Saturday, June 17, 2006

WWE Armageddon '05

1. Matt Hardy vs. JBL - 4
2. Mexicools vs. MNM - 5
3. Chris Benoit vs. Booker T - 7
4. Bobby Lashley vs. Paul Burchill and William Regal - Handicap Match - 3
5. Juventud vs. Kid Kash - 5
6. Big Show and Kane vs. Batista and Rey Mysterio - 3
7. Undertaker vs. Randy Orton - Hell In the Cell - 6

I must admit that I enjoyed watching Smackdown! brand pay-per-view shows in '05; with the exception of their announcing team of Tazz and Michael Cole, they're usually entertaining shows. On paper, this doesn't look like an especially spectacular event -- but the live crowd in Providence, Rhode Island was into it for the most part, and the final product was pleasantly surprising.

I only liked the first match because it was very physical -- otherwise, it was just JBL squashing the talented Hardy, in a forgettable lopsided match. I saw a Mexicools versus MNM match on an actual Smackdown! broadcast a few months ago -- it was arguably one of the best WWE tag team matches I'd seen in at least two years. Their match here wasn't as pretty as that one, it was slower and rougher around the edges, but still quality regardless. I like the dynamic of these teams together, and wish that they'd have been given a chance to work a lengthier program together.

I loved Benoit and Booker -- these guys have worked each other so many times, and always provide solid matches. On the surface, you wouldn't think their styles would mesh, but they always manage to deliver. This match was allotted a decent chunk of time, and they utilized it successfully having a great back and forth battle. The handicap match was a complete throwaway, which would have been disappointing on free TV, making it doubly offensive offered as a pay-per-view bout. It was quick and a waste of the talents involved.

Juventud and Kash also had a superior match on an episode of Smackdown! but that's not saying this wasn't good. I enjoyed it, but the crowd was dying at this point, after being forced to endure a Tim White suicide skit and a Vito Claus and Nunzio the Elf in-ring abomination, which hurt the match's impact. Juventud and Kash were both standing on the top turnbuckle at one point, and Juvie jumped up on Kash's shoulders delivering a massive hurricanrana in an awesome spot.

The tag team match was a severe disappointment. With the guys involved, I wasn't expecting a classic, although I figured it'd be entertaining if nothing else. But man, this absolutely sucked hardcore. It was lazy and uninspired – apparently like Batista in the bedroom. There was no chemistry or cool sequences, just suck piled on more suck.

Undertaker and Orton may have disappointed a few people in terms of comparison to past Hell In the Cell matches -- but I kind of liked it. Sure, it got a bit sloppy and convoluted in parts, and Orton's attempt at splashing Undertaker through a table was laughable, but I still found it strangely watchable. They gave it a lot of time, there was a decent amount of blood (again, think Batista in the bedroom) and the hatred between the two was palpable.

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