Monday Night Raw
Date: September 20, 2004
Location: Tuscon Convention Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s the season premiere of Raw and that means….I’m not sure really as wrestling doesn’t have seasons. One thing tonight is the end of the Diva Search, meaning the segments that have managed to make great looking women in swimsuits a chore to sit through are over. Other than that, we’re coming up on Taboo Tuesday, which we don’t know much about. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Jim Barnett, a longtime promoter in the NWA and Australia.
Here’s Vince McMahon to open things up. After a quick welcome, he wants to get to the major announcement promised, which concerns everyone, including Eric Bischoff. This brings out a limping Bischoff (thanks to having a sledgehammer dropped on his fott a few weeks back) and Vince gets to the point. A few weeks ago, Chris Jericho suggested that the fans vote on a type of match. That’s a good idea, but what about doing it on a full pay per view?
Indeed, on October 19, we’ll be seeing a new concept called Taboo Tuesday (yes Tuesday) where the fans get to vote on everything from who gets a World Title shot to what the Divas are wearing. Bischoff loves the idea on paper but doesn’t think these people are capable of making such decisions. Vince is a busy man so maybe he should think about this for a week. Next Monday, Bischoff can have another idea that isn’t involving the fans taking control.
That sounds like patronizing to Vince, and there’s a reason that Bischoff is the GM of Raw and Vince isn’t the GM of Nitro (good line). Maybe Bischoff doesn’t like the idea because with the fans picking things, there’s no need for a GM. Actually, Vince thinks Bischoff should be wrestling that night, against this man. Cue the still injured Eugene and Bischoff isn’t sure what to do.
They’ll be facing off at Taboo Tuesday and the fans get to pick what happens to the loser. Vince even has options: the loser is the winner’s servant, the loser has to wear a dress, or the loser’s head is shaved. Bischoff immediately tries to talk Eugene out of the match because he loves his nephew. They could go out and get some ice cream tonight but Eugene knocks him out instead.
The fans didn’t exactly react to the concept, and I can’t say I blame them. As Bischoff said it’s good on paper, but I’m not sure how well it’s going to go in practice. On a related note though, how much better is it to have Eugene back at a level where he belongs? It’s probably way too late, but this was more charming than annoying and that’s a positive sign for him.
We look back at Randy Orton attacking HHH last week, including the cake. Orton got him at the end of the show as well, but HHH still left as champion so it’s not like it mattered all that much. Shelton Benjamin and Chris Benoit ran in for the save to end the show, meaning we’re probably in for a six man tonight.
Hey look there’s a six man tonight.
Stacy Keibler/Victoria vs. Molly Holly/Trish Stratus
In case you didn’t get enough of Stacy wrestling last week. Stacy mocks Molly’s dancing from last week because she frowns on culture. Victoria takes Trish down early to start and the standing moonsault (now minus the dancing) gets two. Molly comes in and walks into a powerslam as Lawler talks about getting to dress the Divas at Taboo Tuesday. A giant swing doesn’t work well for Victoria with the announcers mocking her for it, but thankfully it’s not time for a tag to Stacy just yet. The spinning side slam plants Trish and now it’s off to Stacy for two. Molly comes back in and gets caught in a backslide for the quick pin. Yay indeed.
Orton reads Raw Magazine because that’s what wrestlers do. Vince comes in and says “Sucks doesn’t it?” He’s talking about reality, which is what caused Orton to lose the title. Orton promises to win the title back because it’s his destiny. This interests Vince, who tells Orton to give it his all.
Billy Graham is here.
We look back at Gene Snitsky causing Kane to accidentally injury Lita last week.
Snitsky has been blamed all week but it wasn’t his fault. Last week Snitsky was there to do a job and he did that. To repeat, it wasn’t his fault!
Hurricane vs. Tajiri
This is fallout from a tag match on Heat. They fight over a wristlock to start until Tajiri kicks him in the face. Hurricane gets in a clothesline to set up a seated full nelson but Tajiri fights up without much effort. A tornado DDT is blocked and Tajiri gets in a superkick. Hurricane is right back with something like a neckbreaker but Tajiri reverses the cover into a crucifix for the fast pin.
Post match Hurricane is mad and takes the mask back from a fan. That’s quite the nice heel move.
Kane is at a medical facility (thankfully in street clothes instead of his gear) and says there is a 50/50 chance of saving the baby. Upon hearing Snitsky’s name, Kane gets a lot angrier and vengeance seems to be sworn. So this is the start of Kane’s face turn, though it’s still not the nicest of scenarios.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Jericho is defending and has hacked his hair off for a pretty bad look. Christian comes out for commentary as a bonus. As expected, they fight over arm control to start until Shawn takes him down with a headlock. Back up and Shawn gets sent over the top so the cat get skinned, allowing him to come off the top with a high crossbody, which gets rolled through for two. A backbreaker keeps Shawn in trouble as Christian dubs himself the Show Stealer, which is much better than the Showstopper.
Jericho’s superplex attempt is broken up without much effort and Shawn hits the early top rope elbow. That’s enough for Christian, who goes to the ring to steal the show. He manages to get in but Shawn knocks him right back out, only to walk into the enziguri from Jericho. Christian gets ejected (wrestling referees have no jurisdiction over commentators) and we take a break. Back with Shawn starting in on the leg and grabbing the Figure Four. That’s broken up in a hurry so Shawn gets smart and stays on the leg.
Jericho grabs a small package for the break and kicks Shawn down, only to jam his knee on a Lionsault attempt. The rapid fire pinfall reversal sequence gives us some good near falls until Jericho takes him down again and scores with the Lionsault this time around. Jericho goes with the straight right hands this time around but Shawn is right back up with the forearm into the nipup. Shawn nips up and gets caught in the Walls, only to have Jericho let go and dropkick the invading Tyson Tomko down. That’s enough for Sweet Chin Music to connect but a very, very slow crawl over for the cover draws Christian in for the DQ.
Rating: B. It was good while it lasted and I can understand why they went with the DQ finish. It’s annoying, but Shawn isn’t going to be Intercontinental Champion and Jericho isn’t ready to lose the thing yet. Christian and Tomko are almost annoying at this point though, as the match was getting really good when the interference started.
Post match Christian shouts at Shawn and beats him up, which is one of the first times I’ve bought him as a bigger time heel.
Kane has freaked out at the medical facility with a lot of screaming ensuing.
HHH complains to Evolution about the fans voting because fans are stupid. Flair tells HHH to calm down because he’s the best ever and all that jazz.
Long recap of the Diva Search, with the eliminated women talking about how much they learned about respecting the business. I’m not sure if I want to laugh or glare over a line that stupid.
Rob Conway vs. Maven
What are we doing here? Conway jumps Maven from behind to start as the USA chants start up in a hurry. Maven fights out of a chinlock and stops a charge in the corner before hitting a high crossbody. That’s rolled through to give Conway two (second time we’ve seen that spot in as many matches) before Maven hooks a small package for the pin. Nothing match and it’s still Maven.
Lita’s doctor says she lost the baby, because a doctor is going to do that on national television ten minutes after the fact. Kane comes out of the room and nearly kills the doctor but beats up a wall and screams instead. Hey the wall didn’t hurt your baby dude.
Simon Dean wants to help you lose weight. Seeing the Simon System advertised on VHS is so strange. Simon: “Remember, you can be fat, unattractive and die alone, or you can do the right thing and pick up the phone.”
JR and King do their somber voices about Lita losing the baby.
And now, the Diva Search finals, because WWE doesn’t know what a transition is. Coach mocks both of them and goes to get the envelope but here’s Trish, looking very out of place in a dress, to interrupt. After making fun of all the tasks the women have had to go through, she promises an official victory party for the winner next week. With Trish gone, Christy wins the contest and cheers a lot. She says it’s all about the energy and that she doesn’t need decaf. Carmella gives the lame “oh well it was fun” response doesn’t care about the booing. After some more lame answers, this whole thing is finally done, thank goodness.
Evolution vs. Randy Orton/Chris Benoit/Shelton Benjamin
Shelton knocks HHH down to start and thankfully the announcers bring up Shelton beating him a few times. A shoulder block just lets Shelton nip up so HHH tries the right hands. That goes badly as well as HHH gets backdropped, only to drive Shelton into the corner. So strength seems to work on Shelton, which is why HHH tags Flair instead of Batista. Some cerebral. Benoit tags himself in as well and it’s time for the chop off. Flair gets the worse of it and the Swan Dive connects for two as everything breaks down.
Orton loads up the RKO on the floor but gets posted, allowing Batista to hit the big clothesline. That means Orton needs medics and we take a break. Back with Shelton coming in off the hot tag to clean house and hitting a Stinger Splash on Flair. Batista misses a charge into the corner, though he comes nowhere near the post for a bit of a weird visual. HHH finally gets in a knee and Shelton is in trouble for a change.
Things slow down with Flair hammering away in the corner and HHH coming in without a tag, though Lawler is sure he saw one. I’ll take his word for it. The spinebuster gives HHH two and it’s back to Flair for the Figure Four. That’s broken up as well but Batista remembers that he’s in the match and works on the leg as well. The slow motion holds continue until Shelton kicks Batista in the face, allowing the hot tag to Benoit.
Everything breaks down (of course) and Benoit suplexes both Batista and Flair. HHH comes back in and takes one of his own, leaving Flair to get caught in the Sharpshooter. That’s broken up by HHH but here’s Orton to charge down the ramp and tag himself in. A few right hands send HHH running and the RKO finishes Flair.
Rating: C+. And thus it’s another attempt to get Orton a big moment. That’s all well and good, but having him already win and lose the title makes this feel out of place. The fans aren’t exactly enamored with Orton at the moment and having him taken out so Benoit and Benjamin can wrestle most of the match isn’t going to help things. The only thing that can make it better is him winning the title from HHH and being a hero, but that’s not going to happen because it’s HHH’s title and no one is getting over as a hero while that is the case.
Overall Rating: C-. The wrestling was pretty watchable this week but for the most part I kept wondering if this is what we were really doing. A lot of the show just felt like it was there for the sake of doing something with the time as we sit around and wait on the next big story. Orton, at least in this form, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and that leaves us back where we were a year ago. Something needs to be shaken up around here very soon, but it might be a long time.
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