December 13, 2010
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

The Place to Be

Armageddon 2004
December 12, 2004
Gwinnett Center
Duluth, GA
Attendance: 4,500
Buy Rate: .59
Announcers: Michael Cole and Tazz

Sunday Night Heat
Akio (James Yun) & Billy Kidman (Peter Gruner) defeat Paul London & Chavo Guerrero

Pay Per View

1) Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) & Rey Mysterio defeat Kenzo Suzuki & Rene Dupree (Rene Goguen) to retain WWE Tag Team Championship when Van Dam pins Dupree with a Five Star Frog Splash at 16:55

Fun Fact: On 11/18, RVD and Mysterio defeated Suzuki and Dupree in a non-title match. The next week, Rey pinned Dupree and RVD defeated Kenzo by DQ in singles matches. On 12/2, Rey and RVD continued to roll as they teamed with Torrie Wilson to defeat Kenzo, Rene and Hiroko. As all this was going on, Kenzo had begun an infatuation with Torrie, much to the consternation of his wife. She claimed her body was better and requested a Bra and Panties match with Torrie to prove it. On 12/9, Hiroko and Torrie began their match with a brawl backstage. It ended up in the ring and that drew out RVD, Rey, Rene and Kenzo. It also drew out Teddy Long, who made an impromptu title match. RVD and Rey cashed in, winning the gold from Kenzo and Rene. Their PPV match was still on, though, so the former champs would have a chance to regain their straps.

Scott: I actually like this combination for an opener. This show was anchored by the main event, so the rest of the show had to be put together carefully so as not to destroy the crowd by the time the last match comes around. Rey and RVD have teamed for the past few months, and at first they seemed fairly flat. However on this night it seems like the small, tightly packed Atlanta crowd have been blessed with some top-notch action. The Champs really brought their A-game tonight with one swift double-team move after another. Dupree and Suzuki had some pretty swift moves of their own, including a nice Guillotine clothesline of Rey off the top rope. The duration of this match reminds me of an NWA show opener. Not often do you see WWE start a show with a long, well-built tag team match. RVD, who I thought had been slacking off the past few months, hadnít looked this crisp in quite a while. Rey hits the 619, then RVDís Froggie and the champs retain. Grade: 3.5

Justin: The new champions roll into this PPV defense on a red-hot tear. They had eviscerated the former champs over the last month, finally defeating them to win the belts a few days before the show. The champs came in on fire, working a fast pace with some good teamwork. I thought Dupree looked improved here as his confidence kept building each show. This was a good team for him to work on his presence and arsenal. The same goes for Kenzo too, who was also improving and developing his character. RVD was pretty fluid and it seems like he has been energized by the success of this team. It may not be the best spot for him, but itís still better than where he was at for most of the year. As the match wore on and Hiroko got involved, Torrie came down and ran her nemesis off. The heels would continue to control, punishing Rey. The highlight of the match to me had to be the dual French Tickler by Dupree and Suzuki, which got a good laugh out of me, as well as Tazz. RVD would get the hot tag and work a good climactic sequence, polishing off Dupree with the frog splash. The match was straight formula, but a formula is a formula for a reason and worked just fine here. The champs retain with an old school style tag match and the crowd is up and running. Grade: 2.5

*** Kurt Angle heads down to the ring and calls out Santa Claus. Angle verbally abuses him and the challenges him to an Angle Invitational showdown. Angle had been holding the Invitational on Smackdown each week, challenging local athletes to matches. ***

2) Kurt Angle defeats Santa Claus via submission with the Anklelock at :28

Scott: This was a quick nothing match to make Angle look like a jerk and Santa the lovable underdog. Grade: 0

Justin: This wasnít even really a match as Angle drops Santa with an Angle Slam, hooks the Anklelock and gets the quick tap out. This was really a random heat segment and just a useless time killer. Angle still has some business to attend to later tonight. Grade: 0

3) Daniel Puder defeats Mike Mizanin by fan decision in a Dixie Dogfight

Fun Fact: Daniel Puder began training in MMA and professional wrestling at age 16. In 2004, signed up for Tough Enough and based on his background, he was seen as favorite to win the competition. He was best known was for nearly making Kurt Angle tap out during an unscripted segment on the 11/4 Smackdown. During a Tough Enough segment, Puder challenged Angle to a fight, to which Angle accepted. Shortly after the start, Puder hooked Angle in a keylock submission, a move that very few can get out of and could lead to serious injury. Angle refused to tap and was positioned on top of Puder while in the hold, leading to referee Jim Korderas sliding in and counting three, giving Angle a pinfall win. Unfortunately, Puderís shoulders werenít down so it was obvious that Angle didnít defeat him. Puder later said that he would have broken Angleís arm if he didnít tap out. Angle was incensed backstage and it seemed that Puderís WWE career was off to a rough start.

Fun Fact II: Mike Mizanin grew up in Parma, OH before eventually moving to Southern California to enroll in acting classes. In 2001, he dropped out of college and joined the cast of MTVís The Real World: Back to New York. During his stint on the show, Mizanin unleashed an alter ego wrestling character known as ďThe MizĒ. After that season wrapped up, Mizanin made the usual reality star circuit, hitting various MTV competitions amongst other reality programs. After gaining his Real World notoriety, Mizanin decided to pursue a career in wrestling as he signed up for the Ultimate Pro Wrestling University. He made his in ring debut in 2003 as The Miz and in 2004, he signed up to compete in Tough Enough.

Fun Fact III: The fourth edition of Tough Enough saw a new format as the competition was moved to Smackdown instead of having its own slot on MTV. WWE aired various segments each week on TV, similar to the Diva Search. The contestants for this edition were Nick Mitchell, Ryan Reeves, Chris Nawrocki, Justice Smith, Daniel Rodimer, Puder and Mizanin. Competitors were eliminated each week on TV until the favorite Puder and underdog Miz remained. They were set to face off in a boxing match here, but Puder was announced as the overall winner of the competition later that week on the 12/16 Smackdown. All of the competitors were eventually signed to developmental deals with the exception of Smith.

Scott: It was not as sloppy as Piper/T from Wrestlemania II, but it was pretty close. The crowd booed after the hugging and pushing. This had more to do with personality. Mizanin had the personality to get the fans over. Puder is the better-looking, tougher fighter. But clearly he canít put a sentence together. Thatís what the bookers are looking for, and the man who is also known as ďThe MizĒ started his build here, even though he lost. Grade: N/A

Justin: Al Snow joins us on commentary, as our next battle would help determine the fourth and final Tough Enough champion. With wrestlingís popularity and mainstream acceptance in a valley at this point, MTV no longer wanted a piece of the pie, so the competition was moved to weekly television. Daniel Puder seemed to be the odds on favorite based on his fighting background, so him being here was no surprise. The Miz, however, was seen as a goofy reality star looking for an additional fifteen minutes. He surprised people though and had a good charisma about him and he seemed to get the business after growing up as a lifelong fan. Here they duel in a boxing match, which would serve as their final competition. Snow was good on commentary here as he really put over each fighter, and he gave us a brief history lesson on both menís background. The action was solid early as Miz was aggressive, knowing he had to be to stand a chance. I thought he was impressive here as Puder was clearly the better fighter, but Miz attacked him head on and non-stop. That flurry early hurt him a bit as he clearly tired in the second round. Miz was desperate and wild in the third round but he couldnít land the knockout blow, sending the decision to the fans. Teddy Long would poll the crowd and determined that Puder won, but it sounded pretty even to me. I thought Miz got hosed a bit as he was more active whereas Puder sat back and swatted him off, only landing a few decent shots. Puder wins here and would go on to win the overall competition but his run will be short-lived. Grade: N/A

4) The Basham Brothers defeat Hardcore Holly (Robert Howard) & Charlie Haas when Danny (Daniel Holle) pins Holly with a small package at 6:51

Fun Fact: On 11/25, Doug Basham came from the crowd to help JBL and Orlando Jordan defeat Eddie Guerrero and Booker T. The next week, JBL announced that the Bashams were now his Secretaries of Defense as he was building his cabinet. A week earlier, JBL had also revealed that former Diva Search contestant Amy Weber would be his image consultant.

Scott: Itís been a while since weíve seen the Bashams on PPV, but now as a part of JBLís Cabinet theyíre back in the fold and here take on the thrown together team of Holly and Haas. Haas is involved later in the card with his real-life fiancťe in her match but here he looks for some retribution. Holly hasnít been on PPV since losing to the since dispatched Mordecai at the Great American Bash. This match for the most part is like a typical Smackdown TV match. Itís nothing special but nothing offensive either. This match was added on Heat, so the bookers must have thought that the show was going to run short and threw this in at the last minute. Dawn Marie runs out to try to comfort Haas after getting tossed out of the ring, then out comes Jackie and Charlie has to break up the catfight. Hollyís annoyed and the Bashams use some chicanery to get the win. Grade: 2

Justin: I really wonder what the bookers were thinking when they set these PPVs up. This was thrown our way as an unadvertised bonus match, but I donít get why. Did they get to the arena and realized they would be really light, so they tossed in a time waster segment with Kurt Angle and this special bonus affair? I guess with the multi-man main event, the brand is a bit short on available talent. Anyway, the Bashams had been kind of ignored since earlier in the year, but they get a bump due to their new affiliation with JBL. I liked the idea of JBL forming a cabinet as his much maligned title reign was really picking up steam. Charlie Haas was a little feisty here as he was embroiled in women issues, as we will see shortly. The match was basic stuff as the Bashams were good heels that new the formula. The crowd was a bit bored but they woke up when Jackie and Dawn came out and got into a catfight. The brawl would distract Charlie, who was pinned by Danny during the brouhaha. The match was technically fine, but was sort of blah and had little heat behind it. I liked the Bashams though and was glad to see them back in a prominent role as they were a classic tag team and good heels as well. Grade: 1.5

4) John Cena defeats Jesus (Jeffrey Aguilera) to retain WWE United States Title in a street fight with the FU at 7:55

Fun Fact: This is Jesusís final PPV appearance. Prior to this show, Jesus tore his groin and herniated two discs at a house show. After this match, he had surgery to repair the injuries but would be released in April prior to appearing on TV again. Since his release, he has bounced around the Indie scene. He would make one more WWE appearance, wrestling Ron Simmons on an episode of Heat in 2007 under his real name.

Fun Fact II: On the 11/18 Smackdown, Cena defeated Carlito in a quick match and regained his US title. After the match, Jesus hit Cena with a chair and then drilled him in his kidneys with his chain. The next week, Jesus told Cena that he was just as big a thug as Cena was and then challenged him to a fight in any location. On 12/2, Teddy Long announced this match for the PPV.

Scott: A perfect opportunity for Cena to show his nasty side in a perfectly laid out fight that was relatively quick and effective. Jesus stabbed Cena in the kidney at a Boston nightclub (no scars or bandages, which is amazing!) and then Jesus went after the kidney after Cena regained his US Title against Carlito. Actually during this match there is a bandage on Cenaís back, but itís much lower than where the actual kidney is. Whatever, the bookers try. Itís all semantics. Whatís important here is that Cena continues getting over with the crowd; in fact he does something that I thought was pretty cool. While Cenaís pounding Jesus throughout the crowd, he stops at a fan, and guzzles his beer. Jesus hardly got anything in here and it was essentially an eight-minute squash. It was a big convincing win for Cena to get ready for his huge 2005. Grade: 2.5

Justin: John Cena marched to the ring focused and determined for revenge. This whole angle had really been designed so Cena could take time off to film a movie, so Carlito and Jesus did the majority of the heat building. Unfortunately, before Jesus could really get going, he suffered some rough injuries at a house show and is written off TV for good after the show. Cena gets off to a fast, anger fueled start but Jesus would slow him up by attacking Cenaís wounded kidney. Cena would easily fend him off and proceeded to lay in some stiff kendo stick shots. Jesus bladed pretty quickly as Cena just unleashed a brutal assault on him. The match was basically a squash intended to completely blow off the angle. After Cena dispatched of Jesus, he also took out Carlito to complete his mission of vengeance. It was a decent brawl that had some great intensity on Cenaís part. Grade: 2

5) Dawn Marie defeats Jackie Gayda with a roll-up at 1:43

Fun Fact: This is Jackie Gaydaís final PPV appearance. She would hang around on TV until July when she was released. She would hang around the Indie circuit before having a good run in TNA through 2006. Upon leaving TNA, she retired from the business and now runs a nutrition and smoothie shop in Texas. She would make a one-time return to the WWE at WrestleMania 25 in the Miss WrestleMania battle royal. Jackieís husband Charlie Haas would also be released in July. He hangs around on TV until he leaves, but Haas will return in early 2006, so we will hold off on a final record here.

Fun Fact II: This is Dawnís final PPV match. She will have one more PPV appearance at One Night Stand in June 2005, but she was pretty much done after this show. Dawn went on maternity leave in 2005 and was eventually released in the talent purge in July. She would file a lawsuit with WWE, claiming she was released due to pregnancy and the suit was settled outside of court. Dawn would dabble in the Indie scene, but is retired and now runs the ďWrestlerís RescueĒ charity.

Fun Fact III: On 11/25, it was revealed that Dawn Marie had been spreading rumors that she was having an affair with Charlie Haas. Haas denied it and Jackie believed her fiancť. This match was announced on 12/2 and Haas was announced as the referee for it. Dawn continued to insist that the rumors were true right up until the start of the match.

Scott: Wow, this was a piece of crap. It was just rolling around until a cheap pin. Then the inevitable heel turn, or was it? Haas dumps Jackie, gets boos, and then dumps Dawn Marie? Whatever, it was pretty stupid. Grade: 0

Justin: Another Smackdown PPV and another quick Diva catfight featuring Dawn in a sultry storyline. The match was a standard Diva brawl and Dawn cheats to pick up the win in the final PPV match for both ladies. After the bell, Haas announced that the rumors of his affair were true and that he had been banging Dawn. He then broke off his engagement to Jackie, dumped Dawn and walked off a single man. Both ladies would stick around into 2005, but this is pretty much the end of the line for both of them. Jackie hasnít brought us too many PPV memories but Dawn has been involved in some bizarre and interesting angles during her stay. Haas will also leave us in 2005, but he will be back before we know it. Grade: 0

6) Big Show (Paul Wight) Defeats Kurt Angle, Mark Jindrak & Luther Reigns (Matt Wiese) with a handicap match when he pins Jindrak with an F5 at 9:56

Fun Fact: Joy Giovanni was an actress and model that competed in the Diva Search over the summer. Like many of the eliminated competitors, she was signed to a deal after the Search ended. Shortly after she debut as Smackdownís massage therapist, she began an on screen romance with Big Show.

Fun Fact II: This match was set to wrap up the ongoing Show/Team Angle war. Over the weeks leading up, Show was always one step ahead of Luther Reigns, who had his eye on Showís girlfriend Joy. On 12/9, Team Angle got the final shots in with a three-on-one beatdown of Show after his match with Jindrak.

Scott: I really liked Mark Jindrak, his look and his moveset really impressed me and he became forgotten very quickly. Again, this match felt like another Smackdown TV match. The crowd really didnít have much spunk in these undercard matches either which I think is what made them feel pedestrian. 2004 was probably one of Kurt Angleís worst years. He was hurt and after his feud with Eddie Guerrero he seemed to float. This feud with Big Show was ok, but nothing spectacular. Big Show hits Jindrak with an F-5, which Cole acknowledged, and gets the win. Again, it was another average match that would have been fine on regular TV, but no sizzle on PPV. Grade: 2

Justin: I have enjoyed this feud and its many ups and down. Both sides have looked good throughout and it got Jindrak and Reigns some good exposure in an upper midcard slot. Show would dominate Jindrak early but Team Angle battled back by showing some good teamwork with a methodical beatdown. Show made a nice comeback and looked strong in polishing off Team Angle and bringing closure to the feud. This was as basic as it gets, once again, but it was fine for what it was. Angle is set to move on to a bigger feud, but he would first join Show as they both get back in the title mix. Grade: 2

7) Funaki defeats Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson) to win WWE Cruiserweight Title with a roll-up at 9:29

Fun Fact: On 12/9, Funaki surprisingly won a Cruiserweight battle royal to earn the title shot here.

Scott: I thought this could be the match of the night, even with someone like Funaki who hasnít wrestled in quite a while up to this storyline. Spike had been a very effective heel once he aligned with his ďbrothersĒ, the Dudley Boys. Theyíre out of the picture right now with injuries. The crowd is done here, which totally takes away from what was probably could have been a good match. Alas the match was choppy and average. Funaki actually winning was probably the highlight of the night as the crowd pops after the pin and Funaki hugs Tazz, Cole and the Spanish announcers. Spike had a solid run as Cruiserweight Champ, but like most others on the show, his role is uncertain. Smackdownís #1 announcer is the Cruiserweight Champ, but the match was underwhelming and didnít deliver. Grade: 2

Justin: Spike Dudleyís fantastic Cruiserweight title tour rolls into another PPV. This time he faces an unlikely challenger and many assumed his reign would be continuing on. The crowd was quiet as the two stayed on the mat early with a decent little back and forth. The highlight of the bout came when both men were trading blows on the top rope and Spike was able to drop Funaki all the way to the floor with a gourdbuster. It was a nasty little spot that allowed Spike to turn his attention to his challengerís ribs. Overall the match had a slow pace for a Cruiserweight battle and despite both men working hard and sound, they just had no heat on them, mainly because there was no build to this match at all. The finish was equally as lame as Funaki rolls up the dominant champion to take his title. This title reign was so great and had been done so well that it really deserved a better ending. Spike should have finally lost after an over face was built up to overcome the odds and finally dethrone the Boss. Instead, we get a heatless match with a heatless challenger that had barely been used winning the belt on a throwaway show. This may have been the most disappointing result of the show. The match was Ok but was slow and the crowd was dead as Spikeís reign and push come crashing to a halt. Grade: 1.5

8) John Bradshaw Layfield defeats Eddie Guerrero, Booker T. (Booker Huffman) and Undertaker (Mark Callaway) to retain WWE Championship in a Fatal Four Way when he pins Booker with the Clothesline From Hell at 25:36

Fun Fact: On 11/18, JBL came out to brag about all of the challengers he had taken out since becoming champion. During his promo, Booker, Eddie Guerrero and Undertaker all came out to issues challenges. JBL refused to give any of them rematches, and Teddy Long agreed with him. Teddy, however, had something else in mind as he told JBL he would face all three men in a Fatal Four Way at the PPV. The next week, JBL and Orlando Jordan defeated Guerrero and Booker with an assist from the Bashams. On 12/2, JBL and OJ were forced into a match with the Undertaker. Taker won by DQ but was laid out by the Cabinet after the match. The next week, Taker got revenge by attacking the Cabinet and wiping them all out. Things got worse for JBL as the night went on. Teddy Long informed him that the Cabinet was banned from ringside at the PPV and Eddie Guerrero destroyed the Cabinetís limo. In the main event that evening, Taker, Guerrero and Booker defeated JBL, OJ and the Bashams when Taker finished off OJ with a Tombstone.

Scott: The main event has JBLís last three feuds all in one match. You knew this match would be the one to get the crowd going because it had Smackdownís two biggest faces, Eddie and Taker, and its biggest heel, JBL, all in one match. There were some great moments and close calls. After Booker T cleaned everyone out he almost had Eddie pinned. JBL does what every heel does best: Be petrified of the match and the high percentages that he would lose the title and not even get pinned. There was a great promo where JBLís Cabinet was complimenting him on a great reign and that they would not leave him. Then JBL walks to the ring like heís waking to the gallows. The match does have its high points, including Eddie hitting Taker with two Froggies and still JBL got the shoulder up. This is where the match starts to pick up a bit. The match then gets sloppy when Heidenreich interferes and takes the Undertaker out of the match. JBL then hits the Clothesline from Hell on Booker T to get the pin and retain his title under crazy circumstances. JBL ends the PPV year on an incredible high, even though the show as well as the year is limping to the finish. I like this match but it could have been better with the talent in the ring. Grade: 2.5

Justin: JBLís title reign continues to gain steam as he gains credibility as champion with each passing week. I enjoyed the Cabinet at this point as well as a group of thugs fit a champion like JBL to a tee. Before the match, we saw a very nervous JBL making his way to the ring, knowing his chances of retention were low. He really did a great job of making his matches and the title seem important. The faces in the match all receive big pops as you would expect. They would gang up on JBL early as the champion tried to stay out of the action but couldnít escape. As the match wore on, Booker and Eddie formed an alliance and worked over both JBL and Taker until it came time for pin attempts, which is when the alliance quickly dissolved. The action was a bit choppy but it picked up when all four men started brawling on the floor. JBL was smart as he kept trying to steal the win while the other three brawled and got their offense in. The crowd picked up late as both Booker and JBL got put through tables. Eddie got a tremendous near fall after clocking Taker with the belt and dropping two frog splashes on him, but the Deadman kicked out. Taker recovered and looked to have things in control until his nemesis Heidenreich showed up and cost him the pinfall victory. JBL would take advantage by planting Booker with the CFH for the win. The match was hard fought and solid all around but was a bit disappointing as I expected a wilder match with a better flow. JBL steals another win and his unlikely title reign continues on as 2004 comes to a close. Grade: 3

Final Analysis

Scott: 2004 limps to the finish with another ho-hum PPV. I donít know what happened. 2004 started off so hot with Chris Benoit winning the Royal Rumble, Eddie Guerreroís emotional win over Brock Lesnar at No Way Out, and the pomp and circumstance of a great Wrestlemania. Then, everything unraveled. JBL, an unproven main eventer defeats Eddie Guerrero to take the WWE Title. By Summerslam Benoit is beaten by a largely unproven Randy Orton, and now by the end of the year thereís uncertainty everywhere. The crowds became very unenergetic by the bland undercard and by the time the main event comes they donít really care much. Then again, with a crowd of only 4,500, what do you expect? These are like 1995-1996 PPV crowds. Well the winds of change are blowing and with it a new year with burgeoning superstars and some big surprises. Hopefully they will bring the energy and excitement back into things the way they were at the start of 2004, because this show is a microcosm of the last six months of the year: Flat and boring. Final Grade: D+

Justin: This rollercoaster PPV year of 2004 has come to a close with another subpar single brand effort. Smackdownís PPV year started strong when Eddie Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar in a tremendous match at No Way Out. Since then it has been a steady decline, which was in line with WWE on a whole. JBLís title reign has gained some steam and as the months have worn on, he has grown into the role quite nicely. This show on a whole was just not very good. The crowd was pretty dead and none of the matches delivered. The worst part of the show was Spikeís tremendous title reign coming to an awful conclusion as the heatless Funaki knocks him off. Outside of the main event, no match was better than average and most were just blah. As 2005 dawns, JBL stands tall over a depleted brand with played out challengers. The question now was which competitor would step up and take a shot at taking out the champ. Final Grade: D

MVP: JBL
Runner Up: Rey Mysterio & Rob Van Dam
Non MVP: Jesus
Runner Up: Spike Dudley

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