Monday Night Raw
Date: September 8, 2003
Location: Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re closing in on Unforgiven and the big story is….well I’m not sure actually. Maybe it’s HHH vs. Goldberg? Or is it Shane McMahon vs. Kane? Or is it whatever Vince McMahon and company are up to when he crosses over to this show? Either way last week’s show was the slightest upgrade so hopefully that trend continues. The show is opening with Kane vs. Rob Van Dam inside a steel cage as the annual fight against Monday Night Football begins. Let’s get to it.
The cage is lowered.
Kane vs. Rob Van Dam
Pin or escape to win (I’m assuming submission is implied). Kane jumps Rob on his entrance and the beating is on in a hurry. Van Dam gets a boot up in the corner though and the basement dropkick puts Kane down again. That just earns Rob a trip into the cage and Kane crushes his head against the steel like a violent monster should. Van Dam is already busted so Kane sends him into the cage again.
Kane blocks the kicks and throws him into the cage for the third time in a row. Rob crotches him on top though and a top rope kick to the chest sets up Rolling Thunder. A ram into the cage looks to set up the Five Star but Rob only hits mat. Kane is right back up with an Alley Oop onto the ropes/into the cage. To mix things up, Kane sends him into the cage a few more times, only to break the wall so Rob can fall out for the win.
And of course not because Eric Bischoff is RIGHT THERE to say it had to be over the top or through the door so that doesn’t count. Back from a break with Kane sending him back inside and sending him into the cage over and over again. The door is slammed on Rob’s head but Kane lets him climb halfway up the cage. A few kicks allow Rob to get even further, only to be pulled down for a super chokeslam and the pin.
Rating: D-. Good night this was boring. It was nearly fifteen minutes of Kane throwing him into the cage over and over with nothing changing from beginning to end. Kane is a monster and that’s all well and good, but now I’m supposed to buy Shane McMahon as having a chance against him? After this kind of destruction of a former Intercontinental Champion?
Van Dam is taken out on a stretcher.
We look at Goldberg running through Evolution last week.
Here’s Bischoff for some announcements before Steve Austin gives the State of the Raw Address tonight. First up: Kane vs. Shane is official for Unforgiven. He’s also changing a match at the pay per view. Now it’s going to be JR/King vs. Al Snow/Jonathan Coachman with the winners being the permanent Raw commentators. As for tonight, it’s Goldberg/a mystery partner vs. HHH/a mystery partner with Bischoff picking the partners. The partners are going to be Flair and Orton aren’t they? Also, what does it say that Coach/Snow vs. JR/King is a major upgrade? That’s how bad things were looking.
Lance Storm vs. Rico
After I take a few seconds to get my eyes back in my head from seeing Jackie Gayda here, we see Storm worrying to Goldust about being called boring tonight. Goldust is proud of Storm’s progress though. Last week he was jaywalking and had a double bacon cheeseburger with extra pickles. Goldust: “And who was pleasuring themselves with a pornographic pop up book?” Storm: “That was you man.”
Storm even does the Goldust breath and actually does it quite well. Before the match, Rico tries to start the BORING chants but gets RICO SUCKS instead. Storm punches him in the mouth to start and grabs a suplex for two. A rake of the eyes cuts Storm off though and let’s talk about the Unforgiven tag match. Rico’s hiptoss into a neckbreaker gets two and it’s off to the chinlock. Storm comes back with clotheslines and a kiss to Jackie (sexual assault isn’t boring) and a springboard missile dropkick puts Rico away. Storm’s celebration doesn’t work that well given the lack of music.
Bischoff won’t tell HHH who the partner will be. Given that it’s going to be Orton or Flair, I’m not sure why he won’t say anything.
Trish Stratus/Jacqueline vs. Molly Holly/Gail Kim
Having Trish run through all the random partners like this isn’t exactly showcasing any talent or depth to the division. Molly and Jackie get things going as JR thinks the villains are jealous of Trish. Haven’t they said that multiple times already? Jackie rolls her up for two, followed by a basement dropkick for the same on Gail. A double DDT plants Jackie as King says JR needs to be taking notes.
Due to reasons of stupidity brought on by jealousy, Gail throws Jackie over for the tag to Trish. That earns her a Thesz press as Trish starts cleaning house. A headlock takeover/headscissor combination takes both villains down but they toss Trish to the floor for a painful looking crash. That’s actually enough to give Gail the pin.
Rating: D. I’ll certainly take an uninspired motivation over no motivation so the Molly and Gail being jealous of Trish story is fine enough. You can kind of tell what they’re building to with Trish’s eventual partner and there’s nothing wrong with where they’re going. If nothing else, Gail is already improving beyond “she’s a face who can do hurricanranas”. Match was nothing of course, but the crash at the end looked good.
Here’s Austin for the State of Raw Address. He chucks the podium over the top because that’s just not the Steve Austin style. Before we get to Raw though, there’s something he needs to address regarding Unforgiven. HHH vs. Goldberg is title vs. career so HHH is going to do whatever he can to retain the title. Therefore, if HHH gets disqualified, he loses the title.
Moving on, we have Kane running around like a monster and electrocuting a man’s testicles. Note for future reference: Austin shouldn’t say testicles. Anyway, that should warrant Austin whipping Kane but that’s against the rules. After a meeting with his cabinet (his liquor cabinet that is), he’s decided that it sucks and the audience poll agrees.
This brings out Christian before any announcement can be made about Kane, which is rather rude. Christian says that what really sucks is the lack of respect from Austin. He knows he’s not getting an apology and the peepulation in Huntsville is outraged over these developments. Austin: “The entire peepulation thinks you’re an a******.” Christian: “I want my own talk show!”. His win over Jericho last week shows that he’s the real thing around here, so the Highlight Reel should be turned into the Peep Show.
This brings out Jericho and the beatdown is on in a hurry. Now one would assume that’s a face turn, but Jericho immediately starts yelling at Austin. Jericho calls Austin a bully and a failure as a GM, not to mention a human being. He wants to see Austin fired every single day because the Highlight Reel can’t be canceled.
Austin doesn’t intend to cancel the show and offers Jericho a beer. Jericho is on to this game though and isn’t about to provoke Austin into beating him up. Jericho: “If you want to see me drink a beer with Stone Cold Steve Austin, give me a doo wa diddy diddy dum diddy do”. Austin: “That was the absolute worst catchphrase I’ve ever heard in the history of Monday Night Raw”.
Jericho drops the beer Austin throws him though and you can tell things are getting serious. In a funny bit, Austin tosses another one from about a foot away and beer is consumed….but Jericho slaps him on the back. That means a Stunner so beer can fly everywhere, ending this segment which somehow only accomplished adding another stipulation to HHH vs. Goldberg. I mean….am I missing another point to this? Did we really need a five minute Jericho and Austin segment with the same ending that almost all Austin segments have?
La Resistance/Rob Conway/Rodney Mack/Mark Henry vs. Hurricane/Rosey/Dudley Boyz
It’s a brawl to start (shocking) with the good guys cleaning house and D-Von throwing Spike onto La Resistance. Dupree takes What’s Up and it’s already table time. Bubba and Henry have the hoss fight on the floor, leaving Rosey to double clothesline Conway and Dupree. It’s off to Spike, who actually manages to send Mark outside, where he comes up holding his leg. That’ll likely be six months on the shelf.
Hurricane comes in off the hot tag to clean house until Bubba tags himself in for a double Flip Flop and Fly. Spike chases Grenier to the back and Dupree takes a Samoan drop/swinging neckbreaker combination from the heroes. Rosey goes shoulder first into the post, only to have Conway take 3D. Mack gets a Bubba Bomb but Henry is back in with the World’s Strongest Slam to pin Bubba. You can feel the energy go out of the arena on the pin.
Rating: D. This got energetic at the end but a ten man tag needs a heck of a lot more than five minutes to go anywhere. Cut out Spike and Conway and this is a little better but still, too many people trying to do too many things. The act that La Resistance vs. the Dudleys is WAY out of gas at this point didn’t help either.
Post match La Resistance tries the double spinebuster over the top to put Spike through a table but leave him WAY too short, sending the back of his head off the edge of the table, which doesn’t break. Oh but they do put Hurricane through the table to no reaction because the fans are worried that Spike has a broken neck. So they’re boring and can’t do a table spot safely. Well done guys. But hey, at least they can get cheap anti-American heat and that validates everything.
And now, after one of the scariest looking botches you’ll ever see (though Spike seemed to be ok), let’s go to Coach, Snow and Bischoff making fun of JR and King. How many people even know they’re the Heat commentators? Better yet, why are they the Heat commentators? After that comedic brilliance, Bischoff makes a six man tables match with La Resistance/Rob Conway vs. the Dudleys at Unforgiven. Coach and Snow have something in store for JR tonight but Gail Kim comes in to want to talk to Eric. This includes shoving him into a locker and sitting on his lap. Ok then.
HHH compares Goldberg to a can of YJ Stinger (energy drink sponsor). The difference is the Stinger gets the job done and Goldberg is nothing but hype.
We look back at the cage match and Van Dam being destroyed.
Unforgiven rundown. All these matches that feel like leftovers from previous pay per views are making me think of spoiled milk.
Shane McMahon is in WWE Studios in Connecticut for an interview but Bischoff interrupts and makes Kane vs. Shane a Last Man Standing match. Again, because Shane isn’t a wrestler and can’t have a regular match. Shane: “Screw you Eric.” Eric: “I just screwed you.”
Gail, now minus the coat she had when she went to see Bischoff, adjusts her top while telling Molly that the deal went through and they’ll finish Trish next week.
Scott Steiner vs. Steven Richards
Victoria, Test and Stacy Keibler are here. Steiner throws him into the corner to start but Test’s distraction lets Steven grab a neckbreaker for two. That just earns him an overhead suplex and some chops in the corner. There’s the push-up elbow but Steiner decides to bring Victoria in instead. Test gives Steiner a full nelson slam for two but the Stevie Kick is blocked. Steiner’s Flatliner is good for the pin.
Post match Steiner says Stacy should be with him again so let’s have ANOTHER Test vs. Steiner match for Stacy’s services. This time though, Steiner’s services are on the line as well. Therefore, if Test wins, Steiner has to watch Test and Stacy. That took quite the turn and that’s not exactly something I need to see.
Next up: Bischoff announcing Flair and Orton as HHH and Goldberg’s partners.
Actually we get Coach and Snow in the ring for the “comedy”. It’s the old (and bad) someone’s face on unfunny pictures with a theme of what JR could do after he’s fired. Several involve JR being some sort of woman, or a mule at the end. JR comes to the ring, gets insulted some more and punches Coach out. What is this? Four segments on a match between announcers, a part time wrestler and a commentator? Against the debut of Monday Night Football?
Goldberg doesn’t know who his partner is and doesn’t care. It’s going to be Flair or Orton. I don’t know why this is in any kind of doubt because it’s the only thing Bischoff would logically do.
Goldberg/??? vs. HHH/???
And of course the partners are Orton and Flair respectively.
No match as the beatdown is on and the cage is lowered, trapping them all inside. King of course says that means no one can get in to save them, not understanding the concept of “there is no roof”. Goldberg fights back for a bit until a chair shot takes him down. The bloody Goldberg is beaten down but falls out of the first Pedigree attempt to make this look even worse. The second one Pedigree actually works and HHH talks a lot of trash to end the show. You knew this was coming when Goldberg looked dominant last week because AT BEST he’s allowed to go 50/50 with HHH.
Overall Rating: D-. There were a few spots in there that weren’t as dark as others but that’s as good as I can go. The problem here is it felt like the punted with Monday Night Football being sure to dominate the night. That makes sense, but it’s not a good sign when so much of the show is a repeat or continuation of a story that has been going on FAR too long now. Get to Unforgiven so we can get past it because this is all bad stuff at the moment.
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