Monday Night Raw – September 22, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: September 22, 2003
Location: MCI Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Al Snow, Jonathan Coachman

It’s the night after Unforgiven and I know I always say that it has to be better this time around, but for once I’m not kidding myself. Goldberg is the new World Heavyweight Champion and that makes me think we’re going to be hearing about how HHH belongs as champion and will have it back soon. You know, so the world can be all as it should be. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

There are some soldiers here from Walter Reed Hospital.

Coach and Snow get their own entrance, with Coach again wearing the white cowboy hat. Snow on Coach: “YOU COULD SELL TOOTHPASTE TONIGHT!”

Here’s Goldberg for his big celebration, because the idea is to have him talking and make him a character of course. He promised to be here in Washington D.C. as champion and now you can believe the hype. Cue Steve Austin to say there isn’t too much in life that makes him happy. There’s drinking beer, middle fingers, four letter words and the United States armed forces.

Last night Goldberg made him happy too by becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. Austin will drink to that and beer is consumed….until Eric Bischoff interrupts, complete with a standing ovation from Coach and Snow. Bischoff takes credit for creating Goldberg and is speared before he can say much else. Snow: “NO!!!!” Are we going with Goldberg vs. Bischoff now? Is that necessary?

A soldier sends a message to his family in North Dakota.

Intercontinental Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Christian

Christian is defending. Van Dam wastes no time in hitting a middle rope crossbody for two and Christian bails to the floor. That means a big flip dive, followed by a middle rope apron legdrop to keep the champ in trouble. It’s WAY too early for the Five Star though and Van Dam’s ribs are banged up. A gutbuster gives Christian two and we hit the abdominal stretch. That goes nowhere so Rob comes back with a spinwheel kick, followed by Rolling Thunder for two. Rob gets in a head fake and scores with a split legged moonsault for another near fall. Not that it matters as Christian hits him with the belt for the DQ.

Rating: C-. They were starting to get going until the lame ending. This would seem to be setting up a rematch though and that’s not the worst feud for either guy. There’s a pretty solid midcard on Raw and if they actually have people fighting for the midcard title, it come make for some entertaining matches.

Post match Christian hits him in the head with a ladder. A splash off said ladder has Christian in more pain than Van Dam. So that’s likely at Survivor Series or a big Raw.

Chris Jericho goes to check on Bischoff and talks his way into a World Title match tonight. Now why couldn’t they do that in WCW?

Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade come out for a match but Evolution jumps them from behind for a beatdown. Coach thinks it’s due to HHH losing the World Title but isn’t sure. HHH talks about how he knows he’s still the best in the world and he breathes it every day. Last night, HHH beat himself and now it’s time to make Goldberg believe. HHH points to all the Game Over signs but for Goldberg, the game has just started. Standard heel who just lost the title promo, except overly long and with a lot of deep breathing.

Another soldier remembers a fallen friend.

Here’s Thuggin N Buggin Enterprises with Teddy Long wondering why there have been no black Presidents. He could change laws and be on the Dollar Dollar Bill. Teddy presents Rodney Mack as his Secretary of State and Mark Henry as his Secretary of Defense. It’s time for a White Boy Challenge!

Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer

Dreamer’s weapons don’t get him anywhere (or disqualified for that matter) and it’s the World’s Strongest Slam for the pin in less than a minute.

Cade, Jindrak and Maven charge into Evolution’s locker room and a six man is made for later.

Trish and Lita are in the back and walk past Jericho and Christian. The guys look at them but Austin comes up and says they won’t crack him. Next week: JR vs. Coach with the announcing job on the line again. As a bonus, Austin debuts Christian’s CLB nickname. Next week, it’s RVD vs. CLB for the IC in a ladder match.

Another soldier saying hi.

Gail Kim/Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus/Lita

Rematch from last night and Lita’s first Raw match in over a year and a half. Trish and Gail exchange headlocks to start until Trish mostly misses a basement dropkick for two. Molly comes in and gets monkey flipped, followed by the Matrish into a headscissors. Snow: “That’s what I admire in a woman: flexibility.”

Lita comes in to a big reaction and a one legged monkey flip and a headbutt to the stomach. A quick Gail distraction lets Molly hit a running flip neckbreaker though and we hit the double arm crank with a knee in the neck. Molly’s suplex is countered into a reverse DDT though (with a good thud) and a double clothesline….doesn’t set up the hot tag to Trish. Instead everything breaks down with Trish spearing Molly to the floor. A Twist of Fate puts Gail away.

Rating: C. I don’t know if it’s because she hasn’t been around in a long time but Lita looked like the biggest star the women’s division has ever had here, getting a crazy reaction and putting on a solid performance as well. The changed look (now in a tank top and shorts) makes her look a bit more serious too and that takes her up another level. The match was good too as you can see the talent really starting to shine.

Jericho asks Bischoff to be the guest referee for the title match. Bischoff is hurt but agrees in the name of screwing over Austin and Goldberg. This is another great example of SHUT THE DOOR WHILE MAKING EVIL PLANS Theater.

We get a music video on Test vs. Steiner (edited off the Network of course), because it’s just that epic.

Earlier today, Stacy Keibler apologized to Scott Steiner for messing up last night. Test comes up and makes Steiner carry his bags. Scott yells and Test hides behind Stacy and threatens a lawsuit.

The announcers talk about Shane McMahon vs. Kane last night. The video pauses before the impact on the big finish.

Shane, at an undisclosed medical facility (with the graphic saying Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), talks about how he hopes to be released in the morning. He’ll be after Kane again though….and here’s Kane, who of course is shirtless and in wrestling gear, suggesting that he’s likely murdered several security guards on the way here. Or security just sucks.

Kane pulls the IV out of Shane’s arm and pours a bag of blood on him before slamming the bed into a wall. Security arrives and Kane drops one of them with a good right hand. Shane is thrown against a door and Kane leaves. I remember watching this live and being annoyed that the feud was continuing. Nearly fifteen years later and it’s the same opinion.

La Resistance vs. Hurricane/Rosey

It’s Conway and Dupree here with both guys being heavily bandaged after last night’s tables match. Hurricane headscissors Conway down and Rosey takes Dupree’s head off with a clothesline. Sylvan Grenier hits Hurricane with the French flag and the soldiers in the front row aren’t happy. Back in and Dupree does his yet to be signature dance before handing it off to Conway. We hit the double arm crank for a bit with Hurricane fighting up without too much effort. Rosey comes in and drops the big leg on Conway and Hurricane makes a blind tag for a crossbody on Dupree. A Samoan drop/neckbreaker combination puts Conway away.

Rating: D+. Not too bad here and the fresh blood to the division is a nice upgrade. There’s only so much you can do with just two teams fighting for the titles so throwing a third in there helps a lot. Their vignettes have helped a lot too, but I have a feeling they’ll be pushed aside for another uninteresting team because that’s what WWE seems to roll with for some reason.

Post match the Dudleys come out to high five the troops. That was a pretty unnecessary cameo.

Earlier today, WWE and Russell Simmons got together for a voting drive. Wrestlers on the stage with Vince: Maven and JBL.

Evolution vs. Maven/Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak

It’s a brawl to start with the young guys clearing the ring in short order. We settle down to HHH slugging Jindrak down in the corner before it’s Maven’s turn to take a beating. Maven backslides Flair for two and scores with some right hands before it’s off to Orton and Cade. Garrison gets caught in the corner so Evolution can take turns beating on him as the announcers recap Orton’s legend killing.

HHH slaps on the sleeper because he’s old school that way but a belly to back suplex gets Cade out of trouble. The hot tag brings in Maven as you can see the audience sitting in near silence. Maven cleans as much house as he can but Flair sends him outside. The referee takes a chair away from Orton, leaving Maven to hit a missile dropkick on Flair for no count. HHH comes in with a Pedigree to give Flair the pin.

Rating: D. The ending helped a bit but there’s not going to be anything positive coming from these three against Evolution. Cade and Jindrak are black holes of charisma and Maven is Maven so what were you expecting? This could have been a lot worse but it didn’t exactly do anyone any favors.

HHH says the fans need him more than he needs the fans.

Another soldier wants Austin to come help them fight in Iraq.

We go live to Hollywood for the red carpet premiere of the Rundown. Rock is excited for the movie and threatens to smack Marc Lloyd around. He thanks Vince, all the talent in the back and the fans for making all this possible. Rock gets annoyed at being asked about a scene where a monkey, shall we say, has his way with Rock’s face and accuses Lloyd of sucking on orangutan nipples. Lloyd says run down to the theater but Rock comes back to call him stupid for that one. Some rhyming wraps us up.

Raw World Title: Goldberg vs. Chris Jericho

Goldberg is defending and Bischoff is the outside referee. Jericho dances away from him to start but gets powered into the corner. The champ follows him to the floor but Bischoff cuts him off. That earns Eric an accidental collision from Jericho and it’s time to go back inside for a whip into the corner. A gorilla press to the floor has Jericho rocked but he sidesteps a spear and Goldberg hits the steps.

Jericho gets two off a missile dropkick and it’s off to something like a crossface chickenwing. Goldberg powers up and kicks Jericho in the face but a DDT gives Chris two. A gorilla press into a spinebuster plants Jericho again but Bischoff pulls the referee out at two. Jericho scores with a low blow and Lionsault for a Bischoff counted two. Cue Austin to pull Bischoff to the floor for a completely unprovoked right hand, leaving Goldberg to finish with the usual.

Rating: C+. It wasn’t great but they kept Goldberg looking strong and gave him a win over a credible opponent on his first night as champion. It also helps when Jericho can actually pick up the pace a little bit and not be like HHH, who managed to make Goldberg feel boring last night. In theory this sets up another round of Austin vs. Bischoff, because that’s what the world was clamoring to see.

Overall Rating: D+. It’s kind of amazing how much better this show is without Coach/King arguing with Snow/Coachman (the new commentary wasn’t terrible, but it certainly doesn’t validate the long story to get there). HHH didn’t have the long form promo and Goldberg got to look like a strong champion. The women continue their nice little roll too, which gave us some nice bright spots on an otherwise not very good show.

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