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The 7 - Guest Columns - WWE RAW: March 15, 2004
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#1 Posted on 18.3.04 2158.47
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Wrestlemania recap is partially done – but it’s SUCH a long show, and I wanted to get RAW out of the way so I could tape Smackdown! over it…so here we go! I suspect the full recap for Saturday afternoon/evening.

LIVE from the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey – we don’t even get a full opening before TRIPLE H shows us his mug. JIM ROSS and JERRY LAWLER start their usual noise making while Hunter sneers in the ring, arm in a sling. The fans are more than happy to start a “YOU TAPPED OUT” chant – and Hunter starts spinning, looking like he’s going to pass out from the sheer confusion of being without his belt. He tries to spit out a word, but the fans turn to “BEN-WAH, BEN-WAH!” “You think that one match makes someone the best?” Well, considering that man is carrying the title… Oh, he’s got that covered. “You think that putting a belt around your waist one time means that you’re the best?” Hunter rages on about the best being the guy who defends the belt month after month, year after year. “I’ve beaten them all! Not one time, not one match, every single night!” The fans go back to “YOU TAPPED OUT”, so he goes into a screaming fit – and defends himself with the fact the match was suddenly 2-on-1, and not 1-on-1. He states when he got up this morning, he was able to look at himself in the mirror and admit he was still the best professional wrestler in the world today. And for Benoit? “You think you won? You think you’ve beaten me? You’re wrong. Because now Benoit, the target is on your chest. Everybody is gunning for you. And you see this? You see this sling right here? You almost ripped my arm off last night? Sooner or later Benoit, this sling is gonna come off. Sooner or later I’m gonna be 100%, and it’s not going to be 2-on-1. It’s going to be 1-on-1.” Blah blah blah… Finally, CHRIS BENOIT interrupts with a slight grin on his face. Before speaking, he makes sure to point out the “Chris Benoit” nameplate across the title belt – and once again the fans start in with “YOU TAPPED OUT”! Benoit states he was in the back listening to the whining, and has had enough. Last night, he beat both Shawn Michaels and Triple H – making the latter tap, and that was proof enough that he was the best. He offers a rematch as soon as Hunter’s “man enough” to wrestle again, because week after week, month after month, and year after year he’s going to make Hunter tap, and tap, and tap, and tap, and tap! “You know what? Not on your best…damn…day.” “Well come to think of it, today isn’t my best damn day…” and he clocks Hunter anyway, and stomps on the injured arm!!! EVOLUTION storms to the ring, and each man takes a side of the ring. Benoit stands on guard – but can’t look everywhere at once, so he gets a little help from SHAWN MICHAELS and a steel chair. Batista decides to attack anyway, and takes a chair to the head. ERIC BISCHOFF interrupts before all hell breaks loose – and announces that while Mr. McMahon has ordered him not to make any world title matches tonight or in the near future(????), he can make the main event. So since Evolution did such a good job with Rock ‘N Sock last night, they’ll take on Benoit and Michaels tonight. And we take a break…

Upon return, SHAWN MICHAELS bumps into THE COACH backstage. He’s interrogated on his reasons for saving Benoit. The reason is so that he can protect his investment. A healthy Chris Benoit means a title shot for Shawn Michaels – and he’s not going to allow Hunter to grab the first shot.

VICTORIA and LITA vs. JAZZ (with Teddy Long) and MOLLY HOLLY

We get some stills of last night’s haircut. Lita’s strange camping/painting outfit makes her look pregnant. I guess deep down even she’s got a little Mattitude. Molly sports a beautiful blonde head of hair…and a chinstrap. She immediately goes after Victoria and scores a 1 count. Jazz enters, and powerslams Victoria – followed by a legdrop and lots of yelling for 2. Jazz’s voice reminds me of Su from Survivor – and in an amazing coincidence, I wouldn’t much miss Jazz if she was voted off the WWE island. Moonsault from Victoria gets 2. Jazz comes back by letting us know “I’m the baddest bitch”, and jumps face first into the turnbuckle. Brilliant. Lita enters and hits an avalanche, and snap suplex. 6 fans start a “LITA” chant, and she hits a rana. Molly kicks Lita in the back, so Lita counters by RIPPING EVERY STRAND OF HAIR off of Molly’s head! Good gawd, that had to smart! Molly, embarrassed, runs off. Lita follows with a DDT on Jazz – and that’s it. (3:07) 1/4* Lita and Victoria stand in the ring after the match and point at various things. WHAT COULD ALL THIS POINTING MEAN?

TONIGHT: Stacy vs. Miss Jackie, and a couple of interracial tag-teams wrestle for the belts.

Monday Night Wars plug! Well, if the WWE can plug it, so can I! Go read my review.

The production team gets a clue and turns off the audio on JR and Lawler. I’m sure they’ll call it an accident, but I call it music to my ears.

17,418 fans are inside the arena, which is the largest crowd in 2 years according to Ross. I’d look it up, but I don’t think anyone keeps track anymore.

LAST NIGHT: Trish Stratus costs Chris Jericho his match – and it appears to be by accident. After the match, Jericho confronts Stratus, and gets met with a couple of slaps. Christian nails the Unprettier, and makes out with Trish. But WHY?

Backstage, CHRIS JERICHO gets confronted by SOME NEW BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW GUY WITHOUT A NAME. He wants to know how Chris feels about being betrayed and humiliated. Jericho sneers, and walks away. JR drops the guy’s name. Todd something. You know, I’ve really felt during the Attitude era, we’ve really been lacking interviewers named Todd.

MATT HARDY VERSION 1.0 vs. CHRIS JERICHO

Jericho is all over Hardy with an early clothesline, and lays in some stiff chops. Jericho slams Hardy’s head into the mat several times, charges, but winds up taking a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle. Jericho gets choked in the ropes, but retaliates with a clothesline. Matt rakes the eyes, and hits a belly to back suplex. Matt: “I’ll slap you like Trish!” He does, but that just serves to further piss Jericho off, who throws Hardy outside of the ring, and chokes him out with camera cables. That’s a DQ! (2:10) 1/2* V1 WINS! EARL HEBNER makes it official by screaming in Chris’ face “YOU’RE DISQUALIFIED!” Jericho simply walks off.

After the break, we follow CHRIS JERICHO backstage, where he simply storms off to his rental car, and drives away.

RANDY ORTON stands by to cut his first post-Wrestlemania promo. He reminds us that he beat Mick Foley with an RKO, but doesn’t feel that the world TRULY understand that fact, so he wants Mick 1-on-1 with Evolution banned from ringside. With that stipulation in place, he wonders how his little boy “Huey” (har) is going to feel growing up with Randy Orton as his role model rather than his own father.

LA RESISTANCE has re-introduce Sylvain Grenier to the team, AND now has a mascot, FIFI THE DOG. SHERIFF AUSTIN happens by and eyes the dog wildly. He wants to know what they’re doing parading around the hallway, with a dog crapping all over the floor. Rene: “Dere is no crap on da floor.” “I damn near stepped in it, you calling me a liar?” Austin writes a ticket to the “French bitch”, as she’s in violation of the law. “Fifi is not a French bitch.” “I ain’t calling the dog a French bitch, I’m calling you a French bitch!” Dupree says he’s not going to stand for it. Austin wonders what he’s going to do about it. We take a commercial.

VAL VENIS (with towel and Young Woman) vs. KANE

Do you realize it’s been SIX YEARS since Val Venis debuted? For those who feel he’s underutilized, give the dream up, he’s had lots of time to find a winning character or show some trace of charisma, and we’re still running on empty. She takes off his towel, and goes to flash Val – but Kane interrupts. Big boot, side slam, flying clothesline, chokeslam, 1, 2, 3. (0:42) DUD

Hall of Fame highlights are shown – but I’ll cover those more in detail with my Wrestlemania recap.

MISS JACKIE vs. STACY KEIBLER

Jackie shoves Stacy to the floor during the “I’ll show the crowd my ass” intro – and draws an irate referee. Jackie rolls her in, goes for a pin, and gets 2. Stacy with a sidekick, and uses the Nash boot to the throat in the corner to show off a camel toe. Jackie comes back with a snapmare while the crowd chants for puppies. Jackie works the headlock…and VINCE MCMAHON struts down? (about 1:05 – no contest) DUD

Everyone clears out to allow Vince the time and space to speak. He starts by re-iterating the theme for Wrestlemania was “Where It All Begins Again”, but says it’s not just a theme, but a promise. He feels it’s time to shake up the WWE, and thinks the GMs are too complacent and protective of certain wrestlers. Vince promises new wrestlers, new matches, and new rivalries. So next week, he invites every Smackdown! wrestler to come to RAW – because they’re going to have a lottery. Everyone’s name, no exceptions, is going into the lottery, because it’s time for a new WWE! Lawler speculates groups could be broken up, like Evolution or the Dudleys. (Dear god, NOT another round of Reverend D-Von…)

JOHNNY BLAZE runs into ERIC BISCHOFF and wants to know what this draft is all about. Before he can answer though, EVOLUTION circles Eric and wants answers. He says he is NOT leaving RAW until he gets his belt back, and he’s not letting his friends go. Eric says it’s out of his hands, and anyone can go…including Evolution.

THE DUDLEY BOYZ vs. ROB VAN DAM and BOOKER T (for the world tag-team titles)

The Dudleys make the “we want the belts” motion – because lord knows tag-team title reign #94 would be the most memorable of them all! Bubba and Booker starts, and they fight to the corner, with the referee ordering a break. Second go around, and Bubba wins that with a shoulderblock, and double leg slam for 2. Tag to D-Von, who eats a number of elbows from Booker, and a clothesline. RVD gets the tag and works the kicks. He gets in a leg rollup for 2. D-Von comes back with a clothesline, and tags out to Bubba. Double shoulderblock takes down Van Dam – and Bubba moves into a headlock. Longest match of the night already, sadly. Booker gets a tag and pounds at the back of Bubba. Blind tag to Van Dam is made as Bubba clotheslines Booker, and goes for a pin. RVD drops down with a leg from the top, and hits a split legged moonsault for 2. Booker hits the ring again, and gets suplexed. Booker tries a comeback, but takes a spear! Hey, if Goldberg’s gone, all the more power to Bubba to steal moves. D-Von takes a tag, hits a reverse elbow and follows with a neckbreaker for 2. Booker stands, and takes a flying shoulder tackle for 2. On the floor, Van Dam and Bubba Ray brawl. In the ring, Booker goes for an axekick, but it’s turned into a sudden 3-D! 1, 2, RVD flies back in to break it up and take everyone out. Booker tags out legally, and Van Dam tries a pin the fallen D-Von for 2. Van Dam tries to head up, but D-Von cuts him off and leaps halfway across the ring with RVD in his hands hitting a massive neckbreaker. RVD rolls out, and we take a commercial break.

Upon return, D-Von’s got Van Dam in a headlock – but he’s powering out. Spinning heel kick from RVD, as we look at Booker lying on the floor in pain. Bubba gets a tag and plays a heel, slapping Van Dam around and taunting him with the idea of tagging in Booker. They trade punches, and Bubba clears Booker standing before hitting a swank BRAINBUSTER on Van Dam…for 2! D-Von comes in with a snapmare as the fans attempt to rally for a Booker tag, who’s finally standing once again. JR continues to yell about “A NEW RAW” as of next week. D-Von tries a pin, but Booker breaks it up easily. Bubba hits an elbow on RVD, but the ref says it wasn’t legal since he didn’t see a tag, and orders Bubba to go away. They make a legal tag while Bubba yells “GET UP ROB, GET UP ROB, TAKE THIS ROB…” and hits a neckbreaker. “STAY DOWN!” We get a shot of him bleeding from the mouth while Booker wants a tag. Bubba works a camel clutch, complete with fish hooks. Van Dam powers out, but takes a clothesline. Bubba allows him to slowly crawl to the corner. “GO TAG BOOKER ROB… GO TAG BOOKER. OOOF!” The oof of course is an enzuigiri, and Booker gets a hot tag…which the crowd BARELY makes any noise for. Ouch. Harlem sidekicks all around, and a couple of spinebusters for D-Von. Booker stops to do a Spinaroonie, which serves as a reminder as to why I can’t stand the guy anymore. Here we are, 16 minutes into a tag-team match, everyone’s exhausted and trying to get the win…and he stops to breakdance. Once upon a time, the move was there as part of his hulk up. He’d hit the axekick, breakdance to his feet (no staring at the hand for half an hour to set it up), and hit the missile dropkick and win. And he was the man. Today he’s less of a man, having handed over his testicles at the door with the rest of the WWE crew. Thank you Mark Madden for this creature. God bless you Vince McMahon for making Booker more “entertaining”. The lot of you can blow me. Axe kick on Bubba, Five Star from Van Dam, Booker covers, 1, 2, D-Von breaks it up. RVD hits a rana on D-Von over the top, leaving Booker and Bubba all alone. They trade punches – and Bubba attempts the Bubba Bomb. It’s blocked, and a Book End is hit out of nowhere. 1, 2, 3. Champs retain. (18:09) ** Christ almighty I thought that would never end.

We get the highlights from Wrestlemania package they aired at the end of the show, with theme song, the tradition started 3 years ago at Wrestlemania X-7. I’ll note that Step Up was the best theme song they’ve had since My Way…and in fact I may have enjoyed it even more.

SPIKE DUDLEY vs. ???

Before we meet the opponent, CHRISTIAN bumrushes him and pounds away. TRISH STRATUS bounces behind, and gets a couple of shots in before Christian nails the Unprettier. Trish counts the pinfall, and celebrates with her man. They enter the ring, and the crowd gives us a “SLUT” chant, used for only the most vicious of heel turns! “Sorry about your luck Spike. Wrong place, wrong time. Now if I could have your attention, I’m gonna ask that you all remain silent because the lady has something that she’d like to get off her chest.” “Okay you know, before you sit there and judge me…” “SLUT, SLUT, SLUT!” “Hold on, hold on, let’s not forget that it was Chris Jericho who made a bet that he could sleep with me for one Canadian dollar. What kind of a cheap slut do you think I am anyway? You know what, it’s too bad that Jericho’s night ended prematurely because you know I really wanted to tell him something. Chris, if you’re listening, don’t you find it kind of ironic that you spent all this time and energy trying to (bleep) me, but in the end I (bleep)ed you. Or should I say, (bleep)ing someone else.” “You know I was hoping for a little respect around here, considering we are in the birthplace to millions of creepy little bastards, New Jersey. Yeah, you’re creepy and you know it. I’m no CLB, because I got the girl. And Jericho I hope you learned something from this. I tried to warn you, I tried to tell you you were getting soft but you wouldn’t listen. You see Trish doesn’t want some lovesick little puppy following her around giving her roses. She wants someone like me, she wants someone a little rough, she wants someone a little dirty, she wants a man. And that’s something you should try being sometime Chris, because right now…” “You can’t get no Stratusfaction.” And they make out to a chorus of boos once again.

LA RESISTANCE hangs out with FIFI THE DOG while Grenier whines about being possibly split up next week. Dupree meanwhile is far more focused on Austin who made fun of his culture. He promises to show Austin what La Resistance is all about. Grenier: “If you need us, we’ll be here. Keep an eye on Fifi.”

Back from break, RENE DUPREE heads down to ringside as promised, waiving the flag while JR goes on about the ugly dog. “Stone Cold Steve Austin, it seems that you and the rest of these American rejects have the mistaken perception that the French are nothing but cowards and sissies. Well as I raise my French flag I am living proof that we are the exact opposite. Look at me. So we didn’t want to fight in your little war, big deal. You think I’m going to go into a war with a gun to get shot for you American pieces of crap?” He starts rambling in what is apparently French, but I’m bilingual and didn’t understand a WORD of it. SHERIFF AUSTIN interrupts, and beats the hell out of Dupree, finishing with a Stunner. I really fail to see the point here…

Promotion for “Walking Tall”.

SHAWN MICHAELS and CHRIS BENOIT vs. RANDY ORTON, BATISTA, and RIC FLAIR (with Triple H) (in a handicap match)

Lawler suggests that in next week’s draft the announcers might get thrown in? If they do – hallelujah! I would love nothing more than to have JR booted from RAW, but that’s nothing but a pipedream. Michaels and Batista start. Now here’s a natural matchup – I’d love to see them go for 15 minutes on PPV! Batista overpowers Shawn with that overpowering stuff that he does. Shoulderblocks and shoves are thrown around, and Flair gets the tag. Michaels slaps him in the face, so Flair fires back with a series of chops. Michaels returns the favor, and follows with a backdrop. Benoit enters, and immediately takes a thumb to the eye. Benoit shrugs it off and chops at Flair harder than he can muster at his age, and Flair flops. Benoit hits a snap suplex, but Flair blocks a leg and chops him back down. Tag to Orton, and Benoit works him over. Tag to Michaels, and Orton jerks the arm, pulling him down for 2. The cameras take a peak backstage to reveal that MICK FOLEY has arrived, some 2 hours late, and is headed straight to the ring. Orton makes lots of faces and points. Michaels takes the chance to shove Orton, who bumps the ref, who falls right out of the ring. Everyone enters the ring, but it’s 3-on-2, and Benoit takes the worst of the beatdown. Batista dumps him outside, and Flair follows with Shawn – leaving Orton all alone for Foley, who’s waddling down the ramp! Foley drives a series of punches to Orton’s head, and slams him head first to the ringsteps! They brawl into the crowd while Flair and Shawn are left in the ring. Shawn slams Flair, and heads upstairs. The flying elbow hits spot on, and Michaels warms up the band!!! Hunter sees his chance, grabs the distracted Shawn, and Pedigrees him, despite a dislocated shoulder! With MIKE CHIODA essentially dead, EARL HEBNER rushes down to count with Flair draped over Shawn. It gets 2. Flair decides to go up, but gets caught naturally, and slammed. JR: “Flair needs to take that page out of the book I think.” Batista tags in and powerslams Shawn for 2. Batista hits a spinebuster for a VERY close count. He moves into the rear chinlock, lets Shawn go, elbows him in the face, and gets 2. Flair comes back in and stomps Shawn’s face. Kneedrop right across the face, and Shawn is busted wide open! Flair isn’t done, biting Shawn right in the face, and Hunter DRILLS Shawn as he’s lying too close to the side. A belly to back sees Shawn land on his feet and roll Flair up for 2! Michaels hits a clothesline, and both guys start to crawl to their corners. Batista is in first, but Benoit gets a tag! Clotheslines to Batista and Flair! Rolling Germans for Batista! Thumb to the throat, and our champion goes up! Flying headbutt CONNECTS…but only gets 2 before Batista kicks out HARD! Flair is back in, but Benoit kicks the crap out of him. With the referee distracted with getting rid of Flair, Hunter comes in to Pedigree Benoit…and takes Sweet Chin Music from out of NOWHERE – bumping to the floor! Batista goes for a powerbomb, but it’s countered into a Sharpshooter while Flair takes Sweet Chin Music!!!!!!! Batista tries to crawl to the ropes, but can’t make it and taps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (11:48) **3/4 With the referee raising the arms of Benoit and Shawn, they quickly head out…

Well, the Benoit era gets off to a decent start, and here’s hoping they don’t do something stupid like ship him back to Smackdown! and cut his title reign short at 8 days. Fingers crossed – see ya next week.
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