Tuesday, 1 November 2005

WWE Taboo Tuesday - TV Review

It’s been touted as the most innovative idea in the history of wrestling on pay-per-view. Now in it’s second year, World Wrestling Entertainment presented Taboo Tuesday from San Diego, California.

The first surprise of the evening came at the very beginning of the show. Well, it was a surprise if you hadn’t been following events on the WWE website. Replacing Jonathan Coachman for the evening was none other than the voice of ECW, Joey Styles. Extreme marking out follows.

The show began with the inter-promotional tag-match, as Edge and “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters were scheduled to go up against two Smackdown superstars. After it was announced that Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy had won the vote, Edge announced that he would gain nothing from wrestling Mysterio and Hardy, and promptly pulled out of the bout, replacing himself with Gene Snitsky.

With two referees in the ring, one from Smackdown, and one from Raw, the match started out quite slowly, and if I’m honest, it kind of failed to grab my attention at first. But I began to gradually warm to this as both teams began to show good chemistry and good team-work. After almost fifteen minutes of action, Mysterio and Hardy showed what they could do with an excellent combination of moves. After Rey knocked Masters down with a 619, Hardy followed up with a Twist of Fate, before Rey gained the winning pinfall with a springboard splash off the top rope. Despite a poor star, this proved to be a very solid opening bout, and in Hardy and Mysterio, it looks like the creative team may have stumbled upon a new, winning tag-team combination. Let’s hope they realise what they have and run with the ball on this one.

Back stage, Mick Foley and the bimbo that is Maria realise they have the wrong luggage.

The second tag-team match of the night follows, as Rob Conway and Tyson Tomko team to take on Eugene and the legend that the fans have chose - Superfly Jimmy Snuka. Damn! I voted for old Hacksaw! Not much action here. Eugene takes a pasting from Conway and Tomko, before tagging in Snuka, who shakily climbed to the top rope before coming down on Conway with the Superfly Splash for the win. After Tomko attacked Snuka from behind, Duggan and Kamala, the third legend who was up for the vote, came in and made the save, with Duggan taking Tomko out with his running clothesline, before Kamala came down on him with the big splash. Not a bad match for nostalgia purposes, but nothing special.

Next up, it’s time for Carlito to face one of the three faces of Foley, with the fans choosing Mankind. I’m a big a Foley fan as the next guy, but again, if I’m going to be totally honest, he didn’t look that good in there. Carlito dominated proceedings early on until Mankind came back and got the victory with Mr. Socko, complete with his own Carlito-style hair. Good to see Mankind again, but he could have done a lot better.

Backstage, Vince McMahon goes to see Eric Bischoff, and is somewhat annoyed that the inter-promotional tag-match has already taken place. McMahon gives Bischoff a right roasting for allowing a Smackdown team to lose to Raw on a Raw pay-per-view. Bischoff asks for McMahon’s help, but Vinny Mac tells good old Eric that he’s on his own from now on. References to nappies follows, before McMahon wishes Bischoff well for the Batista/Coach match.

Back in the arena, Todd Grisham announces who the third man is in the WWE title match, with Shawn Michaels winning the vote. It’s then time for the World Tag-Team title match, with the two losers in the vote, Kane and the Big Show, going up against Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. What followed was a highly entertaining bout, although this bout probably wasn’t to many people’s liking. Unlike last year’s similar bout, Kane and Show worked well together, and gained the win and the titles after a short match, pinning Cade with a double-choke slam. As Todd Grisham tried to interview the new champions afterwards, Murdoch butted in, and got a double-choke slam for his troubles.

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman gives a team talk to Goldust and Vader. I’m still wondering what the hell these two are doing there.

In the arena, Todd Grisham invites the Divas into the Control Centre, and we find out what kind of battle royale they’ll be competing in later. It’s pretty obvious what stipulation got the most votes.

Then it’s time for the mis-match of the year, as Batista takes on Coach. Guess what we all voted for? Yep, you got it, a street fight. This match was a total dud. The Goldust character is ten years past it’s prime, and Vader is, well, ten years past his prime. Ten years ago, if Goldust and Vader had teamed up against anyone, they would literally have obliterated him, but now, in 2005, it’s sad to see what they’ve become, with Batista dominating them in the way that he did. I think you can guess who won this one.

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews Shawn Michaels, who is approached by Kurt Angle with an offer, that they team-up against Cena and eliminate him from the bout. Michaels says he’ll give it some thought.

The Divas battle royal follows. Hey, they look good in what they’re nearly wearing, but it’s a shame that only half of these babes are actual wrestlers. Usual stuff here, with Alexis….I mean Mickie James doing her obsessed fan bit with Trish, with Mickie actually eliminating herself and Victoria so Trish could pick up the win. Move along, nothing much more to see.

We then get a look at the history surrounding the Triple H v Ric Flair feud, before the two former friends go at it in, well, it was obvious it was going to be a cage match, wasn’t it? Even though the Intercontinental title is on the line, it was hardly mentioned, and it wouldn’t really make sense for The Game to win this title at this stage of his career. Anyway, back to the match, and what we have is one of the most intense bouts of the year. Both men bled buckets, and literally kicked the crap out of each other. Watching this made you forget that Flair is just four years shy of his 60th birthday. After a steel chair was introduced into the equation, brought into the ring by Flair as Triple H hauled him back into the ring as he tried to escape through the door, Flair clobbered him with it several times, before he managed to get through the door for the win. I have to admit that the result really surprised me here, because I thought that Triple H would have definitely gone over, but then again, I guess it shows there’s life in the old dog yet, and that we haven’t seen the last of this feud. Good stuff here.

It’s then time for our main event, as John Cena defends his WWE title against Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels. I really can’t speak too highly about this match, it had everything that made it worthy of the main event slot, the usual three way stuff, some good exchanges when there were just two of the three in the ring against each other, and Michaels and Angle teaming up in an attempt to take the champion out. The end was something special as well. After Michaels hit Angle with a super-kick, Cena surprised him with an FU for the pinfall victory. After the final bell, Cena, still feeling the effects of Angle’s ankle lock, shoved the referees away as they tried to help him to his feet, before he raised the WWE title in triumph.

In conclusion, a good show here, a lot better than I thought it would be, apart from the Batista/Coach match. Apart from the good matches, one of the main reasons this show worked was the presence of Joey Styles. Styles showed just how superior he is to each and every announcer currently in the WWE at the moment, even Jim Ross. His commentary was like a breath of fresh air, as he showed that he had obviously done his homework as he gave us the background story to each and every match. Styles’ presence also showed in Jerry Lawler’s performance as well, as he put in his finest commentary stint in years, feeding off everything that Styles did. Let’s just hope that they can get Styles on a permanent basis. Coach out, Styles in I say!