Monday Night Raw
Date: January 19, 2004
Location: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that means one final push for Shawn Michaels vs. HHH, which is always going to get more attention than the match the show is named after. Hopefully it’s a little better than last week’s build which droned on and on without actually adding anything. Let’s get to it.
Coach is in the back with a bunch of wrestlers who will be in the Royal Rumble on Sunday. Since he’s in charge tonight, Coach is going to have a battle royal tonight with the winner getting the number thirty spot. However, you have to qualify for the battle royal by winning your regular matches tonight. If there is any interference, you’re out of the Rumble entirely. Reason #1 why Coach is better at this than Bischoff: this took less than three minutes rather than the ten it would have likely taken Bischoff in the arena.
Booker T./Rob Van Dam vs. Christian/Matt Hardy
The Matt Facts are back and it turns out that he loves Mongolian BBQ’s and his counter tops are all granite. That could help for future gifts. Rob flips over Matt to start and scores with a spinning kick to the face for an early two. Booker comes in to punch Christian a bit and a backdrop makes things even worse. A trip from the floor lets Matt pull Booker outside for a beating, allowing Christian to grab the neck crank. Makes sense after the Tombstone last week. Matt comes in with a neck crank of his own as JR and King critique Booker’s rap song.
The fans tell Christian that he sucks and they seem very pleased when Booker kicks him out of the air. Van Dam comes in off the hot tag and a standing moonsault gets two on Matt. Rolling Thunder hits knees though and Matt puts his feet on the ropes for two of his own. The villains try a double backdrop so it’s a double ax kick from Booker, setting up the Five Star to give Van Dam the pin on Matt, putting Booker and Van Dam in the battle royal.
Rating: C-. Just a quick match to put some fan favorites into the main event tonight. Christian and Matt are a pretty random team but it’s not like Booker and Van Dam have anyone else of note to beat. Granted it’s not like the match means anything as it’s all about the main event anyway so it’s hard to get too annoyed.
Remember how WWE hyped up Goldberg vs. Scott Steiner last week? Well now Test has been added to make it a triple threat.
Chris Jericho vs. Rene Dupree
Coach is on commentary. Dupree gets in an early hiptoss to set up the French dancing, only to have the fans start up a Jericho chance. Dancing haters. Jericho dropkicks him outside but Dupree dropkicks him out of the air back inside. They exchange abdominal stretches and more dancing just annoys Jericho. He knocks Dupree away and does his own dance, setting up the bulldog into the Lionsault. Dupree’s knees are up and a Death Valley Driver gets two. Not that it matters as the Walls make Dupree tap without much trouble so we’ll see Jericho later tonight.
Rating: C. It’s kind of amazing how much better Dupree is when he has someone like Jericho out there to walk him through a match. Believe it or not, one of the best of all time is capable of putting anyone into a good match and that’s what happened here. Jericho’s face turn is starting to take hold and that should be a good thing going forward.
The Friends and Supporters of Mick Foley air their Foley isn’t a hardcore legend ad, which is still funny.
Christian asks Jericho to use his Survivor Series favor to get into the battle royal but that’s not happening. That sounds like something that’s going to matter later.
Video on HHH vs. Shawn Michaels, who used to be best friends but then HHH became all evil. Then they had a long feud with some traded wins and then Shawn pinned him on the last Raw of the year but it didn’t count. Now we’re having a Last Man Standing match. Now why does that need such a long recap?
Rico vs. Mark Henry
Rico wastes no time in spanking Mark and even throws in a kiss to Teddy Long. Back in and Henry runs him over, setting up the nerve hold. Rico fires up with some kicks but misses something off the top. The World’s Strongest Slam sends Henry to the battle royal.
Flair gives Evolution a pep talk for Sunday.
Classic Royal Rumble moment: Maven eliminates Undertaker in 2002.
Kane vs. Spike Dudley
Spike tries to come off the top and gets choked a lot. More choking in the corner has the referee pulling Kane off so Spike shoves the referee, who thinks Kane did it. That’s a DQ to send Spike to the battle royal.
Kane wrecks Spike post match.
House show videos.
Goldberg vs. Scott Steiner vs. Test
Test gets double teamed to start and the beatdown is on in a hurry. A double clothesline drops Test and Steiner and Goldberg punches away at Steiner in the corner. Test gets in a cheap shot from the floor though and Steiner gets two off a belly to belly suplex. There’s a double suplex to Goldberg but he avoids a clothesline, which hits Steiner instead.
The gorilla press powerslam plants Steiner but draws Test back in for the save. Test and Steiner argue over who gets to pin Goldberg until Steiner sends Test outside. A hot shot sets up the Steiner Recliner, only to have Test break it up. The spear and Jackhammer end Test, putting Goldberg in the battle royal.
Rating: D. Pick a triple threat that follows the exact same formula that we’ve seen dozens of times. There was no need to make this a triple threat but if it was to protect us from having to see Steiner go one on one, he can’t get out of here fast enough. Also, what would it say if Test is brought in to protect you?
We get a new Mick Foley ad, calling him a coward and a scared little girl. Randy Orton is a fearless superstar though.
Austin watches the ad, shakes his head, and rides through the back on the ATV very fast, nearly running over Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade.
Wrestlemania recall: the Brawl for All with the hilarious Bart Gunn knockout.
Here’s Austin for a chat. Austin gets straight to the point: Foley walked out of the company and then wouldn’t come fifteen minutes to the arena last week. That’s not the Foley that Austin knows and used to ride up and down the road with every night. They used to take the cheapest rental cars to the cheapest hotel rooms where they used to see who could make Diamond Dallas Page crack first. That’s not the Foley that Austin remembers so he wants Foley at the Rumble to beat up Orton once and for all. Austin toasts Foley, hoping that he’ll do the right thing.
Video on the launch party for the Originals CD. I could see the appeal of getting to meet Austin, Jericho and Trish among others.
Molly Holly and Trish get catty until Christian takes Molly’s place. He and Jericho had a great time last week on the road trip and Christian has some pictures on his phone to prove it. Jericho seemed to have some fun with a few good looking women. Trish was the last thing on his mind. Christian looks at his phone one more time, reminding him of the midgets.
Lita vs. Jazz
Not a battle royal qualifying match. The fans are already cheering for Lita so Jazz takes her down to the mat for some crossface shots. A monkey flip into some right hands have Jazz in trouble but she gets in a dropkick to the back of the head. Jazz’s chinlock doesn’t last long as the announcers ignore the match to talk about Foley. A spinning belly to back suplex sets up the reverse Twist of Fate but Long offers a distraction so Jazz can roll her up (with tights) for the pin.
Rating: D. That finish is getting very old and I don’t see things getting much better in the women’s division anytime soon. The fact that I saw Molly with the title about ten minutes ago and couldn’t remember who the champion was isn’t a good sign. They’re just going from feud to feud with no apparent direction and that gets old.
Hurricane is used to being the underdog and he’ll do it again tonight. He believes in himself though and that’s going to take him to the main event of Wrestlemania. That was a fired up promo.
We recap Foley not showing up last week.
Randy Orton vs. Hurricane
Non-title. Orton wastes no time in pounding Hurricane in the back, followed by a heck of a clothesline for two. A dropkick sets up a cravate but Hurricane fights up with a quick clothesline. Something like a reverse neckbreaker gets two on Orton and the high crossbody is good for the same. And never mind as the RKO ends Hurricane, wrapping up a short match with a lot packed in.
Post match Evolution comes out to gloat so Rosey comes in to keep an eye on his friend. The beatdown is on so the Dudleys make the real save but Orton saves Flair from going through a table. Coach comes in to yell and goes through it instead.
Henry talks trash to Jericho, who accuses him of eating moose vomit. Those are fighting words, with Henry promising to leave his “stank” on Trish. Henry: “And my stank smells good.”
Rob Van Dam, Booker T., Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Mark Henry
Spike is injured so we’re down to six men instead. Goldberg wastes no time in cleaning house until everyone gets together to beat him down. That includes a Five Star Frog Splash but Booker dumps Van Dam. Jericho gets rid of Booker seconds later, leaving Jericho and Orton to both skin the cat. Henry starts throwing people around and knocks Goldberg down but can only send Jericho to the apron.
A missile dropkick puts Henry down and Jericho dropkicks Goldberg’s knee out for good measure. Orton and Henry get together to toss Jericho and we’re down to three. Goldberg tries to fight back and spears Henry down but Orton makes the save. Instead Orton tries to do it himself so Goldberg knocks Henry out with a hard shoulder. Cue the rest of Evolution so Goldberg throws Orton onto the two of them for the win.
Rating: D-. Yeah that was pretty bad, with the win basically guaranteeing that you have no chance to win on Sunday. Goldberg is a good enough choice for the final spot as he can come in and wreck a few people before someone throws him out in the setup to a big angle. This was little more than a formality, though Orton did feel like he had a chance of winning.
Overall Rating: C. This was almost a stand alone show and it was very smart to not have Shawn Michaels and HHH on the show. There’s no need to waste time on that match after we spent so much time on it last week. The Rumble itself needed some build and it got the focus tonight, making this a better show than recent weeks but still nothing great.
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