Monday Night Raw
Date: February 14, 2005
Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re back in America but the show is in a bit of a weird place at the moment. It’s the last show before No Way Out, meaning the last show before we can officially begin the Road to Wrestlemania. The fans are chomping at the bit to see Batista finally snap and turn on HHH but we need to go through the motions of acting like Batista might go after JBL instead. The inching forward continues tonight so let’s get to it.
Here’s Chris Jericho in a mock New York Rangers jersey to open things up with the Highlight Reel. The guest this week is Candice Michelle, who is very popular at the moment due to her Go Daddy commercial from the Super Bowl. Jericho talks about all the attention she has been getting since the commercial but Candice doesn’t know what the big deal is about. She teases dancing a bit here and suggests a wardrobe malfunction might happen.
Jericho freaks out over the idea of a bare shoulders. Candice takes her shoulder straps down, giving us a GREAT CAESAR’S GHOST from Jericho. Cue Muhammad Hassan though and Jericho doesn’t seem pleased. The fans give him a USA chant and Hassan calls it hypocrisy. Not the fans chanting USA to an Arab American and proving his point, but Candice being cheered while he received no accolades for beating Sgt. Slaughter. This is part of the dumbing down of America and Jericho is the poster child of stupidity (I’m having Dean Douglas flashbacks).
Jericho thinks they have a lot in common. See, Hassan and Daivari are Arab Americans and he is the Ayatollah of rock and rollah. Jericho: “You still have penises right?” Daivari rants and points but Jericho doesn’t play on that side of the fence. Jericho has seen the way they look at each other and gets the idea: Daivari is Hassan’s special Valentine! The match is on after the break.
Chris Jericho vs. Muhammad Hassan
Joined in progress with Hassan getting dropped with a belly to back suplex followed by a regular one for the arrogant two. The Walls attempt doesn’t work so Jericho hits a springboard shoulder to knock him off the apron. A Daivari distraction lets Hassan get in a backbreaker though and it’s time to start in on the ribs. It’s kind of amazing how much easier Hassan is to watch when he’s in a match that might mean something.
The shots to the back are cut off with a spinwheel kick and Jericho hits the running crotch attack to the back. The Flashback looks to finish Hassan but Daivari has the referee. That earns him a springboard dropkick, but the distraction lets Hassan hit the Downward Spiral for the pin.
Rating: D+. I said it was easier to watch but that doesn’t make it good. Hassan’s matches just don’t have many good qualities to them and when the promos are the exact same thing every week, he’s just not going to get very far. I know WWE thinks this is the best idea they’ve had in a good while because it ties into the real world news of the moment, but it’s really not working because they’re not letting it go beyond the stereotypical characteristics.
HHH is ready for a fight because JBL is on his way here to confront Batista. Ric Flair goes to tell Batista and HHH is upset because this is an insult to Evolution.
Announced for the Hall of Fame: Roddy Piper. He has to be there.
Randy Orton talks to Stacy Keibler and she calls him trouble. Stacy asks him if he’d like to do something after the show and Orton is down. These two have less chemistry than an English class.
Flair interrupts Batista flirting with Maria and doesn’t care about JBL showing up. That’s cool with Flair, who says if JBL becomes too big of a problem, Batista can just beat him at Wrestlemania. Batista hasn’t made his mind up yet but he will next week. As for tonight though, Batista wants HHH to stay out of it with JBL. He’s smart, looking intimidating and has a backbone. More reasons why he got over as much as he did.
Intercontinental Title: Shelton Benjamin vs. Gene Snitsky
Benjamin is defending and kicks away to start, setting up the Stinger Splash in the corner. Snitsky kicks him down though and we hit the chinlock, which doesn’t last very long. A middle rope elbow misses Shelton and JR goes into a rant about Piper having the character to go into the Hall of Fame.
Shelton hits a great looking top rope clothesline for two as a fan holds up a Jay Mariotti Fears Woody Paige sign (ESPN fans might get that one). Snitsky’s pumphandle powerslam is broken up so he kicks Shelton in the face for two instead. That means some yelling at the referee, followed by a nasty chair shot to the head for the DQ.
Rating: D. Well it’s better than watching Shelton vs. Maven all over again. Benjamin is still one of the smoothest performers in wrestling and someone who can make anything he does look great. Snitsky is fine as a monster and just getting him away from Kane is a huge improvement. The rematch won’t be great but at least there’s a story to get us there.
Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. William Regal/Tajiri
Regal and Tajiri are defending after having won the titles last week. Conway punches Regal to start and it’s quickly off to Grenier for a headlock. Since it’s just a headlock, Tajiri comes in for some kicks (which look good as always) to take over. Conway tries to come back in to draw Regal in as well, allowing a neckbreaker from behind to take Tajiri down. The chinlock doesn’t last long as Tajiri fights up and hits the handspring elbow. Regal comes back in and it’s forearms a go-go, plus the knee trembler to finish Conway and retain the titles in a hurry.
Rating: D+. They really need to get away from La Resistance now as they’ve been beaten so many times that the value is gone. I know that means they need to build up some new challengers and that isn’t their strong suit, but they need to do something fresh. Regal and Tajiri don’t feel like long term champions and Tajiri is just Eugene’s replacement, but there is no one who is taking the titles at the moment.
Randy Orton vs. Christian
They’re not wasting as much time with backstage stuff this week. Tyson Tomko is out with Christian, who shoves Orton to start and gets punched in the face. That means more right hands on the mat as Orton is keeping it simple here. A headlock keeps Christian in place and Orton does it again as they seem to have some time for this one. Christian gets back up and chokes in the corner but takes too much time slapping his chest, allowing Orton to punch some more.
Tomko’s distraction doesn’t work as Christian charges into another right hand but Christian finally gets a backdrop to the floor. That lets Tomko make up for his general ineptness with a whip into the steps as we take a break. Back with Tomko having been ejected and Christian (sporting a big welt on the side of his head) grabbing a chinlock. A dropkick and neckbreaker get two each and it’s the chinlock sequel. The reverse DDT gets two more so Christian steps on his head in frustration.
You don’t do that to someone so Orton whips him chest first into the buckle and they’re both down. Orton’s comeback is on with a dropkick and backdrop, plus a long series of forearms to the chest. The great looking high crossbody gets two but Christian dodges a charge to send him into the post. Christian goes for the buckle so here’s Tomko for a big boot to give him two. Orton’s backbreaker sets up a failed RKO attempt, so Orton leapfrogs over him and hits the RKO for the pin.
Rating: B. These two have always worked well together and Christian is getting something out of these matches. It’s the kind of push where he might not be winning but he’s establishing that he can hang with top stars. That and the still funny promos are going to make him a bigger star and the push is seemingly waiting in the wings.
Eric Bischoff is on the phone with Theodore Long, who he accuses of sending JBL here. That’s fine with Eric because Batista will deal with JBL just fine. Edge comes in to complain about everyone talking about Batista. Last week, Batista cost him the world Title and tonight Edge is going to beat him again. Then JBL can come in and beat Batista up so Batista will sign to face JBL at Wrestlemania. Bischoff thinks that’s unlikely but lets Edge go on. If Edge wins, he should get the World Title shot at Wrestlemania. Bischoff doesn’t say anything, as the logic isn’t strong with this one.
Video on the Japan tour.
Here’s Trish Stratus for a chat. Last week during the Divas fashion show, she realized that the new women are trying to steal her spotlight. It doesn’t matter if you’re Brittney Freaking Spears, no one is doing that to her. Trish wants Christy Hemme out here right now because the Women’s Champion wants to say something. Christy comes out with JR praising her personality. Lawler: “THAT’S WHAT YOU NOTICE ABOUT HER???”
Trish brings up a word that the fans used to chant at her, which starts up all over again because there is strong power of suggestion in wrestling. That word (s***) is Christy’s now because she has agreed to pose in Playboy. Christy is giggling with pride and thinks people will want to see the magazine. That doesn’t make the chant apply to her though. Sleeping with half the locker room like Trish does though. A big slap drops Christy as WWE’s inability to go a few months without a women’s storyline involving sex amazes me.
We look back at the end of last week’s show with Batista costing Edge the World Title match.
Kane vs. Simon Dean
Before the match, Simon nearly cries about how his career is probably about to end. Worry not though, because he will continue to produce the Simon System. If you don’t believe in him, he sentences you to a life of obesity! Kane is tired of listening and starts the stalking so Dean hides behind the referee. A glare at said referee allows Simon to throw powder in Kane’s eyes. Kane doesn’t mind and kicks him in the face as the pain is imminent. The chokeslam is loaded up but Kane stops for some pushups. Now the chokeslam can finish Dean in a hurry.
We look back at the videos from JBL and Big Show, which don’t please Batista.
Earlier today, Coach annoyed Shawn Michaels (who looks weird in a suit) about Kurt Angle bragging over what happened at the Royal Rumble. Shawn suggests Angle focus on his match at No Way Out, even though Shawn has some incredible talent of his own.
HHH asks Batista about JBL. Batista wants to handle it himself but HHH says this is about all of Evolution. Tonight, Batista can worry about Edge and HHH will deal with JBL. Batista leaves and HHH says he has his back.
Chris Masters is coming.
Batista vs. Edge
HHH is at ringside. Edge’s headlock is broken up by Batista just lifting him into the air and it’s time to hammer in the corner. They head outside with Edge grabbing an Edge O Matic on the floor for a rather sick thud. Back in and Edge chokes on the rope, followed by a neckbreaker for two.
We hit the cravate for a bit until Batista powers up with a World’s Strongest Slam. A shoulder looks to set up the spinebuster but Edge reverses into the Edgecution. The spinebuster cuts off the spear and the Batista Bomb connects….as JBL’s limo arrives. HHH comes in and shoves the referee down and that’s a rather abrupt DQ.
Rating: D+. This didn’t have time to go anywhere and the ending was just there to protect both guys. That was about the only option they had other than Edge walking out so I can live with the lame DQ for a change. Batista and JBL isn’t likely to happen but it’s a box they need to check off before we can get to a bigger story.
Post match Flair waves Batista and HHH to the back with HHH saying this is about Evolution. Batista says it’s about him vs. JBL but here’s the limo to try and run Batista over. HHH shoves him out of the way as the limo drives off. Batista is ticked off and promises to go to Smackdown on his own to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. The holding pattern continues and there is only so much that Orton vs. Christian could do to save the rest of the show. That being said, this is pretty definitively the last show before we get to the stuff that really matters. Wrestlemania is coming and it’s going to be all about Batista, which is exactly what the fans want. The contract signing next week is going to change everything and it’s time to get things moving. This show wasn’t good, but it’s not like that is going to matter beyond next Monday.
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