Monday Night Raw – March 7, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 7, 2005
Location: RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re less than a month away from Wrestlemania and that means it’s the Batista Show, which is exactly what it should be right now. In addition to that though we have Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle to keep setting up, plus Chris Jericho doing something with a ladder. I’m sure that won’t go anywhere. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of HHH being all upset and Batista not being worried.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Shawn to address Angle. Shawn talks about having a long and brutal match last week and then Angle attacked him. That’s why he showed up on Smackdown last week and gave Angle a beating of his own. We see a clip of Shawn coming to Smackdown and jumping Angle, which got Shawn thinking. Why is Angle having so much rage lately? It’s the kind of rage that comes from doubt, because Angle may be a Gold Medalist, but does that mean he can hang on the biggest stage of them all against Mr. Wrestlemania?

Angle pops up on screen and says it does go back to 1996. Yeah he won in the Olympics but then he kept being asked about turning pro. Shawn wrestled Bret Hart for over an hour and reporters talked to him about that instead of his gold medal. Angle wants Shawn to watch Smackdown as Angle is going to take four weeks to do what Shawn took sixteen years to do. Shawn doesn’t look sure to wrap things up. This was a very solid promo exchange as they gave a good story to a match that didn’t need one, which is always appreciated.

HHH vs. Rosey

Non-title as Rosey wants revenge for Hurricane from last week. A very early Pedigree attempt is blocked with Rosey hitting a running splash in the corner instead. Rosey misses a middle rope moonsault (which looked better than you might have expected) so HHH hammers away. HHH whips him into the steps and takes it back inside for the spinebuster. The Pedigree finishes things quick.

Post match HHH gets in a sledgehammer shot to further make his point, whatever that was supposed to be.

Jerry Lawler got Christy Hemme to sign his Playboy today.

Video on the Playboy shoot.

Ric Flair is worried about facing Batista tonight but HHH talks him into it. Promising to be out there with the sledgehammer makes Flair feel better too.

Chris Jericho, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Christian and Chris Benoit are in Eric Bischoff’s office. Bischoff explains the concept of the big ladder match but Edge doesn’t want any part of it. The tease of getting a chance to be World Champion brings him back though, with Bischoff first dropping the term Money In The Bank. Tonight, the six participants will be facing off, with Christian getting to face the sixth participant next.

Kane vs. Christian

Christian tries to hammer away in the corner to start but gets shoved down with ease. Kane gets in his choking in the corner but a Tomko cheap shot gives Christian a break. Like any normal sized person against a monster, Christian tries the sleeper and has some more success than usual. Kane swings it around into a side slam and there’s a powerslam for a bonus. The big boot looks to set up the top rope clothesline but Kane has to kick Tomko down first. Not that it matters as Christian charges into the chokeslam for the pin a few seconds later.

Rating: D+. It was so nice to see a match like this that didn’t involve hearing 184 instances of commentary talking about building momentum. Instead they talked about the carnage coming in the ladder match and how big of a force Kane could be. It was a specific discussion instead of the generic terms that they use most of the time in the build to these things.

Post match Tomko hits a big boot on Kane before bailing with Christian.

Stacy Keibler helps Randy Orton get dressed so he can make his official challenge for Wrestlemania.

Lawler enjoys some Subway.

Chris Jericho vs. Edge

Edge has a banged up arm coming in after last week’s street fight. We start with the YOU SCREWED MATT chants as the feeling out process gets us going. Now it’s a YOU SCREWED LITA chant as Jericho starts in on a hammerlock. Some knees and a dropkick to the arm set up an attempted cross armbreaker as Edge is having some issues to start.

The running enziguri puts Edge down again and it’s the springboard dropkick to put him on the floor. A plancha to the floor takes Edge down and takes us to a break. Back with Jericho kicking at the ribs and going up top, only to have Edge catch him with a top rope superplex. The chinlock with a bodyscissors goes on but Jericho fights up, only to get kneed right back down.

A clothesline works a bit better for a comeback and Jericho gets two off a DDT. The running bulldog sets up the missed Lionsault and Edge gets two off a big boot. Jericho grabs the legs for the Walls attempt but Edge kicks him into the referee. Edge gets a boot up in the corner (the boot works well for him) but the missed spear sends Edge outside. Since there is a ladder out there with him, Edge brings it in, only to get taken down for a Lionsault to the back. There’s no referee though so Edge hits Jericho low with the ladder. The Edgecution gives Edge the pin.

Rating: C+. I was expecting a bit more given the time they had, but Edge cheating to win fits him very well at the moment. He’s obsessed with winning the title and will do anything he can to get a step closer to being champion. The match was good enough due to the talent involved, but these two can do better.

Bischoff has a new idea: Batista picks HHH’s opponent and the week after that, HHH picks Batista’s opponent. Coach declares this to be genius, with Bischoff dubbing the idea Pick Your Poison.

Hulk Hogan Hall of Fame video. We covered that last week.

Here’s Orton for his Wrestlemania challenge. When he was five years old, he sat in front of the TV and watched his dad wrestle, which was pretty cool. This year, his dad is going into the Hall of Fame and Orton is so proud of him. Wrestling is about making an impact and that is what he’s going to do right now by challenging the Undertaker for Wrestlemania. Undertaker is a legend and the Legend Killer is putting an end to the Streak.

This brings out Bischoff, who thinks he drove Orton to the challenge. He’s looking forward to Raw winning the interbranded matches at Wrestlemania because the stock options will be great. Orton asks Bischoff about running WCW and his success against Raw. Bischoff agrees and Orton thinks that makes him a legend. Bischoff: “That’s right Randy it…..does.” The RKO drops Bischoff. Orton vs. Undertaker sounds good on paper, but it would have had more of an impact had Orton not been destroyed over the last few months.

Wrestlemania rundown.

Chris Benoit vs. Shelton Benjamin

Non-title. They go straight to the chops to start with Benjamin getting sent outside for the big dive, which sends Benoit crashing into the ladder, bending it in the process (that’s a hard one to watch). Back in and the top rope clothesline gets two but Benoit is right back up with the rolling German suplexes. The Swan Dive misses though and Shelton rolls him up for one. The Dragon Whip misses and Benoit grabs the Crossface, eventually rolling into the middle to make Benjamin tap.

Rating: C. That was intense but rather short as they didn’t even get five minutes. These two could have an instant classic with more time but given that Edge vs. Jericho got the time earlier, it’s not like the time was given to something worthless. Shelton tapping isn’t the best idea, though it doesn’t mean much given the circumstances.

Wrestlemania trailer, this time with Undertaker as Dirty Harry. That doesn’t fit well during the Deadman phase. Neither is Undertaker shooting the guy with a shotgun.

We look at HHH hitting Rosey with the hammer again.

Bischoff is banged up when Muhammad Hassan and Daivari come in. Hassan should have been in Money in the Bank and claims discrimination. Bischoff based the participants on their past success at Wrestlemania and that doesn’t apply to Hassan. Revenge is promised.

Smackdown Rebound.

William Regal and Tajiri are impressed by Christy’s Playboy but Trish isn’t quite so keen.

Here’s Christy for a chat. Lawler: “I go from 0 to horny in about 3.5 seconds when I hear her music.” Even JR sidesteps that one and I think we’re all better off for that. She wants Trish out here right now so here’s the champ. Trish tells her to make this quick but thinks she knows what is going on: Christy wants her out here for the announcement that Playboy goes on sale this Friday. Maybe Christy can even autograph it “s***”, like Trish wrote on her last week.

Actually Christy wants a title shot at Wrestlemania. Trish laughs and then promises to end Christy’s career. Christy wants the match so Trish says it’s on. It turns out that Christy has been receiving training from Lita, who comes out to a reaction that almost makes you forget that it’s Christy Hemme getting a Wrestlemania title shot. Granted it’s not like there is anyone else to challenge though. Christy takes advantage of the Lita staredown and hits a reverse Twist of Fate, with the camera catching most of it.

Bischoff won’t let HHH go to ringside for the main event, at least not with the sledgehammer. HHH and Flair complain but Bischoff shows some backbone and makes HHH drop the hammer.

Next week: HHH vs. Chris Benoit.

Ric Flair vs. Batista

HHH is here with Flair. The fans aren’t entirely behind Batista as this is certainly Flair Country. Batista shoves him down with ease to start so Flair goes at him again and gets shoved down a second time. A backdrop sends Flair flying and Batista hammers away in the corner.

HHH offers a distraction and Flair gets in the classic chop block. Flair chokes away with the boot before going back to the knee. The greatest hits only work for so long though as Batista gets up and glares at Flair. The big slam off the top checks off another box and there’s the spinebuster. HHH tries to run in and gets tossed out, setting up the Batista Bomb for the pin.

Rating: C. This was a paint by numbers match and that’s the right call. Flair (or anyone for that matter) isn’t going to be seen as a threat to Batista at the moment but beating him fits the story. Batista gets another win and gets to look dominant as well as smart. That’s a good use of seven minutes, even if the match was never in doubt.

Post match HHH comes back in with a spar sledgehammer but Batista takes it away. The hammer is broken over Batista’s knee, sending HHH into a panic to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. There was a lot more to this show than the wrestling and that worked fairly well. They set up a few matches for Wrestlemania, one of which will actually be good, and kept going with more between HHH vs. Batista. The Pick Your Poison deal lets them have two weeks of storyline stuff, which is better than cramming it into one week. Stuff was done on this show, though it does make it clear how much more Raw has to offer than Smackdown for Wrestlemania.

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