Monday Night Raw
Date: October 20, 2003
Location: Casey Plaza, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s still all about Goldberg and the bounty but this time he has a slightly better opponent with Shawn Michaels getting his shot. We’re also getting ready for Survivor Series in a few weeks, meaning things should be picking up in short order. Then again, that’s never stopped WWE before. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Hawk.
We recap the bounty angle, which hopefully picks up speed tonight.
Here’s Steve Austin to get things going. Austin came here earlier today and found a note. Someone wants him in the ring at nine o’clock, which means there’s someone back there who wants to physically provoke him. This brings out Test, on crutches, with Stacy Keibler in toe. Test yells at her for taking too long to hold the door open and says he sent the note. He’d love to beat Austin up right now but can’t because of the broken foot. He wants an apology for the injury and another one for what happened to Stacy last week.
Austin gives both of them a middle finger instead and hopes Stacy learned a lesson: what Austin offers you a beer, you either decline with a smile or drink until you pass out. Stacy is about to respond but Test tells her not to speak unless he tells her to. Austin would love to beat up any kind of a man, including a crippled man. A fight is teased but Test won’t provoke him. Instead, Stacy shoves Test into Austin and you know what that means.
Before beer can be consumed, Eric Bischoff comes up on screen to mock Austin for not being able to hit anyone. Austin agrees, so Bischoff suggests they assemble teams for Survivor Series with that rule being gone vs. Austin being gone. The Board of Directors has already approved of this and Bischoff already has Chris Jericho and Scott Steiner signed up for his team. Jericho asks Austin if he’s in and of course the match is on. Stacy intercepts the beer and drinks it herself to Lawler’s delight.
Shane McMahon is waiting for Kane. Egads get us to Survivor Series already so this thing can be done.
Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. La Resistance
The Dudleys are defending and have dedicated the match to Hawk. D-Von and Conway start things off but a blind tag allows Dupree to come in with a dropkick to take over. The flying shoulder is mistimed and turns into a flying forearm instead but it still manages to send Dupree outside. Conway forearms D-Von down though and Dupree adds a Hennig necksnap. He throws in the dance too and of course Bubba is ready to kill him as a result. Bubba is likely more of a Saturday Night Fever fan.
It’s off to the chinlock for a bit until D-Von hits an enziguri (what an odd visual) to escape for the hot tag. That means a Flip Flop and Fly but D-Von gets crotched on top so the French guys can take over again. The double spinebuster gets two and there’s the USA chant. For some reason that doesn’t fire Conway up as he’s taken down with a reverse implant DDT. The Doomsday Device retains the titles.
Rating: D. The ending was a nice moment as you can imagine how big of an influence the Legion of Doom was on the Dudleys. La Resistance is better with Conway in the lineup but it’s still not like the team is anything more than a middle of the pack act at best. Thankfully they didn’t do another title change here and the Doomsday Device gave me a bit of a smile.
Bischoff gives Jericho and Steiner a pep talk before their tag match tonight. An argument breaks out over who is the leader. That’s the last thing Bischoff wants but Jericho says it’ll be fine.
Evolution promises that the bounty will be collected tonight. Booker T. comes in and says he’s ready to make a statement because the path to the Intercontinental Title begins right now. Randy Orton doesn’t buy it but Booker wants to fight right now.
Booker T. vs. Randy Orton
Joined in progress with Booker chopping Orton, in street clothes, up against the ropes. A hot shot and the backbreaker give Orton two and we hit the double arm crank. Booker is right back with a spinning kick to the face and the side kick but Orton takes the countout.
Rating: D+. This was more of an angle than a match though I could go for seeing more of these two together. Booker being back is a nice addition to the show but it’s not going to matter if he doesn’t have anyone to fight. That being said, he’d be a good choice for the Survivor Series team which is a fine way to get him back to speed.
Post match, Booker volunteers to be on Austin’s team. Makes perfect sense.
Raw World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Goldberg
Shawn is challenging. And never mind as Mark Henry jumps Goldberg during his big entrance. No match.
Post break, Austin finds out what happened (because I guess he was petting his dog) and is ready to go throw Henry out of the building. The match is uncertain.
Chris Jericho/Scott Steiner vs. Rob Van Dam/Lance Storm
Steiner and Van Dam start things off with Scott saying Rob’s arms “don’t have diddly squat”. Those are fighting words so Rob kicks away, followed by a crossbody for an early two. The cartwheel moonsault gets two more and it’s off to Storm for a leg lariat. Jericho comes in and the silence when Storm is on offense is very noticeable. Storm escapes a wristlock by standing on the ropes and backflipping out, meaning it’s time for some posing.
A Steiner distraction lets Jericho knock Storm into the barricade though, followed by a loud whip into the steps. We hit the chinlock as Steiner is already running out of offense. The announcers recap the show as Storm makes his comeback, only to get suplexed right back down. As usual it’s a good looking suplex from Steiner and far more effective when he only uses one. Jericho comes in and does some pushups, followed by the loud chops in the corner.
That’s fine with Storm, who jumps from the mat to the top rope for a back elbow to the jaw. That kind of thing never stops impressing me. Van Dam comes in for the kicks and a northern lights suplex for two on Jericho. The bouncing kick is left short so Jericho grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for two of his own. Everything breaks down with Storm diving onto Steiner and Van Dam flipping out of a Walls attempt. Steiner gets in a chair to Van Dam’s back though and the Lionsault is good for the pin.
Rating: C. I’m still a big fan of Storm (that athleticism is very impressive) but having a gimmick of “I’m not boring anymore” isn’t going to work. He’s just not charismatic (which he himself will admit) and I’m not sure how to turn him into a star that fans want to see. I’m not sure how good of a fit he would be on the Survivor Series team, though that’s definitely where the story seems to be going.
The trainer tells Bischoff that Goldberg might not be able to defend the title. Bischoff thinks it’s an act but Goldberg says it’s on.
JR and King pay tribute to Hawk and Stu Hart.
Video on Stu, with Vince narrating.
Flair is on the phone with someone (presumably Teddy Long) and says no money because Goldberg is still up. There’s a backup option though.
Jericho comes up to Trish Stratus in the back and says there’s no need to thank him for last week. Trish says he doesn’t have to be Chris Jericho here and sincerely thanks him for what he did. Last week wasn’t about Austin though, because Jericho really respects her. Things get a little awkward and they leave. I’m really glad we’re finally to this story as it’s always been a personal favorite.
Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade come in to see Orton about collecting the bounty. They had another idea in mind: beating Orton down and stealing the money. A left hand staggers Orton and the briefcase is stolen.
Post break Orton is panicking when he runs into Flair. Orton doesn’t tell him the truth and says he’ll hang in the back instead of going out there with Flair. Ric wants Orton to show Shawn the money one more time before the title match.
Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Molly Holly/Victoria
Lawler is now referring to Molly as “Molly Hottie”, ignoring those times where he thought she was fat and rather unattractive. Good to see that he found some strong glasses. Trish and Victoria start things off but Molly comes in after just a few seconds. Apparently Trish isn’t a fan of fast tags as she chops Molly in the corner but a Stevie Richards distraction lets the villains take over.
The always cool looking spinning side slam gets two and it’s back to Molly for the same off a swinging neckbreaker. The Molly Go Round misses and that’s enough to bring Lita in. Everything breaks down and Molly gets hiptossed but Stevie sneaks in with a powerbomb to give Victoria the cheap pin on Trish.
Rating: D+. The matches aren’t terrible but it would be nice if someone actually remembered that there’s a title to fight over in this division. I can’t remember the last time Molly defended the thing and I can’t remember the last time she wasn’t considered one of the lower level names in the division, which defeats the point of being a champion. At least there’s a story though, and that’s a lot better than what the division has seen in a long time.
Post match the beatdown stays on with Victoria putting the Women’s Title over Lita’s face. The slingshot legdrop is loaded up but Christian runs in for the save. And the plot thickens.
We look back at Henry attacking Goldberg.
Maven vs. Ric Flair
Maven isn’t waiting for the WOOing and decks Flair in the jaw to start us off. A backdrop on the floor keeps Flair in trouble but the referee grabs Maven’s punch. You know, which is done so consistently. Flair gets in a cheap shot to take over and it’s time to rip the skin off of Maven’s chest in the corner. We hit the chinlock as JR says Cade and Jindrak took advantage of an opportunity. There’s the knee drop but Maven pops up and wins a slugout to near silence. Flair is of course one step ahead though and grabs a rollup with trunks for the fast pin.
Rating: D. Now can we drop the Maven experiment please? There’s no upside to Maven here and he’s nothing more than a jobber to the stars with big eyebrows. The wrestling isn’t any good and losing to Flair in about four minutes isn’t going to make the fans care about his lame offense and low level charisma.
In the back, Orton finally tells Flair what happened but they know they can figure it out before HHH kills them. Cops come running up and we follow them to Kane.
Here’s a cut up Kane in the arena with the cops guarding the entrance. This whole thing with Shane started with Linda, who thought she could stop the monster. Everyone has thought they can control her but Linda found out differently. Linda was squirming for her very life and screaming no, but Kane learned a long time ago that no means yes. Kane likes hurting people and it felt so good.
Now Shane thinks he can stop Kane, but throwing him into a burning dumpster didn’t stop him, just like crashing a limo didn’t do it either. Kane will do anything he wants to Shane and there is no line that he won’t cross. Shane is done at Survivor Series but his pain has just begun.
Jindrak and Cade try to leave but get attacked by HHH with a 2×4.
Post break, HHH comes in to yell at Flair and Orton but Ric blames it all on Orton in a funny bit. HHH actually hands Orton the briefcase again and says don’t let it happen again. They’ll be watching the match in the back and HHH guarantees that the bounty is collected tonight.
Raw World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Goldberg
Shawn is challenging. Goldberg shoves him down with ease to start so Shawn starts sticking and moving. Some kicks to the knees and a dropkick to the side of the head have Goldberg in trouble but he’s right back with a gorilla press. Shawn takes a breather on the floor and he manages to shove Goldberg over the top in a surprising bit of power. Back in and Goldberg launches him into the corner but gets forearmed down. The power vs. speed stuff is working so far.
A powerslam cuts Shawn off but Goldberg is too banged up from the Henry attack. Goldberg scores with a military press but the spear hit the referee because of course it does. The superkick connects (see my previous because of course it does) to put everyone down. We get a replacement referee for the double count, despite Shawn only having been slammed a few times. Cue the returning Batista to send Shawn into the steps as the match is thrown out.
Rating: C-. This didn’t have time to go anywhere and that’s a shame as Shawn would seem to be someone capable of getting the best out of Goldberg. Batista returning is a great thing though as the three man Evolution really wasn’t working. Hopefully he’s gotten better in his time away, as the look is only going to take him so far.
The Batista Bomb plants Goldberg and Batista Pillmanizes Goldberg’s ankle. Evolution comes out and hands Batista the money to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. Much better show than in recent weeks, though that’s not the hardest goal to achieve. The big thing here was they moved things forward towards Survivor Series with Batista returning to injure Goldberg and the announcement of the big elimination match. The wrestling was really pretty lame here but the storytelling was good, which is what matters a lot more in this case. Not a good show, but a step in the right direction.
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