TV REPORTS 9/20 WWE Raw review: Keller's ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live show
Sep 20, 2004 - 10:07:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
SEPTEMBER 20, 2004
LIVE ON SPIKE TV FROM TUCSON, ARIZ.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show.
-Vince McMahon sauntered to the ring as if he sat on a flag pole. He said last week he promised a major announcement that would affect the fans and Raw G.M. Eric Bischoff. McMahon has been away from TV enough lately that when he does appear, it does feel like a big deal again. He called Bischoff to the ring. Bischoff limped with a cane, suffering from the broken foot when Orton dropped the sledge hammer on him. McMahon said he had a great idea to involve the fans in deciding matches and match stipulation on a special PPV he had scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19. Bischoff said it's a great idea on paper, but in reality, "you don't want to do this. These people rely on me, the general manager of Raw, to make the right decisions. These people don't want, or quite frankly..." He was then drowned out by chants of "You suck, you suck." He continued after a pause: "As I was saying, they don't have the ability to make these decisions." Bischoff said they should think about it for a week.
Vince said he felt Bischoff was patronizing him. McMahon said, "There is a reason you're the general manager of Raw; there's a reason I'm not the general manager of Nitro." Line of the year, right there. Maybe line of the last ten years. McMahon said Bischoff shouldn't be a G.M. that night because there's no need for a G.M., so he should be an active wrestler. McMahon said he has taken the liberty to decide who his opponent should be already. He said his opponent is also injured. Eugene then walked out onto the stage. Vince said even though that is the first match for Taboo Tuesday, the stipulation wasn't decided yet. He suggested the loser act as a servant for the winner, or perhaps the loser wear a dress, or perhaps he had to have his head shaved bald. Eugene liked that a lot. McMahon said, "This is the ultimate in fan interaction." Ross said he thinks it's a great idea.
Bischoff turned to Eugene and explained to him that McMahon was trying to get them to fight each other. He told Eugene he loves him. He said he doesn't want to fight him. Eugene seemed to be being manipulated by Bischoff. Bischoff said they should tell McMahon they don't want to wrestle and instead they'd go out and get ice cream. Eugene got excited. That would have worked on me, too. Eugene, apparently now the master of mind games, was simply lulling Bischoff into a false sense of security and punched him. He then kissed McMahon, who grinned. As McMahon left, Eugene followed behind him and mocked his walk. If Eugene were smarter, he would have taken up Bischoff on the free ice cream, then hit him.
Overall, a really strong opening segment that did a good job selling the novelty of Taboo Tuesday, and set up a nice mid-card match and gave an example of the choices fans would have for match stipulations.
-Ross plugged that they'd have an update on pregnant Lita's condition, that Chris Jericho would defend the IC Title against Shawn Michaels, and the Raw Diva Competition winner would be announced. After showing highlights of last week's show-closing angle with Evolution, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, and Chris Benoit, Lawler announced those six would be involved in a three-on-three tag match later.
1 -- STACY KEIBLER & VICTORIA vs. TRISH STRATUS & MOLLY HOLLY
Ross said the only woman in the match who hadn't held the WWE Women's Title was Stacy. He then plugged the Raw Diva Contest finale. Molly prevented Stacy from tagging out, but then Stacy surprised Molly with a backslide. Ross said lightning struck twice with Stacy winning two weeks in a row.
WINNERS: Stacy & Victoria when Stacy pinned Molly at 2:22.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-They went to still shots of Kane landing on Lita last week, then promised an "exclusive update on Lita's condition." I like when WWE talks about having the "exclusive story" on something going on in WWE. Who else was bidding for the rights to that story besides WWE Raw? Entertainment Tonight and the New York Times? Maybe CBS News trying to get something right this week?
-As Randy Orton read WWE Magazine backstage, Vince McMahon walked up to him. Orton said it's his destiny to be World Champion again. Orton said the Raw main event would be decided by the sweetest three letters in wrestling "R-K-O."
-They showed "Superstar" Billy Graham sitting at ringside. He lives in the area and was given a VIP seat.
-After highlights aired again of Kane falling on Lita last week, Ross said later in the show they'd have an update on Lita from her hospital bed. But first, they wanted to give Gene Snitsky a chance to speak on the matter. He said he was tired of being blamed for what happened. "It's not my fault," he said. "I wasn't nervous, I was there to do a job, and I did it." Snitsky's acting was a bit over the top.
-Todd Grisham stood outside a hospital door and said he'd have an update on Lita's condition later from Kane.
-Ross and Lawler narrated a clip of Rhyno & Tajiri beating Hurricane & Rosey the night before on Heat. What is this "Heat" they speak of? I watch Raw every week and I've never heard of this "show" they speak of.
2 -- HURRICANE (w/Rosey) vs. RHYNO (w/Tajiri)
After Hurricane lost with a leverage pin after dominating most of the match, he appeared to be really frustrated. He even yanked a mask off the face of a little kid at ringside whom he had given the mask to before the match. The kid started crying and his mom looked completely shocked. I assume they were plants.
WINNERS: Tajiri & Rhyno when Tajiri pinned Hurricane at 2:39.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Short, but good action.
-Kane solemnly told Grisham that doctors say there is only a 50/50 chance that their baby will make it. Grisham said Snitsky denies any responsibility for what happened. Kane snapped and said Snitsky hit him from behind with a chair, knocking him into Lita. "What did he think would happen?!" Kane said. "No matter what happens, Snitsky is a dead man." Are they turning Kane babyface because Snitsky came across as a snide punk and Kane came across as genuinely concerned for the well-being of Lita and the baby.
3 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- IC Title match
Christian joined Ross and Lawler at ringside. He complained that Michaels was stealing his slot on the season premier of Raw. Jericho was sporting a new shorter haircut with layer of blond hair over darker, longer hair. It looks pretty bad at first glance. The match began slowly. When Michaels set up an early attempt at a superkick, Christian ran into the ring and stopped him. The ref ordered Christian to the back.
During the break, Michaels backdropped Jericho over the top rope to the floor. Jericho landed awkwardly on his leg, so Michaels focused on that. When Tyson Tomko jumped onto the ring apron at 13:00, Jericho leaped at him with a dropkick. When he turned around, Michaels nailed him with Sweet Chin Music. Jericho then crawled onto Michaels. Ross asked, "Will Michaels become Intercontinental Champion?" rather than the usual tired, "We're going to have at title change! It's over for sure!" That was nice for a change. Christian returned and he and Tomko attacked Jericho and Michaels. Tomko gave Jericho a stiff kick to the face. Christian then punched and trash-talked Michaels as Tomko held him.
WINNER: No contest at 14:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- Just average and the non-finish didn't help.
-They cut to the Smackdown recap. A few seconds in, Grisham interrupted and said they had breaking news as doctors and nurses began running into the hospital room. A nurse ushered Grisham away, but left the cameraman there. Then screamed of "No! No!" came from the hospital room in Kane's voice.
-They replayed the hospital scene from before the break.
-Flair gave a pep talk to Batista and Hunter about their six-man tag later. Hunter then complained about the Taboo Tuesday stip, saying titles are too important to be determined from names being drawn out of a hat or fans choosing who gets title shots. He's one to talk, considering he first held the Raw World Title because Eric Bischoff gave it to him. Batista said screw the fans. Flair looked Hunter in the eyes and told him, "You are the greatest heavyweight champion of all time." That statement shouldn't be thrown around like that. I hope Hunter is telling Flair to say that because that would be sad and pathetic not to let his career, ten years from now, speak for itself. Hunter should instruct Flair to say instead, "You're well on your way to being the greatest of all time." Flair has been so emasculated by being with Hunter it's sad to watch. Hunter should be secure enough with himself to portray Flair as his mentor and as someone he someday aspires to be as good as. Flair should still claim he is the greatest ever and say Hunter is in line to be second best. They could even tease tension between the two in a friendly, competitive way, as if Hunter aspired to have a career as great as Flair when all is said and done. Seeing Hunter allow himself to be portrayed at this stage in his career as better than Flair might say a lot about Hunter the person.
-They aired a relatively long recap package of the entire Raw Diva Contest.
4 -- MAVEN vs. SYLVAIN GRENIER (w/Rob Conway)
Continuing this as the official night of pin attempt reversals, Grenier almost pinned Maven on a roll-through, then seconds later Maven did the same to him.
WINNER: Maven in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Grisham interviewed doctors who said Lita is in stable condition, but they lost the baby. Kane then staggered out of the hospital room huffing and puffing. Then he began screaming, "No, no, no." They showed Lita in the hospital bed staring off into space.
-Coach stood mid-ring and introduced the two finalists. Carmella came out first to zero response. Christy came out next to very little response, also. Gee, you actually need to do something wrestling-related to earn the cheers of fans? Coach said before announcing the winner, he said they both have made an enemy for life out of the Coach. Coach told Carmella to go tell her boyfriend Jeff Garcia he said so. He told Christy she can never bite his rear end again. Coach said the name inside the envelope is the winner and they would have interviews with the winner and loser afterward. As Coach was about to announce the winner, Trish's music played and she came out. Carmella continued to wear that smirk on her face throughout everything. She whispered something to coach and laughed, as if she was pleased with the interruption. At least Christy played her part well, looking annoyed by Trish. Trish said if Christy wins, she can buy some decaf. If Carmella wins, she can maybe buy a personality. She said she would be throwing a victory part for the winner next week and attendance would be mandatory. Coach then revealed the winner was Christy. She threw her arm in the air and celebrated. Christy told Coach that she is "really proud" and excited to spend a year with WWE. She said, "It's all about the energy." She said her energy is natural and no decaf is necessary. Carmella said she is honestly disappointed, but hopefully it will work out down the road. Coach asked about fans booing her. She said, "They love to hate." She congratulated Christy.
-Ross and Lawler plugged the main event six-man tag. With so many non-finishes to Raw matches lately, I've found myself assuming the match will end without a pinfall or submission now. It took years for WWE to condition me to believe TV matches would have satisfying endings, and it seems lately they've erased that expectation. It's a big aspect of what turned people away from Nitro when Raw was having hot shows, yet WWE isn't remembering that these days.
5 -- RANDY ORTON & SHELTON BENJAMIN & CHRIS BENOIT vs. TRIPLE H & BATISTA & RIC FLAIR
During Orton's ring entrance, Ross said he was the youngest heavyweight champion ever until he was "robbed" at Unforgiven. Lawler told Ross that he was going to tell Hunter that he said he is a thief. WWE has missed an opportunity to give fans something to speculate about by not hinting that Evolution will likely add a fourth member some day. Whether they plan to do it soon or later or never, it'd a nice subplot to any Evolution storyline if it's believed there might be a turn or acquisition. The match began with Hunter vs. Benjamin. Benoit and Flair tagged in next. You'll never guess, but Benoit and Flair engaged in a back and forth chop battle. The crowd "woo'd" along. They were some stiff chops. Flair did his face-first bump. The crowd loved it. Benoit hit an enzuigiri. Flair did another face-first. Benoit then hit the top rope headbutt and made the cover. Hunter jumped into the ring. That led to six-way chaos. Orton fought Hunter at ringside. He went for an RKO, but Hunter blocked it and knocked Orton into the ringpost. Batista then nailed Orton with a running clothesline. Benjamin and Benoit checked on Orton at ringside, who wasn't moving. Shockingly, they did not go to a commercial break during that sequence. Flair and Benoit battled in the ring, knocking each other down. Okay, they then went to a break.
Benoit suplexed Orton and hot-tagged Benjamin as they returned from the break at 8:30. Benjamin hit the corner splash on Flair. Batista avoided a Batista charge and splashed him the opposite corner. When he went for a splash on Hunter, Hunter gave him a "Harley Race knee" to take him down. Orton was still KO'd. Benjamin took a beating for a while. Benjamin hot-tagged Benoit at 15:30. He suplexed Flair and then locked on a Crippler Crossface. Hunter interfered. Benoit suplexed everyone, and then put Flair in a Sharpshooter. Batista broke it up with a spinebuster. Benjamin clotheslined Batista over the top rope in a cool spot, sailing over the top rope with him. Orton recovered and tagged himself in by tapping Benoit on the back. He punched away at Hunter, then dropkicked Batista out of the ring, then clotheslined Hunter out of the ring. He then gave Flair an RKO for the win. They were due to a conclusive finish to one of these.
WINNERS: Orton & Benjamin & Benoit when Orton pinned Flair at 17:58.
STAR RATING: **3/4
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show. To contribute your thoughts on Smackdown, click here.
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