I have been reviewing WWE PPVs from 2003 and 2004 for most of this year. I took a break writing these, but I am back to continue where I left off because I genuinely enjoy doing it. If you want a refresher of where things are, here is Raw’s Unforgiven 2004 PPV and Smackdown’s No Mercy 2004 PPV. These are being posted on TJRWrestling as well as Rajah.com in case you want to find reviews of older shows too.
Taboo Tuesday was a WWE Raw brand show that took place on…you guessed it…a Tuesday. It was a rare thing that WWE experimented with, so they could promote the show heavily on Raw one night earlier and tell people they better tune in the next night. To make the show even more unique, they added in fan voting on the internet for every match. Fans could do things like choose the opponent, choose the stipulation of a match or whatever else WWE came up with. You’ll see as I go through the show.
The Raw brand wasn’t that hot at the time although they were doing better than Smackdown was. Randy Orton dropped the World Heavyweight Title to Triple H at Unforgiven and Orton was being positioned as the top face on the show even though he was more of a natural heel.
A big question about this show was if the voting was legit in the polls? We were told they were, but this is WWE and we know they always lie about things. Most people seemed to believe they were legit because most of the poll options had obvious outcomes.
This is a show that I watched live and never in full again. I remember a few things from it, but not because it was good. Let’s get to it.
WWE Taboo Tuesday
Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A video package aired calling this a “landmark event” while saying it was the ultimate in fan participation.
The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd went wild as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show from their perch on the right side of the stage. They mentioned over 4 million votes have come in. Jonathon Coachman is running things as the MC on the left side of the stage at a control center. The Spanish announcers were ringside.
The member of the Raw women’s division appeared on the stage to find out what kind of match they will have be having. There are seven women with Trish Starts as the heel WWE Women’s Champion. Fans got to vote on their outfits for a battle royal style match.
French Maids: 30%
The crowd was very happy with those results. Stacy Keibler was clapping for it. None of the other women were.
The first match is for the Intercontinental Championship. Chris Jericho was the champion at the time, so he entered first without knowing his opponent. Jericho was in the face role.
There are 15 men that people could vote for to face Jericho. They were shown in the back: Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, The Hurricane, Rodney Mack, Maven, Chuck Palumbo, William Regal, Steven Richards, Rhyno, Rosey, Tajiri or Tyson Tomko. No Val Venis due to injury, so the other name is Jonathan Coachman. Benjamin got the loudest ovation.
Results: Shelton Benjamin 37%, Batista 20%, Jonathan Coachman 7% and others at 36%.
Analysis: Sorry to the two Rodney Mack fans out there. It was not him.
Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Shelton Benjamin
Pre-match notes: Both guys were faces. Jericho legit didn’t know who he was going to face in this match, but likely figured that it was going to be Benjamin.
Jericho worked over Benjamin with chops early on. Benjamin countered a Jericho charging attack with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Benjamin hit a baseball slide dropkick that sent Jericho into the barricade. Benjamin with a two count as JR did the usual thing of talking about Benjamin’s background, which they did in every match he was in. Jericho nailed a running enziguri and got a two count. Back suplex by Jericho. Benjamin tried to get momentum going, but Jericho held onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick, so Benjamin went crashing to the mat. Benjamin came back with a sunset flip and Jericho followed up with a running clothesline for two. They battled on the top rope with Benjamin hitting a superplex with both guys selling on the mat after to show this was an even match. Benjamin nailed a leaping clothesline followed by a back body drop and a spin kick to the face for two. Crowd thought that was it. Jericho hit his modified version of the bulldog and the Lionsault missed. Benjamin up top and he hit a leaping clothesline for a two count. Benjamin went for a corner splash, Jericho moved and Benjamin hit the turnbuckle. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Benjamin countered to an inside cradle. Lionsault connected for Jericho. Jericho spoke into Benjamin’s ear and tried a whip into the corner, but when Jericho jumped off the turnbuckle, Benjamin caught him with a T-Bone Suplex into a pinfall win at 10:55. JR yelled about it being a big moment.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Shelton Benjamin
Analysis: **3/4 It was solid match, but it’s tough without a storyline or any sort of interaction between them going into the match. They had to call it in the ring, so that limits what you can do sometimes without any planning of the important spots. They built up to some good nearfalls towards the end of the match. Benjamin getting the win was a big moment for him since it was his first singles title. Jericho did a good job of putting him over clean.
Benjamin celebrated with the title while Jericho had a shocked look on his face. Post match, Jericho grabbed the title from Benjamin and put it on Benjamin’s shoulder. Jericho shook his hand to show some class and put Benjamin over.
There was a shot of Edge, Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels backstage. Todd Grisham was there to talk to them about who might face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge said he won a triple threat match on Raw to prove he deserved the title shot and he’ll walk out as World Heavyweight Champion. Benoit said that he hasn’t lost to Triple H since he came back to Raw, so if people are sick of Triple H and Evolution on Raw then vote for Benoit. Michaels said that he’s not asking for sympathy for his knee injury. Michaels said give me one more shot and he’ll leave everything in the ring.
The results for who faces Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship:
Shawn Michaels: 39%
Chris Benoit: 28%
Edge left angrily while Benoit congratulated Michaels. It also means that Edge and Benoit get a shot at the tag Team Titles.
Analysis: Michaels was a face along with Benoit while Edge was turning heel, so no surprise that Edge didn’t win.
The “Fulfill Your Fantasy” battle royal was up next for the Women’s Title.
Trish Stratus was out first. What an outfit. Wow. Lawler and Ross made a lot of wisecracks about the attire of the women. She was followed by Jazz who ripped off her sleeves, Nidia showed some booty, Gail Kim (from Korea because it’s more exotic than saying Toronto), Molly Holly wasn’t thrilled about this, Victoria looked awkward with the knee brace and Stacy was last with the crowd giving her a big ovation.
Women’s Championship Schoolgirl Battle Royal: Trish Stratus, Jazz, Nidia, Gail Kim, Molly Holly, Victoria and Stacy Keibler
Women are eliminated by being thrown out of the ring and both feet must touch the floor. They don’t need to go over the top to the floor.
Jazz took Nidia’s top off and tossed her out early in the match. Molly went for a clothesline on Victoria, but Victoria moved and knocked Jazz out of the ring. Kim went for a headscissors on Victoria to take her out, but Victoria held onto the ropes and Kim landed on the floor, so she was eliminated. Keibler’s kicks on Stratus in the corner suck, but when Keibler stretches the leg the crowd loves it. Lawler continued the pervy jokes saying he would be a principal for these girls. Keibler was nearly eliminated, but Victoria saved her. Stratus took down Victoria and Keibler with hair whips. Molly and Trish did a double slingshot that sent Victoria over the top to the floor. It was down to Stratus, Holy and Keibler with Lawler making a joke about how sometimes he likes double teams. Keibler fought her way out of the corner and nearly eliminated Stratus, but Trish was able to hold on. Keibler tried to get rid of Holly, but Holly decked her with a forearm. Stratus dumped Holly out while Molly was talking trash to Keibler, so Trish retained her title. It went 5:30.
Winner: Trish Stratus
Analysis: 1/4* It was painfully bad as a match, but that’s what they did sometimes in this era to just try to pop the crowd. I can’t go negative stars because seeing Trish and some of the others in those outfits was not a bad way to spend six minutes. They were lacking babyface women big time. Lita was back in action soon after this, though, so things did get better.
The La Resistance duo of Rob Conway and Sylvan Grenier were interviewed. They complained about having to defend the Tag Team Titles later and said they would wrestle under protest.
A video package aired to set up Kane vs. Gene Snitsky with Snitsky getting introduced to the main roster as the guy that accidentally killed the Lita/Kane baby. “It Wasn’t My Fault” was his catchphrase. On the last Raw before the match, Snitsky told Lita that her husband Kane will lose the match like she lost her baby.
Analysis: What a terrible, over the top storyline this was. Kane basically forced himself on Lita, married her against her will and with a few months they turned him into a face because of the baby storyline.
The fans got to vote for a weapon of choice for this next match.
Steel chair: 30%
Lead pipe: 29%
They got rid of the other weapons and the referee held the chain at ringside. Gene Snitsky entered first. After Kane made his entrance, Lita walked down to the ring after him.
Weapon of Choice (Chain): Gene Snitsky vs. Kane (w/Lita)
Pre-match notes: Snitsky was the heel and Kane was the face after being a heel for a few years before this.
The referee dropped the chain in between both guys. Kane sent the chain out of the ring and then beat on Snitsky with punches. When Snitsky bailed to the floor, Kane grabbed the chain and missed an attack. Kane used the Kane as a weapon with a clothesline like move. Kane punched Snitsky while the chain was on his fist and Snitsky was sent out of the ring. Snitsky took control on the floor by sending Kane into the ringpost. Snitsky dominated in the ring by whipping Kane in the back with the chain. Snitsky choked Kane with the chain. After a boring couple of minutes, Kane got some momentum with a clothesline, but Snitsky stopped him with a boot to the face as well as a body slam. JR claimed nobody has ever overpowered Kane even though Undertaker beat him many times and so did Big Show, but that’s how announcers tell stories…by lying. Snitsky nailed a clothesline for a two count. Snitsky choked Kane with the chain again. When Kane was trying to fight out, it looked like he was tapping out because he hit the mat repeatedly, but that’s not what it was. Kane started the comeback with punches and Snitsky stopped it with a sidewalk slam. Kane came back with punches followed by a spot where they each hit a big boot to the face at the same time. Lita pulled the chain out of the ring. Kane teased a Chokeslam, but Snitsky punched out of it. Kane ended up whipping him over the top to the floor. Snitsky kicked the steel steps into the knees of Kane. Snitsky grabbed a steel chair and hit Kane in the throat with it. JR noted that the fans didn’t vote for the chair, yet Snitsky used it repeatedly with two more chair shots to the throat of Kane. Snitsky choked Kane with the chain again followed by some punches. JR said that Snitsky was a psychotic human being. Snitsky put the chair around the head of Kane. Snitsky jumped off the middle rope and stomped on the chair as Lawler pointed out Kane did that to Shawn Michaels in the past. Kane was bleeding from the mouth. The ref called for doctors to come check on Kane. Snitsky left. Snitsky went back in the ring, Snitsky stomped away and covered for the win. It went 14:17.
Winner by fell: Gene Snitsky
Analysis: *1/2 Boring match that went way too long with a bad ending. Snitsky was a below average worker and Kane was always better as a heel. I assume Snitsky was told by somebody to go back in the ring to cover Kane to win the match because walking away like he did was not the right way to end it. They put Snitsky over to try to give him some positive momentum as a newcomer. Bleeding from the mouth was usually done by biting on some object with fake blood on it. You could tell WWE had high hopes for Snitsky as a heel, but he never got over to the degree that they wanted him to.
Post match, EMTs checked on Kane and put him on a stretcher while he was gasping for air. They put a neckbrace on him, which doesn’t make sense for a guy that had a throat injury, but I don’t know how scripted doctors work.
When Kane got to the top of the ramp on the stretcher, Snitsky shoved him over. Snitsky stomped on Kane, so JR called Snitsky a “no good son of a bitch.” A few months earlier, JR was ripping Kane for forcing Lita to marriage and now this. Lita was scared.
Analysis: This post match angle took a while too. Between the video package, the match and the post match angle they took nearly 30 minutes. Too long for this feud that bored me.
Edge was interviewed by Todd Grisham. Edge complained about the people picking a broken down has-been like Shawn Michaels over him and he said he would beat Triple H for the World Title. Edge said winning the World Title was his destiny, not the Tag Team Championships he’s won ten times already. Edge sarcastically thanked the fans.
Eric Bischoff vs. Eugene was the next match with these stipulations: Loser has to have their head shaved, Loser has to wear a dress or Loser has to be the winner’s servant. They will reveal the stipulation after the match.
Analysis: Oh shit I’m not looking forward to writing about this crap.
Eric Bischoff vs. Eugene
Pre-match notes: Bischoff was the heel GM of Raw and Eugene was the face that was the storyline nephew of Bischoff. The Eugene character was pushed way too much and was heading in a downward direction by this point.
Bischoff started with weak looking kicks. Really bad. When Bischoff sent Eugene into the turnbuckle, Eugene no sold it and Bischoff faked a leg injury to fool the idiot Eugene leading to a kick to the head. Eugene no sold again. Eugene unleashed with punches, he gave Bischoff an airplane spin and a weak looking kick because Bischoff didn’t sell it well. That was really bad too. Eugene did some Hogan posing followed by a leg drop for the win at 2:01.
Winner by pinfall: Eugene
Analysis: DUD Best thing I can say is that it was a short match.
Poll results were revealed from online voters. Here’s how the fans voted:
Shave Head: 59%
Wear A Dress: 21%
Be Winner’s Servant 20%
Coachman went down to the ring to check on Bischoff and went over the poll choices again with the crowd cheering for Bischoff’s head being shaved. They were stalling until Vince McMahon’s music started.
McMahon got into the ring while Eugene celebrated it. The announcers said that this whole show concept was Vince’s idea. McMahon paused for a “shave his head” chant and told Bischoff he’s going to have his head shaved bald. Bischoff walked away, so Vince said if he leaves he is fired and told him to get his ass in the barber’s chair. They stalled some more. Eugene took a razor to Bischoff’s head and also used some scissors.
Analysis: Head shaving is popular in wrestling as a humiliating tactic. Vince McMahon knows that because in 2007 he had his head shaved at WrestleMania.
Coachman tried to go back to the control center, but Vince told him to come back to ringside. Vince told Coach the dress on the mannequin is Coach’s size. Vince made Coach take off his shirt and pants, so he was left in his boxers and shoes. Vince told Coach to put on the dress. When Coach put the dress on, the crowd cheered. Vince: “Don’t be a slut, button it up!” Crowd cheered that. Bischoff and Coachman yelled at eachother about this. As Eugene cut the hair of Bischoff that was grey underneath, Vince pointed out that Eric dyed his hair and called him a phony son of a bitch. Vince asked the crowd to cheer for Eugene and that was it. Bischoff went to the back with Eugene following him while Coach was still in a dress.
Analysis: It had some humorous moments to make the crowd happy. The whole thing took too long to get through with a lot of stalling, but Vince had some good lines to pop the crowd. They said somebody would be shaved bald, yet Bischoff only really got a haircut.
Shawn Michaels was shown getting his left knee taped up. Edge went up to complain about it saying that Shawn knew that Edge could beat Triple H, but Shawn took the opportunity away because he’s a selfish son of a bitch.
The World Tag Team Championship duo of Rob Conway and Sylvan Grenier aka La Resistance entered for their tag match with Quebec flags in their hands. Grenier did a poor job of singing “O Canada” in French to rile up the crowd.
Chris Benoit was out first and he was a face that main evented several PPVs earlier in the year including WrestleMania 20. Edge was his partner and he looked angry.
Analysis: Benoit and Edge were Tag Team Champions earlier in the year at Backlash in April and lost it a month later to La Resistance.
World Tag Team Championships: La Resistance – Rob Conway & Sylvan Grenier vs. Chris Benoit & Edge
Pre-match notes: La Resistance were heel champions representing Quebec even though Conway wasn’t from there. Benoit was a face. Edge had been a face for much of the year, but was showing heel tendencies around this time. Edge was a 10-time Tag Team Champion going into this match.
There were quick tags from Benoit and Edge as they worked together against Conway. Benoit nailed Grenier with a back suplex followed by a backbreaker for a two count. Benoit did a flapjack on Grenier that didn’t look good because of some miscommunication. Edge tagged and got hit with a back elbow from Grenier. Edge took control against Conway with a spear to the back of Conway while he was on the apron and Conway went into the barricade. Grenier attacked Edge, so Benoit saved his partner outside the ring. JR: “Benoit a stand-up guy, I’ll tell you that.” Awkward moment all thes eyears later. Anyway, the heels worked over Edge with Grenier slapping on a headlock. After a couple of minutes with the heels working together, Edge hit a clothesline out of the corner. Benoit got the tag, worked over Grenier with chops, but Grenier whipped him into the turnbuckle and hit him with a forearm to the head. The heel champs double teamed Benoit in the corner with punches. Benoit missed an enziguri kick and then avoided an elbow drop leading to Benoit hitting a German Suplex on Conway.
Benoit went over to Edge for the tag and he got the tag, but the ref didn’t see it because he was busy with the heels. The ref told Edge to get out of the ring, so Edge left the ring and then Edge walked to the back. Benoit watched it happen as the announcers freaked out about Edge walking out on his partner. Edge was shown walking in the back as Grenier slapped on a headlock. Edge grabbed his bag and got into a car that conveniently was there with its lights on. Edge drove away while in his wrestling gear. Benoit fought back by tripping up Grenier on the top rope. Benoit nailed Grenier with a superplex off the top. Conway tagged in. The heels tried a double team, but Benoit nailed a German Suplex on Grenier, threw Conway into Grenier and Benoit hit two German Suplexes on Conway. Benoit punched Grenier off the apron. Benoit slapped the Crippler Crossface on Conway although it wasn’t on perfectly. It was close enough that Conway tapped out, so Benoit won the titles by himself. It went 16:15.
Winners by submission and New World Tag Team Champions: Chris Benoit & Edge
Analysis: **3/4 It was just an entertaining tag match with the unique story of Benoit winning the titles without Edge’s help. It really put Benoit over strong as a top face while La Resistance was hurt by losing to a guy in what was essentially a handicap match. The last few minutes were well done with the crowd going wild for Benoit’s signature spots and cheering loudly when the match was over. This match did a great job of putting over Benoit and showing how strong he was in terms of his ability to overcome adversity by being all alone against two guys, yet he was able to win.
Post match, Benoit posed with both Tag Team Titles while the announcers freaked out about Benoit winning by himself. Ross was amazed while Lawler couldn’t believe it.
Analysis: La Resistance won the titles back two weeks later when Edge walked out of the match again and then fully turned heel after the loss by attacking Benoit.
Triple H was interviewed by Todd Grisham backstage. Triple H said Shawn Michaels wasn’t injured and if Shawn’s leg isn’t broken then it will be by the end of the night. Triple H said he will still be the World Heavyweight Champion.
The announcers showed clips of Michaels on Raw dealing with the injured left knee with Michaels limping around.
Next up was Christy Hemme vs. Carmella (not the current Carmella in WWE), which was set up after Christy won the first ever Diva Search for $250,000 and Carmella was the runner up. A video package aired to set this up. Bad acting was running wild.
Coachman was at the control center wearing the dress. People laughed at him.
Carmella made her entrance on the stage. Christy Hemme was up next. Here are the poll results.
Lingerie Pillow Fight: 57%
Evening Gown: 33%
Aerobics Challenge: 10%
The crowd liked that. I don’t know anybody that voted for the aerobics challenge.
The women changed behind a cubicle that was set up on the stage, so they changed while cheesy music aired. The cubicles were see through, which led to Lawler freaking out watching them undress. Coach yelled at Carmella to get closer to the screen so people can see her. Carmella finished first and walked to the ring. Christy took her time. This whole process took a few minutes.
Analysis: That’s something you don’t see very often before a match.
Lingerie Pillow Fight: Christy Hemme vs. Carmella DeCasere
Pre-match notes: Christy was the face and Carmella was the heel.
There were pillows in the ring and you had to win the match by pinfall. Yes, that’s right, they attempted to have rules. The women wrestled in lingerie.
Christy started the match by pulling some silicone out of her top. Christy threw it into the crowd. Carmella threw the other one away. They smashed pillows and feathers were flying. They did a catfight spot. Christy hit Carmella with a pillow and pinned her for the win at 1:48.
Winner by pinfall: Christy Hemme
Analysis: -* It was crappy as a match, but they looked good. Women’s wrestling has come a long way in the last 13 years, that’s for damn sure.
The announcers talked about what has happened so far as well as what’s to come. More fast forwarding because this took a few minutes.
Triple H entered first with the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist.
Shawn Michaels limped his way down to the ring favoring his injured left knee. Lawler said he was overacting while Ross said he wasn’t acting at all. You could tell Michaels was wearing a big brace on the left knee underneath his red leather pants.
World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Heavyweight Champion while Michaels was the face dealing with a legit knee injury.
Michaels fought off Triple H early with some punches while Triple H was focused on working on the knee. When Michaels went for a kick, Hunter grabbed the left leg and punched it to knock Michaels down. Hunter stomped away on the left leg. When Michaels tried to fight back, Hunter tripped him up and did elbow drops to the knee. Hunter stretched the left knee of Michaels against his own to work him over some more. Triple H slapped on the Figure Four Leglock. Michaels was pleading with the ref Mike Chioda to not ring the bell, the fans were rallying behind Michaels and Hunter told Shawn to quit. After about two minutes in the hold, Michaels got his hands on the bottom rope to break the hold. Hunter tried to send Michael’s leg into the steel ring post, but Michaels was able to counter by pulling his legs back and Hunter hit the ring post. Back in the ring, kick to the knee by Hunter and Michaels came back with a kick that saw Hunter by hitting the ring post. That was a very over the top bump by Hunter. Both guys were down in the ring.
Michaels did three atomic drops on his bad knee followed by a clothesline. Michaels nailed a few punches leading to both guys collapsing leading to a two count for Michaels. Hunter went for a Pedigree, the ref got close, Hunter pushed the ref away and Michaels hit a low blow uppercut punch that the ref didn’t see. Michaels nailed a DDT. Michaels went up top slowly and he jumped off with a lefty elbow drop. The crowd was going wild for it. Michaels wanted Sweet Chin Music and Batista was there to distract, so Shawn punched him to the ground. Triple H attacked and Michaels nailed the Sweet Chin Music superkick to Triple H. The ref continued to distract Batista. Edge showed up in the ring and hit a Spear on Michaels. Earlier in the night, Edge drove away, so his return was a surprise. Edge was yelling: “It should have been me.” Triple H did a slow crawl into a cover that was enough for the pinfall victory after 14:05 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ***1/2 That was pretty good even without much of a storyline going into it. Michaels sold that left knee well, so it was the focal point of the match with Triple H working it over for most of the match as he should have. These two had better singles matches during their feud (SummerSlam 2002 and a Raw match in December 2003 comes to mind), but this was still an above average match that had a good story due to the knee injury. The interference by Edge made the win by Hunter look even cheaper even though it didn’t have to be. That was just done to further the heel turn of Edge because he blamed Michaels for him not getting a title shot. Cheap win by the heel champion Triple H, who won that way fairly often.
Triple H stumbled away with the World Title. Replays aired of Shawn’s superkick followed by Edge hitting the Spear on Michaels to give Triple H the win.
Michaels got back to his feet on his own and was helped by referees as well as doctors, who assisted him in getting to the back.
Analysis: The Michaels knee injury was legit although it was not as bad as a major knee injury like a ACL tear. It was a torn meniscus. He missed about three months of action and returned in time for the 2005 Royal Rumble to set up his epic WrestleMania 21 match against Kurt Angle.
Eric Bischoff was shown walking backstage yelling at people that were standing there looking at him with his head that had grey hair on it. He did not get shaved bald.
Analysis: One of the guys he yelled at backstage was later known as Mr. Kennedy in WWE. He was from Green Bay, Wisconsin, so he was just an indy guy that was an extra at the show at that point in his career. I looked it up and saw that Kennedy signed his WWE deal in February 2005, so it wasn’t too long after this.
The announcers summarized everything that happened on the show so far with highlights of all the matches.
A video package aired to set up Randy Orton vs. Ric Flair. Orton was the face that was kicked out Evolution a few months earlier while Flair was a heel although he was also cheered at times. Orton got under Flair’s skin by saying this generation will remember Flair as the guy that kisses Triple H’s ass. Flair cost Orton a match against Batista on Raw, so that set up Orton vs. Flair with each man trying to make the other respect the other guy.
Here are the poll results.
Steel Cage Match: 68%
Falls Count Anywhere: 20%
The choices made it obvious what was going to win. That’s how it was with every one of these polls.
Ric Flair made his entrance in one of his robes with Lawler saying the robe cost $15,000.
Randy Orton was up next to a nice ovation although nothing that big. Orton didn’t play to the crowd at all even though he was a face. A face should pose for the fans a lot more than he did.
Steel Cage Match: Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: Flair was the heel while Orton was the face. Flair was 55 years old while Orton was 24 years old, so there was obviously a huge age difference.
You can win by pinfall, submission or escaping the cage.
Flair opened up with chops, Orton hit him with punches and Orton nailed a high back body drop. Flair nailed a low blow punch that was legal in a match like this. Flair whipped Orton hard into the steel cage leading to Orton coming up bleeding. It took two minutes for somebody to bleed. Good job of Orton posing for the cameras showing his bloody face. Flair tossed Orton into the steel cage again. Flair continued the attack with punches, chops and grinding Orton’s face against the cage. Running knee drop to the face by Flair. More chops from Flair. Orton fired back with punches. Orton whipped Flair into the cage and Flair came up bleeding of course. When Flair tried to climb out, Orton pulled on his tights to show some of his ass. They battled on the top rope, Orton sent Flair into the cage and Flair crotched himself on the top rope. That was a classic Flair bump that drew a big reaction. Orton worked over Flair in the corner again, so Flair punched Orton in the groin again. Orton was on offense and got his chance to grind Flair’s face into the cage. Orton hit a dropkick that sent Flair’s back into the cage. Flair tried to climb up, so Orton slammed him off the top in a signature Flair bump spot.
Orton went to the top rope and hit a sloppy cross body block on Flair for a two count. It wasn’t done perfectly, but they made it work. Modified backbreaker by Orton got a two count. Flair fought back with some hard chops. Flair tried to crawl out the door that was opened, but Orton pulled him back in. The ref pulled Orton back, so Flair pulled brass knuckles out of his tights and Flair decked Orton with a punch using the brass knuckles. Flair covered for a two count that was the best nearfall of the match. Flair tried to climb out the cage again and there was a chair that happened to be there, so Flair brought the chair in. Flair went for a chair shot to the head of Orton, but Orton ducked that and Orton nailed the RKO for the pinfall win at 10:35.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match where they made the most of their time. It felt short, but it was probably the right call because of Flair’s age as well as the show getting close to the three-hour mark. This felt like a fight more than a wrestling match that took place in the cage, so I liked that aspect of it. The blood helped tell the story. Flair doing the low blows fit his character while also showed how personal the rivalry was. What the match lacked was Orton trying to climb out the cage and teasing the finish, but I didn’t mind that too much because it was a good, bloody brawl. It was no surprise Orton got the win as the younger face that they were trying to get over in this new role even though it ended up not working that well in the long run.
Post match, they were both a bloody mess and stumbling around the ring. Flair extended his hand for a handshake. Orton shook the hand and gave Flair a big hug. The crowd cheered. The bloody Orton helped the bloody Flair back to his feet. They stared at eachother some more as a sign of respect.
The show ended with Orton and Flair staring at eachother.
Analysis: The story was that Flair wanted Orton to respect him, so that’s what the handshake was about at the end. I remember thinking at the time that Flair might turn face because of it, but they kept him in the heel role.
This event has a run time of 2 hours, 50 minutes on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 4.5
Best Match: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels (***1/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Christy Hemme vs. Carmella (-*)
- Shawn Michaels
- Triple H
- Randy Orton
- Ric Flair
- Chris Benoit
Below average show. The last two matches saved it from being one of the worst PPVs of all time, but I had forgotten how bad it was and how much filler there was. The story of Edge as a jerk that cost Michaels the title match was about the only intriguing storyline aspect of the show. A lot of it was boring.
Taboo Tuesday did poorly in terms of PPV buyrates with 174,000 buys, which is one of the lowest numbers in WWE history. It did get better the next year when the same show did 250,000, but this was a forgettable experiment for WWE. Also, the attendance at the event says there were 3,500 people at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, which is a lot lower than you expect for a PPV in a NBA sized arena like that. When seeing those numbers, it’s easy to see why there were only two Taboo Tuesday events.
Next up: Survivor Series 2004.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my other retro WWE PPV reviews here as well.