Monday Night Raw – August 30, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 30, 2004
Location: Cow Palace, San Francisco, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Things picked up last week as Randy Orton got a little revenge on HHH but the bigger story saw Kane marrying Lita and destroying Matt Hardy in the process. There’s a good chance that we’re going to see some entertaining followup to that this week, which could go several different ways. Let’s get to it.

This one gets a TV-MA rating, making me wonder what’s coming from the Diva Search girls.

In Memory of Marcin Markulski, a graphics designer who passed away recently.

We open with a recap of Orton and HHH from last week. That moment is certainly better for Orton’s push than getting beaten down by Evolution.

Here’s Evolution to get things going. HHH clarifies that they are Evolution and the unit exists because he made it so. Oh yeah it’s one of these promos. He explains saving Ric Flair from mediocrity and let him be the Nature Boy again. Batista has raw power and ability but HHH gave him direction and focus. Then there’s Randy Orton, who was going to be HHH’s pet project. Orton was jerking the curtain at junior high schools but HHH saw what no one saw.

Last week Orton spat in his face, which no one has ever done before or again. Orton needs to come out here right now and face the consequences like a man. Orton’s music hits but instead of the champ, we get three guys carrying what look like pictures under covers. Orton comes out and says HHH can’t call him Randy Orton, because he should be called champ. HHH got something out of Evolution, which means the unveiling of the first picture: the four of them with HHH front and center.

Flair is ready to charge the stage but HHH cuts it off with a rant about how Evolution was always about him. That brings us to the second picture, which is Orton pinning Benoit all by himself at Summerslam. Orton talks about learning so much from HHH, who actually thought he would just hand over the title last week.

That brings us to the third picture, which is Orton spitting in his face last week. Orton wants to fight tonight and takes off his shirt, but he’s bringing a friend of his own to the ring. That would be a sledgehammer from behind one of the pictures so Evolution bails in a hurry. The big swing hits the steps instead of HHH as Evolution runs into the crowd.

This was another not bad segment, but Orton chasing the title and beating HHH would seem better (though getting there would be a bit tricky as it would involve HHH getting the title again). Also, Orton doesn’t exactly come off as a violent, aggressive guy and it feels like a hard turn for him. The idea of pushing him as the next big thing is fine, but they’re going about it in a really questionable way.

Post break, Bischoff throws Orton out of the building. Orton does so, but only after dropping a sledgehammer onto Bischoff’s foot.

We look back at Rock, Tajiri and Rhyno beating up La Resistance and Coach last week. Thankfully the Diva Search stuff was left out.

Tajiri/Rhyno vs. La Resistance/Jonathan Coachman

The villains jump them in the aisle and we get things going in a hurry with Rhyno in trouble. Rhyno fight back but can’t get away from the evil French guys. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Coach adds a slap from the apron. With that out of the way, it’s right back to the chinlock as Tajiri is still down from the pre-match beatdown. Sounds like an injury. Rhyno fights back with a bunch of clotheslines and then a Gore to Coach, only to get caught with Au Revoir for the fast pin.

Rating: D-. So we have a handicap match where Tajiri wasn’t really doing anything in the match (which likely wasn’t his fault)? That’s not exactly the best choice for the opening match on a show, but at least there’s a story here and they’re advancing things as we move towards the title match at Unforgiven.

Video on last week’s wedding.

Kane tells someone (not Lita) to not come out until he tells them to because it’s a surprise.

Eugene, in San Francisco Giants gear, tells William Regal about being excited to go to a Giants game yesterday. Regal wants him to stay in the back for Regal’s match with Batista but gets various baseball terms in response.

William Regal vs. Batista

Regal tries the left hands to start but gets run over as fast as you would expect. A half nelson doesn’t get Batista very far and it’s Regal coming back with the left hands. The running knee to the head staggers Batista, who comes right back with a spinebuster. Batista loads up a chair, allowing Flair to come down and get in a brass knuckles shot. The big clothesline (he really needs a better finisher) ends Regal in a hurry. Just a step above a squash, though Regal had the fire, as always.

Shawn Michaels, Ivory and Linda McMahon are at the Republican National Convention.

Here’s Stacy Keibler to host the Diva Search segment. Do you really have to make her help pick her replacement? The girls come out in their swimsuits and Maria gets eliminated, flipping Carmella off on the way out. You know, that might mean more if we had heard anything else about these women other than “Carmella doesn’t care about wrestling”. You know, like giving them personalities.

As for tonight, everyone has thirty seconds to diss all of their fellow contestants.

Joy goes first and grabs Amy’s chest (Joy: “Not firm enough for me.”), spanks Christy and says Carmella talks a lot of s*** but has a gap in her teeth wide enough to drive a truck through.

Amy says Joy needs to “learn how to eat a pie” and Christy needs to sit down. Carmella on the other hand is a w**** who knows s*** about wrestling because having a d*** in your mouth has nothing to do with wrestling. Stacy takes the mic from her with eight seconds left.

Carmella laughs at Amy for not getting into Playboy. Joy is a bad role model with a fat a** and if Carmella doesn’t win, she hopes Christy does.

Christy says she’s hot fire and will burn you. All Joy can do is shake her chest, Amy has lips like a fish and Carmella is a “c** burping gutter s***”. The censors don’t quite cut the audio in time and you can hear Lawler cracking up. Christy does the splits to wrap it up. Stacy: “I like your flexibility.”

So that’s that, and I think there’s a reason you NEVER hear about this thing again.

Kane tells Lita that she’ll love his surprise. They walk past Trish Stratus and Tyson Tomko, the former of whom says Kane is taking out the trash. Kane gets in Tomko’s face and says that was a good one.

Here are Kane and Lita, the latter of whom is being dragged to the ring. Kane says Lita is her favorite and thanks everyone for their gifts, including an open contract at Unforgiven from Eric Bischoff. Lita gave him the greatest gift of all though: a womb for his child. Since Lita is missing Matt Hardy, Kane has a surprise. Matt’s family has been flown in: four guys, mostly short (one fat) in Matt shirts as the crowd dies again. Kane introduces them as Pat, Nat, Rat and Fat. Yes they thought recreating the Royal Family was a good idea. Kane wastes little time in beating all of them up….and let’s make it a match.

Kane vs. Hardy Boyz

A chokeslam finishes Rat in about ten seconds.

Post match (erg) Kane loads up the fire but Lita stops him because she has a surprise of his own. She’s already signed the open contract for him so he’ll be facing someone she’s chosen at Summerslam: the returning Shawn Michaels. Oh yeah Kane helped injure him. Nice touch and I’m surprised they remembered it.

Ric Flair vs. Chris Benoit

Flair has to undergo a weapons check. That’s really not fair….though the referee does find some knuckles in his knee pad. Benoit starts chopping away and gets in the required backdrop. It’s a little early for the Crossface so they head outside with Benoit chopping up against the barricade. Back in and we get a Flair Flop but he’s smart enough to get in a shot to the knee to take over.

Flair goes with chops and right hands instead of staying on the show, which doesn’t seem to be the smartest move for him. Maybe the lack of knuckles is messing with his head. We hit the half crab to go back to the knee but Benoit is right back up with more chops. The Swan Dive misses so Benoit goes with the rolling German suplex instead. Benoit grabs the Sharpshooter and here’s Batista for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Flair didn’t exactly seem thrilled to be out there and the ending does set something up, even if it’s something we’ve seen in various forms over the last several months. Benoit is still a very valuable person to have in this spot because he’s going to have a good match with almost anyone. The match wasn’t much here though, as it was more of a means to get to the ending than anything else.

It’s time for the Highlight Reel, with Chris Jericho saying that he wants to face Edge for the Intercontinental Title at Unforgiven. This brings out Edge, on crutches. Edge is injured and can’t face Jericho at Unforgiven. It doesn’t matter though as he already beat him at Summerslam. Jericho brings up Edge getting booed out of the building, but Edge says he’ll let these puppets boo him every time because he’ll just keep winning the matches.

As for tonight, Jericho doesn’t buy that Edge is really hurt, thinking that it’s going to be a Canadian jig and then Edge swinging a crutch to the head. Edge says he has the MRI to prove that he’s really hurt and when he gets back, Jericho is up first. That’s it for Edge, but here’s the returning Christian to jump Jericho from behind. The beatdown goes on for a while and includes a chair to the face as Edge isn’t sure what to think.

Trish Stratus/Gail Kim vs. Victoria/Nidia

Trish gets in a cheap shot to a not paying attention Victoria before taking over on Nidia. As Lawler makes jokes about Nidia nearly falling out of her top, Gail puts on something like a Brock Lock with a headscissors at the same time. That’s certainly different and painful looking. Nidia fights up in a hurry and the hot tag brings in Victoria to take over. A headbutt knocks Trish off the apron but the Widow’s Peak is reversed into an Edgecator. Cue the mystery “woman”, who falls down the ramp. As we’re looking there, Victoria gets a rollup for the pin.

Rating: D. Not much time here and I had to think about who was getting the next title shot at Unforgiven because the match has been given that little focus. The division really needs a fresh name or two at this point because they can only do the same matches and feuds so many times. The problem is they passed that point a long time ago.

Smackdown Rebound.

Bischoff is getting his foot iced down and makes Orton vs. Kane for next week.

Unforgiven rundown, including Regal/Benoit vs. Flair/Batista.

HHH vs. Eugene

No DQ. HHH continues a trend tonight of jump starting the match but gets headlocked down. A backslide gives Eugene two as I try to get my head around this being a feature match at Summerslam earlier this month. HHH punches him in the face for a breather and hits a low blow to really take over. A trip to the floor sees Eugene going shoulder first into the steps and then getting punched in the head to make it even worse.

Back in and HHH calls Eugene Orton because Eugene really doesn’t mean anything. The spinebuster puts Eugene down again and the knee drop makes it worse. It’s time for Eugene to get fired up though, meaning the comeback is on. The top rope double ax handle gets two and there’s the Rock Bottom. The Stunner is broken up and HHH slaps on the sleeper. Eugene is done but there’s a Pedigree for a bonus.

There’s no cover though and I think you know where this is going. HHH grabs the sledgehammer but here’s Orton (who not only got back inside but also changed from a suit into gear) to get punched in the face. Orton wins a quick slugout and hits him with the hammer. An RKO is enough to give Eugene the nothing pin. Orton’s music playing shows you how important the win was.

Rating: D. This was another example of a match being there to fill in time until we get to the angle advancement at the end, though it also shows you how far Eugene fell. He could have been any midcarder here, mainly because Eugene just doesn’t matter anymore. His character was completely destroyed with everything that happened to him being one more step down. I know he didn’t have a long future, but that HHH story just wrecked him.

Overall Rating: D-. I didn’t realize how bad this was until I looked back at the whole thing. There were way too many bad segments and even more really bad matches to go with it. I’ve always liked this Orton face turn but watching it back, they really couldn’t do much worse. The only really entertaining part of this show is the trainwreck that the Diva Search has become but that’s not enough to carry everything else.

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