Monday Night Raw – January 17, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 17, 2005
Location: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Attendance: 9,600
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

The focus is on Canada this week with Chris Benoit facing Chris Jericho in a challenge match. Other than that, the big story is likely to be the continuing issues between HHH and Batista, the latter of whom is starting to rebel against his boss. This seems to be leading to the Royal Rumble, where Randy Orton is getting a World Title shot after beating Batista last week. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Orton beating Batista, though not before planing some seeds in Batista’s mind about HHH using him.

Opening sequence.

We open with the Highlight Reel and you know the fans are going to love Jericho here. Before we get to the guest though, Jericho brings up that he won a match last night and is officially in the Royal Rumble. See how much easier that is than having us sit through a match that had an obvious ending? Jericho has something else to say but here are Muhammad Hassan and Daivari to interrupt.

Jericho rants about how they came out before their introduction so Hassan rants about being forgotten. We get a proper introduction (with Jericho being called a creepy little sidekick) before Jericho mocks Hassan for being so serious all the time. Shouldn’t he be happier that we’re in Canada tonight? Hassan says Jericho is right as he’s felt a connection to Canada. See, in the US, Canadians are viewed as second class citizens.

They deserve it though because the REAL terrorists gained access to America through Canada. That’s why everyone here booing him is a hypocrite. See, Canadians are afraid to show their true feelings because they can’t back it up in a confrontation. Jericho tells him to shut the h*** up so Daivari rants at him for a bit.

Jericho has been studying though and offers a translation: Fozzy’s All That Remains comes out tomorrow and Daivari wants an autographed CD! Well he didn’t say please so that’s not happening. Hassan keeps ranting and the fight is on with Jericho putting on the Walls. Daivari breaks it up though and it’s a double beatdown until Chris Benoit comes inf or the save.

HHH and Ric Flair arrive with Ric insisting that everything is cool with Batista. They didn’t actually talk, but Flair has a feeling about it. HHH isn’t impressed.

La Resistance/Maven vs. Shelton Benjamin/Rosey/Hurricane

La Resistance are Tag Team Champions again, having won the titles in a handicap last night over William Regal. Fair enough as they didn’t have many other options with Eugene being out for months. Benjamin and Conway slug it out to start and Maven’s interference is scared off by a single glare.

Hurricane comes in for WHATUPWITHDAT and a thumb to the eye. A cheap shot from Maven lets Grenier throw Hurricane to the floor, followed by the chinlock back inside. That’s broken up with an atomic drop and it’s off to Rosey as the fans don’t seem interested. Rosey sits on Conway’s chest for two with Shelton making the save. Everything breaks down and Au Revoir finishes Rosey.

Rating: D. Just a match here with La Resistance getting their footing back after a quick title win. It’s not like they have anyone to feud with at the moment so this was about as good as they were going to get. Maven is much, much better suited in this role and while he isn’t going to win anything, it’s better than watching him take up a spot he’s not ready to be in.

Stacy Keibler wishes Randy Orton luck tonight and kisses him on the cheek. Orton doesn’t seem to mind.

Steve Austin is having a press conference on Wednesday.

Here’s Orton for a chat. This is a special place for Orton as he won the World Title right here back at Summerslam. Orton cried that night because no one thought he could pull this off. Then the next night, HHH ruined everything by throwing him out of Evolution. Now Orton wants it all back and he’s coming for it all at the Royal Rumble.

This brings out HHH, who says he’s heard this from Orton before. HHH is going to make him suffer because HHH is the greatest wrestler alive today. We hear all the names that HHH has beaten before but Orton says he’s heard this before. He had to hear every day when he was in Evolution, from the car to the gym to the hotel.

HHH says he’s sick of saying it but he has to do it because some young punk kid like him keeps coming out here and trying to take his spot. The fight is teased but HHH says it’s his time. Dang I miss that song. Orton charges up the ramp and the fight is on, with Flair coming out to help. That doesn’t go well as Orton beats up both of them, albeit with the help of a chair. This still isn’t interesting, but points for calling out HHH for his interviews being repetitive.

Post break HHH is livid and bubbly Maria comes up to ask him a question. He shouts her down and storms into his locker room where Batista is waiting. You can see HHH’s mood change because he knows Batista is a big problem if handled wrong. Batista is ok with what happened last week and HHH calms down a bit. Right now though, Batista needs to talk to Eric Bischoff about something.

HHH offers to go get whatever Batista wants, but Batista is talking about getting in the Royal Rumble and getting a shot at the title. HHH: “….my….my World Title?” I watched this story as it airs but watching it back, it deserves WAY more credit than it receives. They’re hitting every point to near perfection and I’m digging it.

Shawn Michaels talks about how he’s tried to apologize to Canada but for now, he’s focused on the Royal Rumble. See, if he wins tonight and wins the World Title, Edge can’t be champion. Bischoff comes up and goes over Shawn’s Royal Rumble history, including winning in 1996 to take the title from Bret Hart. Based on that history, Shawn is in, but he gets to fight Christian tonight.

Shawn Michaels vs. Christian

Christian, with Tyson Tomko, gets the big hometown hero pop. Before Shawn comes out, we look at his rather good brawl with Edge last week. Edge comes out and we take a break before the bell. We’re joined in progress with both guys getting up for the slugout. A backdrop sends Christian to the floor as the fans just do not let up on Shawn. Edge offers a distraction so Tomko can get in a cheap shot and the Canadians rejoice.

Back in and the chinlock goes on, followed by a backbreaker to keep it on. Shawn fights up and gets in a Thesz press as the fans continue their anti-Shawn tradition. Edge tries to come in with a spear but misses, allowing Shawn to drop the top rope elbow. Sweet Chin Music is countered into the Unprettier attempt which is countered into Sweet chin Music for the pin.

Rating: C. Just a match here as Christian isn’t big enough to give Shawn a real threat. What matters here is letting Edge get out there to mess with Shawn a bit because Edge does feel like he could give Shawn trouble. This was perfectly watchable though and that’s better than a lot of what we get on Raw.

Post match Edge hits the spear and puts on the Edgecator, making him look like a bigger star than he has been in years.

Batista vs. Viscera

Big pop for Batista. Viscera powers him around to start but Batista gets in some shoulders in the corner. A middle rope forearm to the back has Viscera in trouble but he’s right back with a Samoan drop. The big elbow gets two as Flair and HHH are watching in the back. Batista is right back with a spinebuster for the pin. This was a total face performance from Batista and there’s no other way to present him at this point. It’s a perfect rise to the top of the card and it’s been a lot of fun to watch.

Batista comes back in to see HHH and Flair. Next week, he can have a Royal Rumble qualifying match, if he wants it. HHH says “Uhhh…..” as Flair shakes his head no. See, Evolution should have one focus at the Royal Rumble and it should be Randy Orton. It would be a little selfish for Batista to enter the match because it could lead to Batista wanting a title shot. That would make it all about Batista and not Evolution because he would sound like Orton. Batista agrees because no one likes a selfish, self-centered egomaniac. The stare at HHH as he said that wasn’t exactly hidden.

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit

The fans aren’t sure what to do here as they start with some grappling on the mat. The standoff gets some polite applause and Benoit takes him down into an armbar. Jericho reverses into one of his own but Benoit starts rolling some German suplexes. A cross armbreaker is broken up and another standoff takes us to a break.

Back with Jericho fighting out of a chinlock and catching Benoit on top with a butterfly superplex. Some near falls ensue before Benoit suplexes him to the floor, only to fall outside with him. Back in and a very hard clothesline gives Benoit two as the fans are getting quiet again. The rolling German suplexes have Jericho rocked but the Swan Dive misses. Jericho can’t follow up so Benoit goes for the Sharpshooter but gets small packaged for the pin.

Rating: C+. The crowd hurt things a good bit here as they didn’t want to boo either of them but cheering would mean a knock on the other guy so they sat there quietly for the most part. The wrestling was good stuff of course, but they never cranked it up as these two know how to do. With no issue though, why would they do that?

We recap Gene Snitsky vs. Kane, which is happening again tonight because reasons.

Chris Masters is coming.

Royal Rumble rundown.

Here’s Trish Stratus to another hometown pop for a chat. Trish runs down America for mocking her so often but that’s beside the point. She’s not here to say she told us so, but she told us she would take the title back from Lita, which she did. Trish destroyed Lita’s knee and she’s going to be out for a long, long time. But don’t worry, because there is a locker room full of men who would be more than happy to impregnate Lita. Cue Kane to chase Trish off but he throws her back inside. Kane lets go of the chokeslam though and smiles….before chokeslamming her anyway.

Kane vs. Gene Snitsky

No holds barred. They slug it out on the floor with Kane charging into a big boot. The clothesline off the barricade drops Snitsky though and they go inside for the first time. The threat of a chokeslam sends Snitsky right back to the floor and he gets in a bell shot to take over. It’s time for a weightlifting belt (which just happened to be underneath the ring) and the whipping is on. The fans would rather do the Wave though Kane’s comeback seems to get their attention.

A chair is brought in but Snitsky knocks it out of his hands. The GO LEAFS GO chant starts up as Snitsky wraps the chair around Kane’s throat. Kane gets up and chairs Snitsky off the middle rope though and it’s time for another whipping. They fight up to the stage with Snitsky going into the steel. Snitsky misses the big right hand and gets chokeslammed off the stage with Kane going with him through the table. That’s good for a no contest of course.

Rating: D+. The fans’ reaction isn’t a good sign here as there’s no interest left in this feud. Kane defeated him cleanly at the pay per view so why should it keep going? He has his revenge and Snitsky lost his appeal as soon as someone beat him for the first time. This didn’t need to happen and the fans didn’t care, which tells you a lot about where these two are.

Post match everyone checks on the two of them to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. Batista is carrying this show right now, but you don’t need to do anything else going into the Rumble. There are some other good things going on at the moment so it’s not a bad show, but there are parts of it that are better than others. Just getting Batista right is all that matters, and it’s working very well right now.

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