Monday Night Raw – November 14, 2005 (Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show)

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 14, 2005
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance: 6,000
Commentators: Joey Styles, Jonathan Coachman, Jerry Lawler

And then everything changed as Eddie Guerrero passed away in a stunning moment, dying of heart failure on Sunday, November 13, 2005. As you can probably guess, everything has shut down for the time being as a result and this will not be your normal show. I’m not sure what to think about this so let’s get to it.

The Raw and Smackdown rosters are on the stage, complete with the low rider, with Vince McMahon saying that we are celebrating his life. Vince talks about how Eddie loved to perform and he loved to be out in front of the fans trying to steal the show. Tonight will be a tribute to Eddie, starting with a moment of silence as the bell is tolled ten times.

We get a video tribute to Eddie, set to Johnny Cash’s Hurt, edited off of the Network version of course. It finishes with a shot of Eddie’s smile, because how else could it end.

Back in the arena, Vince says VIVA LA RAZA and a lot of crying ensues.

John Cena gets the first sitdown interview talking about Eddie. He says you’ll hear from a lot of people tonight and you’ll hear them all say that Eddie was a great man. On a personal level, Eddie helped mentor Cena when he was starting and was even a father figure to him. Eddie taught him to find his heart and that isn’t something you can teach.

We see Eddie spraying Big Show with sewage.

Big Show/Kane vs. MNM

Non-title. Nitro tries to circle around Show and gets chopped hard for his efforts. Kane comes in for a running clothesline but a Melina distraction lets Mercury break up the top rope clothesline. Another distraction lets Nitro get in a belt shot for two on Kane but he sits back up. Some running kicks to the face cut him down again so he suplexes them both at once. That’s enough for the hot tag to Show and house is cleaned, including a kiss to Melina. Now Kane’s top rope clothesline connects and the double chokeslam finishes Nitro.

Rating: D+. The ratings on a show like this are going to be a lot more lax than usual as there is only so much you can complain about given the circumstances. Big Show and Kane beating anyone is acceptable enough and MNM aren’t the kind of champions who are going to win a fist fight anyway. Not a terrible match but they got in and out pretty quickly.

Lilian Garcia talks about speaking in Spanish with Eddie. Her fondest memory is being in a small group with him in Iraq last year and seeing Eddie being so humble around the troops.

Here’s Eddie auctioning off some of Kurt Angle’s stuff.

Kurt Angle vs. Shelton Benjamin

Shelton gets the college pop and slugs away at Angle to start. That just gets him suplexed and stomped in the corner, followed by the waistlock. Some backbreakers set up a reverse chinlock with a knee in the back but Shelton fights up and grabs a DDT. The comeback is on with the clotheslines into the Samoan drop.

Shelton hits the Dragon Whip for two and there’s the top rope clothesline for a bonus. The rolling German suplexes are countered into a rollup for two more but Angle clotheslines him down. Shelton catches him on top with a German superplex (with Angle almost landing on his head). That’s good for two but Angle pulls him into the ankle lock with the grapevine for the tap.

Rating: C+. This was more like the old Shelton and that’s a very good thing to see. When he was on a roll he could hang with anyone in the world, if not outright beat them, and Angle was no exception. That being said, Angle was feeling it here and that’s one of the best things you can see. It’s almost impossible to screw up Angle vs. Benjamin and they didn’t come close here.

Post match Angle holds up an Eddie armband in a nice moment.

Shawn Michaels talks about his relationship with Eddie being built around faith. His last breath here was his first breath in eternity and they will wrestle one day on the biggest stage of them all.

We get a montage of the Eddie and Chavo Lie/Cheat/Steal vignettes and they are still some of the best things from that era.

Chavo Guerrero talks about how they were uncle and nephew but really more like brothers. We hear about the two of them wrestling in intermissions of their grandfather’s shows and they had to stop because fans were watching them and not going to the concession stands. They always wanted to be Tag Team Champions and that’s what they did, with one of their first matches being against Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. After the match, Angle came up to Chavo and said they beat them up pretty badly. They were a great team because they knew each other inside and out. Eddie was Chavo’s brother and he’ll see him again.

Shawn Michaels vs. Rey Mysterio

They’re both wearing I’m Your Papi shirts and it’s hard not to smile. We get a handshake to start and it’s Shawn working on the arm. A fight over arm control sets up a pair of kickoffs and that means a standoff. Joey brings up the good point of Shawn rarely being the bigger man, showing that even he can have some insight when he stops thinking he’s a radio announcer for ten seconds.

Shawn catapults him to the apron but Rey is back in with a springboard Thesz press for two. Mysterio tosses him outside and we take a break. Back with Shawn holding a sleeper, followed by a backbreaker and knees to the back to send Rey outside. We hit the chinlock with a knee in the back but Rey fights up, hits the Eddie dance, and dropkicks Shawn in the face for two.

Shawn hits the forearm though and Coach predicts that he’ll nip up. That’s exactly true but Shawn has to duck the 619. A clothesline gives Shawn two and he drops Rey with a second one for a bonus. There’s the top rope elbow but Sweet Chin Music misses. Instead Rey hurricanranas him into the 619 and Dropping The Dime finishes Shawn.

Rating: B-. You can only get so much out of matches like this but they did what they were supposed to do out here: entertain the fans during a trying time. Shawn isn’t going to be hurt a bit by losing to Mysterio and it’s hardly a stretch that Mysterio could beat him in the first place. This was a feel good moment and a pretty good match as well, which is all you should have expected.

Batista talks about getting close to Eddie over the last few months and how shocked he was by hearing the news this morning. Eddie was an inspiration and Batista misses him.

Battle Royal

Ashley, Maria, Christy Hemme, Victoria, Melina, Jillian Hall, Mickie James, Candice Michelle, Trish Stratus

Non-title and they’re all in Eddie shirts, which all come off at the same time for the expected reactions. Trish and Victoria wind up on top in a hurry for a slugout and Jillian dumps Mickie early. Maria knocks Jillian out and Candice gets sent to the apron, where she manages to do the Go Daddy Dance but come back in anyway. Victoria sends Christy to the apron and Candice gets the elimination but Trish headscissors Candice out. Maria gets rid of Victoria and we’re down to Maria, Trish and Victoria. Melina tosses Maria and blocks Stratusfaction to get rid of Trish for the win.

Rating: D. What else were you expecting here? The match was all about one thing and the women delivered it, albeit with a bit of a surprise winner. Battle royals are fair game for something like this and it’s not like anyone winning or losing matters in the first place, especially on a show like this one.

Rey Mysterio talks about the bond he and Eddie shared. He misses Eddie right now and wishes that this was a dream. After a pause, Rey talks about what an inspiration Eddie really was to everyone. Rey even takes the mask off as he puts his head in his hands. This is not included on the Network version.

We see the still amazing moment of Eddie and Chris Benoit at the end of Wrestlemania XX.

Simon Dean vs. Eugene

Dean offers Eugene a protein bar and the disgust lets Dean roll him up for two. An elbow misses and Eugene goes into Junkyard Dog mode for the headbutts. Hold on though as Eugene needs to go outside to play with the Dean Machine, allowing Dean to get in a shot from behind. A clothesline gets two and we hit the chinlock. That’s broken up so Eugene tries a rollup out of the corner, but Dean grabs his elastic bands. Eugene pulls him into the middle of the ring though and Dean gets slingshotted into the corner for a funny moment. The Rock Bottom finishes Dean.

Rating: D. There was no mention of Eddie here and that made it just your usual Eugene match: not overly funny (the bands bit at the end was good) and more of the same comedy stuff that we’ve seen for a long time now. There’s nothing wrong with it as they were having a comedy match, but don’t expect me to get overly excited about something I’ve seen this many times.

Eugene leaves on the Dean Machine.

And now for perhaps the saddest part of the show, Chris Benoit talks about losing his best friend. They knew each other for fifteen years and have been up and down the highways and over the mountains. Eddie would always understand and they would talk for hours a day. They would always say they loved each other and his thoughts and prayers go out to Eddie’s family. Eddie is in a better place and he misses him. Benoit breaks down in tears and thanks Eddie for everything he gave him. Knowing what is coming out of all this, that’s one of the most disturbing things you can ever see as you can feel Benoit’s heart breaking.

We see Eddie winning the WWE Championship in one of the best feel good moments of all time. Cole NAILS it on commentary here and doesn’t get enough credit for that call.

HHH talks about what an inspiration Eddie was for overcoming all of his personal demons. He starts to cry as well and talks about how much Eddie’s family meant to him. Eddie is up there lying to someone and cheating someone, but he’s already stolen all of our hearts.

Ric Flair vs. William Regal

Non-title. Flair takes him down to the mat to start and works on the leg as Jerry thinks we’ll be seeing some cheating. Regal gets Flair into the corner for some left hands and a European uppercut gets two. An abdominal stretch of all things slows Regal down but he unlaces Flair’s boot for a distraction to get himself to the rope. Regal sends him to the floor and whips Flair into the barricade. Back in and Flair hits the chop block and the Figure Four is good for the fast tap.

Rating: C-. This is one of those matches that could have been interesting on a different stage but it was always nice to see Regal go out there and do his so simple but so effective heel stuff. As usual though, the match itself wasn’t the point here, though it’s always cool to see an interesting pairing like this.

Eddie won the Intercontinental Title by accidentally pinning Chyna in a triple threat match on Raw back in 2000. He apologized after the match but then smiled quite a bit because that’s what Eddie did.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton

Non-title and Bob Orton is here with Randy (in case you thought he was here with Cena). This is actually their first singles match on the main roster, which is almost hard to believe. Orton takes Cena (in his Eddie shirt) to the mat to start but Cena is back up with an elbow to the face. Bob’s distraction lets Randy get in a shot to the face and the over the back backbreaker gets two. We hit the chinlock, followed by a big dropkick for two more. Back up and they collide for a double knockdown but it’s Cena on his feet to initiate the finishing sequence. The FU is loaded up but Bob comes in for the DQ.

Rating: C-. One more match where the result didn’t matter but it’s got a little history to it. It’s always a little interesting to see a match where you never know what it is going to lead to, as Cena and Orton would go on to have roughly 183,374 matches in their careers. You could see some of the natural dynamic here though and WWE would mike that for years to come.

Post match Cena clears the ring and hits the FU on Randy. Cena takes off the shirt and lays it in the ring, with the title on top of it, to end the show.

Overall Rating: A. I wasn’t an Eddie fan in any sense of the word. He had some good matches but I didn’t see the big deal when he passed away. Of course it was both saddening and a bit sobering to see someone taken away so suddenly, but I never thought anything of him and really did not get the big deal. I saw him as a wrestler who was praised so much because he died while still wrestling, to the point where I said he had no business being in the Hall of Fame.

Now that was a good many years ago and watching these back have made me appreciate Eddie so much more. He’s one of the few wrestlers who could make anything he did look so easy and that is a talent almost no one has. His in-ring skills were outstanding but his talking and that grin were second to none. You really could see that smile and know that you were seeing something special. I’ve gained a completely new respect for him watching the last few years back with a different eye and sweet goodness I was wrong about him back in the day. Eddie really was great and that’s something that should be very easy to see.

I’ll wrap it up with a story that CM Punk told on his big WWE DVD. Punk was in his independent promotion in Chicago and really did believe that he was the best wrestler in the world. Eddie had been fired from WWE and came in to work a match against Punk. As Punk said, the bell rang and it took him about three seconds with an actually great wrestler to know that he was nowhere near as good as he thought he was. Eddie was that talented and there weren’t many people who could hang with him. I got a little emotional watching this one and that shows you what kind of skill Eddie had. Amazing tribute, and they’re not done.

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