Sunday, 18 December 2005

WWE Armageddon 2005 - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again, as WWE present their last pay-per-view of 2005, with the Smackdown brand presenting Armageddon.

The show began with Matt Hardy facing JBL in one of those hastily arranged affairs, and I couldn’t help but think how far both of these guys have fallen. A year ago JBL was main eventing, and now he’s the opening act. As is the case with these rushed affairs, not much to write home about, and the best thing about this match was JBL’s opening promo, proving once again that he’s still a hell of a character. Needless to say, JBL won, pinning Hardy after a clothesline from hell. Just imagine what Hardy could have been doing in TNA right now.

A quick look back to last Friday’s Smackdown, as Melina tries to “bargain” with Batista. Then, one of the finest moments in WWE history is shown, with the Undertaker taking on Mankind in that King of the Ring Hell in a Cell match.

Tag-team action next, as MNM take on Psicosis and Supercrazy. It’s a great shame that this bout isn’t for the titles, as the Mexicool team are really over at the moment. A good little match here, with good showings from both teams, which eventually saw MNM win after taking Supercrazy out with the Snapshot for the win. Let’s hope we see more of these two teams against each other in the future.

Backstage, new announcer Krystal tries to interviews Booker T, only for the missus to get jealous and threaten the new girl with a broom. Mentions of Booker getting the clean sweep in the best of seven as well.

Then it’s time for Booker T and Chris Benoit to renew their series for the US title, with Booker going into the bout needing just one match for the series win, and what we got here is a hell of a contest, possibly the best of the series so far. Over twenty minutes of top-notch action, which must have the top brass hoping that Benoit signs the new contract next month. Finally, Benoit was able to score his first pin in the series after making Booker tap to the cross-face. Good stuff here.

General Manager Teddy Long and network executive Palmer Cannon then make their way to the ring. After Long thanks the Smackdown fans for their support, Palmer brings out a surprise, Big Vito dressed as Santa, with Nunzio as his elf. The two Italians demand title shots, until Palmer gives them a special surprise of his own - the Boogeyman. The weird one comes out to the ring, basically destroys Vito and Nunzio, before stuffing worms down Vito’s throat. The Boogeyman is a hell of a gimmick, but you have to wonder what would happen in a proper wrestling situation.

Backstage, Krystal interviews Randy Orton. Usual hype job for the Hell in a Cell match here.

A handicap match follows, as my fellow Brits William Regal and Paul Burchill go up against the latest big man/muscle-bound monster clone, Bobby Lashley. Not much to see here, as it’s a less-than-impressive win with Lashley pinning Burchill after the Dominator. Lashley looked as green as hell out there.

We then go to the outside broadcast unit, as Josh Matthews pays a visit to The Friendly Tap bar to interview former WWE referee Tim White, who was injured in a Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and Chris Jericho in 2002. What follows is probably the worst thing you’ll see on WWE television this year. Looking like a man with a deep emotional crisis, White tells Matthews how Hell in a Cell ruined his life, how his friends and family have deserted him, and of all the health problems he’s been suffering. Then, White takes out a shotgun after Matthews wishes him a Merry Christmas, before walking off screen. We then hear the sound of a gunshot. Yep, you guessed it folks, we just had our first ever suicide in WWE history. A step too far here, and whoever came up with this idea should be ashamed of themselves.

We return to the arena, and White’s apparent suicide is hardly mentioned as we move on to the Cruiserweight title match between Juventud and Kid Kash. The crowd is pretty dead here, which is a shame as both guys put on a solid match here, with Kash winning the title just shy of ten minutes with a brain buster.

The hype for the Royal Rumble began, with the McMahon family in a Roman-esque skit. After last year’s tremendous Westside Story skits, this is a drastic letdown. The less said about this the better.

Inter-promotional action next, and it’s a battle of the Tag-Team Champions as Raw’s Kane and Big Show take on Batista and Rey Mysterio. If this was meant to signify the continuing rivalry between the two brands, then it didn’t really get the job done. A match devoid of passion saw Rey sell like a bad ass for the monsters, with Kane pinning Mysterio after a choke slam in a match that probably won’t be remembered in a few days.

Then it’s time for our main event as Randy Orton takes on the Undertaker in the Undertaker’s speciality match, Hell in a Cell. After all the hype, and the great build-up in this feud, once again I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Sure, there was tons of brutality between the two men as they bled for their art, but having seen so many great Cell moments over the past few days, there was no “big” moment, and compared to the Batista/Triple H Cell match earlier this year, this was a letdown, especially as Undertaker took Orton down with a Tombstone piledriver for the win, when everybody probably wanted to see Orton go over. Afterwards, Undertaker climbed to the top of the Cell, golden urn in hand, to proclaim his victory.

In conclusion - disappointing. It seemed that the main selling  point of Armageddon was Hell in a Cell, and the rest of the show seemed to be thrown together at the last minute. If you’re living in Britain, and you saw the preview shows on Sky Box Office, you’ll know what I mean, as they only previewed three matches on that show. The only saving grace of this show was the Benoit/Booker match. All in all, it wasn’t really worth the money that Sky were asking for.