Monday Night Raw
Date: March 21, 2005
Location: Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Wrestlemania is less than two weeks away and that means we’re in the final stretches of the build. That can be both good and bad as some of the stories can be interesting but at the same time, some of them are running on fumes and not that great. Tonight it’s another Pick Your Poison match with Batista facing Kane. Let’s get to it.
Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Conway
Sylvain Grenier is here with Conway while Shawn is on his own. An early Grenier distraction doesn’t do much as Shawn sends Conway outside and beats up both French guys. That means a big flip dive to the floor for a bonus as I’m not exactly buying Shawn as being in much danger here.
A cheap shot with the flag pole gives Conway two and we take a break. Back with Shawn fighting out of a chinlock and skinning the cat to avoid a nasty landing on the floor. They slug it out as Conway is getting in far more offense than you would expect here. Shawn makes the real comeback with the usual and drops the top rope elbow. A very hot crowd is pleased as Sweet Chin Music finishes Conway.
Rating: C. That was better than I would have expected with Shawn working hard in a match that doesn’t mean anything for him. That’s how you get a crowd more interested in Wrestlemania as if Shawn can do this against someone like Conway, what could he do against Angle? Rather nice surprise here.
Video on Kurt Angle, who has won everywhere he goes and will do so again at Wrestlemania. The ankle lock gets a lot of extra attention here.
Christy Hemme is ready to fight and has been working on her kicks. She offers to demonstrate to William Regal and Tajiri, who immediately cover their crotches.
Basic Instinct Wrestlemania trailer. That’s a bit of a flashback over the last few weeks.
Molly Holly/Simon Dean/Maven vs. Christy Hemme/William Regal/Tajiri
Oh this is going to hurt. Trish Stratus comes out (with her hair pulled back for a change, making her look like a shorter Michelle McCool) to watch as a bonus. Regal takes Dean down by the arm to start and runs him over with a shoulder for no count. Tajiri comes in and gets dropped by a cheap shot from Maven.
It’s Tajiri getting beaten up as JR tries to keep Lawler from talking about Playboy. Dean goes after Regal but gets kicked in the face by Tajiri, meaning it’s off to the women. A Trish distraction doesn’t do much good as Christy kicks away at Holly but Dean breaks up a sunset flip. Regal knees Dean to the floor and the Molly Go Round misses. The reverse Twist of Fate finishes Molly.
Rating: D+. Well it could have been worse. The whole point of this match was to showcase Christy and have her look good in her outfit while managing to do the one move that she needs to do for the title match. The Tag Team Champions were just kind of there, but that has been the case for years now with those titles.
Classic Steve Austin moment: Vince and the bedpan. Vince’s heart monitor freaking out in time with the beatdown was a great touch.
Here’s an angry HHH for a chat, but first he sets a chair in the ring. He can’t believe how underappreciated he is for everything he does for this business. Do you know what it took to make Batista and Randy Orton into stars? The two of them ruined their own careers with their bad decisions and look where they are now.
Orton is currently volunteering to put his head on the chopping block for the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He groveled for nothing when he was in Evolution too, but at least he was a star, just like Batista. See, Batista could have made the right decision and gone over to Smackdown, where he could have beaten JBL and John Cena. Now Batista is coming to Wrestlemania and he’s going to lose there too.
Batista went to Wrestlemania once and then won the Royal Rumble so he knows how to win now? The problem for Batista is that he’s coming up against a wrestling god and now the big loss is coming. Last week, Chris Benoit was added to the list of people that Benoit has beaten when Batista picked his poison.
Tonight HHH gets to do the same, as Batista faces Kane in a lumberjack match. HHH gets to pick the lumberjacks of course and anything goes. He’s going to make a decision that needs to be made the animal will be put down. We get some references to the Terry Schiavo case to finally end this after nearly fifteen minutes of HHH’s slow talking about how awesome he is.
Chris Jericho/Shelton Benjamin vs. Edge/Christian
Remember the previous tag match that looked bad? This one doesn’t. Tyson Tomko is here with the Canadian team. Jericho’s headlock on Christian doesn’t get him very far to start so a shoulder gives him two instead. Christian gets knocked outside though and it’s a meeting with Edge and Tomko, allowing Shelton to bust out the big flip dive for the showoff moment.
Edge comes in so Shelton hammers away in the corner until Christian gets in a cheap shot from the floor. Christian’s neckbreaker gets two and we hit the chinlock. Shelton gets up and hits a kick to the head, allowing the tag to Jericho (which looked to have been a bit short). The Lionsault hits Christian but Jericho has to dropkick Tomko off the apron, allowing Christian to hit the reverse DDT.
Back from a break with Shelton coming in off the second hot tag and powerslamming Edge for two. Everything breaks down and the Canadians load up Poetry in Motion, only to have Shelton use Edge as a launchpad to clothesline Christian. Jericho drops both Edge and Christian but dives into Tomko’s boot. The Stinger Splash hits Christian but he’s right back with a belt to the head, setting up Edge’s spear for the pin.
Rating: B-. This Edge and Christian reunion has been a lot of fun so far as they have the natural chemistry but it doesn’t feel like a rehash of the same stuff they’ve done before. They’re different people now and it’s the two of them as singles stars instead of a regular team. You can throw any combination of the awesome upper midcard scene at them and get a good match, just like this one.
Post match Edge and Christian lay out Shelton but Chris Benoit runs in for the save. Tomko brings in the ladder to drop Benoit.
Ric Flair gives the lumberjacks a pep talk, saying that Batista ruined their careers by not going to Smackdown. Tonight can be their own Wrestlemania and they need a new member of Evolution.
A nervous Eric Bischoff comes in to see Batista, telling him that he had nothing to do with the lumberjack match. He’s worried that Batista won’t be happy around here after winning the title at Wrestlemania but Batista says he isn’t worried about it. Batista asks if Bischoff has ever considered running for office. It turns out Bischoff has considered running for mayor of his hometown in Arizona, which is what Batista is talking about. Batista leaves but comes back, saying maybe Bischoff should just be a used car salesman. This didn’t work very well.
Randy Orton has a box for Undertaker and wants Stacy Keibler with him when he goes to the ring.
Here are Orton and Keibler for a chat. Orton is ready to add another moment to his legacy at Wrestlemania when he ends the Streak. We see what is in the box: a shirt listing off all of the legends that Orton has killed. He isn’t afraid of Undertaker (take a shot) and will do whatever it takes to win. We get a video on Orton killing various legends before Orton talks about wanting to kill Undertaker’s legend.
That brings him to Stacy, and something he has wanted to do for a long time. They kiss, and it’s an RKO to lay her out. I’m hoping that the big moment was supposed to be their first public kiss because I find it hard to believe that nothing has happened between those two otherwise. I know this probably sounded good on paper, but Orton and Stacy belonged together as much as Stacy did on a wrestling show.
Classic Hulk Hogan Moment: the Mega Powers Explode. Sylvester Stallone will be inducting Hogan for your celebrity appearance.
Tyson Tomko vs. Chris Benoit
Fallout from earlier and Benoit has taped up ribs from the ladder shots. Tomko hits a running knee to knock Benoit to the floor at the bell but Benoit is fine enough to roll some German suplexes. One heck of a Swan Dive (which Benoit might have left short) hits (maybe) Tomko but the banged up ribs means it’s only two. Tomko boots him in the head as Lawler shouts to WORK ON THE RIBS. Another big boot misses and it’s the Crossface to finish Tomko. Always listen to Lawler.
Muhammad Hassan comes up to Shawn (who always looks weird in a suit) to tell him that Shawn knows nothing about adversity. Hassan should be on Wrestlemania because he has not been pinned on Raw. Daivari rants a lot but Shawn cuts them off, challenges Hassan for next week and dubs himself Mr. Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania trailer: Taxi Driver, featuring a bunch of people doing the famous line and Batista doing his best Jim Ignatowski bit.
Kane vs. Batista
No DQ lumberjack match with HHH on commentary. Kane shoves him into the corner to start but gets powerslammed right back. A Muhammad Hassan distraction lets Chris Masters get in a cheap shot on Batista and it’s time for the slow power brawl. Batista has to kick La Resistance away, allowing Kane to get in a DDT to put him down again. Kane chokes on the ropes but stops to kick Snitsky, allowing Batista to slam him off the top. A big clothesline gives Batista two as the fans are looking at someone who appeared to fall down.
The chokeslam and Batista Bomb are both blocked so Batista shoulders him outside. Snitsky and Viscera go after Kane with the latter posting himself like a moron. The rest of the lumberjacks go after Batista but Edge, Christian and Tomko beat up Kane. Batista gets back up, fights them off, kicks out of the chokeslam and hits his two moves for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was every lumberjack match you can think of and that’s neither good nor bad. What was pretty bad was the match itself, as Kane isn’t the best when he’s up against another monster. He wrestles rather slowly and it makes for some pretty dull matches. Batista winning was never in doubt as he probably won’t be losing a match for several months, let alone this one.
HHH is livid to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. The only thing that matters on this show is Batista vs. HHH as the other matches have been hyped up on either both shows or Smackdown alone. What we got here was good enough, but they’re running out of ways to hype up Batista vs. HHH in a pretty clear ending. Wrestlemania as a whole looks good, though the World Title matches have a limited hype ceiling and we reached that a few weeks ago.
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