Monday Night Raw
Date: July 21, 2003
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman
So Kane is still the big monster, even though we already have HHH as the evil World Champion. As usual, this show seemingly has no idea how to push a face other than Steve Austin, who might be in line to be fired tonight. The good thing is we should be starting the build towards Summerslam soon, meaning we can get away from these big TV shows. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Kane setting JR on fire last week, because that’s the kind of thing going on around here. More importantly though, Austin might be fired by Linda McMahon, because we don’t have enough of that family.
Eric Bischoff is in the ring and brags about Austin being fired tonight but Linda cuts him off. She needs Eric to listen up because she’s only going to say this once (I’m sure there will be half a dozen replays though so he’s covered): Kane and Kane alone is responsible for his actions. JR hasn’t pressed charges against Kane but Kane will have to undergo extensive psychological counseling and is under house arrest. That being said, he can still come here and earn a living, which is why he’ll be facing Rob Van Dam tonight. I’m…..really not sure that’s how that works.
Anyway, Bischoff still wants Austin fired so here’s Austin in person. He won’t apologize for anything he’s done in this role because he’s always thought it was the right thing to do. If JR doesn’t want to press charges, Austin will beat Kane up himself. I’m sure there’s a rule against beating up someone under house arrest.
Linda doesn’t think either of them have done anything wrong but Austin can’t keep beating people up. If he wants to keep his job, he won’t be putting his hands on anyone anymore, unless he’s physically provoked. Austin says he has a lot to think about but Linda says if Austin steps down, Bischoff is in full control. He’ll think about it, but Linda can only give him a week. As for tonight, they both have the week off. The Goodbye Song is sung and beer is consumed.
Trish Stratus/Gail Kim vs. Molly Holly/Victoria
Molly and Gail start us off but thankfully it’s off to Trish a few seconds in. Lawler talks about being distracted due to JR. Just to be clear, JERRY LAWLER is talking about not paying enough attention to women’s wrestling. While that one settles in, Molly hits her handspring elbow on Trish to what sounds more like a golf clap. Victoria’s slingshot flip legdrop gets two but an enziguri drops Molly.
Gail comes back in with a high crossbody for no cover, instead botching the run up the corner. Maybe she’s slippery due to the big beer stain on the mat? Or she’s just not that great yet? Everything breaks down and Gail gets one off the hurricanrana. Victoria rips Gail’s top off but Trish kicks Gail in the head by mistake, giving Molly the pin.
Rating: D-. Maybe it’s just too early in her run but Gail is almost shockingly limited and flat out bad so far. Her offense is limited and she has no character to speak of, which somehow puts her on the low end of the division. Bad and sloppy match here, but that’s what you have to expect from a women’s match around this time.
Terri is waiting for Kane to arrive when Chris Jericho comes in to ask why she’s not talking about his match with Shawn Michaels. Because that’s not her assignment? He sings a bit, which is likely why this is missing from the Network version.
Austin and Bischoff run into each other in the parking lot. An argument over what ended WCW ensues.
Here’s Evolution for a chat, debuting the Motorhead version of their theme music in the process. Orton talks about Mick Foley wanting him to make a name for himself, which Orton did by throwing Foley down a flight of stairs. He officially dubs himself the Legend Killer.
Randy Orton vs. Val Venis
HHH is on commentary. Venis takes over with a hammerlock to start and ties the arm up with his feet. Orton shoves him back as HHH wonders why JR didn’t stop, drop and roll. Back up and Flair grabs Venis’ foot, allowing Orton to hit his dropkick. Val makes a comeback after a full ten seconds on defense, including a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. HHH panicking for a split second on the near fall is a nice touch. The Money Shot misses and it’s the RKO for the pin.
Rating: D. Just another quick win for Orton and that’s what this should have been. Orton gets to look good (albeit not too good) in a showcase match, which hopefully leads to something in the future. Having him out there showcasing his athleticism and the good finisher is all he needs right now though and this is a lot better than having him on the losing end of tag matches.
Post match Evolution gets in the ring with HHH bragging about their high level of awesome but Goldberg returns for the first time in a few weeks. Goldberg talks about HHH not looking invincible but just another victim. So now he’s Taz? Goldberg says HHH is next, thankfully keeping his talking short and to the point. Evolution bails of course.
Post break, Evolution has a plan, which seems to focus on Orton.
Wrestlemania Recall: Michaels vs. Jericho.
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
They go technical to start with Shawn getting in a hammerlock before tossing Jericho outside. Back in and Jericho headlocks him down as the slow pace continues. A pinfall reversal sequence leads to a Shawn headlock as the announcers talk about Kane and JR some more.
Jericho finally gets in a backbreaker and blocks skinning the cat, only to get low bridged out to the floor. A springboard crossbody drops Jericho again and Shawn decks an invading Flair for good measure. The Walls of Jericho go on though and we take a break. Back with Shawn hammering away in the corner, making me think they wasted a bit of a moment with that break. A big backdrop puts Shawn on the floor and it’s Flair getting in a few cheap shots as only he can.
Back in (again) and Shawn dropkicks him out of the air for a double knockdown. It’s Shawn up first with some clothesline and a catapult into the corner for two. Jericho is right back with a suplex and Lionsault for two. A top rope superplex is broken up though and Shawn drops the top rope elbow.
Sweet Chin Music misses and the referee turns his head for no reason other than allowing Jericho to get in a low blow. Jericho grabs a chair but gets it superkicked into his face but the referee was with Flair. The nitwit referee goes to yell at Flair, allowing Orton to come in with an RKO onto the chair. It’s only good for two but Jericho grabs the Walls and Shawn (eventually) taps. That’s certainly better than the RKO getting the pin.
Rating: B-. This was more long than good as the interference took away too much focus from the match. If this leads to Orton beating Shawn then things are a little better, but for not it feels like they’re just wasting what could have been a major pay per view match. Now that being said, what we got was good, but these two are capable of so much more and it’s disappointing that they didn’t approach that level. At least Jericho got the win though, which should do him some good in the near future.
We look back at the opening segment.
Here’s Lance Storm to show off his talents to all the Hollywood elite tonight, including Rob Reiner in the front row. Storm reads off a statement about why he would be a great box office attraction but we cut to Kane, in shackles, arriving.
Ivory and Terri entertained some troops earlier this week.
Intercontinental Title: Test vs. Booker T.
Booker is defending and slugs away to start as Christian is shown watching in the back. A knee to the ribs cuts Booker off and Test gets in a few right hands. Test stops for some exercises because the Scott Steiner feud is still a thing. Booker elbows him in the face as Lawler AGAIN asks about JR pressing charges against Kane. This is probably the tenth time tonight and I have no idea how much more there is to say about it.
Test charges into a spinebuster but runs Booker over. Cue Steiner with a chair but it’s only so Stacy can come out and give him a lap dance on the stage. The distraction (with a great view) lets Booker grab a rollup for two. Not that it matters as the Bookend connects to retain the title a few seconds later.
Rating: D. I had no issues with Stacy here but egads why is this feud continuing? Weren’t we supposed to get Nash vs. Test? Booker winning is the right idea and it’s nice to see him getting some success but even he can’t get much out of Test. Hopefully this story wraps up soon as it’s really not getting any better.
Some wrestlers are talking about Kane in the back while Hurricane and Rosey talk about Kane going insane. Hurricane thinks Rosey is a superhero in training and Goldust comes up to explain the joke.
Video on Kane vs. Rob Van Dam.
Kane vs. Rob Van Dam
Kane has to be unshackled. Van Dam charges to the ring and kicks Kane outside for a big dive before the bell. Kane takes over and beats Van Dam up the aisle before loading up a chokeslam off the stage. Agents come out for the save and break it up but here’s Linda to really make things serious. Kane grabs her by the throat with Lawler failing to make a save. Everyone else is knocked down and Kane Tombstones Linda on the stage to end the show. The bell never rang so no match.
Overall Rating: D. So the Kane Show continues and that part is working fairly well actually. There’s a story there (and if you don’t know it, give Lawler five seconds and he’ll talk about it again) and Kane is selling the heck out of it, but where is it supposed to lead? He’s not getting the World Title and the top face on Raw (and really the only one who hasn’t been destroyed) is busy with HHH. There’s really just squashing Van Dam or Booker T. and neither of those are going to mean anything. Kane needs someone to destroy and Linda isn’t going to be enough.
As for the rest of the show, it was the usual Raw drek. The wrestling ranges from Shawn vs. Jericho being underwhelming (but still good) to everything else being pretty disastrous. There’s some stuff on here which could be good but they need to actually have some watchable matches for a change. A hot midcard feud would help too, though we seem destined for Evolution dominating and Kane running through the already damaged face pool. Maybe Summerslam can help, but not if it’s just more of the same.
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