Pro wrestling pay per views seem synonymous with Sundays. Even though it wasn’t always that way. WrestleMania II was on a Monday. SummerSlam was regularly on Monday evenings until 1994 and Survivor Series, of course, started as a Thanksgiving then Thanksgiving Eve tradition. But for the past twenty years, seeing a pay per view on a night other than a Sunday just felt kind of wrong. Which kind of set Taboo Tuesday apart from the rest of the second tier, brand exclusive WWE pay per views from the get go.
Another thing that set it apart was the concept. Taboo Tuesday was an interactive pay per view, where fans got to vote on match stipulations and a few cases, who’d actually be in the match. This was hardly a new concept. It had been done on the occasional special episode of Monday Night RAW for a few years (and before that, WCW had done it on a few episodes of Saturday Night). However to build a whole pay per view around a concept where the fans wouldn’t know what the matches stipulations or in some cases, even what the matches themselves would be was bold, to say the least.
However, in a year where WWE did 15 pay per views, they kind of had to take such risks in order to make shows stand out. I can appreciate them taking such a risk even if it is kind of silly in retrospect. At the time, WWE doing so many shows (and charging $35-$40 for them. Not the $9.99 a month subscription) was insane but in retrospect, as a massive, longtime fan, it’s kind of fun to have such a massive backlog of shows to go through. At the same time, in retrospect, doing a pay per view on a Tuesday Night with fan selected matches? Kind of a dumb idea. But hell, main events for this show, at least, look good so let’s give it a spin!
RAW Presents… WWE Taboo Tuesday
November 1st, 2005
Live from the iPayOne Center in San Diego, California
Announcers: Joey Styles & Jerry Lawler
Opening video package talks about how corrupt the powers that be at RAW have become. Bischoff has gone mad with power with his quest to get the title off of John Cena. The McMahons needlessly fired Jim Ross but tonight is the night that the fans have the power! It’s Taboo Tuesday where the fans get to pick opponents and stipulations! Who will face John Cena and Kurt Angle in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Title and what will be the stipulation for Ric Flair & Triple H’s grudge match for the WWE Intercontinental Title! Which of the Three Faces of Foley will take on Carlito? And why the fuck is Batista gonna wrestle Jonathan Coachman!? And why is Coach being managed by a depressingly washed up Vader and Goldust!?
Joey Styles intros himself to viewers at home. Lawler seems not impressed. Joey Styles is making his debut appearance as the Voice of RAW. He’s filling for JR (who got fired in WWE’s 1,107th attempt to phase out Jim Ross) and Jonathan Coachman (who as I mentioned is wrestling tonight). Egads! I can only imagine how bad a Coachman-Lawler two man booth would be.
Todd Grisham hosts the fan voting segments. Our first vote determines which two Smackdown! wrestlers will take on the RAW superteam of Chris Masters & Edge in the opener. Options are Christian, Hardcore Holly, JBL, Matt Hardy, and Rey Mysterio. This was semi-notable as Christian was on his way out of the company and had given his notice but committed to doing this pay per view if he were voted in. He wasn’t as the super team of Matt Hardy & Rey Mysterio get in. Not sure if I’m more surprised that the internet fans didn’t vote Christian in for shits and giggles or that WWE, at the time, actually expected Hardcore Holly to be one of the fans’ choices. I don’t know anybody who was a massive Hardcore Holly fan in 2005. Probably half of the fans wondered if he was still even on the roster!
Edge comes out and says that he doesn’t have to wrestle this match! He’s beaten Matt Hardy a thousand times and doesn’t need to prove anything and Rey Mysterio’s a pipsqueak and Edge wouldn’t impress anybody by beating him. So Edge is just gonna go backstage and have sex with Lita and intros his replacement… “It Wasn’t My Fault!” blares over the P.A. and it’s Snitsky! Snitsky replacing Edge is the 2005 version of Savio Vega replacing HBK.
Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy Vs Chris Masters and Snitsky
Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy Vs Chris Masters & Edge could have potentially could have been a really, really fun opener. Not only do you have the Edge-Hardy rivalry but also you got the throwback to the Smackdown! Six era with Edge & Rey Mysterio facing off. And you’d be able to limit the still supergreen Chris Masters. However, replacing Edge with Snitsky. Well, now you got two big limited, super green guys on the same team. This match kind of reminds me of an old Rockers Vs Powers of Pain match. With the babyfaces flying around only to be grounded by the big, lumbering galoots. It’s a servicable opener but it could’ve potentially been good with Edge instead of baby kickin’ Snitsky. I guess Wikipedia tells me Edge was legit injured so that’s why he wasn’t here. Suddenly, Snitsky being there makes sense. Anyway, Mysterio & Hardy beat the heels when Mysterio hits the 619 on Masters and Hardy hits the Twist of Fate on Snitsky. **
Mick Foley and Maria’s luggage gets mixed up. Mick Foley has a sexy teddy for his ring gear while Maria has the Mankind mask on. D’oh! They give each other their ring gear back. It turns out Mick Foley had a sexy red leather bra in his ring gear.
Todd Grisham introduces us to a trio of WWE Legends; “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Kamala, and Jimmy Snuka. One of these men will team up with Eugene against the team of Rob Conway and Tyson Tomko. Jimmy Snuka wins. This is awkward, given the recent news. Or I guess rather the recent news about the old news being trudged up. Anyway, even putting aside the whole MURDER aspect, Snuka nostalgia appearances really held little appeal. He had been washed up for at least 15 years. So had Kamala and Jim Duggan but they seemed less overexposed.
Eugene & Jimmy Snuka Vs Rob Conway & Tyson Tomko
Rob Conway’s theme rips off Randy Newman. A lot of rasslin themes have knocked off popular music but I think this is probably the only rasslin theme that knocks off the inimitable sound of Randy Newman. Conway probably outranks Mr. Hughes on the list of best wrestlers to wear sunglasses while they wrestle but is probably behind the few times that Hollywood Hogan wrestled Superfly’s theme is overdubbed. Standard indy tag team match featuring a legend. IE not very good but the fans seem to kind of like it. Snoka wins with the Superfly Splash on Conway. * At least, Snuka somehow manages to get off the top rope for the splash. After the match, Tomko tries to attack Snuka but “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Kamala run in for the save. Tomko gets hit with the Three Point Stance from Duggan and a splash from Kamala. The geezers and Eugene celebrate as Styles & Lawler make jokes about Kamala raiding catering.
We get a video package for Carlito Vs Mick Foley. This is a prime example of how derivative mid ’00s WWE was. This was just a warmed over rehash of the Randy Orton-Mick Foley storyline from just a year and half before with the cocky, upstart (Orton in ’04 and Carlito in ’05) calling out the Hardcore Legend and trying to put him out to pasture. Really, Mick Foley should have retired after the series with Randy Orton but here we are.
Carlito Vs Mankind
Mankind comes out to his classical, New Generation era theme music rather than his rockin’ Attitude era theme. Although he wears his Attitude era outfit of dress shirt and tie over the tights. Crowd really doesn’t give a shit about Foley, which is too bad. Even though WWE overplayed Foley comebacks by this point and he was starting the “Passed being past his prime” era of his career, it’s still a bummer to hear a crowd so dead for a Mankind appearance. Poor Foley gets dropkicked into the back of the stairs and lands headfirst on the side of the stairs. Even in the lamest of comeback matches, Foley takes one cringeworthy bump. He also does the elbow off the apron, which draws a “Vintage Mankind!” remark from Joey Styles Who does he think he is? Michael Cole? Biggest pop of the night comes when Foley pulls out Socko, who has a little Carlito wig on. See. Lesson to be learned. You can do all of the crazy bumps in the world but sometimes, the people just wanna see a sock puppet with an afro wig. Mankind wins with the Mandible Claw. * Joey Styles unnecessarily freaks out like he’s watching New Jack legdrop Grunge through a press table. Thank goodness that Foley’s next big pay per view comeback match I watch will be less crappy.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff flip out at having to deal with Teddy Long. Vince McMahon barges in and flips out at Bischoff I kind of like Bischoff and Vince McMahon having a Principal Skinner-Superintendant Chalmers-esque relationship! THIS IS A RAW PAY PER VIEW! HOW COULD BISCHOFF’s TEAM LOSE to SMACKDOWN!? THIS IS NOT THE ERIC BISCHOFF WHO DAMN NEAR PUT VINNIE MAC OUT of BUSINESS!?
Mick Foley talks to the fans on the WWE.com Instant Access. The theme for tonight’s pay per view is KoRn’s “Twisted Transistor”. I wanna say 2005 was the year I started really hating KoRn as opposed to just kind of disliking them but I guess their truly deplorable cover of Cameo’s “Word Up!” came out the year before. You mess with the works of Larry Blackmon and you mess with the ConnMan!
Todd Grisham announces who will be the third man in our main event. Our choices for the final opponent in the Triple Threat for the WWE Title are Big Show (looking really out of shape/depressed, like he ate a block of cheese the size of a car battery), Kane, and a mugging Shawn Michaels. Of course, HBK wins. Big Show congratulates him while Kane sulks. Of course, this means Big Show & Kane are gonna have to team up to take on World Tag Team Champs Cade & Murdoch! Ruh roh!
World Tag Team Championship Match: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch (c) Vs Big Show & Kane
This is the beginning of the Big Show & Kane make shift tag team that has competed off and on ever since. It’s funny. When this team was formed, I thought “Well, Kane & Big Show are now a tag team. I guess that means they’re phasing them out from the main event…” Here we are ten years later. Joey Styles yells out “I JUST CRAPPED MY PANTS” during Kane’s entrance. He then talks about how you really have to see Big Show in person to believe how massive he is. Already working WWE style. Then he mentions that the first time Big Show wrestled, he beat Hulk Hogan. Standard giant babyfaces Vs Weaselly heels match. It shows how bad the undercard has been that this might be the best match so far. Kane & Big Show win with a double chokeslam on Cade. ** Something wrong about hearing Joey Styles freak out about a Kane-Big Show double chokeslam. The first time Kane & Big Show ever teamed they become Tag Team Champs! They actually had a surprisingly long run with the belt for a makeshift tag team. Such was life in the tag team division in ’05.
Todd Grisham tries to interview Big Show & Kane but they get interrupted by Trevor Murdoch, who gets double chokeslammed by the hosses.
Goldust and Vader pump each other up. Coach, half assedly dressing and attempting to talk like ’03 era The Rock, gives them a pump up speech. If Coach can beat Batista, he might become WWE Champion.
Todd Grisham talks about the Fulfill Your Fantasy Divas Battle Royal. Will the Divas dress in lingerie, leather & lace, or cheerleader outfits? Grisham talks about the options in orgasmic tones. I’m sure he shows this clip to all of his ESPN SportsCenter colleagues. Lingerie wins. Every divas except Victoria seems excited.
Lawler freaks out. Styles makes a boner joke. This ain’t Philadelphia!
Video package for Batista Vs The Coach. This match was originally supposed to be The Coach Vs Steve Austin with Jim Ross’ job on the line but Austin understandably said “eff this crap” after he learned he was supposed to job to The Coach after interference from a returning Mark Henry. So we got a random, slapped together match. Vince originally said RAW’s #1 announcer Coach should take on Smackdown’s #1 announcer Funaki but Funaki got beaten down by Goldust so Coach issued an open challenge and it was answered by Batista. Batista got jumped by Goldust and a returning Vader. Lawler says he can’t call this because he doesn’t know what’s going on!
Will this match be a Street Fight, an Arm Wrestling Match or a Verbal Debate? Announcers even point out how lopsided this decision will be. C’mon, verbal debate…aw, it’s a street fight! 🙁
Street Fight: Batista Vs Jonathan Coachman (with Goldust & Vader)
Joey Styles screams “HOLY CRAP!” during Batista’s intro. What a rube. Coach lets Goldust & Vader do most of his work. Vader looks like he swallowed Harley Race and it’s really sad to see him do his monster heel act at this point. Batista wins a very pointless match with a Batista Bomb on the Coach. Who booked this crap!? I give this NO STARS! Styles laughs like a hyena. Styles being a generic WWE face announcer is really surreal.
Todd Grisham interviews Shawn Michaels. Kurt Angle interrupts. He doesn’t like Shawn Michaels and Shawn Michaels but doesn’t like him but neither of them wants Cena to stay WWE Champion. Angle proposes they take Cena out and they find out who the best man is.
Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal for WWE Women’s Title featuring; Trish Stratus (c), Mickie James, Victoria, Ashley Massarro, Maria, and Candice Michelle
Lawler be beatin’. Mickie James had recently debuted as Trish Stratus’ biggest fan. Trish & Mickie toss Maria. Candice Michelle gets knocked out by Ashley after being a gloating idiot and turning her back to her while out on the apron. Ashley gets catapulted out of the ring by Victoria. This is actually not bad. Especially after it gets to the final three. It’s the Flair-Steamboat of Lingerie Battle Royals apparently. Mickie James sacrifices herself to eliminate Victoria by tackling her to the outside of the ring, to eliminate both of them to give Trish Stratus the win. **1/2
After the match, we some very bored looking San Diego Chargers in the front row.
Video package for Triple H Vs Ric Flair. This was the feud that officially ended what was left of Evolution. Triple H returned from a three month hiatus, pissed off that Flair had been reduced to celebrating Intercontinental Title wins! He’s gonna take RIc Flair out behind the barn and shoot him.
Steel Cage Match obviously beats Submission Match and One Fall to a Finish as the choice for the Intercontinental Title match. Who’d pick normal match!? Joey Styles says the steel cage will turn cabbage into bloody, bloody colelaw. Certainly an evocative way of putting it.
Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title: Ric Flair (c) Vs Triple H
This feud really trashed the Intercontinental Title. Styles adds fuel to the fire by saying the fact that the Intercontinental Title doesn’t really matter in this match. I think every heel color commentator made Old Yeller jokes about Ric Flair during every post ’00 Flair match. It is a little surreal to see these two guys, at this point, in their careers fight over the IC Title. But I feel like it would’ve been a good opportunity to elevate the Intercontinental Title rather than simply trash it as being a meaningless side note to the feud. Hell, Triple H was IC Champ not THAT long before this.
Of course, Flair gets busted open five minutes into this match. This is a good old school, bloody cage match. Triple H is a great heel jackass (or cerebral assassin) and Flair’s awesome as the sneaky, cheap shotting lovable old man. I’d say it’s probably the last great match of Ric Flair’s career. I liked his “Farewell Match” (*chuckles*) at WrestleMania XXIV and it was a solid match but it was more of a great moment than a great match. I guess we’ll see if it holds up in 2018. I’m glad that they don’t censor these shows on the Network so we can hear Flair screaming and cussing. AH GOD! NO! SONUVABITCH! I’LL KILL YOU! Flair actually manages to hit a move off of the top rope. Low blow. Styles: Forearm to the balls and it’s pay per view and I can say it! THIS IS EXTREME! We get a very funny reaction shot of a glazed eyed middle aged woman in the audience after Flair wallops Triple H with a bunch of chair shots to the dome. Flair crawls out. **** Styles yells “YES! YES! YES!” Who does he think he is? Daniel Bryan? Nice of Triple H to put over the old guy.
Commercial for WrestleMania: The Complete Anthology 21 DVD set.
Joey Styles announces that 6,351, 188 votes have been cast for Taboo Tuesday. A Taboo Tuesday record! It’s not 93,178 in the Pontiac Silverdome for sure.
Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship: John Cena (c) Vs Kurt Angle Vs Shawn Michaels
Kurt Angle’s “American By Birth” t-shirt seems like something someone would wear at a Donald Trump rally. Angle and Shawn Michaels are tied at 1-1-1 in their series. Styles says this match is a tiebreaker. How do you break a tiebreaker in a one on one series of matches in a triple threat? What if Cena wins? Lawler originally thought Cena was another Eminem and he wasn’t sure if we needed one Eminem! Old man Lawler! Lawler says he’s since realized Cena is a great guy! These guys are cutting a pretty good pace although it won’t make anyone forget about their previous classics. . Cena backlash is starting to break through with non smark audiences as most of the adult males in the crowd seem to cheer Angle & HBK teaming up. Finish comes when Shawn Michaels breaks up Angle putting the Angle Lock on Cena by hitting the Flying Elbowdrop on Angle. Michaels knocks out Angle with the Sweet Chin Music then Cena charges back with the FU on HBK for the win. ***1/2 It’s a good thing that the last two matches (and to a lesser extent, the Divas Battle Royal) delivered because this was potentially heading into Worst Pay Per View of the Year territory.
Idea behind Taboo Tuesday (the fans get to be in charge) is a strong one, in theory, but it really seems better suited for an episode of RAW than a pay per view. It’s a concept that’s stretched rather thin over the course of a three hour pay per view that we were expected to pay $40 for. If the polls were completely rigged (and I know people will make fun of me for thinking that’s not the case), it’d be possible to create a compelling pay per view out of this concept but a lot of these matches (especially the undercard ones) felt incredibly thrown together. WWE would try three more of these pay per views (except that they’d move them to Sunday and rename it “Cyber Sunday”) before shuttering the concept. I’m honestly a bit surprised that Cyber Sunday/Taboo Tuesday concept pay per view outlasted WCW’s BattleBowl pay per views (which had four different editions, albeit, only two were completely stand alone BattleBowl events) by one show, in the race for “Interesting concept pay per views with mediocre to terrible execution”. Anyway, I guess moral of the story is WWE Network is great and I’m glad our next show is a longtime WWE concept pay per view that actually works (although it’s been slightly diluted and often outright forgotten over the years), the Survivor Series!
Next Time on Ten years After… It’s The Survivor Series! In the main event, RAW takes on Smackdown as five of the top superstars from each show team up to face off in a traditional ten man Survivor Series elimination match. Plus John Cena defends the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle and Triple H takes on Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing Match.