WWE Vengeance 2004 Review feat. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H

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WWE Vengeance 2004

Following the review of The Great American Bash 2004 (which you can read here) for the blue brand of WWE, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the 15th anniversary of what Raw was also producing under the PPV spotlight. This leads us to the show which is being reviewed today, Vengeance 2004. The focus of this show was the World Heavyweight Championship match between Champion Chris Benoit and challenger Triple H, as well as an undercard featuring Randy Orton defending the Intercontinental Championship against Edge. This is also the period in which Eric Bischoff’s nephew Eugene was put in the spotlight, with him being involved with both Evolution and Benoit.

The show took place from the Hartford Civic Centre in Hartford, Connecticut with an attendance of just over 7,000, which was down nearly 27% from the previous year show, that being a SmackDown exclusive.

On the pre-show for this PPV, Tyson Tomko defeated Val Venis in nothing more than a standard TV encounter. The promo package to open the show focused on the main event, with Triple H claiming Benoit to be a “placeholder” for his World Title.

Tajiri & Rhyno vs. Garrison Cade & Jonathan Coachman

This is very much the personification of a brand split PPV match, with some good talent involved, but if this was a joint-brand card, this would not be anywhere near the main portion (it was announced on Heat after Tajiri had misted Coachman on Raw). The match itself was nothing special and pretty skippable, but the crowd are really invested. This is especially the case for anytime Coach was in the ring, as he was given “Coach sucks!” chants. A Tarantula by Tajiri led to Rhyno getting the hot tag. The finish would see Cade being misted and Gored before Coachman was knocked out by a roundhouse kick by Tajiri.

We then had a backstage interview with Evolution. Randy Orton, Batista and Ric Flair asked Triple H about Eugene with the belief that he has a “screw loose”, before finding out that Eugene was with Benoit, who was telling Gene that Triple H was using him.

Chris Jericho vs. Batista

This match came around due to Batista attacking Jericho three weeks beforehand, making the former Undisputed Champion unable to compete, and Batista followed that by costing Jericho the Intercontinental Championship against Randy Orton on the previous show. The match started with Batista in control, throwing Jericho around the ring and barricade, with Jericho only being able to counter with a springboard dropkick. This pattern would continue for the majority of the match, having Batista in control by using a sidewalk slam and a chinlock to slow down Jericho. The Ayatollah Of Rock & Rolla did hit some high-risk moves such as a top rope spinning elbow, and he attempted the Walls Of Jericho as a counter. Batista nearly won with a massive spinebuster, before hitting a second spinebuster and a Batista Bomb to get the victory, though the referee didn’t see Jericho’s foot on the rope.

Backstage, HHH tried to convince Eugene that Benoit was lying, that his only friend is Triple H and that “we” will beat Chris Benoit. Eugene was also given a “huge surprise”, which turned out to be a Ric Flair robe. Incidentally, you would have to understand Eugene’s character to realise why he couldn’t see what was obvious to everybody else.

World Tag Team Championship Match
La Résistance (C) vs. Ric Flair & Eugene

The focus of this match was not on the Tag Titles or even the Champions themselves, but on Eugene’s temperament. Grenier started to sing the Canadian National anthem before being interrupted by the challengers. Eugene and Sylvain Grenier would start with the challenger in control by hitting a hip-toss; Flair came in with some chops before a signature knee to his partner’s amazement. There were some comedic moments in this match with Eugene hitting the Flair eye-poke, enraging the Nature Boy. The challengers dominated the majority of the match until Rob Conway broke up a Figure-Four Leglock by Flair to giving the Champions control, which include what would now be referred to as the Magic Killer. The finish saw Eugene run into the ring illegally after being blindsided by Conway and cause a disqualification, costing himself and Flair the gold, with Eugene using the ring post as well as hitting a Stunner, Rock Bottom and a People’s Elbow like a created character on a WWE videogame.

No Disqualification Match
Kane vs. Matt Hardy

This was focused on Kane wanting Lita and making sure he got what he wanted; Lita was found to be pregnant, leading to Matt Hardy asking Lita to marry him before Kane announced that the baby was his. Kane claimed he always craved “an offspring” to carry on his destruction, which caused Matt to ask for a No DQ match here. This was peak 2004 creative for the mid-card. This started before Hardy even entered the ring as the two brawled around ringside, with Matt using the post and a TV monitor to his advantage before being uppercutted into the crowd. Once the bell rang, Kane took control by hitting a big sidewalk slam and a clothesline. Hardy did take advantage of Kane getting his foot trapped in the rope, but he then got Chokeslammed. Then, Lita ran down to protect Matt, who then hit Kane with a steel chair onto steel steps for the pin. Backstage afterwards, Matt told Lita that he needed time to think things over regarding their situation. This would not end well for Matt.

Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Orton (C) vs. Edge

This feud started with Edge’s return in the 2004 Draft following neck surgery, where he wanted to take a stand against Evolution one-by-one, beginning with the Legend Killer. This was slow to start with the two trying to figure each other out, with Orton attempting to walk up the ramp early on. Orton gained control after throwing Edge over the top rope, and capitalised on this with clubs to the chest and a chinlock. Some big moves included a missile dropkick by Edge and a massive backbreaker by Orton for a two-count. This did get a “Boring!” chant at one point, though, with Orton putting on a four-minute chinlock, before Edge bounced back with a dropkick. Edge nearly won with an Edgacution for a two-count, but a second Spear after Randy hit the exposed turnbuckle led to him ending Orton’s seven-month reign and winning the IC gold, making him a NEW Champion!!!

#1 Contender’s Match
Molly Holly vs. Victoria

This was a WrestleMania XX rematch to determine the #1 contender for Trish Stratus’ Women’s Championship, which Trish won at the previous Raw-exclusive PPV Bad Blood. For the six minutes these two got, they put on a pretty good match with Victoria hitting a nice second-rope moonsault and a tope to the outside, with Holly using the steel steps to her advantage to attempt a count-out victory as well as applying an armbar throughout the match. Victoria pinned Molly after a superkick to become the new #1 contender for the Women’s Championship.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Benoit (C) vs. Triple H

It was now time for the main event, with Triple H looking to prove he was the rightful World Champion and that Benoit was merely a “placeholder”. Triple H started in control, hitting a high knee and two vertical suplexes before striking with a reverse elbow. Benoit gained back some control with a German suplex followed by a catapult and sending The Game into the steel steps. Benoit attempted a diving headbutt but he crashed and burned, leaving the advantage open. Some big moves in the match were Triple H using the barricade to his advantage, an abdominal stretch switch between Triple H and Benoit, as well as a Sharpshooter by the World Champion.
Benoit came close to winning following three German suplexes and an attempted headbutt which turned to a Suicide tope. This also have a big moment of controversy with the referee being taken out. Then, Eugene came down and was stuck on either helping Benoit (who after a long pause hit Eugene) and Triple H. After a Pedigree by HHH, Eugene revived the referee, but it only got a two-count. The finish saw Eugene give HHH a chair but prevent him from using it; as a result, HHH pushed Eugene down and Evolution ran down immediately, only to be hit by Benoit, leading to Eugene grabbing the chair and hitting Triple H! This led to Benoit rolling up HHH for the win; STILL Champion, Chris Benoit.

Overall, like The Great American Bash, Vengeance 2004 was a pretty skippable show. Unlike TGAB which was either crazy or had memorable moments such as Eddie Guerrero losing the WWE Championship, this event was pretty average. If anything was to be recommended, it would be the main event for the conclusion of the night’s angle involving Eugene and with Benoit and HHH putting on a good bout.