I’ve been chugging my way through 2004′s PPVs this past week. It’s not been easy. Lotta rape, lost babies, dropkicked babies, mentally handicapped characters, that sorta thing. Yeah, it was one’ve those years. It’s not without highlights but for the most part it’s misinformed and a little sickly. I guess that’s a weird way to describe a year’s worth of wrestling, but any year in which a man threatens to beat a woman up unless she sleeps with him, impregnates her and is then turned face because another monster heel causes her to miscarraige, well, it’s sickly. Eleven months of that, and then along comes Armageddon, plum outta nowhere, and becomes one of my most enjoyed wrestling-watching experiences since I started working my way through from 1997 in December.
1. A great opener
The opening match sees tag champs RVD (likeable waster) and Rey Mysterio (tiny little toy man) defending against baffling team Kenzo Suzuki (manager: his wife, Hiroko) and Rene Dupree (manager: an actual dog) in a 20-minute bout that shows WWE’s commitment to making tag-team wrestling feel like an integral part of the company. By the time it’s finished it really feels like it could go either way, unlike most matches that open cards that are really just there to get the crowd warmed up. It does warm the crowd up, but it’s on account of the efforts of all four men (well, three men and Rene Dupree, who looks like a generic Create-A-Wrestler from a videogame and ought to have ‘fool’ etched into his tights, because that’s exactly what he is: he’s a fool, like you’d see in medieval times, a silly fool, making silly King laugh his hairy balls-bag off) trying their best rather than one or the other getting a cheap squash in to put paid to a week-long feud. Bravo boys, a great bunch of lads.
2. Chivalry Reigns
Charlie Haas (or ‘Whitey from Whitey And Blackey’) referees a match between fiancee Jackie and two-dolla hoore Dawn Marie because they’ve been squabbling all the time backstage. He helps Dawn Marie win the match (!) and then admits he’s been sleeping with her because Jackie’s no good in bed and he doesn’t love her, then refuses to marry Dawn Marie and calls her a slut. Then, as he walks away, the crowd begins chanting “Charlie, Charlie…” It’s not even like Charlie Haas was such an over face that he could get away with anything (like when Chris Jericho made fun of Stephanie or John Cena calling Eve a Hoeski) – it’s just that the people of Atlanta, Georgia fucking hate women, is all.
3. A Taste Of What’s To Come
The Miz made his WWE PPV debut at Armageddon 2004, in a fucking boxing match against the fantastically named Daniel Puder as part of the fourth series of Tough Enough (basically the WWE’s version of X-Factor…no, well, not the wrestler X-Pac’s finishing move the X-Factor, like, ugh, it’s a talent competition, ALRIGHT?). The two cut promos before the match which proved two things: The Miz can “work the mic” and Puder, whose surname is PUDER, can barely fucking work his tongue. The two then got into the ring, had a really ugly and realtively ‘real’ match, and Puder was declared the winner by the amount of cheers he got. He then went on to win the competition, nearly break Kurt Angle’s arm fur reelz and was never heard of again, while Miz – who I genuinely have to try and hate, because he’s breaking me down like salt on cliffs – has headlined a Wrestlemania and generally does well for himself. Also appearing in the promo VT for the match was Ryan Reeves, currently stinking up the joint on WWE screens as Ryback. Good for him, I guess, and yeah, fuck Daniel Puder, Kurt Angle (‘s arm) is (the arm of) a wrestling GOD!
4. Speaking Of Kurt Angle…
Kurt Angle comes out to the ring after that great first match, with two policemen (this is NEVER explained), and challenges Santa Claus to a match. I mean, why… he doesn’t…ah jeez, just watch:
Kurt Angle is a frigging magnificent person.
5. “Bonus Match”
That’s precisely what it’s referred to by Michael Cole, a bonus match. Which? Why, the who-the-fuck-cares bout added fresh to the card mid-PPV between The Basham Brothers – whose gimmick was that they were fans/customers of a dominatrix who by this stage no longer works for WWE – and the PB and J pairing of Hardcore Holly and… Charlie “Gentleman” Haas. They wrestled for less than 7 minutes while the crowd chanted their bordeom (literally) and then Hardcore sort of swipes at Haas and then nothing ever comes of it. But it’s a BONUS MATCH, man, a fuckin’ bonus, a gift, a free thing, a wonderful brilliant phantasm of an occurrence, and I’ll be fucked (probably by Charlie Haas) if I’m not going to appreciate it.
6. Michael Cole says ‘rape’ summore, may not know what rape is
About… I dunno, some months earlier, Big Show had his head shaved and Cole started to say that he’d been, and these quote marks are legit, “raped of his dignity”. He said it, and said it, and said it some more times. The way PPVs worked in 2004 is that every other month was presented by either Raw or Smackdown (excepting the four major events) so it was usually two months between bouts in the longer-running feuds. So that was fine. Two months of Smackdown PPVs came and went, then Survivor Series happened, then Armageddon. So it was, what, five months? Something like that. And Cole goes and drops the R-bomb again during Armageddon. Curiously, Kane was never said to have raped Lita after he raped Lita that one time and then turned face the same year, but the violation of Big Show having his head shaved by Kurt Angle was just a big rapity RAPE and Cole wanted to make sure we knew. He is, after all, a broadcast journalist.
7. John Cena kicks the shit outta some guy
When I say ‘some guy’, I’m employing rhetoric. I’m still watching the PPV, so obviously I know the guy’s name.
It was Jesus.
Now, this isn’t like that time Shawn Michaels had a tag match with God (that actually happened in 2006), no this was just some generic bodyguard character who used to follow Carlito (whose horrible, horrible gimmick was spitting masticated apple mulch into people’s faces, eeeeuuurrrGHGHGH, that’s so gross), whose name happened to be Jesus, like ‘Hey, Zeus’, you know? That doesn’t change the fact that it still said “John Cena Vs. Jesus” onscreen. Or the fact that, as payback for having (storyline) stabbed Cena earlier in the year, Cena beat the holy hell outta him for 8 straight minutes without Hey, Zeus getting a single lick in. It’s a really neat, violent payoff to a storyline that seems personal, it got Cena way over with a crowd who were already fond of him and it’s the only match I can remember where a guy just straight kicks the shit out of someone who isn’t half their size on Sunday Night Heat.
8. Funaki interviews himself and makes an “I’ma gettin’” pun
So right after Big Show finally avenges Kurt’s head-rape, Cole sends us back to the locker room for Funaki and a special guest, which it transpires is himself, talking to himotherself about whether or not he can beat Spike Dudley (who the fuck couldn’t?) for the cruiserweight title. Spike crashes, makes fun of him, and Funaki tells a knock knock joke with the punchline “Armageddon! Yo TITO! And become…NUMBA ONE! Cruiserweight…champo” and then walks RIGHT TO THE FUCKING MATCH! Here’s every second of this glorious, birthed-from-madness moment:
9. And then…
He takes this really nasty-lookin’ tumble and goes “OW” really loudly and in Japanese, and the camera just lingers a second too long:
Spoiler, though: HE WINS THE MATCH! And goes traight over and gives Tazz a hug and high-fives Cole! I love Funaki and his strangely baked skin.
10. Tazz sings the PPV theme tune
Yes, in what is not just my favourite moment of the night but maybe the best wresling moment of all the moments, Tazz treats us to a brief rendition of the famous and deadly Armageddon theme tune “The End” …:
And because I didn’t make a not even of what match it was during, I had to watch just about the whole thing again. And to think I usually skip straight through those womens’ matches. To THINK!
So overall, a great PPV filled with weird shit you just couldn’t have predicted at the start of the night and that I watched every single second of with rapt attention lest I missed whatever was next to be thrown at me. See ya later.