Monday Night Raw – May 24, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 24, 2004
Location: Metro Centre, Rockford, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re coming up on Bad Blood and we now have a World Title match. Last week saw Kane win a battle royal to become the new #1 contender to Chris Benoit’s World Title, but you know full well that won’t be the show’s biggest match. In the same battle royal, Shawn Michaels interfered to cost HHH his title shot. I think you know where this is going. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of everything I just said.

Eric Bischoff is in HHH’s locker room where HHH demands that Shawn be reinstated. Bischoff has already done that and announces the match between HHH and Shawn at Bad Blood. That’s fine with Shawn, who can have anything he wants. Bischoff leaves and HHH yells at Evolution, saying he wants some unity tonight.

Ric Flair vs. Edge

Orton is here with Flair, who starts with some strutting. They take turns hitting each other in the corner until Edge takes over with a backdrop. Flair gets sent to the floor and begs off back inside, only to get clotheslined down. Some right hands take Edge down and the knee drop gets two. Edge is right back up with some shots to the jaw and another backdrop but Flair pokes the eye. Even a blind Edge is able to knock him out of the air but Orton gets in a cheap shot to give Flair two. Cue Shelton Benjamin to take care of Orton, leaving Edge to spear Flair for the pin.

Rating: C-. The wrestling wasn’t much here but it gives us another step forward in Benjamin vs. Orton, which almost has to be the title match at Bad Blood. The perk of having a group like Evolution is you can throw a variety of people at them, including Edge and Shelton, both of whom are getting a nice rub as a result.

HHH and Batista are waiting on Shawn.

Earlier today, Vince McMahon had a bunch of women behind him to announce a reality show called the $250,000 Raw Diva Search. Have fun meeting the new generation that brought the women’s division down to new depths.

We look back at last week when Lita said yes to Kane.

Matt tries to find out what Lita was saying yes to but she still won’t say. They haven’t talked all week and he’s been worried about her. She’s been thinking about him and realizes she loves him. They kiss, and she wants to show him how much she loves him. Lita goes into her locker room to get her bag and finds (in addition to a camera waiting) Kane. Apparently something has happened between them but Kane said it was over. He says it is indeed over, allowing Lita to leave, without telling Matt what happened.

HHH and Batista go to beat up….Steven Richards as he arrives by mistake. Batista is sent to check on the rest of Evolution and HHH kicks Richards one more time to let off some steam.

La Resistance vs. Rosey/Hurricane

During the entrances, we’re told that Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young will be on the Tonight Show. I NEED to see this….I think. Rosey throws Conway to the floor to start and it’s off to Hurricane for a middle rope legdrop. Hurricane picks up the pace but gets low bridged out to the floor so the French beatdown can begin.

Conway works on an ankle twist until an enziguri gets Hurricane out of trouble. That’s enough for the hot tag to Rosey, who hits a running spinning legdrop on Grenier. Rosey rolls underneath a double clothesline (which you don’t see very often) and hits one of his own, allowing Hurricane to hit a high crossbody for two. The Shining Wizard misses though and Grenier gets in a cheap shot, setting up a rollup to finish Hurricane.

Rating: D+. Nothing wrong with a short match to get La Resistance over. Benoit and Edge need some regular teams to face and La Resistance, especially with Conway doing most of the work, is a perfectly fine choice. The match was short enough to not be too bad, though Hurricane and Rosey don’t have the same charm without their funny vignettes.

HHH is still waiting when Shawn pops up for the fight. Referees and security eventually break it up, though after both guys get in a few more shots.

It’s time for the Highlight Reel and Jericho is proud of himself for getting rid of Christian. The sexy beast is hot and so is his guest tonight. That would be Randy Orton, who is on fire right now. Orton comes out and Jericho praises him for holding the Intercontinental Title longer than anyone in the last seven years. Jericho lists off the names that Orton has killed, including Steve Austin, before moving on to Shelton Benjamin. That doesn’t do anything for Orton, because Benjamin is NOT getting a title shot.

That makes the next question obvious: why is Orton scared of Shelton? Orton doesn’t like that and it’s made even worse when Jericho cuts him off. Jericho says Shelton beat HHH and since HHH is a legend, Orton must want to face him. That’s too much for Orton, who wants to put Jericho on his list. The fight is on but Batista runs in. Cue Shelton for the save and I think you know where this is going, with Bischoff coming out to make the tag match.

Chris Jericho/Shelton Benjamin vs. Batista/Randy Orton

Joined in progress with Jericho headlocking Orton down and then turning it into a bow and arrow hold. Back up and a clothesline keeps Orton in trouble, which is made even worse by a tag to Shelton. Batista comes in as well and Shelton looks a bit nervous. Batista grabs him by the throat so Shelton kicks at the leg. That just earns him a heck of a clothesline and it’s Evolution taking over.

A neckbreaker gets Shelton out of trouble and the hot tag brings in Jericho to speed things up. The Walls are broken up so Jericho settles for a springboard dropkick to knock Batista off the apron. Now the Walls can go on but Batista makes the save, only to have Jericho dive onto both of them on the floor as we take a break. Back with Jericho in trouble, because that’s how WWE returns from commercials. Trish Stratus jumps in on commentary as Orton starts working on the arm.

Batista gets in his own arm cranking as Lawler keeps drooling over Trish. A crank of the arm cuts off Jericho’s comeback and it’s off to a shortarm scissors. Benjamin gets drawn in like a moron, allowing Batista to come in for a cross armbreaker. Jericho finally fights up and hits a springboard dropkick to drop Orton, setting up the hot tag to Benjamin.

House is cleaned as everything breaks down with a sunset flip getting two on Batista. That’s not cool with him though, so a hard clothesline takes Benjamin’s head off. Orton comes in and gets rammed into Batista for two off a rollup, followed by a powerslam for the same. Jericho cuts Batista off and it’s the exploder suplex to put Orton away.

Rating: B. Like I mentioned earlier, WWE can get miles out of this Evolution vs. everyone feud because they can do matches like this for months. Benjamin pinning Orton should be the logical way to set up the title match, which is the logical path for him after all those wins over HHH. Good match here, which is becoming commonplace on this show in this spot.

Post match Trish yells at Jericho, allowing Tyson Tomko to run Jericho over. Tomko powerbombs him through the announcers’ table for a bonus.

Here’s Kane to talk about how he’s envious of Chris Benoit for a variety of reasons. He wants to be the World Heavyweight Champion and live his dream life instead of a life of nightmares. That all changes at Bad Blood because he always gets what he wants.

Shawn is in Bischoff’s office, demanding that the match be the way he wants it. Bischoff agrees and here’s HHH to jump Shawn. Security finally breaks it up again.

Victoria vs. Molly Holly

Non-title and Gail Kim is here with Molly. Victoria spends a lot of time dancing on the way to the ring, which isn’t the worst thing in the world for a variety of reasons. Molly wastes no time in sending her to the apron where Gail pulls Victoria face first onto the apron. Back in and Molly grabs a double fish hook as the announcers talk about the Diva Search. A reverse cravate goes on and Victoria stays in trouble. There’s a running flip neckbreaker for a slightly delayed two but Victoria grabs a backslide for the same. Gail gets knocked off the apron and the Widow’s Peak finishes Molly in a hurry.

Rating: D. The women’s division is a mess right now as Victoria has cleaned the whole thing out, aside from Trish. The other problem is the talent isn’t exactly being treated as anything special. Is there really any reason for these two to be fight other than what happened two months ago at Wrestlemania? We need something a little better than that.

Post match Gail jumps Victoria and is quickly taken down by a Widow’s Peak of her own.

Smackdown Rebound.

Bischoff tells Johnny Nitro to round up the roster to act as security tonight.

Post break, Bischoff gives the locker room a speech about getting control back. If they don’t help, they’re all fired. Chris Benoit should not be in the same crowd as Val Venis and Hurricane.

We look back at the Rock/Eugene/Coach segment from last week. Still awesome.

Eugene is running around like a plane as William Regal is starting to warm up to him. When asked about Rock, Eugene goes into IF YA SMELL and Regal seems proud. They’re teaming tonight but Nitro comes in to say Regal isn’t cleared and can’t wrestle tonight. That’s too far for Regal, but the threat of Bischoff means it’s going to be a handicap match, unless Eugene can find a partner. Regal gives him a brief pep talk and the tag match is next.

Jonathan Coachman/Garrison Cade vs. Eugene/???

Eugene needs a partner for THESE TWO? He has one anyway and it’s….Chris Benoit. Egads they’re attaching a rocket to Eugene and it’s kind of awesome. The shocked face on Coach and the elation from Eugene make this even better. Eugene grabs the titles and starts running around so Coach trips him, which isn’t cool with Benoit. The early chopping has Cade in trouble and there’s the snap suplex. Eugene comes in and takes Cade down with a headlock without even taking the jacket off.

Cade hits Coach by mistake so we’ll go with a crisscross, setting up “HEY! WHAT’S THAT?” and a chop to Cade’s head ala Chief Jay Strongbow. It’s back to Benoit, who gets chopped and clotheslined in the corner by Cade. Coach comes in and Lawler knows it’s not going to end well. Everything breaks down and it’s an airplane spin to Cade. Benoit rolls some German suplexes on Coach and drops the Swan Dive. Eugene gets to hit one of his own for the pin and another big reaction.

Rating: C. There’s something so easy to cheer for about someone who has no business being here but succeeds anyway. Eugene is such a ridiculous concept but WWE has turned it into one of the most well done concepts they’ve had in a long time. This was especially strange to see if you watched Eugene in OVW, where he was basically a Benoit clone, down to using the rolling German suplexes and Crossface as his finishers.

Shawn and HHH are at it again. Good grief get a ring already.

Here’s HHH for the big showdown to end the show. He wastes no time in calling Shawn out so the fight is on. Shawn gets the better of it but has to deal with Evolution. Benoit and Edge come take care of the extras so here are some goons to try and break it up. Shawn gets in the dive onto the pile so more guys come out and finally separate them. Bischoff makes the big announcement of Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood. More brawling ends the show.

Overall Rating: B-. I’m having flashbacks to being a huge Eugene fan back in the day and it’s helping to fuel this string of very good shows. They’re building up new and actually interesting characters instead of slapping an ugly coat of paint on someone who wasn’t that great in the first place. It’s no surprise that Raw is smashing Smackdown every single week right now and why I’m really enjoying these shows week after week. Good stuff here, assuming you ignore the World Champion being treated like an upper midcard act with a non-existent feud with Kane for the pay per view. Fix that and the show is that much better.

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