Monday Night Raw – April 25, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 25, 2005
Location: NEC Arena, Birmingham, England
Attendance: 10,500
Commentators: Jonathan Coachman, Jerry Lawler

We’re over in England this week for the go home show for Backlash. I’m not sure what to expect this week, but you can probably bet on a slow form HHH promo where he talks about how incredible the Pedigree is. Other than that, we need to get ready for the pay per view, which isn’t the strongest card so far. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Coach is here after JR got beaten up last week.

Here’s Batista to open things up for a change. He’s here to honor a great man who gives his body to the business. That would be Jim Ross, who managed to do last week what it took Batista two years to do: beat HHH. Batista even puts on JR’s hat for a visual which works more than it should. Why didn’t JR tell us that he had wrestling skills? JR beat a ten time World Champion last week and that means a JR chant.

Cue HHH so Batista gives JR his hat back because things are getting serious. HHH talks about how serious this is, so Batista says he’ll defend the title against JR at Backlash instead. Since HHH can’t get a joke, Batista shows us the clip of JR getting the pin last week and raises his hand. HHH’s jacket comes off and the fight is almost on but HHH bails instead. The JR stuff was amusing and Batista needling HHH is always funny.

JR takes over for Coach on commentary.

We recap Viscera helping Trish last week and earning some, ahem, favors, in return.

Viscera and Trish Stratus are out to dinner together, though Viscera has to apologize for being late because he was buying condoms (and it’s about a ten pack). More on this later, thank goodness.

Chris Jericho vs. Sylvain Grenier

Grenier starts fast with a flapjack so Jericho chops away, only to get suplexed right back down for two. The chinlock goes on a minute in, because Grenier can’t go more than a minute without a chinlock. Jericho fights up with some forearms and the bulldog, followed by the enziguri. Conway gets in the distraction though, only to have Jericho slap on the Walls for the fast win. Just a step above a squash but at least they didn’t do anything ridiculous.

Post match the double teaming is on but Shelton Benjamin runs in for the save. Jericho isn’t exactly grateful so Shelton gives him a t-bone. Kind of a mixed message there no? Shelton: “WHO’S YOUR B**** NOW???”

Back at the restaurant, Trish thanks Viscera for what happened last week so orders bangers and mash in a Cockney accent. Viscera tells her that he is a banger who likes to mash, so Trish calls him the horniest guy on the planet. Viscera orders an entire page of the menu.

Christian and Tyson Tomko are in the back when Ric Flair comes in and tells Christian to take care of Batista tonight. Don’t worry though because Christian has this and he doesn’t need HHH’s help. The fans seem rather pleased by this one. A fight nearly breaks out but Tomko gets rid of Flair.

We look at Backlash tickets going on sale.

Here are Christian and Tomko for a chat. After saying Canadians are smarter than Brits, Christian talks about how he won’t have any problems doing what HHH can’t do: beating Batista with a real finisher. Then he’s heading to Smackdown to beating the Ali G ripoff John Cena, because that’s how he rolls. Cue Kane to beat up Tomko as Christian runs off.

Lita can’t wait for Trish to finally get what she deserves.

Christian is hiding from Kane and asks Flair for some help. HHH comes out but rather angrily tells Christian that they can talk business.

And now, the Masterlock Challenge, because it worked so well last week. The money is offered (pounds instead of dollars), the plant is pulled from the audience, and Masters wins. This takes several minutes.

In the back, Coach asks how long it is going to take Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan to self destruct. Shawn doesn’t buy it because they have big egos after they’ve done it all. Coach is tossed out and Shawn introduces Hogan, who introduces Gene Okerlund for the formal interview. Shawn talks about looking around the locker room last week and needing someone to fight with him. That’s why he asked about Hogan two weeks ago right?

Hogan talks about the Hall of Fame and the fans wanting one more match. After hanging out with Big Ben and eating some tea and crumpets, he had to give the fans what they wanted and deal with Muhammad and Daivari. So what are you gonna do? Shawn not being able to tear the shirt is funny at least. Just a quick hype interview for the big tag match.

Here are a bunch of Divas with Christy Hemme saying they’re here to party. They call out the ladies of the Daily Star, with Lawler rather approving of their status as Page Three girls. I can get that as they’re rather fetching, but would anyone like to have a match anytime soon? We’re over an hour into the show and we’ve had one match which didn’t even last three minutes.

They’re all here to promote William Regal’s new book (which is incredible) so here he is in person, with Tajiri as a bonus. Regal is at his hammy best here, soaking in the home country cheers and encouraging them a bit. Dancing ensues but here are Hassan and Daivari to cut them off. As Regal’s eyes bug out, Hassan accuses England of being a follower of all things America. Challenge, accepted.

Muhammad Hassan/Khosrow Daivari vs. William Regal/Tajiri

Non-title. Joined in progress with Regal beating up both of them so the villains take a quick breather on the floor. Tajiri comes in for a standing moonsault onto Daivari but it’s quickly off to Hassan to take over on Regal. The slow beatdown ensues as we see a pro Waylon Mercy sign in the crowd. Daivari gets two off a neckbreaker but it’s a collision with Hassan for a double knockdown. Regal kicks Daivari away and the hot tag brings in Tajiri for the rapid fire kicks. The Downward Spiral plants Tajiri though and Hassan knocks Regal down on the floor. Daivari’s guillotine legdrop finishes Tajiri.

Rating: D. And that pretty much ends anything Regal and Tajiri could do with the titles. The best thing that can be said here is that Regal, the hometown boy who has a book coming out and is a champion, didn’t take the fall in this non-title match which could have had any other team putting Hassan and Daivari over. I know the tag division doesn’t mean anything, but I’d love to hear how this was the best solution they had.

Post match the beatdown stays on with no Hogan to make the save, because that interview earlier was backstage in another country.

Back at the restaurant, Trish asks Viscera what his name means. It means inner organs, but his outer organ works just fine. Trish is scared off so she offers to knock Christy Hemme out so Viscera can do whatever to her. As we move past that as fast as possible, Viscera asks her to dance and destroys a tray of dishes by mistake. Viscera: “Uh, check please?”

Edge vs. Val Venis

Edge jumps him before the bell and kicks Venis in the face as we get one of those awesome British chants that I can’t understand. We’re already on the chinlock as the fans switch to a HARDY chant. Val fights up with a hot shot and clothesline as the fans just go away for the comeback. A half nelson slam looks to set up the Money Shot but Edge gets the knees up. The spear finishes Venis.

Rating: D. Just a quick match here and it wasn’t very good. It’s almost strange to see Edge win a regular match like this as Venis could have been anyone here. This doesn’t really do much to set up Edge vs. Benoit on Sunday but it was nice to throw a little curve in there for a change.

Post match Edge puts on a leglock and ignores the chants for Matt. Edge switches to a Crossface for some salt rubbing until Benoit comes in for the save and brawl.

HHH, Christian and Flair come in to see Coach, who is now guest referee. Flair will be guest timekeeper and HHH is going to be Christian’s problem solver as the old trope is brought up again. HHH won’t let Coach call Eric Bischoff to confirm everything.

Viscera and Trish have drinks, with Viscera having some mouthwash (which he swallows). Hang on though as Trish slaps him, saying he gets nothing if he doesn’t destroy Kane first. That’s cool with Viscera, but he wants a little down payment. Trish flashes him and his eyes bug out.

The Diva Search is coming because we’re that lucky.

Christian vs. Batista

Non-title with Coach as referee, Flair as timekeeper and HHH at ringside. Batista isn’t wasting time this week and starts throwing Christian around with ease, including a trip out to the floor. Back in and Batista sends him into the corner for some kicks to the ribs, followed by a heck of a whip into the corner. Batista hits a powerslam but hang on as Coach has to tie his shoe. HHH gets in a low blow and a thumb to the eye as we take a break.

Back with Christian choking on the ropes and getting two off a splash. The chinlock doesn’t last long as JR rips into Coach for general purposes. Christian’s springboard dropkick gets two more but Batista fights up, only to get choked by Flair. Christian sends him throat first into the rope and a neckbreaker gets two.

The comeback is on in a hurry with clotheslines and the powerslam but a Flair distraction cuts him off. Christian gets caught in an electric chair but Coach hurts his shoulder. Batista beats everyone up and tosses HHH, setting up the Batista Bomb on Christian. Coach is out so Batista grabs the hand to slap the mat for three, which counts here.

Rating: D+. It wasn’t quite Austin vs. Love but it did the job well enough. Christian isn’t quite ready to break through the glass ceiling but they would be a little nuts to not send him to Smackdown to go after Cena’s title. The seeds have been planted and it wasn’t going too far to see him in this match.

Post match Batista beats up HHH and Flair but walks into a Pedigree. HHH posts and shouts a lot to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This was a rather different kind of show and it didn’t work out that well. The wrestling was barely there for the first half and then it became clear that Sunday is just a two match show. The tag match is going to be more about nostalgia and a one time moment while the main event is a rematch from a not great original match. That doesn’t sound like the best show, which is probably why it’s such a forgotten event. Pretty bad show here, but it could have been a lot worse.

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