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  1. WWE IC Champion Randy Orton vs Cactus Jack - WWE Backlash 2004 Street Fight Never seen this one before, but remember it getting raved about even from those that hated Orton though they pinned it all on Foley for carrying it. This was a pretty awesome violent spectacle. This is just great old school booking putting the young pretty boy against the maniacal sadist to prove his mettle to all the fans that he is a man. The crowd was clearly cheering for Foley and Orton is a great obnoxious douche tool, but this match was clearly crafted to get Orton over as a babyface, which within four months he would be the babyface World Champion (way too soon, one of the more boneheaded decisions). Pretty much the whole match was wrestled with Orton taking heat and building sympathy for him against the crazed lunatic. Foley comes out swinging that crazed barbed wire wrapped baseball bat and Orton learns quickly if he does not fight back that he will be killed. This is Foley's domain and he weathers the three brutal trash can shots to keep moving forward. Orton blades and there is something about the blood flowing on his very young, smooth face that is very disturbing. You really garner a lot of sympathy for him. Jack is playing to the crowd, but in a lot of ways he feels like the Cactus of the early WCW shows that is just absolute violent psycho. Foley is looking svelte and I don't think I have seen his normally huge ass so skinny. He is moving well. Foley takes two of his patented back of the head cracking against the steel bumps that always sick and shows Orton is willing to fight fire with fire. Foley is the horror movie monster that keeps coming back. The most famous part of the match is the Orton thumbtacks spot on the failed RKO. It was pretty nasty finally seeing it. I remember this earning him a ton of street cred, which was clearly the point of this match was to build him into the next big face. Orton trying to get the hell out of Dodge plays more to his heel tendencies and natural inclination to abandon the mission. Cactus's false finishes are Cactus Elbow from the ramp and the Double Arm DDT in the ring. The crowd bit hard on both. I really liked the RKO out the Mandible Claw and thought that should have been the finish. The RKO onto Barbie was fine but the point of diminishing returns had been reached. This was great old school booking proving Orton was not just another pretty face that he could some serious punishment and earn the fan's respect. Jack was awesome and had a real old school performance in him. Orton needed to prove that only could take the punishment but he could dish out and I think one big run of offense would have helped. The one-sided ultimately was counter-productive and hurt the match, but still one of the better matches of the era, ****1/4
  2. Styles made mention of the events here in the 6-man later on, so I figured I'd better watch what we have of it. Match is clipped, but we get lots of Richards and Dudley Dudley stooging and getting destroyed, and Big Dick working as a no-selling monster. Cactus gets his licks in on everyone else, but keeps tagging out when he has a chance to hit Raven. This is pretty much just the highspots, but the spots are pretty good and Dreamer, from what we see, works an effective enough FIP. As all 8 are brawling, Dreamer drops Raven with a piledriver on a chair and strikes a crucifix pose to celebrate, only for Cactus to drop him with a double arm DDT on the chair, throw Raven on top, and give the heels another win. Even the ECW smark crowd is shocked and aghast at this development--Paul E. would later compare the crowd reaction to Koloff beating Bruno. I wouldn't go that far, and Paul would of course be involved in an even bigger Koloff/Bruno moment decades later, but this was nonetheless a very effective twist in the feud leading to some stuff that I can't wait to revisit.
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