Monday Night Raw
Date: March 28, 2005
Location: Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s the go home show for Wrestlemania and odds are that means a lot of final pushes towards the show. You might see less action than usual as well as WWE won’t be wanting to risk any unnecessary injuries before the biggest night of the year. Batista and HHH are going face to face tonight so we’ll see where they go with their last chance. Let’s get to it.
Chris Jericho is in the ring for the Highlight Reel and of course there is a ladder in the middle with the briefcase above it. Jericho talks about making history by becoming the first Undisputed Champion and he’ll do it again by winning the first Money in the Bank ladder match. He knows what it feels like to be World Champion and he wants to feel it again. That brings him to his guests: Chris Benoit and Shelton Benjamin.
Jericho says the three of them are kind of friends but he’ll do whatever it takes to win the briefcase. That’s fine with Benoit, but what isn’t fine is Jericho saying he wants to win more than anyone. Shelton interrupts to say that he’s never been World Champion but he’s the only one with gold right now. Cue Christian and Tyson Tomko to say that they’re all lame and that Christian is winning on Sunday. Christian asks what will happen when he gets his first World Title shot. Shelton: “Probably get your a** beat by Batista or HHH.” That was funny.
Christian takes credit for winning two ladder matches at Wrestlemania so here’s Edge to interrupt. He had something to do with those wins but on Sunday, he’ll be winning his third on his own. Edge doesn’t want to hear about Intercontinental Titles or broken necks because he’s done all of that. He’ll do whatever it takes to win the title so Benoit lunges to start the brawl.
Chris Jericho/Shelton Benjamin/Chris Benoit vs. Tyson Tomko/Christian/Edge
Joined in progress with Christian coming in to hammer on Jericho in the corner. Jericho grabs a suplex and brings Shelton in for two off a very fast running shoulder. Benjamin fights out of the corner without much effort but Tomko catches him with a Boss Man Slam. The villains start taking over on Shelton as Lawler explains the details of the MITB contract. That sounds like old hat now, but explaining that someone could cash in on an injured champion at a moment’s notice was a new concept back then.
Shelton powers over to the corner but the referee doesn’t see it and the trouble continues. The chinlock goes on for a bit until Shelton fights up for a double clothesline. The diving tag brings Benoit in for a quick suplex into the Sharpshooter with Christian having to save Edge. Therefore, Benoit German suplexes Christian over and over but Edge crotches Benoit on top. A superplex brings the bloody Benoit (busted open off a headbutt to Tomko) down and we come back from a break with Benoit covered in blood.
He’s also fighting out of a chinlock and getting elbowed in the face for two with Benjamin making the save. Benoit is fine enough to headbutt Christian off the top and hit the Swan Dive, setting up the real hot tag to Jericho. Everything breaks down and Edge spears Tomko by mistake, only to have Shelton Dragon Whip Benoit by mistake. The exploder plants Christian but Tomko hits a heck of a big boot on Shelton. Jericho doesn’t mind and puts Tomko in the Walls for the win.
Rating: C+. This was your standard “get (almost) everyone in the big match in this match for a preview” and the talent in there made it worked. Tomko was a good enough Kane substitute as he was only in there for the power stuff. The good thing about having this much talent is you can throw them into any combination and get a nice match, which is what they had here.
Post match Christian brings in the ladder but here’s Kane to take everyone out.
When Harry Met Sally Wrestlemania trailer.
Eric Bischoff comes in to see Batista and makes him promise a lack of physicality when he and HHH face off tonight. Bischoff can’t afford an injury, so Batista says HHH shouldn’t get injured. Batista promises to not start anything tonight, but he’ll finish anything HHH starts. That’s enough for Eric, but he comes back to ask about Batista’s used car salesman last week. Bischoff brings up Batista’s movie trailer and thinks he could be a Hollywood star (the man knows talent). Batista appreciates that and thinks Bischoff reminds him of someone in Pulp Fiction. That would be the Gimp.
Trish, Christy (in a dress, with Lita), arm wrestling, Christy wins after delays, Christy wins a rematch, Trish nails Lita in the leg. Every one you’ve ever seen of these things.
Classic Steve Austin Moment: the beer truck.
Here’s Randy Orton for a chat. We see a clip of him attacking Stacy Keibler last week, earning Orton a mixed reaction. Perhaps from fans who are glad Stacy is gone? Last week, Stacy hesitated when Orton asked if he could beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Orton isn’t waiting because you’re either with him or against him and he wants no distractions. Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania because everyone is beaten before they get into the ring. His future involves a Hall of Fame plaque, which says he beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker is a legend but Orton is a legend killer.
The lights go out and we see a video counting down the Undertaker’s victims at Wrestlemania over the years. These Wrestlemania videos are always well done and they played a big part in making the Streak feel so important. Back in the arena, the posts catch on fire and Orton is scared to death on the floor. These segments have been good, but I’m not quite buying Orton as a threat after how far he’s fallen in the last few months.
Post break Kane comes up to Orton and sees through his confidence. Kane was lucky to escape two Wrestlemania matches against Undertaker. Orton says he knows what he’s getting into but Kane says Orton needs to prove that he isn’t scared of Undertaker. He has six days to prove it. So there’s a Smackdown segment.
Tag Team Titles: Simon Dean/Maven vs. La Resistance vs. William Regal/Tajiri
Regal and Tajiri are defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Dean and Maven hit a double hiptoss on Tajiri to start so Regal comes in for a double elbow to Maven. La Resistance make their own save so Dean can hit a swinging neckbreaker on Regal. The chinlock doesn’t last long so Grenier gets in a cheap shot from the apron but Regal is right back with a snap bell to back suplex. The hot (though you wouldn’t know it by listening) tag brings in Tajiri for a bunch of kicks, including a big one to pin Maven and retain the titles.
Rating: D. So that didn’t do much. These four were thrown on the show because they had nothing to do at Wrestlemania (save for maybe being in the battle royal), which doesn’t seem to matter despite Regal and Tajiri being champions. I know they’ve been around forever, but would dropping them be the worst thing? Just for now? Other than house show matches, do they really serve an important purpose?
Bischoff tries to convince HHH to stay calm tonight but HHH says Bischoff is forcing him into the ring tonight. HHH will stay calm but if Batista blinks at him in the wrong way, it’s on. These segments feel like filler but what else are they going to do on this show? Promote something else for Wrestlemania?
Muhammad Hassan vs. Shawn Michaels
Hassan and Daivari do their usual stuff before the match and it’s a bit more over than usual in Texas. Hassan goes with a knee to the ribs to take Shawn down early and hammers away with right hands. Back up and Shawn is smart enough to stomp on Daivari’s interfering fingers as we take a break.
We come back with Shawn’s back in trouble as Hassan’s offense continues to not be impressive in any way. A back elbow gives Hassan two and the chinlock goes on. There’s a hard whip into the corner to hurt the back even more as they’re managing to kill a Texas crowd in a Shawn Michaels match.
More whips into the corner have Shawn’s back in more trouble and the USA chant proves Hassan’s point all over again. The camel clutch (loose, to be countered version) is broken up with a grab of the ropes and the fans….don’t seem to care. Shawn’s comeback is on with the atomic drop into the forearm into the nipup into the top rope elbow. Sweet Chin Music is loaded up for a very long time but Kurt Angle runs in for the DQ.
Rating: D. This was a great example of what happens when you’re just not that good. Hassan tries but his whole appeal is his gimmick, which isn’t that good either. It’s such a one note promo and idea and while it can work in small doses, we’ve heard the same promo about prejudice time after time. Then he gets in the ring and is so boring that there is no reason to care about anything he does. Even Shawn couldn’t lift him up so who else can make it work?
Post match Angle hits Muhammad by mistake and Shawn fights him off, sending Angle into the crowd as security comes out.
Bischoff tells security to be ready for the Batista vs. HHH brawl.
Wrestlemania Taxi Driver trailer.
Bischoff is in the ring to moderate the big showdown so here are HHH, Flair and Batista. HHH gets to go first and takes his time (shocking) to call Batista ungrateful. After everything HHH has done for him, this is how Batista repays him? No one knew who he was before he met HHH and now Batista is a star.
This goes on and on (shocking) until Batista gets to talk about how he’s going to win on Sunday. He does make sure to throw in some compliments to Flair, because we must praise Flair. Batista promises to take HHH out on Sunday so there goes the table. HHH slaps him in the face (so much for Bischoff’s warning) and security has to be dispatched, leaving Batista standing tall to end the show. That was about as uneventful as you could get, with Batista doing everything he has done before and HHH saying everything he has said before. It changed nothing for Sunday, but the match has been set for so long now that it doesn’t matter.
Overall Rating: D. I wasn’t into this one as they basically shut down everything for some of the same builds toward Sunday, which we’ve covered extensively in the last few weeks. The six man was good but that’s not enough to carry things. This was what happened when the big show is already set and has been for months now. I’m no more interested in watching Wrestlemania than I was before and I felt like I needed to get through this show more than enjoying it and that’s not good with six days to go.
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