Monday Night Raw – November 29, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 29, 2004
Location: 1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance: 5,300
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re in week three of Team Orton running the show and in this case it’s Randy Orton himself in charge. His first order of business: HHH defending the World Title in a battle royal, which should all but guarantee a new champion. Now let’s see how our beloved champion gets to outsmart everyone this week. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Raw World Title: Battle Royal

Edge, Gene Snitsky, Ric Flair, Steven Richards, Tyson Tomko, Rob Conway, Sylvan Grenier, Jonathan Coachman, Christian, Shelton Benjamin, Viscera, Rhyno, Eugene, Chris Benoit, Maven, Tajiri, Rosey, William Regal, Batista, Chris Jericho, Val Venis, HHH

The fight starts before Batista comes out, so we watch that in full and come back to everyone standing still again. Hold on though as here’s Vince McMahon to say that this isn’t happening due to reasons of anyone can win. Can you imagine someone like Steven Richards as the World Champion? It’s a #1 contenders match instead, but the winner will get their shot tonight so you’re still getting a title match.

Battle Royal

Edge, Gene Snitsky, Ric Flair, Steven Richards, Tyson Tomko, Rob Conway, Sylvan Grenier, Jonathan Coachman, Christian, Shelton Benjamin, Viscera, Rhyno, Eugene, Chris Benoit, Maven, Tajiri, Rosey, William Regal, Batista, Chris Jericho, Val Venis

Everyone starts fighting as Edge chills on the steps without ever having gotten in. Hurricane dives at Viscera for some reason but since Viscera isn’t that bright, he can’t throw him out just yet. A bunch of people get together and toss Viscera, followed by Tajiri eliminating his own partner Rhyno. Tomko is out next and Maven gets rid of Grenier, only to get tossed by Eugene. Back from a break with Benoit and Edge chopping it out in the middle of the ring and Coach having eliminated himself rather than be chopped by Benoit again.

Regal and Rosey both go out at Snitsky’s hands, followed by Batista tossing Hurricane. That means a Snitsky vs. Batista showdown until everyone else breaks it up due to reasons of wrestling stupidity. Batista starts cleaning house, including tossing Eugene, Tajiri, Christian, Venis and Flair in just a few seconds. The fans are WAY into that as we take a break. Back again with Jericho dropkicking Snitsky out, leaving us with Jericho, Benoit, Richards, Edge, Benjamin and Batista.

Richards starts celebrating and gets beaten down to leave us with five. Shelton unloads on Edge in the corner as JR is on fire with the over the top call here. The stomping goes on a bit too long though and Edge sends Benjamin to the apron, setting up a spear for the elimination. Jericho charges at Batista and gets tossed, leaving Benoit to German suplex Edge. Benoit low bridges Batista out though and we’re down to the two Canadians. They both wind up on the apron and fall to the floor for the double elimination.

Rating: D+. So there’s the latest version of the double winner battle royal as we set up a likely triple threat match tonight. The match was far longer than it needed to be, though they got us down to a good collection of talent at the end. Having it come after a bait and switch certainly didn’t help either.

In the back, two referees both tell Randy Orton what they think they saw, which of course is a split decision. The referees leave and Vince comes in to tell Orton that it’s his call. Edge comes in to plead his case, offering Orton a title shot if he gets to face HHH tonight. Orton says he’ll think about it, which isn’t good enough for Edge. The boss leaves and Edge is furious.

Maven is annoyed that he hasn’t won anything in the last few weeks. Eugene comes in and asks for help putting his Tag Team Title on. That’s too far for Maven and Shelton Benjamin has to get between them. After four years of work, Maven doesn’t have anything and Eugene can’t even spell title. Eugene spells title so Maven goes after him, with William Regal breaking it up. Maven sits back down.

Candice Michelle stops Orton to ask if her new dress is appropriate. Orton approves, but here’s Benoit to demand the title shot tonight. Benoit would win the title if he had the chance and so he wants his chance. Orton promises to fix things.

Here’s Orton to fix things. Well in a minute as first he announces Regal/Eugene vs. La Resistance for the Tag Team Titles and Jerry Lawler (the birthday King) vs. Ric Flair. Other than that, we can have a triple threat match with Benoit and Edge challenging HHH for the title. I’ve heard worse ideas, though not many less interesting.

Lawler goes to get ready so Jonathan Coachman takes his place.

Lita/Victoria vs. Molly Holly/Trish Stratus

The villains jump them from behind and it’s Victoria getting suplexed down. Trish comes in to start kicking at the arm as the announcers go over HHH’s odds to retain the title. It’s back to Molly for a swinging neckbreaker as the back of Victoria’s trunks has torn, which is made even worse given how small they were in the first place. Molly cuts off the comeback with a kick to the ribs and it’s a stomping down in the corner.

The running seated dropkick gets two and a running elbow keeps Victoria away from Lita again. The Chick Kick is blocked and now it’s off to Lita, meaning Trish gets to panic. Lita can’t quite hit a running splash in the corner so it’s a snap suplex instead. A sleeper has Trish in trouble but Molly makes the save and sends Victoria outside. Molly gets knocked out as well though and it’s the snap DDT to finish Trish.

Rating: D+. This could have been a lot worse and the fans are wanting to see Lita take Trish’s head off when she gets the chance. It was a smart move to keep things short at Survivor Series, because the build wasn’t quite done just yet. That was some smart storytelling and they could get some extra mileage out of this story for a better result.

Muhammad Hassan and Daivari montage, with clips of their previous rants.

Ric Flair vs. Jerry Lawler

This is billed as a Legends Match. JR mentions Lawler’s resume and major title wins, which is a good thing to bring up every now and then. How many younger fans see Lawler as an old guy and not a wrestler? Lawler mocks the strut to start and gets shoved, so it’s a slap to Flair’s face. Flair gets knocked down and that’s another strut from Lawler. A slugout goes to Lawler and we get the required Flair Flop.

Flair gets in a cheap shot out of the corner and the comeback is on, including the knee drop. The comeback takes all of two seconds as Lawler elbows him in the face and hits the middle rope fist drop. As you probably saw coming though, Lawler bangs up his knee on the way down though and Flair is rather pleased. A chop block sets up the Figure Four with a grab of the ropes to make Lawler tap.

Rating: D+. There wasn’t much to it but these two know how to do a paint by numbers match in their sleep. The fans are always going to react to Lawler because he’s one of the all time great performers and has forgotten more about working a crowd than most of the modern roster will ever know. Yeah they’re both old and the match was just a quick filler, but you can see the knowledge and talent on full display.

Melina has been signed as the newest Raw Diva and she hugs Orton for giving her the chance. Melina: “If there’s anything I can do to thank you for the favor, let me know.” Maria comes in as well and Orton has an idea. They won’t be wrestling, but they’ll be in the ring doing something.

Wrestlemania Recall: Benoit wins the title.

We get another Shelton Benjamin video, this time talking about all of the drug issues in his hometown. He was in the middle of firefights and got out as soon as he could. Eventually he found his way out through sports, which got him to college.

With the emotional story out of the way, here is Orton, flanked by Maria, Candice and Melina. Orton thinks we need more hot women though so here are Christy Hemme and Stacy Keibler. So why are they here? Lingerie fashion show. There isn’t much to say here as they all strip, they all look good, they dance rather close to Orton and they all get cheered. A group hug wraps it up.

Is this supposed to make us want to like Orton? The tall, handsome wrestler who gets to hit on the gorgeous women that he probably could get regularly? Orton added nothing to this segment and it could have been anyone running the thing to the same result. This was over ten minutes long, or longer than anything but the battle royal tonight. I get the appeal, but could you be a little more subtle with this stuff?

Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. William Regal/Eugene

Regal and Eugene are defending. Eugene shoulders Conway down to start as we hear about the lingerie from the previous segment being auctioned off on WWE.com. As I shake my head, it’s Regal coming in and getting taken to the mat in a bit of a surprise. Eugene gets knocked off the apron and it’s time to Hulk Up, after a legal tag of course. House is cleaned but the crowd is dead after the previous segment. The airplane spin has Conway in trouble and the top rope ax handle gets two. Au Revoir is broken up and it’s a Stunner to finish Grenier.

Rating: D+. The wrestling was watchable for such a short match but the lack of a reaction was really noticeable. There’s only so much you can do when your crowd is dead after a segment like the previous one and there was nothing these guys could do. It’s almost like the fans came to a wrestling show to see wrestling and not a long segment that didn’t add anything to the show.

Post match Eugene brings the kids in to celebrate but Maven runs out and sends him into the steps.

Trish thinks Chris Jericho finds the face mask funny but Jericho thinks she looks great. He also finds it funny that she called Lita the walking Kiss of Death but tonight, the walking KOD beat the walking STD. Next week, Lita gets her title shot.

How to bid on lingerie!

Flair and Batista yell at each other over the battle royal. Good thing they waited an hour and a half to have this talk. HHH comes in to rant about the triple threat but both of them calm him down. Batista sounds a little tentative when he says he has HHH’s back.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Chris Benoit vs. Edge

HHH is defending. Benoit goes after Edge as the champ chills in the corner, watching as Edge knocks Benoit to the floor. Back in and HHH knocks Edge to the floor and whips Benoit chest first into the corner for a pair of twos. Edge comes in again and it’s time for Benoit to take over with some alternating chops. A double clothesline puts Edge and HHH on the floor, setting up a double dive to take them both down again as we take a break.

We come back with HHH down on the floor and Benoit putting Edge in the Sharpshooter. HHH’s save attempt is countered into the Crossface but here are Flair and Batista to make the save. Orton comes out to eject both of them, leaving HHH to hit a spinebuster for two on Edge. Benoit comes back in for the suplexes, setting up the Sharpshooter to Edge’s already banged up back.

Instead of immediately saving, HHH posts Orton first and then breaks things up. HHH gets taken down again and it’s more rolling German suplexes on Edge. Benoit goes up top but has to knock Edge away, giving us a ref bump. The chair is brought in but Orton takes it away from HHH and chairs him over the barricade. Edge is back up for the spear, which is countered into a Crossface with another referee running in. That’s reversed with a rollup that doesn’t break the hold, meaning he taps out at the same time the referee counts three for the double finish.

Rating: C+. There was good action but I rolled my eyes a bit at the match having the same kind of ending as the opener, even with the same people. I’m sure this will set up something else down the line, because that’s what this whole story has been since Survivor Series: a bunch of stuff that makes you wait until next time without giving you anything concrete.

The two referees and the two Canadians argue over who wins to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. A bunch of mostly bad wrestling with Orton offering nothing as the boss for the night makes this another weak show. At least something kind of happened in the main event, but we’re sorry because your definitive deal is on another episode. Benoit vs. Edge for the title is what makes sense and if you think that’s what we’re getting, you haven’t been paying enough attention.

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