Monday Night Raw
Date: May 10, 2004
Location: HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
With the big Phoenix show out of the way, we’re on the long road towards Bad Blood in June. With that show coming up, it’s time to start setting up some of the stories as last week’s show felt like the blowoff to some of the bigger matches. There are two big matches already set for tonight though with the in-ring debut of Eugene and Chris Jericho vs. Christian inside a steel cage. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Shawn vs. Benoit from last week in the very good title match with HHH costing Michaels the title. I think you know where this is going.
HHH vs. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton wastes no time as he armdrags HHH while the music is still playing. Now that’s just rude, as is grabbing a backslide for two. An armdrag into an armbar keeps HHH slow but Shelton charges into a raised boot in the corner. He’s fine enough to snap off a powerslam for two and a DDT gets two. The Stinger Splash misses though and HHH clotheslines him to the floor, only to have Shawn come in for the fast DQ.
The fight stays on for a bit with referees not being able to hold Shawn back as Shelton is completely forgotten. HHH escapes through the crowd and Shawn says he isn’t leaving until he finishes HHH for good. Cue Eric Bischoff to say not so fast and suspends Shawn. With nothing to lose at the moment, Shawn goes after HHH but security cuts him off.
Video on Edge vs. Randy Orton, which has been a big part of the recent Evolution vs. the World feud.
HHH makes it back to the Evolution locker room and gives HHH a pep talk. Bischoff comes in and gives HHH a title shot next week for his troubles. And I’m sure Shawn won’t come anywhere near the ring at all. Of note: Flair gives Batista a pep talk before his match with Tajiri, who Flair calls, and I quote, “That sneaky little Jap.” My goodness how long ago was 2004?
Tajiri vs. Batista
Tajiri strikes away to start and low bridges him to the floor. A tornado DDT on the outside is countered into a spinebuster onto the barricade and it’s time for the pain to begin. Batista stays on the back with a suplex before just standing on it. Tajiri trying a sunset flip just annoys Batista, who plants him with a side slam. A charge in the corner is blocked by a heck of a superkick and Tajiri puts him down with a spinwheel kick. The Batista Bomb is countered into a DDT for two but the Buzzsaw kick is countered into a spinebuster to give Batista the pin.
Rating: D+. It was nothing flashy but Batista worked on one body part and then got the pin after a big shot to that part. The fact that he can have some psychology like that, even at a very simple level, is a good sign and proof that he’s getting better. Give him some more time and he’s going to be a star.
Post match Batista destroys Tajiri’s back even more. The mist starts coming out of Tajiri’s mouth and Batista chokes him out.
Here’s Stacy Keibler to talk about the upcoming Divas DVD. Gail Kim and Molly Holly interrupt so Victoria runs out for a save (for her well known friendship with Stacy) but Jazz comes in and beat her down but Nidia of all people makes the save. This is a thing that happened.
Chris Jericho doesn’t have time to think about HHH and Shawn because tonight, it’s all about that cage. He’ll show Christian how rough he can be.
Intercontinental Title: Randy Orton vs. Edge
Orton is defending. They fight over a lockup to start until a headlock takes Edge down. Edge gets back up and sends him into the corner for some forearms to the back, followed by a backbreaker for two. The back is bent around the post as it’s almost all Edge to start. We hit a modified bow and arrow hold before Edge clotheslines him out to the floor in a heap.
The back gets banged up even worse with a whip into the steps so here’s Ric Flair to help things out. Back from a break with Edge fighting out of a chinlock but getting taken right back down into a second one. The third chinlock in a row goes on and Edge is in even more trouble. Edge finally kicks him in the head to escape but walks into a neckbreaker for two.
A belly to back suplex gives Edge two and a missile dropkick gets the same, this time to a very energetic reaction. The Edge-O-Matic gets two more and Edge reverses a leapfrog into a head of a sitout powerbomb for another near fall. That’s enough to draw Flair onto the apron so Edge spears him down, only to get rolled up for the pin with Orton holding the titles.
Rating: B-. The fans were begging to see a title change here and bought the near falls so there’s hope for something like this later on. You can tell they see some serious potential in Edge and that’s what matters most. Edge isn’t ready to get the big push as they’re taking their time and when he’s ready, the fans are going to react in a big way.
Clip of William Regal training Eugene last week.
Regal has Eugene warm up when Eric Bischoff comes up. He wants Eugene to lose so he’ll get disappointed and quit. If that’s taken care of, Regal can wrestle again. Regal seems interested.
Victoria/Nidia/Stacy Keibler vs. Molly Holly/Gail Kim/Jazz
Jazz wastes no time in taking Victoria down for a Last Chancery before switching to the knee with a dragon screw legwhip. A half crab keeps Victoria in trouble and Nidia’s save attempt goes nowhere. Gail comes in and gets powerslammed for two, only to slap on the Black Widow, which made Victoria tap last week. Everything breaks down and Gail makes Victoria tap to a Tequila Sunrise.
Smackdown Rebound, focusing on Eddie Guerrero’s mother’s heart attack.
Christian isn’t worried about the cage match because he has Tyson Tomko and Trish Stratus backing him up. Tonight is the final match because next week, Christian gets a chance to become World Champion, which was also promised to HHH earlier tonight. The guys leave and Trish goes over to see Lita. A false Kane sighting makes Trish laugh and Lita panic. Matt Hardy has to come in and drag Lita off of her.
Matt Hardy vs. Val Venis
Or not actually as Kane has beaten Val up. I’m not sure why this is a bad thing for Matt, who now gets to leave with Lita earlier. Kane wants an answer from Lita by next week, though the question isn’t clear.
Eugene vs. Rob Conway
This is Eugene’s debut and happens to be against his former longtime OVW tag partner. Eugene goes up top at the bell but politely hops down. Conway’s headlock goes nowhere and Eugene celebrates. A rollup and backslide get two each and Eugene throws in a crucifix for a bonus. Conway snapmares him down for a neck crank so Eugene wristdrags him down.
A ram into the buckle just annoys Eugene and he starts slugging away, setting up a pair of atomic drops. There’s an airplane spin and a top rope ax handle (to a very pleased reaction) for two with the fans deflating on the kickout. Regal reluctantly trips Eugene but claims it was the ring skirt. Not that it matters anyway as Eugene rolls him up with a bridge for the pin, despite Regal’s attempt at a save.
Rating: A. The wrestling wasn’t the point here, at least not in the traditional sense. This was all about getting the Eugene character over and they nailed the whole thing. Eugene isn’t someone who should be out there wrestling a regular match so he just did some basic wrestling and made the match entertaining as a result. It’s the kind of underdog story that you can get behind and the fans did just that. I was a huge fan of the character back in the day and it’s working again here.
Chris Benoit video, edited off the Network of course.
Here are Eric Bischoff and Johnny Nitro to discuss next week’s World Title situation. First though, Nitro announces Trish vs. Lita for next week. With that out of the way, Bischoff announces a battle royal next week with the winner getting a title shot at Bad Blood. Kind of an odd way to go then with Christian and HHH both saying they were getting the shot if it’s just a battle royal. Just announce that in the first place if you’re going to explain it before the end of the show.
Christian vs. Chris Jericho
Inside a cage with pinfall, submission or escape to win with Bischoff on commentary. Jericho baseball slides Christian before he can get inside and tries an early Walls, only to get kicked back into the corner. It’s way too early for Jericho to get out so Christian pulls him back down. That’s enough for Jericho to grab a suplex for two and starts firing off the chops.
Christian kicks him out of the air though and gets two off a backbreaker. Jericho catches him on top with a hard crotching but Tomko is waiting on the ground with a chair. With that not being an option, Jericho dives off the top onto Christian for the big crash. Tomko is right there to kick Jericho in the head before he can get out the door though, and that’s enough for an ejection. You know, because slamming a chair against the cage to block the earlier exit wasn’t enough.
With Tomko out of the way, Christian backdrops him into the cage to take over as we get a slow motion replay of the high crossbody. Jericho fights out of a chinlock and sidesteps a charge, sending Christian face first into the cage to bust him open. Another ram into the corner draws Trish up the side of the cage as Christian is just gushing blood. Jericho goes into the cage this time and the Unprettier gets a very, very delayed near fall. Christian goes up again but this time it’s a butterfly superplex to bring him back down.
That draws Trish into the cage so Jericho puts her in the Walls without much effort. Christian uses the distraction to climb up (exactly as you would expect from him) but Jericho makes the save. Something like a super spinebuster sets up the Walls, sending Christian to the door. He can’t crawl out though because of the legs, forcing him to tap and give Jericho the feud.
Rating: B. The blood helped and it does feel like a definitive ending to the feud. Jericho needed the win more than Christian and it’s nice to have the final match instead of just having another match that winds up being the last one. The blood did add something as well as it should be the ending of two men who hate each other, making the violence that much more important.
Jericho sits on top of the cage to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. The shows continue to be entertaining week in and week out, which is far better than I’m getting on Smackdown. Above all else the wrestling and stories make sense here, with a good balance between wrestling and entertainment. It’s certainly better than watching Eddie Guerrero’s mom having a heart attack twice in a night. That battle royal has me worried, but at least this week’s show was a lot of fun and very good.
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