I remember watching this show live at this guy Kevin's place (he's buddies with Steve who's a friend of Jessie and I) and as it progressed becoming increasingly more ill and dumbfounded as it cemented itself as one of the worst live pay-per-view telecasts I'd ever seen (and frankly I've seen them all). I recall Kevin wanting everyone to toss in some cash to cover the expense, but seconds after the final bell rang, several of us lunged for the stairwell and bolted from the house without looking back or allowing ourselves to spend even a few measly bucks on such a wretched show. That was over six years ago. I decided to re-watch this event again to see if it was really as bad as I'd remembered. See for yourselves:
1. Eugene and William Regal vs. Christian and Tyson Tomko - 3
Eugene's spoofing Hogan (regrettably not Horace or Dizzy) and Regal's playing de facto face. Three years later and Tyson and Christian would be sipping margaritas down in Orlando pre-TNA tapings. Regal and Christian start with some nifty mat work that materializes into Eugene in the ring clapping his hands and bouncing gleefully like a stunted dog. Tomko is such an orthodox heel, his pandering to the crowd for heat feels hollower than the piper-thin plot of Salt. Regal gets up for a dropkick? Regal sells a punch in the corner like he just had acid tossed in his face -- he starts bleeding from the nose shortly after. Tyson could have been good muscle in SMW if this was a different era but felt bush league in his WWE tenure. A dazed Regal wanders to the wrong corner like a thrashed prostitute toward the tail-end of her shift. The ending is just a big putrid mess. Eugene gets the hot tag but ruptures his patella doing a simple dropkick, this leads to Christian openly getting caught amid "ring talk", Tyson and Christian tried poorly to clothesline Regal over the top although gravity was not on their side, then an injured Eugene rolled up Tomko for the suspect finish.
2. Trish Stratus vs. Lita - 1
3. Shelton Benjamin vs. Maven - 1
4. Shelton Benjamin vs. Maven - 0
Things continue falling downhill at a speed approaching Husky Harris on a Slip 'n Slide. Lita and Stratus trip over each other for a few moments before Lita completely blows out her leg doing a stupid Thesz Press off of the apron to Trish on the floor. Instead of immediately wrapping it up they try to stretch it out for another 1-2 min. I suppose to save some face for then champ Lita but she's incapable of wrestling (not that she was setting the world on fire pre-injury) and this was just bad. Then, Maven leaves the ring seconds into his match to stand on a chair and make racial slurs at the Puerto Rican audience. Strangely, the ref does not count him out as he eats up a bunch of PPV time. In retrospect, I'm guessing with the previous unexpected injuries, they probably asked him to kill time but this was really awful. As soon as he slides into the ring he's immediately pinned and I only tossed it a pity point because the crowd popped huge. Maven protests and wants a rematch and eventually goads Shelton (something about him not having testicles) back into the ring where Benjamin pins him in under 10 sec. for a second time. I guess this was supposed to be humorous but I found it as terribly unfunny as someone showing up to Ryan Dunn's funeral holding a bottle of whiskey and having a toy car shoved up their ass. This PPV is churning my stomach like a festering plate of putrid Puerto Rican street food.
5. Jerry Lawler vs. Muhammad Hassan - 2
This was Muhammad's in-ring debut. If they were wanting to do essentially a terrorist gimmick they should have had him look, well, dirtier, like he'd been hiding in a dusty cave pouring over blueprints and diagrams, not like a GQ model as Hassan did. I think Puerto Rico was the wrong site for this match, maybe Washington D.C. or New York, but the crowd was disarmingly quiet here. This dragged like Big Show riding his father's casket across a graveyard. I was more interested spying on my cat spying on birds. Hassan had a real neat way of eating a Lawler DDT spiking his head into the mat dangerously. That was the only redeeming spot of the whole plodding affair which went twelve minutes. I read Hasssan's a junior high history teacher now. "Mr. Copani, why'd you act Arab when you're from Syracuse?"
6. Kane vs. Gene Snitsky - 3
I was one of the few brave souls to read Journey Into Darkness: The Unauthorized History of Kane years ago. In it, Snitsky was a character, I think Paul Bearer had Kane locked in their basement, and sent Snitsky down there to give Kane a beating or something equally asinine. Gene takes a concrete bump so at least this match has that going for it. Snitsky's teeth looks like he flosses with a turd and that goatee looks like the tuft of hair in-between an Appalachian man's asshole/balls. I like when Kane kept popping up from the dead Snitsky would just kick him right in the ugly face. This felt like two monsters battling in the moonlight. Gene just needs some gills. Kane's a burn victim, what's Snitsky's excuse? I've heard of Things We Lost in the Fire but didn't know talent was one of them.
I can't even bring myself to recap the next segment. Earlier that day they shot a bunch of extraneous footage at the hotel pool which we were "treated" to. Suffice to say it breaks down to a four-way chicken fight with Christy Hemme being the eventual winner riding atop Rosey who looks like a fucking fool as a grown man in a pool wearing a superhero costume and mask.
7. Triple H vs. Batista vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho - Elimination Chamber Match - 6
I didn't think WWE really got the hang of this stipulation match until '09 or so but this held up better than I'd remembered. It's wise to start with Benoit and Jericho and they were workhorses throughout. Hunter came in and wasted no time throwing himself into several big bumps onto the steel. You've got HHH and both Chris' bleeding and then there's Edge, no blood, and bringing down the intensity with his low-octane offense like flying clotheslines off of the top. The finishes were mostly strong with guys needing to take a lot to be put down, for example, by the time Jericho finally got eliminated (third at 27 min. in) he'd eaten multiple finishers. When it got down to Orton, Batista, and HHH it revolved around their ongoing Evolution faction drama, as Orton had fled the gang, so they tried to double-team him but he managed to low blow Batista and finish him with an RKO. Triple H getting the win probably ring false and hollow back then as I know none of us were big supporters of his at the time, and still today, it doesn't come off hot with Flair and Batista both interjecting themselves to cause a distraction. Overall, though, this was damn physical and never really lost its way with Batista being a weak link and the predictable finish being its major cons.