Ring Crew Reviews: WWE New Year's Revolution 2005
Posted by Jack Bramma on 06.12.2010
One of the hottest crowds ever witnesses one of the best Elimination Chambers matches yet.
This week, we take a look at another excellent moment in the Batista face-turn Saga. This is the PPV that started the trend of having Elimination Chamber matches as part of the build toward Wrestlemania every year.
Edit: Made some corrections thanks to the keen observers in the comment section.
• DVD Packaging: The cover is all Batista. It’s just a waist up image of him with a dragon logo in the background. The same dragon is corkscrewed around the “R” in “Revolution” in New Year’s Revolution.
• DVD Presentation: The same basic design is the DVD main menu. They play some highlight reel in the background that focuses on the Chamber participants and the Snitsky-Kane feud. The menu music is some generic Jim Johnston number.
• Relevant Storylines: Eugene likes imitating his favorite wrestlers. Muhammad Hassan hates Americans and definitely hates announcers. Trish is hot and evil. Snitsky is unintentionally funny and evil. Maven is bi only one thing and it’s lingual. Triple H wants the belt back and depends on Batista but isn’t sure if he can trust him.
• Scheduled Card:
1. World Tag Team Championship: Christian and Tomko vs. William Regal and Eugene (c)
2. WWE Women’s Championship: Lita (c) vs. Trish
3. Intercontinental Championship: Shelton Benjamin (c) vs. Maven
4. Muhammad Hassan vs. Jerry Lawler
5. Kane vs. Gene Snitsky
6. Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship w/ Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels: Triple H vs. Batista vs. Chris Benoit vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton.
• They eschew the normal opening and begin with Bischoff in the empty arena in the chamber. He throws out the usual dimension lines of “over 10 tons of steel” and “over 2 miles of chains.” In order to show the effectiveness of the plexiglass, Bischoff lightly punches it. He also has a billy club or pipe or something and pounds on the grates outside. Then he calls himself sadistic. This was part hilariously hokey and part effective. I like Bischoff though.
• The regular video package follows and it’s decent. It starts off like a tourist commercial for Puerto Rico but it’s switched over virally to EC footage and more quotes about the chamber’s brutality and structure. Then they intercut with various clips of Batista, Orton, Shawn Michaels, Benoit, Edge, and Triple H.
• We are live from San Juan, Puerto Rico with a massive fireworks display and a raucous ovation from the crowd. Our hosts are JR and King and they are joined by some oddly placed foliage to show how tropical the announce table is. I remember this being one of the most insanely hot crowds I’ve ever heard. I hope it stands up that way.
• World Tag Team Championship: Christian and Tomko vs. William Regal and Eugene (c). I had totally blanked on Regal and Eugene being champs but quickly recall that Regal was trying to save Eugene from the dastardly Triple H earlier in 2004. Tomko is looking noticeably muscular and trim here compared to the last couple of years. Eugene is wearing Hulkamania gear. Nice moment as Regal reminds the clumsy Eugene to hold on to the tag rope. Big Christian sucks chant at the bell as he and Regal start. They trade arm locks as Regal gets a one count off a couple quick shoulder blocks then takes Christian down with a side headlock. Christian powers up and into the corner and rams Regal as the ref calls for a clean break. Criss cross and Regal gets a hip toss and tags in Eugene. Crowd goes nuts as Eugene is tagged in and wedgies CC. Comedy sequence as Eugene poses, Christian tries to get in some offense but whiffs on an elbow and Eugene mimes some JYD and pretends to pee on Christian as he sells it. That was funny. Crowd chants for Eugene and Tomko is in. Tomko punches, chokes, shouts, and then tags Christian back in. They go for a double team but Eugene baseball slides off the whip and hangs out with the first row fans. CC and Tomko corner him but Eugene goes under the ring. Eugene comes out from behind and gets a roll up for two. More comedy but Tomko sneaks in and gets a choke slam to put the heels back in control. Tomko in. He chokes more and gets a powerslam for 2. More choking. I think Tomko decided to model his moveset on the SvR heel default. Christian in but Eugene hulks up with crowd support. Back body drop and Eugene gets the mild tag to Regal who works over Tomko. Tomko cuts him off, drops an elbow, shouts at the ref, and chokes some more. Regal gets a bloody nose from Tomko doing the generic heel cover and grinding his forearm into his nose. Christian in and Tomko gets a shot behind the ref’s back. Tomko back in and chokes away. Crowd chants, “Tomko sucks.” I concur. They do a couple more misdirection spots with the ref and the heels doubleteam. Tomko whiffs on a charge and Regal tags in Eugene and the crowd is into it. Clothesline for Tomko and a dropkick but Eugene goes down with a legit knee injury. He’s hurt but manages to roll up Tomko for the 3 at 12:20. Eugene ruptured his left patella tendon and would be out for 6 months. **1/4 This was average work. The crowd was huge into Eugene and booed the heels appropriately.
• We get footage of Christy Hemme in a bikini.
• Christian and Tomko run into Edge backstage. Christian tells Tomko to kick Edge’s ass but Edge says he has a plan to make Christian world champion. They walk and talk out of the camera’s purview.
• WWE Women’s Championship: Lita (c) vs. Trish. Trish is awesome as the deliciously evil bitch. Other than that, I don’t care about this. The intro package includes the footage of Lita doing a suicide dive and almost breaking her own neck in the process. JR says that Lita will put her body and career on the line to defend this “Tag Team title.” A couple of clean breaks off collar and elbows that go nowhere. They do a dance in the middle as someone missed the cue to do a move. They go in circles until Lita tosses Trish. Lita goes for a Thesz press to the floor and blows out her knee too. Trish rolls her in and Lita actually kicks out at 2. Trish works the good knee, then the bad knee(!) What the in the hell? Lita tries to cut her off but her knee buckles. They mercifully take it home as Lita’s knee buckles on a DDT and Trish gets the kick for the 3 to become new champ at 3:45. DUD. Lita tore her ACL and would continue in an on-screen role in March but did not wrestle again for months.
• Footage of Maria in a bikini.
• Edge is backstage and wants a word with Bischoff. He proposes to let Christian replace him in the EC and then whoever wins gives him a shot at the strap on RAW the next night. Edge wants out because he thinks HBK will screw him. Bischoff says no. Edge leaves pissed and runs into HBK. HBK says not to worry and he’ll call it down the middle. But if provoked, he will retaliate physically.
• Intercontinental Championship: Shelton Benjamin (c) vs. Maven. Maven’s a guy to me that could have gotten over a lot given the right gimmick and more screen time. He always had a little of The Rock in him but he never got past the plucky babyface role. Maven is a heel here though after turning on Eugene previously. Maven stalls through a couple of collar and elbow tie-ups. The crowd starts to lay into him with a Spanish chant. Maven flips them off and the crowd loves it. He rolls to the outside to stall more and they chant again. Maven gets the mic, stands on a chair, and cuts a promo. He tells the ref to keep Benjamin back and not to cut because he’s got something to say. He ponders how much of the crowd can speak English. Now they flip him off. He wants the crowd to do him a favor and “calle sus bocas” or something which means shut up and the crowd is livid at being insulted in their own language. Maven laughs it up as Shelton finally gives chase. Maven walks out and says he will only fight in America. Awesome. Maven changes his mind and runs back in before the ref can count him out but is quickly rolled up at for the 3 at 6:07 about 1 minute of which was actually a match. The match gets nothing but Maven’s heel shtick is worth a *.
• Post-match, Maven is pissed and demands they cut the music. He says, “That didn’t count.” He demands a rematch right now. Shelton says he’s done but Maven questions his masculinity. Crowd sings, “Na na na na. hey hey hey, goodbye.” After Maven says that Shelton has no “juevos,” that sends Shelton to the ring.
• Intercontinental Championship: Shelton Benjamin (c) vs. Maven.In the war to settle the score, Shelton quickly hits the T-Bone powerslam for the 3 to retain at 0:06. DUD Maven gets made to look like a jobber that talks a lot but does nothing else. I never understood the push-burial booking. Give a guy a push and a lot of exposure and then bury him on the PPV like Taker did to DDP in 2001, like Benoit did to Orlando Jordan in 2005, like DX did to the Spirit Squad in 2006, like Cena did to Miz in 2009, and like they just did to Maven. In this segment, Maven displayed more charisma than half of the current midcard.
• More bikini poolside action.
• Muhammad Hassan vs. Jerry Lawler. Dear God. This was one of those, “Let’s put King over an up and coming heel for a nostalgic pop” matches except he finally lost one. Pre-match, Hassan with Daivari aka “Khosrow” is backstage with Grisham. He says he thought Puerto Rico would sympathize with him but they didn’t. Tonight, he says he will start a revolution. Hassan’s music is hilarious. JR accompanies Lawler to the ring and on commentary instead, we get . . . No one? Crowd is behind Lawler. Hassan mouths off that, “All of these people are about to watch you die.” Hassan gets a body slam and poses. Uh oh. We’re going Memphs style and slowing things down for Lawler’s benefit. Lawler gets his own slam and poses. Hassan gets FIVE FUCKING BODY SLAMS IN A ROW and Lawler takes a breather. JR massages his lower back on the outside. Back in, Hassan misses a charge and eats a boot and a clothesline and takes a breather. As Larry Sweeney says, “That’s the trademark of any veteran. . . If you think you are going too fast, go slower.” Off a whip reversal, Hassan gets an elbow and tries to take off a turnbuckle pad. Shit, this match needs commentary. Lawler gets an inside cradle for two, but gets pushed into the exposed turnbuckle for his trouble. Hassan drops some knees for two and the crowd is dead. They don’t care about this. Hassan goes to the camel clutch and the crowd perks up for the hope spot for a second but then dies again after the move goes on forever. Hassan works the hold for a legit two minutes, before just letting go and kicking Lawler for another two. Mild “Boring” chant breaks out as Hassan gets another two off a suplex and goes to a modified Cobra Clutch. Hassan gets a neckbreaker for 2 as the matches dies a grueling death. Louder “Boring” chant. The crowd goes wild as Lawler no sells, hulks up, drops the strap, and lands some hard shots on Hassan. Lawler gets a clothesline and a second rope first drop for two. He gets a DDT but Daivari puts Hassan’s foot on the ropes. Daivari distracts and Hassan hits the Downward Spiral for the 3 at 10:51. -** The crowd was hot through two knee injuries and two title matches that were less than 1 minute a piece, but this piece of shit was too much for them.
• Batista backstage with Grisham. Before he can say much, Orton and 50 lbs of water weight interrupt. Orton asks Batista if he wants to be Trip’s “stooge.” Batista takes offense. Orton references the 2003 Elimination Chamber and says he helped Triple H win and look where it got him: kicked out of Evolution less than 2 years later. Batista says if he gets his shot, he’s taking it. Ah, the good ole days of the slow burn to Batista’s monster face turn. Nice segment that played on continuity and storyline. Excellent use of one minute.
• Wrestlemania Recall is next and it’s the Iron Man match from WM 12.
• Coach gets an entrance and he’s here to replace King on commentary. JR: “Sometimes, it goes from bad to worse. I hadn’t had a good week.” Coach makes fun of King’s loss and then shits on Oklahoma and JR gets pissed and threatens to kick Coach’s ass. This was probably about 3/4 shoot and 1/4 work.
• Kane vs. “That Damn” Snitsky. This was set up by Snitsky causing Lita’s storyline miscarriage, Pillmanizing Kane, and punting a Cabbage Patch kid into the crowd. Snitsky has awesomely generic music with the only lyrics being, “It wasn’t my fault” sang, produced, and directed by Gene Snitsky. They go eye to eye early and Snitsky gets the early advantage. He pounds away and goes for a cross corner whip but Kane is a house afire out of the corner with a clothesline. Kane hits a few throat thrusts, a body slam. He drops a couple of elbows, hits a shitty leg drop and chokes away. A flap on Kane’s boot comes loose but he works through it because he’s a professional. They reverse whips as Snitsky punches some more and Kane gets another throat thrust. Powerslam gets 2 for Kane. Snitsky gets a sideslam, a clothesline in the corner, a short arm clothesline. Then he does a troll yell and hits the Snitsky taunt that gets the crowd up in arms. He goes to the floor and pulls the mats up. Kane hits a baseball slide and he’s out and backdrops Snitsky onto the concrete floor. Back in, Kane goes for his shitty clothesline but eats boot on the way down. Snitsky whips Kane down, Batista kicks him, then does a bow and arrow using the ring post as a fulcrum. Snitsky gets a bodyslam and gets an elbow for 2 as Coach and JR try to cover for the crowd’s mostly passive observation. Snitsky grabs a bearhug as we slow things down even more. Kane smacks his way out and punches away as the crowd now pops for each strike and sets up the choke slam. Snitsky counters to a bodyslam. Zombie situp but Snitsky gives him another Batista kick. They do it again and a third time. On the outside, Snitsky throws Kane into the stairs and gets a chair but Kane big boots him to counter. Back in, Kane pounds away in the corner as the crowd livens up. Clothesline, sideslam, big boot and Kane heads up top and hits his flying clothesline but Snitsky cuts him off with the shittiest hotshot ever. They do the double chokeslam tease but Snitsky cuts him off and “bites” Kane. They botch a clothesline/big boot spot. Zombie situp and Kane hits the tombstone out of nowhere for the three at 11:55. *3/4 mostly for Snitsky’s unintentionally funny mannerisms and the crowd’s involvement at points but this was still better than Edge/Kane from Vengeance later that year.
• Promo for The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD.
• King is back on commentary with Coach and JR.
• Yet more bikini footage including replays of earlier bikini footage but Simon Dean crashes the party and pushes someone into a pool. Then the divas are hanging out some wrestlers in the pool. Best part is that Rosie in his S.H.I.T. period is in the pool in costume.
• Backstage, Triple H gets in Batista’s face and asks him about what he said to Orton. Batista says he learned from the best and he learned never to let your opponent know what you’re thinking. Flair looks on approvingly and Triple H is satisfied until Batista says if Triple H is eliminated first then he’s going after the title. As Batista walks out, Triple H and Flair are stunned. This continued the awesome build to Batista’s eventual turn.
• Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship w/ Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels: Triple H vs. Batista vs. Chris Benoit vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton. Well, they have certainly booked this as a one match show and this needs to deliver big time to warrant a recommendation. I’m a sucker for these types of matches, especially multiple man matches for the world title. The best ones though have a reason for everyone being in the match and usually involve multiple angles. Trip’s arrogance and world title obsession, Batista’s “will he or won’t he?”, Edge’s conspiracy victim and recent split with Benoit and IC title feud with Orton, HBK’s beef with Edge but also recent feud with Triple H, Orton’s quest to regain the belt and his history with Benoit and his attempts to turn Batista, and Benoit’s attempt to regain the belt and recent feuds with Orton, Edge, and Triple H. Jericho is mostly happy to be there but brings a lot of the workrate. The belt was vacated after a very good Triple Threat between Benoit, Edge, and Triple H the previous month in which Triple H was tossed into the crowd and chairshotted by Orton and Edge pinned Benoit at the same time he tapped out to the crossface. At this point, Edge was doing a hybrid of his current persona and Jericho’s WCW conspiracy victim gimmick that is all kinds of awesome but loses steam (character-wise) once he wins the MITB and is no longer conspired against but picks back up once Lita joins him later in 2005. The entrances take over 10 minutes to get everyone out.
• Jericho and Benoit to start. Feeling out process. Jericho with a waistlock takedown that is quickly reversed to a hammerlock which is reversed to a side headlock which is reversed to another a trip and they do a stand off. Benoit chops away and gets running back elbow. Into the corner, more chops but Jericho takes over with his own chops. Jericho whips and comes running in but eats boot, Benoit goes for a sharpshooter but it’s reversed to a roll up into the Walls but he’s kicked off and Benoit gets a German and they tease the Crossface and the Walls again. Off a whip, Jericho gets a sleeper neckbreaker for two and a high angle back suplex for another two. Action packed five minutes. Jericho goes up but Benoit cuts him off with brutal chops and hits a top rope suplex. The fans count down the last 10 seconds in Spanish which is great and a gong plays to signal the next entry: it’s Triple H at exactly 5 minutes.
• Big pop for his entrance. He whips down Benoit a couple of times and gets the high knee on Jericho. Jericho does more chops but eats a clothesline. H sends Benoit to the outside and throws him into the chains which Benoit uses to blade. Trips gets another cage smash for two. He preps the pedigree but Jericho cuts him off and pounds away. H sets it up again but Jericho backdrops him onto the grating and works him over next to Batista’s chamber. Batista is pissed but Jericho just flips him off. Suplex back in gets 2 for Jericho. Benoit gets a neckbreaker on Jericho as the crowd counts down again for Edge at 10:15 (fifteen seconds late?).
• Edge hits a few whips and pseudo spears against the turnbuckle on Benoit and Triple H. Elevated DDT gets 2 on H. Edge glares at HBK for not getting a three count but goes back to work on Benoit with a belly to belly. Backdrop on H but Edge eats a missile dropkick from Jericho as Jericho tries to pin Triple H but only gets 2. Jericho springboard dropkicks Edge to the grating outside. Back up, Edge cuts off Jericho and catapults him into the cage and Jericho blades. Triple H tries to take over but also eats a catapult from Edge. These spots are standard for these matches but the extra hot crowd and the rotating participants gets the spot sorta fresh. Triple H sells death as Edge gets a clothesline from the top on Benoit. Benoit gets the armbare TD to set up the Crossface but Edge gouches his bloody gash and pounds away to escape. Awesome. Shining Apprentice gets 2 for Jericho. Triple H gets a spinebuster for 2 on Jericho. Benoit gets a Northern Lights for 2 on Edge. Trips gets the pedigree out of nowhere on Jericho but doesn’t get a pin. At 15:30, another Spanish countdown and Orton is out.
• The special effects (spotlights and such) are unnecessary as we know who’s going out and we know the order followed the order of entrance. Orton blows through Edge to head up top and get a textbook crossbody on Triple H. He pounds away in the corner and throws Triple H to the grating. Mild RKO chant as Orton beats Triple H to the other side and back into the ring. Powerslam and Orton’s powering up but the crowd is meh. They perk up for an RKO on Jericho. He tries one on Benoit that is reversed to an armbar TD and he’s teasing the Crossface but Orton is battling. Triple H recovers to paintbrush and antagonize Orton. Benoit no like and he releases Orton to sharpshooter Triple H to a big pop. Orton stupidly breaks it up with an RKO on Benoit. Edge preps the spear on Orton but he dodges and Edge spears HBK. Uh oh. Edge is pissed. He spears Orton but no ref. Edge drags Michaels to his feet and smacks him around. Edge: “What’s a matter with you?!” HBK snaps out of it and gives him Sweet Chin Music to a massive pop. Jericho hits the Lionsault and Edge is eliminated but it took two finishers for the tres at 19:23. Benoit gets the rolling Germans on Triple H. He goes up for the diving headbutt on top of a chamber and it’s picture perfect. Jericho up and he gets Trips in the Walls and Benoit simultaneously applies the crossface ala the double submission on Austin at KOTR 2001. But the countdown is down to 10 seconds. Batista is next at 20:45 but Jack Doane gets the chain stuck and that sort of kills the pop for Batista’s entry.
• He leaps the top rope in a single bound displaying more mobility than he has in years. Batista demolishes Benoit and Jericho with shoulderblocks and tosses both and spinebusts Orton. “Ba-tis-ta” chant. He comes face to face with H and they staredown. This is beautiful stuff. But Jericho, Orton, and Benoit recover to take both down. Batista with a double clothesline on Orton and Benoit. Then he press slams Jericho to the outside into a camera man and we get his POV. This is CRAZY. Powerslam for Benoit. Batista chokes Orton but Benoit clips him from behind. Everyone stalls until the camera man can be helped to the back. Jericho bulldogs Trips into the grating and he blades. Triple H stumbles back in and does the Flair Flop. Benoit chops his way right into a Batista spinebuster. Then Batista spinebusts Jericho onto Benoit and Benoit is eliminated at 26:15. Batista powerslams Jericho and then hits a brutal Demonbomb. Jericho is gone at 27:38. JR is playing up how unstoppable Batista is on commentary as Orton backdrops Triple H on the grating. Batista cuts him off and Trips recovers to catapult Orton into the grating. That’s the sixth or so time they’ve done that and the crowd is starting to tire of it. They doubleteam and smack around Orton. Orton kicks out of a powerslam and a spinebuster. Triple H beheads Orton with a clothesline and he sells it beautifully like a crash dummy. Orton tries to fight off but gets shoved toward Batista who sets up the Demonbomb. But Orton counters to a double low blow and an RKO later and adios Batista at 32:31. Incredible visual storytelling and camera work as we get Trips in the background who started to come off and save Batista but changed his mind and played dead in the corner. The crowd is shocked at Batista’s elimination and there are some audible boos. Triple H quickly jumps from behind. Orton hits the RKO though but Batista is still in the ring and distracting HBK. Now Flair is in. Michaels takes down Flair as Batista clotheslines Orton behind his back. After some selling and stalling so Flair and Batista can get out, Triple H gets the pedigree for the three at 34:55. It was the right storyline finish but not the one the in-house crowd wanted. But what options did they have? Orton’s momentum was done by this point. They were setting up Batista’s win down the road. I hate to say it but this is all basically angle advancement. However, it is 40 minutes of perfectly built action, intersecting storylines, and eliminations that keep even the losers strong. Outside of some repetitive catapults, it’s damn near perfect. ****1/2
• DVD Extras: We get promos for New Year’s Revolution and specifically Kane vs. Snitsky. We get post-match interviews with Edge who blames HBK, Benoit who puts over Batista, Jericho who puts over the gimmick match, Orton who repeats himself about 35 times and blames Triple H, and Triple H who puts over himself and then puts over Batista and then Flair screams for about 50 seconds.
The 411: This is tricky. Most of the PPV is mediocre. If you stop watching before the main event, it's probably one of the worst shows you will have ever seen. But the crowd reactions and heat are off the charts even for the crap. And the main event is must see in my opinion. Watch the show if you want to see an awesome crowd, Maven's heel potential, and an excellent main event.