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2000's TV Match Adventure


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This era of TV matches is something that doesn’t get talked about much so I tried to come up with a fun way to revisit some ‘classics’ and find some hidden gems on the Network.

To start, I’m watching one match from each year of 2000-2007. To help narrow down the choices, I’m taking one person from the match and trying to find a match of theirs from the following year.

I figured the easiest place to start was the Main Event of the first RAW of 2000…

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WWF RAW #345 - January 3rd, 2000
DX (X-Pac, Road Dogg & Mr. Ass) vs. The Rock - 3-on -1 You’re Fired Match

The first RAW of 2000 is in Miami and The Rock is upset with how Foley was fired last week. He wants HHH but instead HHH puts Rock in a handicap match against DX. The Rock will be fired if he loses and if anyone interferes, they’re also fired. During the show, Triple H beats Big Show for the WWF Title.

Triple H and Stephanie come out drinking champagne and sit on the stage to watch. He makes the match No Countout and No DQ just to stack the deck even more. The Rock gets off to a hot start before running into a big clothesline from Mr. Ass. The triple teaming begins on the outside. An ‘X-Pac Sucks!’ chants break out and Rock satisfies his people by crotching him against the ringpost. Most of this match plays out the same way as DX triple team Rock, he’ll make a brief comeback and immediately get cut off. Eventually Rock strings together a DDT, samoan drop and spinebuster on the three members of DX to take them all out. The crowd is going crazy as he drops the People’s Elbow! Billy Gunn pulls the referee out to break up the pin. Gunn hits a Jackhammer and they hold Rock down in the corner so X-Pac can hit the Bronco Buster on him. Road Dogg goes out to get a chair and gets attacked by Mick Foley out of the crowd. Foley hits everyone with chairshots, including Triple H, and quickly exits through the crowd. That leaves Mr. Ass to eat a Rock Bottom and get pinned in 9:16.

RATING: B-. Perfectly fine ‘feel good’ Attitude-era style match with Rock being over huge in his hometown and Foley making a surprise return. Rock’s comebacks were all fiery. X-Pac was good on his side but the Outlaws added very little to the match. They should have been beating the hell out of The Rock but they were pretty weak.

 

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WWF RAW #441 - November 5th, 2001
The Rock vs. Chris Jericho (c)  - WCW World Heavyweight Title

Rock and Jericho are both on Team WWF heading into Survivor Series but they’ve been having all sorts of issues. Mr. McMahon wants them to beat the hell out of each other tonight and put their differences aside before Survivor Series.

Jericho smacks Rock pretty damn hard in the face early on. The crowd seems to be split. They tease their finishers early on and there’s quite a bit of back and forth action. Jericho’s utilizing a lot of chops and Rock even does a couple of his own. Rock acts a bit heelish arguing with the ref and going to Jericho’s eyes. Jericho soon hits a DDT and strings together some offense to build momentum until Rock counters him. Jericho goes to the eyes but Rock comes back and gets Jericho in the Sharpshooter. Jericho fights his way to the ropes and it feels like we’re going into the finish. Rock hits the spinebuster and it’s time for the People’s Elbow. Everyone rises to their feet and … Jericho moves! He surprises Rock with a Rock Bottom of his own for a nearfall. The crowd is fully behind Rocky now and Jericho is starting to lose his cool. He throws Rock to the outside and puts him through the announce table with the Breakdown. Rock comes up bloody while Jericho goes back inside to remove the turnbuckle pad. He smashes Rock’s head on the exposed turnbuckle and punches the cut with some short shots. It wasn’t the best bladejob by Rock so maybe Jericho was trying to open it more? Jericho puts him in the Walls of Jericho which gives us the visual of a bloody Rock fighting his way to the ropes. He finally makes it and Jericho goes for the Walls again but gets cradled for the pin. Rock wins the WCW Title in 15:07. Jericho snaps after the match and nails Rock with the title belt and a couple chairshots.

RATING: B+. Not quite a PPV level encounter between these two but they were working hard and it got pretty good as it went along. I certainly wasn’t expecting the blood. The crowd didn’t seem to commit to cheering either guy until Jericho denied them the satisfaction of seeing the People’s Elbow. The Rock sure loves his offense off reversals or irish whips!

 

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WWF Smackdown #141 - May 2nd, 2002
Chris Jericho vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) - WWF Undisputed Title No DQ Match

Mr. McMahon has stated that if Triple H will be fired if he lays a hand on Jericho in this match. The Undertaker cannot get involved due to an agreement between RAW and Smackdown that talent cannot appear on the opposition’s show. The Pittsburgh crowd is going nuts for Hogan from the start.

Hogan overpowers Jericho in the opening moments of the match with Jericho bumping big for him. Jericho kicks the announce table in frustration and sells his foot! Hogan continues to roll until Jericho goes to eyes. In a great spot he grabs Hogan’s bandana and wipes his pits with it! Jericho is fantastic here as he’ll work over Hogan a bit, get cocky, allow Hogan to fire back and then cheat again to regain control. At one point he even pays tribute to Flair by getting slammed off the top and begging off in the corner. Jericho gets dirtier by choking Hogan with his wrist tape. The crowd is super behind Hogan and they tease the Hulk Up but Hogan just fires up normally. He hits a pair of elbow drops but misses a third big one. Jericho gets the bulldog and a lionsault. Does he get the pin? Of course not as Triple H comes out to distract him. Hogan fires back once again but Jericho ducks the big boot and hits a DDT for a great nearfall. Now Hogan finally hulks up and the crowd is going nuts. Big Boot! Legdrop? NO! Jericho counters it into the Walls of Jericho in another great sequence. Hogan fights to the ropes and Jericho flips his lid. He grabs a chair and nails Hogan in the back with it. Now Undertaker’s music hits, he doesn’t come out, but Jericho is distracted anyway and gets rolled up by Hogan at 10:19.

RATING: A. This felt like an all-time great performance by Jericho given Hogan’s obvious limitations. He managed to bump and sell for him without looking like a clown. His taunting and cheating made him seem arrogant and not weak. The only negative with the match is the distraction finish. I also felt like Hogan stepped it up as much as he could once the match got going and he could sense how good it was.

 

Share any memories of these matches or watch them on the Network and let me know what you think…

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Hogan really was working his ass off during that period. I'm not a huge fan of his but he was definitely trying super hard and putting in a ton of effort. I really wish they'd have run with the Edge/Hogan team longer.

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WWE Smackdown #201 - June 26, 2003
Mr. America, Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle vs. Big Show, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin

Smackdown is at MSG. Tonight’s Main Event was set up last week after Big Show and the former Team Angle laid out Brock, Kurt and Mr. America. Brock was the WWE Champion. Kurt is fresh off neck surgery and gets a huge reaction coming out first. A young lady in the crowd has a “F-5 ME BROCK” sign with a heart on it. Who knew Brock had untapped potential as heartthrob? Haas & Benjamin are calling themselves ‘The Best Damn Tag Team, Period.’ “I’ll tell you what, there’s gonna be a lot of meat tossed around this ring!” Thanks, Cole. Great atmosphere from the start with Hogan and USA chants. “I don’t get it, everyone in the ring is an American.” - Tazz.

Angle shines early until Haas & Benjamin hit him with a double dropkick. When Hogan tags in, he takes out everyone with punches and we get a double clothesline from him and Brock! The faces run wild on Haas & Benjamin building up to Brock going for the F5 and Shelton breaking it up. They hit that sweet double team leap frog on Brock and tag in Big Show for the first time. He mainly controls Brock until Brock hits a back suplex and tags in Kurt. He’s great off the hot tag tossing everyone around with suplexes. Gets the Ankle Lock on Haas but Show kicks him in the head. Lesnar takes out Show. Shelton superkicks Haas by mistake. Hogan and Show tag in with Hogan all fired up. The heels jump him, Brock pulls out Show and we get Brock & Angle hitting the F5 & Angle Slam on Haas & Benjamin. Show comes back in like a monster and choke slams both Lesnar & Angle at the same time! Hogan knocks Show down with the big boot and out comes Mr. McMahon dragging Zach Gowen by the neck. That distracts Hogan and Show choke slams him for the pin in 17:21.

RATING: B. Great atmosphere and they delivered with great action. Everyone played their roles really well. Angle wasn’t in much and was mainly on offense to show he’s back. Brock and Big Show both had their times where they looked like monsters. Hogan did enough to pop the crowd. Haas & Benjamin would mainly get offense off double teams. Finishing sequence was chaotic and fun until the predictable WWE TV finish.

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WWE RAW #571 - May 3, 2004
Evolution (Triple H & Batista & Randy Orton) vs. Edge & Shelton Benjamin & Tajiri

Interesting mix on the babyface side as Edge is back after missing a year with neck surgery, Shelton is over from Smackdown and Tajiri is getting a very brief push. It’s also nice to find an Evolution six man that doesn’t include you know who.

HHH’s physique is shocking. It’s the physique he should have now. A little bit of shine for the faces to start until Evolution target Edge’s broken hand and isolate him. Edge hits a spinning heel kick and makes the hot tag to Tajiri. He nails the handspring elbow on HHH, kills Orton with a kick, knocks Batista off the apron and finishes with a Tornado DDT on HHH. Batista breaks up the pin and in a great spot, he clobbers Tajiri in the back with a clothesline as he’s going for the handspring elbow. Just looked devastating. Now it’s Tajiri’s turn to play face-in-peril. “If you turn an oriental upside down, does he become disoriented?” - Jerry Lawler in 2004. The crowd rallies behind the Japanese Buzzsaw and he hits Orton with a kick to the back of the head and makes the hot tag to Edge. He cleans house and hits a great flying double clothesline to HHH & Orton. Such a babyface move. We go into a hot finishing sequence where guys are cutting off signature moves left and right. Eventually Tajiri mists Batista and Edge spears Orton for the pin in 17:32.

RATING: B+. Excellent! Tajiri and Orton were the best guys in the match and I loved how Orton sold Tajiri’s big kicks. Sadly they never had a TV singles match together. Tajiri should have stayed in this mix on RAW for sure. These matches protected Batista well. HHH sold for everyone. Shelton didn’t do much at all. It felt like the people wanted Edge vs HHH but they kept Edge down at the IC Title level instead.

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WWE RAW #614 - February 28, 2005
Edge vs. Shawn Michaels - Street Fight

Last week, Edge jumped HBK backstage after a match setting up this match. Both guys are wearing jeans for this street fight. Supposedly they’re feuding because Edge got mad that HBK won the popular vote at Taboo Tuesday.

Fists are flying to start and Shawn takes off his belt to whip Edge with. They briefly brawl into the crowd before returning to ringside. The weapons come out and Shawn gets a ladder but Edge nails him with a trash can lid to the head. Crowd is hot for HBK. Edge does the Impaler DDT on a chair and Michaels hits an absolute gusher heading into the commercial break. He’s bleeding so much that it looks like red paint. In a great spot, Edge goes up top and HBK just throws a ladder at him and knocks him off the top to the floor. Shawn’s selling the blood less big time by staggering all over the place. Edge regains control and hits a splash off the ladder like Michaels at WrestleMania X. The match turns when Shawn destroys Edge with a sickening chairshot to the head. Edge falls to the outside but manages to find a kendo stick before coming back in. Michaels ducks a shot and builds momentum into his trademark comeback. Edge ducks the Superkick and low blows Shawn with the chair. This allows him to set Shawn up for a one man conchairto. Great moment as Shawn gets payback by punching Edge in the nuts to stop it. Shawn goes for the chair but he walks into a Spear from Edge for a big nearfall. Edge mocks him by tuning up the band but when he goes for a second spear, he runs into a Superkick and Shawn wins in 19:07. Kurt Angle beats the hell out of Shawn after the match. The blood makes for a great visual as a deranged Kurt Angle’s hands are soaked in Shawn’s blood.

RATING: A-. Very bloody and dramatic brawl between two guys who were always pretty good at the gimmick matches. The key spots were all built up well and memorable. Shawn chucking the ladder at Edge and the low blow were great desperation moves. If you’re going to do the superman comeback, this one made some sense with Edge weakened due to the chairshot so Shawn put all his energy into going for the win at that point. My only minor criticism is that they could have done more actual brawling but I bet they wanted Shawn to hit the gusher before the commercial break so they had to get to the weapon shots early.

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WWE RAW #707 - December 11, 2006
DX & Ric Flair vs. Rated RKO & Kenny

They were doing a deal where Kenny was trying to impress Rated RKO and join the team. Last week he helped RKO win a match and got beat up by DX. Edge and HHH were having a singles match when Orton interfered for the DQ. Shawn made the save, Kenny jumped him and finally Ric Flair came out leading to Coach making a six man tag match.

Crowd is hot for DX as they take turns beating up Kenny. His entire gimmick at this point is that he wears a blue headband. Shawn chokes him with it behind the refs back leading to ‘HBK’ chants. HHH attacks the knee and tags in Flair. Guess what Flair does? He shoves Kenny into the corner, spits in Edge’s face and flips him off! Edge tags in and Flair lights him up. Flair’s head is still bandaged up from two weeks ago when Edge attacked him. Orton comes in with a dropkick and the heels take over on Naitch. They work over Flair for a few minutes until Edge dives into a chop and Flair makes the hot tag to HBK. Flying elbow to Edge. Sweet Chin Music to Edge. Orton drills Michaels with the RKO (outta nowhere). They cut to break there?! We come back with Michaels and Orton chopping each other. Edge tags in and misses a huge crossbody. Shawn tags in Hunter and Edge tags in Kenny. He clotheslines Kenny HARD in the back of the head after Kenny took a sternum first corner bump for some reason. Spinebuster. Flair tags in and goes for the Figure 4 but RKO jumps in. DX takes them out. Kenny goes for the Figure 4 and Flair rolls him up for the pin in 13:57.

RATING: B-. Entertaining six man tag. Kenny bumped around well but looked pretty nervous and out of place a few times. Not a must see match or anything but Flair being an old and pissed off babyface was the best version of Old Man Flair.

 

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WWE RAW #727 - April 30, 2007
Randy Orton vs. Edge

Rated RKO explodes in a heel vs heel matchup. Edge smacks Orton hard in the face to start. Orton fires back with punches, Edge bails, Orton gives chase and thumbs Edge in the eye. Orton goes to work, beating on Edge and smacking him around. Huge shoulderblock sends Edge flying into the barricade. We come back from a break with Edge suckering Orton in and posting his shoulder. He spears Orton off the apron sending him flying into the announce table! Edge brings him back in and gets a nearfall. Loud “RANDY!” chants break out and the fans have picked a side. Edge doing the Garvin stomp on Orton and acting cocky. They fight on the top rope, Edge hits a headbutt and flies off the top but Orton hits a huge dropkick!  They trade a few trademark moves for nearfalls before Edge takes off the turnbuckle pad. On a different corner, Orton starts the 10 punches but Edge drops him with a snake eyes. Edge covers with his feet on the rope but the ref sees it. Orton does the same. Orton got busted open hardway on the snake eyes. Edge counters the RKO into the Impaler for a very close nearfall. Edge goes for the spear but Orton leapfrogs him in a great looking spot! RKO gets blocked, Edge tries to shove him into the exposed turnbuckle, Orton stops himself but turns around into a Spear for the pin in 15:59.

RATING: A-. Edge and Orton always worked well together and I was impressed with how they handled the heel/heel dynamic. Orton showed babyface tendencies right at the start but didn’t just work face the whole way. They gradually built up to the table spot and from then on he was the pretty much working as modern babyface Orton. The finish was really well done too with Edge removing the turnbuckle a few minutes early. I was a little surprised at how easily the fans all got behind Orton at this current point in his career.

Headed back to 2000 next time…

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Great thread. Was watching all the WWF Raws, Smackdowns and PPVs from 2000, but eventually grew tired of it (even though it is still an unrivaled WWE product). Can't wait to find some hidden gems in this thread.

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I decided to revisit one Tajiri TV match per year from 2000 to 2005 because Tajiri is awesome...

ECW Hardcore TV #383 - August 26, 2000
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Psicosis

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Big ‘Welcome Back!’ chants for Psicosis. They do your usual stalemate spots to start but the work is snug and doesn’t feel like they’re just rushing through it. Since it’s ECW, Tajiri and Psicosis flip each other off in between some moves. Tajiri starts unleashing some brutal kicks a couple minutes in. Psicosis takes a huge bump to the floor and Tajiri hits a somersault plancha!  Psicosis reverses a whip on the outside and dives onto Tajiri in the crowd! They botch a spot coming back inside. Tajiri hits the handspring elbow to turn the tide. Psicosis counters a bulldog with a wheelbarrow suplex for 2. Psicosis misses a charge, winds up in the tree of woe and Tajiri hits a baseball slide dropkick. Psicosis counters a couple moves for some rollups and great nearfalls. Double clothesline. Tajiri hits a stunner and kick for a nearfall. Tajiri takes Psicosis up top but Psicosis counters with a front suplex. Guillotine Legdrop for a 2.9 count! Psicosis goes for a flying bodyscissors but Tajiri kicks him in the nuts then hits two brutal kicks to the head followed by a dropkick to the face for the win in 14:50.

RATING: A-. Now this is a hidden gem! Take late 90’s cruiserweight action and mix in excessive violence and a hot crowd. You’re not going to find a ton of deep storytelling here but the basic story is that Psicosis thinks he’s as bad as Tajiri but constantly finds out he is not. You can tell the ECW Arena crowd was really into this match because they don’t even get on them for the one partially blown spot.

WWF Smackdown #123 - December 27, 2001
Tajiri (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. The Undertaker (c) - Hardcore Title

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Tajiri is the Cruiserweight Champion here while Undertaker is a Rollin’ heel biker who recently put The Hardyz in the hospital. Lawler is creepin' hard on Torrie. Taker jumps Tajiri at the bell. Tajiri battles back by laying in some kicks but he doesn’t quite put his usual mustard on them. He might be crazy but he's not kicking Taker hard in the face. Flying dropkick gets 2. Tajiri goes for the Tarantula but can’t get it on. Taker beats him up on the outside and goes for the Last Ride through the table but Tajiri mists him! TAKER IS SO GREEN! Trash can to the head! Tajiri gets caught diving off the apron and slammed into the post. Taker puts Tajiri in the tree of woe and chokes him out with his t-shirt. Choke slam finishes it? Nope, he pulls Tajiri up at 2. Instead Taker locks him in the Dragon Sleeper for the submission at 6:10. Taker keeps the hold on after the match until Big Show comes out to stop him.

RATING: B. This is better than you’d expect for a big guy versus cruiserweight match in WWE. I think Tajiri’s offense being based around strikes really helped them come up with creative ways for him to look credible. The weapons shots were also very tame compared to a year or two earlier.

WWE Smackdown #167 - October 31, 2002
Tajiri vs. Matt Hardy

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Matt Hardy is V1.0 and we learn that Matt always got more Halloween candy than Brother Nero. Tajiri does a nice bridge and mocks Matt’s pose. Matt gets a rollup, starts rubbing it in and Tajiri kicks him in the head! Awesome. Tajiri busts out an asai moonsault! Back inside, Matt hits the side effect for two and takes over. Some good work by Matt as he cheats to maintain the advantage and mainly focuses on Tajiri’s neck. Matt misses the second rope legdrop. They trade right hands on their knees until Tajiri pops up with a baseball slide dropkick and a roundhouse kick for a nearfall. Handspring elbow! Kick to the back of the head gets 2. Tarantula countered with a slam by Matt for 2. Tajiri gets the Tarantula locked on this time. Matt ducks the buzzsaw kick, goes for the Twist of Fate, Tajiri counters, Matt sneaks in a low blow and hits the Twist of Fate for the win in 7:38.

RATING: B. Solid WWE style TV match with some good character work and trademark spots from both guys.

Up next, the plan is to look at Tajiri against Rey from 2003, against Hunter from 2004 and a tag match with Regal from 2005.

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WWE Smackdown #214 - September 25, 2003
Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio (c) - WWE Cruiserweight Title

This rivalry has been heating up in recent weeks after Tajiri was a sore loser and misted Mysterio after a match.

They go back and forth early on with some pin attempts. Tajiri gets the Tarantula. He distracts the ref and he’s going for the mist but Rey kicks him. The green mist pours down Tajiri’s mouth and Rey hits a massive springboard plancha to the floor! We come back from a break with Rey still in control. He comes off the top but Tajiri kicks him in the ribs. Tajiri continues to work over the ribs. Rey fights back but Tajiri with a dropkick to the ribs. Tajiri works the bodyscissors well by getting some pin attempts out of it and hammering the midsection. Gutbuster gets 2. Back to the bodyscissors. Crowd rallies behind Rey as he fights his way out. Rey cartwheels into a bulldog. The cartwheel was a bit odd looking. Rey fighting back, lands on the second rope, jumps up top and hits a moonsault! Awesome. Tajiri goes for another bulldog but Tajiri counters into a wheelbarrow suplex for 2. Tajiri hangs him on the top rope and dropkicks him in the back of the head. Michinoku Driver gets a nearfall! Tajiri kicks the ref in the head by accident. Rey counters the handspring elbow with a dropkick and hits the 619! Tajiri avoids the West Coast Pop and hits a roundhouse kick. New ref in and Rey just kicks out! Tajiri goes for a power bomb, Rey drops out, hits a hurricanrana but Tajiri sprays him with RED MIST! The new ref didn’t see it because he was checking on the old ref. Tajiri hits the Buzzsaw Kick for the win in 15:14. Tajiri is the new champ!

RATING: A-. Very good match that relied on psychology. You had Rey foiling the green mist early but falling victim to the red mist in the end. The bulk of the match was Tajiri working over the ribs of Mysterio and doing everything he could to put Rey away before resorting to the red mist. Everything was very logical and Rey still managed to work in a couple of breathtaking highspots.

WWE RAW #570 - April 26, 2004
Tajiri vs. Triple H

Coach cut a racist promo on Tajiri earlier in the show and Tajiri beat him up. HHH came out, low blowed Tajiri, started cutting a promo about not getting a title match and got a face full of mist. HHH yelled at a potted plant backstage and got put in a match against Tajiri.

HHH’s face is still kinda green as he comes out. He gets the jump on Tajiri and hammers him down. Fans are chanting “You Tapped Out!” at HHH coming off his loss at Mania. Tajiri gets a desperation kick and an early nearfall. Tajiri unloads with kicks and punches in the corner. Handspring elbow gets another nearfall. HHH retreats to the floor to regroup and cuts off Tajiri with a knee. Tajiri springs up onto the steps and slams HHH’s face into them. Tajiri demands the ref count and HHH just barely makes it back in. HHH blocks the Buzzsaw Kick, goes for the Pedigree, Tajiri slips out hits some kicks but runs into a big spinebuster! Lawler tells some bad jokes on commentary. HHH uses his power to wear down Tajiri. He runs into a spinning heel kick for a nearfall. HHH gets an abdominal stretch, Tajiri counters into an octopus hold but HHH escapes. Tajiri goes for the Tarantula but HHH throws him off the floor. Tajiri sneaks up top and hits a missile dropkick that sends HHH into the ref. HHH ducks the mist and clobbers Tajiri with a forearm. Pedigree finishes the match at 8:12.

RATING: B. I was enjoying this a great deal up until the finish because it felt disjointed. They needed another few minutes to get there but that’s the nature of TV matches sometimes. I’m not sure anybody does the series of strikes in the corner as well as Tajiri. Not even Vader.

WWE RAW #611 - February 7, 2005
Tajiri & William Regal vs. La Resistance (c) - World Tag Team Titles

RAW is from the Saitama Super Arena. Huge reaction for Tajiri coming out. He and Regal get some shine early before Conway and Grenier isolate Regal. Tajiri gets the hot tag and goes wild with kicks. A bulldog on Grenier gets two. Grenier blocks the tornado DDT but Tajiri hits an enzuigiri. Conway breaks up the count. Tajiri hits a double handspring elbow! Tarantula on Grenier but Conway breaks it up. Regal takes out Conway on the outside. Grenier gets the flag but misses and Tajiri mists him! Buzzsaw Kick finishes it in 4:11. Tajiri and Regal win the World Tag Team Titles.

RATING: C+. Quick, fun match with Tajiri being massively over in Japan.  

That wraps up a fun look back at some Tajiri TV matches. A random sample helps confirm his greatness and how he fit in perfectly with the WWE style. You could basically drop him in anywhere on the card and he’d have a believable match. I implore people to watch that Psicosis match if they’ve never seen it.

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Tajiri was the best, man. Credible offense, great athleticism, good selling, great bumper, crazy charisma.

If he was 6'3", 235, and white we'd be in year 16 of his never ending main event run.

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Back with a new series of matches to look at. I’m going with Tag Team Title matches this time and I should be able to get all the way up to 2009 with WWE’s recent additions to the Network.

WWF RAW #395 - December 18, 2000
Edge & Christian (c) vs. The Undertaker & The Rock - WWF Tag Team Titles

E&C complained to Commissioner Foley about Kurt Angle being put in a match against Vince McMahon so Foley responded by booking them against Rock & Undertaker.

Undertaker rides out to Limp Bizkit. The Rock gets a huge pop coming out and JR informs us that People Magazine named The Rock one of 2000’s 25 Most Intriguing People. Christian jumps Rock to start and the crowd erupts with Rocky chants. E&C get a little bit of heat on Rock before he hits a powerslam and tags in Taker. He easily handles the champs by himself to a ridiculous degree. More Rocky chants. Edge gets one clothesline on Taker before Taker goes back on offense. Rock tags in and ends up eating a spear so the champs can get some offense. They hit a combo backbreaker / reverse DDT. Rock uses the Rock Bottom as his way to make the hot tag to Taker. He hits Old School on Christian while Rock and Edge fight on the floor. The ref gets bumped. Christian takes a massive Last Ride and Edge nails Taker with the belt. Christian does the slow crawl to cover as the ref gets back in but Taker does the monster kickout spot where he throws Christian off him. Rock is hilarious back on the apron being insanely fired up. He gets the tag, hits the spinebuster and the People’s Elbow on Edge to win the titles in 8:40. JR mentions something about Exlax when describing how easily Taker and Rock won the match.

RATING: C. The most notable thing about this match was listening to how hot the crowd was for The Rock. He was on top of his game here. The Undertaker was not. He’s not in great shape and his look is poor. He’s not a deadman anymore yet he manages to give E&C absolutely nothing. This felt like something WCW would have done and been laughed at for.

WWF Smackdown #76 - February 1, 2001
The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz - WWF Tag Team Title Tables Match

Smackdown has apparently gone XTREME tonight and there’s a big red X through the logo. All the matches have stipulations and the show starts with a tables match. Matt has a black eye from a match they had at MSG recently.

All four guys are involved and they go right into their signature spots. Crowd is very loud for the Dudleyz. The first table gets introduced really early and we get some spots with partners pulling the table out of the way to prevent someone from going through it. Matt takes it up a notch by putting himself through a table to prevent Bubba from superplexing Jeff through it. We get two tables setup on the outside with Matt and D-Von fighting on a ladder. Bubba throws Jeff into them and they’re supposed to fall through the tables but they miss, barely hit the first one and just go splat on the floor. Jeff takes a massive backdrop from Bubba. They fight up to the stage area where there are more tables. They tease going off the ramp a few times before Bubba puts them both through the tables with the Bubba Bomb to retain the titles in 7:26.

RATING: C+. This was really rushed given what was involved but at least they still teased the table spots before delivering them. Matt and D-Von missing the two tables looked pretty brutal.

WWE RAW #500 - December 23, 2002
Booker T & Goldust (c) vs. Chris Jericho & Christian - World Tag Team Titles

BookDust won the gold a week prior at Armageddon in a Four Way. Jericho’s sporting his insane goatee. The storyline going into this was Jericho bullying Goldust about being the weak link on his team.

Goldust shines to start against Christian and talks some trash! Cool spot where Goldust slingshots Jericho over the top rope and onto Christian on the outside. Christian distracts the ref, nails Goldust and Jericho hits a missile dropkick to the back. Goldust sells it big time as Jericho aggressively attacks the lower back. Nice team work by Vitamin C. Goldust fires back and makes a hot tag to Booker. Great stuff here from Booker including a double harlem sidekick. He hits the Ax Kick on Christian but Christian gets his foot on the ropes and the ref waves off his three count. We come back from the break with Jericho in control on Booker. He’s real cocky doing his little shuffle before eating a sidekick. Christian distracts the ref so he doesn’t see Booker make the tag to Goldust! Crowd is pissed off! Christian chokes Booker and yells at the crowd, “WHO SUCKS NOW?!” They keep working over Booker until he hits a flapjack on Christian. Hot tag to Goldust! Jericho cuts it off and goes for the Walls but Goldust rolls him up for 2. Goldust hits a double DDT on them both! Shattered Dreams on Christian! Sends Jericho’s head into Christian too and hits the powerslam for a great nearfall. Jericho reverses out of the Curtain Call and locks in the Walls of Jericho. Booker finally breaks it up with a kick. He and Christian get taken to the outside and Jericho rolls up Goldust with his feet on the ropes for another good nearfall. Jericho hits the bulldog but Goldust gets the knees up on the Lionsault and rolls him up with a handful of tights to retain the titles in 17:21!

RATING: A-. Excellent tag team match between four guys with a lot of experience working tags. This felt like it was straight out of early 90's WCW. Everything in the match made sense and played into the storyline of Goldust needing to prove that he wasn't the weak link on his team.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The adventure rolls on with a trio of very good matches...

WWE Smackdown #197 - May 29, 2003
Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri (c) vs. Team Angle (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) - WWE Tag Team Titles

Last week, Eddie hit the ref with a chair and framed Team Angle so they would get DQ’d.

Team Angle jump the champs before the bell and isolate Eddie in the early going. Tajiri gets in with some nice offense on Shelton until there’s a double knockdown and we head to the break. When we come back, Team Angle viciously attack Tajiri’s knee. Eddie is great working the apron while Team Angle methodically work over Tajiri’s knee. They incorporate a nice sequence to tease a hot tag before it gets cut off. Tajiri surprises Shelton with a headscissors out of nowhere and makes the hot tag. Eddie monkey flips Team Angle into each other! Three amigos on Haas. Frog Splash! Shelton makes the save. Some more good action leading to Haas countering a tornado DDT by Tajiri with a northern lights suplex requiring Eddie to make the save. Tajiri sells his bad wheel on offense. Eddie does a big dive onto Shelton so it appears everyone is wiped out when Haas gets Tajiri in the Haas of Pain. The bell rings and Haas lets go but the ref never called for it. Eddie sneaks in with the belt but Haas grabs it away. Eddie lays down, the ref sees Haas with the belt and DQ’s him in 14:02.

RATING: B+. Very focused match with Tajiri’s injured leg being the main focus for Team Angle. It helped make it more believable that Eddie would resort to illegal tactics when Tajiri was trapped in the submission. The crowd was red hot for Eddie throughout the match. Team Angle were solid and worked their gimmick well.

WWE Smackdown #280 - December 30, 2004
Rey Mysterio & Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Booker T & Eddie Guerrero - WWE Tag Team Titles

It’s Night Of Champions 2004 and every champion on Smackdown is defending against their choice of opponent.

Rey and RVD take the first few minutes of the match that includes a double legdrop called the 420. Cole explains it’s because they have 4 feet and their shoe sizes added up to 20. Tazz is skeptical. Booker & Eddie shift into subtle heel mode by tossing both guys out of the ring heading into a break. Rey posts himself and that allows the challengers to take over. Eddie improvises a nice chickenwing variation on Rey. The subtle heel stuff turns into full blown cheating as Booker knocks RVD off the apron so they can double team Rey. RVD gets a hot tag that ends up with him hitting the Five Star Frog Splash but Booker makes the save. Instead of going to the finish here, Eddie posts RVD and the match settles back down. Rey has to save RVD after a Book End. RVD finally hits a kick and makes the real hot tag. Mysterio comes flying in and Eddie takes a bunch of stuff including a super frankensteiner. Booker takes out the ref by mistake with a Harlem Sidekick. Everyone gets taken out leaving Eddie as the last man standing in the ring. He gets a devious smile on his face when he sees the ref down. He’s very conflicted about cheating. He finally decides to grab the title belt and frame Rey. When the ref has his back turned, Eddie pops up and waves at Rey. The ref catches him the second time! Rey rolls Eddie up for the pin and retains the titles in 21:30.

RATING: B+. 20 minutes of quality tag team wrestling. They made the smart choice by having Eddie Guerrero and Booker T go subtle heel early in the match. They built to two separate hot tags with Rey’s being the better one. Eddie was so good at the comedy stuff at the end. This one felt like a bit of a hidden gem because it was buried on a end-of-the-year show.

WWE Smackdown #302 - June 2, 2005
MNM (c) vs. Charlie Haas & Hardcore Holly - WWE Tag Team Titles 15 Minute Iron Man Match

We get off to a good start with Charlie Haas taking Nitro down and going for some pinning combinations. Hardcore Holly gets tagged in and MNM want nothing to do with the old ass kicker. There’s a funny spot as Nitro sneakily tags Mercury in. He lights up Holly with a hard chop and pays for it moments later as Holly unloads on him with some of the hardest chops you’ll ever see. Holly goes for the Alabama Slam but Melina distracts the ref and Nitro hits a superkick. Mercury gets the pin and puts the champs up 1-0. They stay on the attack for a little bit until Holly fights back with some armdrags. During the break, Haas hit a big dive but then got posted and pinned so it’s 2-0 MNM. Nitro instructs Mercury to go for another pin but Haas reverses him and gets the challenger on the board with 5 minutes to go. MNM goes into defensive mode now. They’re stalling, cutting off the ring, making Haas fight his way back in from outside and generally taunting Holly about the clock. Haas has to hit a bunch of different moves to FINALLY make the hot tag to Holly. He’s cleaning house with clotheslines and suddenly busts out a FRANKENSTEINER! WHAT?! Tazz is shocked. He nails his great dropkick on Mercury for a nearfall. MNM goes for the Snapshot on Holly but Haas cuts it off. Holly hits the Alabama Slam but Melina gets in the way of the cover allowing time to expire! MNM win 2-1 to retain the titles.

RATING: A. What a revelation this match was! The psychology here was perfect with the babyfaces going for constant pinfalls right from the start and the heels trying to run out the clock once they got the advantage. Michael Cole sold throughout the match that there would be sudden death overtime if there was a tie. MNM were fantastic chickenshit heels. Bob Holly was on FIRE here. He was like his old younger pure babyface self with an edge. WATCH THIS MATCH! I bet it’s under the radar because Haas & Holly weren’t a sexy team.

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