Welcome to a new focus we’ll be participating in every Thursday here at FRS SLAM!, when we do our very own rendition of “Throwback Thursday” to look back at wrestling history and what has gone down on this date prior.
Thursday is no longer the day SmackDown takes to the air, but it was when we hop in our DeLauren and travel all the way back to the year 2004. But it’s not SmackDown we’re taking a peak at, it’s Raw and the inaugural Taboo Tuesday PPV event. There were only two instances of Taboo Tuesday, before it transitioned to Cyber Sunday for three installments before disappearing for good after 2008.
Taboo Tuesday. Ah, what a concept. For the first time in WWE history, the WWE Universe had the controls, even if the world was in its pre-iPhone/smart phone infancy. Imagine doing this again in 2017? We’d have who knows who hacking results to influence outcomes and the next thing you know, we have Kendo Stick on a Pole Matches, Jinder Mahal as the WWE Champion and wait — never mind. To 2004 we go.
As a whole, the first installment of Taboo Tuesday was less than memorable. If it has any lasting memory, it’s that of Ric Flair‘s forehead busted entirely wide open inside a Steel Cage, battling Randy Orton. Flair managed to pull of a full crimson mask despite the match lasting just over 10 minutes. The Legend Killer gimmick was in full force at the time and fans were able to choose whether the two would do battle in a submission match, Falls Count Anywhere match, or Steel Cage match. In typical 2004 fashion, the cage match closed the show over a Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels World Heavyweight Championship Match.
The cage match closing the show isn’t the only bizarre aspect of the card with 13 years of space put between the event. But where to begin?
Let’s start with the pre-show, which featured Sgt. Slaughter — like THE Sgt. Slaughter — defeating Muhammad Hassan. You remember Muhammad Hassan, with his crony Daivari (older brother of current 205 Live superstar Ariya Daivari) and how uncomfortable the gimmick became at times. Somehow in just over six months, Hassan and Daivari team up to face Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan on PPV. But exactly 13 years ago, they were losing to Sgt. Slaughter on the dark match.
Gene Snitsky. If you can get past — and you’re not wrong if you can’t get past — the oddities of how his rivalry with Kane developed, one which includes marriage, unborn children, abortion, punting babies and a whole lot more, the two were a solid in-ring match for one another. They had three strange weapons to choose from (chain, steel chair, or lead pipe), none of which could have saved the Snitsky character, even if he did pick up the win.
Eugene! What this was is anybody’s best guess. Eric Bischoff got his head shaved, spawning a truly new era of wrestling. Or not, but you get the point. This was one of those rivalries that felt significant and worth the time when it was taking place, but is utterly head scratching years after the fact. Coach appearance!
If all of that wasn’t enough to make you question whether or not this was a real PPV folks shelled out hard-earned money for (and was definitely not available for just $9.99 on the WWE Network), I present to you, the Lingerie Pillow Fight.
How far we have come just 12 years later. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks main evented an October PPV inside the most destructive structure in the sport, Hell in a Cell. But in 2004, we had Playboy cover girl Christy Hemme and Playboy Playmate of the Year Carmella battling it out in a match that went fewer than two minutes. I, for one, am stunned — stunned — that the Aerobics Challenge didn’t get more love from the fan vote here. But the Pillow Fight did handedly defeat the Evening Gown match, so in the end, the people got what they wanted.
Believe it or not, there was plenty of good on this card. Chris Jericho and Shelton Benjamin stole the show in the opener in a bout over the Intercontinental Championship, Chris Benoit single-handedly won the World Tag Team Championships from La Resistance after Edge walked out, and Triple H and Shawn Michaels did their usual best, before the Rated R Superstar began his ascension to the main event with a hellacious Spear on HBK to rob him of the World Title.
The bottom line: Could Taboo Tuesday come back? Depending on whom you ask, the Taboo Tuesday/Cyber Sunday series was either entirely on the up-and-up, completely scripted, or somewhere in between. With that knowledge, it’s unlikely the WWE would commit an entire PPV event in the 2018 year to the concept, although an episode of SmackDown Live (which of course airs on Tuesdays) would be the perfect time to try it out yet again.