Monday Night Raw – May 23, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 23, 2005
Location: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re on the way to the next Raw pay per view now that Smackdown’s show is over, but not before a big time show tonight. This week will see Batista defend the World Title against Edge, who has been lit on fire with a now heel Lita and a win in the Gold Rush Tournament. Other than that, it’s time to start the build to Vengeance, which seems a long way off. Let’s get to it.

We recap the Gold Rush Tournament finals with Lita turning on Kane to join Edge. I heartily approve of heel Lita, and JR’s line of “the dirty rotten bastard is going to wrestle for the World Title!” is pretty awesome.

Here are Edge and Lita, flanked by a bunch of security guard. Lita tells this room full of saints to go ahead and pass judgment on her. Women use their husbands like she did to Kane all the time, and can you really blame her? Maybe it started with the kidnapping, the forcing her into sex, being pregnant with his baby, the forced marriage and losing her baby? So yeah, she used her husband to get somewhere and all it took was a really gross wet kiss last week.

The fans start a pretty expected chant at her but she says don’t be jealous because she gets more action in a month than the rest of the crowd does in their entire lives. She never loved Kane (well duh) and while he was following her around like a puppy, she fell in love with a real man. Kane couldn’t satisfy her, just like any man she has ever been with. Well save for one, and that is the man she has been seeing behind Kane’s back for months now.

Edge knows everyone is jealous of them for how they look and what they do. He has the girl and tonight he’ll get the gold. Edge won at Wrestlemania, and tonight he claims his destiny by becoming World Heavyweight Champion. Bank on it. Kissing ensues and the fans care a bit. This worked as well as it could with a bad premise. There was no secret to the fact that Lita didn’t want to marry Kane in the first place and never loved him in the first place, so why should I be upset about what happened to him? He was so evil about six months ago and now he deserves sympathy? It doesn’t quite work that way.

Kane is rather….I guess the word is serious in the back.

Eric Bischoff is making funeral arrangements for ECW when Shelton Benjamin comes in. Chris Jericho isn’t here for their tag match so Bischoff turns it into a handicap match instead. They bring up the Draft, with both thinking John Cena would be a good addition. Benjamin thinks Bischoff going to Smackdown would be better. Eh, even if Bischoff goes to Smackdown, I can’t see him lasting that long over there.

Muhammad Hassan/Daivari vs. Shelton Benjamin

Shelton comes up swinging but gets punched down by Hassan. A blind tag brings in Daivari but Shelton sends Hassan outside and armbars Daivari without too much effort. The fans get behind Shelton, only to be cut off as Hassan gets in a trip from the floor. Hassan comes back in for a hard elbow to the face and the chinlock goes on. It’s back to Daivari, who spends too much time shouting and gets suplexed down for his efforts. Shelton faceplants Daivari and nails a running knee lift on Hassan. Daivari tries to bring in a chair and the distraction lets Hassan hit a Downward Spiral for the pin.

Rating: D. Just a quick handicap match here to give Hassan a win over the champ to set up what should be a title match down the line. The match was the usual mess of a short form handicap match and that all but guarantees that it’s going to be terrible. At least they also advanced Jericho’s issues, as a heel turn has seemed to be in the cards for a few weeks now.

Post break Jericho arrives and is told that his match already happened. He’s been busy with the Fozzy tour so he’s got a lot on his mind. Whenever he finds Bischoff, he’ll face anyone tonight because Jericho equals ratings.

Christian and Tomko are in the back when Edge and Lita come in. Edge says Christian is probably staying on Raw so he has an offer: if Christian were to help Edge win the title tonight, Edge might be willing to part with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Christian gets it and says maybe he’ll see Edge later.

Chris Masters vs. Stevie Richards

This is for retribution after Masters broke Richards’ nose. Richards slugs away to start but Masters snaps off a suplex. The ax handle is blocked and Richards explodes with right hands. Masters takes out the knee and it’s the Masterlock for the quick win.

Post match medics come out and check on Richards.

Bischoff sends Todd Grisham to find out how Kane is doing.

Here are some of the women who might be finalists in the Diva Search.

Chris Jericho vs. Sylvain Grenier

Grenier is here on his own. Jericho gets taken into the corner to start and the Walls attempt is broken up. Instead Jericho forearms him in the head and hits the enziguri to the forearm. Grenier gets in a clothesline but Jericho snaps him throat first across the top. The Walls finish in a hurry.

Rating: D+. They were smart to not have Jericho break much of a sweat over Grenier here as Grenier is likely to be on the endangered species list with La Resistance done. The match was short and to the point though and that’s as much as you can expect. Jericho’s teased heel turn is a good idea though as he’s been in limbo for a long time.

Post match here’s Shelton but Jericho drops to the floor and talks about everything he has going on. Sometimes you’re going to have to put up with him being a little late because he’s Chris Jericho. The Jericholics will always be on his side.

Here’s Eric Bischoff for the ECW funeral, complete with a barbed wire wreath. Bischoff gives a rather laugh filled history of ECW, talking about the Bingo hall and how the roster thought they were rebels. Then he crushed ECW and it died, only to have rumors of a reunion pop up again. Therefore, he’ll crush it again, with the help of some Raw volunteers who are going to show up to the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 12. The rant continues but here’s Vince McMahon to interrupt.

Vince is here because he has a vested interest in the future of ECW because he supposed ECW for years (which seems to be news to Bischoff). Vince knew that one day, the ECW stars could become WWE superstars, including Mick Foley, the Dudleys and Steve Austin. Bischoff isn’t pleased but Vince brings up the loans that ECW owed him, totaling nearly $600,000. That’s why he wants the ECW show to be a success, which is why he advertised them himself.

As for tonight, he’s going to present the ECW match that Bischoff canceled last week. See, the only brand that is really dead is WCW and Vince killed it himself. With Bischoff’s legs cut off, here’s Paul Heyman to talk about ECW instead, which gives us the always awesome visual of the three promoters in the same ring at once (I believe for the first time ever). Heyman says Vince may own ECW but Heyman controls it.

That brings him to Bischoff, who gets a rant about everything ECW did, including the cruiserweights and submission style, with Heyman holding up the ECW press pass every time he says everything. We hear about ECW being in your face and hardcore, with Bischoff being invited to see the show in person, with Heyman getting in the date of the show as he always does.

Vince loves the idea of a good old fight so may the best man win. Heyman says Bischoff has started a fire that he can’t put out. The wreath is set on fire and Bischoff looks worried. This just turned into a big deal and that’s a good thing as the show feels special. You could feel the anger that Heyman had for Bischoff here and it must feel great to him to have ECW back instead of WCW.

Steve Austin is in the remake of the Longest Yard.

Chris Benoit vs. Tajiri

ECW Rules so Tajiri jumps him from behind with the kendo stick on the stage. Benoit takes it away but gets the mist to the face so Tajiri can bring in some weapons. Tajiri whips him into a trashcan in the corner but Benoit is right back with the rolling German suplexes. The Crossface with the kendo stick gives Benoit the quick tap. Lawler keeps jumping on ECW and JR defends it, which is completely bizarre to hear.

Ric Flair thanks Batista for the save last week. He even wishes Batista good luck against Kane tonight.

Grisham goes to interview Kane, who talks about all the pain he has gone through over the years. This is the worst ever though and he is so hurt that he starts to cry. Kane doesn’t want this pain and wants it off of him. Instead he wants to give the pain to someone else.

Post break, Kane walks out.

Here’s Maria to interview Viscera, who is rather impressive looking in his suit. Maria invites Lillian into the ring because it’s clear that Viscera likes her. That’s true, though Lillian never showed up last week. He has a surprise for tonight though and asks for lights and music. Maria has to go get him a hot dog (Viscera: “Yeah I got a hot dog for you too baby.”) so Viscera can dance and eat at the same time. Lillian gets into it as the jacket comes off and the tie follows…..but then the pants come down. Cue Coach to demand that this be stopped immediately because Bischoff doesn’t need to deal with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Viscera is ordered to leave so it’s a beatdown for Coach, including the pelvic thrusting on the mat. Lillian gets pulled in for her kiss and she doesn’t seem to be complaining.

Raw World Title: Edge vs. Batista

Edge is challenging and has Lita with him. Batista takes him into the corner to start and powers his way out of a bad comeback attempt. With Edge on the floor, here are Christian and Tomko as we take a break. Back with Edge hammering away and getting in a shot to the ribs to send Batista outside.

They head back inside with Edge staying on the ribs with a bodyscissors. A spinwheel kick gives Edge two and we hit the chinlock, which gets switched into a sleeper. Lawler keeps going on about Lita’s top and JR goes into one of his great rants about how this isn’t about Lita. Batista’s arm drops twice and the comeback is on, only to have Edge nail a dropkick for the stop.

Edge goes up top but gets superplexed right back down and Batista is getting fired up. The referee gets bumped so Christian and Tomko come in for the beatdown. Cue Ric Flair for the save but Edge spears him down. Another spear gives Edge two so Lita slides in the briefcase, only to have Batista catch him with the Batista Bomb to retain.

Rating: C-. Well that happened. We spent three weeks on a tournament and the whole thing is more than likely a way to set up HHH vs. Batista III (Why else would Flair be involved?). Edge loses again, though the briefcase is going to be more than enough to keep him relevant. Not a very good match, but with so much going on, that isn’t exactly surprising.

Post match Batista helps Flair up and hugs him but here’s the returning HHH so Flair can hit Batista low. HHH has the sledgehammer and looks at the title like Edge looked at Lita earlier. The very long beatdown ensues, with Batista being busted open. HHH says they’re doing it again, but this time inside Hell in a Cell. A Pedigree onto the title ends the show.

Overall Rating: D+. The big segment in the middle was good but the rest of it was pretty dull as we need to fill in time before Vengeance with One Night Stand. Now that show sounds very good and is likely to be a blast, but it doesn’t do much good when so much of the roster has nothing to do with it so far. Hopefully things pick up soon because this wasn’t much of a show, including an underwhelming main event.

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