WWE SummerSlam 2005 8/21/2005

August 21, 2005
MCI Center
Washington, DC
Attendance: 18,156
Buy Rate: 1.34
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole & Tazz

Sunday Night Heat

Chris Masters (Chris Mordetzky) defeats Hurricane (Gregory Helms)

Fun Fact: This is our nation’s capital’s first PPV since the Rock’s big win over Triple H for the WWE Title at Backlash 2000.

Fun Fact II:
This is only the third Summerslam Triple H has missed since joining WWE in early 1995. The other years were 1996 and 2001.

Pay Per View

1) Chris Benoit defeats Orlando Jordan to win United States Title with the Crossface at :25

Fun Fact: On 7/28, Chris Benoit forced Orlando Jordan to tap out in a tag team match. On the 8/18 Smackdown, Jordan would cost Benoit a match against Randy Orton.

Scott: Well that didn’t take long. After a decent match at the Great American Bash that ended with Jordan cheating, Benoit cemented his status as one of wrestling’s biggest bad asses by finishing the Chief of Staff’s US Title reign in mere seconds. Jordan got lucky at the Bash, not this time. Grade: 0

After a surprising win at last month’s PPV, it was time for Jordan to pay the piper, and pay he did. Benoit was a man on a mission, and he marches to the ring and downright squashes the champ. It was a great start to the show and really got the crowd going. It was also a great push for Benoit, who was long overdue for one after losing his World title one year ago. The finish here brings back memories of Summerslam 1988, when Ultimate Warrior destroyed Honky Tonk Man and ended his reign of terror. Jordan’s reign wasn’t nearly as bad as that, but it was still a satisfying finish. Grade: .5

2) Edge (Adam Copeland) defeats Matt Hardy by referee stoppage at 4:45

Fun Fact: After Matt Hardy’s release, he became quite the underground cult hero for the way he was dismissed, including a massive online petition to bring him back. Shortly after his release, he posted two videos on the web showcasing a character he had been working on called the “Angelic Diablo”, discussing scars becoming symbols. On 7/11, in one of the best-kept secrets in live wrestling history, Matt Hardy returned, assaulting Edge backstage and then again at ringside and being dragged off by security, yelling about Ring of Honor and Johnny Ace along the way. It was shot well and just wild enough that many wondered if it was a shoot or a work. Adding to the mystery was the fact that Hardy wrestled Christopher Daniels on a 7/16 Ring of Honor show in Woodbridge, CT. Before the match, he cut a promo ripping WWE and John Laurinaitis, keeping the charade going. After two more weeks of random attacks, it was all revealed to be a work, however, when Vince McMahon marched to the ring on the 8/1 Raw and announced that hardy had been rehired and would be taking on Edge at Summerslam. Matt made his way out and cut a good promo, outlining what had really happened and issuing a stern warning to Edge that he was coming for revenge. On 8/8, Hardy defeated Snitsky in a match but Edge struck and a big brawl broke out.

Fun Fact II:
Justin and Scott, along with a few friends, actually saw Matt Hardy wrestle Christopher Daniels at a Ring of Honor show in Woodbridge, CT on 7/16. The rumors had flowed that Matt was returning to WWE and that his Raw appearance was a work, so the fans booed him during that match.

Well this is about as personal as it gets. Matt was hurt, Edge was boning his woman, and Lita pretty much tossed her old beau out the door. Now what’s interesting is that we never found out if Lita and Matt had any problems or if Lita was ready to break up with him. All we know is that one minute they were together, and the next she’s bumping uglies with Edge. So the minute the bell rings, they just roll around and swing punches at each other. I never thought this match would happen because I thought Matt wouldn’t be able to hold back and may take some liberties. I’m sure he promised to be professional in the ring, but at the same time I’m sure Edge knew he had to prepare for some potatoes, and the last thing he probably wanted to do during his big push was whine about some potatoes. Matt gets busted open on the steel post, and starts bleeding like crazy. Both men continue to punch, punch and punch. They didn’t want Edge to win clean, and Matt winning would end the feud much sooner than it can be. So they have the referee end it. Edge is still smug, but Matt didn’t get pinned or quit. Stay tuned. Overall the match was a bunch of kicks and punches, nothing more. Grade: 1.5

Justin: After a tenuous 2005, Matt Hardy makes his way to the ring to a big pop, welcoming him back to WWE. This was a pretty exciting time and it brought back a few memories of the salad days of the Monday Night Wars when rumors swirled each week about which stars may be jumping promotions. Those first few appearances by Hardy were really well done and just ambiguous enough that you didn’t know what was what. Of course, it was a work but it was still a hot storyline because it was based in reality and the whole world knew the deal. The two get off to a hot start with a fast paced stiff brawl, playing off the real emotions they were feeling. Finally breaking away from Hardy’s hard right hands, Edge hit a nice spear, sending Matt off the apron and to the floor. The match would really turn when Edge was able to push Matt into the air and drop him face first on to the ring post, knocking him silly and bloodying his face. Matt was out cold and helpless as Edge relentlessly pounded on him until the referee finally stopped the match. The match was a decent brawl and it really felt like a legit fight, especially factoring in the finish. Many people wondered why Matt would get beaten down so decisively in his comeback and began to question if he was ever going to get some sort of push, or if he was just there as fodder for Edge. Matt was steadfast online and claimed this was a multilayered story that would see him get his revenge in the end. Time will tell, but for now Edge gets the girl and the last laugh. Grade: 1.5

3) Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez) defeats Eddie Guerrero in a ladder match at 20:19

Fun Fact: On 7/28, Eddie Guerrero broke his promise from his GAB stipulation and spilled his secret to the world. He interrupted a Rey Mysterio promo, taking place in the ring alongside his son, Domenic. Eddie revealed that Domenic was actually his son, fathered with another woman and adopted by Rey and his wife because they could not have one of their own. The news sent Domenic scurrying into the crowd with Rey following behind him. A week later, Eddie appeared with his attorney and told Rey that he had custody papers in hand and demanded Rey bring Domenic to Smackdown the next week. On 8/11, Eddie came out with a social worker and demanded that Rey hand his son over. Rey, his wife and Domenic stood the ring, with Domenic clinging to his mother’s leg. Rey began taunting Eddie about never defeating him in a match, pushing Eddie over the edge. Rey then proposed a match at Summerslam with the winner getting custody of his son. For some reason, the social worker thought this was a fine idea and approved of the stipulation. She then took custody of Domenic and claimed he would remain with her until Summerslam. The next week, Eddie announced that the PPV bout would be a ladder match.

The final chapter. One of the most emotionally driven feuds of the year has culminated with a ladder match for the custody of a child. I remember a lot of people thought this whole part of the storyline was pretty stupid. A child’s custody determined in a match. It’s WWE, we suspended disbelief a long time ago. These two men have given us four very good matches this year starting at Wrestlemania. Those were all straight wrestling battles, and now here we have a stipulation that both men can very well handle. Eddie had that classic ladder match with Rob Van Dam three years earlier on Raw. Eddie dictated the tempo and smacked Rey with one ladder shot after another. One nice spot has Rey leaning a second ladder on the open ladder and run up to knock Eddie off with a backdrop. Eddie was a fingernail away from the briefcase a few times. At one point Eddie’s clearly about to win when Domenic comes into the ring and try to shake the ladder himself. Tazz was so into this feud, tossing some vulgarities in during the past two PPV matches. Rey actually hits a 619 on Eddie using the ladder, and then hits the West Coast Pop onto a ladder with Eddie under it. Rey had the briefcase in his hands, but Eddie kicked the ladder out from under him and while hanging in the air Rey is powerbombed. Eddie then almost gets it but he ends up hanging in mid-air. Eddie hits a stiff suplex on a ladder. The ladder isn’t used as a weapon that much, this one’s more for what’s hanging over the ring. Eventually Vicki comes to the ring as Eddie’s going for the briefcase, he pleads with Eddie, and then finally throws the ladder and Eddie with him. After that Rey crawls up the ladder, and with Vicki holding Eddie down, Rey finally grabs the briefcase and his nightmare is over. It is a pretty emotional moment, even though it’s totally scripted. For one final exclamation point, Rey cracks Eddie in the head with the briefcase and knocked him cold. A very entertaining, and unique ladder match, different from past battles. Grade: 3.5

Justin: This whole angle and match is equal parts dramatic and unbelievable and hokey. Eddie’s heelwork was fantastic here and Rey did a great job playing the underdog. However, the story itself is pretty silly. The fact that a social worker would allow custody of a kid be determined in a ladder match is absurd and the fact that this was played so seriously was even worse. Still, it is a ladder match featuring Mysterio and Guerrero, and that was more than enough to make up for the bizarre booking. Michael Cole was really good here, talking about his own experience as an adoptive parent and really taking Eddie to task for his actions. Eddie was vicious early on, punishing Rey all over the ring. Rey hit a nice seated senton to the floor, but other than that Eddie just dominated him for most of the match. The match was mainly a sloppy car wreck, as both men seemed to be trying to hit a homerun but coming up just short. They would trade some stiff ladder spots, but Eddie was able to put him down long enough to climb the ladder. Just as it seemed he might win it, Domenic hit the ring and stopped his birth father. Eddie would then began screaming at Domenic and threaten to strike him, which led to an exasperated Rey leaping up and saving his son. Maybe that should have tipped the social worker off that Eddie shouldn’t have custody. Rey would hit a nice powerbomb, whipping Eddie down off the ladder. Eddie would return the favor as he snapped Rey down with a powerbomb as he hung from the briefcase. It also looked like Eddie messed his ankle up as he was yanked from the ladder. He fought through it and took Rey over with a sick suplex onto the ladder. As it once again looked like Eddie was about to win, his wife Vicki ran to the ring and hooked his leg, eventually pulling him off the ladder and allowing Rey to procure the briefcase and retain custody of his son. The finish was a nice blowoff to this long arcing feud, but the match itself is a bit of a let down and a disappointment. It was still good, but it was sloppy and they just didn’t click like they used to on this night. Rey celebrates with his son and this feud finally comes to a close. Grade: 3.5

4) Kurt Angle defeats Eugene (Nick Dinsmore) with the Anklelock at 4:32

Fun Fact: After moving to Raw, Kurt Angle brought back his Angle Invitational, challenging hometown heroes to last five minutes in the ring for a chance to win his gold medal. On 7/25, Eugene came out and challenged Angle. Angle bit and Eugene would last the five minutes and win the medal. His new friend and cheerleader Christy Hemme came to the ring, put the medal on his neck and joined him in a victory lap. On 8/1, Eugene held his own Invitational. The show emanated from Mohegan Sun casino, thus the hometown hero was naturally Tatanka. Eugene won the match by DQ after Angle interfered and Eugene kept controlled of his medal. On 8/8, Raw aired live from Pittsburgh, so Angle played the hometown hero and challenged Eugene. Angle was about to win but he accidentally hit the ref and was DQ’d. He kept assaulting Eugene, drawing Hulk Hogan out to make the save. Angle would assault Eugene again a week later and then announced that he would be facing him at the PPV.

Scott: Just like the first match of the night, this is a mere Angle slaughter to get his gold medal back. It’s tough to see Angle in a throwaway match, but there really wasn’t anything else for him to do. Eugene is a joke now, merely mimicking all the Attitude Era’s guy’s top finishers, including Stunners, Rock Bottoms, and People’s Elbows. It’s quite tiring. Kurt ratchets up the Ankle Lock and the crowd went crazy for him. This was an effective squash for Angle. Grade: 0

Kurt Angle marches to the ring, locked in and ready to destroy his opponent. Angle beat Eugene down with a maniacal assault, as the crowd quickly became bloodthirsty rooting Kurt on. Angle was sadistic as he outsmarted Eugene and wore him down. It was quite clear that Angle was being rebuilt for a major run, as this was basically a squash at its core. Eugene would get a few shots in, but that was it and Kurt gets a big pop for making Eugene tap out. This match was a pure sprint and Angle comes out looking like a beast at the expense of Eugene, who was quite expendable. Grade: 2

*** Backstage, a few of the Divas are shown washing a limo with the presidential seal and prancing around. The window rolled down to reveal Mr. McMahon with a smirk on his face and asking why the hell not. The camera then panned back to show a “McMahon for President” bumper sticker. ***

5) Randy Orton defeats Undertaker with an RKO at 17:16

Fun Fact: Heading into Wrestlemania, it was announced that Randy Orton had a badly injured shoulder and would need time off. The night after losing to Undertaker, Orton disclosed that shoulder injury on Raw, but still faced Batista in a non title match. After losing that match, he hit the DL to rehab. Orton would make an appearance on Raw prior to the Lottery to announce that he was ineligible due to injury. Mr. McMahon then made his way out to shoot Orton down and tell him that he was indeed eligible to be drafted. The segment was a bit controversial as Vince bullied Orton a bit and made fun of his physique, basically implying that he was off the steroids and had shrunken due to it.

Fun Fact II:
Orton would make his debut on the 6/16 Smackdown, attacking Undertaker and costing him a match with JBL. He would then announce that he was Smackdown’s second draft pick in the lottery. Things would cool off, but history repeated itself on 7/28 when Orton against cost Undertaker a match against JBL, this time costing him a Summerslam title match. A week later, Orton would challenge Taker to a Summerslam match and Taker would accept. On 8/11, Teddy Long booked Orton for a match with a mystery legend. That legend turned out to be Kamala. Orton would defeat him, but Undertaker hit him with a threatening message via the Titantron. On 8/18, Orton defeated Chris Benoit, but after the match Undertaker appeared in the ring and dropped Orton with a chokeslam.

Fun Fact III:
Undertaker has not missed a Summerslam since 1992, compiling a record of 8-4-1 in that span.

We rejoin the feud that started before Wrestlemania with the Deadman facing the young third generation stud. Orton was one guy that many thought could legitimately end Taker’s Wrestlemania streak earlier in the year. He didn’t but the match was good enough that the feud could have continued. This rematch has actually had a pretty good pace. I was really impressed with how Orton dictated the tempo here and Taker went along with it. Unlike their April match in Los Angeles, where Taker was working the kid over, Orton was the one who attacked Taker’s left leg for a good five-six minutes. They continue to battle back and forth, even doing the XXI trick of reversing Tombstones, but Taker can’t hit it and Orton hits the reverse neckbreaker. I remember the revival of this feud really didn’t have the teeth it had earlier in the year. Taker had to vanquish the controversial Muhammad Hassan, and then walked right into this feud. Orton goes for a cross body but Taker rolls over it and hits a chokeslam. Then out of nowhere some fan comes into the ring to disrupt the match. Officials come in to escort him out, but it gave Orton enough time to recoup himself, hit the RKO and get the win. We then realize that the crazy fan that got in the ring was actually Randy’s pop, Cowboy Bob Orton. Not as effective as the cast shot at Wrestlemania, but hey Orton got the win here. This feud is not over. The match was ok, different than the one in April. This time Orton gets the win. Grade: 2

Justin: Our next contest is an intriguing Wrestlemania rematch. Orton took a hard fought loss in LA, was injured, recovered, drafted to Smackdown and now looking for revenge against the Deadman. Orton would stall a bit early, but Taker would take control with his usual offense and began to focus on Orton’s rehabbed shoulder and arm. Once Orton took over, he was really aggressive in taking apart Taker’s leg. The crowd was a bit subdued here as the match was technically fine, but just sort of bland and not really close to their Wrestlemania tilt. After some nice Tombstone/RKO teases, a fan would hop in the ring and distract Taker long enough for Orton to drop him with an RKO to even up their series. After the match, the fan peeled off a latex mask to reveal himself as Cowboy Bob Orton. I liked seeing the Ortons outsmart Taker as Randy picks up a nice win. The match itself is OK and this feud is not yet over. Grade: 2.5

6) John Cena defeats Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) to retain WWE Championship with an FU at 14:46

Fun Fact: On 7/4, Chris Jericho had John Cena on the Highlight Reel. The interview quickly turned heated and ended in a brawl between the two men. A week later, Cena and Eric Bischoff met face to face in the ring and Bischoff made his hatred for the thug Cena public and announced that Chris Jericho would be challenging Cena at Summerslam. Jericho kissed up to the GM and promised to win the gold. On 7/25, Cena and Jericho would compete in a Battle of the Bands, which Cena won per the fan reaction. Later that night, Cena was booked in a match with Carlito and Jericho as announced as the guest referee. And as expected, Carlito would win thanks to Jericho’s chicanery. The next week, Bischoff made a rematch, including Jericho as the ref. Cena would get the win after Jericho was bumped and a second ref came in, but Jericho assaulted Cena after the bell and busted him open with a TV camera. Jericho and Bischoff would stand tall with the title belt in hand as Cena laid bloodied in the ring. A week later, Bischoff forced referee Chad Patton into a match with Jericho as punishment for getting involved in their business the week before. Cena would make the save for Patton, but Bischoff would put Cena in a handicap match with Jericho and Carlito the following week. Cena would win that match, but after the bell Jericho cracked him in the face with a super stiff chair shot.

Fun Fact II:
As the summer wore on, it was leaked that Jericho’s contract was coming to an end and that he would be leaving WWE to take a break from the lifestyle and to pursue his music and other TV aspirations. After losing this match, he was given a rematch by Eric Bischoff the following night on Raw, with the stipulation that the loser of the match would be fired. Jericho would indeed lose and he was dragged off by security as he cried foul and the fans serenaded him farewell. At the time it was unknown if Jericho would return, but as we now know, he will find his way home eventually.

John Cena’s ears are getting drier and drier as he settles into Main Event matches in his WWE Title reign. Jericho said it in his promos before Vengeance and it was true. After losing to Triple H at Wrestlemania XVIII, he hadn’t had one World Title match on PPV. That’s over three years! Unheard of. He’s loaded up on his Intercontinental and Tag Title reigns, plus a chance to wrestle Shawn Michaels on the biggest stage of them all. However he hadn’t had a world title match since March 2002 in Toronto. Most of that was because he was on Raw as a heel and Triple H in essence was the champ as a heel. In 2004 he was a babyface, and fellow good guy Chris Benoit was the World Champ. So really the chances weren’t really there. Jericho dominated the pace here and took it to Cena, including a big superplex. The crowd was still relatively on Cena’s side, but there were a few smatterings of Jerichoholics. Jericho had a few chances to win the match but Cena kept fighting. Jericho counters an FU with a sweet DDT and a two count. Jericho really made Cena look great here and deserves a lot of credit for making this match better than it probably should have been. Somehow as much as the builds for these matches were solid but the matches themselves were kind of, well blah. Although the crowd for this match is hot, and then we start seeing the split as the dueling Cena/Jericho chants started in the MCI Center. The crowd actually goes crazy when Jericho gets the Walls on Cena, and with this match in the middle of the show, I thought Jericho would win. Then I remembered that Jericho was going to leave the company so a win was out of the question. Jericho starts bitching to the ref, walks into an FU and Cena wins again. The match was ok, but nothing spectacular, although the crowd brought some energy into it. Cena wins, and that’s it for Chris Jericho on PPV, for a while anyway. Grade: 2.5

Justin: In his final PPV match of his first, lengthy, successful WWE run, Chris Jericho enters the ring feeling like a big time star. Cena gets a big pop for his entrance, but that quickly dissipates as the crowd becomes split between the two and eventually swings behind Jericho. I liked Jericho’s varied offense here as he mixed in some high flying and mat based stuff. It seemed like he was doing his best to go all out in his final match. After a great superplex, Jericho would do his best to attempt the Walls but Cena gave it a good fight to block the hold. The crowd was pretty electric here as they dueled back and forth supporting both men. I also enjoyed the commentary here as Coach and King were backing Jericho and JR defended Cena. It was a good dichotomy that had returned to commentary with the addition of Coach to the booth. As the match would down, Cena went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Cena popped up and hooked him in the elusive Walls. The crowd was flipping out by this point, but Cena survived, dropped Jericho with a desperation FU and retained his title. The match overall was pretty solid but the crowd energy bumped the grade a bit. Cena retains and it seems like some cracks in his popularity are beginning to show. Time will tell if it is due to Jericho’s standing with the fans or fan backlash to his character in general. Grade: 3

7) Batista defeats John Bradshaw Layfield in a No Holds Barred match to retain World Heavyweight Title with a Batistabomb on the steel stairs at 9:05

Fun Fact: On 7/28, Teddy Long granted JBL a match with Undertaker to determine who would face Batista at Summerslam. JBL would win the match with an assist from Randy Orton, to earn his title rematch. The next week, the contract was signed and Batista allowed JBL to pick the stipulation and he would choose No Holds Barred. On 8/11, JBL would interfere in Batista’s match with Christian, laying out the Animal with four chair shots.

Scott: After their ok battle at the GAB, we add the all-important “No Holds Barred” stipulation to really up the intensity factor of these two power brawlers. Batista, in his hometown, has the swank silver tights for his first Summerslam main event match. JBL goes on a good run here with some vicious belt shots to the Animal’s back, and then is choking him with it. Batista battles through, and crushes JBL with a powerbomb on the stairs, and gets the win. Really there’s nothing more to say here. JBL is destroyed in a match that was pretty much a squash, as except for some leather strap shots Batista beat the snot out of the former WWE Champion. Batista is on a roll, and although the matches aren’t as the level as they were on Raw, he’s still winning and dominating. Grade: 2

Justin: After JBL picked up a cheap win the month before, we get a standard stipulation rematch here. Of course, according to many sources this show was supposed to see Batista defend his title against the now jettisoned Muhammad Hassan, but fate intervened and JBL picks up the PPV slot instead. The match would get off to a fast start as the two men fought in the aisle and then brawled through the fans before making it back to the ring. Before they got there, though, Batista would crush JBL with a nice spear through the ringside barricade. JBL would recover and brandish a belt to viciously whip the champ. He would follow that with a great Clothesline from Hell for a good near fall. I liked the pacing here as the match was short and to the point, never slowing down along the way. Batista would pick up the win a stiff powerbomb on the steel steps, putting JBL down for good and moving on as champ. I liked the energy here and this match was much better than their GAB snoozefest the month before. Grade: 2.5

8) Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) defeats Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) with the Legdrop at 20:43

Fun Fact: On the 7/4 Raw, Hulk Hogan showed up on Carlito’s Cabana to plug his new VH-1 reality show, Hogan Knows Best. Carlito would make some inappropriate jokes at the expense of Hulk’s daughter Brooke, leading to Hogan drilling him in the face. Kurt Angle would then show up and he too ran down Hulk and also made an inappropriate reference to Brooke. Hulk smacked him as well, but Carlito came in and he and Angle were able to beat Hogan down until Shawn Michaels made the save. It was later announced that Michaels demanded a match featuring he and Hogan against Carlito and Angle on that night’s show. Michaels and Hogan would pick up the win, but as they celebrated, Michaels shockingly nailed Hogan with Sweet Chin Music. Michaels stood over the prone Hogan as the show faded out. On 7/11, Roddy Piper returned to interview Shawn Michaels in Piper’s Pit. Michaels told Hogan that he wanted to face him at Summerslam and then drilled Piper with SCM after Roddy called him a coward. Michaels stood over him as well, garnering tremendous heat from the crowd. On 7/18, Hogan returned and officially accepted Shawn’s challenge. A week later, Michaels cut a scathing promo on Hogan, letting loose on his desire to win the Summerslam match and also said that he wouldn’t lie down for the Hulkster before quietly warning Vince McMahon that he should watch what he wishes for, because it may come true. On 8/1, Michaels kicked things up another notch with a tremendous Hogan parody on a mock Larry King Live episode. His impression was tremendous, and the segment ended with Michaels superkicking the fake Larry. The next week, the two men had a heated face-to-face interview that continued to build a lot of heat for this match. Michaels would Superkick Jerry Lawler and hit Hogan with a low blow, but Hulk fought him off and tossed him to the floor. Finally, on 8/15, live from Montreal, Shawn put the icing on this already tremendous cake. Michaels kicked off the show and as you would expect, the heat was tremendous on him and he was eating it up with a spoon. As his discussed the Montreal Screwjob, he strains of Bret Hart’s music filled the arena to a mega pop. At first Michaels showed fear but then quickly began cracking up as JR lamented that it was a rouse. He would continue ranting, but was again cut off…this time by Hogan’s music. The crowd went bonkers again, but Michaels fooled them a second time and laughed hysterically at their gullibility. The promo was great and added that final log on this smoking hot fire.

Fun Fact II:
After spending the past three years as a straight laced white meat babyface, Shawn Michaels had returned to his tremendous heel persona and seemed to relish the heat he was garnering in this feud. Unfortunately, despite his success, Michaels preferred to stay a face and would abandon his heel persona the night after this show. However, before he officially gave up the snarky heel role, he cut one more scathing promo on Hogan on Raw the next night. This time around, the promo was based in reality, as heading into the match Michaels had been promised that Hogan would return the job at a later date. Of course, Hogan had no recollection of that conversation and headed into the sunset as soon as Summerslam ended. Michaels was not very happy with the Hulkster, and he let the world know it on Raw. He basically said that he was forced to lie down for Hogan and that he completely carried the match for the broken down Hogan. It was more tremendous work from Michaels and it really left you wanting more from the Showstopper…the Main Event…the Icon, the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels!

Scott: Well here we are. The star from 1985-1993 battles the star from 1993-1998. Sure Hogan was at the top during a more lucrative time, but Shawn Michaels has put more five star matches on the board than Hulk Hogan did three star matches. That’s where the crowd situation comes in. This is a match I wish Jesse Ventura could have done commentary for. He would have lauded Shawn Michaels for calling Hogan as a has-been and a fraud. Now there’s a lot surrounding this feud, both on camera and behind the scenes. Originally this feud was supposed to be two babyfaces having a great match. Well apparently Hogan wanted to be the only hero, so the bookers asked Shawn to be a heel. Well there’s only one way to be a heel for Shawn Michaels and that’s the “1997” Shawn Michaels. As he said in his “Heartbreak and Triumph” DVD, if he was to be the ’97 Michaels, he would have torn Hogan to shreds. But that’s what they wanted, so he did. The crowd is torn for one reason. You have the older fans that love the historical factor as the hero of the 1980s is taking on the snarky smartass that ran WWE in the 1990s when many Hogan fans stopped watching and went to WCW. Then you have the other fans that know that Shawn is clearly the better wrestler and can wrestle circles around a guy who has maybe six moves. We have a lot of stalling and time killing as there’s action in the ring, Michaels stalling, ring action, stalling over the first few minutes. Why? Well because if they booked this for twenty minutes then clearly Hogan’s going to have to be paced or else his well-tanned body will blow up and he’ll be like Lex Luger, scrambling for essentially any resthold. The match starts kind of ugly as Michaels is trying to actually perform wrestling moves while Hogan is pulling lame, 80’s type parlor tricks like fighting off a turnbuckle shot and the old right hand. This match is different than Hogan’s matches with Rock in 2002-03. Rock is a good wrestler, but he obviously doesn’t have the cache of talent that Shawn Michaels has. So he and Hogan worked well together because their movesets are relatively similar. Michaels having to wrestle Hogan’s style is like a baseball team having five guys in the field. It’s being neutered. Hogan keeps taking right hands and the match for a bit gets pretty sloppy. I can’t think Michaels is proud of the fact he’s been dropped to the lowest common denominator of workrate. Shawn busts Hogan open and now maybe he’s got something to work with. Michaels started to really oversell Hogan’s moves and it was getting quite funny. I’m surprised Hogan wanted to be busted open. Hogan actually gets out of the way of Shawn’s top rope elbow. Hogan hits the big boot but Michaels runs into Mike Chioda who’s knocked out of the ring. Shawn taps into history and cranks up the Sharpshooter on Hogan, who has blood spewing from his head. Eventually he gets to the ropes, as the crowd is clearly split on this one. We have a second referee bump as Jack Doan is knocked out by the back of Shawn’s head. Shawn has to get back in heel mode so he hits a low blow and brings a chair into the ring. The Michaels fans don’t care, as they love it. Michaels cracks him with it, and then hits his elbow. Once we saw Shawn hit Sweet Chin Music, we knew it was over. Oh yeah, not that kind of over. We dust off the end of the Hogan/Savage Wrestlemania V match, as it ends literally the exact same way. Dramatic kick out, three punches, boot to the head, with awesome dramatic oversell by Michaels, and the leg drop. Three seconds later and it is over. So the old school Hogan fans are excited by the 80’s PPV ending, while the others are disappointed that they had to watch the better wrestler lose to the old guy. Overall the match is good but not great, which seemed to be the tone for this whole show. Grade: 2.5

Justin: In the most unlikely PPV main event of 2005, the red hot heel Shawn Michaels makes his way to the ring to big time heat from the Washington crowd. The heel clinic he had displayed over the past six weeks was a thing of beauty and was easily the highlight of Raw week in and week out. Unfortunately, this was the end of that road. Hogan gets a huge pop but to me Michaels was the true star of the feud, as he had basically carried the entire thing himself as Hogan only made a few appearances. This was a big time match between two icons that had never crossed paths before. The beginning of the match was basic enough, but things would quickly escalate from there. Hogan would smack Michaels around with usual fare and Shawn would display the most manic, over the top selling you will ever witness in a match. It was really borderline comical, to be honest, and it was clear that Michaels was just being a dick for the hell of it, doing his best to be over the top and steal the show. Shawn was aggressive on offense, trying to frustrate Hogan, even busting his head open with a bevy of stiff right hands. Michaels would follow with the ugliest, limpest Sharpshooter this side of the Rock and I actually felt embarrassed for Hogan that he had to sell it. We were also treated to two ref bumps in a match that hardly needed them. Hogan would eventually kick out of SCM and then quickly polish Michaels off with the usual. Now, this is the point where I really got pissed off. Michaels carried the entire feud and match on his back, from start to finish. He dominated Hogan for most the match, flying around the ring and even while on defense, he carried the match with his bumping. Then Hogan hits the big boot…and stands around playing to the crowd while Michaels has to lie there like he was shot in the face. Hogan would finally turn around and hit the legdrop, but the time between the boot and the leg was just asinine and made Michaels look stupid that a lame boot to the face could leave him prone in the ring for as long as it did. Hogan never did that shit in the 80s…I don’t get why he needed to stall and prance between moves like that. Anyway, overall this match was fun but it felt really weird to watch and definitely felt detached from the rest of the promotion. The build was extremely well done, but just like the match, that was all due to Shawn Michaels busting his ass the whole time. Hogan wins the match, but it was clear to anyone watching that Shawn was the true icon that could still go. Grade: 2.5

Final Analysis:

Scott: The builds for all of the big matches on this show were really well done. However when executed here on the big stage, they were…ok. The two big title matches were fine, but something was missing. Well the Batista/JBL wasn’t going to be much anyway but at least it was short. The Cena/Jericho match was fine but I feel that could have had a little something more. The undercard was fine, as Eddie and Rey delivered on the big stage in their final match. The rest of the matches were quick squashes, including Edge, who found a way to win his match with Matt Hardy yet keep the feud going. As for our main event, it was pretty clear that Hogan was going to win this thing; it was just a question of how they would get there. This would be Jericho’s last PPV match for a while, and John Cena sends him off with a loss. 2005 was a stellar year for match grades and great quality. The last two shows have strayed from that and have been incredibly flat. We’ll see if the rest of the year goes this way or if they rebound. I’m disappointed that with all the builds that this show would deliver a better grade than it did. Oh well. Final Grade: C+

Justin: Well, color me disappointed. I had high hopes heading into the show but in the end was left unsatisfied. The build to all of these matches was pretty well done and the hype for the card was hot, but they just didn’t deliver when it mattered. The Edge/Hardy brawl told a good story, but wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. The same goes for Rey/Eddie and Taker/Orton. The only match that really exceeded expectations was Angle/Eugene and that is because it was a maniacal squash by the master of the vicious dissecting wind sprint. When you looked at this card on paper, it seemed like it was full of show stealing matches, but none of them really stepped up. The main event was entertaining as a novelty match, but it was basically the Shawn Michaels show from beginning to end. The crowd was up and down, but they were amped when it mattered, so no complaints there. I really don’t have much else to say. I just wish the end product lived up to the hype. Final Grade: C

MVP: Shawn Michaels
Runner Up: Rey Mysterio & Eddie Guerrero
Non-MVP: Orlando Jordan
Runner Up: Hulk Hogan

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