That Other Announcer Guy Who Isn’t Lillian, Chimel, or Fink welcomes us to the RAW House Show live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The lower section was pretty well full, nobody in the upper deck. A guy from local rock station 93X is introduced, he stammers through an ad for his show (the basic gist of which was “If you’re listening and I’m on, THAT’S MY SHOW!!”). I’ve always been amused at how much local crowds hate these guys. Here’s the playing of the National Anth…never mind.
The Hurricane and Rosey d. La Resistance
Ah, yes. Interrupting the national anthem is a time honored tradition for La Res. Hurricane interrupts the Canadian Anthem by coming out and giving a kid his mask. This was originally scheduled as La Res/Regal & Eugene, FYI. Pretty good match with Hurricane taking most of the punishment before Rosey comes in and bashes things around a while. They repeat the pattern a few times, until Rosey and Hurricane hit one of La Res with a Slam/Elbow combo for the win. Crowd was into this to start, but lost steam during the extended Hurricane beatings. Still into the match though.
It’s kind of weird having matches come one after the other. I appreciate all the wrestling, but the interviews, segments and commercials give you a bit of a break.
Christian w/ Tyson Tomko d William Regal In a Royal Rumble Qualifier Match
Christian starts in on an interview about how he’s going to beat Regal like the Eagles are going to beat the Vikings, before he gets drowned out by the crowd. Tomko’s goatee is even more ridiculous in person. Regal is sans Eugene, much to the dismay of a large section of the crowd who didn’t watch RAW, apparently. Interesting to note that Regal still has the tag title belt (shouldn’t they be stripped of the titles?). Good match with a fun spot where Christian comes to the corner to attack susceptible Regal, but Regal traps Christian’s leg between his knees leaving Christian to flail helplessly. There is a lengthy bit of stalling and restholds in the middle that the crowd doesn’t like. Regal gets dropped by some Tomko/Christian teamwork, and Tian gets the win. A fan screams, “You shoulda brought Eugene.”
Shelton Benjamin d. Maven For the WWE Intercontinental Title
Crowd turned on this one early, as Maven stalled to start things up. I have a feeling this series of matches would be going SO much better. There’s NO reason to have this much dead space before they even lock up, and then to have even MORE dead space when Maven bails…that’s just dumb. Shelton was pumped in his return to his college town, and the crowd was willing to cheer for him, but the match was just so slow to get going that when they finally got started, nobody was into it. Maven accuses Shelton of hair pulling which is good for a laugh or two. Shelton wins it with his T-Bone suplex much to the delight of…well that one drunk girl a few rows behind me was yelling.
Mohammad Hassan w/ Khosrow Daivari d. Chris Jericho
One of the ring crew guys makes me laugh by “signing along” to Hassan’s music. Hassan starts off telling the crowd that the reason Minnesota is so cold is because we have cold hearts. Eh. Whatever. He goes on to say that he thinks its nice that even a Arab American can get on a roll in the WWE, but the crowd drowns him out at this point. Daivari curses us out for it…in Arabic. Jericho comes out to say that while he has no idea what Daivari said, he should shut…the hell…up. Big response for that. This was a good match. Hassan is better looking than he’s shown on TV thus far. Daivari distracts the ref from the Lionsault, so he gets pulled in, and put in the Walls. While all this is going on, however, Hassan recovers and rolls Jericho up for the win. After the match, Jericho is up and motions to the crowd as if to say, “Ey…I’m Chris Jericho.” This gets a sizable pop.
Jonathan Coachman is out and he‘s wearing a Dave shirt. I‘ve got that shirt. He gets a little cheap local heat by taking a shot at the Timberwolves’ less than great record. Then, he announces the double main event of the RAW Rematch Dave v. Randy and the Legends Match Flair v. Michaels. Then he says that he’s got a special guest to bring out. And hey…it’s Christie. She gets the crowd on her side by showing the top of her ass crack. She’s like Randy Moss, but with boobies. Coach says that he could tell on Monday that she’d really let herself go, and he had somebody to help. This of course brought on Simon Dean. Dean spends a few minutes yelling at Christie, saying that he couldn’t believe that the WWE spent $250,000 on such a fat slob. He offers her some “Simon System” powder and tells her to go drink it with some toilet water, and of course got a face full of it. The powder was EVERYWHERE. They spent the time between this segment and the next match AND Edge’s introduction sweeping it up. Christie crotches Coach while she’s at it, and after Simon bails, Coach swears revenge.
Edge d. Chris Benoit
Benoit jaw jacks with Coach before he gets to the ring. Sizable pop for Benoit. This match was originally Benoit/Jericho v. HHH/Batista, by the way. I don’t remember what the hell Edge was doing. Eating cake probably. Edge gets on the house mic and talks about how he beat Benoit and should be the World Champion and better than the Vikings. You’d never know we had a football team in the playoffs, would you? The crowd responds with a “You Tapped Out” chant, which makes Edge flip out. They stall for a bit, and the crowd almost turns on the match right there. WAY too much stalling tonight. Benoit nails the Germans and goes for the Crossface, but his rally is interrupted when Coach chases Christy back into the ring. Benoit catches him before he can get her, and takes him down, but when he turns back to go after Edge, he eats a Spear, which is enough to end things. After the match, Benoit soaks up the cheers of some appreciative fans, but ever the professional, he sells the Spear even in celebration.
Kane d. Gene Snitsky In a Hardcore Match
Gene’s on the mic~! He says that he feels bad for Lita, all breaking her neck, then losing her baby (Not My Fault™), and now tearing up her knee. But he doesn’t feel bad for Kane, and Kane’s beating will be ALL HIS FAULT! Kane’s entrance lacks pizzazz without fire, but it’s been forever since I’ve seen him live, so I needed all the more Kane I could get. Snitsky interrupts it anyway by running out of the ring at him. They take turns beating on each other with trash cans, hockey sticks (I guess you’ve got to find SOMETHING to do with them) and cookie sheets. Some stalling here too, but the crowd forgives it for the Violence. Kane works a neat spot where he positions Gene over the edge of the mat, puts the trash can on his head, and then rams a Kendo Stick into it a few times. Kane gets the win with a chokeslam to the delight of the crowd. After the match, Kane celebrates and throws his arms up and down. And…Nothing. Huh. Poor Kane. Must be too cold. This was the most heavily advertised match on the card for local adverts.
Intermission. The T-Shirt gun guy gets a big pop, but gets booed when not everybody gets a Shelton Benjamin T-Shirt.
Victoria d. Molly Holly With Guest Referee Val Venis
This match was supposed to include the entire division, but Lita’s hurt and Trish…hates us? I dunno. When they announced a guest ref, was it too much to hope for Stacy? Val says that he’s like concrete, get him wet, lay him down, and he’ll get hard. Yeah. Molly gets a nice pop because people know where Forest Lake is (but we wouldn’t actually…go there), but so does Victoria, so the crowd is split about 50/50. Mostly good back and forth with neither girl taking advantage for too long. Victoria hit’s the Widow’s Peak for the win. Surprisingly, Sean Cold doesn’t get the girls to roll around on him.
Randy Orton d. “Dave” Batista “Davidson”
Dave gets a HUGE pop coming out. There is another big pop for Orton with lots of people doing the Asshole Orton pose. Crowd is split 50/50 again, with more squeals for Orton and cheers for Dave. Dave locks in an OMG CHINLOCK~! But Orton DOESN’T?! Hmph. Ruins my whole perspective on wrestling. You know what the difference between the lower card and main event is? Look no further than these two (can you believe it?!). I mentioned how restless the crowd was getting with the stalling earlier tonight, well, that was at least in part because the crowd was bored waiting for something to happen. Dave and Randy stalled a lot, but there was never really a dull moment, as they played to the crowd and each other the whole time. There was no bailing for the sake of bailing, as Dave bailed to jaw with the crowd and the extended staredown sequence to start was actually pretty intense rather than just boring. There’s a REALLY funny sequence in here which would NEVER translate to TV, where Dave has an argument with a young fan’s Randy Orton Stuffed Bear. “You are a BEAR!” Orton comes to the bear’s defense and gives the kid a hug. Orton goes for the RKO, but wiffs once, but later during an OSPREY BOMB TO ORTON~!, Orton slips out and nails the RKO on the way down. Pretty nifty actually. Batista gets a nice cheer on the way out and acknowledges it while still selling the RKO. Good for him.
The biggest pop of the night goes to That Announcer Guy when he announces that Judgement Day is going to be taping at the Target Center. This will make the second WWE PPV here ever. Should be fun, I think.
Shawn Michaels d. Ric Flair
Flair’s on the mic and says that Shawn has as much chance of winning as Randy Moss has of catching a touchdown pass on Sunday. Huh. Keep harping on that, there. Then Triple Naitch says that Shawn Michaels might be a legend, but tonight he’s just another little bitch. Then Ric says “shit” and the crowd goes nuts. WOO! You can’t hear that on TV. Too bad Flair didn’t mention his Minnesota heritage. Lots of chopping and brawling here before Flair hits some Flair flops to the delight of the crowd. Then there’s an extended sequence of armbars and chinlocks, until they kick it into high gear for a pair of Figure Fours (one for each guy) and some creative Nature Boy low blows. Then, on a roll-up, Shawn yanked down Flair’s trunks and Flair’s naked ass was all up in the Target Center, which got a huge pop. He must have put some tape on Space Mountain or something, because the front stayed neatly in place. Flair even went up top with his pants hanging loose until he finally pulls it up. Shawn strikes up the band and nails the Super Kick and gets the pin to a great pop for a great match. Edge is out to get in Shawn’s face, but Benoit is there to shove him into a Superkick. Shawn poses and shakes some hands to close out the night. What Really got me is that a handful of people were leaving during this match. LEGENDS, I TELL YOU! LEGENDS!
FANTASTIC stuff. It was worth the cash to see Flair/Michaels regardless if nothing else happened in the whole night. Both guys are legends and rank in my favorite wrestlers of all time, and I never thought I’d ever get to see either one of them live ever, much less against each other, so seeing this was a real treat. The undercard was pretty good as well with Jericho/Hassan and Orton/Batista standing out as the best undercard matches. The only thing I couldn’t get over is how much stalling they did in every match, going some times minutes without either guy doing anything but pacing, standing there doing nothing or laying on the ground. I understand that this is a house show and you might not want to turn it up a notch, but there’s really no excuse for losing a crowd because you’re standing outside the ring staring into space for three minutes. I’m looking at you Maven. If that’s how it’s going to be, might I suggest just running shorter matches until you can get to the main guys, then let them stall because they know how? I must give credit to Flair, Michaels and Batista especially as well as Jericho, Benoit and to a lesser extent Christian for bringing their A, or at least B, games to the table.
My sincerest thanks go out to the WWE RAW crew for a great night. The wrestling was good, the crowd was having a good time, and the main event was just amazing. Great effort by the RAW guys and a great show.
Next time bring Stevie Richards and Stacy please. Wait. It’s a Smackdown show. Damn.
Send them anyway.
(edited by Excalibur05 on 15.1.05 0401)
(edited by Excalibur05 on 15.1.05 0406) Tonight I wanna ruin my life, I wanna throw it all away, In a spectacular way
Thank you for the compliments. The main reason that I never used to write columns is that I never felt compelled to take the time to write, and then by the time I did, somebody had already said what I wanted to, so it wasn't really worth while.