Monday Night Raw – January 12, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 12, 2004
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Attendance: 6,100
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

We’re closing in on the Royal Rumble and we’re finally starting to talk about the thing. Last week saw the first few names officially announced for the Royal Rumble match and we also have Shawn Michaels vs. HHH confirmed in a Last Man Standing match. Hopefully we get some more stuff added to the card, just to flesh things out a bit. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Coach comes out for commentary because we’re just that lucky.

Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Jazz/Molly Holly

Trish goes after Jazz on the floor, leaving Lita to monkey flip Molly to start things off. Jazz comes in instead and gets suplexed down, only to have Molly pull Lita off the top. Another distraction lets Molly work on the arm but Jazz isn’t interested in some double teaming, mainly due to their issues last week. I can always go for some continuity, even in small doses.

Jazz misses a splash and it’s off to Trish for the first time. Everything breaks down in a hurry and it’s a headlock takeover to Molly/headscissors to Jazz, followed by a spinebuster (a rarity from Trish) for two. Lita and Molly head to the floor but Theodore Long offers a distraction so Jazz can grab a rollup with tights for the pin.

Rating: D+. They were starting to get somewhere and then we had the same ending that happens far too often around here. The division still needs some fresh blood (Did Gail Kim fall into a hole or something?) and having these four fight again isn’t what’s going to make things any better.

Post match Long grabs Trish by the hair, drawing in Chris Jericho and Mark Henry for the save and beatdown.

Here’s Matt Hardy (oh yeah he’s on Raw) for a chat. Matt isn’t happy with everyone trying to steal his spotlight over the years and now Steve Austin is doing it too. Cue Austin on the ATV (with JR getting in the second usage of “Monday Night Raw is where you come to break the rules”, the new slogan, of the night) to make a lot of noise.

Austin talks about being here to enforce the law, which isn’t happening if you’re just getting beaten up. Now someone coming out here and running his mouth about getting nowhere, that’s breaking the law. He’s ready to beat Hardy up right now but Hardy wants fresh competition, and he’s wrestled Austin before. Austin: “I oughta write you a ticket for impersonating a wrestler.” Austin issues an open challenge for someone Matt has never faced before and it’s time for a match.

Matt Hardy vs. Bill Goldberg

Didn’t Eric Bischoff deactivate Goldberg for a while? Matt tries to jump him and gets shoved down for his efforts as JR recaps Goldberg being deactivated. A pumphandle suplex sends Hardy flying but he’s right back with a Side Effect for two. The Twist of Fate is countered into a gorilla press and the spear/Jackhammer complete the destruction.

Post match Goldberg says he’s in the Royal Rumble. That’s the kind of name you need to be announced so good move.

In the back, Bischoff rants about Austin bringing Goldberg back but Austin says Bischoff never officially filed the paperwork to get rid of Goldberg. Well that’s quite the weak loophole. Bischoff relents but Austin can’t make matches going forward. I’m sure.

The Friends and Supporters of Randy Orton air the same ad from last week.

Orton has a seat waiting for Mick Foley in the front row if he’s willing to come the fifteen minutes from his house to the arena. Tonight can server as an example for what Foley can expect if he ever dares to come after Orton again.

D-Von Dudley vs. Batista

Batista wastes no time in jumping D-Von as JR talks about how unfair it is that Batista and Ric Flair are Tag Team Champions. A few shots to the head set up a suplex and a chinlock as Batista running a match isn’t the best idea in the world at this point. D-Von comes back with a jumping elbow and the top rope headbutt. It seems to have banged him up as well though and the Batista Bomb ends D-Von as Bubba and Flair fight on the floor.

Rating: D-. Can we really not just get two jobbers to be fed to Flair and Batista here instead of this one member vs. one member formula? D-Von isn’t exactly great on his own and Batista isn’t ready for a match like this, though at least he found something else to do besides the spinebuster and Batista Bomb. Just find a better way to advance feuds.

Orton is still waiting for Foley to arrive so he’s going to send a limo for him.

Long comes up to Jazz and Henry to explain how Bischoff set him up last week (“typical white man”) because he didn’t say how much power Austin really had around here. To make up for it, Henry gets Jericho later tonight.

Scott Steiner comes up to Goldberg and brings up their history in WCW. Steiner is in the Rumble as well and they’re fighting next week. Methinks this is a rare instance of WCW doing it far better.

Coach is in the ring to emcee a sitdown interview between HHH and Shawn Michaels. After Coach praises HHH and mocks Shawn during their entrances, we’re ready to go. Hang on a second though as Shawn throws the furniture out because this is man to man. Coach gets to the first topic of the DX days, which Shawn doesn’t seem interested in talking about. HHH says Shawn saw him as a sidekick but Shawn says they were equals.

That’s called out as nonsense (as it should be) and they get in an argument over who carried the wagon more. Shawn carried it until a broken back stopped him (and Steve Austin taking his place) but HHH carried it as soon as Shawn wasn’t there to take the spotlight. Apparently Shawn came back for reasons that HHH can never understand but HHH does understand: it was jealous because Shawn had to prove that he was the better man.

That brought them right here to this arena where Shawn proved that he was the better man in a street fight. HHH says Shawn won but got carried out while HHH was on his feet. This has always been about who is the best and it’s coming full circle again. HHH says he’s the ultimate student of this game and he’s studied everyone. Shawn is at the top of the list and there are only a few people who can be up there with him. As good as he is though, HHH is that much better.

That brings us to the title (after spending seven minutes arguing about everything else), which some people say either of them should hold. That ends at the Rumble and it might come down to just one second. All it’s going to take is one second for HHH to prove that he’s the champion and the best. Shawn likes that one second idea and superkicks Coach to show how fast it can be. As usual with HHH’s big promos, this was much longer and slower than it needed to be and didn’t tell us much of anything that we didn’t already know. You don’t have to sell HHH vs. Shawn this hard and they could have used this time better elsewhere.

And now, an ad for Heat. Ok then.

Booker T. vs. Kane

Booker has the bad hip hop version of his theme, which is just him saying catchphrases to a beat. Kane gets aggressive to start and clotheslines Booker in the corner but gets kicked in the face. More kicks are countered with a good crotching and Kane sends him into the steps…for a DQ.

Post match Kane stays on him but misses a chair shot. He settles for a Tombstone instead.

Another anti-Foley ad questions his status as a hardcore legend, showing clips of his comedy stuff. These things have been funny.

Foley still isn’t here.

Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho

Henry has Long and Jazz in his corner. Jericho goes right up to him and is forearmed in the back for his efforts. A missed charge puts Henry on the floor and a baseball slide rocks him down again. Henry gets in a whip to the steps but Jericho sends him into the corner back inside. The missile dropkick gets two with the kickout powering Jericho way off. Henry bends him back first over the knee for a bit before switching to a bearhug.

Jericho slips out and dropkicks the knee but the Walls are quickly broken up. The bulldog literally pulls Henry’s hair out but Jazz grabs Jericho’s foot to stop the Lionsault. That earns her a beating from an invading Trish and Jericho somehow gets the Walls. The women get in the ring so the referee misses Henry tapping, which of course draws Long to the apron. Jericho lets go and it’s the World’s Strongest Slam to give Henry the pin.

Rating: D+. Henry is getting watchable after a few weeks of practice as he’s just there to stand in one place and show off the power while the smaller and more talented wrestlers do most of the work. That’s a good place for Henry and as long as they treat him like a monster, he can be a useful human.

Post break Christian yells at Jericho for wasting his time on Trish and says they’re going to hit up the town tonight and get her off his mind. They leave and Trish comes in, looking upset that she missed him.

Evolution is talking about Foley when Austin runs up on the ATV. In tonight’s main event, they better leave Orton alone in the main even. They don’t seem to buy it so Austin chases them with the ATV before stopping to spin in circles.

Foley still isn’t here.

Intercontinental Title: Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam

Van Dam is challenging and makes the mistake of chasing Orton, who stomps him back to the floor. That’s fine with Rob, who is right back in with a spinwheel kick to put Orton on the floor this time. Orton gets posted and looks a bit dead before coming up with a busted forehead. Rob hits the spinning kick to Orton’s back, knocking him into the empty chair….as the limo pulls up in the back.

We come back from a break with Orton in control in the corner and shoving Van Dam off the top for a heck of a crash into the barricade. Back in and Orton keeps him down with a bodyscissors, including some growling trash talk. As you might expect, the fans want Foley but have to settle for Van Dam elbowing Orton in the face. Orton is right back with an over the shoulder backbreaker into a neckbreaker (I’ve always liked that move) and it’s off to a reverse chinlock with a knee in the back.

It’s back to the bodyscissors but this time Orton spices it up a bit by ripping at Van Dam’s face. Good grief that thing has been on for almost five minutes now. Do something else. Rob fights up and gets two off a northern lights suplex. A springboard kick to the face seems to completely miss but a camera angle bails them out (which doesn’t happen nearly as often these days).

Rolling Thunder and a springboard moonsault give Rob two each (in case you thought Orton did those things) but Orton knees him in the face. There’s the ref bump and the low blow cuts Van Dam down. Orton then lays down and yells at the referee to wake up before trying the RKO. I have no idea what the point of the laying down was but Rob uses the delay to kick Orton in the face. He gets crotched on top though and the hanging DDT from the top retains the title.

Rating: D+. This really was longer than it needed to be with the bodyscissors dragging the match out and the ref bump going nowhere. Van Dam should be done as a challenger now and that clears the way for whatever they have to do to get us to Foley vs. Orton. That’s Van Dam’s best role in the company: a short term champion who can lose the title to a hot prospect heel and give them a rub in a rematch.

Foley never showed up and we didn’t see who was in the limo.

Overall Rating: D. It’s another night with the heels dominating as Jericho, Booker T. and Van Dam all losing and the Foley tease going nowhere. Oh but we did get a LONG chat between Shawn and HHH, which is what the world was waiting for. They’re adding a few names into the Rumble but they’ve done a rather boring job of getting us there. At least we still have Austin vs. Bischoff, no matter what Austin’s new official job title is. Bad, dry show here as the heels continue to run everything.

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