WWE Judgment Day 2005
by Samoa Rowe
May 22nd 2005
-From Minneapolis, MN. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Tazz. For what it’s worth, this is a Smackdown-only pay-per-view.
-This event is rated TV-MA! Holy crap, right? I wonder if it has anything to do with Kurt Angle declaring that he wants to “have sex with Booker T’s wife” in a rapey tone of voice during the opening video package.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
2005 was a year where many horrible gimmicks and developmental guys were shoved down our throat on the main roster… and MNM was not one of those. Even though Melina seems unsure of herself in a prematch promo, they way they strut to the ring together and come off as a well polished act right out of the gate is commendable. The criminally underutilized Charlie Haas outwrestles Nitro and arm drags him into the ropes. Holly smells rookies and stiffs MNM with a series of nasty chops. Nitro saves Mercury from the Alabama Slama with a well-timed super-kick, and Holly settles in as the face in peril. There’s even a “Let’s go, Hardcore” chant from the supportive crowd. Holly counters with a full nelson slam on Nitro and Haas gets a hot tag. Haas clears the ring and wipes MNM out with a plancha. Melina interferes, almost causing Haas to get pinned in a small package. Haas nails an exploder suplex, but the referee is distracted by Nitro driving Holly into the ring post. MNM fluster Haas with cheap attacks until finishing with the Snap Shot at 8:04. Great energy and heat in this opener, just wish it had a few more minutes to build a more complete story, **¾.
MNM © (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury, with Melina) vs. Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: MNM
-Footage from Smackdown shows Big Show violently rejecting Carlito’s offer to make him a bodyguard. Big Show had eaten a poisoned apple and vomited all over the ring. Cue Vince McMahon screaming “He‘s gonna puke“ somewhere backstage. Carlito settled by hiring stuttering fool, Matt Morgan, as his bodyguard.
Carlito (with Matt Morgan) vs. Big Show
Yeah, someone in WWE creative took a look at talented big man, Matt Morgan, and thought STUTTERING would get him over. Remember what I said about 2005 being full of horrible gimmicks? We haven’t even gotten to Jillian Hall and her “mole” yet. Before the match, Carlito cuts a promo about why Minnesota isn’t cool, displaying how truly one dimensional his whole act was. The match begins and suddenly Carlito loses all his courage and plays the stalling game. Show gets his giant hands on Carlito and the fight turns into a slaughter, despite a distraction from Morgan. Show goes to run the ropes, but Morgan pulls the rope to spill him to the floor. Carlito is too pathetic to capitalize and Show resumes squashing him. The ref takes a bump and Carlito nails a low blow. Morgan runs in and nails the F-5 on Show (wonder what Lesnar did to piss WWE off that week) and Carlito gains the pinfall at4:42. Complete nothing match and the Carlito/Morgan pairing would be dissolved almost immediately after, ½*.
-Video package putting unstoppable Kurt Angle has been since defeating Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania. That is, until Booker T knocked him out with a steel chair and cost him the #1 contendership. Angle responded by referring to Booker’s wife, Sharmell, as a “gutter slut.” Yep, that happened. The bad blood between Angle and Booker continued to escalate, reaching the point where Angle tried forcing himself on Sharmell. Smackdown was a TV-PG product, keep in mind. Angle wants to have “perverted bestiality sex” with Sharmell and grins sinisterly while shutting himself in with her. Later, Kurt cuts a promo promising to dominate Booker and then Sharmell. This entire angle just goes so far over the line. Remember, years later, Angle got into real life hot water for stalking Raka Khan, so I’m not entirely sure how far off from reality it is for Kurt to play a sociopath.
-Sharmell orders Booker to take out Kurt Angle. They discover that someone sent a gift backset to Sharmell, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s got lingerie and handcuffs inside. This is pretty icky stuff, and might almost be redeemable if I wasn’t so sure that Booker and Angle are just going to have a normal match later.
I’m amazed that we’re getting a SINGLES match for the Cruiserweight title on pay-per-view. It’s almost as if two credible guys are feuding over the belt and not just hoping to knock over a dozen other guys in a random spot-fest. London fails to grapple Chavo’s leg and gets knocked down to the canvas. Chavo establishes control with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. London makes a comeback, hitting a rana for a 2 count. Mule kick by London and drop-sault sets up the 450 splash, but Chavo gets his knees up. This awesome crowd chants “Let’s go, London” as Chavo targets the ribcage. London musters another comeback and Chavo needs a rope break to save himself after an enziguri. Chavo grabs the ropes for a roll-up, but London kicks out anyway. Chavo rolls to ringside to avoid a splash, but London nails a somersault senton to the floor! London took a bad landing, and Guerrero nails a suicide dive. Chavo goes for a top rope Gory Bomb, but London counters into the 450 splash for the win at 10:37! Insanely fun match that strayed from the WWE mid-card formula and built up to big spots and counters, ***½.
Paul London © vs. Chavo Guerrero
Winner and still Cruiserweight Champion: Paul London
-Backstage, Booker T is hunting Kurt Angle. He grills Funaki and some trainers, but no one has seen Kurt. He corners Billy Kidman in the bathroom and a locker room full of midcarders, but still no luck.
-Meanwhile, Kurt Angle sneaks up on Sharmell, and presses her into a couch. This camera man must be quite the a-hole to do nothing about this. Luckily for Sharmell, Kurt’s music plays, so he heads to the arena.
Kurt Angle vs. Booker T
Booker marches to the ring wielding the handcuffs that Kurt sent Sharmell. Hot start by Booker, looking for revenge. Kurt cuts Booker off and snap mares him into a chinlock. Booker comes back with a hip toss and resumes dishing out payback. Kurt is bleeding from the mouth and Booker drapes him on the ropes for a scissors kick on the apron. A weary Angle cuts Booker off by driving him into the ring post. Kurt dishes out a lengthy beating and the match begins to drag. Booker finally breaks a hold to nail a spin kick that might have broken Kurt’s nose. A snap suplex gets a 2 count for Booker, who seems to have moved from seeking revenge to simply winning the match. They block finishes until Booker nails the Bookend for another 2 count. Booker shows off with a spinaroonie (for revenge!) and it allows Kurt to regain his composure. Angle delivers a pair of rolling German suplexes and an overhead belly to belly for a near fall. Booker counters with a small package for the win at 14:05 (looked like Angle was supposed to kick out). Difficult match to rate, as the action was great once they kicked it into third gear, but too many parts dragged on and on, and the storyline surrounding it really hurt, **½.
Winner: Booker T
-Sharmell foolishly shows up for a celebration. Kurt knocks Booker out and pulls Sharmell into the ring by the hair. Angle handcuffs her to the ropes and is seemingly ready to commit a sexual assault with 10,000 witnesses. Booker makes the save and handcuffs Kurt to the ropes instead. Angle begs for mercy as Booker delivers a beating. Sharmell slaps Kurt’s face, warning him to never touch her again. Sharmell kicks him in the groin for good measure. As terrible and tasteless as this entire angle has been, at least the villain got his comeuppance.
United States Championship:
I don’t know what’s more bizarre: perennially unover jobber Orlando Jordan having a six month reign as U.S. champion or Heidenreigh transitioning from poetry reciting rapist to a supposedly loveable babyface who likes hanging out with young children. I swear, Heidenreich’s new gimmick of looking for friends in the audience had to be somebody’s idea of a rib. He creepily marches around the ring, chanting “Where’s my friend” until choosing a 10 year old girl, who is hilariously happy to hear his newest poem. This is worth hunting down on Youtube, it’s excellently awkward. Orlando Jordan doesn’t take kindly to Heidenreich’s racist “Buckwheat” joke and takes the fight to the previously frozen Nazi. Despite some hope spots, Jordan dominates the majority of the match, using the most basic create-a-wrestler type offense imaginable. Jordan nearly gets pinned after writing his initials in the air, so he finishes with a DDT at 4:53. This was a complete waste of time, ¼*.
Orlando Jordan © vs. Heidenreich
Winner and still United States Champion: Orlando Jordan
-Heidenreich’s new friend cheers him up by goose stepping around to his industrial metal theme song.
-Josh Mathews interviews John Bradshaw Layfield backstage. JBL is wielding the WWE title that he carried as champion, not willing to let John Cena’s new spinner belt have any credibility. JBL says he’s was winning championships when John Cena was a fan in the stands. He plans on making Cena bleed so badly that he’ll move to Minnesota and run for office, because these idiots will elect anyone (take that, Ventura).
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
These two had a friendly rivalry around Wrestlemania time, but it took a nasty turn when Eddie bloodied up Rey and suplexed him onto some steel steps on Smackdown. The match begins with a slap-fest and they’re off to the races. Eddie gains control by sending Rey into the steps and soon nails a pair spinebusters onto the announce table. There’s a loud “Eddie sucks” chant as he wears Mysterio down. Rey’s first comeback attempt is foiled by an inverted power bomb counter. Rey buys some time with an enziguri (which Eddie sells like a possible concussion) and strings together some offense. They trade punches but Guerrero drop-kicks the knee and applies a Liontamer. Rey breaks an STF with the ropes but Eddie slides him to the floor. Guerrero sets up a Brainbuster on the steps, but Mysterio repeatedly backs him into the ring post. Rey hits a 619 around the post! Rey finds his second wind and nails a springboard seated senton for 2. Eddie cuts Rey off with a superplex but is unable to score a pinfall. Guerrero calms himself down and begins the Three Amigos, but Rey counters the last suplex by setting up a possible 619. Chavo Guerrero runs in for the ref distraction, but Rey counters a chair shot. Mysterio knocks Chavo off the apron and nails 619 on Eddie. Rey goes for the West Coast Pop, but soars into a chair shot for the DQ win at 18:29! Awesome grudge match here that made Mysterio look brave and heroic, and reestablished Eddie as a villainous bastard, ****.
Winner via DQ: Rey Mysterio
-Eddie embraces the hate and destroys Rey with a series of chair shots.
WWE Championship (“I Quit” Match);
It’s hard to believe that this was John Cena’s first ever pay-per-view main event and major title defense as champion. He had a lot to prove here and I recall being greatly interested in seeing whether or not he’d deliver. Obviously, Cena ended up doing okay for himself. Cena rides a tractor trailer truck into the ring to a MASSIVE pop (no split crowd here, the adult male fans hadn’t turned on him yet). Cena is accompanied by a DJ and pyro goes off as he poses with the title on the flat bed. Cena stomps on JBL’s limo, knocking the longhorns off, and has already gotten under JBL’s skin without throwing a single punch. Despite the hate filled build and stipulation, the action begins like most any other match with a feeling out process. Cena suplexes JBL back into the ring and resorts to choking. JBL answers with a DDT but Cena back drops him to the floor for a brawl. They head into the stands where JBL hits a neck breaker. Cena refuses to quit, so JBL whips and chokes with a belt. JBL sets up a piledriver on the announce table but Cena back drops him through the Spanish table. Cena gains a monitor shot but JBL busts him open with a wild chair shot. Cena continues to bleed heavily while JBL serves a vicious beat down. Cena wakes up when JBL calls him a “punk-ass bitch” and makes his trademark comeback. JBL absorbs an F-U and tries to walk away, but Cena bashes him on the limo. JBL thumbs the eye and hits a swinging neck breaker on the limo’s hood. JBL chokes with a cable but Cena defiantly thrusts him through a tube TV monitor. Bradshaw is now bleeding almost as badly as Cena is. They head on top of the limo where Cena nails a reverse suplex! Cena knocks JBL into the limo door until it breaks off. They head to the truck, where JBL manages a DDT. JBL climbs onto a speaker while choking Cena, who knocks JBL with the microphone and sends him crashing through a table. Cena pulls a smoke stack off the truck and threatens to clock JBL with it. JBL backs up against a glass wall and quits at 22:39 to avoid any more punishment. Cena, not yet the squeaky clean kid favorite hero, smashes JBL through the glass anyhow. This match had a ton of bells and whistles, but the fans the whole thing up, and it developed into a pretty crazy, uniquely awesome brawl. Most JBL vs. Cena matches are snooze fests, but this one is must- see, ****¼.
John Cena © vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Winner and still WWE Champion: John Cena
-A bloody Cena poses with both WWE titles as pyro explodes and the show goes off the air.
Final Thoughts: This was a great step in the right direction for the Smackdown brand after the dismal No Way Out show from February. There’s still a lot of bad stuff on the show (Heidenreich, Kurt Angle: Olympic Gold Rapist) but two ****+ matches go a long way in making me forget about it. This show is a bit frustrating too in that the Smackdown roster had finally gained credibility and momentum after getting dismantled in 2004, but the 2005 draft was right around the corner to undo their hard work. Still, this is a Thumbs Up show, largely thanks to John Cena’s statement-making main event debut.
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