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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S RAW REPORT 7/26: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live show

Jul 26, 2004 - 10:06:00 PM
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RAW REPORT
JULY 26, 2004
LIVE ON TNN


-Coach eliminated one of the Raw Divas. He paced back and forth in front of them to draw it out. After the elimination (based on WWE fan voting), he said the competition only gets tougher.

-A clip aired of Chris Benoit at the Royal Rumble, then they went to the Raw opening.

-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Edge then came out to his music followed by Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Matt Hardy, and Kane. There were already wrestlers in the ring. Ross and Lawler wondered what was going on. Eric Bischoff then stepped out and told the wrestlers in the ring that the winner of the impromptu battle royal would get a title shot against the winner of Triple H vs. Chris Benoit at Summerslam.

1 -- BATTLE ROYAL FOR SUMMERSLAM TITLE SHOT

This isn't the most realistic of concepts, if you were to pretend that wrestling were real, as a G.M. would never risk having Hurricane in the World Title main event, or Tyson Tomko for that matter. William Regal was eliminated first by Evolution members. Tyson Tomko was second. They cut to a commercial at 2:30.

[Commercial Break]

Kane eliminated Matt Hardy during the break. Hurricane was out next. Rosey eliminated Steven Richards and Rodney Mack. Rosey was out next courtesy of Chris Jericho. La Resistance followed. Kane eliminated Tajiri at 8:00. That left Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Batista, Ric Flair, Kane, Edge, Rhyno, and Maven. Ross acknowledged that they had said they were going to start with the 60 man Iron Man match, but the deck had been reshuffled by Bischoff. He promised it would be next. At 11:00 they cut to another commercial, front-loading them so they can stick with more of the Iron Man match, I assume.

[Commercial Break]

Ross said 20 started, and eight were left. They showed that Edge used a low blow to save himself from elimination by Orton during the break. Kane then chokeslammed Flair which got a pop from the crowd. Rhyno gave Batista a Gore to pop the crowd. Maven eliminated Flair in a big career moment for him considering how long he lasted in the match. Rhyno then gave Maven a Gore. Batista then eliminated Maven. Everyone ganged up to eliminate Kane at 16:00. Maven backdropped Orton over the top rope, but Orton landed on the apron. Maven almost suplexed Orton back in, but Orton reversed it and eliminated Maven at 17:00. Edge headscissored Batista over the top rope with help from Jericho, but then Jericho eliminated Edge. Edge looked up at Jericho with disappointment. Jericho looked at Edge with a touch of regret, but a belief he did what he had to. Jericho then turned around and faced his only opponent - Randy Orton. They circled each other. Orton catapulted Jericho, who held on to the top rope and stayed in. He then lifted Orton and almost eliminated him. Orton grasped at the ropes to keep his place. Jericho skinned the cat back into the ring. Orton clotheslined Jericho and seemed to think he had won, but Jericho again held on to the ropes and ring apron. He then began pulling Orton over the top rope. Orton held onto Jericho's legs. They both teetered on elimination at 20:00. They both ended up standing on the ring apron and punching each other. After an uppercut, Jericho almost fell to the floor. Orton ended up back inside the ring where he gave Jericho an RKO. Jericho held onto the middle rope to stay legal, but then Orton kicked him and Jericho fell to the floor for the win at 21:20. Ross discussed the obvious ramifications of Orton getting the title shot at Summerslam.

WINNER: Randy Orton at 21:20.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Good battle royal based mainly on the last few minutes.

[Commercial Break]

-Coach had each of the remaining Raw Diva candidates try to seduce Kamala once at a time. Several of them cracked up. Many of them tried to tell him how sexy he was. They each had ten seconds. Kamala hasn't aged a bit. I want to know his secret. Old Torch contributor Mick Karch toured Australia with Kamala and wrote an article years ago saying Kamala was in real life one of the funniest people he's ever run across in wrestling. That says something for someone who had been around Bobby Heenan a lot.

[Commercial Break]

-Ross and Lawler previewed the Iron Man match, then went to the Democratic Convention with Ivory interviewing Stacy Keibler and Linda McMahon. Linda said they're trying to get the message to the 18-30 year old group to register to vote. They showed clips of various dignitaries hobnobbing with WWE personnel such as Mick Foley and Peter Jennings (Hey, Mick Foley shown on WWE TV. That's news given the controversy with Flair.) Stacy said the most important issue to her is creating new, good paying jobs for young people entering new careers. She said she also wants to know how affordable health care will be available to all. Ivory then urged everyone to get to the polls and vote.

-Coach then stood on the stage and M.C.'d as each Raw Diva candidate stepped out onto the stage and danced as the 1-866 number was shown so fans could vote.

-Backstage Flair and Batista were congratulating Orton. Orton gulped when Hunter walked into the room. He said it will be the biggest honor of his career to step into the ring with him when they wrestle for the World Title at Summerslam. Orton wished Hunter luck. Hunter paused, then shook his hand and said, "I'm the Game, I don't need luck." That segment totally painted Orton as an eager, young babyface and Hunter as a heel who felt threatened. It's a nice tease that Hunter would be regaining the title, but it almost went too far to the point of making it seem almost like a foregone conclusion.

[Commercial Break]

1-- CHRIS BENOIT vs. TRIPLE H -- World Hvt. Title Iron Man match

Most falls in 60 minutes wins. The referee instructed the wrestlers before the match began at center-ring. It gave the match a nice "big fight" feel. They opened slow by circling each other, quick headlocks, and tests of strength. At 5:00 Benoit went for a Crippler Crossface. Hunter bailed out to ringside right away. Benoit began working over Hunter's left leg, draping his leg over the bottom rope and coming down on it. That set up the first theme of the match, with Hunter selling his leg injury. Lawler said he didn't think the wrestlers were pacing themselves for a 60 minute match. I wouldn't agree with that at all. They seemed they were strategically being conservative early on. Hunter caught a charging Benoit in the corner with a boot to the face at 8:15. Hunter then hit Benoit with a DDT. At 10:00 Benoit applied the Crossface out of nowhere and then leverage Hunter over onto his shoulders for a three count at 10:05. Hunter rolled out of the ring, expressing rage while claiming it was only a two count.

10 ADVANTAGE BENOIT

[Commercial Break]

Hunter backdropped Benoit over the top rope at 16:30 and Benoit hut his back on the edge of the ring apron. Hunter began working over Benoit's back. At 19:15 Benoit charged through the ropes at Hunter at ringside, but Hunter sidestepped him and Benoit dropped face-first over the edge of the ring barrier. Both men were down at ringside, leading to another commercial break.

[Commercial Break]

When they returned, Benoit was controlling Hunter. They showed a clip of Hunter being reversed into the ringside stairs by Benoit during the commercial. Hunter avoided a Sharpshooter at 23:30 by kicking out of it. Benoit continued to work over Hunter's left leg. At 25:00 Benoit applied the figure-four leglock. When Hunter reversed it at 26:10, Benoit grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Benoit went into his series of German suplexes, hitting three in a row. Hunter then rolled out of the way of a top rope Benoit headbutt attempt. Triple H then hit the Pedigree for the pin at 28:45.

1-1 TIE

Hunter whipped Benoit successfully into the ringside stairs. Benoit didn't answer the count at 31:15.

2-1 HUNTER ADVANTAGE

[Commercial Break]

They showed Hunter suplexing Benoit onto the rampway during the break. Back in the ring Hunter scored a nearfall at 35:30. Hunter stayed on methodical offense and hit what Ross called an "Arn Anderson spinebuster" at 38:00 to score another pinfall. Lawler said it was over. Ross disagreed and said a comeback could happen.

3-1 HUNTER ADVANTAGE

[Commercial Break]

Hunter went for another Pedigree, but Benoit avoided it. He went for another, but Benoit escaped quickly and applied the Sharpshooter despite Hunter's struggles. Hunter did a nice job selling the pain. He bit his thumb in pain. Then he powered up onto his arms and crawled toward the bottom rope. He touched it, but Benoit then yanked Hunter back to center ring. After being in the Sharpshooter for nearly a full minute, Hunter raised his arm to tease a tap, but tried instead to power out again. He couldn't, so he tapped at 44:00.

3-2 HUNTER ADVANTAGE

Hunter went to ringside to catch his breath. At eight he was about to reenter, but Benoit knocked him back to ringside. Benoit then chased after Hunter. At 46:45, shortly after Hunter re-entered the ring, Benoit applied the Crippler Crossface. That got a big pop from the crowd. Hunter draped his boot over the bottom rope to force a break. Benoit immediately reapplied it, forcing a quick tapout from Hunter at 47:45.

3-3 TIE

Batista and Ric Flair walked to ringside as they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Hunter took over with a poke to Benoit's eyes. When he threw him to ringside, Batista rammed Benoit head-first into the ringpost. Benoit came up bleeding. Lawler called Batista the MVP for all of Evolution. Batista then threw Benoit back into the ring. Hunter covered Benoit, but Benoit kicked out. Out of nowhere at 54:15 Benoit began a series of unreleased German suplexes. Hunter escaped after two. The ref got bumped to ringside. That freed up Batista and Flair to go after Benoit. Benoit fended off Batista first, then Flair. Hunter then KO'd Benoit from behind with a chair to the skull at 55:15. When Hunter went for the pin, Benoit managed to lift his shoulder. Ross did a great job selling the drama of the moment. Hunter went for another pin and another, but Benoit kept kicking out. A frustrated Hunter hit the referee. Batista and Flair joined Hunter in attacking Benoit. Eugene ran in through the crowd, generating the pop of the night. He took out Flair and Hunter with a double clothesline. Then he punched away at Batista. He then gave Flair a Stunner. He then gave Hunter a Rock Bottom. He dropkicked Batista out of the ring. Eric Bischoff came to ringside and insisted Eugene leave. Eugene gave him a forearm. Eugene then KO'd Hunter with a chair. Lawler said he thought he'd never see Eugene again. Fans chanted "Eugene, Eugene." Hunter was knocked out on his back with no movement. Benoit winced as he crawled Hunter's direction. Benoit draped an arm over Hunter. Eugene threw the ref into the ring and set him next to the wrestlers. The ref was slow in making the count. With 12 seconds left he began a count. He made the three count with only five seconds left. Benoit celebrated with the title belt. Ross said, "Eugene's return to Raw has been earth-shattering... Hunter has paid for his sins. The retribution for that man is long overdue." Hunter shook with rage in the ring when he realized what happened as Eugene taunted him from afar in the rafters.

WINNER: Benoit 4-3.

STAR RATING: ***3/4 -- Logically played out, well executed, and believable for the most part, but not particularly exciting most of the time, and had a TV-angle finishing sequence, not a Match of the Year finishing sequence.


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