita crucifixed him, allowing Edge to get the ladder and make ‘I beat ya!’ faces down on him. Matt then left to a good reaction. Edge was getting all sorts of heel heat at the end, though some of that may have been that folks didn’t want him to win. Really good match.

I loved the Brandon Vera win with a huge knee to the face on the UFC. It was a good match, and the finish was amazing.

They showed Ashley (Hot) and Trish (Very Hot) in the back chatting about their bras and Trish snuck a peak at Ashley’s bits. There are so many things to say. Mae Young then came in and showed her bra, but the girls got her into the legends reception area where she showed off to Ted DiBiase, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jimmy Snuka. The Million Dollar Man then offered to pay her three thousand dollars to put her clothes back on. Jimmy Snuka then borrowed the money and went after Mae. I hope Mae got away because she might end up dead of an overdose if she went with him. Ric Flair then did a great interview with Maria, who was dressed up as the Homecoming Queen. He was just on fire.

I saw the end of the Chris Leben fight. I really don’t think Leben is that good a fighter, but he looked good here. I’d really like to see Leben vs. Ficket.

HHH and Ric Flair beat Chris Masters and Carlito. It’s interesting that the new RAW ad campaign features Carlito heavily. The match wasn’t great, though there were some really good spots. Trips and Flair gave Double Chops and then did a simultaneous strut out of the corner. HHH didn’t look to be in perfect shape, but he was over mad as a face. Finish was Flair giving Masters a Chop Block to prevent him from stopping HHH from giving Carlito the Pedigree. After the match, the guys celebrated and HHH hit Flair with the Sledge. He then took him out and beat him around ringside and up the aisle and to the back. Michael Hayes got a shot, too! HHH tossed Flair into a limo and then smashed the window as he told them to take Flair away. The match was weak, though fun, the post-match was really strong and Flair bled like he was Dusty Rhodes. I really wish Kevin Von Erich would have made the save and that would have led to Von Erich and Flair vs. HHH and whoever, but that’s never gonna happen.

The legends were in the ring and Dusty Rhodes was their mouthpiece. He was putting everyone over and Rob Conway came down and made old guy jokes. That was not a good idea as they started working him over. Dusty gave him the Bionic Elbow and then Kevin Von Erich gave him the claw. The crowd was nuts over that. Snuka then went up top and gave him the splash. Snuka’s well beyond 60 now, but the crowd was all into this segment and it was a good way to use the legends.

I caught a bloody ending in the Loiseau vs. Tanner UFC match. Loiseau battered Tanner, who was still holding his own despite massive blood loss. Good ending and a decent overall match.

Like a train wreck, you still have to watch...
Ashley and Trish beat Torrie, Victoria and Candace. This was a little bit of a train wreck, but it wasn’t that bad. Still, compared to the other stuff on the card, it came off as very very weak.

Hogan came out and basically said that he wants to fight Austin. He got a great pop. They had Mean Gene do the interview which featured the long-missed phrase “you know, Mean Gene…” I was happy.

Since Vince had left, Eric declared that he was in charge again. He came out after they had announced all the SmackDown! guys and said that the match was off and to kill the lights. What’s awesome is that the SmackDown! guys got good pops, especially Rey, which for Dallas is a natural, and Batista, who was the second biggest pop of the night.

The main event was weak, but that was only the start of it. Bisch came out and got a good heel reaction. Cena’s reaction was bigger than Austin, though not as sustained. Bischoff brought out Angle with him, and since he declared it No DQ, he could help. Cena was really good at playing with that concept, as everytime he went after Bisch, he kept his eye on Angle. Eric got an advantage when he was tied up dealing with Angle. Nice finish as Angle tried to hit Cena with a chair, but it bounced off the ropes and he hit himself in the head with the chair. That allowed Cena to get the FU for the fast finish. Angle and Cena then started brawling.

And then Theodore R. Long came out and said that they were gonna do it Gangsta Style and he sent the SmackDown! guys out to get the RAW folks. RAW sent reinforcements and there was a big brawl and the crowd loved it.

Best RAW in a long, long -- I’m talking 1996 long -- time. It delivered and even if the two best matches had endings that the crowd didn’t care for, they were still great, PPV-level matches. It also started what I’ve expected for a while: the RAW-SmackDown! war. Expect things to start happening on both shows leading to Survivor Series being RAW vs. SmackDown! which will lead to the Rumble and finally Mania. With SD! not likely to be renewed, it makes a lot of sense to do this now.

That’s all for this long and glorious week. Peace Out!

Talk about today's column in the forums!

Chris Garcia

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