Wednesday, June 1, 2022

WWE Unforgiven 2004

Expecting something else? That'll come up next week. In the meantime, enjoy this musings on a "classic" WWE PPV event from 2004.

On August 15th, 2004 - the night of Summerslam - Randy Orton defeated reigning World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit to win his first World title at the ripe young age of 24. The next night on RAW, Orton successfully defended the title against Benoit and was soon swarmed by his stablemates in Evolution, with HHH giving his young protege the thumbs up... before giving him the thumbs down and booting young Randy out of the group. This, along with a series of bits designed to make Randy the beloved hero by having him run away a lot, would lead to McSon-In-Law getting a title shot and subsequently beating Randy for the title; please pretend you're shocked at this development.

The burial had begun.

Fun fact: I have not seen this show back in the day and if my revisits to the olden days of 2002-2003 a few years back are any indication, I'm going to be in for a rough ride with this one. Anyway, let's get this out of the way and then next week, we can go back to finishing off the last couple WWF '99 PPVs for the next couple weeks before we hit Double Or Nothing.

Chris Benoit and William Regal defeated Ric Flair and Batista in the opening match where Benoit submitted Flair with the crossface. This was a thing that happened and it's the first match of the show. The depression is setting in...

Women's Champion Trish Stratus defeated Victoria to retain the title in what was a surprisingly boring match. I say surprisingly because two years prior, these two were really killing it in their matches, including a banger of a street fight at Survivor Series. This is a far cry from those days, which is shocking because Trish is a much better wrestler compared to back then and Victoria is usually pretty good...

Oh crud, it's getting worse. Out comes Tomko (big guy with tattoos) to harrass Victoria, which draws out Stevie Richards in drag. Why is Stevie in drag? Who knows? Who cares? Anyway, they have a match and Tomko wins. My brain is hurting.

Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho defeated Christian in the show's first good match to retain the title. On a show with any number of great matches, this would've been criticized as being too long and littered with one false finish too many, but on a show that, up to this point, had been pretty fucking miserable, this is a breath of fresh air in a room that really needed it.

Shawn Michaels defeated Kane in a pretty fun match. The usual Shawn vs. Big Guy match, which is usually a good time. Hey, things might be looking up.

Tag-Team champions La resistance (Sylvain Grenier & Rob Conway) defeated Rhyno & Tajiri to retain the titles. Well, they tried, but this wasn't as good as the previous two matches. If this is supposed to be a downer match, then it's succeed. Unfortunately, given the main event, I really didn't need one.

So yeah, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, McSon-In-Law defeated World champion Randy Orton to win back the belt for the billionth time. And look, for whatever reason, Randy wasn't clicking as champion and maybe there was a plan to get him to the level they needed him to be by Mania... which never happened. But giving the belt back to Hunter, especially when everybody was sick and tired of the McSon-In-Law since he was one of - if not THE biggest reason why RAW sucked around this time, was so mind-numbingly stupid. Maybe if you had spent more time making credible stars instead of cashing your chips on the charisma vacuum that is McSon-In-Law, you'd be in better shape.

The sad thing is that almost two decades later, they're still doing the same old shit. And it's never gotten better.

Right now, I feel like pulling up that Connor MacLeod quote about the guy feeling depressed about the lousy wrestling, because I'm pretty much on the same boat. Thank fuck I didn't watch this show back then because if I had, I would've given up on wrestling far sooner and I'd be short on material. No bones about it; Unforgiven sucked.

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