My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

RAW is Good!

Back with my first RAW report in two weeks and boy was it a great show! This weeks edition was the final RAW before this weekend's Backlash Pay Per View and they did a good job hyping the event throughout the night.
Show starts off with Sheldon Benjamin complaining to Bischoff about getting beat down by Evolution last week and being put in an 8-man tag against them this week. Sounds heelish doesn't it? But Benoit and HBK walk in and reassure Benjamin as Mick Foley walks in a grabs his barbwire baseball bat from Johnny Nitro.
To the ring and Mick Foley comes out and addresses his match at Backlash with Randy Orton. Foley says he has some remorse guilt for having to beat and mame one of WWE's top rising stars, so he decided to get someone else who wouldn't give a damn how bad Orton gets crippled at Backlash, CACTUS JACK!!! Mark out moment! Awesome promo by Foley! Probably better than the Barbie promo he did last week!
Orton tried to sneak attack Foley with a chair, but Foley sees him coming and bats the chair out of his hands with Barbie. Orton hightails it as Foley calls him out.
First match of the night is Kane vs the returning Grand Master Sexay! For some reason, after being dominant against Rhyno last week, Kane actually gets staggered back by Sexay! Guess he was as dumbfounded by the return of the dancin' fool like myself. Kane wins with his Chokeslam. Suprisingly, after the big pop for Sexay's return, the crowd popped just as loud for his eventual squash by the Big Bald Machine.
Eugene meets Trish in the back getting her makeup done, and when she asked if he knew who she was, he called her a 'slut'. Regal runs in and appologises before going off with Eugene, as Christian tries to console Trish about their Backlash handicap match with Y2J.
Jonathan Coachman comes out next accompanied by a 'ninja' and says that Tajiri challenged him to a match at Backlash, but Coach says he has to beat his '5-Star Ninja' he brought in flew in from Japan. I first glance I was thinking 'The Great Sasuke or maybe Kendo KaShin?!?' Then upon close-up I see by his eyes and its a gaijin (No prizes for guessing who). Tajiri comes out and the two have a pretty good match that ends with Tajiri escaping a northern lights bomb and nailing his knock out kick for the win. He then unmasks the ninja revealing Al Snow! Maybe Coach should have brought out Avatar and everyone would have thought it was Hayabusa?
Backstage Ric Flair requests a match with Sheldon Benjamin at Backlash, stating Benjamin's win over HHH 'never happened'. Bisch grants Flair's request and Benjamin immediately runs in and beats up Flair!
The first of three promos featuring the Backlash main event participants is aired first with Triple H who does the same old 'I'm the Best, I'm the Game' BS.
Highlight Reel time and after degrading Trish, Y2J brings out his guest, 'The Queen of Extreme' (Justified since she actually wrestles) Lita. But she gets attacked by Trish as she made her entrance. Bisch immediately calls for a match between the two. Match goes pretty well till Trish gets DQ'd for Christian ramming Lita (rather stiffly) into the guardrail. Jericho then gets beat down by Trish and Christian, which seems to go too long for my liking.
Backstage, kind of a funny segment as La Resistance cut a promo, but in the background we can see Eugene playing around with the Quebec flag.
Back to the ring and Johnny Nitro comes out (using the old WCW Nitro theme song) and calls out Edge. Nitro warns Edge on behalf of Bisch that he isn't allowed to use his cast in the match as a weapon. Edge cuts a serious, and very good, promo before spearing Nitro.
Next match is Sylven Grenier vs The Hurricane. Helms has new 'shirtless' attire. OK match. Eugene than comes in and offers a stuffed rabbit to La Resistance. Grenier rips the head off the rabbit and tosses it down which leads to Helms scoring the win with the Eye Of The Hurricane.
An HBK promo for Backlash is aired.
A very good video recap of the Foley/Orton feud is aired.
Benoit's Backlash promo is aired
Huge main event as Chris Benoit, Sheldon Benjamin, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley take on Evolution. This was a great, heavilly heated match that the crowd was into throughout. Very good work from all involved and ends with HBK scoring Sweet Chin Music on Orton and covering for the win. Show ends with a three-way staredown between Benoit, HHH & HBK.
Overall this was a solid show and a good build to this Monday's PPV.

Full Card For BACKLASH
- Chris Benoit VS Shawn Michaels VS Triple H - World Heavyweight Championship
- Randy Orton VS Cactus Jack - Intercontinental Championship
- Victoria VS Lita - Women's Championship
- Ric Flair VS Sheldon Benjamin
- Kane VS Edge
- Chris Jericho VS Christian and Trish Stratus
- Tajiri VS Jonathan Coachman
Check back later this week for my PPV predictions.

Pro-Wrestling NOAH news and thoughts
- The date for NOAH's first Tokyo Dome show has finally been set for 7/1/2004 with the expected main event of Kenta Kobashi defending the GHC Heavyweight Title against Jun Akiyama. The match itself should be great, but whether or not it would draw a big crowd for the Dome remains to be seen. Theres also the factor of whether Kobashi will successfully get past Takayama on 4/25 at the Budokan. Here's the full card for the show:

1. Mitsuo Momota VS Trevor Rhodes
2. Takeshi Morishima & Kishin Kawabata VS Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Masaji Aoyagi
3. Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone VS Akitoshi Saito & Jun Izumuda
4. Akira Taue & Naoki Sano VS Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue
5. Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Ricky Marvin
6. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Hashi VS Takeshi Rikioh & Yasuhiro (Kotaro) Suzuki
7. GHC Tag Team Titles - Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa VS Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA
8. GHC Heavyweight Title - Kenta Kobashi VS Yoshihiro Takayama

- Noticibly theres no GHC Jr. Title match, which leads many to believe that the NOAH Juniors don't seem to care so much that the title is being held in foreign hands by New Japan's Jushin Thunder Liger. That might not all true, as Marufuji will be part of a big 6-man Jr. tag match at New Japan's NEXESS Tokyo Dome show on 5/3 (See card below), teaming with Heat & Tiger Mask VS Liger, Koji Kanemoto & X. You could probably predict Marufuji scores the pin on Liger and challenges him for the NOAH Dome show where the gold will finally be brought home. But personally I feel that's still too long to wait and build between (TWO months!), and unless he and KENTA lose the GHC Jr. tag titles before then, I'd like to see all the titles on the line during the Dome show instead of Marufuji challenging for the GHC Jr title alone leaving the GHC Jr tag titles uncontested on what will be NOAH's biggest show ever.
- Tamon Honda will book an all-singles match format for the promotion's 6/11 Korakuen Hall show. Honda is viewing it as a potential look at what the matchmaking will be for their upcoming Tokyo Dome show. Naoki Sano will probably challenge Jun Akiyama for the Sterness leader's white GHC Hardcore title on that show, and he's also been pushing for the match to be under U-STYLE rules.

New Japan 5/3 NEXESS Tokyo Dome card:
1. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto & X vs. Heat, Tiger Mask & Naomichi Marufuji
2. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Osamu Nishimura & Shinya Makabe vs. Giant Majin, Super Strong Majin & New Strong Majin
3. Grudge Match: Enson Inoue vs. Kazunari Murakami
4. Grudge Match: Josh Barnett vs. Ken Shamrock
5. Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar & Dolgorsuren Serjbudee (Blue Wolf) vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Meng
6. Yuji Nagata & Toru Yano vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Manabu Nakanishi
7. IWGP Tag Team Title: Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Masahiro Chono & X
8. New Japan vs. K-1 - Different Style Fight: Yutaka Yoshie vs. The Convict Nortje (Jan Nortje)
9. New Japan vs. K-1 - Different Style Fight: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Musashi
10. New Japan vs. K-1: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. K-1 MASK
11. New Japan vs. K-1 - IWGP Heavyweight Title: Bob Sapp (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

- Theres still several blanks to fill such as who the identity of K-1 MASK would turn out to be. Uei is pushing for Brock Lesner, but it's more likely to be either The Predator, Tom Howard or Nathan Jones as all three have recently signed contracts with K-1. Chono's mystery partner also raises speculation that it might be Hulk Hogan, and the show will give us our first look at the 8ft+ Giant Majin who is being heavilly hyped as the Makai Club's ace to extract revenge on Bob Sapp's betrayal.

All Japan Champion Carnival Chaos!
- The biggest shocker of what many had high hopes for as a awesome Champion Carnival was that Triple Crown champion Toshiaki Kawada fractured his pinky finger in his first day match against Nobutakay Araya and had to forfeit the rest of the Carnival! Kawada had to have emergency surgery to fix his finger, and its in high speculation whether or not he'll recover in time to main event HUSTLE-3 where he's scheduled to face Bill Goldberg! At least Kawada won't have to forfeit the Triple Crown, but man did DSE pick a time to bar sales of bootleg DSE related shows as I'd really like to watch Kawada/Goldberg!

Current Champion Carnival Standings:
Keiji Mutoh - 5 pts
Kensuke Sasaki - 5 pts
Jamal - 2 pts
Arashi - 0 pts
Kaz Hayashi - 0 pts
* Takao Omori - 5 pts
* Taiyo Kea - 4 pts
* Satoshi Kojima - 3 pts
Nobutaka Araya - 2 pts
Toshiaki Kawada - 2 pts (final score)

- Because of Kawada's injury, Omori, Kea and Kojima automatically get two additional points for future matches they had scheduled with Kawada. 4/15 at Korakuen Hall has Kojima vs. Kea and 4/17 Differ Ariake with Araya vs. Omori as the matches to determine who goes over. By these calculations, Omori automatically goes in even if he jobs to Araya on 4/17 at Differ and the winner of the 4/15 Korakuen Hall matches determines the realistic final four of Mutoh, Sasaki, Omori, and the final competitor. If Kojima goes over Kea on 4/15 at Korakuen, he and Omori will be tied at 5 pts a piece (they went to a draw against each other and both beat Kea) and all hell breaks loose over seedings because both would be #1 seeds in their block.
(credit Puroresu Power)



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