Monday Night Raw
Date: December 13, 2004
Location: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
The year is starting to come to a close and Eric Bischoff is back to run things again. This time around that means we need a solution to the World Title being vacated, which should mean some kind of big gimmick match for the January’s pay per view. That would be the regular January show and not the Royal Rumble, because January suddenly needs to pay per views. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Eric Bischoff with the World Title to get things going. Bischoff recaps all the changes since he went on vacation and then gets into the meat of things. Two weeks ago, both Chris Benoit and Edge got a fall at the same time, but traditionally a tie goes to the champion. That would be HHH, so all three are standing in the back watching intently. HHH says no one beat him, clearly not understanding how triple threats work.
That starts an argument with Benoit so Edge says this is how it always goes. Edge has had it with waiting and the fight is on. Bischoff has had it and makes HHH/Batista vs. Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit. As for Edge, he can fight Randy Orton RIGHT NOW. The decision on the title can come later tonight. I think you can guess what it is based on the people put in those two matches, but let’s wait a little longer.
Edge vs. Randy Orton
The fans remind Edge that he tapped out and he’s so shaken up that Orton can shove him into the corner. They go with some amateur stuff in a bit of a surprise, followed by an exchange of missed dropkicks for a standoff. Orton goes with the hard clothesline to put Edge on the floor and we take a break.
Back with Orton grabbing a chinlock (he does love his chinlocks) for a bit until Edge gets a foot on the rope. You don’t see that as a counter to a chinlock very often but you don’t often see a heel in one for that long either. Edge gets up and baseball slides him to the floor, followed by a spear off the apron. Back in and the chinlock with a bodyscissors goes on with Orton taking his sweet time getting up.
A crossbody gives Orton two and they’re both down again (that’s happened a lot in this one). It’s Edge up first but Orton dropkicks him out of the air, followed by the backbreaker for two. The Edge-O-Matic gives Edge two of his own and it’s time to yell at the referee. Orton snaps off the powerslam but misses the high crossbody. The spear misses as well and it’s the RKO to finish Edge.
Rating: C+. Good match, but you could cut off the first ten minutes and not miss anything. These two like to go for the big epic match and it really doesn’t work all that well. Edge losing again doesn’t exactly help his case for the World Title, but we have to keep Orton hot for his title push….whenever that actually happens again.
Ric Flair lists off HHH’s accomplishments so HHH can convince Bischoff to make him champion again. Violence is threatened but here’s Batista to say that’s a bad idea. Batista wants HHH to play the game properly and show Bischoff instead of telling him. When they win tonight, Bischoff will know who the real champion is.
Christy, Melina and Maria are here with a t-shirt gun. After the announcers recap the opening sequence, here’s Gene Snitsky to interrupt, with Melina taking a few extra moments to notice him. Since no one will give him a match around here, he’d rather come out here and play with the t-shirt gun….and dance? Thankfully he reverts to monster form by grabbing Christy by the throat, because he has fun when someone is suffering.
This brings out Lita, who says Snitsky must feel like a big man right now. Despite everything Snitsky did to her, Lita is the Women’s Champion. Uh, he did like one thing to you. Anyway, Kane is coming back to deal with Snitsky. The complete non-reaction to that announcement is rather telling. Snitsky goes after Lita, who escaped behind a wall of fire.
Christian rants about Chris Jericho making him dress like a superhero last week while Candice Michelle does his makeup. Eugene comes up and gets on Christian’s nerves by saying Captain Charisma isn’t as good as Aquaman. He even asks for an autograph but gets broken up by a cameo.
Mick Foley of all people pops up and Eugene freaks out because Foley is tied for his four favorite wrestlers. It’s Foley, the Rock (Foley: “That’s a good choice.”), Papa Shango (Foley: “Ok that’s a weird one.”) and Beautiful Bobby Eaton, because he’s from right here in Huntsville, Alabama. Has Eaton ever been mentioned on Raw before? Foley leaves with Eugene, even though he stole his cheap pop. Eugene tells Christian and Tomko to have a nice day, Bang Bang.
Simon Dean is in Eric Bischoff’s office to sign his official Raw contract when Chris Benoit comes in. Dean leaves and Benoit says he worked so hard to get the title. He wants a rematch of the triple threat match for the title but Bischoff says Benoit is already in a tag match. Benoit isn’t happy and says if Bischoff gives the title back to HHH, he’ll just be showing how spineless he really is.
Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho vs. HHH/Batista
Ric Flair is here with Evolution. Benoit slugs away at HHH to start and the loud chops in the corner follow. HHH gets smart by going with the power to drive Benoit into the corner for the boot choke from Batista. It’s off to Jericho who can’t do anything with Batista either so it’s back to HHH for some more first gear grappling. A shoulder and the jumping knee to the face move things up a bit and take Jericho down, followed by a heck of a whip into the corner from Batista.
The chinlock keeps Jericho in trouble and it’s back to HHH for some choking in the corner. A delayed vertical suplex into the knee drop gives HHH one with Benoit making the save. Flair goes after the referee and gets decked by Jericho, sending him into the trademark rage. HHH calms him down though and we take a break.
Back with Benoit hitting a German suplex on HHH but missing the Swan Dive, even with Batista not being able to grab Benoit’s foot in time. HHH whips Benoit back first into the corner for two and it’s off to the abdominal stretch to cause some screaming. The assist from Batista gets HHH caught so he throws some right hands in the corner while calling spots.
HHH’s jump off the middle rope that is designed to land on a raised boot lands on a raised boot, meaning Jericho can come in. Jericho rolls Batista up for two and slips out of the Batista Bomb, setting up an enziguri. The Lionsault connects and HHH is sent to the floor, leaving Benoit to hit the Swan Dive. The Sharpshooter goes on and the saving HHH is pulled into the Crossface. That’s enough of a distraction for Batista to hit the spinebuster for the pin on Benoit.
Rating: B. This was working the formula rather well and Batista is getting better and better every week. His star power is rising as well as he gets sick of HHH, which is only going to mean great things for him. Giving him the pin like that makes things look even better, as HHH isn’t going to be happy.
Here’s Mick Foley for a chat. After all, what would Christmastime be without a Mick Foley book plug? He’s not telling you to buy it or that it’s a great Christmas gift idea though. Actually he’s here to mention that he’s going to be on Smackdown next week, because he’s going to Iraq for the Tribute to the Troops. We get a look at last week’s show and Foley mentions that he still has some John Kerry bumper stickers in his garage. The fans boo and Foley remembers that this is a red state.
Supporting the troops goes beyond political affiliation though and he’s honored to be going over there and entertain the troops. This brings out Muhammad Hassan and Daivari for something that is going to go very badly in a hurry. Hassan talks about blindly supporting the troops and the country, but then 9/11 happened.
People like the two of them are the real victims of the war and none of the people here are real patriots. Why would they support a war that causes the unfair treatment of Arab Americans? Hassan feels the “patriotism” around every airport and right now, though Foley disagrees with almost every word. Foley puts over America as the place where you can say any stupid views you want so Hassan calls Americans infidels. That’s too far for Foley, who lists off various people who were hurt or killed defending his rights. Hassan: “YOU SUPPORT AN EVIL AND UNJUST WAR!” Foley: “I SUPPORT AMERICA!”
Those rights don’t apply in the ring (Foley Island) though and if Hassan comes inside, he’ll get a fist in his mouth. Hassan and Daivari walk away again. I know it was a different time, but this stuff is as heavy handed as it gets these days, with the Love It Or Leave It stuff being a lot to take. I get where these debates have an audience, but it’s not the most interesting thing on a wrestling show.
We look back at Lita winning the Women’s Title last week.
Trish Stratus doesn’t care what the interviewer’s name is because she isn’t happy with what happened. She’ll get her title back.
Rochelle (egads another random woman on the roster) is in Bischoff’s office when Edge comes in to say he deserves the title. We hear his usual list of times where he got cheated and is told that the decision is coming tonight.
Christian/Tyson Tomko/Maven vs. Eugene/William Regal/Shelton Benjamin
Eugene backdrops Christian to start and pulls out his own version of Mr. Socko as Lawler insists that Christian could beat Aquaman. Maven and Christian both take airplane spins but Tomko takes Eugene’s head off with a clothesline. The chinlock keeps Eugene in trouble (Regal: “Come on Eug!”) and it’s back to Maven for an elbow to the head. Regal’s overly loud shouting continues as JR sucks up to the troops all over again. Eugene gets two each off a backslide and small package so Christian rips at his face.
Shelton and Regal are knocked off the apron as the announcers talk about Simon Dean. Come on the match isn’t THAT bad. Maven puts on a chinlock of his own with a knee in Eugene’s back until a Stunner breaks things up. Shelton finally comes in to start taking over and an exploder getting two on Maven as Christian makes the save. Christian gets Socko from Eugene but Maven rolls Shelton up and grabs the rope for the upset.
Rating: D. This felt a lot longer than the seven minutes it lasted. Maven’s continued push isn’t helping anything, but at least having it be in the midcard instead of the main event is a little more believable. The match wasn’t even very good as it was Eugene getting beaten until the last minute when Shelton got pinned.
HHH glares at Bischoff and then nearly begs him to return the title. He seems near tears as he talks about how important the title is to him as this is getting WAY too deep into HHH’s psyche than I’m comfortable with being. See, HHH needs to be champion so people can recognize him. Oh and it’s good for business.
Next week: the Best of 2004. Pick your favorite “that’s going to be a short show” joke.
Bischoff comes to the ring and calls for HHH, Edge and Benoit to join him. The three of them do, with Flair and Batista joining HHH. All the team does is win and the World Heavyweight Champion should be a winner. Bischoff liked the idea of another triple threat match but that’s not what he wants to do. Or maybe he could hand the belt to Edge, but that’s not a good move since Edge has never been champion before.
With that WCW philosophical line out of the way, Bischoff gets to his idea: the Elimination Chamber at New Year’s Revolution, which was the pretty clear pick the entire time. In addition to the three of them, Jericho, Batista and Orton will be involved as well. Only Batista seems to be happy as Bischoff leaves. Benoit gets beaten down so here are Jericho and Orton for the big six way brawl. Orton RKO’s Batista to stand tall to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The longer wrestling was nice for a change, but the bigger problem here was how we spent weeks waiting to find out what is going on with the title and the answer is we wait another month. That’s going to make for some very long shows before we get to the title change, but it means they can do very little until we get to the Royal Rumble where things can actually happen. Not a terrible show, but another case of filling time until we get to what really matters.
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