WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 03/07/05 from Raleigh, NC.
The Big News: Raw is in full build mode for WrestleMania. Eric Bischoff
announced a six man ladder match for a future shot at the world title. Randy
Orton challenged the Undertaker. Christy Hemme challenged Trish Stratus. And
Batista beat Ric Flair, putting a serious scare in Triple H.
Title Changes/Turns: None.
Match Results: Triple H b Rosey; Kane b Christian; Edge b Chris Jericho;
Chris Benoit b Shelton Benjamin; Dave Batista b Ric Flair.
Shawn Michaels came out to start the show. He said he had wanted his match
with Kurt Angle to be something to remember, but now he is mad. He said that
despite all of Angle’s ability, he has never wrestled Michaels, and he will
show Angle why he is the showstopper. They can find out who is the greatest
performer of this generation. Angle came on the screen, and was angry that
when he was an amateur wrestler, people were more impressed by pros like
Michaels. He said that if he had gone to the WWF rather than the Olympics,
he would have been a bigger great than Michaels. Angle said in the next
month, he will do everything Michaels did in his career. That’s ridiculous.
There isn’t even enough time for the walkouts, let alone losing the smile
and finding God. Angle’s performance blew Michaels away here.
Triple H beat Rosey. Rosey got a brief offensive in early, but that ended
with a missed second rope moonsault. HHH went crazy on Rosey and beat him
with the pedigree. He attacked him with a sledge hammer after the match.
Backstage, Ric Flair was angry at HHH for making his match against Batista,
but HHH talked him up and said he would be in his corner.
Eric Bischoff told Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian and Shelton
Benjamin that they would be in a “money in the bank” ladder match at
WrestleMania with the winner getting a future world title match at any point
in the next twelve months, including WrestleMania XXII. I don’t understand
why Bischoff would put up a WrestleMania title match in that context, and it
devalues the meaning of that shot when a wrestler willingly turns down the
opportunity. The whole premise also devalues the Intercontinental Title.
On the plus side, I like the potential of this setup. There are two
interesting stories to be told. One is of the heel that acts like he is
afraid of Batista and won’t accept the shot at Batista, only to unleash a
plan to injure Batista and then demand the match. The other is of the face
who acts like he doesn’t want the title shot because he likes Batista, only
to set Batista up and then take the shot. The latter setup could work for
Chris Benoit to make him the next heel challenger for Batista after a HHH
rematch. Bischoff made Benoit v. Benjamin, Jericho v. Edge and Christian v.
the sixth man for later in the show.
Kane beat Christian with the choke slam. Tyson Tomko attacked Kane with a
ladder after the match. Backstage, Randy Orton told Stacy he would make a
shocking announcement in the ring, and that he would make his challenge for
Mania. It’s hardly shocking given they announced it last week. More
importantly, this continued theme of wrestlers just challenging others to
matches for no particular reason is a horrible construct for building
matches that people really want to see. They aired a fantastic video for
Edge beat Chris Jericho. There were some small chants early along the lines
of “you screwed Matt” and “you screwed Lita.” It appeared most of the crowd
didn’t know what that segment of the crowd was talking about. Jericho worked
over Edge’s arm, and used a springboard drop kick and pescado. Edge came
back with a superplex, but Jericho was once again able to regain control
with a clothesline and bulldog. Jericho came up short with the lionsault,
and was sent into the referee after going for the Walls. Edge went for the
spear but Jericho threw him out of the ring. Edge grabbed the ladder and
brought it into the ring, but Jericho used a drop toe hold to stop him and
hit the lionsault. He had the cover but the referee was still out. Edge gave
him a low blow with the ladder and hit a leaping DDT for the pin. This was
well executed, but it was missing something as a match.
Bischoff announced Pick Your Poison Monday, where Batista picks HHH’s
opponent next week and HHH picks Batista’s opponent the week after that. HHH
will wrestle Chris Benoit next week. Randy Orton in the ring talked about
wanting to be a pro wrestler as a kid. He said he wants to do something
unique and make an impact. What kind of face says that week after week? You
don’t talk about it, you do it. Orton challenged Undertaker, and vowed to
beat him. This got a negative reaction from the crowd, surprisingly strong
given you would think the crowd would have seen it coming. Bischoff came out
and congratulated Orton, as if he had accomplished something. Bischoff
somehow thought this would lead to more stock options for him, at which
point Orton called Bischoff a legend and gave him the RKO. This was a train
wreck of a segment, and just didn’t work. Honestly, I wouldn’t have Orton
win this match. He isn’t in a position to where the win will mean much for
him, and Undertaker’s gimmick means more in the big picture. Orton really
should be a heel for this, because the dichotomy is awful with Orton as a
face. He comes across as equal parts impotent and arrogant. Yet, he hasn’t
even had much time as a face, so they are in a real catch 22.
Chris Benoit beat Shelton Benjamin. They did a crazy spot early where Benoit
went for a suicide dive onto Benjamin, but crashed head first into the
ladder. Benjamin used a clothesline off the top. Benoit went for a German
suplex but Benjamin rolled through for a near fall. Benoit came back with
three rolling Germans, but missed a head butt off the top. Benoit went for
the crossface, but Benjamin countered with a backslide. Benoit went for the
sharpshooter but Benjamin reversed. Benjamin went for the spin kick but
Benoit ducked and applied the crossface. Benjamin got next to the ropes but
Benoit rolled him back into the middle and Benjamin tapped. This certainly
didn’t help the Intercontinental Title any further. They should have given
this match more time. It was incredibly rushed, and it was still better than
Muhammad Hassan complained to Bischoff about not being included in the money
in the bank ladder match, and said it was discrimination. Bischoff said he
chose the participants based on previous success at WrestleMania. Come on
Eric. You know better than to make arguments on national television that are
so easily refuted. The records of four of the competitors in WrestleMania
matches: Kane 3-3, Chris Jericho 2-4, Chris Benoit 2-4, Shelton Benjamin
1-1. I cry foul. Foul! Hassan said this wasn’t over.
Christy Hemme came out. Ross labeled it a “prestigious honor for many women
to be in Playboy.” I think I’m going to take a poll tomorrow amongst the
women at law school on that subject. If I’m not back next week, you’ll know
why. Christy called out Trish, and challenged her to a match for the Women’s
Title at WrestleMania. Trish laughed at her, but accepted. Christy said Lita
has been training her to wrestle. There are so many jokes to bad had here,
but I will refrain. Christy then “gave her the twist of fate.” That match is
going to be the biggest expose of the business since John Tenta wrestled
Batista beat Ric Flair. Flair got a nice reaction from what Ross identified
as a former Mid-Atlantic territory. If I were Vince McMahon, I would be
investing serious resources in creating the most impressive possible
entrance for Batista. Also, I would hire a new creative team. Flair used
some dirty tactics to work over Batista, and Batista didn’t do a good job in
the face role. He was too over-the-top crazy, and his selling is a weakness.
Batista won with the power slam, spine buster, and the thumbs down demon
bomb. HHH attacked Batista’s knee after the match, and brought in a
sledgehammer. Batista blocked the sledgehammer shot, and HHH was terrified
of the enraged Batista. Batista broke the sledgehammer in two and HHH ran
Credit: Todd Martin, WrestlingObserver.com