Monday Night Raw
Date: April 19, 2004
Location: Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re done with Backlash and that means it’s time to start the long road to Bad Blood in June as May is Smackdown’s turn. Chris Benoit retained the World Title in another classic triple threat match while Randy Orton survived against Cactus Jack in the match that should elevate him to the next level. Let’s get to it.
Chris Jericho vs. Christian
Now that’s how you open things up. Lilian Garcia adds another town to Jericho’s list of homes, billing him from Winnipoga, Manitoba, Canada. Christian has Trish Stratus with him and….egads man. That’s one of the better looks she’s ever had, which is quite a list to top. They fight over a lockup to start but shove each other away for a staredown. Christian slaps him in the face so Jericho punches him in his, which seems to be a little more effective.
A middle rope dropkick gives Jericho two and it’s off to the pinfall reversal sequence. You don’t do that to Jericho, who tries for the Walls. Trish comes in for the save and that means another spank. As Lawler calls that sexual harassment, Jericho dives onto the two of them as we take a break. Back with Jericho going face first into the steps, allowing Trish to slap him in the face.
The Chick Kick knocks Jericho into a chinlock until the standard comeback gets him out. A running crotch attack to the back looks to set up the Lionsault but Jericho settles for the Flashback instead. Christian’s reverse DDT (not the Unprettier JR) gets two and he heads up top.
That takes a little too long though and a butterfly superplex gives Jericho two of his own. Christian is right back with a super reverse DDT but the Texas Cloverleaf doesn’t work. Trish gets in a cheap shot but her slap hits Christian, setting up the enziguri. Now it’s Trish getting in to break up the count so Jericho loads up the Walls, only to have a big bald tattooed man come in and kick Jericho in the face to give Christian the pin.
Rating: B. Nice match here and the addition of a monster can help advance the feud. Jericho won last night so it makes sense to have Christian get his win back here. It’s a good idea to bring in some more people to keep the feud going, which is something that modern wrestling just doesn’t understand a lot of the time.
Post break, Christian introduces Trish to her new problem solver: Tyson Tomko. Chris Benoit’s music cuts off the end of the segment, which really shouldn’t be the case for a pre-tape.
Here’s Benoit to celebrate retaining the title. Benoit talks about every wrestling fan and historian knowing about the Dungeon right here in Calgary. Eighteen years ago, Stu Hart springboarded his career into professional wrestling and that’s why he’s here today. Benoit wishes Stu was here so he could thank him and we pause for a STU chant. Ever since he left the Dungeon, Benoit has been told that he can’t win the big one and he’s proven them wrong.
Then he won the Royal Rumble and went on to become World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania XX by making HHH tap out. Then he was told it was a fluke so last night he made Shawn Michaels tap too. Cue Shawn because this still isn’t over. The fans remind him that he screwed Bret before Shawn talks about how he’s always believed in Benoit. We see a clip of Shawn pinning him clean two months ago so he wants another title shot.
Benoit says let’s do it right now but here are Eric Bischoff and Johnny Nitro to cut them off. Calgary doesn’t deserve that match so let’s do it in two weeks instead. Therefore in two weeks in Phoenix (with Johnny pulling out a PDA to make sure of where the show is taking place), much to the fans’ annoyance. They shake hands and talk some trash. There’s your non-pay per view main event.
Women’s Title: Victoria vs. Molly Holly
Victoria is defending and Molly’s wig now has short hair. An early clothesline gives Molly two but she gets monkey flipped down. The apron clothesline drops Molly again as they’re certainly starting fast. Back in and the dancing moonsault gets two….and there goes the wig. A lot of her hair has grown back to the point where she looks like she just got a very short haircut and is in no way bald anymore. That’s too far for Molly, who chokes Victoria down and gets disqualified.
A white limousine arrives and it’s….Evolution, with Batista throwing his belt over his shoulder and hitting Flair in the head. HHH hears about Shawn getting the World Title shot in two weeks and says that’s his match.
Kane says there has been a problem of late. He’s shown compassion and it has made him weak. Tonight, he feasts on fear and suffering and someone will be sacrificed. This might be better if he hadn’t lost last night.
Bischoff and Nitro are scared about Kane when William Regal comes in. He’s already tired of being stressed over Eugene and isn’t a glorified babysitter. Bischoff is more worried about where Eugene is now but Regal says he hasn’t seen him since a game of hide and seek went awry earlier today (seriously). That’s not cool with Bischoff, who says Regal either take care of Eugene or Regal gets to face Kane tonight.
Here’s a cut up Randy Orton for a chat. Mick Foley promised to shut him up last night but that didn’t happen. Last night was the biggest win of his career and he wants to thank Foley for what he did. We get a quick RANDY chant before Orton talks about all the things that Foley did to him last night that the fans loved.
Everyone loved it when he was thrown into the pile of tacks but then it was the RKO onto the barbed wire bat that put Foley away. After Orton won though, he turned into something new. Last night he entered the ring as the Hardcore Legend and the Legend Killer (So he wants to kill himself?) but left as a living legend.
Cue Edge to interrupt and he’s tired of hearing Orton run his mouth for the last fourteen months. Edge doesn’t like Orton and wants him to spit on him just like Foley. That’s a big no, because Orton is tired and sore, but Edge isn’t worth it anyway. The fight is on but Batista and Flair come in to take Edge out.
Benoit makes the save but HHH comes in to beat him down as well. Evolution leaves them laying and poses on the stage but here are Bischoff and Nitro to make Edge/Benoit vs. Flair/Batista for the Tag Team Titles tonight. Orton looked like a star here and that’s exactly the point of last night’s match.
Garrison Cade vs. Tajiri
Coach introduces Cade and sits in on commentary. Cade takes him into the corner to start but gets kicked in the face. The handspring elbow is broken up with a boot to the back as Coach brags about Cade’s expensive cowboy boot. Tajiri’s back gets bent around Cade’s knee and Cade slowly walks around. The delay allows Tajiri to hit the handspring elbow this time around and a superkick gets two. A Lionsault misses though and Cade drops a top rope elbow for the pin.
Rating: D+. Cade wasn’t terrible here but he wasn’t exactly thrilling either. Giving him the clean pin over Tajiri at least suggests a short term push for him, though I don’t know how far he’s going to be able to go. At least they’re trying something new and as soon as they can come up with a better name for him, he might have a chance of going somewhere.
SmackDown Rebound looks at Big Show losing his job, followed by losing his mind and threatening to kill Torrie. Instead he chokeslammed Kurt Angle off a balcony and left him in a pool of blood.
Eugene is in the arena with a t-shirt gun so let’s cut to the announcers to talk about the Tag Team Title match. Regal comes out to collect him and takes a shirt shot between the legs. Of course the selling is hilarious and the EUGENE chant is a good sign.
Benoit and Edge fire each other up before the title match.
Val Venis/Lita vs. Gail Kim/Matt Hardy
Fallout from both Heat and Backlash. No match as Matt, who has 44 different action figures and doesn’t like wasting time making his bed, gets followed to the ring by Kane, who beats up both guys as his sacrifice. He goes after Lita but Matt dives on her and takes the beating instead. Lita cowers in the corner like a nitwit instead of, you know, RUNNING AWAY FROM KANE.
Tag Team Titles: Edge/Chris Benoit vs. Ric Flair/Batista
Flair and Batista are defending. Benoit and Flair take turns driving each other into the corner to start until some chops have Flair in the corner. Edge comes in for a backdrop and fires off his own chops in the corner. It’s off to Batista who gets dropkicked into the ropes but Edge can’t knock him down. Instead Benoit comes in and takes him down with a snap suplex, which annoys Batista so much that he takes Edge’s head off with a clothesline.
Flair comes back in and works on an armbar for a bit. Edge spinwheel kicks his way out of trouble and it’s back to Benoit for more chops. Another snap suplex sets up the Sharpshooter but Benoit has to let it go to suplex Batista. With Batista gone, the Crossface has Flair in trouble but HHH comes out for a distraction. Batista spinebusters Benoit and we take a break.
Back with Batista hammering away on Benoit and slapping on a bearhug. Flair distracts the referee and HHH manages to get inside and choke away. We hit the rear naked choke from Batista until a belly to back suplex drops Benoit. Flair comes in and takes a German suplex, allowing the double hot tags to Edge and Batista. Everything breaks down and Edge punches his way out of the Batista Bomb. The Swan Dive hits Batista but HHH pulls Benoit out. Cue Michaels to superkick HHH as Edge spears Batista for the pin and the titles. JR: “Stu Hart has gotta be smiling!” Like Stu would ever let a long match air in full on TV.
Rating: C+. The ending continues the story they have going here and Edge felt much more like his pre-injury self here than what we’ve been seeing for the last few weeks. Let him be all fired up and clean house, which is what he does better than anything else. Benoit being a double champion in his hometown is a nice idea and a great way to send the fans home happy. Not a bad match either.
Overall Rating: C. Nothing great here but a perfectly watchable show that advanced the stories forward and let us have a pretty fun night of wrestling. The problem with the main event scene would be that Shawn and HHH won’t leave Benoit alone but it’s not like there’s anyone else to fight him. Orton and Batista aren’t ready and Flair wouldn’t feel like a threat. That doesn’t leave many options, but it’s pretty clear who is up next. Anyway, nice show as they leave Canada with a fun evening. Oh and where was Shelton Benjamin? Not seen once all night and only mentioned in passing.
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