Monday Night Raw – August 25, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 25, 2003
Location: Convention Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the night after Summerslam and HAHA HHH is still World Champion thanks to a sledgehammer to Goldberg’s head. That’s pretty much all we have on the less important story, but we do have Shane McMahon still wanting to fight Kane. Now though, Eric Bischoff has the Coach as his backup, which was arguably the second biggest Raw story coming out of last night’s show. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Goldberg being destroyed after losing in the Chamber last night. Just in case you had forgotten that HHH and Evolution were the strongest forces in the universe you see. We even get BONUS footage of Goldberg being carried out.

Here’s Goldberg to open things up. JR: “Goldberg’s career was destroyed by Evolution last night.” They’re certainly hammering in the HHH > Goldberg idea so far and we’re not even four minutes into the show. Goldberg says the title belongs to him and he wants to face HHH for said title right here tonight.

HHH takes his shirt off and Flair seems to enjoy rubbing his bicep quite a bit. He doesn’t even see Goldberg as one of the top five guys in this industry. Last night HHH proved that he was the best in the world today (Flair points out the best body as a bonus). Goldberg guarantees that he’s coming for the belt, whether he has to follow HHH to his home or even into his sleep.

As you make your Nightmare on Elm Street jokes, Goldberg promises to win the title. HHH lists off all the names that he’s beaten and wonders why Goldberg thinks he’s any better. Goldberg: “I’M GOLDBERG!” Really that’s all he needs to say, but this is WWE, where Goldberg needs to have a personality.

The match is set for Unforgiven but Goldberg has to put his career on the line. That means he’s done and doesn’t go to “some second rate promotion like Smackdown”. Goldberg quickly agrees and promises to make this HHH’s funeral. They actually kept this a bit shorter and it got its point across: HHH rules the world and Goldberg is lucky enough to get to be in it for the time being.

Trish Stratus vs. Gail Kim

Gail jumps her during the entrances and chokes Trish with her coat. They get in for the opening bell with Gail breaking up a sunset flip and getting in a shot to the face for two. We hit the early chinlock and even a belly to back suplex doesn’t break it up. Back up and Trish gets in a whip to the corner, only to charge into a boot.

We’re back to the chinlock (I get the idea of sticking close to the veteran but this is ridiculous) so Trish rams her into the corner. Gail reverses to something like a dragon sleeper but Trish climbs the corner into a near Sliced Bread #2 for the real break. Back up and Trish wins a slugout and scores with the Chick Kick for two. The Chick Kick is enough to pin Gail.

Rating: D. The ridiculous levels of chinlocking here really held things down but it’s better than Gail’s variety of hurricanranas. These women still need personalities as other than Trish, we barely know anything about them. Gail is a heel now….why? Molly at least has the title but as soon as she loses that, what else is there that sets her apart? Let them talk or give them some vignettes or something but develop the division (Does three people make a division?) somehow.

Post match Molly comes in and knocks Trish down before glaring at Gail.

We look back at Eric Bischoff implying that he slept with Linda McMahon last week.

Post break Molly chokes Gail. After mentioning that she got Gail into the company (see, that’s a detail that tells us ANYTHING about Gail, which is more than we’ve gotten to date) and they need to team up and take out Trish. Gail agrees.

Here are Teddy Long and Rodney Mack to announce the newest member of Thuggin N Buggin Enterprises. Therefore, here’s the newest member to team with Mack.

Rodney Mack/Mark Henry vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak

Aside from a match on Heat, this is Henry’s first WWE match since October. Garrison shoulders Mack down to start as I still try to figure out why a wrestler is named Garrison Cade. Mack runs him over as well and grabs an early chinlock (we’ve seen enough of that tonight). That lasts as long as you would expect and it’s off to Jindrak for the big dropkick, followed by a run up the ropes into a spinning clothesline.

That’s enough for Henry, who comes in and tosses people like villagers in a King Kong movie. Jindrak gets to the top for another clothesline but gets pulled out of the air for the World’s Strongest Slam and the pin. Henry was impressive here, but the longevity is all that matters. Well that and backing the Mack.

Lance Storm is annoyed at Goldust for sending him into the women’s locker room and leaving a woman there for him to find (not shown on last week’s show). Goldust calls something a healthy relationship and we look down at Minidust enjoying Storm’s leg. Rosey of all people comes in to ask about a disturbance.

Storm doesn’t have time to listen but a production worker (who is played by Jessie from Tough Enough II) mentions that there was a man in the ring with a gun. Rosey runs off to stop him but Hurricane comes in and finds out that it was a t-shirt gun. Putting the comedy together might be the right idea, though Rosey and Hurricane are much funnier.

During the break, Rosey attacked the t-shirt guy but Hurricane came in to ask him whatsupwithdat. And that’s it. Quite the anticlimactic ending when we had a midget, a gun, a Tough Enough cameo and two superheroes.

Video on the Rundown (I liked that movie), which is of course edited off the Network.

Steve Austin recaps the Coach joining Bischoff last night, earning himself a beating in the process (of course altering the reality a bit, much to the fans’ delight). A banged up Bischoff comes in and wants to hear the truth. Since Coach did the right thing, tonight he’s going to be named Employee of the Month tonight. Austin better stay out too.

La Resistance/Rob Conway vs. Dudley Boyz

This is fallout from last night where Conway (the serviceman from last week and last night who now officially has a name) cost the Dudleys the Tag Team Titles. Lillian has a hard time keeping track of all the names because she’s not the most competent announcer in the world. Before the match, Conway introduces himself and blames the Americans for being too ignorant to get why France is amazing.

This war against “terrorism” is ridiculous and the people are following him like sheep. Conway talks about how we need to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and treat the French with respect. See, the Americans are the REAL terrorists. As usual, this has been your moment of patriotism beating you over the head.

Spike is the only Dudley to come to the ramp as Bubba and D-Von come in from the crowd for the sneak attack. Jerry talks about how much he love France, such as Pepe Le Pew being his favorite cartoon character (Does that really surprise anyone?). Spike gets in a Dudley Dog on Conway and brings in Bubba for the house cleaning as this isn’t seeming to have a ton of time. Dupree takes 3D and the Dudley Dog drops Grenier. Bubba tosses Spike onto Dupree but Conway gets in a belt shot to put Bubba away in a hurry. In other words, this story must continue. For AMERICA you see.

It’s time for the Highlight Reel, now with the end of Saliva’s King of My World as the theme song. Jericho is banged up but is gutting it out here. Last night he would have won but it was Goldberg getting in his way. That brings him to his guest, but first he needs to explain the rather horrible Bischoff and Linda segment from last week. We see the clip again and it’s no less creepy this time around. Jericho refers to Linda’s noises as she tried to get away as “hot stuff”.

This week’s guest is Linda McMahon, meaning that awesome old Wrestlemania theme. Jericho gets right to the point by asking if she and Bischoff “made it like two Arizona jackrabbits”. Linda says security was there as soon as the cameras went off and Linda is thinking about firing Eric. Well of course she is.

Anyway here’s an annoyed Vince to interrupt. Vince yells at Linda for “deciding” to fire Bischoff without his approval so there will be no repercussions on Bischoff for what he did last week. Linda isn’t a victim because Vince is the only real victim around here. He’s a victim of their failed marriage and what came out of her demon infested womb. It’s Linda’s fault that Stephanie and Shane hate him but Linda thinks he needs psychological help. That’s laughed off but Vince agrees that he might need help dealing with the kids. He feels a lot like Kane because everyone has turned on him too.

This brings out Shane because we don’t have enough drama yet. Shane tells Vince that he can rot but Jericho cuts him off. Jericho sucks up to Vince and punches Shane for showing up without an invitation. Vince makes Jericho vs. Shane for later tonight. This was more McMahon drama and that’s the last thing WWE needs. The McMahons aren’t interesting in such heavy doses and it’s not getting any better when Vince is going back and forth between shows.

We recap the opening segment, just in case you forgot about how great HHH is.

Randy Orton vs. Maven

Shawn Michaels is in Maven’s corner. Orton takes him down without much effort as JR recaps the show to show how horrible it’s been so far. Stereo dropkicks go nowhere so it’s Orton taking over with the backbreaker. Some uppercuts keep Maven in trouble and Orton whips him into the corner so hard that he falls down. Flair gets annoyed at a two count and gets on the apron. Shawn gets up as well, allowing Ric to poke Maven in the eye.

That earns Flair Sweet Chin Music, followed by Orton missing the dropkick. The RKO is broken up as well (with JR mentioning for perhaps the only time ever that RKO are Orton’s initials) and a spinwheel kick takes Orton down. Maven gets shoved into the ropes though and the RKO gets two with Orton pulling him up. Orton hits his own Sweet Chin Music for the pin. You can pencil in Orton vs. Shawn for Unforgiven, which is a win that Orton could really use.

Rating: D+. Maven is a lot better now, to the point where he’s not embarrassing himself anymore in a five minute match. Orton is starting to get the hang of things, but this put too much attention on Flair vs. Shawn, which tends to be a common problem with Orton’s matches. A win over Shawn might help, but it has to be done right.

A lot of staring ensues.

It’s time for the Employee of the Month Award presentation. After a photo opportunity with the plaque (which doesn’t actually say which month the award is for), Coach talks about doing what his boss said, which doesn’t make him a bad guy. Bischoff is the kind of guy who recognizes talent, unlike Austin. Coach was only treated this way because he’s not Austin’s boy, right JR?

We see a clip of JR returning to take Coach’s announcers’ position, which seemed to annoy Coach at the time. Coach isn’t happy that JR wasn’t more thankful or professional and now he wants an apology. As for now though, Coach wants an apology from Austin for last night. Bischoff: “What the h***?” That might seem a bit random, and that would be because he says it before Christian’s music hits for a surprising interruption. Is it really that hard to wait for a cue?

Christian wants an apology for not being on the show last night (preach it brother) so here’s Austin with an envelope in his back pocket. Austin gets straight to the point: Coach couldn’t carry JR’s jockstrap, let alone his job. The envelope contains a sympathy card….in the form of Austin’s middle finger. Good thing Austin had that envelope ready just in case Coach asked him for an apology and he knew what joke he wanted to do.

Coach says the King and a cowboy sound like the Village People so Lawler offers to come take care of him. Christian cuts them off though and wants to know what’s going on. Austin: “You think you’re special?” So the Intercontinental Title, which Austin re-introduced last year and called important, isn’t special? Austin has an idea.

Intercontinental Title: Christian vs. Jerry Lawler

Christian is defending and I need my headache medicine. Coach takes Jerry’s place on commentary and the distraction lets Christian get in a cheap shot. Some right hands get Jerry out of trouble for a few seconds and let’s look at commentary again (Why is that such a common thing around here?). We hit the chinlock with a knee in Lawler’s back and BACK TO COMMENTARY with Coach making fun of the cowboy hat. At least get some fresh material.

JR, for about the eighth time so far: “Let’s call this wrestling match. By the way folks later tonight, Shane McMahon is going to fight Chris Jericho.” Christian gets punched out of the air and more right hands keep him in trouble. Coach makes fun of JR repeating words and Lawler slams Christian off the top. The fist drop has Christian in trouble but Coach leaves commentary to pull Jerry out at two. The chase allows Christian to get a rollup with tights for the pin.

Rating: F. This show is somehow getting worse. So now, the Intercontinental Champion, who is not special and not able to get on Summerslam, needs help from COACH to beat a semi-retired wrestler and full time commentator? All in the name of pushing Austin vs. Bischoff in an attempt to recreate Austin vs. McMahon? This was really, really stupid and that’s becoming way too common.

Kane watches Shane come to the ring.

Christian celebrates in the back as Coach does the interview. Austin comes in to make Coach vs. Lawler for next week. Good grief it’s continuing.

Shane McMahon vs. Chris Jericho

Hey look: another non-wrestler. Shane is ready for a cheap shot from behind (because he’s smarter than Jericho) and hits an awkward looking backdrop. A kick to the face has Shane staggered but he’s still able to avoid a charge and put Jericho on the floor. Shane puts him on the timekeeper’s table but Kane’s music and pyro go off for a distraction (no Kane). Jericho hits the springboard dropkick to put Shane on the floor and we take a break.

Back with Jericho chopping away in the corner but diving into a DDT. Again, because Shane is smarter than he is. A clothesline gives Shane two but a jumping enziguri puts him down again. The Lionsault hits knees but Shane gets crotched on top, setting up a superplex. Now it’s Kane coming out for real (I guess he plays mind games now) coming out to chokeslam Shane for what should be a DQ but seems to be a no contest because WWE doesn’t know how wrestling works.

Rating: F. The wrestling was fine, but the booking here is a failure by definition. According to this, Shane McMahon should have been in the Elimination Chamber last night because he can go move for move with Chris Jericho. I know WWE loves Shane but can they at least make it look like he’s just a brawler with some great athleticism who is getting lucky to survive? This was treating Shane like a top level wrestler on Raw, making his matches on pay per view feel a lot less important. As usual, WWE misses the point.

Kane leaves through the crowd with Shane following for a brawl in the back. The fans react to a City of Tuscon sign (“IT SAYS OUR TOWN’S NAME! YAY!”) as Shane catches up with Kane, who slams him back first into a wall over and over. Naturally Kane has a bunch of gas cans ready and he starts a dumpster fire. Kane loads Shane up but gets knocked in instead as we hit the action movie trailer shot of Shane looking at the fire to end the show.

Overall Rating: W. As in wrestling. I figure I might as well make something about it because wrestling doesn’t matter on this show. No, what matters around here is beating patriotism into your head, a story based around sexual assault, Minidust, a stable called Thuggin N Buggin Enterprises, the Intercontinental Champion being a worthless player on the show, burning a man alive and non-wrestlers being the most prominent people on the show.

It’s like the Attitude Era without the interest or energy. The top stories are Austin vs. Bischoff, which also pulls in JR/King vs. Coach and Shane McMahon vs. Kane. Somewhere down there is Goldberg vs. HHH (who is barely a wrestler at the moment due to an injury) in a story that is continuing for reasons that I’m sure HHH can explain to you but doesn’t make much sense to anyone else. This felt like they were running away in the wrong direction and covering their ears from what people wanted to hear, which is one of the scariest things you can see in a wrestling company.

I watch wrestling to see the wrestlers and the stories they’re involved in at the moment. For some reason I’m seeing commentators and a single family (including a bickering couple) dominating the shows while I’m told that the Intercontinental Champion isn’t important enough to be on a show and needs help to beat Jerry Lawler. I thought getting past Summerslam might help, but this was one of the worst episodes of the show I’ve ever seen.

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