Monday Night Raw – August 18, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 18, 2003
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Summerslam and the big story continues to be Kane, who is seemingly ready to squash Rob Van Dam, and his feud with Shane McMahon. That’s not it for Shane though as he’s in another feud with Eric Bischoff. Oh and there’s something about an Elimination Chamber match which hasn’t exactly gotten a ton of time. Let’s get to it.

By the way, this is the second time I’ve reviewed this show as I’m on an old laptop with a battery so bad that if your power cord comes out, it’s going to power off completely in less than thirty seconds (not an exaggeration). The old review was wiped out because I dared to leave it alone for a few minutes. God bless Microsoft for installing that CRITICAL security update that turned my regular laptop into a brick last week.

Opening sequence.

Chris Jericho is in the ring and we’re starting with the Highlight Reel. It’s a busy week for the king of bling bling because tonight he’s taking Kevin Nash’s hair and then this Sunday he’s winning his World Title back. I wouldn’t double down on that one Chris. It’s been a long time since he’s been World Champion though and he wants it back so bad that he’s putting himself back in the most vile, evil, dangerous structure he’s ever been in over his fifteen year career.

The fans tell Jericho that he sucks so he brings out his guest: the man who stole the title from him in the first Elimination Chamber, Shawn Michaels. Shawn is a little too dance-y for someone about to head into such a horrible match. Like any good jerk of a host, Jericho won’t let Shawn get in a single word before bringing out his other guests: Evolution. HHH talks about how he and Shawn know what it’s like inside that Chamber and no one will ever forget it.

After that first match, HHH spent forty eight hours in the hospital and lost the World Title to Michaels. This Sunday, Evolution is going to make sure that HHH leaves Summerslam as champion. The fight is on with Shawn getting beaten down until Kevin Nash, with hair so blond that he looks like Flair, comes in for the save. That goes just as badly for the good guys until Goldberg comes out for the real save.

House is cleaned but Goldberg spears Nash by mistake (whose hair is so blond that I actually thought it was Flair for a second). This is the kind of segment that the match needed as it was barely getting any kind of attention compared to the other matches on the card. It’s not enough to make the match interesting but it’s an improvement.

Test comes up to Stacy in the back and promises to treat her differently if he wins her back tonight. That means treating her “like the little s*** that you are”. So being a manager now implies sexual slavery?

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly

Molly is defending and as Jerry put it, “IT’S PUPPY TIME!”. Molly takes her down by the wrist to start but Trish nips up and gets in a Thesz press of all things. Back up and something like a backbreaker doesn’t quite work as Molly picks her up and then sits her down again before rocking Trish straight back to the mat. A shoulder breaker gets two as Lawler can’t help but talk about Trish’s chest.

Trish comes back with a dropkick but here’s Gail Kim, who actually goes after Molly for the DQ. Odds are this sets up another triple threat match, which might be the worst possible idea they have. To be fair though, what else are they supposed to do? Come up with something else?

Evolution is in a good mood when Steve Austin comes in. They don’t have a main event tonight so Austin makes Orton vs. Goldberg with Austin as special enforcer. Between two General Managers they don’t have a main event nearly half an hour into the show? Get it together people.

Here’s Shane McMahon for a chat. He’s here for two reasons. First of all, there won’t be a match with Eric Bischoff on Sunday because he’s giving Eric his beating tonight. The other reason is Kane, for whom Shane has a special present. That would be a can of gasoline so Shane can play with fire. Thankfully JR isn’t thrilled by this discussion of attempted murder.

Goldust is still trying to cure Lance Storm of being boring. Tonight’s suggestion: go into the women’s locker room and kiss the first woman he sees. I don’t see this going well.

Test vs. Scott Steiner

The winner gets Stacy’s “services” because she’s a commodity. Test jumps Steiner on the way in and hammers away until Steiner elbows him in the jaw. There’s the belly to belly and some elbows to the head, followed by the elbow (if it’s not belly to belly suplexes, it’s elbows) into the pushups. Test stops a charge in the corner but misses a big boot and comes up favoring his knee. The referee calls for the trainers but doesn’t ring the bell, meaning you can see the swerve coming from here. The trainer comes out to say we need to get Test to the back so he’s helped up, only to have him hit the big boot for the pin on Steiner.

Rating: D-. I almost didn’t rate this one as the match wasn’t even five minutes and Test’s shenanigans ran for the better part of three minutes. Still though, I have no idea why this feud is still going over four months in but neither guy is really getting anything out of it. The matches haven’t been good and the story is more cringe-worthy than anything else.

Here’s La Resistance for a chat. They talk about the death of the Dudleys last week and show the picture of the two of them covered in the American flag. The two of them find a serviceman in the front row and ask how many innocent people he’s killed this year. Cue the Dudleys to chase them off and bring the serviceman into the ring to wave the flag.

And of course it’s a ruse (partially because the serviceman is former OVW Heavyweight Champion Rob Conway) so the beatdown is on with the Dudleys being buried underneath the flag again. The story isn’t bad (if you don’t mind having patriotism beaten over your head) but if the matches could be ANY better, this would be a lot easier to sit through.

We look back at Linda McMahon being piledriven. Jerry: “Everywhere I go, people are asking me about Linda McMahon.” No Jerry, they aren’t.

Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash

Hair vs. hair. JR talks about how these two are going to a structure where careers go to die. Uh, no one’s career has ever died in there JR. Nash powers him into the corner to start and elbows Jericho in the jaw before hitting a gutwrench suplex. That’s the first new move I’ve seen him add in years. A two handed choke slam drops Jericho again as it’s almost all Nash to start.

Jericho gets smart by dropkicking the knee, only to get backdropped out to the floor. Nash follows him out but clotheslines the post by mistake. Back in and a missile dropkick gives Jericho two (while showing off Nash’s very white socks). Jericho starts kicking at the ribs as he continues to go around the body. It’s time to take a turnbuckle pad off but Nash grabs a rollup (He’s working tonight!) for two instead. A running crotch attack to Nash’s back but Jericho misses a charge into the post.

Nash’s clothesline and side slam get two but Snake Eyes onto the exposed buckle is broken up. Instead Jericho grabs a rollup for two, despite Nash being both under and in the ropes (Jerry sounded annoyed at the count even reaching two). Nash gets in another clothesline for two but Jericho scores with his bulldog.

The Lionsault gets a delayed two so we hit the Walls with Nash grabbing the ropes without too much effort. The Jackknife gets its own delayed near fall so Nash kicks him in the face again. Another Jackknife is broken up with Jericho raking the face though, allowing a low blow to set up a brass knuckles shot to put Nash away.

Rating: C+. Actually not bad here, though that’s mainly due to Jericho doing almost all of the work. That’s about all you can ask for out of Nash though, whose power game is still acceptable enough. The match was mainly there for Jerry to make hair jokes and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially with the right guy winning. If a movie role is all it takes to have Nash do this clean of a job (a low blow and knuckles after a ref bump is pretty squeaky clean for him) then so be it.

Post match Jericho hacks the hair off with scissors and takes it away like a trophy. I miss his trophy case gimmick, which could do someone some good today.

Earlier today, Rosey saved a kitty (Mr. Snugalot) from a tree, much to the delight of a little girl. Hurricane shows up to explain comic books to the kid (Hurricane: “Aquaman sucks. Remember that.”) so Rosey walks off with the cat, who attacks him. Rosey beats the cat up against a tree and throws it away before telling Hurricane they need to get out of here. Hurricane tells him to calm down until Rosey drops the superhero voice and says “LOOK MAN! WE GOTTA GO!” They leave and the girl asks where her kitty is. Uh…….oh look a match. Funny stuff here, as they’re going full speed ahead with the comedy, as they should.

Rosey vs. Rodney Mack

Theodore Long is back and sees that whitey is still trying to keep Rodney Mack down. So get whitey out here for the beating he deserves. I’m guessing he’s not happy with Mack’s opponent. Mack wins an early boxing match and shrugs off a bunch of shots from Rosey. As Jerry asks about the kitten, Mack yells at Hurricane, allowing Rosey to hit a Samoan drop and his spinout Rock Bottom for the fast pin.

We look at Kane attacking Linda again.

Speaking of Linda, we go live to her house in Connecticut where she, with a magazine featuring Stephanie on the cover, says she’s healing up and should be ok with more therapy. She’s also hoping to be out of her soft collar, which is on her desk, soon. As she’s talking, the doorbell keeps ringing until Eric Bischoff comes in. See, Shane is looking for Bischoff in Michigan but Eric is right here instead.

Back from a break, Eric says he’s here to please her. Linda does the smart thing by going to call security but Eric hangs the phone up. Eric rips on Shane a bit and complains about Shane stealing ECW from him in 2001 (Really? Like really really?) like it was a graduation gift. Who pays for their own graduation gift? Linda loads up the Stephanie Slap so he pins her arms behind her back and tells her to not fight it so she can enjoy it more. Eric: “You are a rather big breasted beauty aren’t you?” He asks to be shown the bedroom and rather forcibly kisses her to end this. I wonder if the cameraman can be tried as an accomplice.

So….yeah. Eric Bischoff is a lot of things but sexual predator really doesn’t feel like one of them. They’ve done things like this with him before and they didn’t work then either. This felt WAY out of character for him and was more disturbing than anything else. The segment didn’t work and I’m hoping they drop this in rather short order.

Post break, Shane is livid (Shane: “THAT MOTHERF*****!” True in this case.) and storms off instead of, you know, calling the cops in Connecticut.

Intercontinental Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Christian

Rob is challenging and I’m not sure why. He’s won a single match since early June and was last seen being left laying by Kane. Why is he getting a title match? They start simply as JR questions the presence of Eric’s balls. Maybe we could ask Linda. Rob monkey flips the champ down and a spinning kick to the face sets up an armbar. The shoulders into the corner have Christian in trouble until he avoids the one off the backflip to send Van Dam shoulder first into the post.

Christian stays on the arm with an armbar but stops to mock the Van Dam pose. A kick that might have been a bit low cuts off Rob’s comeback but the fans think Christian sucks. This crowd is very anti-Canadian. Rob makes the comeback with his usual assortment of kicks but Rolling Thunder hits knees.

Another kick hits the referee but Christian scores with the Unprettier. There’s no point in covering though so he goes to grab some chairs for a Conchairto. You don’t put a chair that close to Van Dam though and it’s the Van Daminator to knock Christian silly. The Five Star connects but here’s Kane instead. Van Dam dropkicks a chair into his head but a dive allows Kane to chair him in the head (THUD). Rob is out cold and it’s a no contest as Kane carries him to the back.

Rating: D. The arm stuff was fine but it feels like every match tonight has had either a distracted ref or a ref bump. That being said, this wasn’t exactly the most thrilling match as it was an exercise in waiting on Kane to come out and interrupt. They weren’t exactly hiding that ending and while it wasn’t the worst match, Christian isn’t exactly rolling into the pay per view. Eric and Shane can have a match, but the new Intercontinental Champion (or the Cruiserweight Champion for that matter) can’t?

Speaking of Summerslam, we run down the card and it’s looking pretty rough outside of Lesnar vs. Angle.

Test forces Stacy to dance on a bench for himself, Rico and Steven Richards. This would be your latest segment seemingly saying that she’s a sex slave.

Kane has Van Dam chained to a post in the back and covers him with gasoline while shouting about wanting Rob to feel his pain. He lights the match but says he’s not going to do it because that’s what they want. We can now add torture and threats of murder to this show’s list of crimes.

Randy Orton vs. Goldberg

HHH and Flair are on commentary while Austin is ringside enforcer. Orton runs around the ring to start and gets shouldered down back inside. We look at commentary talking about Orton not wanting to be World Champion on Sunday as Orton makes a comeback and clotheslines Goldberg over the top. A whip sends Goldberg into the steps and it’s off to the chinlock back inside.

The referee gets bumped though (AGAIN) so Austin comes in and counts two off a Goldberg clothesline. Goldberg grabs a kneebar so Flair comes down to pull Austin out before the submission. Austin beats Flair down and it’s the spear to cut Orton down. A Stunner does the same to Flair, followed by the Jackhammer to end Orton.

Rating: D. Why does WWE insist on booking Goldberg like anyone else? You could have had Nash or Michaels in the same spot and done the exact same match. Goldberg is a once in a generation talent and for some reason he’s being treated like he’s any given face. Let him be the big dominant monster (as in the style that got him where he is) instead of acting like he’s just the challenger of the month.

Goldberg stares HHH down but gets decked by Nash (now with a normal haircut), who comes in through the crowd. HHH walks into a superkick from Shawn, who gets chaired down by Jericho. Chris poses with the title to end the show.

Overall Rating: F+. Let’s see: forced entry, rape, cruelty to animals, sex slavery and being rude to Canadians. That’s the best they can do to set up the second biggest night of the year? I know things tend to get better around the time of the bigger shows but in this case, they need to get past Summerslam as fast as they can. This was a really bad show and made me care about the pay per view even less than I already did. Really bad effort here with a lot of things that were more in bad taste than anything else.

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