Monday Night Raw – June 7, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 7, 2004
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Bad Blood and we can see most of the card from here. The big story continues to be HHH vs. Shawn Michaels inside the Cell, though last week’s show got some focus on Kane vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Title. At the same time though, focus was also heavily on Eugene, which doesn’t bode well for his future. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Stacy Keibler to open things up. She plugs the Diva Search, saying it’s a great opportunity to be a TV star (not a wrestler, not a valet, but a TV star). One thing the winner will have to get used to is having their own entrance, so Stacy demonstrates her own a few times. Cue Gail Kim to interrupt, saying Stacy can show you how to be a Diva but she’s going to show us how to be a future Women’s Champion.

Gail Kim vs. Lita

Lita starts fast with a running corner clothesline but a drop toehold sends her throat first into the ropes. It’s off to the legs for Gail as she kicks at Lita’s knee and rams it into the mat, leaving JR to completely ignore Lawler’s questions about Lita’s looks. A leglock goes on for a bit before Gail wraps the leg around the post. Lita makes it back in and hits an enziguri, followed by a suplex into a nip up on one leg. Gail is right back with a reverse Figure Four to send Lita screaming and crawling to the ropes as Lawler is rather pleased with the legs twisting so much. Back up and Lita grabs a DDT for the clean pin.

Rating: D. The wrestling could have been worse but I really hope this isn’t supposed to set up a triple threat on Sunday. Gail is already the #1 contender to the Women’s Title and now Lita just pins her like that. I know the women’s division is kind of a mess and stuff like this isn’t doing it any favors.

Coach comes in to see Johnny Nitro and Eric Bischoff, the latter of whom gives him a match with Eugene on Sunday. Nitro thinks that might go bad for Bischoff, so Eugene gives him a match with Eugene tonight. If Nitro loses, “he’s going to be hearing the exact same words Donald Trump’s apprentices here: ‘YOU’RE FIRED!’” So Bischoff wants to get rid of Eugene and puts him against an announcer and a rookie? Why is he not making a nine on one handicap match? Must be a villainous authority figure.

Batista vs. Shelton Benjamin

Ric Flair is in Batista’s corner. Batista goes straight to the power by whipping Benjamin around but gets sent face first into the buckle. A powerslam and suplex take Benjamin right back down until he gets up and jumps on Batista’s back for a choke. With that not working, Benjamin goes with a kick to the leg and a running knee to the head.

The Stinger Splash draws Flair onto the apron (as it should) and Batista uses the distraction for a heck of a spinebuster. Cue Randy Orton for some reason and Benjamin slips out of the Batista Bomb. There’s the top rope clothesline but Orton gets on the apron, allowing Batista to hit his hard clothesline. Now the Batista Bomb can connect for the pin.

Rating: C. Two matches and two really questionable booking choices with two #1 contenders for a show in less than a week losing. This one wasn’t clean but Shelton has been on a roll in recent weeks, mainly thanks to beating Evolution over and over. So now he loses before the title shot against the last member of the team? I continue to be astounded and confused by this company.

Post match, Evolution destroys Benjamin. This leads to him winning the title right?

Edge and Chris Benoit aren’t happy with each other for losing the Tag Team Titles tonight. Making it even worse, Edge couldn’t get to Bischoff to get their rematch. Coach comes in and announces Benoit vs. La Resistance in a handicap match tonight. Good thing he was standing right there.

Trish Stratus and Tyson Tomko come in to see Bischoff. See, Lita beat the #1 contender earlier tonight and Trish beat Lita a few weeks ago. That’s not enough to get her a title shot, but she does get the good news of Tomko vs. Chris Jericho on Sunday. Kane comes in, stares Tomko down, and says he wants to talk to Bischoff alone.

Chris Jericho vs. A-Train

Oh yeah A-Train still works here. Jericho still has bad ribs so A-Train knees him in the bandages to start. The comeback is cut off with a gorilla press drop and more kicks to the ribs keep Jericho down. A-Train bends the ribs over the knee so Jericho kicks him in the head (8 3/8 I believe) for the break. The Derailer gives A-Train two and that’s going to be it for his chances here. The Train Wreck is broken up and it’s an Enziguri to set up the Walls to make A-Train tap in a hurry. Now wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Bischoff use A-Train on Eugene and Nitro on Jericho because even Nitro could beat an injured Jericho?

Smackdown Rebound.

Here’s HHH for his weekly chat. In a few minutes he’s going to go sit in the sky box with his food and drinks while Orton destroys Shawn Michaels. Now he’s not a religious man, but he knows Shawn is. He doesn’t know if he’s ever going to Heaven, but on Sunday, he and Shawn will go to h***. HHH heads up to his sky box, actually going through the crowd. Eh it was short so I can’t complain.

Video on HHH hurting Shawn over the years.

Video on Shawn hurting HHH over the years. Never let it be said that this feud leaves any stone unturned to tell you how AMAZING it is.

Flair and Batista have joined HHH in the box.

Chris Benoit vs. La Resistance

Non-title and Benoit has to cut off Grenier singing O Canada in French. Benoit sends Conway down and tells Grenier to bring it on as well. Instead it’s Conway chopping the skin off his chest as the USA chants start up. It’s off to the choking on the ropes, followed by the chinlock to continue the theme.

Conway gets two off a neckbreaker and it’s back to Grenier for the knees to the ribs to slow Benoit down. In a bit of a change of pace, Benoit gets tied in the ropes with Grenier putting on a full nelson like a Tarantula (that’s a new one). A posting in front of the fans shouting USA makes my head hurt and it’s back to the double teaming, which draws in Edge for the DQ.

Rating: D. This was another match that happened but the ending is likely to set up another title match down the line. La Resistance need to hold the titles for a little while, if nothing else just to get the division back towards some regular teams. Benoit and Edge were good with the big heel group to fight, but you can only do that for so long. At least the French guys are fine in their roles, and that’s better than random teams winning the titles.

Edge and Benoit clean house until Bischoff comes out to make the Tag Team Title match…for Sunday, meaning Benoit now has two matches. Actually Benoit can have two matches tonight two, so let’s do this instead.

Chris Benoit/Edge vs. Kane/La Resistance

Joined in progress with Conway chinlocking Edge for a bit and handing it off to Grenier for a chinlock with a knee in the back (see, totally different move). Edge finally suplexes his way to freedom and brings in Benoit to face Kane. The chokeslam attempt is broken up by a spear from Edge and there’s the Swan Dive to Kane. With Benoit holding his head, Kane sits up so the Crossface takes him down again. Edge fights the French guys on the floor, leaving Kane to power out of the Crossface. The chokeslam is good enough for the pin on Benoit.

Rating: D. Good to see the World Heavyweight Champion lose twice in one night, especially to people as on his level as Kane and La Resistance while HHH literally looks down on everyone else. This feels more like the Intercontinental Title feud than the World Title and it seems that everyone is ok with that. I’m sure another HHH title reign will fix everything though. The match was short but so much of it was spent in the chinlock, followed by Benoit losing again. It makes sense for Sunday’s booking, but this show has made us suffer enough so far.

Eugene vs. Johnny Nitro

Coach is on commentary and if Nitro loses, he’s fired. Johnny comes out to the old Nitro theme song, which still feels wrong on this show. Eugene twists both arms to start and wraps Nitro up in a bodyscissors to roll him around the ring. A dropkick to the back sends Nitro into the ropes, setting up a schoolboy for two. And now, we hit the Junkyard Dog impression, followed by the airplane spin. Eugene’s top rope ax handle is good for the pin, meaning even someone mentally challenged can beat Nitro. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere. This was exactly how to use Eugene and so much better than last week.

Post match Coach wants to fight Eugene but falls off the announcers’ area.

Bad Blood rundown, including Victoria defending against Lita, Trish and Gail.

Lita is on the phone with Matt Hardy and tells him about getting the title shot. They hang up and here’s Kane, who says he got her into the title match. That way, they can both be champions after Bad Blood. See, Kane lied because it’s never over. Lawler: “Lita must smell delicious.”

Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

Non-title. Shawn sends him outside to start but runs into a boot back inside. The slugout goes to Shawn but he makes the eternal mistake (in this company at least) and misses a charge into the post. Some forearms just annoy Shawn so he grabs a neckbreaker to put Orton in trouble again. With the match not going much of anywhere, JR goes into his traditionally bizarre discussion of the Cell having a mind of its own, saying it awaits the company coming to it soon.

Orton kicks him out of the air for two as the back and forth continues. He finally goes back to the arm that went into the post (it took long enough) and a flying armbar gets two. Shawn avoids a dropkick though and it’s off to the Figure Four, which JR calls mind games. Why he would play mind games with someone he’s not facing on Sunday isn’t clear, but we don’t have time to figure out every questionable thing on this show.

Orton makes the rope so Shawn stays on the leg before hitting him in the face using various methods. The second Figure Four attempt is broken up with Shawn being kicked into the post in a smart move. Shawn uses the good arm to clothesline him outside and there’s the dive to the floor, so HHH sends Batista down to ringside. Back from a break with Batista posting Shawn to bust him open pretty well.

That’s only good for two back inside and Shawn gets whipped into the corner for the upside down flip. Orton’s dropkick bangs up his knee again but he’s fine enough to cover for two anyway. The chinlock goes on as this match just hasn’t been long enough yet. Shawn fights up for the forearm into the nip up and it’s time for the big comeback. A running ax handle (Shawn must be a Eugene fan) sets up the top rope elbow but Batista comes in for the DQ.

Rating: C. This was right between fine and boring, which makes for a bad combination when it lasts twenty minutes. It makes sense to keep either of them from taking a clean loss but you would think they could do a little better than Shawn’s random mind games with Flair and HHH sending minions after Michaels. Not too bad, but not very interesting.

Post match Shawn fights off Orton and Batista before going to the sky box to fight HHH to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. If this was supposed to make me want to see Bad Blood, they’re worse off than I thought. There was no good wrestling, the angle advancement was rather questionable, Kane would still rather mess with Matt and Lita than try to be World Champion, and the best thing about the show was Trish being added to the Women’s Title match. This was one of the worst shows they’ve done in a long time, which actually feels overdue. You could tell things were getting worse, but this was where but started to fall apart. Bad show, and a worse build towards the pay per view.

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