Since I was getting hassled by security for the first hour because I mistakenly thought my press creds sort of implied I was bringing a camera to the Honda Center Monday night, staff writer Luke Thompson gives this report of the dark matches:
"I got inside just in time to hear Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s music signal a victory for the board-wielding goofball, whose shtick still entertains all these years since the height of his fame. Was sorry to miss him. When I used to play with Hasbro action figures as a kid, Duggan was a major player in my wrestling federation, mainly because he was one of the few that came with a weapon. Hooooo! USA!
Charlie Haas’ music started playing next, so I figured I could get a beer and not miss anything. Watered down Miller Lite. Ugh.
Haas fought Hardcore Holly, who has a reputation for being an asshole that genuinely hurts his opponents, but the crowd loved him anyway. Haas has a gimmick now where he puts on a Lucha Libre mask mid-match and acts like it just gave him special powers. Holly ripped it off his head, then pulled out a mask of his own that seemed styled to look like that of Shark Boy, a competitor in rival promotion TNA. So then Holly starts imitating Shark Boy’s gestures, which is all way too meta considering that Shark Boy is currently doing a gimmick where he imitates Stone Cold Steve Austin. Holly wins.
Then there was a divas match, and I couldn’t tell if Melina was supposed to be good or evil – the crowd liked her, but SoCal crowds tend to cheer for any Latino or Latina – even the fake kind like Razor Ramon. Derek came in here, so I’ll let him pick up the story in progress...
...except to say one thing – Freakin’ Triple H is top contender again? I don’t understand how the fans hate Cena and like this guy. Matter of fact, here are my top five reasons to hate Triple H more than John Cena.
5. His name is stupid. It stands for “Hunter Hearst Helmsley,” and represents an old gimmick he doesn’t even have any more.
4. Spitting water doesn’t make you tough, it makes you look like you just blew Shawn Michaels.
3. Speaking of Shawn Michaels, he’s Hunter’s best friend, and a huge tool. The moment he said on TV that the good thing about Eddie Guerrero’s death was that it brought the whole locker room together in prayer to Jesus Christ, I vowed never to cheer for him again.
2. Triple H as a character has not change done iota in the past five years or so. Meanwhile, John Cena has gone from white rapper to fake marine, and changed his theme song from “Basic Thuganomics” to “My Time Is Now.”
1. John Cena’s “five-knuckle shuffle” is a preposterous move, but it’s supposed to be. Meanwhile, “The Pedigree,” a pathetic finisher that blatantly requires the help of the victim in executing it, is supposed to be the most devastating move in wrestling.
Okay, that’s all I got. Back to Derek."
That was very detailed work from my colleague Luke Thompson, a good thing because none of what he described was on TV. Everything I'm supposed to write about, however, was on TV. So you probably should have watched it because I'm not going to rehash it. Actually, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
As I alluded to earlier, the security people were freaking on me because my camera looked all big and professional. Meanwhile hundreds of people in the audience carried little silver digital cameras without a problem. Strangely to the Honda Center, press access seems to mean a single comp ticket and explaining yourself to a hundred people before you finally get to your seat, and then they kick you out within five minutes. But eventually it all got worked out.
Some highlights of the show:
Jeff Hardy vs. Snitsky: Snitsky reminds me of Killer Kowalski except Killer might actually win a match. Snitsky, with his big pasty body and butter colored teeth, is a guy with great potential as a monster heal, but WWE insists on making him a mildly challenging Monday night foe for their babyface. Yawn. Keep him jobbing and he will be the next "The Big Slow."
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Paul Burchill vs. Super Crazy: This was the first of a couple times throughout the night, where I was like, what is this doing on TV? First Super Crazy comes out during the commercial break which tells any wrestling fan that he is the sacrificial lamb. Generally it is understood by professional wrestling fans, if a wrestler doesn't get a televised entrance, your basically in for a squash job. Considering the crowd was probably 70 percent Latino at the event, maybe they should have given it to the Mexican and obvious fan favorite over this nobody Paul Burchill. Luke says Burchill used to have a Captain Jack Sparrow gimmick. It is probably the only gimmick worse than his current one, Paul Burchill.
Oh, did you know Val "overweight balding shell of his former self" Venus made a one time comeback to job to Kennedy in five seconds.
Steel cage match, Vince McMahon vs. Hornswoggle. Ok, I'm going to tell you Vince McMahon wrestled a midget leprechaun in the steel cage and you're going to roll your eyes and say eh, it's been done before. But I've got news, it's never been done before. Contemplate the magnitude of that.
Everything was building to the main event: Randy Orton vs. John Cena with Triple H as the ref. The crowd really came to life on this one, and although Orton was supposed to be bad and Cena good, both had fans and detractors. Cheers turned to boos, boos to cheers. Everyone thought Triple H would turn on Cena so that he could take on Orton alone at WrestleMania for the title, but he actually just called the match pretty even. I guess he's supposed to be a babyface now, but he's basically the same either way. Cena wins and Triple H gives him the pedigree and starts parading around with the belt like he's the champ or something.