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9/12 WWE Unforgiven PPV review: Keller's ongoing "virtual time" analysis of event

Sep 12, 2004 - 9:42:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

WWE UNFORGIVEN PPV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 12, 2004
PORTLAND, ORE.


1 -- CHRIS BENOIT & WILLIAM REGAL vs. RIC FLAIR & BATISTA when Benoit made Flair tapout.

The ring intro stage had a new look with four big screens as part of the entrance set. It looked good. Still just a variation on what WWE's done for years, but still good. If Vince McMahon wants to be blown away by production values and see how many big show presentation options he's not utilizing, he should check out the last two Pride MMA PPV events from Japan. At 5:15 Benoit chopped Flair a few times and Flair looked like he was going to tip forward. Benoit held him up and then chopped him to the mat backwards. Flair took over a minute later with a kneebreaker, but Benoit broke it up with an enzuigiri. Flair was going to tag Batista, but then did the face-first bump before he could tag. Then he reached up and made the tag. Batista entered against newly tagged in Regal. Regal took a sustained beating. Benoit got a hot-tag at 12:45 and he chopped away at Flair and Batista. Benoit slipped on the Crippler Crossface at 14:00. Batista interfered to break it up. When Regal entered the ring, Batista sidewalk slammed him. Regal and Batista fought at ringside. Regal rammed Batista into the ringpost, then ducked a charging Batista, who flew over the ring barrier. In the ring, Flair went for a figure-four, but Benoit countered into a Crossface and Flair tapped.

WINNER: Benoit & Regal at 15:05.

STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good, above-average tag match.

-Backstage Trish Stratus argued with Christian about whether Tyson Tomko should be at ringside for their matches. Christian said Tomko is his problem solver, not hers. Trish said she should get Tomko because she has a title to defend and there is a lunatic woman going after her. Trish asked Tyson if he had a problem escorting her to the ring for the last time. She flirted with Tomko, so he agreed to accompany Trish and wished Christian luck in his match. When Trish and Tomko walked away, Christian said, "She is a slut."

2 -- TRISH STRATUS (w/Tyson Tomko) vs. VICTORIA -- WWE Women's Title match

Trish controlled the early minutes, then Victoria took over with a gut-buster. When she climbed to the top rope to dive onto Trish at ringside, Tomko carried her out of harm's way. Trish then rammed Victoria into the ringpost. At 7:00 Victoria made a comeback rather anticlimactically with some elbows and punches, then took control of the match. She scored a near fall after a completely harmless looking standing moonsault. That might be the worst move in wrestling in the sense that there is a lot of motion and almost no impact on the opponent. Victoria gave Trish a headbutt and then dove onto Tomko at ringside, knocking him to the ground. He then chased her around the ring. When Victoria reentered the ring, Trish surprised her with the Stratusfaction for the win.

WINNER: Trish at 8:25.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Decent match.

After the match, Tomko began choking Victoria. Then Stevie Richards ran out in drag and made the save. Fans chanted "Stevie, Stevie." Ross and Lawler began talking about the IC Title situation. Tomko grabbed the house mic and said he's sick of the mystery woman and he wants to solve it now. "Either that thing is going to come out here and fight me or I'm going to go back there and I'll drag it out myself," he said. "What's it going to be you crossdressing hermaphrodite." Ross said the mystery woman is the worst-kept secret in wrestling. Lawler told Ross, "Come on, go along with it." Ross said, "Okay, I'll go along with it." Richards came out and the bell rang to start the match.

3 -- STEVEN RICHARDS vs. TYSON TOMKO

Tomko stripped her of her dress and bra right away and revealed it was Richards. When Lawler said the mystery was now solved, Ross said he thinks it was solved a long time ago. Lawler kept referring to Richards as a her even when it was clear there was a lot going on in the white panties besides woman parts. He wrestled in white panties over dark briefs. Tomko methodically beat up Richards, rubbing the wig in his face and saying, "So you want to be a woman?" The crowd chanted "boring" early and often in this horrible match. Lawler said Richards was wearing "granny panties." Ross said he's never seen his granny's panties. Tomko applied a chinlock. He combatted the "boring" chants by shouting, "He's a fag. He's a faggot." How nice. Isn't it common knowledge now that crossdressers typically aren't gay, and that even if they were, shouting "fag" on national TV isn't appropriate even for a heel? He downgraded his language to shouting at Richards that he is a "punk" and a "big sissy." Richards grabbed Tomko's crotch and yanked him head-first into the turnbuckle. Richards then hit two dropkicks and then turned to his torn attire. Tomko then finished Richards with a Problem Solver. The crowd booed and chanted "boring" throughout and for good reason. There was no reason for the match in the first place, much less for it to last so long.

WINNER: Tomko at 6:20.

STAR RATING: DUD

4 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. CHRISTIAN -- Ladder Match for Held Up IC Title

They wrestled without a ladder for a few minutes, then brawled at ringside using the ladder as a weapon. By 6:00 they brought the ladder into the ring. Jericho whipped Christian into the ladder in the corner at 8:00. Jericho then threw it on him. At 8:30 Christian reversed Jericho into it. Christian sling-shot Jericho upward into the ladder setting flat across the top rope in the corner. Christian set the ladder up in mid-ring, but Jericho caught up to him before he could climb it all the way. Christian was going to charge at the ladder leaning against Jericho in the corner, but Jericho moved and shoved the ladder at the charging Christian. Jericho then dropped all of his bodyweight and the ladder over Christian on the mat. Jericho sandwiched Christian with the ladder, then went for a Lionsault, but Christian moved. Christian jabbed Jericho with a ladder. At 16:30 Christian climbed the ladder and grabbed the belt, but he just hung there. Jericho climbed the ladder, but Christian knocked him over. Jericho then got up and used the ladder to knock Christian down without the belt coming down with him. Jericho then put Christian's chest underneath the ladder's first rung and climbed the ladder. Christian got loose and tipped the ladder forward. Jericho bumped to the top rope and it didn't quite turned into the stunt bump that they were probably looking for. They both climbed the ladder carefully. Jericho locked Christian upside down in what Ross called a "reverse Walls of Jericho." Christian bumped to the floor and landed on his feet. Then he grabbed the belt and tried to come down with it. Christian knocked the ladder over and Jericho fell, landing on it awkwardly. He sold it like he broke a tailbone. Christian brought a new second, taller ladder into the ring. Jericho climbed the original ladder. They both struggled over the belt. Jericho swung it away from Christian. They both then fell to the mat. Jericho got up first, climbed the ladder, and unsnapped the belt to win it.

WINNER: Jericho at 22:22.

STAR RATING: *** -- This match format has been done often enough that even if they do something new, it still seems like it's been done before. The danger involved is probably worth more than the pops they'll get for the bumps at this point. The match had the usual batch of contrived-looking spots with wrestlers seeming to be trying to keep their balance on the ladder as much as trying to fight each other.

-They hung an electronic sign above the ring that for wide shots flashed an obnoxious, seizure-inducing Unforgiven 2000 logo. It felt more like a banner add at the top of the TV screen than a cool innovation.

-Todd Grisham knocked on Kane's locker room door. Lita stepped out and said she hopes that Shawn Michaels put Kane in the hospital. Kane stepped out with a smile on his face and laughed. He grabbed her by the hair and said it's so nice his wife is so supportive. He said he has a surprise for her. He said Eric Bischoff just made the match with Michaels "no disqualification." He said he is going to destroy Shawn Michaels. "What happens to Shawn Michaels tonight is our fault, right partner?" he said to Lita. He then asked her for a kiss for good luck and forced a kiss on her. She wiped her mouth immediately.

-Coach interviewed Chris Jericho, who bragged about being the only seven time IC Champion in history. He said he is badly beat up, but he feels like "the king." Edge stepped in and said, "I thought your victory might feel a little hollow since you didn't beat me." He told Jericho to shine the belt up nice because when he's ready, he's taking back what's his.

-Ross and Lawler plugged the No Mercy October PPV and the Undertaker vs. JBL title match.

5 -- KANE vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- No DQ match

Kane beat up Michaels for the first ten minutes of the match. It was almost completely one-sided, including Kane slamming Michaels on the announcers' table. Michaels teased a comeback at 11:00 with a nip up, but Kane fended him off shortly into the comeback. Michaels came up bleeding from the forehead, but then got a second wind and went after Kane with another flurry of punches. Kane, though, elbowed Michaels hard coming off the ropes and Michaels bumped to ringside. Kane stopped to yell at Lita briefly, then turned to give Michaels a big boot. Michaels moved and the took sustained control for the first time in the match. At 14:15 Michaels dove off the top rope with an elbowdrop "to the black heart of Kane," as Ross described it. Michaels then stomped the mat in the corner and went for a superkick on Kane, but Kane intercepted him with a big boot to the face. He then scored a convincing near fall. Kane hit a top rope clothesline at 15:30. Kane signalled for a chokeslam, but Michaels stopped Kane with a low blow. Lawler said it was a big mistake for Bischoff to make it a no DQ match because that meant Michaels could legally use the low blow. Fans chanted "HBK, HBK." Michaels got up and bashed Kane in the skull with swinging chair. Kane blocked another superkick attempt at 17:45, but Michaels came back with another sudden superkick and scored the pin. Lita celebrated at ringside.

WINNER: Michaels at 17:57.

STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- The match told the story that should've been told and that intended to tell. The only downside is that Kane is still working house shows full time and Michaels isn't, so a clean win in a no DQ circumstance - which in theory should work to Kane's advantage - hurts Kane considerably. But if the finish is part of a larger plan that involves Kane snapping because of the loss and Michaels moving on to a PPV main event, then it makes sense. We'll see. The execution of the match was very good, although the first ten minutes of seeing Michaels beaten on methodically got a bit long.

-The "Call me Mr. Benjamin" vignette aired promoting the pending return of Shelton Benjamin.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Triple H. He said in life people gravitate toward greatness, and in wrestling people gravitate toward him. He said Orton gravitated toward him, and he became great. He said it shouldn't be surprising that he sings Orton's praises. He said Orton is good, but he's not as good as him. He said Orton knows that without him, there would be no custom made shoes and $50,000 Rolex on his wrist and no new car in the driveway and no World Hvt. Title around his waist. "I made Randy Orton and I will break Randy Orton," he said. He said he will regain the World Title because that's what he does and that's who he is. He reiterated that the World Title means more to him than anything else in the world. He said the people loved seeing Orton spit in his face, so tonight he spits in their faces by walking out the World Hvt. Champion.

6 -- LA RESISTANCE vs. TAJIRI & RHYNO -- World Tag Team Title match

Lawler wondered why fans were chanting "USA" with Tajiri in the ring. Ross snapped back, "They're cheering against La Resistance, King." Rhyno hit the Gore on Conway at 9:00. Ross said it was over, which meant we knew it wouldn't be. Grenier interfered in the pin attempt, then used the flag against Rhyno and scored the pin.

WINNES: La Resistance at 9:35.

STAR RATING: * -- Okay match. About what you'd expect from these two teams in a padding match.

-A video package aired on Randy Orton.

7 -- RANDY ORTON vs. TRIPLE H -- World Hvt. Title match

This match began at 12 minutes into the third hour, giving it forty-plus minutes to play out once the bell rang. Orton hit Hunter with an early slap which got some "ooohs" from the crowd. Hunter stared him down afterward and returned to center ring. They worked slowly and methodically for several minutes. By 6:00 Hunter took control and Orton sold a knee injury. When Hunter went to wrap Orton's leg around the ringpost, Orton yanked Hunter into the post. Hunter remained in control in the ring and kept working over Orton's left knee. Orton screamed in pain. Hunter applied a leglock on the mat. Orton escaped at 9:00 and threw some punches, but favored his left leg in the process. Hunter gave Orton a knee to the chin and scored a two count. Hunter applied a figure-four and used the ropes for leverage. Orton made a comeback at 14:00 including poking Hunter in the eye and then hitting a dropkick. Orton sold his knee hurting upon landing. He scored a two count on Hunter, who was bleeding from the forehead pretty heavily at this point. Hunter came back briefly and leaped off the second rope, but Orton caught him with a boot to the face at 16:30. The ref went down at 19:00. Hunter hit a Pedigree, but there was no referee to talk. Orton fended off subsequent attacks from Ric Flair and Batista. Hunter hit Orton with a low blow and covered him again. Coach ran to the ring and attempted a count. Orton kicked out. Orton punched Coach. Batista gave Orton a spinebuster in center ring. Hunter crawled over and made another cover. Orton kicked out before Coach counted to three. That got a nice crowd pop. Orton backdropped out of a Hunter attempt at a Pedigree, then gave Coach an RKO. Flair entered with a chair, but Orton gave him a thumb to the eye and an RKO. Batista went after Orton again, but Orton gave him a low-blow to stop him. Hunter then grabbed the chair and KO'd Orton. Hunter collapsed in exhaustion shortly after Orton did. Hunter crawled over and slowly lifted Orton for a Pedigree on a chair. After hitting the move, he shoved the chair out of the ring. Batista threw the ref into the ring and the ref counted to three.

WINNER: Hunter at 24:40.

STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- The crowd didn't like the finish at all. The overbearing interference made a mockery of the title and any sense of law and order in WWE - and that's saying something. It sets up Hunter as an undeserving champion doing whatever it would take to get the belt and softens the blow of Orton losing the title so soon. The idea behind this is that the "chase" by Orton to retain the belt will draw better than Orton defending the title. I don't have a huge problem with the title change due to that rationale, but the circumstances of the change seem cheap for a PPV match. The match itself was really slow. It was logical and if dissected it would be hard to find fault with it, yet the major fault of the match is that it was hardly the adrenaline rush wrestling fans are looking for when they spend $35 bucks for a PPV match.

-Send your thoughts on the PPV after it concludes including your name, hometown, 1-10 score, picks for best and worst matches, and brief print-ready comments to (torchreax) @pwtorch.com.


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