Monday Night Raw – May 19, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 19, 2003
Location: BI-LO Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re past Judgment Day and thank goodness for that. Unfortunately we’re on the way towards Bad Blood, which is the first single branded pay per view. In other words, we’re all in very serious trouble. Unfortunately we seem to be headed towards another Kevin Nash vs. HHH disaster. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Steve Austin to open the show. He talks about how great the pay per view was (How drunk was he?) but it’s a shame that Eric Bischoff can’t handle his beer and food. We get a clip of Bischoff vomiting last night because that’s funny you see. As for tonight though, Austin is getting ready for Bad Blood, but first up he wants to find out who tried to run Goldberg over last week. His investigation is ongoing and he will find out tonight. Whoever that is will be facing Goldberg right here tonight, which is quite the smart punishment.

Next up though is HHH, who comes out with Ric Flair but Austin CUTS OFF THE WATER SPIT! Austin doesn’t like HHH making him wait and is trying very hard to maintain his composure. Last night HHH took a beating all over the building and that World Title should belong to Kevin Nash. Tonight though, the title will be on the line right here in this ring. HHH thinks Austin is drunk with power and no matter what Austin wants, HHH is still champion. Therefore, he’s not wrestling tonight.

Austin disagrees, but he’s feeling compassionate. HHH is wrestling tonight but he’ll get to pick his opponent, assuming it’s a former World Champion. That leaves him with options of Kane, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho or Kevin Nash. Austin certainly seems to be leaving out a large handful of names there, including himself (If Austin and Bischoff have equal power and he still wants to wrestle, shouldn’t he be able to either cancel whatever Bischoff is using to keep him out of the ring or come up with a way around it?). HHH has an idea though and picks Flair to challenge him for the title tonight. Austin is mad and Flair is confused.

Dudley Boyz vs. 3 Minute Warning

They slug it out to start with Bubba actually dropkicking Jamal out to the floor. First time for everything I guess. The Samoans take over though with Rosey hitting a spinning legdrop for no cover on D-Von. Jamal gets two off a knee drop and Rosey adds something like a superkick. D-Von’s right hands have almost no effect (they are Samoans after all) but Jamal’s Vader Bomb hits knees.

It’s off to Bubba for right hands and a backdrop for two on Rosey as everything breaks down. A double suplex sets up What’s Up with Rico accidentally distracting the referee. Rosey grabs a Samoan drop on Bubba but isn’t legal for the cover. Rico throws in a table and a D-Von to go with it, only to miss the top rope splash. Rosey gets back in and walks right into 3D for the pin.

Rating: D+. Not a very good match with both teams being a bit too similar to really make it work. The Dudleys are a nice addition to the division as it certainly needs the extra (albeit familiar) help. If nothing else the 3D is always worth a look, even if it’s to someone as worthless as Rosey.

Post match Rico yells at the Samoans and walks out on his own.

A very hungover Eric Bischoff is here (after Austin said he wouldn’t be, making Austin an untruth teller) and says he can’t do this redneck stuff. Austin’s solution: drink more. Bischoff does just that and vomits again. This is really, really not my style of humor. The camera follows Austin out and he runs into Kevin Nash. Austin is proud of him for last night and makes him #1 contender of tonight’s title match.

Flair is thrilled with HHH for picking him for tonight and expects a great match. HHH however is expecting him to take a dive so he can have a night off. HHH: “Just lay there and I’ll do the rest.”

Here’s Chris Jericho for the Highlight Reel. There’s a new set this week and we get the debut of the JERITRON 5000 to show a few highlights. Tonight though, Jericho wants to talk to the man who betrayed him last night, the new Intercontinental Champion, Christian. Cue the new champ, now with the short haircut that he would have for the rest of his career. Jericho likes the new look but it doesn’t change the fact that Christian betrayed him last night. That brings one thing to his mind: he would have done the exact same thing. Jericho: “Our Christian is all grown up!”

Christian is the new American Idol, which Jericho loves because he’s not even American. We see the end of the match (via the very expensive Jeritron 5000 of course) and Christian runs Booker T. down (Jericho: “His haircut looks like a pineapple.”). Cue Rob Van Dam to interrupt and call Christian’s catchphrase weak.

Maybe he should just try admitting he sucks and you know what that means from the crowd. Van Dam: “THAT TOTALLY WORKS FOR YOU!” Rob wants an Intercontinental Title shot tonight but that’s a big negative. The beatdown is on until Kane makes a fast save. Austin pops up on screen to say let’s have a Tag Team Title match right now. How exactly is that fair to Van Dam and Kane?

Tag Team Titles: Kane/Rob Van Dam vs Christian/Chris Jericho

Van Dam and Kane are defending and we’re joined in progress after a break. Rob’s stepover kick takes Jericho down for an early two. The split legged moonsault to Jericho’s back gets two and Jericho screams for help. Christian, in street clothes, tries to offer that help and gets sent into the corner by Kane for his efforts. The Canadians are sent outside and Rob follows with a running flip dive to keep the champs in control.

Back in and Kane loads up the top rope clothesline but Rob tags himself in before he can go up. That didn’t seem planned and Kane looks a little annoyed. Jericho’s middle rope missile dropkick puts Rob down and it’s Christian choking with a shirt. We’re off to the chinlock for a bit before the reverse DDT into a backbreaker gets two on Rob. Christian’s powerslam gets the same and it’s back to Jericho to try the Walls.

Van Dam saves himself with a small package and some kicks to take the Canadian down, setting up the hot tag to Kane. The house cleaning is on with Kane throwing Christian into Jericho and getting two off a side slam. There’s the top rope clothesline and Van Dam kicks Jericho down as well. Jericho breaks up the Five Star and a low blow sets up the Five Star for an even nearer fall on Kane. Some chairs are brought in and the bell rings, presumably for a DQ.

Rating: C-. Based on what’s about to happen after the match, there’s a chance that the ending was a bit mistimed as you could have penciled in Booker T. running in from the second the match started. Either way the title change didn’t happen so it’s not like who wins via DQ means anything for the most part. The wrestling was fine and the near fall off the Lionsault was good but it wasn’t anything thrilling.

Booker T. comes in to beat up the Canadians, saving Kane in the process.

Lawler thinks Booker tried to run Goldberg over.

Shawn Michaels tells Flair that he can’t lay down tonight because it would ruin his legacy. Flair seems to think he has a chance and is almost in tears (take a shot) at Shawn believing in him.

Here are Rodney Mack and Teddy Long to issue a FIVE MINUTE WHITE BOY CHALLENGE to any established star because they need some better competition.

Rodney Mack vs. Spike Dudley

Spike charges at him and gets kneed in the ribs for his efforts. We hit a chinlock into some choking on the ropes is followed by a belly to belly for two on Spike. Another chinlock is broken up and Spike sends him outside for a good looking dive. He comes up holding his ribs but is still able to grab a rollup for two. The Dudley Dog is broken up and Mack hits a powerslam as we have less than a minute to go. The Black Out (cobra clutch) goes on for a good while and Spike FINALLY taps with one second left. As low level as this match was, the fans were completely into the ending and wanted Spike to survive.

Rating: D. So Mack needs time to beat Spike Dudley? I’m not sure how this is supposed to be interesting and that loose cobra clutch didn’t do much good either. Teddy is the star of this team with his hilarious rambling on commentary and Mack isn’t getting much out of this. Granted beating higher levels of competition would do him some good.

Austin yells at the hung over Bischoff via a bullhorn and bangs on a trashcan (unfortunately without drumming on a street light). He has some female company for Bischoff and, say it with me, it’s Moolah and Mae Young. Eric’s rant is pretty funny.

Flair has the robe on and looks ready to style and profile.

La Resistance vs. Test/Scott Steiner

It’s a brawl to start with Rene getting suplexed out to the floor. Grenier sends Steiner into the steps though and Stacy Keibler goes to check on him for a good while. Test boots him way out of a double teaming but gets shoved into Steiner, setting up a quick rollup to give Dupree the pin.

Test and Steiner argue over Stacy, who leaves alone in a huff.

Austin has set up an interrogation room to find out about Goldberg’s would be assailant.

A fan poll thinks The Rock was the driver. Christian and HHH are the other top suspects.

Austin interrogates Lance Storm and asks him where he was at on June 25, 1989. Storm: “What does that have to do with anything?” Austin: “It ain’t got nothing to do with anything!” Lance doesn’t have much to say and Austin starts laughing. The light goes on Storm’s face and Storm actually admits that he was the driver. It was an accident though as the accelerator stuck and Canadians drive on the other side of the road. Austin knows better but Storm lets it slip that it was someone else’s idea. Instead of finding out who it was, Austin gives Storm Goldberg tonight.

HHH has his ribs taped up as he reads Freddie Blassie’s book. Flair comes in and says he’s ready to be the man again. He had a thousand matches like HHH had last night and he wrestled every single night. No one is making him lay down in Flair Country and he’s coming for the title tonight, WOO! I’m not big on Flair from this era but he was feeling it on that one.

Lance Storm vs. Bill Goldberg

A powerslam and a pumphandle slam set up the spear and Jackhammer to end Storm in just over a minute. Amazingly enough, this is the best reaction Goldberg has gotten since the night of his debut.

Post match Goldberg chokes Storm until he admits Jericho was the guy who put him up to it. Never trust those Canadians.

Jericho is trying to leave but admits he was the mastermind. Next week though, Goldberg will be the guest on the Highlight Reel.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Ric Flair

HHH is defending and has heavily taped ribs. He tells Flair to lay down but Flair just slicks backs his hair as we hit the opening bell. They WOO at each other until Flair pokes him in the eye to take over. HHH tries a suplex but the ribs give out, allowing Flair to send him outside in a heap. Ric can hit the suplex on the floor but walks into a spinebuster back inside.

The champ can’t follow up though and Flair actually hits the top rope shot to the head. JR is selling the heck out of the chance Flair could win here and it’s time to go after the leg. The Figure Four goes on for a good while until HHH makes the rope. The referee gets bumped though and HHH grabs the belt, only to get poked in the eye. A belt shot gives Flair a close two and you can feel the fans gasp. The Pedigree is countered with a backdrop so Flair tries one of his own, only to get countered into the Pedigree to retain the title.

Rating: C. They were starting to get going near the end but, alas, HHH needed to go over Flair in Flair Country for the sake of…..I’m guessing his ego or something, even if it took away Flair’s best reaction in at least a year. Throw in the fact that this was designed to help set up HHH vs. Nash II instead of what could have been a great HHH vs. Flair match in an interesting story and this is even sadder.

Post match Nash comes out to chase HHH off but here’s Austin. The rematch at Bad Blood will be Hell in a Cell. Panic ensues to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. There were good things going on tonight but setting up HHH vs. Nash again sucks the life out of wherever positives the rest of the show could have. Austin as the main boss instead of Bischoff helped a lot, though they need something better to build towards. I know we’re setting up HHH vs. Goldberg down the line but could we please get a few better stop gap challengers?

This could have been solved by having Booker win at Wrestlemania, lose it back at Backlash and then do a rubber match at Judgment Day. Then pick ANYONE but Nash to bridge the gap to Goldberg and Raw is already a lot better. But no, instead it’s a bad match to set up a bad gimmick match with Flair being beaten in his hometown (again) along the way.

The midcard stuff was solid with Booker vs. Christian and Goldberg vs. Jericho looking solid enough. La Resistance vs. Kane/Van Dam (which you know is coming) is fine too, though we really need another upper midcard feud to help balance things out. It’s not a terrible show overall, but the holes are pretty glaring.

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