Monday Night Raw – February 28, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 28, 2005
Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Attendance: 7,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Last week saw a big change as Batista officially turned face and announced that he is going to be challenging HHH for the World Title at Wrestlemania. That’s where the story has been going for months now and it’s nice to see them FINALLY pull the trigger, especially when the story built up to it as close to perfect as possible. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the big angle from last week, which is all that matters around here right now.

Here’s HHH in wrestling gear to get things going. He gets straight to the point: he isn’t scared of Batista but the fans think Batista is going to become World Heavyweight Champion. The fans like that idea so HHH yells about being the best in the business and that is not a slogan on a t-shirt. Batista thinks he’s gotten somewhere after sitting under a learning tree for two years.

The reality is that Batista is a child and HHH is his father. When a child stands up to his father, it is up to the father to take the son back down a notch and teach him a lesson. Batista has been doing good but at Wrestlemania, HHH is teaching him the difference between doing good and being good. Cue…..the Hurricane?

HHH vs. Hurricane

HHH jumps him during the entrance and kicks Hurricane into the steps as the announcers aren’t sure if the bell rang or not. Hurricane gets dragged up the ramp and it’s a Pedigree onto the steel as the match (if there was one) is thrown out.

HHH grabs the mic again and says Batista’s lesson starts tonight.

Chris Benoit vs. Muhammad Hassan

Daivari is extra loud tonight as Benoit stomps away in the corner before hitting a belly to back suplex. Hassan kicks away but tries a terrible looking clothesline which was only designed to feed Benoit the arm for the Crossface. That means a Daivari distraction so Hassan can get in a cheap shot to take over. The USA chants begin, which is a lot more support for Hassan than I was expecting. A suplex gives Hassan two and we hit the chinlock.

That’s broken up in a hurry so Hassan goes with a backbreaker for two instead. The bodyscissors goes on but Benoit slips out and hammers away. Benoit rolls the German suplexes but Hassan knocks him into the referee. Daivari slips Hassan the referee, only to have Benoit snap off another suplex. The Swan Dive hits Hassan in the shoulder….and I guess Benoit was supposed to hit the bell, even though he was clearly a foot away from the thing. That only gets two so Hassan goes low for the DQ.

Rating: C. The action was good and intense while it lasted but the ending was really awkward as they botched the ending and then went with something else, which really didn’t work. Hassan has gotten so much more interesting just by going after some bigger names, though he still isn’t working all that well. At some point he’s going to have to do something on his own and that isn’t happening yet.

We look back at Edge attacking Shawn Michaels last week.

The latest inductee into the Hall of Fame: Hulk Hogan. He’s one of the names you have to have in there if you want it to be legitimate so this is as obvious as it gets.

Batista arrives and Coach warns him of what HHH said earlier. That doesn’t seem to bother Batista, who wants to thank HHH for unleashing the Animal.

Ric Flair tells HHH that Batista is here but HHH has a plan.

Video on Christy Hemme getting to be in Playboy.

Intercontinental Title: Shelton Benjamin vs. Gene Snitsky

Shelton is defending and can lose the title via DQ. Benjamin goes straight at him to start and gets slammed down for an early two. The armbar goes on for a bit, followed by an armbar so Snitsky can shout a lot. Snitsky’s pumphandle powerslam is countered into a reverse DDT and they’re both down. Snitsky comes back with a big boot but goes to get a chair, which is quickly dropkicked away. Shelton grabs a big DDT and the exploder retains the title in a hurry. Can we move on to something better for Shelton already?

Smackdown Rebound. They haven’t done one of those in a few weeks.

At Wrestlemania, it’s Piper’s Pit with Steve Austin as his guest.

Chris Masters vs. John Walters

Walters isn’t named here. Choking, stomping, ax handle to the chest, Masterlock for the win.

Remember about an hour ago when we recapped Batista’s decision last week? Here’s the second hour version.

JR brings out Batista for a chat and gets straight to it: why did Batista pick HHH? Batista talks about Randy Orton winning the World Title last year but it was still all about HHH. Then Batista won the Royal Rumble, but it was all about HHH again. As the song goes, it’s all about the Game and how you play it. Last week, HHH got played. Batista isn’t scared of HHH and has been out here every single week on Raw.

HHH is probably the best in the business and maybe the best there has ever been. The problem is Batista is bigger, smarter and better. It’s just evolution, and to be the man you have to beat the man. At Wrestlemania, Batista becomes the man. Cue HHH and Flair for the brawl but only Flair gets in, meaning it’s a spinebuster so Batista can wait on HHH. As you might expect, HHH bails from the fight and a loud BATISTA chant. JR: “I don’t understand this strategy!” I’ll leave that one alone as it’s a Batista Bomb to Flair and the thumbs down to HHH.

Wrestlemania Recall: the Hardcore Title shenanigans at Wrestlemania X8.

HHH tells Bischoff that next week, it’s Batista vs. Flair. Oh no: the muscle monster vs. a 55 year old that he just wrecked in ten seconds!

Chris Jericho vs. Maven

Jericho knocks him into the corner to start and the springboard dropkick puts Maven on the floor. Back in and Maven manages a hot shot before rubbing Jericho’s face into the mat. Jericho fights back with the ease of Chris Jericho making a comeback on Maven and hits the running enziguri. A top rope elbow to the jaw sets up the Walls for the easy tap.

Rating: D. After watching Maven be so lame as a semi main eventer, it’s quite entertaining to see him get taken apart. There’s nothing wrong with having him as a jobber to the stars or some low level guy like this, but just keep him away from anything important in the slightest. Jericho needs something to do but I think he’s going to be fine around Wrestlemania.

Post match Jericho talks about everything going on at Wrestlemania and wants to do something special. He has an idea that involves himself, five more people, the chance of a lifetime and a solid steel ladder. Jericho looks VERY happy about whatever he has in mind.

We get a new Wrestlemania trailer, this time of A Few Good Men with John Cena as Tom Cruise and JBL as Jack Nicholson in the big courtroom showdown. It’s one of my favorite movies and this is the best acted and performed one so far as you can see the fire in Cena’s eyes and JBL has gotten great with the serious promos. Coach as the judge is a great bonus.

Here’s Christy Hemme for the unveiling of her Playboy cover. The cover is unveiled (complete with a story about Saddam Hussein getting a prominent feature) and here’s Trish Stratus to interrupt in a hurry. Trish talks about Christy taking her spot but praises her for the cover, save for one thing. She pulls out some spray paint and covers up the word CHAMPION on top of the cover. The fight is on with Christy getting kicked in the head (Trish: “Your head is so hard it broke my shoe.”) and having s*** spray painted on her back.

Superstar Billy Graham (it’s weird seeing him on Raw) is glad that Hulk Hogan is going to be going into the Hall of Fame when Randy Orton comes up. They’ve been talking lately and Orton wants to continue doing so, with Graham suggesting that Orton do something big at Wrestlemania (complete with Graham’s rhyming promo for a bonus). Graham leaves and Orton looks at Smackdown Magazine, featuring the Undertaker.

Edge is looking forward to letting off some steam by hurting Shawn Michaels and keeping him out of Wrestlemania.

Edge vs. Shawn Michaels

Street fight with both in street clothes. They go straight to the slugout with Shawn taking off his belt to whip Edge across the back. A clothesline puts Edge on the floor and it’s time to bring in an already dented trashcan. With Edge down, it’s time for a ladder but Shawn takes way too long, allowing Edge to get in his own trashcan shot. A chair is set up in the ring and Edge hits a very slightly lifted DDT onto said chair to bust Shawn open (and it’s a heck of a blade job) as we take a break.

Back with Shawn bleeding a ton and hitting a clothesline. The trademark bloody Shawn stagger lets him go and get the ladder, which takes too long as well. Edge goes up so Shawn throws the ladder at his head (egads) to knock Edge outside again. The suicide dive doesn’t work as Shawn is too weak to make the jump so Shawn puts the ladder over the middle rope.

As expected, Shawn is sent face first into the ladder and Edge, with Shawn’s blood on his face, hits a splash off the ladder. It bangs up his ribs so much that it’s a delayed two and Edge does that thing where he grabs his face and screams. Edge grabs a chair but gets catapulted into the ladder for a double knockdown. It’s Shawn up first with a big chair shot to the head and Edge is knocked outside.

Back in and Shawn hits the forearm into the nipup, followed by a kendo stick shot to the head. Shawn drops the top rope elbow into Edge’s “psychotic torso” but Sweet Chin Music misses. Edge hits him low with a chair and loads up the Conchairto, with Shawn punching him low for the save. The spear gives Edge two so Edge tunes up the band to set up another, allowing Shawn to hit Sweet Chin Music for the pin.

Rating: B. There’s something about having them in street clothes that makes this feel so much more serious and intense. It was also a rather good match with Edge’s frustrations going one step further, albeit after a heck of a fight with both guys beating the fire out of each other. These two work well together and Shawn’s blood made it that much better.

Post match Kurt Angle runs in to beat the heck out of Shawn, getting Shawn’s blood all over himself in the process. The Angle Slam leaves Shawn dead and Angle accepts the challenge to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. This was a pretty weak show that got bailed out by the main event. Other than the HHH vs. Batista build and the street fight, this was a bunch of short matches that didn’t seem to add much to Wrestlemania. Jericho is teasing a ladder match and that would help, though just a tease isn’t enough to make that feel important here. It’s not a bad show, but they’re banking everything on the Batista vs. HHH match. Angle’s run in helped a lot though, and having he and Shawn yell at/attack each other on both shows will work just fine. They’re putting pieces together, but they need to get more concrete with it.

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