I’m tired, I have a headache, I have to work overtime tomorrow AND Saturday, and I’m STILL recapping RAW like an idiot – despite the fact only about 50 people actually READ these, and 0% of them provide feedback. Yay for no feedback!!!
LAST WEEK: Triple H signs a contract to defend his belt at Wrestlemania. Chris Benoit attempts to add HIS John Hancock, but Shawn Michaels sneaks in and screws Chris over again…
TONIGHT: Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels. Winner gets…well, that hasn’t been decided yet. Stay tuned!
BLOW UP THE ARENA BECAUSE THE WWE IS IN TOWN!!! We are LIVE from Bakersfield, CA. JIM ROSS and JERRY LAWLER make noises – and manage to squeak that a title defence is tonight… Booker T and RVD get a shot at the tag-team titles from Ric Flair and Batista. And here I thought they might just save this one for Wrestlemania…
TRIPLE H hasn’t been mentioned yet, and at 9:04, this is COMPLETELY unacceptable. Enter the champ, water bottle in hand. Ross admits his 3 favorite champs of all time are Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Jack Brisco – and Triple H embodies ALL of them… Gag me. Hunter wants to know just who he’s facing at Wrestlemania, and is tired of Eric Bischoff pussyfooting around the answer. Apparently both Benoit and Michaels have legal rights (give me a break) – and Hunter’s worried about being stuck in a Wrestlemania X situation. Yokozuna had to defend twice in the same night and lost the belt, and Triple H is NOT okay with that… So with that, Hunter DEMANDS answers, and ERIC BISCHOFF complies by entering the ring. Bischoff agrees it’s not fair for the champion to defend twice in one night, and has been consulting with the lawyers… “SCREW THE LAWYERS, GIVE ME AN ANSWER NOW!!!” Bischoff suggests cancelling the match between Benoit and Michaels tonight (fans: BOOOOOO!), and replacing it with a match for the World Title with Hunter defending against either guy. The fans chant “HBK”…which is never good. The winner would go on to Wrestlemania against the other guy left out tonight. Hunter hastily rejects that, reminding everyone he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants. CHRI S BENOIT has heard about enough, and joins the fun. Hunter reminds Chris that he’s not the one he should be mad at – and Chris snatches the mic away. “You shut your damn mouth!” Benoit informs the world it’s all about him, and he has one thing to say… And that thing is AN ASS KICKING!!! Benoit chops the shit out of Hunter, and locks him in a Crossface!!! EVOLUTION hits the ring to save the day, and Benoit runs to safety, leaving Hunter in an ANGRY heap.
After the break, EVOLUTION is backstage – and Orton’s the most pissed off apparently, promising to hunt Benoit down. They send Flair and Batista out to defend the belts, and Orton promises Hunter he’s got everything under control. Triple H punches out an innocent garbage can.
BOOKER T and ROB VAN DAM vs. RIC FLAIR and BATISTA (with Randy Orton) (for the world tag-team titles)
Rob Van Dam earned their shots at the tag-team titles by…well, defeating no one as a unit, and getting their asses kicked. Story of the tag-team division. At least it’s not the Dudleys. Flair and Booker start – and lock up. They fight to the ropes, and break clean. Flair hits a shoulderblock. Booker blows a hiptoss and gives Flair a vertical suplex. RVD comes in and kicks at Flair, who smartly tags out soon thereafter. Batista sends RVD into the bottom rope, and grinds his elbow into Van Dam’s face. RVD comes back with a spinning heel kick and senton off the second rope for 2! Leaping kick from the top – Orton gets onto the apron and gets decked – and then Batista is tossed by RVD. Flair comes in and gets nailed by Van Dam, who then tries a plancha onto Batista. He misses as Orton shoves Batista out of the way at the last second. With that, we’ve gotta take a commercial break!
When we return, Batista is working in a chinlock, lets go, and powerslams RVD for 2. Flair is tagged in, and takes a backslide from Van Dam for 2. A mule kick drops Flair, and that’s followed by a spinning heel kick to flatten him for awhile. RVD makes the hot tag, and Booker T cleans house, with a belly to back on Batista, followed by a Harlem sidekick on Flair for 2. Outside, Batista and RVD fight, with Batista taking the best of it. Booker T gets rid of Orton and hits another Harlem sidekick on Flair. Spinaroonie excites the crowd long enough for Orton to recover and trip him up on the impending axekick. Batista spinebusters Booker, Flair covers…and gets 2 only!!! MICK FOLEY rushes out with a purpose, and goes straight for Orton! Flair meanwhile has Booker in the Figure Four, which goes COMPLETELY ignored by the camera AND the announcers. RVD hits a 5 Star while Batista and Orton brawl with Foley, and Booker covers, 1, 2, 3. (9:40) *3/4 Now, I’ll admit I’ve seen some stupid title changes in recent history, but this may be the DUMBEST in ages… Booker T and RVD are completely useless as anything more than midcard fodder at this point, thanks to the booking, and making them the champs despite having NOTHING in common, and no real reason to WANT the gold is absolutely idiotic. This isn’t going to work, and I’m counting the days until they lose them.
JR suggests this is a day RVD and Booker T will never forget… Yeah, no doubt, this one MUST be the most special of Booker’s 14 reigns, and you can bet RVD, who can’t even remember how many times he’s held the IC Title, is dancing.
Here’s some highlights of No Way Out, where Goldberg Jackhammered Brock early in the evening, and then speared him during the World Title match, aiding Guerrero in his eventual victory.
SHERIFF AUSTIN is watching this footage of Goldberg, and is happy that Smackdown! has their Wrestlemania main event, but wants ERIC BISCHOFF to find their main event. If Bischoff can’t figure it out by the end of the night, he’s in violation of the law, and will have a mudhole stomped in him – and walked dry.
Meanwhile, RANDY ORTON promises Bischoff that the issues with Mick Foley ends tonight. Bischoff clears it…and then says it’s not sanctioned, which makes no sense, but whatever.
CHRIS JERICHO laces his boots, when CHRISTIAN enters and asks him WHY he’s fighting Kane? Jericho says he was booked, and bad knee or not he’s going to do it. Now, turning matters over, he wants to discuss something with his best friend… Something personal. “I want to be more than just friends with Trish.” So tonight he’s going to give her a rose as a belated Valentine’s Day present and tell her how he really feels, even if it’s cheesy. Christian suggests that maybe Trish has her eyes elsewhere, and to forget about her. Jericho promises to dispose of Kane, and then tell Trish the truth…and hands his rose to Christian to watch over it while he’s in the ring.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. KANE
Jericho dropkicks the knee of Kane several times and kicks away. Kane comes back with a clothesline, but Jericho hits another chop block and goes for an early Walls. Kane escapes and gives Chris an uppercut. Kane pulls the kneepad of Jericho off and starts driving the knee into the ring over and over. Heading outside, the knee is whipped into the ring post. Back in, Jericho chops away, but his knee gives him and he falls. Single leg atomic drop from Kane – and he’s nearly in tears now. Kane tries to backdrop Jericho, who lands on his feet and falls again because it hurts so badly. A whip across the ring sees Jericho fall, and the referee has had enough of the slaughter. (2:55) 1/2* Kane dumps Jericho outside for his own amusement and launches Chris knee first into the ringpost. “Now let that be a lesson to you Jericho…or whoever has been playing these so-called supernatural mind games with me. You people would love to think that the Undertaker is behind this. Well, the Undertaker is NOT. I buried the Undertaker alive! My brother no longer exists to me. DO YOU HEAR ME? THE UNDERTAKER IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDD!” And with that he lights the pyro and starts to head to the back, but the arena turns blue again. A video appears on the Titantron and announces in 27 days The Dead Will Rise…Again. It then starts raining solely on Kane – and the GONG sounds…
Intercontinental champion RANDY ORTON struts to the ring while the announcers let us know that Jericho’s on his way to the hospital. Orton says that while last week Mick Foley challenged him to a match at Wrestlemania, it wouldn’t be fair. “Look at me! I’m the Intercontinental champion. I’m only 23 years old. Mick, I haven’t even reached my prime yet, okay. And look at you. You’re fat, disgusting, you’re all broken down, you’re a glory hound, and you’re blinded by the fact that your time is over.” However, Orton says if he needs to beat it into his skull that Foley WAS the hardcore legend but today is just Randy Orton’s bitch, so be it. MICK FOLEY heads down – and we’ve got us a fight! Orton hammers in a series of rights, but Foley turns it around and nails Orton until he falls. When he stands, Orton takes a headbutt and bulldog! Double arm DDT!!! BANG BANG! RIC FLAIR joins, and gets taken out quickly. Foley turns back to Orton, and he takes a lowblow! BATISTA heads in and kicks away at Mick, giving Orton a chance to jump on top and choke him out. Foley is draped over the apron where Batista works over him on the floor. Foley is held hostage by Flair and Batista, allowing Orton to get in free STIFF shots. I’m talking the Vader match on his DVD stiff. RKO – and that’ll do it for Evolution for now. They all celebrate this victory – until Mick starts to stand! Orton kicks him IN THE FACE and the beatdown starts all over again. EARL HEBNER runs in to save the day, but this just isn’t a situation where pointing a lot is going to do much. All 3 stomp down on Mick, and a shot of his face is just gruesome. No blood, go plenty of nasty marks. Orton decks him once more in the temple, and then Flair decides to get in HIS shots. He’s then lifted up and powerbombed by Batista! Orton: “STAY DOWN!” Evolution poses again – and the 12 minute beating finally ends…
MOMENTS AGO: 12 minutes of hell for Foley. During the break, he was stretchered out of the building.
Backstage, SHAWN MICHAELS tapes his wrists when CHRIS BENOIT enters. “You have no idea what I want to do to you right now. But you will, because tonight I’m going to show you the same respect you showed me last week. I want you to think about that.”
ERIC BISCHOFF sits around with STACY KEIBLER and JACKIE GAYDA. They state they have far more class than Sable and Torrie, so Bischoff suggests they call Hugh Heffner and arrange a meeting. They giggle and take off, while SHERIFF AUSTIN comes in. He wants an answer to the Wrestlemania main event – and Bischoff says he’s working on it. Austin turns over to the Monday Night War DVD, and reminisces about Bischoff challenging McMahon to a fight. (Ahhh, Slamboree 1998!) Bischoff chuckles over those wonderful memories – and starts to talk down about Vince. “I’m 20-25 years younger than him… He’s old enough to be somebody’s grandfather.” Of course, VINCE MCMAHON is standing RIGHT behind him, and laughs at the idea. “You can kick MY ass???” Vince says that Goldberg showing up at No Way Out means his ass…and his ass it will be next week! Vince mentions a blockbuster announcement for Wrestlemania next week, and then after that, he’ll have his wrestling gear on to find out if Bischoff truly can kick his ass. Well, that should be cool… (It’s not 1999.) It’s not??? Nevermind then…
TRISH STRATUS and VICTORIA (with Steven Richards) vs. MOLLY HOLLY and JAZZ (with Teddy Long)
Trish starts against Jazz. Jazz gives Trish the old pieface, sending her to the mat. In the corner, Jazz kicks viciously, but misses an avalanche, and gets rolled up for 2. Clothesline from Trish gets 2. Jazz hammers back and tags in the champ. Snap suplex gets a 2 from Molly. Molly slams Trish’s face into the mat a couple of times, gives her a snapmare, and follows with a necksnap. Trish comes back with a rana – and turns over to Victoria. The girls trade armwringers, and Victoria gets in a full nelson. Molly escapes, but gets hiptossed and clotheslined for 2. Victoria’s momentum is stalled by a kick ot the back from Jazz, and nearly takes a vertical suplex, but blocks it. One Widow’s Peak later, and we have winners. (3:35) *1/4 Richards and Victoria bounce around in celebration, when TEST attacks out of nowhere. Da hell??? Apparently this has been brewing on Sunday Night Heat, which might explain my confusion. Trish leaps back in to save the day, and gets slammed. Powerbomb is set – but now CHRISTIAN attacks his former stablemate and dumps him outside. He asks Trish if she’s okay, and she concurs.
After the break, TRISH STRATUS catches up to CHRISTIAN backstage and thanks him for the save. Christian suggests they go and visit Chris Jericho together in the same car, and she’s all for it. “Give me just a sec, I’ve gotta grab something.” That something is of course Jericho’s rose from earlier. “It’s a little cheesy, but it’s for you. Belated Valentine you know.” Trish isn’t quite sure how to react, so she thanks him. They walk off, with his arm around her waist and Trish looking uneasy.
Here’s a video package about last week’s contract stealing by Shawn Michaels… And with that, our main event is next!
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. CHRIS BENOIT
Benoit stares right though Shawn, and I cannot blame him at all. I have to keep reminding myself that no matter HOW much Shawn Michaels is capable of pissing me off, I should feel lucky I even have the opportunity to watch him in 2004. And I imagine I’ll be muttering that on more than one occasion this year. Shawn taps his foot, trying to intimidate Chris, so Benoit slaps the taste out of Shawn’s mouth and takes him down. Benoit fires in as many punches as he can, lets Shawn up, and levels him with a series of forearms. Snap suplex, and Benoit stomps away. In the corner, the chops are laid in – and a whip across the ring has Shawn hit the corner turnbuckle hard, back first. Benoit tries to follow with a Crossface, but Shawn rolls out of the ring. Benoit follows, Shawn gets back in, Benoit’s close behind, and Shawn pounds at Benoit on his way in. They trade hard chops, and Shawn hits a swinging neckbreaker. Benoit gets whipped sternum first into the corner, and dropped with a forearm to the back of the head. Lawler makes midget jokes directed at Benoit. It ALWAYS helps building up a competitor by building up his short comings, so THANK YOU JERRY. Shawn lays in some more chops, but Benoit comes back with some punches. Benoit charges Shawn in the corner, but Shawn gets his feet up – and follows with a forearm. Nip up, and now we start to hear some boos for Shawn. Scoop slam, Shawn goes for the big elbow…and misses!!!! Benoit tries a German – but Michaels hooks the ropes, so Chris manages to get him away from them and tries again. These ones are blocked as well, by the foot – and after some knees to the ribs, Benoit is able to dump Shawn over the top! And we have to take one final commercial break…
We return live with Benoit working a headlock, and Shawn just escaping. Benoit drives a knee into Shawn’s stomach, and covers for 2. Another knee to the midsection draws another 2. JR believes in his heart that Shawn never meant any disrespect to Benoit. Yeah, I often feel that way after someone KICKS ME IN THE CHIN. Benoit continues his assault, throwing a number of suplexes at Shawn and getting another 2. A backbreaker scores another 2. Benoit lays in a series of chops – and Shawn starts to fight back with his own, so Chris goes to the abdominal stretch. That move won me tons of matches in WCW nWo Revenge with Scott Hall – so there’s no doubt it should work now, right? Well…it doesn’t. Shawn fights his way to resounding boos now – and hiptosses Benoit. He misses an elbowdrop, but gets on a sleeper, and the boos are quite audible again. JR drops the idiotic “toothless aggression” catchphrase which I’m not interested in EVER hearing again. Benoit escapes with a belly to back suplex – and both guys fall. They stand at 9, and start trading chops again! Benoit tries a sleeper, but Michaels immediately counters with a jawbreaker, and both guys are down again. Michaels gets the cover at 7, and draws 2. They both stand, and trade punches. Both guys get the same idea to bounce off the ropes – and meet headfirst in the middle!!! The referee hits 8, and they stand. Lots of close calls to double countouts. Shawn hits an inverted atomic drop, but Benoit no-sells and hits a backslide for 2! Inside cradle gets another 2! Benoit tries a belly to back, but Shawn turns in mid-air and gets 2 of his own!!! Benoit puts Shawn on the top rope – but can’t superplex him without a fight. Shawn punches with everything he’s got, and shoves Benoit off. Flying elbow connects!!! Now it’s time to warm up the band, and the crowd is split RIGHT down the middle as to whether or not they want to see this. Benoit ducks the Sweet Chin Music – and goes to the Crossface!!!! Shawn fights with EVERYTHING he’s got, escapes, so Benoit moves to the SHARPSHOOTER!!!!!!!!! DEAD CENTRE OF THE RING! JR: “Not the first time he’s felt this!!!” Michaels crawls all over the ring, but Benoit manages to keep him in the middle of the ring!!! Shawn makes a second attempt to reach the ropes…and makes it, with the boos raining down. Shawn attempts a Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere, but Benoit STILL manages to catch the unexpected – and hits the German suplex trifecta!!! Thumb to the throat, and the crowd explodes!!! Boos start…but that’s because motherfucking TRIPLE H is on his way to the ring. Benoit spies him, makes the “I Want The Belt” motion, and completely misses the Sweet Chin Music. 1, 2, 3. (21:08) **** Great match, with a TERRIBLE finish. Hunter helps Shawn to his feet with a big grin…and then Pedigrees him.
We’re not done, because SHERIFF AUSTIN is quickly down to ringside and chases Hunter around with his 4-wheeler. “It turns out that Eric Bischoff made a decision regarding the World Title at Wrestlemania. But I guess he was too afraid to come out here and tell ya to your face because maybe he’ll piss ya off. But since I don’t give a rats ass what you think, I’ll come out here and make the announcement myself. So for the first time in history, the World Heavyweight Championship will be decided at Wrestlemania, Madison Square Garden, March 14th, in a Triple Threat Match. Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels, and that’s the bottom line ‘cause Stone Cold said so.”
Yea, I kinda went a little bit neurotic to get all the TV - I suppose you could probably just save some cash (or spend on something else and broaden horizons) and just get the (on average) one big show each month.