Monday Night Raw – November 3, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 3, 2003
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

The slow road to Survivor Series continues but you can at least see where most things are heading. In this case we have Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff with several members of both teams already announced. Other than that it’s Goldberg vs. HHH for the World Title and Shane McMahon vs. Kane for the sake of pushing Shane. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Rob Van Dam/Booker T. vs. Chris Jericho/Christian

Those horrible Canadians come in through the crowd for a blindside attack but get sent outside for their efforts. Rob dives onto the two of them and Booker elbows Christian in the face for two. It’s off to Rob for some kicks to Jericho’s jaw but Christian saves Booker’s spinning kick. A double noggin knocker (I never get tired of saying that) has the Canadians in trouble but Christian is right back with a dropkick for two on Booker as the villains finally take over.

We hit the chinlock for a bit before Booker gets in another kick (we get it already) and it’s off to Rob for even more kicks. Rob throws them into each other and hits a big flip dive off the top to take Christian down. The split legged moonsault gets two on Jericho and there’s the Spinarooni because that’s a logical offensive strategy. Jericho uses the dance break to send Booker outside and the sleeper drop (with Christian holding Rob’s foot) gets the pin.

Rating: C. Not bad at all with a nice preview of the upcoming Survivor Series match. There’s not much else you can do to set up the match so you might as well throw them out there for some basic matches like this. The cheating finish helps too as it makes Austin even more paranoid, which is often the best Austin.

Austin isn’t happy and runs into Coach, who accepts the offer of the post match interview. That’s fine, but Coach needs to remember that if Austin’s team loses, he has nothing to lose. Now Austin has to do something he never thought he would do.

Molly Holly isn’t worried about losing the title to Lita because the comeback story isn’t happening. She slaps Terri and beats her into the arena and down the ramp. Terri fights back for a few seconds until Lita runs out for the save. Cue Gail Kim in disguise as a fan to hit Lita with a wrench. A double DDT plants Lita, because that’s much more effective than HITTING HER WITH THE WRENCH.

Austin comes in to see Shawn Michaels and asks if Shawn knows what’s going on. Shawn says yes so Austin explains the whole story to him. That’s rather un-Austin of him. Shawn: “Your point?” Austin says he has four guys but Shawn isn’t following him. An uncomfortable Austin can’t bring himself to ask Shawn for help so Michaels does it for him.

Austin FINALLY makes the invite so Shawn talks about their time as a tag team (there’s a period you don’t hear about very often). That annoys Austin even more but he finally says he needs Shawn. The only answer is that Austin has a problem on his hands. Oh and he’s in. This was awkward but I liked Shawn messing with Austin, who isn’t in this position very often.

Lita is getting her neck looked at when a concerned Christian comes in. She doesn’t seem to care one way or another.

Some kid named LeBron James is in the front row. I’m not familiar.

Batista vs. Maven

Maven charges at the ring and flails away with forearms to the back until a spinebuster puts the world back as it should be. Batista sends him into the steps and then onto the apron, followed by a hard clothesline. Maven’s right hands have no effect and Batista clotheslines him out of the air. A powerbomb (not yet the Batista Bomb) ends Maven in short order.

Kane is next to an ambulance and explains the concept of an ambulance match. He asks if Shane knows what that’s like….and we go to a first person perspective of someone being loaded into an ambulance. Kane promises Shane is going to the hospital DOA.

Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade are ready to beat the Dudleys, even if the Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line. Can we at least get them matching gear?

Dudley Boyz vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak

Non-title. Jindrak and D-Von start things off with a flying shoulder putting Mark down. Cade comes in and gets elbowed down as this isn’t looking good for the rookies. It’s off to Bubba for a legsweep which seems to fire him up for some reason. Cade gets in his own middle rope shoulder for two as the announcers ignore the match to talk about Shawn and Austin. For once, that’s perfectly acceptable as it’s almost impossible to get interested in these two.

A snapmare takes D-Von down and Cade, with a bloody mouth, grabs a chinlock. Back up and D-Von suplexes his way to freedom. Bubba cleans house off the hot tag but here’s Scott Steiner to gorilla press Stacy Keibler on the stage. The distraction lets Jindrak get in a cheap shot and rollup for the pin.

Rating: D. Nothing to see here but I’ll give them points for actually trying something with Jindrak and Cade. I mean, they’re not trying the right stuff but at least they’re trying something. If nothing else at least they set up the Bischoff vs. Austin match a little more, which is a good idea as we’re so close to the pay per view.

There are chairs and a table in the ring for a sitdown interview between Austin and Bischoff. Eric eventually comes out and says he’s been finalizing some details. That would be the fifth member of his team, who recently beat the fifth member of Austin’s team. Cue Randy Orton, who says he’s a legend killer about to take down the biggest legend of all in Austin. Steve is ready to go fight but Bischoff says that can’t happen, which is why they’re fighting at Survivor Series.

The contract is signed and Bischoff says for once, Austin has to trust someone. Austin says he hasn’t been himself in a long time but he also lives by the idea of beating up as many people as possible. If he can’t be his old self, he might as well hang it up for good. He thinks it’s worth the risk and win or lose, Bischoff is ready for a beating. More threats wrap things up. Austin having to change is interesting, but they’re running out of ways to keep him around like this without having him wrestle, which is of course impossible.

Post break Batista tells Austin that he doesn’t fight anymore because of guys like him, not some contractual mandate. Austin has lost his nerve.

Rico vs. Lance Storm

Val Venis is at ringside, accompanied by some ladies. Jerry thinks he saw some of them on “Spank-o-Vision” the other night. Lance wastes no time in hitting a leg lariat but gets kicked in the face for his efforts. A running knee to the face gives Rico two and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Storm scores with a clothesline and the half crab makes Rico tap.

Post match Lance dances with Val and his ladies. I’m sure this is going to go somewhere.

Chris Jericho and Trish Stratus run into each other in the back with Chris talking about trying to get Trish’s number. Trish says all he had to do is ask and Jericho smiles. He’s worried about her having to team with John Heidenreich (now with a contract) tonight because John is always talking about Little Johnny. It’s cool though because she saw Little Johnny earlier today. Jericho panics but Heidenreich comes in and says their match is up next. Trish says she’ll see Jericho later.

Video on the recent tour of Ohio.

Trish Stratus/John Heidenreich vs. Steven Richards/Victoria

The guys start things off as JR can’t figure out what Little Johnny is. A spinning atomic drop puts Richards on the floor and Heidenreich is fired u. That means it’s off to Trish vs. Victoria with Trish hammering away as Jericho looks on approvingly from the back. The threat of Stratusfaction draws Richards in for a cheap shot and Trish is in trouble. Victoria goes old school with an over the shoulder backbreaker into a Dominator for two as Jericho is getting more and more nervous.

Trish finally gets away and makes the hot tag off to Heidenreich so some house can be cleaned. Something like a Boss Man Slam gives him two but Trish has to pull Victoria off of John’s back. There’s the Thesz press off the apron (Jerry: “I THINK I SAW A PUPPY!”), leaving Heidenreich to finish with a powerbomb (to the side instead of forward) for the pin.

Rating: D. Heidenreich has a good look and some power and right now, that’s all he needs to be doing. The Trish and Jericho thing is just getting started and that’s one of the coolest things that WWE has going right now. It’s actual character development and I want to see how awesome it gets over the next few weeks. Victoria vs. Trish on the other hand….not too much as I’ve just seen it too often.

Austin is now guest referee for Shawn vs. Henry.

Raw half of the Survivor Series rundown.

Sgt. Slaughter gives Kane a letter from Shane McMahon. Kane reads it and laughs, saying the invitation for next week is accepted.

Shawn Michaels vs. Mark Henry

Austin is guest enforcer on the floor. They waste no time in locking up and Henry easily powers him into the corner. Shawn goes for the knee but makes the mistake of charging at Henry and getting taken down. The quick left hands have some more success but Teddy Long grabs Shawn’s foot.

Henry gets low bridged to the floor and Austin ejects Long. A posting has Shawn in trouble and Henry takes his head off with a clothesline for two. The bearhug goes on and Shawn’s chops get him out for a bit, only to have Henry whip him into the corner. Henry pulls him off the top in a heap but misses a Vader Bomb, setting up Sweet Chin Music for the pin.

Rating: C-. Shawn could do this match in his sleep and as usual, his selling was perfectly fine to get to the ending. I don’t think anyone was expecting Henry to do anything but power stuff here and that’s all he should be trying at this point. Not a good match or anything, but Shawn made it much better than probably anyone else was going to do at this point.

Post match Austin has something to say, albeit without Shawn in the ring. Austin calls Batista out and after a break, the fight is on. Batista is tossed to the floor and Henry comes back in for a Stunner, allowing Batista to stomp Austin down. Cue a limping Goldberg with a chair to cave in Henry’s skull, followed by spears to Batista and Flair. Austin offers a beer and Goldberg agrees….for a match against Batista next week. The match is made to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Not the worst show in the world but they’re setting things up for Survivor Series. That being said, they’re not even hiding that Austin vs. Bischoff is the big match, even though Goldberg vs. HHH is going to main event because HHH must main event. The rest of the show isn’t great, but when you have twelve people (plus the unofficial Batista) connected to one match, there’s not much else you can do. I’m getting more interested in Survivor Series though and that’s happening at the right time.

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