Monday Night Raw
Date: October 27, 2003
Location: Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Evolution is back to full strength and Goldberg is down to one ankle after last week. Batista made his return from a long injury layoff to collect the bounty on Goldberg. That sets HHH up very well as we head towards Survivor Series, though we don’t have much set up for the show just yet. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the bounty being cashed in last week. Batista’s return went as well as it could have and makes him look like a killer in the process. This is set to what used to be Rey Mysterio’s WCW music, which must be public domain as it pops up every so often.
There’s a cage above the ring. Lawler: “Why is the cage here?” Maybe because there’s a cage match scheduled?
Here’s Evolution minus HHH and of course the fans are very happy to see Ric Flair. We get right to the point (how nice for a change) with Flair saying Goldberg won’t be here tonight. The fans seem rather indifferent, or at worst happy with the news. Batista was the man who did that and says that Goldberg shouldn’t see that as a negative. Instead he should think of it as an honor because HHH was impressed enough to want him taken out.
Batista is that much better than Goldberg and it was him who had all those near misses over the last few weeks. Orton wants to know who the champion is now because Goldberg is DONE. In all fairness it should go back to HHH but here’s Eric Bischoff instead, carrying a bag. Bischoff rants about losing Goldberg, the man he depends on to defend the title around the world. Do you know what losing him does to Bischoff? It makes him the happiest man on the planet.
Goldberg speared Bischoff in this very ring so Eric is very pleased with these results. He pulls the title out of the bag and, since Goldberg can’t defend the title in thirty days, the new champion is…well hang on as here’s Steve Austin to interrupt. Austin reaches into the bag and pulls out a middle finger for Bischoff. Goldberg isn’t going to be stripped of the title because he’s going to be defending it at Survivor Series against HHH.
Flair is livid, despite what should be the biggest layup in the world. Austin: “Settle down before you blow your pacemaker.” That’s the bottom line and Austin goes to leave but Batista says hang on a second. That kind of disrespect sounds like Austin is looking for physical provocation. A fight is teased but here are Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade (because WWE doesn’t learn lessons) to attack Orton and Flair.
Trish Stratus and Lita, in their underwear for obvious reasons, talk about Chris Jericho and Christian’s recent changes of heart. Lita is going to go see what she can find out.
Booker T. vs. Rico
Miss Jackie grabs Booker’s foot to start and Rico fires off the kicks to start. A chinlock goes nowhere as Jerry wants Rico to go back in the closet. The ax kick misses, Rico’s big kick misses and the ax kick finishes Rico in short order.
Post match here’s Jericho to yell at Booker for being on the wrong team at Survivor Series. He brings out the rest of Team Bischoff, now including Christian and Scott Steiner. Jericho wants the cage lowered and the big beatdown is on. Rob Van Dam comes in for the save and declares himself the newest member of Team Austin. That match is really starting to take shape.
Post break Jericho is yelling at Bischoff over Van Dam interfering. Jericho’s solution? Let him win the Intercontinental Title tonight. Bischoff agrees.
Mark Henry vs. Lance Storm
Teddy Long and Henry aren’t happy at losing the $100,000 last week and it’s time to get some payback. Henry throws him around for a few moments until Shawn Michaels runs in and superkicks Henry for the DQ. So much for Storm’s push.
Heidenreich is ready to team with Hurricane in his tag match. Hurricane mentions Little Johnny but he couldn’t be here tonight. Rosey comes up to take a picture of them and Hurricane mentions Johnny being Heidenreich’s son. Actually that’s not right and Heidenreich whispers the real story in Hurricane’s ear. The jaw drops and Rosey takes the picture, leaving Hurricane to say “and people say I’M weird for wearing a cape?”
Lita goes up to Christian in the back and wants to know what happened last week. Christian was reading her book and there’s a picture of the two of them holding hands. Apparently there was a bit of history but Lita acts like it’s nothing now. She leaves for her match, a bit flustered.
Shane McMahon has a match with a mystery opponent tonight and hopes it’s Kane.
Hurricane/Heidenreich vs. La Resistance
Conway jumps Hurricane as he tries to give his mask away but something like a backslide into the Eye of the Hurricane puts Conway down instead. Hurricane isn’t done and hits a big flip dive over the top to take Dupree down as well. Back in and Conway scores with a hanging swinging neckbreaker to really take over as Heidenreich tries to come in for the save.
We hit the USA chants (from the Army, Air Force and Marines members in the crowd) until a clothesline cuts Hurricane down for two more. It’s off to the chinlock as the announcers start with the FRANCE SUCKS jokes. A neckbreaker gets Hurricane out of trouble and it’s Heidenreich coming in to clean house. Conway eats a bicycle kick for two and a Rock Bottom is enough to put him away.
Rating: D+. Fairly boring here but good grief I’m sick of the RAH RAH RAH USA USA USA matches. I know Vince loves that kind of stuff but it’s getting a little hard to take. If nothing else, have someone better than La Resistance as the evil anti-Americans. They’ve lost most of their last few matches and it’s getting harder and harder to care.
Post match Heidenreich breaks up an attempt to wave the French flag.
Shane McMahon vs. ???
No DQ and the mystery opponent is…..Test? Well maybe not as he has a broken foot and is on crutches while wearing street clothes. He’s here to introduce the mystery opponent tonight and it’s….Test. Uh, ok then. Shane peppers him with left hands and stomps on the bad foot, sending Test to the floor to call for backup.
Shane goes up top and loads up a dive but Test pulls Stacy in front of him. With Test shouting for Kane (by name), Shane hammers away until Test sends him into the steps. But now, let’s wait for Test to shout for Kane again. A full nelson slam plants Shane but rather than covering, TEST SHOUTS FOR KANE.
It’s weapons time with Test in control until Stacy slows him down. The distraction lets Shane get in a few shots and load up the Van Terminator. Kane’s pyro goes off and Test gets in a crutch shot for two. The pumphandle slam is countered into a DDT onto the trashcan for two more and they’re both rocked. Shane chairs him into the corner and now the Van Terminator connects for the pin.
Rating: D. Let me make sure I’ve got this straight: we spent months on Test vs. Steiner and the next step is Test getting to job to Shane on Raw? I still have no idea why this needs to be Shane when he could be any given wrestler. He’s better than Stephanie due to the more logical motivation and having better matches but still, this could be anyone else who needs the spotlight.
Post match Shane accuses Kane of being scared. He should be scared, but he should be showing his face. If Kane won’t come out, he’ll offer a demonstration. That means beating Test up even more and crushing his foot on the steps with a chair. This brings Kane to the stage but no further. Shane announces that Survivor Series will be an ambulance match, which is even dumber than what they’ve been doing so far.
Trish Stratus vs. Lita vs. Gail Kim vs. Victoria
#1 contenders match. Lita knees Victoria in the corner and Trish gets two off a spinebuster. Molly, in jeans, a leather jacket and a low cut top (by her standards) is watching from the stage. That’s a rather nice look for her. Trish’s rollup gets two on Victoria and takes her down with a headscissors out of the corner.
Stevie Richards takes Trish down though and Lita gets double teamed. A powerbomb gets two on Gail and the Widow’s Peak gets the same on Lita. Victoria and Gail get in a fight with Kim being sent outside, leaving Lita to grab a DDT for the pin. Too short to rate, but it’s as rushed as you would imagine a four way that doesn’t even last three minutes to be.
Coach is getting his makeup done while reading Austin’s new book.
Video on Hawk.
Here’s Coach to review the book. He even has a podium with The Coach’s Book Review on a sign. Coach calls most of the statements in the book lies, focusing on Bischoff firing Austin from WCW. Cue Austin to offer Coach a free shot but Coach offers him the same thing. Austin has to decline but after his team wins at Survivor Series, he’d like Coach to do the post match interview because it’s the first face Austin wants to see.
Jindrak and Cade are ready to win so here’s Shawn to give them a pep talk. They go off for their match when Teddy comes in to yell about Shawn superkicking Henry. Teddy wants Henry vs. the “Heart Break Cracker” next week. Shawn says he could have cut off the rhetoric “you feel me playa?” Teddy: “Holla.” Teddy leaves so here’s Bischoff to have security escort Shawn from the arena.
JR and King thank the fans for their viewership as Raw was the highest rated cable show of the week.
Mark Jindrak/Garrison Cade vs. Ric Flair/Randy Orton
Orton and Jindrak start things off but hang on a second as MAVEN, the definition of inspiration, is here to cancel out Batista. Make your own jokes, but that speaks for itself. Cade comes in and gets stomped down before it’s off to Flair (in red, meaning he’s likely losing) for an elbow to the jaw. Orton’s dropkick gets two but a double clothesline allows the hot tag to Jindrak.
Some very nice dropkicks have Evolution in trouble but Flair rolls Jindrak up. The referee is busy though so Maven comes in, runs at Flair with his arm extended, BARELY grazes Ric’s hair, and somehow turns the rollup over to give Jindrak the pin. I had to rewind the video a few times to see how Maven could have possibly missed that. Flair didn’t duck, so yes, Maven managed to miss a still target on a running clothesline.
Rating: D. The ending is absolutely the right call (though Maven needs target practice) as the young guys getting a pin is a good thing. However, they’re just so boring and uninteresting that their win is only going to get them so far. Give them a team name (or better names in general) or some matching gear or a gimmick of some sort. Just do SOMETHING because they’re putting me to sleep.
Evolution wrecks the boring guys post match. Batista looks very good dominating people here.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
Rob is defending and wastes no time with a spinning crossbody out of the corner. Jericho blocks a charge with a raised boot and a jumping enziguri gets two. They’re not exactly wasting any time here. We hit the double arm crank on the champ but Rob is quickly out and avoiding a charge into the post to send Jericho’s shoulder into the steel. Back up and the Five Star misses so Jericho can sneak in a low blow. The Walls go on but here’s Bischoff to distract the referee. As you might expect, Van Dam’s rope grab isn’t seen and Jericho pulls him back to the middle of the ring for the tap.
Rating: C-. It was fun while it lasted but it didn’t last long at all. I know Van Dam was in the ropes but he’s tapping out in less than five minutes? That’s quite the stretch and while I can buy it, you know this is going to be setting up a rematch and that’s not the worst thing in the world. These two work well enough together that I’d like to see them go at it again.
Hang on a second as Austin comes out and makes the rematch RIGHT NOW….inside of that steel cage. Bischoff runs up the ramp to yell at Austin but trips into him by mistake, meaning the chase is on.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
Jericho is defending inside a cage. Joined in progress with Rob in trouble thanks to the weakened back. A missed dropkick makes things even worse and Jericho drops an elbow for good measure. It’s off to the backbreaker with Jericho bending the back over his knee (thank goodness for mixing up the holds) as the back is banged up even worse.
Rob sends him into the cage a few times for his first offense but it’s too early to go over the top. Instead Jericho pulls him down and slams him off the top. This time it’s Jericho going up but Rob pulls him back down and they fall down to the mat in a double heap. Rob pulls him in again and superkicks him off the ropes before going over the top. Jericho goes for the door but Rob kicks it into his head and wins the title back.
Rating: D+. Well ok then. I guess the idea here is to show the power struggle between Bischoff and Austin, just in case the last four months didn’t explain that in enough detail. The match was, again, too short to mean anything but at least they both get a second reign out of the thing. That Jericho reign is probably shorter than Dean Douglas’ though, so at least we got some history out of the thing.
Post match Christian and Steiner come in to destroy Van Dam. Cue the Dudleys through the crowd to even things up but Mark Henry comes in as well. Teddy locks the cage as the beating is on so here’s Booker T. to dive off the top of the cage. Henry shrugs it off and hits a bunch of World’s Strongest Slams to end the show. They certainly added to that match in a hurry.
Overall Rating: D. This is a give and take show. While there’s nothing good in the way of wrestling, there is a clear plan for where most (if not all) of these stories are going. You can see a lot of Survivor Series from here and that’s a major upgrade over the meandering stories that basically came down to “how can we make HHH look good”. While not a good show, it’s actually a positive sign for the future and that’s not something you get too often on Raw.
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