Monday Night Raw
Date: December 15, 2003
Location: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re closing in on the end of the year and to the shock of no one, it’s all about HHH again. This time though he’s nice enough to allow the rest of Evolution to join in as they swept the titles last night at Armageddon. That means we’re on the way to the Royal Rumble, where I’m sure HHH will give a rub to some young whippersnapper. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Evolution with all of the titles to open things up. HHH brags about claiming all of the gold last night because Evolution was always going to change the industry. Goldberg’s fans wanted to believe the hype but he’s HHH and with him there is no hype necessary. Tonight, the golden rule of Evolution begins: they have all the gold so they make all the rules. You know they didn’t have to ask HHH twice to do that speech.
Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Chris Jericho/Christian
Rematch from last night. Trish isn’t exactly as fired up as usual here and Lawler hurt his voice screaming at last night’s match. Jericho and Trish start things off and again, Jericho isn’t thrilled with having to do this. Instead he tags Christian, which is a great way to show how he feels: bring in someone willing to beat the heck out of Trish.
Lita offers a slap though and Trish gets two off a rollup. Christian shoves her into the corner though, sending JR into a major rant, including about how much worse that is during the holidays. It’s off to Lita, who slips out of a slam and rakes the eyes but Jericho pulls her down by the hair. Jericho comes in for a slam of his own as Lawler is worried about Christian’s eyes. Lita shoves Christian off the top and tries a moonsault press…but doesn’t rotate at all, basically making it a reverse top rope shoulder.
Thankfully there’s no broken neck or anything and it’s off to Trish for two off a high crossbody. Christian clotheslines the heck out of both of them for two, pulling Trish up before three. Instead it’s an Unprettier for one as Jericho breaks up the cover. Jericho shoves Christian down and the match is stopped due to Trish being banged up.
Rating: D. That botch was terrible and the ending was a storyline advancement instead of anything noteworthy. Jericho getting closer to the face turn is interesting as this is starting to get a lot better. They could use this to change a lot about Jericho and that’s a good thing, especially considering how long he’s been a heel at the moment.
Post match Bischoff comes out and yells at Jericho. Chris yells right back and says this was a horrible idea. Jericho goes to leave but Bischoff makes Jericho vs. Kane for later tonight. With Jericho gone, Bischoff says he has an idea to reshape Raw forever (yes another one) and wants Foley out here for it. Post break here’s Foley who wants to talk about Steve Austin returning. Two weeks from tonight, he’ll be pleading his case with the Board of Directors and Austin will be there as well.
Bischoff calls Foley a disappointment because the fans want him to be the Hardcore Legend. We see a video on Foley’s career (I believe the old Desire video), which focuses heavily on Foley being beaten up. Bischoff wants Foley back in the ring and Foley has actually been thinking about returning. Say, against Bischoff for example. He’ll be back in the ring one day, but on his own terms.
Bischoff has his own idea though: Foley vs. Randy Orton tonight with Foley and Bischoff’s jobs on the line. Foley wisely says no because he knows what Bischoff is going to try. He knows Evolution will be out there, so Foley wants to get to pick the referee. Foley picks….Earl Hebner, but also wants Evolution and Bischoff banned from ringside.
Bischoff agrees but we’re STILL not done because Foley makes it a title match. That’s a big main event, and as usual, WWE is incapable of allowing more than an hour and a half to build it up. Why is that always the case? Also, that’s Bischoff’s earth shaking idea? Foley wrestling again? Or was it getting rid of the other GM and taking us back…two weeks?
Next week: the Best of 2003. So it’s a five minute show?
Booker T./Maven vs. Mark Henry/Matt Hardy
The Huffman Brothers unite. Matt, who always utilizes toilet seat covers, has to deal with Maven’s right hands and dropkicks to start. Maven’s charge misses in the corner though and it’s off to Henry to take over. A few hard shots have Maven down again and Matt comes back in to crank on both arms at once. More right hands in the corner keep Maven in trouble but a Russian legsweep is enough for the tag to Booker. Some forearms and a spinebuster get no cover because it’s Spinarooni time. Henry is low bridged to the floor and the ax kick finishes Matt.
Rating: D. Just a match here with Maven being as uninteresting as he could possibly be. He doesn’t have a look, he doesn’t do well in the ring and he can’t talk but he won a reality show about three years ago so we get to see him on Raw. Hopefully Booker vs. Henry is done as there’s not much of a point in continuing the thing when Booker pinned him clean last night.
Coach tries to interview Goldberg but gets beaten up behind a closed door. He is then thrown through said closed door.
Here’s La Resistance to mock Rock calling them, ahem, Fifi last week. That’s not the case but here’s Goldberg to destroy both of them. La Resistance was introduced for a match but there wasn’t even a referee in the ring. Goldberg breaks a French flag and waves an American one. WE GET IT ALREADY! FRANCE SUCKS AND AMERICA IS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER! NOW MOVE ON! Cue Bischoff to suspend Goldberg for thirty days.
Post break: JR: “I DESPISE ERIC BISCHOFF!” He rants about Goldberg being suspended for showing his patriotism and thankfully Lawler calms things down.
Foley is talking about wrestling being an addiction and asks someone if it’s something you can do once. He’s talking to Shawn Michaels, who says Mick is preaching to the choir. This business is like the mob: every time you think you’re out, they pull you back in. Shawn says it’s all worth it. Foley asks for his flannel shirt.
Shawn Michaels/Rob Van Dam vs. HHH/Ric Flair/Batista
Batista and Van Dam starts but Batista wants Shawn instead. That’s fine with Michaels and thankfully Batista doesn’t tag out like so many others would do. Shawn speeds things up and decks HHH and Flair, drawing them in for a standoff. Batista powers him into the corner though and it’s off to HHH, who gets punched down without much effort. Van Dam comes in to work on the arm so it’s off to Flair, who gets kicked in the face.
A poke to the eye cuts Shawn off (he never was that bright) and a right hand from HHH from the apron makes things even worse. Now it’s HHH coming in again and it’s amazing how much more energetic he seems here than in any Goldberg match. It’s back to Batista for the hard clothesline but let’s hear more from JR about Goldberg’s patriotism and Bischoff being a jerk. I bet he’s a commie too.
Shawn finally gets away from Batista and makes the hot tag to Van Dam for a bunch of kicks. The referee gets crushed in the corner though and Van Dam’s running shoulder makes it even worse. Rolling Thunder hits Batista and there’s the Five Star but Flair makes a save. The Pedigree plants Van Dam for a very delayed two (something tells me they had to beg HHH to allow that kickout). Flair grabs the Figure Four and we take a break. Back with HHH staying on the leg and JR apologizing for the abrupt break (I blame France. They’re not AMERICANS.).
Flair comes in for some chops and let’s plug the heck out of the main event again. I mean, they only have an hour and a half to hype it up. Some kicks to the face drop HHH and another to Flair are enough for the hot tag off to Shawn as things pick up again. The atomic drop sets up the top rope elbow to HHH for no cover. Everything breaks down with Rob knocking Batista outside, followed by a dive onto Batista and Flair. Sweet Chin Music finishes HHH, meaning it’s time for another Shawn World Title feud.
Rating: C+. The really annoying bits of commentary aside, this worked well enough, even if you have Evolution lose their first match after getting all the gold the night before. Shawn getting the World Title feud is annoying as we were there just a year ago but at least it seems to be just for the Rumble and the match should be good. Rob vs. Batista could be interesting too if that’s the way they go.
Rico vs. Jon Heidenreich
Rematch from last night on Heat where Rico won thanks to Miss Jackie interference. JR: “You gotta keep your eye on the ball there, though that may not be the best term to use with Rico.” Heidenreich slaps on an early bearhug but Rico kisses his way to freedom. A hip swivel into an elbow drop gets two on John and let’s talk about AMERICA some more.
We go a little more conventional with the chinlock as Lawler is rather impressed by Jackie’s outfit. Ok fair enough. The BORING chants begin so Heidenreich powers up with a backdrop for two and Jackie is panicking. The referee nearly gets bumped so Jackie gets in a cheap shot, allowing Rico to hit a neckbreaker for the pin.
Rating: D-. I can go with pushing someone but the ceiling on Rico is very low with this horrible character. Jackie is a great addition and plays the manager role well but there’s nowhere to go with Rico in this character. Heidenreich isn’t exactly doing well, mainly due to being left off of TV for a few weeks after debuting. At least there’s still time to tweak him though as he doesn’t have a character to speak of.
Jericho tries to talk to Trish, who says she now sees the real him. She doesn’t want him to talk to her again.
Chris Jericho vs. Kane
Jericho gets smart by dropkicking the knee as Kane comes in but a few more shots don’t get him very far. Kane punches away in the corner as the announcers actually talk about stuff related to the match. I’m as shocked as you are. A raised boot in the corner cuts Kane off and a missile dropkick gets one. You can hear JR starting to sympathize with Jericho being up against such odds here, meaning the face turn is starting to work, even in small increments. The Walls are broken up with ease and Kane sends him outside for a whip into the steps. That’s enough for Jericho, who hits him in the head with a chair for the DQ.
Rating: D. This wasn’t great but these two have never had the best chemistry. I’m interested in the face turn but I’ve always been a bigger fan of Jericho as a face than a heel. Having him try to be a good person to change Trish’s mind has long term potential, especially if WWE actually does it the right way for a change. In other words, don’t change course because they can’t be patient.
Post match Kane destroys him, including choking with a cord and a chokeslam. Christian comes out after Kane leaves but shoves Jericho down instead.
Earlier today, some Raw wrestlers were at an Air Force base.
Orton comes in to see Bischoff, who gives him a pep talk and tells him to think smart tonight. Bischoff wants Foley to chase Orton to wear him down. Ignore the locker room rumors that Orton can’t live up to his potential too. Orton freaks out at the idea of such rumors and is ready to step out of everyone’s shadows.
People wish Foley luck, including Shawn. Foley gives Shawn a World Title shot in two weeks.
Intercontinental Title: Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley
Orton is defending and this is billed as Winner Take All. Before the bell, Foley heads outside and slaps himself in the head a few times. Foley walks around for a bit….and leaves with his head down. No match.
Orton chases after Foley, who is leaving with his stuff. Bischoff catches up to Foley and asks what’s going on. If Foley leaves, he’s out of power. Foley keeps walking so here’s Orton to yell at him. Orton notices a tear in Foley’s eye and says legends don’t cry. He spits on Foley, who leaves without saying a word to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. And so, evil wins again. To recap, Goldberg is suspended and Foley walks away due to being a coward or whatever they’re going for there, all while Evolution reigns on high. Oh but wait: Shawn is getting a World Title shot and Austin might be back. That puts us right back where we were a few months ago, albeit with Shawn as the latest unlikely challenger to take the title from HHH.
Goldberg’s run was a nice breather, but HHH is the star of this show and there’s no way around it. This show is run by the villains and we’re lucky to get a month or so off from the status quo. Even when Goldberg was champion, he was injured and off the show for awhile while HHH dominated the show despite not even wrestling. Not a bad show this week, but a change from the HHH Show would be nice.
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