Monday Night Raw
Date: June 14, 2004
Location: Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re past Bad Blood and Chris Benoit is still Raw World Champion. At the same time though, Shawn Michaels vs. HHH had the most epic finish to the most incredible, long running rivalry involving Shawn Michaels and HHH this year. Like really, the best thing ever and nothing will ever approach them. Let’s get to it.
Kane comes in to see Eric Bischoff to start. Bischoff thought Kane’s performance against Chris Benoit was good but they’ve had to name a new #1 contender. Kane isn’t happy but agrees to be a professional. The office is swiftly destroyed.
Jim Ross is in the ring to open things up and promises EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE from last night’s Cell match, because it just needs to keep going. As for now though, we need to bring out Shawn and HHH to officially end the rivalry. Leave it to these two to need a closing ceremony. They’re both rather banged up and looking rather serious and stare each other down. JR says last night’s match will be remembered for generations to come but now it needs to end. They need to shake hands and move on with their lives (preach it brother).
Both guys are tentative but here’s Bischoff to cut them off with an announcement about the new #1 contender. Kane cuts that off though and kicks Shawn in the face before turning to HHH. As usual, HHH bails in time, leaving Kane to kick Shawn again. That’s not enough though as he Pillmanizes Shawn’s throat, drawing blood from the mouth. That should get rid of Shawn for a long time, which might be best for everyone involved.
Post break and Shawn is still getting medical treatment with JR just a step above the Owen Hart voice. Shawn gets oxygen and is taken out on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance, as we’re nearly half an hour into the show.
Trish Stratus/Tyson Tomko vs. Lita/Matt Hardy
We get team facts this week, including that Matt and Lita are not morning people but do like margaritas. The women start things off with Trish taking over off a headlock takeover. Back up and the Matrish ducks a clothesline so Lita elbows her in the face for two. So what if a champion almost got pinned? We need to talk about Shawn and HHH NEARLY SHAKING HANDS!!!
The men come in with Tomko not being able to catch a diving Hardy. Tomko forearms him in the back of the head for two and it’s off to the chinlock. That goes as long as you would expect so Matt reverses a powerslam into a tornado DDT. Trish tags herself back in and gets clotheslined by Lita as the pace picks up. An enziguri drops Trish again as everything breaks down. Matt hits a good looking dive onto Tomko, leaving Lita to DDT Trish for the pin.
Rating: D. Another not great match and another instance of the champion losing the night after she wins the title. I’m not sure how smart that is, but given the state of the women’s division at the moment, it’s not like there are many people with any real value. Tomko continues to look fine as a power guy, but not being able to catch Matt didn’t do him any favors.
HHH comes in to see Bischoff and wishes Shawn good health. As for the important part though, HHH should be #1 contender after winning last night. Bischoff doesn’t think so just yet, because HHH needs to beat Eugene next week. Dang it they were doing so well. HHH seems pleased.
La Resistance vs. Hurricane/Rosey
Non-title flag match, on Flag Day. This time though it’s just a regular match with the winners having their flag raised and their national anthem played. Rosey and Grenier start things off with the big man sending him into the corner for a leg lariat from Hurricane. That means a striking of the pose but Grenier picks him up for a double hot shot.
Conway comes in for the short form chinlock and Hurricane fights up in short order. The Blockbuster connects and it’s back to Rosey for the house cleaning. Rosey blasts them both with clotheslines as everything breaks down. Hurricane gets posted so Hurricane grabs a suplex on Grenier but Conway trios the leg for the Bobby Heenan finish to give Grenier the pin.
Rating: D. Short and to the point here as the French guys get another win, which should be the case in a regular match. It would have been one thing if this had been the capture the flag version but you don’t want the champs losing so soon. You know, like Trish did in the previous match.
The Canadian anthem plays, though it sounds like the short form.
Video on the Diva Search, including the explanation of a fan vote. Egads please get it over with fast.
A nervous Lita goes into the bathroom with a pregnancy test.
It’s Highlight Reel time with special guest Eugene, accompanied by William Regal. Eugene uses the set like a maze and holds his microphone upside down. Jericho says he and Eugene are both sexy beasts and Eugene is a bit embarrassed. It turns out that Eugene is a Jericho fan and his favorite moment is when he relieved himself in Regal’s tea. Eugene: “I did the same thing last week.” Regal’s response is as annoyed/hilarious as you would expect.
On to more serious things, Eugene is excited about getting to face HHH. Jericho says enjoy it while you can because HHH doesn’t like anyone and only cares about himself. The only reason Bischoff made the match was so HHH could beat him up and end his career. This brings out Evolution and Randy Orton has a present. HHH insists that they’re all his friends and Jericho is a mean liar. HHH is the biggest friend he has because he’s bigger than the Rock and Chris Benoit.
That brings us to the present: a HHH hat, a HHH shirt (goes on over the jacket) and an autographed picture from HHH. Finally, there’s an Evolution shirt and HHH has Eugene sign it for him. We even get a cameraman to take a photo with Eugene and HHH (HHH: “On three you’re gonna say Pedigree.”). There’s no attack, as instead HHH talks about how Jericho and Regal have been lying to Eugene. If they do it again, come tell HHH and he’ll take care of it. HHH talks up their match and says he knows he’ll have a great time.
Eugene and Regal leave so Jericho glares at HHH. Jericho knows what’s up and is going to be the first in line when Eugene beats him next week. HHH denies everything and promises to win tonight’s elimination match. Then he’s getting the title back, because he deserves it and Jericho knows that.
There’s a lot here and most of it is good. First of all, Eugene plays this character to perfection. You actually buy that there’s something wrong with him and it’s turned into one of the best played characters WWE has had in a long time. Then there’s HHH, who was nailing the condescending jerk who has things exactly where he wants them and knows it. As a bonus, Regal was great with his sneering as he and Jericho know exactly what’s going on but don’t want to crush Eugene.
That being said, I’m not so sure about having Eugene dealing with Evolution. I know he’s one of the hottest things in the company right now, but part of the reason is he’s a fun character and not someone to be taken seriously. I could see something like a match with Flair, who is the one member of the team that can absorb loss after loss. The rest though, especially HHH, is a big step up for him and it’s running a very big risk.
Stacy Keibler asks to borrow Lita’s elbow pads and the very nervous Lita admits that she’s pregnant. Of course Stacy is happy and says she and Matt will be great parents. Lita doesn’t her to tell anyone because she’s going to tell Matt tonight. Remember how many great things there were in the previous segment? Reverse all of that here.
Stacy Keibler/Nidia vs. Molly Holly/Gail Kim
In a rather selfish move, JR and Lawler talk about Lita being pregnant. Dude did you not hear her talking to Stacy on live television in front of millions of people? She didn’t want anyone to know yet! Nidia armdrags Gail down to start and a dropkick sends her into the corner for the tag off to Molly. A surprisingly good counter gets Nidia out of a wristlock but Molly takes her down and cranks on the arm. Stacy comes in for her variety of leg based offense and a slap, all while looking as unnatural as possible.
The front facelock goes on and the referee doesn’t see the tag to Nidia. He does see the tag to Gail, as Lawler can’t believe anyone would miss anything in a match involving four women. Gail works on the leg with a really unique leglock where she puts on something like a Figure Four but bridges up the legs look like an arch. Nidia makes a quick save so it’s back to Molly for a double clothesline. With Nidia knocks down, Gail puts on a Brock Lock with a headscissors to make Stacy tap.
Rating: D. Gail’s submissions were rather nice and that’s definitely a better style for her than the basic stuff she’s been doing. Stacy….just no. She’s not good in the ring and looks completely lost out there aside from kicking people in the ribs. She manages to make Torrie Wilson look skilled. That’s a really low bar to set but she’s pulled it off.
Long video on the Cell match. My goodness Wrestlemania didn’t get this much coverage.
Somewhere around here, a five minute preview of the Joe Schmo Show aired. While that was taking place, Tajiri defeated A-Train.
We recap everything Kane has done tonight, including wrecking Shawn’s throat.
Evolution vs. Chris Benoit/Edge/Chris Jericho
That would be Batista/Randy Orton/Ric Flair (with HHH at ringside) and this is under elimination rules. Orton and Jericho start things off with Randy being taken to the mat for an early bow and arrow. Flair comes in to work on a hammerlock and drive Jericho into the corner for some shots to the back. It’s off to Batista for a powerslam as the picking apart of Jericho continues. Lawler keeps babbling on about HHH being Eugene’s friend, to the point where JR shouts about tapping out and says maybe HHH is, just to shut Lawler up.
Jericho gets over for the tag off to Edge, meaning the required backdrop to Flair. A clothesline puts Flair on the floor and a double dropkick does the same to Batista as we take a break. Back with Benoit getting out of trouble with some chops to Flair. Edge comes in so Flair is waiting on him with a thumb to the eye to take over again. A clothesline has Flair screaming about his neck and Edge makes it worse with some right hands in the corner. Benoit and Batista come in for the exchange of chops until Batista plants him with the spinebuster.
It’s back to Orton for a forearm to the neck as JR talks about Orton bragging today. He was even bragging about it on a CELL PHONE. Now you know it’s serious. Flair puts on an armbar, followed by Batista getting two off a suplex as the alternating continues. The beating goes on for so long that the announcers start recapping the show and talking about the Wright Brothers. Benoit kicks Batista away and brings Jericho back in for a failed Walls attempt.
The big clothesline takes Jericho down as well as the Canadians just can’t get much going here. Jericho gets in the enziguri though and everything breaks down. Edge’s spear and the Swanton sets up the Lionsault gets rid of Batista. Flair comes in next and kicks Jericho in the ribs as the fans give Batista the Goodbye Song. It’s quickly off to Orton for a rather aggressive chinlock with Lawler being way too happy with the cranking.
Jericho fights up and brings Edge back in but he charges into a raised boot. He’s fine enough to superplex Orton but HHH breaks up the spear. Flair goes up but gets slammed right back down, allowing the latest hot tag to Jericho. That means the running forearm as everything breaks down again. Jericho gets the Walls on Flair but HHH offers a distraction, meaning it’s the RKO to give Flair the pin, tying things up. Back from a break with Orton chopping Benoit as JR thanks the network for letting them stay on the air late.
Flair comes in and loses a strike off to Benoit (well duh) and takes a few shots from Edge as well, giving us the Flair Flop. The classic poke to the eye lets Orton come back in for another chinlock. JR is even talking about the angles of the chinlock, making me think Orton might use a few too many chinlocks. Edge fights up and hits a spinwheel kick as JR is way too happy to talk about how late the show is going. Benoit comes in again to exchange chops with Flair, followed by the rolling German suplexes.
Without a tag, Orton comes in as well, earning himself a German suplex of his own. It’s another tag to Edge to clean house (it must be the cleanest house in the world after all this) and a spear hits Flair. Unfortunately a low blow and the RKO hit Edge, giving Orton the pin to make it 2-1.
Actually scratch that as a quick Crossface makes Flair tap and it’s Benoit vs. Orton. Benoit is spent so Orton comes in and unloads with forearms to the chest but Benoit turns it into a slugout instead. More rolling German suplexes are blocked by elbows to the head….and the referee gets bumped. Benoit goes for the Sharpshooter but has to German suplex HHH. Now the Sharpshooter is enough to make Orton tap for the win.
Rating: A-. Now this worked. So often you’ll get a match that is just long instead of good but in this case you had both. These guys beat each other up and it really did feel like it was about survival by the end. Evolution vs. Canada N Pals is one of the best things to happen to this show in a long time and this was another great example. Really strong main event here and Benoit winning in the end is a great call.
Overall Rating: B. This worked very well for the most part with the long main event taking up about a fourth of the show and the Highlight Reel taking up even more time. The rest of the show, mainly meaning the Lita drama and that kind of weird tag match (You already have Trish vs. Lita for the title. Did we need to spend the time on Gail and Molly?), wasn’t worth seeing but the good stuff here was really good.
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