Monday Night Raw – April 4, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 4, 2005
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 16,653
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the show after Wrestlemania and that means that means it’s time for the season premiere. Batista won the Raw World Title last night and hopefully changed things for a long time to come around here. We’ve seen the HHH show for so many years now and last year’s summer break with Chris Benoit on top didn’t really change anything. Maybe Batista can do a little better so let’s get to it.

We open with a nice long Wrestlemania recap video, cut together with the Gladiator trailer. That’s how the show should start.

And here’s HHH because the guy who lost the title is more important than the person who won the thing. HHH takes his sweet time talking and doesn’t like the BATISTA chants. He finally admits that he lost the title last night but rest assured that this is NOT the beginning of the Batista Era because Batista was great for one night. HHH is great every night so the title will come back to him. He’ll get his rematch, presumably at Backlash, and take the title back. At least it was short.

Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is defending and they’re all banged up. Christian tries to talk some trash to start and gets punched in the face for his efforts. Shelton isn’t sure who to go after so he knocks Christian down as well, only to get in an argument with Jericho over who gets to beat Christian up in the corner. Those are fighting actions to Jericho, who sends Christian outside and punches Shelton in the face.

Shelton’s crossbody gets two so Jericho bulldogs him down. Christian breaks up the Lionsault though and takes Jericho’s place, setting up a neckbreaker for two on Shelton. Jericho gets knocked off the apron and we hit the chinlock. With that going nowhere, Christian goes up top but the other two are right there for a Tower of Doom to put them all down.

Jericho enziguris Christian and grabs the sleeper drop on Shelton for two before rolling them both up at the same time for two more. Shelton is back up with a Stinger Splash for two on Christian with Jericho making a save. The exploder hits Jericho but Tomko pulls Shelton outside for a kick to the face to give Christian two. The Walls have Christian in trouble (Lawler: “DON’T TAP CAP!”) but Shelton springboards in with the bulldog to pin Jericho and retain.

Rating: B. I might have to raise the rating a bit just for DON’T TAP CAP. This was rather energetic with all three working hard and hitting their big stuff with a rather creative finish. You can’t just have people do their finishers all the time so throwing in a surprise like this is a welcome change. Shelton has been champion for a long time now and he’s gone from a surprise winner to an established guy as the title has done a lot for him, as it’s supposed to do.

Edge signs his Money in the Bank contract so Eric Bischoff is ready for the title match tonight. That’s not happening because Edge is saving it for later. This annoys Bischoff, who gives Edge a match with Chris Benoit instead.

Here’s Randy Orton for a chat. Orton says it wasn’t supposed to happen like it did because he came THIS close to making history. He even countered the chokeslam into the RKO but that wasn’t enough. That’s why he tried the Tombstone but he felt something snap in his shoulder and then he was looking up at the lights.

Then he was in the back, looking up at the monitor and seeing Batista as the new World Heavyweight Champion. That was different because he respects Undertaker but knows he’s better than Batista. This year alone, Orton has pinned Batista twice so tonight, he’ll do it a third time. Bischoff comes out to say it’s on, though non-title because HHH and Edge are already lurking around the next shot.

Women’s Title: Christy Hemme vs. Trish Stratus

Trish isn’t defending because she kicks Christy in the head before the bell. She knocks Lita down as well and attacks the bad knee again, all with the big grin on her face.

We see the full Eugene/Muhammad Hassan/Hulk Hogan segment from last night.

Gladiator trailer.

Here’s Shawn Michaels, limping down the ramp, for a chat. He has only had two loves in his life and those are his family and wrestling. Last night he gave it everything he had but couldn’t get it done. With that being said though, he has a question: would anyone like to see a rematch? The fans seem interested and that’s what Shawn was hoping to hear. He doesn’t know when, where or how it would happen but he’ll do whatever he can to give the fans what they want.

Cue Muhammad Hassan and Daivari to interrupt though and this isn’t likely to go well. Daivari rants a lot as Shawn sits on the top rope and doesn’t quite understand. Hassan switches to English and talks about Hogan returning last night before Shawn came up short in failing to steal the show. Instead Shawn tapped out and left as a disgrace in losing.

That’s enough to get Shawn’s jacket off so Hassan goes into his usual spiel. He accuses the fans of loving losers so Shawn punches him in the face so the fight is on. Daivari distraction lets Hassan get in a chop block though and the beatdown is on, including the camel clutch (instead of something on the leg). Shawn sells the heck out of the beating.

Edge vs. Chris Benoit

Benoit’s arm is badly damaged after last night. Feeling out process to start with Benoit having to keep the bad arm away. The snap suplex and a back elbow put Edge down but he gets in a shot to the bad arm. That’s enough to send Benoit outside for a breather, though he’s fine enough to send Edge into the barricade.

Back in and Benoit makes the mistake of using the bad arm and has to go outside again. Edge manages to snap the arm across the top rope and it’s time for some pulling on said arm. The armbar goes on and Benoit can’t even slam his way out of it. Benoit finally flips his way out and drops Edge but makes the mistake of trying the Swan Dive.

The crash is enough for Edge to get two and he baseball slides Benoit to the floor where he lands on the arm as we take a break. Back with Benoit’s arm in another (albeit different) armbar with the bandage having been pulled off. Edge gives up on that and goes up top, where Benoit chops away with the good arm.

Benoit’s top rope superplex brings him back down in a good looking crash. The Sharpshooter goes on but Edge makes the rope, so Benoit tries the Crossface. Benoit’s arm is WAY too hurt for that to work though and Edge takes him down with a flying armbar. The spear hits corner though and Benoit grabs a rollup for the pin.

Rating: B. They had a good story going here and you know the action is going to be more than enough to carry these two to something great. That’s exactly what happened here with Benoit fighting through the adversity and surviving until the end. Edge losing isn’t going to hurt him that much either as he has the briefcase for a long time and can absorb a loss here or there.

Post match Edge jumps Benoit and sends him into the steps before crushing the bad arm with a chair. JR is VERY furious about this, while Lawler says it’s like the toaster you get when you open a new bank account. All I got was a bank book and a debit card.

Here are Simon Dean and Maven for a chat. They’re not impressed by the Los Angeles fans because all they want to do is eat nachos and drink beer. That’s not healthy and Simon defies anyone to tell him otherwise. Cue the glass shatter and here’s Steve Austin to an eruption. Austin isn’t impressed with all of these products and doesn’t like someone putting down beer drinkers. After insulting their hair, Austin offers Simon a beer, which Simon will drink…if it’s low calorie.

They make a deal: Simon will drink a beer if Austin will drink a Simon Shake. Simon gets the beer but asks if Austin has a glass. After taking a few sips, it’s time to do some pushups to work off the calories. Austin makes him do a lot more before trying the shake, which he says tastes like garbage. Maven says it’s a man’s drink and throws it on Austin. Fans: “YOU F***** UP!” They’re right, as the beatdown is on and beer is consumed. Fine use of Austin on a show like this.

Kane comes up to Orton in the back and laughs at him for not being able to beat Undertaker.

Randy Orton vs. Batista

Non-title. Orton’s headlock works as well as you would expect so he takes Batista into the corner for some right hands. They head outside with Batista being sent into the steps as this isn’t exactly a great showcase of the new World Champion. Back in and Orton grabs a chinlock for a good while before Batista manages to fight up. The corner shoulders have Orton in trouble and his bad shoulder is sent hard into the post. Batista posts it again for good measure and it’s the spinebuster/Batista Bomb to finish Orton. That would be his last match until August.

Rating: D. What was that? Orton gets to beat him up for four minutes and then loses to the double finisher? We wait for an hour and forty five minutes to finally see the new champ and he gets beaten up for most of the match? Orton is on his way to the injured list for a good while and this is the spot they put these two in? I’m not sure I get this one.

HHH comes out to glare at Batista and signal that he wants the title to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This is before the post-Wrestlemania Raw became a bigger deal and that left us with a pretty energized show. What we got was a show was some good wrestling but little in the way of storylines. Other than HHH vs. Batista continuing, there wasn’t a lot going on here. That’s ok for a show like this though and what we got was certainly entertaining. Good show, and we can start everything that matters next week.

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