Monday Night Raw – July 25, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 25, 2005
Location: Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 7,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We are officially on the road to Summerslam and that means it’s time to crank things up. Now granted that doesn’t mean much of a change around here as a lot of the matches have already been set up or at least made clear. Tonight we’re getting a Diva Search segment plus a battle of the bands between Chris Jericho and John Cena, because we’re just lucky that way. Let’s get to it.

The opening recap looks at last week’s nightmare of a lumberjack match.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Kurt Angle for his Kurt Angle Invitational but he isn’t in the mood to waste time. Therefore, get the opponent out here right now. This brings out….Christy Hemme? Angle is rather confused but likes the idea, suggesting they start in the referee’s position. Christy says don’t flatter yourself because she has another opponent in mind, and he happens to be from Cleveland.

Kurt Angle vs. Eugene

It’s Eugene’s first match since January due to the knee injury. Angle doesn’t get it as Eugene isn’t from Cleveland. That means Eugene takes off his jacket to reveal a Cleveland Browns jersey, but Kurt isn’t convinced. A Duck Season/Rabbit Season bit doesn’t work either but Kurt says Eugene is making him mentally challenged too. Angle jumps him from behind and we start fast with Angle ripping off the jersey. Wouldn’t that be an improvement?

Anyway, Kurt chokes with the jersey and hits him with crossface shots to the jaw as the dominance is on in a hurry. The fans get on Angle as he unloads in the corner but a ram into the buckle wakes Eugene up. The comeback is on as we only have thirty seconds left. Angle blocks the Stunner and there’s the Angle Slam but the ankle lock is rolled through, sending Kurt outside and Eugene beats the clock.

Rating: D+. What do you say to this? It’s a squash until Angle slips on a banana peel to lose to a returning comedy guy. Christy being in Eugene’s corner doesn’t fix a lot of his problems, like the fact that he’s still Eugene. It was nice to get a payoff though, even if it might not be the best idea in the world.

There’s a mini Viscera. What else do I need to say to that?

John Cena comes in to see Eric Bischoff and talks about thinking he was Scott Baio for a while. Now though, he knows he’s the WWE Champion. Bischoff wants a more down to earth champion though and calls Cena white trash. Cena: “Ooooh.” Bischoff calls all rappers scum and slime and turns around as the camera zooms in on him. We wait for it to zoom out for the big surprise, so after promising to make Cena miserable, we pan over to see….that Cena has left.

Viscera/Cloacas vs. Antonio/Pocket Rocket

Yes it’s a mixed tag and Pocket Rocket is a mini Heartthrob. Rocket takes over to start and gets in the dancing as Coach and Lawler get in the jokes you would expect. The beating keeps going for a few minutes until the cheating fails, allowing Viscera to come in off the hot tag. Viscera beats up both Heartthrobs, stares at Rocket for punching him, tosses Rocket to the floor and lets Cloacas hit a splash on Antonio to set up the pin.

Rating: F. Nope.

The ambulance arrives, because we need Edge vs. Kane in a stretcher match.

We get a tribute to Lord Alfred Hayes, who passed away earlier in the week. It’s almost strange to see him as a wrestler.

Bischoff puts Shelton Benjamin in a handicap match instead of the No DQ/No Countout match he wanted against Carlito. Shelton has to face Gene Snitsky and Chris Masters, which he says is like Bischoff’s breath: it stinks.

Maria thinks Chris Jericho is here with Fozzie Bear and wants to know if the other Muppets are going to be here. Jericho isn’t pleased and asks what a limp biscuit is and rips on Cleveland. He’s ready for the battle of the bands.

It’s time for the battle of the bands with Cena, accompanied by Trademarc and Bumpy Knuckles, performing Bad Bad Man live.

Post performance, here’s Jericho to say that was awful. This isn’t the crowd for Fozzy to perform in front of though, because this crowd is biased against him. Therefore, Cena wins by default but he’ll lose at Summerslam. Jericho leaves and Cena and company perform My Time Is Now. This is in no way shape or form an excuse to see the Diva Search girls dancing in swimsuits in the back.

Shawn Michaels sees himself in a mirror and screams for makeup.

Bischoff makes Cena vs. Carlito. If Carlito can beat Cena tonight, he can have a title shot next week. Carlito finds this cool, especially since Jericho can be referee

Here’s Shawn, in the heelish suit, for a chat. Shawn promotes Hogan Knows Best to silence (Shawn: “Then you’ve seen it.”) but doesn’t want a reality show. He doesn’t want to be a rapper or a rock star or an actor. No he’d rather be the best in-ring performer the WWE has ever seen. Hogan is living off a reputation he created twenty years ago but Shawn is out there every night proving himself all over again. Hogan lives in a million dollar home built off the sweat of every fan at home.

After all that though, the best Hogan can give you is some posing, which Shawn demonstrates. Shawn says this building is quiet because the people in the back are freaking out. He’s shooting you see, but you can’t fire him because he’s the Summerslam main event. If you wanted the old HBK, you’ve got him. Years from now, people are going to remember him as the icon. So whatcha gonna do when Shawn rolls over you at Summerslam?

We look at Eugene winning again. Next week: the Eugene Invitational.

Snitsky/Chris Masters vs. Shelton Benjamin

Snitsky jumps Shelton during Masters’ entrance but gets clotheslined to the floor in a hurry. That means the big flip dive from Benjamin and both villains are taken down. Back in and Snitsky pounds Shelton down in the corner so Masters can grab a front facelock. Shelton finally kicks him away so Snitsky gets in a cheap shot. Snitsky demands the Masterlock so on it goes….and Shelton is out.

Rating: D. Remember about a month and a half ago when Shelton looked ready to jump up to the next level? I’m not sure if he’s gotten a pin since then and it doesn’t look to be anything better going forward. At least he’s getting a feud away from Carlito, but Masters might not be the brightest future.

Post match the beating continues so Big Show makes the save.

It’s Diva Search time and Cameron is out. This week’s contest is a hot dog eating contest and it takes them the full minute to finish a single hot dog. Since there is a tie, Leyla has to win a thirty second eat off for immunity. I can only hope, but this felt like they knew they needed to pull the plug and didn’t give it much time this week. Please let that be the case because I can’t take much more on this show.

Kane vs. Edge

Stretcher match with Kane jumping him from behind during the entrances. The beating starts around the ring with Kane ramming him into various things, including the barricade and the steps. It’s too early to get Edge across the line though so Kane throws him down the ramp instead.

Back from a break with Kane in trouble for a change but the Edgecution is broken up. Kane hits the top rope clothesline but Lita takes a chair away from him. That means the spear to cut Kane down, only for Edge to realize it’s not that simple. Kane gets back up so Lita kendo sticks him in the knee.

Edge’s hard stick shot to the head puts him back down and gives us the smallest….well it’s not a trickle…..we’ll say dot of blood I can ever remember. Kane sits up to block the Pillmanizing and chairs Edge off the top. A chokeslam drops Edge onto the stretcher but Lita is right there with the briefcase to Kane’s back. Edge saves Lita from the chokeslam onto/off of the stage and a briefcase to the head is enough to give Edge the win.

Rating: D+. This was another example of the same thing that they’ve done a few times now and I don’t need to see it again. It’s beyond clear that this is heading for Matt Hardy vs. Edge but we can’t do that because Kane vs. Edge can’t end already. Just let it end already because it’s completely done at this point.

Post match Kane pops up and Tombstones Lita on the stage. As luck would have it, we have a stretcher right there. As Edge panics, Matt runs down for a few shots but security breaks it up.

Post break Lita is being loaded into the ambulance but Kane pops in again, punches out a cop, and steals the ambulance. Coach: “When is enough enough?” I’d love to hear WWE answer that.

Carlito vs. John Cena

Non-title and Bischoff is watching from the stage. Cena knows he’s in trouble here but backdrops Carlito anyway. Carlito gets in a shot to the face to put Cena on the floor Jericho is willing to count and even takes away Carlito’s chair. The distraction lets Cena hit his clothesline for a fairly slow one count.

Another shot lets Carlito take over in the corner and an elbow gives him two, with the same speed from Jericho. Carlito hits a flapjack for two and the chinlock goes on. A neckbreaker gives Carlito two more but Cena is back with the fisherman’s suplex. Carlito runs him down again and we’re in another chinlock. The knee to the ribs gets two but Cena fights up. The FU is loaded up but Jericho kicks Cena low and hits the Lionsault to give Carlito the pin.

Rating: D+. The idea here was that Jericho was calling the match down the line and for some reason JR bought it. Jericho yells at Cena as usual earlier in the night, referees fairly with the evil boss watching for eight minutes and then the turn (Was it a turn?) is shocking? I can go with the idea of throwing in the mini feud with Carlito to give them a bridge to Summerslam, but the shock and awe at Jericho being himself is a little much.

Overall Rating: D-. This was a rough one with nothing good in the ring, a bunch of stuff that felt like it was there because no one else was watching, and whatever that Viscera stuff was. Some of the matches could have been worse but with nothing good all night and a bunch of stuff that made my head hurt, the show is as close to a failure as you can get without going all the way over the line.

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