Monday Night Raw – March 15, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 15, 2004
Location: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Attendance: 17,148
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for the season premiere as we’re past Wrestlemania XX and Chris Benoit is the Raw World Champion. That should open up some fresh doors, but a rematch with HHH is the most likely way to go. It’s time to start getting ready for Backlash, and that could mean a few different things. Let’s get to it.

Here’s HHH (you can’t make up jokes like this) with his arm in a sling and anger levels higher than normal. He can’t even speak and a BENOIT chant makes it even worse. HHH finally manages to talk, saying that one match doesn’t make someone the best. Putting a belt around your waist one time doesn’t mean a thing. It’s about defending the title night after night, month after month. That’s what makes you the best.

HHH has beaten them all every single night, which is why he woke up this morning. Yeah he tapped out and maybe that can make the fans happy. Last night was 2-1 and it took both of them to beat him. That’s how he knew he was still the best when he looked in the mirror. He’s not done with Chris Benoit, because Benoit is the new target. When the arm heals, he’s coming for Benoit, but here’s the new champ to interrupt.

Benoit beat both Shawn Michaels and HHH last night to earn this title. When the arm gets better, HHH can bring on his rematch because Benoit will make him tap over and over. HHH says not on Benoit’s best day, so Benoit hits with the belt to send HHH running. Evolution comes in and Shawn makes the save. Sounds tag matchish. Cue Eric Bischoff to make the 3-2 handicap main event but also to say that Vince McMahon is here for a huge announcement. Good opening though, as Benoit looks like a star and HHH finally gives something up.

Post break Shawn says he made the save because he wants Benoit healthy for a future title shot. Makes some sense, but wouldn’t it make more to have Benoit take a beating and then make the save?

Victoria/Lita vs. Jazz/Molly Holly

Molly already has the wig on, now sporting hair down to her elbows. The chin strap doesn’t hide much either. It’s a brawl to start with Molly rubbing Victoria’s face in the mat and Jazz coming in for a legdrop. The fans chant MOLLY’S BALD as Victoria comes back with a middle rope moonsault to take Jazz down. It’s already off to Lita for some running clotheslines and a headscissors. Molly kicks her in the back though and there goes the wig, revealing a very round bald head. That sends her running, leaving Lita to DDT Jazz for the pin.

Rating: D. This was nothing but the visual gag and they were smart enough to keep things moving. There isn’t much of a reason to go with some big new angle so soon after last night’s huge show so just go with some lighthearted fallout like this. If nothing else, points to Molly for shaving the whole thing off. Not many people would do that.

Stills of Chris Jericho vs. Christian with Trish Stratus turning on Jericho for reasons that will need to be explained. Evil Trish is always worth a look.

The ticked off Jericho won’t answer any questions.

Matt Hardy vs. Chris Jericho

I feel bad for Matt, who is ridiculous underrated. Jericho is as aggressive as you would expect and clotheslines the heck out of Matt before choking away. A rake to the eyes allows Matt to hit a belly to back suplex. Jerry: “Maybe Jericho and Fozzy can redo the old Rolling Stones song: I can’t get no Stratusfaction.” Jericho throws him outside and chokes with an electrical cord for the DQ. That’s the best way to go here and Matt doesn’t even lose for once.

During the break, Jericho leaves without saying a word.

Randy Orton wants Mick Foley one on one. How will Foley feel about his son Huey growing up with Orton as a role model instead of his dad? Those are fighting words.

La Resistance is here, now with the returning Sylvan Grenier and Fifi the poodle. Steve Austin comes in to stare at Fifi and gives the French b**** a ticket. He means Rene Dupree, who isn’t happy and speaks French to show off the anger. If this is where Austin is now, he might as well leave now.

Val Venis vs. Kane

Before the match, a fan gets to remove Val Venis’ towel. She’s happy enough that she tries to flash Val but the pyro cuts her off. Side slam, top rope clothesline and chokeslam in about forty seconds.

Hall of Fame ceremony video.

Miss Jackie vs. Stacy Keibler

Jackie shoves her outside before the bell but gets kicked in the face as we actually start. Stacy chokes in the corner, only to get snapmared into a chinlock…and here’s Vince to stop the match because he has something more important to talk about.

Vince says it’s time to shake things up around here because people are getting too complacent. The fans want new superstars, new matches and new rivalries. Therefore, next week, the Smackdown superstars will be here next week for a good old fashioned lottery. Everyone from Steve Austin to Mick Foley vs. Kurt Angle to Eddie Guerrero will be in the lottery and even Vince’s relatives could be changing shows.

Post break Eric Bischoff isn’t sure what to think when Evolution comes in to say they can’t be split up. HHH demands that he stay on Raw but Bischoff says it’s out of his hands.

Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Rob Van Dam/Booker T.

Van Dam and Booker are defending. Booker declines a handshake from Bubba in a bit of an out of character move. They fight over a lockup to start until Booker’s leapfrog is shoved away in what might have been a slight botch. D-Von comes in and gets clotheslined so it’s off to Van Dam for some kicks to the chest. Rob kicks Bubba down as well and brings Booker back in as the chemistry isn’t exactly flowing at the moment.

An elbow to the jaw gives Bubba….nothing as Rob made a blind tag and come in off the top with a stomp to the back. A suplex takes Booker down as the champs are wrestling as heels for some reason, despite being faces for their entire run now. It’s back to D-Von for some fast right hands and a neckbreaker gets two on Booker. Everything breaks down and the 3D hits Booker, with Van Dam making the last second save. It’s a very bad sign when one of the biggest finishers of all time gets no reaction.

Van Dam comes in and takes a running neckbreaker out of the corner to send him all the way outside. We actually take a break and come back with Van Dam hitting a spinwheel kick. Booker is still down on the floor though so Bubba comes in and smacks Van Dam in the head. Something like a brainbuster gets two and D-Von puts on a neck crank. A reverse chinlock from Bubba keeps this going because going twice as long as they should have just isn’t enough.

Rob finally kicks him away and gets over to Booker for the hot tag. Booker cleans house to very little reaction A spinebuster plants D-Von and there’s the Spinarooni. The scissors kick into the Five Star gets two on Bubba as D-Von makes the save. The Bubba Bomb is blocked and Booker hits the Book End to retain.

Rating: D. What the heck was that? I know some teams don’t have the best chemistry together but egads this felt like they were told to just go out there and fill in about twenty minutes no matter how bad it was. You don’t get to often say this but the match was about three times longer than it needed to be. If you cut this WAY down it might have been ok, but as it is it’s a long mess with the fans not caring in the slightest.

Video on last night’s show.

Spike Dudley comes out for a match but Christian and Trish Stratus jump him from behind. Christian hits an Unprettier on the floor and Trish makes a fast count. What a cheater. Christian introduces Trish for the big explanation, which starts with the big bet from Jericho (Christian’s participation is forgotten, as is Lita’s). Trish: “What kind of a cheap s*** do you think that I am anyway?”

It’s a shame that Chris’ night ended prematurely because she wound up screwing him instead. Well, actually screwing someone else. Christian insults New Jersey and says he won because he got the girl. Trish didn’t want someone who was bringing her flowers and candy because she was looking for something a little more rough. It’s Jericho’s fault that he won’t be getting any Stratusfaction. Kissing ensues.

La Resistance is panicking about being split but Dupree isn’t letting Austin get under his skin. Grenier will be here keeping Fifi company.

Here’s Dupree for a chat. There is a bad perception that the French are nothing but cowards. He raises the French flag to prove otherwise though and the Americans will learn that soon. A French rant brings out Austin to beat the heck out of Dupree without saying a word. I have no idea what this was supposed to accomplish.

Evolution vs. Shawn Michaels/Chris Benoit

HHH is out with the trio. Batista clotheslines Shawn’s head off to start and it’s off to Flair for a little less success. Some chops and a backdrop have Flair in trouble and Benoit comes in to keep it going. One heck of an elbow drops Flair and a snap suplex has him screaming, which to be fair isn’t the hardest job in the world. Benoit gets taken into the corner for some forearms from Orton but you don’t keep a new World Champion down for very long. Instead it’s Shawn coming in and taking the backbreaker (you can keep old Shawn’s down pretty easily)….and we see Foley arriving in the back.

The referee gets bumped and everything breaks down with Evolution taking over due to the power of numbers. Cue Foley to hammer on Orton though and send him into the crowd. With the numbers even, Shawn forearms Flair and nips up for the top rope elbow. HHH comes in with a Pedigree to cut off Sweet Chin Music (so much for the arm) and Flair gets a delayed two. For reasons of pure stupidity and overconfidence, Flair goes up and comes right back down.

We settle back down to Batista hitting the spinebuster for two on Shawn and slapping on the chinlock. Flair comes in to drop a knee and Shawn is busted open again. He’s fine enough to roll Flair up for two but can’t follow up. For some reason Flair is down too, meaning the hot tag can bring in Benoit. The German suplexes start up in a hurry, followed by the Swan Dive for two on Batista, who powers out without much effort. HHH comes in again but a Pedigree to Benoit is broken up with some Sweet Chin Music. Another superkick drops Flair and Batista taps to the Sharpshooter.

Rating: C+. You can see where things are going from here, assuming nothing changes next week in the Lottery. Foley vs. Orton was pretty clearly not over yet and you could guess about Shawn and HHH going after Benoit even more. The match itself was fun, though I question having Batista take the fall when you have Flair available to give up instead.

Overall Rating: C-. This was kind of a weird show as nothing really happened this week (the Lottery announcement is big, but for next week). Instead it felt like a recharged version of the stories continuing, which was fine as a lot of them were advanced last night. That long tag match in the middle ruined things though and there was no coming back from it. The other problem is how everything changes next week, leaving a lot of this rather useless. Not a bad show, but you wouldn’t have guessed it was the post-Wrestlemania show.

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