Monday Night Raw – July 18, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 18, 2005
Location: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 6,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

We’re getting closer to Summerslam and that means things are picking up with some of the bigger stories. You can guess a lot of the Raw matches from here and that means they have a clear directive going forward. Now the question is how well they can make those goals work. Let’s get to it.

Lilian Garcia announces an Intercontinental Title match but here’s Eric Bischoff to cut her off. We see a clip of John Cena giving him an FU last week and that’s not cool with Bischoff. He’s thought about firing Cena but instead he has some better punishment. Tonight, it’s Cena vs. Gene Snitsky in a lumberjack match. Sounds like punishment to me.

Opening sequence.

Intercontinental Title: Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is challenging and the title can change hands via countout. Carlito knocks him into the corner for some stomping to start but Shelton nails a running clothesline and the Stinger Splash. The springboard shoulder puts Carlito on the floor so he considers leaving, only to pause so Shelton can hit the clothesline off the apron. Shelton gets caught on top though and Carlito stomps away in the Tree of Woe. We hit the waistlock to stay on the ribs but Shelton fights back up and hits the Dragon Whip. That’s fine with Carlito, who hits him low for the DQ, because we need to do this AGAIN next week.

Rating: C-. I’m completely over seeing these two fight and now they’ve set up another rematch. Shelton should have come off his huge Intercontinental Title reign and moved up to the main event scene but instead he’s stuck coming up short to Carlito over and over. The match wasn’t even good and you could guess the ending as soon as they mentioned the countout stipulation.

We look at Shawn Michaels’ explanation and superkick to Roddy Piper from last week.

It’s Kurt Angle Invitational time but first, Kurt talks about how he gave us some drama last week. He was never in any danger of losing to Matt Striker but let the clock get down to a second left to make the fans believe they could see a miracle. Like the Eagles winning the Super Bowl! Anyway get the opponent out here. Cue Matt Striker again, who calls himself Matt Martel again, this time claiming to be from Philadelphia. The fans cheer for him because HE SAID THE CITY’S NAME! Angle explains the whole thing and calls out the lies so there’s no match. Or maybe we can, with Angle jumping him from behind.

Kurt Angle vs. Matt Striker

Angle hits an uppercut but Striker pulls a choke out of nowhere to put Angle down. That stays on for about a minute and a half until Angle throws him off. The Angle Slam and ankle lock finish Striker at 2:35. I have no idea why they needed to do the exact same deal again but with less drama.

It’s Diva Search time, but before we get to the elimination, we need thirty seconds each to hear who they would vote off.

Ashley: Cameron, because she would be better off on a runway in Paris.

Leyla: Simona, because she doesn’t have what it takes to be a Diva.

Summer: Simona, because she belongs on the cover of Vogue instead of being a Diva.

Kristal: Elizabeth, because she’s too talented of a dancer and actress to be here.

The BORING chants began right around here in case you were wondering.

Elizabeth: Kristal, because she is a great painter and should explore that instead.

Simona: Summer, because she would make a great lingerie model instead.

Cameron: Ashley, because she’s tough and hardcore and would be better as a street fighter.

Simona is voted off as at least these things are getting a little shorter each week.

The Boogeyman is still coming.

Kerwin White, with his golf club, is in Bischoff’s office. Eric suggests that White try Scottsdale, Arizona for all of its golf courses. White: “That’s a little too close to the border.” Chris Jericho comes in so White leaves, allowing Bischoff to thank Jericho for standing up to him last week. Jericho has an idea of how to stick it to Cena: a BATTLE OF THE BANDS next week! So we’re getting concerts and the Divas in one week? And this is their BEST idea of how to draw an audience?

Shawn Michaels isn’t worried about Hulk Hogan being here tonight. He gave the fans what they wanted by having Hogan wrestle one more match so now let’s see what Hogan has.

Masterlock Challenge for $20,000, Rosey accepts and loses, Masters says it doesn’t matter how big you are, Big Show comes out, Masters turns it down, takes about seven minutes total.

Edge isn’t worried about facing Kane in a cage tonight but it’s going to keep all of the other psychotic losers out. He has spent the last six months listening to geeks on keyboards telling them how to live their lives and that’s CENSORED. Of note: Edge refers to Lita as his girlfriend, meaning the whole engagement deal is over. So much for trying the wedding again.

Here is Hulk Hogan to respond to Shawn Michaels’ challenge from last week. We pause for the long form Hogan chants before Hogan can thank the fans for making Hogan Knows Best the highest rated premiere ever on VH1. Last week, Shawn Michaels superkicked him to get his attention. Well now Shawn has it, but if he wants an answer to his challenge, come see him face to face.

Cue Shawn to apologize for stealing just a bit of Hulk’s thunder, but that’s what he’s all about. He would get in the ring to join Hulk but if he did, we would have to wait another two weeks for Hogan to wake up from some more Sweet Chin Music. Shawn has heard people promising to end Hulkamania for years but it has never happened.

So what makes Shawn different? Then it hit him: he has never faced someone with the unbridled passion that Shawn possesses. No one has taken Hogan to that other level because everyone falls prey to the myth of Hulkamania. Shawn doesn’t see it though and thinks if Hogan accepts the challenge, he’s going in there with the main event, the icon and the showstopper.

Hogan talks about paying the price in this business WAY before Shawn started wrestling. When Shawn was graduating high school, Hogan was selling out the Philadelphia Spectrum. The challenge is accepted for Summerslam and Hogan hits the catchphrases. This wasn’t very good, as Hogan vs. Michaels isn’t exactly a match that needs a big, epic story. It kinds of sells itself and they would have been better going in that direction.

Jericho gives the lumberjacks a pep talk, encouraging them to get a little physical with Cena if they’re given the chance.

Kane vs. Edge

In a cage with Lita at ringside. Hold on though as Matt Hardy jumps the barricade before the match and tries to get at Edge but security takes him down. Edge even gets in a kick to the ribs and a lot of beeping ensues. We’re joined in progress with Kane cutting off an escape attempt but getting taken down with the Edgecution. This time it’s only good for two as Kane is right back up with the uppercut and side slam.

Edge is back up to catch Kane on top and they slug it out until Edge hits a spear against the cage. A splash against the cage makes it worse but Edge still has time for a quick kiss from Lita. Kane is busted open a bit but he’s fine enough to throw Edge face first into the cage. There’s another side slam and the top rope clothesline connects, giving us a very bloody smile. Edge tries to get out over the top, earning himself a crotching on the rope.

A running big boot sends Edge head first into the cage again but a low blow breaks up a chokeslam attempt. Another attempt at a climb is countered with a hard powerbomb for two but Edge sends him into the cage again. The spear gets two so Edge crawls to the door, only to get pulled right back in. Lita slips him the briefcase but it’s a chokeslam to put them both down. Kane goes up, leaving his back open for some briefcase shots. A big briefcase shot to the head lets Edge climb out for the win.

Rating: C. They hit each other a lot, they did their signature stuff, and there was no reason to believe that Kane was ever going to win. As soon as Matt Hardy showed up again, Kane became obsolete in this feud, which isn’t much of a fall as he was hardly a big deal for Edge over the last few weeks. Just get on to Matt so Kane can do something else.

Smackdown Rebound.

Maria asks John Cena if he’s worried about fallen trees in his lumberjack match. Cena makes penis references and asks Maria to go get his flannel shirt. Maria leaves and after a confused face from Cena, he makes some gay jokes about Bischoff and Jericho and promises to be violent.

Next week: a Battle of the Bands and Edge vs. Kane in a stretcher match. Why? Well what else are they going to do?

John Cena vs. Snitsky

Non-title lumberjack match. Snitsky gets smart (I’m surprised too) by sending Cena outside for the short form beating. Cena sends him outside for a change and it’s exactly what you would expect. Back in and Cena hits a backdrop, only to be sent outside again for a second beating. Cena is so annoyed that he dives outside again and tries his luck but gets sent into the barricade.

We take a break and come back with Cena in a cobra clutch after another beating during the commercial. A spinebuster puts Cena down again but he starts the comeback, only to get pulled outside by Jericho. That means some rams into various things so Snitsky can hit another cobra clutch. Cena comes back again but has to deal with Jericho, meaning it’s a heck of a clothesline to give Snitsky two.

The chinlock goes on so Cena comes back AGAIN, this time with Kurt Angle running in to break it up while the referee is distracted. The lumberjacks beat Cena up again to give Snitsky two so Cena grabs a DDT. Cue Shelton Benjamin and Big Show to lead the charge of some good guys to go after the lumberjacks. With everyone else gone, Cena FU’s Snitsky for the pin.

Rating: D-. They could have shaved off ten minutes or so from this and done almost the same thing. Cena was trying as hard as he could here but Snitsky’s peak ring time is about four minutes. I’m not sure how many times they did the same sequences (lumberjack beatdown, rest hold, Cena gets cut off by interferences) but they had me running out of patience in a hurry. Really boring match that felt even longer than it was.

Jericho is stunned to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This show was a really weak effort as they seemed to be repeating almost everything (Carlito vs. Shelton, Striker vs. Angle, the Diva Search, Kane vs. Edge) and nothing was worth seeing. It was almost like they took the week off here and the last half was really hard to sit through. This was one of the weakest shows they’ve had in a long time and I don’t particularly want to see how bad next week is going to be.

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