I went through all the WWE 2005 PPVs a few months ago and luckily I still have my notes.
Which means I can use them to sum up what’s worth watching on the Network currently!
New Year’s Revolution 2005 (Raw)
The main event Elimination Chamber match is pretty sweet. And it better be, with the six best wrestlers on Raw at the time and the Chamber gimmick at their disposal.
Everything else. One of the (if not THE) worst undercards WWE has ever put on a PPV. Two consecutive matches ending via injury, two non-matches and a token Jerry Lawler match. When the second best match on a PPV is Kane vs. Snitsky, you’ve got issues.
HBK keeps on bumping into the cameraman inside the Chamber. Oh, and injuries galore if you’re into that sort of thing.
Royal Rumble 2005
HBK and Edge have a fine match which filled time for both men until Wrestlemania. Also worth a watch: The awesome Street Fight they had on Raw after this.
The Rumble match is a good ‘un too, with plenty of memorable moments: SmackDown vs. Raw, London nearly dying, HBK vs. Angle and Puder getting abused.
Triple H vs. Randy Orton was simply there to fill time on the show and also to fill the gap between the Triple H vs. Batista Wrestlemania match. They might as well have ran a disclaimer across the screen that said ”Go and make a sandwich.” JBL vs. Show vs. Angle is just a match too.
Undi’ vs. Heidenreich. Poor Taker was in the midst of wrestling every big bloke who couldn’t wrestle very well. It doesn’t help that Casket matches are never great (outside that HBK one). Anyway, Heidenreich messes up most of his moves in the second half of the match, which is always good news if you love crap.
Oh and of course: the finish to the Rumble match. Still one of the most botched endings to any match ever, Cena and Batista both end up falling out at the same time. Would have been a hell of a finish, except Batista was supposed to win. So they stall, Vinnie Mac struts out, tears his quad, announces the match is to be restarted on his arse, Batista quickly re-wins. Not since the original Casino Royale has something ended so spectacularly fucked.
No Way Out 2005 (SmackDown)
Eddy and Rey have a decent match with the going-nowhere-one-joke-gimmick-making-their-last-PPV-appearance Bashams that’s a good start to the awesome Eddy vs. Rey feud that ends up being the highlight of the year.
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle. It’s a singles Kurt Angle PPV match so you already know it’s the best thing on the show. Nearly their best match together, if it wasn’t for the ref bump stuff near the end. Still worth a watch.
JBL vs. Big Show is…a JBL vs. Big Show match. The heavily-hyped Barbed Wire gets used just once, briefly.
You know those Survivor Series Diva matches where the women lose to basic moves? There’s a Cruiserweight Open match on the show that goes ten minutes and features five pins. It’s like a Battle Royal featuring The Putty Patrol and probably the only non-Series event to see someone being pinned after two minutes via schoolboy.
Front row tickets were still available two weeks before the show, so Batista was advertised as making ”a special appearance” to help out. He appears at the every end and beats up The Bashams.
Eddy and Rey decide to have a ‘friendly’, given that they’re both the tag champions. If you ignore Rey’s bloody mask slipping every few seconds, it’s a tremendous match in a long series of them.
The first Money In The Bank match! They’re always good, but the first one’s arguably the best due to the story-telling involved.
Undertaker vs. Orton may not be their best singles match due to a few sloppy moments, but due to the Legend Killer build of Orton, there’s a genuine feel Orton will win which is a lot better than 75% of Undi’s Wrestlemania matches.
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels. Yeah, lemme think.
Triple H vs. Batista. Their first meeting and the ushering of a new era! It’s pretty decent too and you can practically feel the new wave wooshing over you.
Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme, a good a match can be when the story is ”one of them can’t wrestle.”
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. John Cena, a good a match can be when the story is ”both of them can wrestle, but not very well.”
Akebono vs. Big Show. I still don’t know what the point of this was. Akebono never appeared in WWE again and thankfully neither did Show’s arse, but I guess the people who stayed to watched the Divas match needed a sandwich break too.
Backlash 2005 (Raw)
Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho is a hell of an opener that was one of the many reasons people like myself became frustrated at the lack of Shelton’s success in WWE.
Edge vs. Benoit, Last Man Standing isn’t the amazing match you’d think it would be, but still worth a watch. Good, but not great.
Batista vs. Triple H II ain’t that great. The match is all about selling the devastating effects of the Pedigree but you can get the feel of that by simply watching the video package for Batista vs. Triple HHH III and make a sandwich in the meantime.
Foreign People vs. HBK & Hogan is every Hogan tag match ever. HBK gets beat up, Hogan comes in and beats people up and ends terrorism forever.
Crowd chants ”USA” during La Resistance vs. William Regal & Tajiri.
Kane vs. Viscera might be some people’s idea of crap, but it’s pretty good crap. Trish uses her body to get Vis to beat Kane, but he loses. So after the match, Trish calls Vis a ”Chicken-eating loser” so he sqaushes her…to the cheers of the crowd.
Judgement Day (SmackDown)
MNM’s first PPV match is a good opener, if weird. They debuted on TV by pinning Guerrero and Mysterio and here they are on PPV wrestling…the make-shift team of Holly and Haas. Decent-length tag team matches are always good though.
Kurt Angle vs. Booker T during Angle’s weird stalker gimmick isn’t Angle’s best work because no-one believes he’s actually a crazy stalker, but match is still satisfying and Booker T actually wins a singles PPV match.
The Eddy and Rey feud continues. Eddy’s turned on Rey due to Eddy thinking Rey costing them the tag belts and Eddy listening to Chavo’s bad advice and thinking Rey will never accept Eddy’s lying, cheating and stealing ways. I’ll continue to hype this feud, don’t worry.
Cena and JBL realise they can’t really wrestle well together so instead they go all-out in a stunt show filled with blood, glass and truck destruction. A must for all fans of cheesy action films.
Orlando vs. Heidenreich. Not as bad as you’d think, but you’ve got better things to be doing.
Carlito vs. The Big Show tells a good story but everybody else seems to dislike it. So I’m pussying out, but at least fast-forward to the end and watch Matt Morgan hit a fucking F5 on Show.
Chavo doesn’t catch London on a dive, so London returns the favour and ”misses” Chavo on another dive. Most interesting thing about an OK match.
Carlito Cool vs. Shelton Benjamin is a fun match, weirdly centred on the match on Raw when Shelton went splat on a dive. Still, nice to remember a time when WWE had separate divisions for people.
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels II. Yeah I need to think again. It’s probably worth a watch, I can’t remember.
Batista vs. Triple H III is awesome and definitely cemented Dave for the next six years. Bloody, brawly and features HHH getting the shit kicked out of him so hard he buggered off for a few months after this.
Victoria vs. Christy Hemme. Victoria is good but Hemme still can’t wrestle, never mind on PPV.
John Cena vs. Chris Jericho vs. Christian is surprisingly ”meh”. Christian’s gimmick was great during this time, but he really wasn’t wrestling like a main eventer. After his TNA stint he was fine, but he was still wrestling like European Champion Christian at this point, regardless of what you may think.
Edge looked like a main eventer through 2005. Luckily Kane was there to bring him down to Bashams-level whenever they wrestled.
One Night Stand (ECW)
Oh, just watch all of it. No idea if it’s aged well or not, but it really was a hell of a show and experience at the time.
Great American Bash (SmackDown)
Rey vs. Eddy III continues the feud, now with added ”I won’t tell anybody your secret Rey, honest” and Eddy continuing to wrestle with his insecurities. Best thing on the show by default.
MNM losing to the newly-formed-Road-Warriors-so-they-can-sell-the-DVD. Man, you’d think MNM did nothing of interest watching just the PPVs.
Christian vs. Booker T have an amazingly mid-card match from two guys who should have been headlining at this point. They’d get better.
Benoit tries his best to make Orlando Jordan look like a wrestler…and fails. For fourteen minutes.
Torrie Wilson vs. Melina is tits.
And then there’s the main event. JBL works well only if he has a guy to make him look good and at this point, Batista was the same. So God only knows what WWE was expecting to get from pairing them both together. Like watching all those Sid vs. Nash matches from 1995, except they at least had clean finishes. This goes to a pathetic DQ so they have an excuse to do it next month.
Hassan vs. Undertaker in Hassan’s last appearance. To summarise: The Hassan character received so many complaints that UPN demanded him to be axed, so Undertaker powerbombed him through the stage after this match and he was never seen again.
The Mexicools vs. the bWo existed to siphon off of the ECW nostalgia and also to appease Blue Meanie after the JBL incident the previous month. Cue several thousand ”huhs?” from the audience as a now-obscure team that hadn’t been seen for a decade cycle out to wrestle the Tokens.
Orlando Jordan loses to Benoit in twenty-six seconds. Jordan’s best match ever.
Edge vs. Matt Hardy is very brief but because you’ve got access to the later PPVs you should watch this as a prelude to their next match.
Rey vs. Eddy IV: The Ladder Match. A chaotic match that’s even better if you’ve been following it from the start. Well, the ‘custody of Dominic’ gimmick is less silly if you’ve been watching it from the start.
Undertaker vs. Orton II is much better than their Wrestlemania match and also starts off the Bob Orton feud.
Jericho’s last PPV match before his first Fozzy Tour, and he does his absolute best to make Cena look great. Cena sticks in too.
JBL vs. Batista (No Holds Barred) like the Cena match from Judgement Day, they realise they suck together so JBL just takes a pounding whilst using every shortcut to hide his shortcomings. A guilty pleasure and I’m sure lots of people will disagree…but I enjoyed it.
Eugene vs. Angle. The Eugene gimmick was a grown-up child star now: He wasn’t cute anymore so the crowd hated him. Angle beat him up in less than five minutes and everybody wins.
HBK vs. Hogan is the best car crash match ever. Most people know the story but here it is: HBK and Hogan are supposed to have a series, which Hogan initially agrees to. Then as soon as the first match is set and advertised, Hogan changes his mind and says this is going to be the only one (with him winning, natch). So HBK decides to oversell absolutely everything Hogan throws at him to the point of hilarity. An absolute must-see for everyone with eyes.
Edit: Apparently they’ve edited some of HBK’s selling to be less ridiculous on the Network. Bah!
Of lovely mention, Vickie misses her cue during the Ladder Match, causing Eddy to flip out and start shouting at the top of his lungs: ”MOTHERFUCKER! WHERE THE FUCK WAS VICKIE? GODAMMIT! FUCK HER!”
Flair beats Carlito for the IC belt to the absolute pleasure of the crowd. Decent stuff and also means there’s several celebratory Flair skits afterwards in a limo. These skits with anybody else = the shits. These skits with Flair, wooing the entire time = gold.
Show vs. Snitsky should suck, but really doesn’t. Two giants doing ugly moves and big stuff that normal people can’t do. Snitsky’s best ever match, probably.
Matt Hardy vs. Edge is the highlight of the PPV and also their rushed feud. WWE really made the fans wait for Hardy to get his revenge on Edge’s friend-fucking, which was very sensible in hindsight given Edge’s push and Hardy’s demotion.
Cena and Angle have yet another match that’s like their other matches but because it’s headlining, they insert lots of Bischoff interference and ref bumps and other crap. Still worth a watch.
Trish and Victoria wrestle…but sadly for them it’s a tag match with Ashley and Torrie. Next.
Cade & Murdoch beat Hurricane & Rosey. Good for them. Next.
Chris Masters vs. Shawn Michaels got a lot of praise from people at the time…I don’t see it myself. Masters got really good later on, but HBK’s had dozens of matches where’s he’s wrestled himself for fifteen minutes and this doesn’t stand out to me. Feel free to disagree, natch.
Kerwin White vs. Shelton. Ah, see. If you believe everything you read, White was a horribly racist gimmick that was hated by all. Yeah, well joke’s on you: The gimmick was played completely tongue-in-cheek and Chavo is funny when playing over-the-top characters.
No Mercy (SmackDown)
Chris Benoit vs. Booker T vs. Christian vs. Orlando Jordan isn’t balls-to-the-wall amazing but it sets up the fabulous Booker T vs. Benoit feud so yay.
JBL vs. Rey Mysterio. These two had several big matches through the years and they were always entertaining as JBL plays a good big guy and Rey’s always good bouncing off big men.
Batista vs. Eddy Guerrero in Eddy’s last PPV appearance is great thanks to the ”Can Dave trust Eddy?” angle. The first chapter of a story that was sadly never finished.
MNM & Melina vs. The Legion of Doom & Christy Hemme isn’t flat-out bad but I still don’t like it.
Kennedy vs. Holly is apparently worth appearing on a PPV. Funny in hindsight, given how much Holly genuinely hates Kennedy now.
Nunzio wrestles Juvi for the Cruiserweight Title. Nice idea, shame the crowd doesn’t give a fuck.
Orton and Undertaker are still feuding, which is good. This match is a handicap casket match, which is bad.
Simon Dean loses to The Next Black Thing Bobby Lashley and has to eat some burgers and shits.
Taboo Tuesday (Raw)
The random team of Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy vs. the even-more random team of Chris Masters and Snitsky (replacing Edge, fuck your money) is surprisingly decent. Masters was a quick learner.
Flair vs. HHH, Cage Match was part of the Hunter Apology Tour 2005 where he made up for 2002-2004 by putting everybody over. Case in point, Hunter doing everything in his power to make Flair look like The Man and making the Intercontinental Title look prestigious as well. And there’s blood too, hooray!
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle vs. HBK. ”Hey, let’s insert the best match from Raw into the World Title scene.” Very sensible. Angle and HBK are Murtaugh & Riggs, Cena is Getz.
Rob Conway & Tomko vs. Eugene & Snuka, Carlito vs. Mankind, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. Big Show & Kane and the Divas Battle Royal are all forgettable matches bordering on naff. Taboo’s biggest flaw was that the choices they had were never anything special aside from the main events. Which you can skip to straight away! Unless you need to have a big wank, in which case set a reminder for the Diva Battle Royal.
Coach, Goldust & Vader vs. Batista. Christ, where to begin? Austin was scheduled to be part of this match, but after being told he’d be losing to Coach he sensibly told them to piss off. So Batista was slotted into this brief shambles, which is best known for Batista messing up a spinebuster on Vader and loudly shouting ”FUCK!” afterwards.
Chris Benoit vs. Booker T, the first part of their Best Of Seven matches. Obviously not the most exciting match as this is the one where they’re both feeling each other out for the later matches. Obviously.
Triple H vs. Ric Flair, Last Man Standing. Triple H realised he hadn’t put over Flair enough, so he decided to enlist the services of a screwdriver and several gallons of the red stuff to make him look great again.
The main event Series match is just pure fun from start to finish. All the commentators are go at it with each other for the entire show, which I can’t recommend enough.
Trish vs. Melina. Should have been good, but wasn’t.
Cena vs. Angle is unexpectedly awful. All angle, no wrestling, no fun, fuck you.
Bischoff vs. Long. I like Long so I’ll keep it brief: Wank.
MNM vs. Mexicools is a damn fine tag team match, which was one of the highlights of the single-branded PPVs.
Benoit vs. Booker, Best Of Seven Part Four. The other matches took place on SmackDown, but you get the idea via music video packages of what happened. And hoorah, more feuds with stories and developments.
Undertaker vs. Orton, Hell In A Cell. Definitely on the lower-end of Hell In A Cell matches, but it’s good for a feud-ender.
Lashley takes on Regal and Taylor as part of Operation: Get Lashley Over.
Juventud vs. Kid Kash should have been good but again: crowd *really* didn’t care.
Kane & the Big Show vs. Batista & Rey Mysterio OH WOW RAW VS. SMACKDOWN, THIS SHOULD BE AWESOME. It’s not.
Matt Hardy vs. JBL. So Hardy decided to not get attacked by Undi’ during the last PPV, when everyone was holding Orton up after the main event and took a breather instead. Hardy was booked like a jobber for a few months, case in point: this match.
This PPV marks Bob Orton’s last wrestling appearance for WWE, as he declined to tell anyone he had Hep C. Or was it ”Johnny Ace knew, but he forgot to tell Undertaker?” I forget which one it was, but either way Bob bled near Undi who was far from happy when he was told about it.
As always, leave your opinions in the comments.