Monday Night Raw – January 3, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 3, 2005
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New York City, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the first show of a new year and also the go home show for New Year’s Revolution. That doesn’t leave us very long to finalize everything but since so much of the card is tied up in the Elimination Chamber, you can probably guess where things are going this week. Other than that, we probably need some more matches to be added to the card at the last minute. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of last week’s Beat The Clock Challenge which saw Batista earn the right to enter the Chamber last. Oh and Shawn Michaels is going to be guest referee.

Eric Bischoff is in the back with the World Title and makes tonight very simple: three singles matches between the six Chamber participants. Nothing wrong with that, mainly because it’s once.

Batista vs. Chris Benoit

Batista goes with the power to start so Benoit gets in a dragon screw legwhip to take him down. A backbreaker cuts Benoit off but Batista goes for a turnbuckle pad, allowing Benoit to roll some German suplexes. Batista catches him on top and hits a Muscle buster of all things for a delayed two. The half crab with a knee on Benoit’s head has him in more trouble and Batista even picks up Benoit’s hand to make him tap.

The spinebuster gives Batista two more but Benoit scores with an enziguri, followed by the hard German suplex. Benoit hits the Swan Dive (or at least seems to after a quick camera cut) for two more and the Crossface goes on, though Benoit is almost on top of Batista’s back instead of off to the side. Batista powers up without much effort and drives Benoit head first (several times) into the exposed buckle. Now it’s time to get fired up and the Batista Bomb finishes.

Rating: C+. It’s so frustrating watching WWE stumble through the dark as they try to get monsters (or anyone) over these days when it’s this easy. Batista has been protected for months, says things that makes him look smart and then wins big matches. If they have the talent and intelligence to do the rest, which Batista did because he was well trained down in OVW, you’ll have a star on your hands.

Ric Flair is very pleased with what happened when Batista comes in. Flair says all they have to do is have HHH survive until the end when Batista can destroy everyone so HHH can get the title back. Batista says HHH can count on him, but he wants the $100 from last week’s bet. Flair looks terrified at what this could mean and HHH tells him to give Batista $100.

That’s fine with Flair, who wants to keep the peace. Batista wants HHH’s money though so HHH pulls out $100. Batista laughs and tells HHH to get a sense of humor. Again: treat him like someone with a brain to go with his physical dominance and there is no way he won’t be awesome.

We look back at Snitsky Pillmanizing Kane’s neck.

Snitsky is surprised that Kane is coming back and whispers something to Maria, who runs off. He has a surprise for Kane on Sunday.

Edge still doesn’t get why Shawn Michaels is guest referee on Sunday because it won’t be fair. Bischoff says this is because Edge hurt Shawn even worse and cost Raw revenue. He’s trying to make up for some of it on Sunday, but for now Edge needs to worry about his match.

Edge vs. Chris Jericho

They trade waistlocks to start with Jericho taking him to the mat by the leg. Back up and Edge punches him in the face but gets backdropped to the floor. Jericho follows him out and it’s a double clothesline to take us to a break. We come back with Edge working on the arm for a change, including a DDT on the arm for two. It’s off to a different armbar because Edge is good enough to mix up the holds he uses instead of doing the same things over and over.

Jericho fights up and hits a shoulder with the bad arm, which doesn’t seem to do much damage. A hurricanrana sends Edge flying but he’s right back with a heck of a big boot for two. Jericho’s northern lights suplex gets the same so he kicks Edge hard in the ribs. Edge catches him on top and tries a superplex, which is tossed down for a crash. A missed high crossbody misses Edge but he can’t get the spear. Jericho tries a rollup but Edge sits down on it and grabs the rope for the pin.

Rating: C. It wasn’t quite as good as the opener but Edge cheating to win gave him a victory that he needed. Edge is one of the weaker options in the Chamber so having him cheat to win is a good way for him to catch up. It’s not like Jericho losing is going to do any serious damage to him anyway.

Randy Orton is ready for his long awaited one on one match with HHH before he wins the World Title on Sunday.

JR and King thank the British fans for watching the show live but King cuts him off to say Happy Birthday.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Sylvan Grenier

Non-title with Maven coming out to do commentary. The distraction lets Grenier get in a cheap shot before the bell as Maven starts to gloat. Grenier stomps away in the corner as Maven talks about how he wants the Intercontinental Title match on Sunday. The chinlock goes on, followed by a full nelson to mix the holds up a bit.

Shelton fights up and drives him into the corner for the break and the comeback is on. Rob Conway offers a distraction, allowing Shelton to hit the Dragon Whip. The referee just stops counting at two because Grenier doesn’t kick out and the fans are not pleased. The exploder is good for the pin. Too short to rate but that ending hurt what was already a bad match.

Video on the Elimination Chamber.

And now, the debate between Muhammad Hassan/Daivari and Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler. Hassan goes into the same speech he’s had every time about how America is racist and it got even worse since 9/11. Lawler says that there are racists and idiots in every country. Hassan has every right to complain about that but when he called the troops cowards, he took it too far.

The reason people don’t like Hassan and Daivari is they’re loudmouth jerks. Daivari goes into a rant but Hassan calms things down. Hassan doesn’t like most Arab Americans because they don’t showcase their heritage. He doesn’t like JR shaking his head at this because Hassan is as American as Mickey Mantle and the Oklahoma Sooners. JR won’t do anything about it though because he’s just like America: angry behind his back but a coward face to face.

JR says America isn’t a perfect place but Hassan and Daivari can love it or leave it (erg). Hassan turns over the podium and punches JR in the ribs, followed by a double team beatdown of Lawler. JR gets choked with a belt but the bloody Lawler takes off his own belt and chases them off, collapsing in the process. This could have been worse, but not that much worse. The RAH RAH AMERICA stuff is wearing thin and WWE knows how to lay it on very thick.

Coach is now doing commentary for the rest of the show. On his own. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Trish Stratus vs. Victoria

Trish wastes no time in taking her down for some forearms and knees to the face. A hair pull takedown gets two as Victoria is looking like a full on jobber here. Trish chokes her in the corner and a throat first catapult into the bottom rope makes it even worse. Victoria gets in a side slam and rollup for two, followed by the clothesline comeback. The dancing moonsault hits raised knees though and the Chick Kick gives Trish the pin.

Rating: D. What happened to Victoria? She’s one of the best options they have in the division but she’s losing a match like this in a match that is just a step above a squash. It’s not like these two can’t have a good match if they’re given the chance but Trish might as well have been facing Stacy Keibler.

Post match Trish promises to do the same to Lita, so here’s Lita for the slugout. This brings out Snitsky for the save, allowing Trish to hit the Chick Kick. Snitsky grabs a chair but Kane returns to let her escape. Kane and Lita have a bit of a moment.

Video on the Elimination Chamber match from Summerslam 2003. Egads do I really have to think about that one again?

Coach explains why he’s out here alone.

Hassan vs. Lawler is set for Sunday.

Pay per view rundown.

Christy Hemme is doing a photo shoot when Eugene shows up to sing Lindsay Lohan to her. Believe it or not, this is actually dumber than it sounds. Thankfully William Regal comes in for the save with Christy escorting Eugene to the ring. It turns out Regal likes Lohan as well, meaning singing and dancing ensues. This is instantly more entertaining than anything Eugene just did.

Christian vs. Eugene

Christian/Tomko vs. Eugene/Regal for the titles on Sunday. Eugene shoulders him down to start and even shows off some power with the gorilla press into a Warrior Splash (with rope shake of course). Christian finally gets in a shot of his own and a quick distraction lets Tomko drive Eugene back first into the apron. We hit the required neck crank for a bit before Eugene comes back with a Rock Bottom for a very delayed two. Tomko comes in so Eugene forearms him to the floor, leaving Christian to grab a sunset flip (and a rope, since he must have been watching Edge’s match earlier) for the pin.

Rating: D. It’s not a good sign when you’re using the same finish twice in about an hour. This was a perfectly acceptable way to build towards the Tag Team Title match on Sunday, which was announced earlier in the show so it’s not like they can have any less of a story going on. The match was nothing to see of course, but it did what it was supposed to do as well as it could have been asked to.

Evolution (since we haven’t seen them in awhile) is ready for tonight but HHH wants Batista to stay in the back. He only has to beat four guys on Sunday but tonight it’s one on one. Tonight, he needs to show the world that Orton was just a tag along. Flair is all for this while Batista doesn’t seem convinced. He’ll only come out if Orton starts beating HHH up….but that won’t happen.

HHH vs. Randy Orton

Thank goodness JR rejoins commentary for this one. They stare each other down for a good while until Orton snaps off the dropkick to take over early on. A clothesline gives Orton two and it’s time to slug it out. The backdrops has HHH in trouble again and we take a break. Back with HHH being thrown outside again as he hasn’t had any major offense so far. HHH finally manages to snap Orton’s throat across the top to take over and a running knee nearly knocks Orton over the barricade.

Of course that means Flair can get in some stomping because he knows how to cheat properly. Back in and HHH drives shoulders in the corner, followed by another trip to the floor. Flair even gets inside this time for no apparent reason as HHH doesn’t cheat, but Orton manages to send him into the post.

Back in and the powerslam gives Orton two, followed by the backbreaker for the same. The high crossbody gets two more and it’s time to reverse some sleepers. That’s broken up and the ref gets bumped, allowing Flair to slide in the ring bell. Orton takes it away though and blasts HHH, drawing in Batista to hit the big clothesline. That brings in Benoit to cancel out Batista but here’s Shawn to take over as referee.

Edge comes in as well but Jericho stops him from spearing Shawn in some good pre-match sucking up. Jericho dives onto Edge and Batista so Shawn starts counting HHH and Orton as the match is still going. It’s HHH up first but his yelling at Shawn lets Orton….miss the RKO. The Pedigree is countered into a rollup for two and now the RKO gives Orton the pin.

Rating: C-. It was dull until the insanity began, but they might as well just give HHH (who is up against COMPLETELY insurmountable odds) the title now. As usual, Orton wins the match that doesn’t matter and it only took a ring bell, a second referee and half a dozen people getting involved. But hey, HHH certainly put him over here and that’s what mattered.

Overall Rating: C-. The big story here continues to be Batista, who is about to break through the glass ceiling and become the biggest thing on the show if the indications are correct. This show was all about building to the Elimination Chamber as Sunday is a total one match show. That’s perfectly fine and something that has been done before, though there is only so much you can get out of a two hour and forty five minute show with only the main event mattering. They didn’t hide that here, but what they were focusing on got the right amount of attention.

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