Monday Night Raw
Date: November 1, 2004
Location: Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
The big story this week is the locker room rising up against Evolution, who ran roughshod last week because Eric Bischoff was gone and they just decided they were in charge. Randy Orton isn’t allowed to challenge HHH for the World Title anymore, making me wonder who in the world is supposed to go after the belt. Odds are no one at the moment, meaning more HHH bragging time. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look back at the locker room fighting back against Evolution last week, with a focus on Orton not getting to challenge HHH again because he lost to Ric Flair. No worries though as he hit HHH with an RKO to end the show.
Eugene vs. Gene Snitsky
Hardcore match with Snitsky wheeling out a baby carriage. In the back, William Regal explains a hardcore match to Eugene, who says he has to do this himself and stand on his own two feet. I don’t see this going well. The fans are behind Eugene as he slugs away with a broom handle to as much success as you would expect.
Snitsky is fine enough to hit him with a chain and pulls out a NO BABIES sign to blast Eugene again. A slam onto a sign keeps Eugene in trouble but he gets in a shot with the chair for a breather. Some leather strap shots to the back put Snitsky down as the fans are WAY into this. Snitsky shrugs it off though and it’s pumphandle slam onto a street sign for the pin.
Rating: D+. They’re keeping Snitsky short here and that’s the right idea. Let him be a monster and beat up the popular guys without overexposing him, which has worked for years and it’s working here. Eventually someone can slay the monster, but the longer they build him up, the better this is going to be.
Post match Snitsky loads up the chair around Eugene’s neck but Regal runs in with the brass knuckles for the save. The father figure role is working well for Regal, because you know he can back it up if he has to.
HHH says everyone attacked him last week because they’re jealous of him. They attacked the biggest star in WWE today and the guy bringing the people into those arenas (3,500 out of 18,000 in Milwaukee for Taboo Tuesday anyone?). He won’t be there tonight so let’s see how things go without the franchise player. There better be a hero’s welcome for him when he gets back next week.
New interviewer Maria Kanellis talks to Tajiri, who is glad HHH is gone because the locker room is sick of him. Batista and Ric Flair come in for the beatdown.
Here are Batista and Flair in the arena with Flair saying what happened to HHH last week was unacceptable. Like him or not, the fans all need to respect HHH because he is the World Champion. If you don’t treat him with respect, Batista has no problem with destroying the entire locker room.
This brings out Bischoff, who doesn’t want to hear anymore. He gets right to the point, annoying three matches for Survivor Series: Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Title, Trish Stratus defending the Women’s Title against Lita and Team HHH (HHH, Batista, Edge, Gene Snitsky) vs. Team Randy Orton (Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Maven). Flair doesn’t like his name being left off that team but Bischoff says it’s because of what happened last week. He wants to see the inmates run the asylum even more because he’s tired of having Flair try to boss people around.
Evolution didn’t come to his rescue at Taboo Tuesday so what has he gained by sucking up to them for two and a half years (as usual, Bischoff isn’t great on details). Therefore, he has an idea: he’s going on vacation for a month after Survivor Series and the winning team is going to get Raw for that time, with each member getting to be in charge for a week. Batista doesn’t find that to be fair because Benoit and Jericho would just give themselves title matches. That sounds like a threat so Bischoff says they better win at Survivor Series. So there’s your next six weeks and while it could be worse, I don’t buy Bischoff’s new style lasting.
Christian vs. Hurricane
Christian grabs a headlock takeover but here’s Edge less than ten seconds in. He’s back on Raw and has his book, which apparently includes a lot of material on Christian. The book is available tomorrow and you can read about his likes and dislikes, such as Peoria. The only problem is he wanted the last chapter to focus on his winning the vote at Taboo Tuesday and won the World Title. Don’t worry: he can have an epilogue in the paperback.
Edge goes to leave but sees the angry JR, who must want an autographed copy. We get to the match for once with Hurricane hitting a running neckbreaker for two. Hurricane gets the same off a high crossbody but gets sent into the post, setting up the Unprettier to give Christian the pin. More than half of the match was on Edge, which is a really questionable decision during a match featuring the #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title.
Post match Shelton Benjamin runs in to chase Christian off. Christian yells at Shelton for costing him the vote at Taboo Tuesday. He knows Shelton wants to fight but since Tomko is hurt, here’s a one night only problem solver: Viscera, giving Shelton a great “are you serious?” look. The double beatdown is on with Shelton taking a World’s Strongest Slam. Note that this is the same day that Test and A-Train were released. They see Viscera with more upside than A-Train?
Edge is happy to be back because he’s ready to defend the Tag Team Titles tonight. Since Benoit beat La Resistance on his own, tonight should be an easy title defense. Benoit comes up and Edge takes a title (with Sylvan Grenier’s nameplate still front and center), saying Benoit better watch his attitude or it’ll be another solo defense tonight.
Maven goes in to see Evolution because he didn’t like what happened to Tajiri earlier. Flair gets rather serious but Orton and Jericho come in as well and Evolution backs down.
Here’s Simon Dean live in person to give away a year’s supply of products. Simon to a fan: “If you use my Simon Dean Fitness Powder, I’ll have you seeing your own penis within a year.” After insulting a woman, he calls in a fan with limited teeth….and that is the future Beer City Bruiser of Ring of Honor fame. I had no idea he had been around that long. Anyway Dean makes fun of his weight and the fan loses it, earning himself a beatdown.
Lawler has a thing called a Juicebox, a portable device that lets you watch video clips, look at photos and listen to MP3s. Oh those wacky 2004 flashes in the pans.
Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. Chris Benoit/Edge
Edge and Benoit are defending but there’s no Edge to start so Benoit has to go it alone again, though he’s fine enough to hit a backbreaker on Grenier. Conway gets in a neckbreaker to take over though and Benoit is in trouble. Cue Edge, with a full entrance, to distract Benoit even more and the beating continues. Benoit finally gets in a suplex for a breather but Edge walks out as we take a break.
Back with Edge on commentary and showing him the new book. Grenier cranks on a cravate as JR snaps as only he can at this level of disrespect. The comeback is on as we discuss Edge’s high school yearbook and neck surgery. Benoit snaps off a bunch of suplexes, including a few German versions to Conway. The Swan Dive connects and the Crossface goes on as Edge gets in to distract the referee, leaving Benoit to take Au Revoir to give La Resistance the titles back.
Rating: D. The wrestling wasn’t the point here of course, though Edge was hilarious on commentary as he’s kind of perfect for this role. It also makes sense to have him not care about the Tag Team Titles because, as he mentioned at Taboo Tuesday, he’s held them ten times before and it’s time for him to step up to the next level. We really, really need some new champions though as it feels like La Resistance has held the titles for years.
Post match Edge hits him with the belt (blood) and a spear, plus a Crossface to make Benoit tap. That was better than anything in the match.
Evolution comes in to Bischoff’s office and yells about the Survivor Series stipulation. He demands that Bischoff change things but that’s a no (you don’t have to ask Bischoff twice to screw Flair over). Bischoff doesn’t get why people want him to have so much power but he’ll use some of it tonight. We’re going to have a six man tag: Evolution vs. Jericho/Maven/Orton. HHH isn’t here but if he doesn’t show up, it can just be a handicap match.
Here’s the debuting Muhammad Hassan, who says he’s an Arab American and born right here in the United States. Since 9/11, he’s been stereotyped as a terrorist who blows things up. Now, please be respectful to him. He praises Allah and Khosrow Daivari, his manager, translates to Arabic. Right now, someone needs to pop up with a sign telling them to GO BACK! YOU’RE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO DO THIS!
Survivor Series rundown.
We look back at Viscera and Christian attacking Shelton Benjamin.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Viscera
Non-title and Benjamin has taped up ribs. Viscera goes straight for the ribs and takes the tape off, setting up the big fat splashes in the corner. The belly to belly suplex crushes the ribs again and a big elbow makes it even worse. Viscera tries a charge (work with me here) into the corner but gets drop toeholded into the middle buckle instead. For some reason Shelton tries the exploder and gets crushed for another near fall. With Christian cheering Viscera on from the stage, Shelton grabs a handful of face and hits the Dragon Whip for the fast pin.
Rating: F. They went with this over A-Train??? I know A-Train isn’t great but he’s a heck of a lot more mobile and versatile than Viscera, whose entire offense revolves around being 500lbs. The match was nothing with Benjamin hitting the finisher and Viscera looking like a turtle on his back.
Post match Christian comes in for the stomping and takes the exploder.
Here’s Trish Stratus for a chat. She’s here to calm down her friends and family who have been panicking since they found out she’s facing Lita at Survivor Series. We see a video of Lita’s managing over the years, including her time with Essa Rios (Me when I was about twelve: “Rios is awesome. If he can get rid of that annoying redhead, he’ll be a lot better.”) who disappeared, the Hardys….who are gone as well (Trish, narrating: “TL-C you later.”) and the time with Kane where he got his throat crushed (Trish: “Ding dong the freak is dead!”) because Lita is the kiss of death.
Back in the arena, Trish talks about Lita being more than a walking kiss of death. She’s a loser too and at Survivor Series, she’ll lose the match just like she lost her baby. Cue Lita and Trish knows she’s screwed up. The beating is on in a hurry with Lita bouncing Trish’s head off the mat. Gail Kim comes in for the save and the beatdown is on, capped off by a Chick Kick to leave Lita laying. Trish is on fire at the moment and I want to see Lita take her head off so well done all around.
More voter registration stuff.
Maven/Randy Orton/Chris Jericho vs. Evolution
There’s no HHH but Maven is on the other team so is it really a handicap? Orton and Batista start things off with Batista charging into a boot in the corner and getting rolled up for two. Flair comes in and gets punched down as well, setting up the backdrop so Flair can get in the trademark screaming. It’s off to Jericho for the Walls, which he releases so we can have a three on one staredown of Batista before he can interfere.
We settle back down to Maven hitting a missile dropkick on Flair and it’s time to stare at Batista again. Jericho comes in to beat up Flair some more and even draws Batista in to distract the referee, meaning it’s a low blow to Ric. Batista finally gets smart by coming in and decking Jericho so he can drag Flair to the corner for the tag. The spinebuster gets two on Jericho and Flair is fine enough to start the chopping.
The running enziguri drops Flair to get Jericho out of trouble so it’s back to Orton vs. Batista. Yet another backdrop has Flair in trouble and there’s the powerslam to Batista for two. A double dropkick sends Batista outside so it’s time for Evolution to leave. HHH’s music hits though….and it’s Tajiri, spitting mist instead of water (which the camera misses). Batista gets thrown back inside and with Flair dropkicked to the floor, the parade of finishers begins. The RKO is enough to put Batista away for good.
Rating: D+. Well that certainly happened. It’s fairly clear that Batista and Flair aren’t as good as two former World Champions plus Maven with an assist from Tajiri. In case you were ever wondering about that, you now have your answer. Other than that, the only thing this match made me do is wonder why we never had a HHH vs. Jericho title match around this time. They had a lumberjack match a few weeks ago that barely lasted five minutes and was more about other things than their match. A one off title match, even on a low level pay per view, wouldn’t have been out of the question.
The good guys pose on the stage and Batista shoves Flair down to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This was a weird one, but it’s a weird time in the company. It’s like they’re trying to change things up a little bit and see what else they can do, which is certainly a welcome move after all the weeks and months of repetitive material. There are new characters and stories, but they’re not particularly good character or stories so far.
Maven being there because of the Tough Enough show being on is I guess supposed to serve as proof that the winners go somewhere, but that’s not exactly helping the fans. I’ll take the new stuff over more of the old though, so we’ll call this an improvement without much of a shelf life.
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