Starting this month, we will now do a monthly retro pay per view review where we take a look back at some old school PPVs and see how good or bad they were. This month we’ll be looking back at Vengeance 2005, which was a Raw only event and took place just after the 2005 draft lottery meaning that this was one of the only non dual branded shows in the ruthless aggression era, that had the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship at stake. WWE Champion, John Cena had recently been drafted to Raw, being the first acquisition in the draft and World Heavyweight Champion, Batista had not quite been drafted to Smackdown yet and had his last Raw match on this show. The show was well received by many, with good to great matches all the way through the card, with some top superstars of that era on show. Without further ado, let’s take a look back at Vengeance 2005.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas Nevada.
Commentators: JR, King & Jonathan Coachman
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
Theme Song: Mudvayne – Happy?
Carlito (c) v Shelton Benjamin (Intercontinental Championship)
The first match on the card is the Intercontinental Championship match between new Raw acquisition, Carlito, and the former champion, Shelton Benjamin. Carlito was only drafted to Raw the week before Vengeance, and immediately defeated Benjamin for the championship after a long 8 month reign. There crowd started off quite hot, with obvious cheers for Benjamin as he showcased his incredible athleticism, a section of the crowd also booed him, probably happy with the fresh direction the championship was going in. The match itself is solid, with both guys more than capable of working a good match against most opponents. Benjamin’s athleticism was far ahead of its time in 2005, from his leaping directly on to the top rope, to his springboard moves, he wowed the crowd with some of his athleticism. Carlito played the cunning heel quite well, resorting to pulling the turnbuckle cover down, which led to Benjamin diving head first into it and Carlito grabbing the ropes for the win.
Highlight of the match: Benjamin with a superb springboard bulldog which led to a close near fall.
Our rating: 2.75*
Victoria v Christy Hemme
In an era where the women wrestlers weren’t showcased like they are today, Victoria and Christy actually had a story behind this match and didn’t have a multi way or bra and panties type match, which was the norm for women back then. Admittedly, the feud started with a swimsuit competition.. King declared Christy the winner and Victoria lashed out, unhappy with the result. She smashed Christy over the head with a glass jar and the match was set. Again, for this era, the match wasn’t that bad. It actually got some time and the two did a half decent job considering Hemme’s inexperience and lack of in ring refinement. Christy was livid and would attack Victoria aggressively when she could, but Victoria’s power and experience was ultimately too much for Christy as the heel got the win by grabbing the ropes.
Highlight of the match: Victoria had Christy up in the Widow’s Peak position, but instead of delivering the move, Victoria hung Christy in the position by her hair which looked painful.
Our rating: 1.75*
Kane v Edge w/Lita
Where to start with the ridiculousness of this feud?! So in storyline, Kane and Lita (after the initial hate) were happily married until the finals of The Gold Rush tournament where Lita betrayed her husband in favour of Edge who won the tournament. Of course in real life, Edge and Lita had a real life affair, and it would be Matt Hardy who’d be the victim of the affair as he was in a long term relationship with Lita at the time. With the smart crowd being wise to this, Lita was heckled throughout the match with chants of “you screwed Matt” and “you’re a crack whore” whilst Kane played the babyface and probably felt quite awkward being here. The storyline was entertaining nonetheless, which also included The Big Red Machine suffering with a broken heart! The match was set and it was entertaining as you’d expect, with shenanigans and ridiculousness making it so. Edge got the heat early and tried to wear Kane down before the big comeback started. Lita then got involved and tried to distract Kane but the monster wasn’t having any of it, grabbing Lita by the hair and pillmanising her neck in a chair! Edge made the save and whilst the ref was distracted, Kane’s long time rival, Snitsky came out and tried to end the match but Kane ran him off too. Lita escaped the monster but Edge didn’t, Kane hit a Chokeslam and got the win, whilst Edge would then transition into one of the biggest heels and stars of the latter part of the ruthless aggression era. A fun match which kept the crowd going throughout, while lacking in technical wrestling, the match more than made up for that in entertainment.
Highlight of the match: Kane pillmanising Lita’s neck in the chair, the crowd popped huge whenever Lita looked in peril.
Our rating: 3*
Shawn Michaels v Kurt Angle
Do we need to say anything more about this match other than, it was Shawn Michaels v Kurt Angle. The rematch from the all time classic at Wrestlemania 21, Shawn and Kurt would not disappoint a second time round. The match didn’t seem possible until Kurt was drafted to Raw in the draft lottery and the match was set. Similar to their Mania match, the two wrestled an absolute clinic in the ring, with amazing selling, psychology, technical brilliance and masterful in ring storytelling which had the crowd on their feet. It started slowly and built after Angle hit a wicked German Suplex on to the announce table. The Olympic Hero then dominated The Show Stopper, focussing on his back whilst Shawn’s selling was off the charts. The timing of the match was brilliant too, especially in the closing stages, as both guys sold and let things breathe, with each move and counter feeling important. HBK made his customary comeback which always had the crowd popping big, then a couple of big moves and super close false finishes, off an Angle Slam and a Sweet Chin Music added to the drama. In the end, the two battered warriors left it all out there and as Kurt went up top for a big move, he came down and caught a second Sweet Chin Music and Shawn scored the pin-fall win to even the series at 1-1. A truly fantastic in ring wrestling match from start to finish, these two really were two of the best to ever step foot in a ring.
Match Highlight: Could’ve picked a number of things, even the selling of the two superstars, however the finish is the highlight, a Sweet Chin Music out of midair always looks great.
Our rating: 4.5*
John Cena (c) v Chris Jericho v Christian (WWE Championship Match)
This feud started after Cena was the first pick in the draft lottery, a moment you can go back and watch because the crowd popped huge. His very first appearance was as a guest on The Highlight Reel talk show belonging to Chris Jericho. Christian then came out and demanded a match, while Jericho also did the same. There wasn’t much, if any, cohesion between Christian and Jericho, but it was obvious they were the two heels against the babyface champion. The match itself was a fun , fast paced triple threat match, with all three guys interacting with each other throughout. It was rare that one was laid on the floor for minutes at a time as all three times their moves and sequences well together. Christian’s heater, Tyson Tomko, was ejected early which left Captain Charisma by himself. Christian took a sick FU over the top rope to the floor, Cena delivered a huge Tower of Doom spot and Jericho was the glue that held everything together during the match. The action flowed really well and picked up a lot towards the end after Christian and Jericho both got really close near falls on the champ or each other. Cena would hit a double Five Knuckle Shuffle and a really cool FU for the win. As he had Christian up in the FU position, Jericho ran at him but Cena swung Christian’s feet round to catch Jericho in the face, hit the FU and pinned Captain Charisma to retain. A really fun match with three excellent workers. A good match to establish Cena on Raw.
Match highlight: The Drop Toe Hold on Christian, who landed face first onto Jericho’s face whilst he was laying down, which led to the double Five Knuckle Shuffle.
Our rating: 3.5*
Batista (c) v Triple H (Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship)
This was the final encounter from the brilliant feud between The Animal and The Game. Starting just before Wrestlemania 21, Batista made his legendary babyface turn and defeated the long time heel champion, Triple H, at Mania and then again at Backlash so the final match was set, and it was made for Hell in a Cell. A big focus for the match was the fact that The Game had never lost in the cell which would’ve got fans guessing as to who would win. The match itself was very very good, both men beat the hell out of each other with a chain, barbed wire steel chair and used the cell many times to inflict punishment on the other. Both men went back and forth with the weapons, some really wince inducing spots taking place, especially with the chain which Triple H hung Batista from on the top rope. Hunter also took a barbed wire steel chair shot and sledgehammer right to the face. Both men bled, both took serious physical punishment and the pacing and timing of spots was excellent. The crowd were hot by the finish which was expertly done. Batista took a battered Triple H and got him in the Batista bomb position, all the while, The Game grabbed his trusty sledgehammer. Batista hoisted him up and Triple H looked as if he was going to hit the decisive blow up top but Batista pulled the trigger on the Batista Bomb just before and scored the decisive third victory in a row over the challenger. A violent, brutal match with drama and storytelling to cap off one of the best feuds of the ruthless aggression era.
Match Highlight: The finish was excellent, but the spot where Triple H hung Batista up with the chain looked brutal.
Our rating: 4.5*
Conclusion: Overall a fantastic show. There was not one bad match on this show, people may argue Victoria and Christy, but considering women’s wrestling at that stage, it was ok. Two genuine classics that are still remembered now, put this show over the top as one of the best of the ruthless aggression era. Well worth a watch. Side note – JR’s commentary was fantastic throughout.
Author: Alex Bakothanasis
Photo Credit: WWE