TV REPORTS 8/9 WWE Raw review: Keller's ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live show
Aug 9, 2004 - 10:10:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
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AUGUST 9, 2004
LIVE ON TNN FROM CLEVEAND, OHIO
-After the Raw opening aired, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Ross said it would be one of the biggest Raws ever, plugging specifically the contract signing for the Matt Hardy vs. Kane match and the TV main event with Eugene & Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton & Triple H.
-Coach stood center ring with the remaining WWE Divas. He was about to announce the latest elimination when Randy Orton, dressed in a suit, walked to the ring as his music played. Orton asked Coach to let him do the honors. He opened the envelope and announced, "The loser is Chandra." Chandra hugged the rest of the women goodbye. Orton said she obviously won't be buying her sister that car now. He told her to get out of the ring. He made a big deal out of how Chandra is leaving the ring a loser just like Chris Benoit will be leaving the ring a loser on Sunday. He told the fans they are witnessing history because it's the last time they'll be seeing him in a WWE ring without the World Hvt. Title belt. He said it is his destiny. He asked the fans what they did when they were 24 years old. "Did you pay off that student loan? Finally get that new set of wheels? Finally move out of your parent's basement?" He said he was going to become the youngest World Hvt. Champion in history. He said nobody would stop him from "having my date with destiny."
Chris Benoit's music played and he walked out holding the title belt. Benoit mocked Orton for being "quite the mouthpiece." Benoit said there was footage of he making Orton tapout. Orton went nuts and said he never made him tapout so there's no footage. Benoit created footage by putting him in the Crippler Crossface. After a few seconds Orton tapped out frantically. Fans chanted, "You tapped out! You tapped out!" Benoit then said now there's footage and it re-aired, to the delight of the fans. Ross wondered if it would happen again at Summerslam. Lawler said he's never seen anything so low in his life. Orton stood up fuming while clutching his arm. Benoit just shook his head and walked to the back. Really good segment. Orton was unlikable and entertaining while Benoit showed him up in the end and got over his finisher.
1 -- MOLLY HOLLY & GAIL KIM & JAZZ vs. VICTORIA & STACY KEIBLER & NIDIA
WINNERS: Molly & Kim & Nidia when Nidia pinned Molly at 4:08.
STAR RATING: 3/4*
-After the match, Trish Stratus and Tyson Tomko walked out. Trish entered the ring to break-up the celebration. She talked briefly to Kim, Molly, and Jazz, then approached Stacy, Nidia, and Victoria. They all seemed agreeable to whatever Trish said. Ross wondered if there was some "collective bargaining" going on or if they were going to "go on strike." I'm amazed every time WWE brings that up given the history of thwarted attempts by wrestlers to form unions in wrestling and how that'd be the last thing Vince McMahon would ever want to face as a promoter.
-Clips aired of last week's Raw angle with Triple H and William Regal.
-In their hotel room, Eugene told Regal he got beaten up badly last week. Eugene told him he shouldn't go to the arena with him tonight. Regal said he would be there no matter what, but they needed to wait until match time to go to the arena. Eugene wanted to go to the arena right away. Despite Regal telling him to stay put and relax, Eugene got worked up and left the hotel room on his own. The crowd cheered.
-Smackdown Rebound aired.
-Lita was sitting backstage crying. Matt Hardy walked in and asked her what was wrong. She told him he might not want to go through the contract signing. She asked him if he would marry her no matter who the father of the baby is. Hardy asked her what she was getting at. Lita said the doctor did the paternity test and the DNA of the baby didn't match Hardy's. She said, "It's Kane's." Hardy got emotional and began tossing around tables and chairs. He stared down Lita, then walked away. Hey, at least she didn't tell him about the stipulation that if he loses, she agreed to marry Kane. We can't assume he knows that yet since she agreed to it in a backstage skit, and Hardy's rarely if ever been aware of anything that happened in those backstage skits in this storyline so far when he wasn't present. They are doing a good job adding new twists to this situation each week, putting Hardy in a really tough position.
-Kane, Matt Hardy, and Lita entered the ring for the official contract signing for Summerslam. As Ross explained the stipulations, Kane laughed. Ross said if Hardy wins, Kane agrees to stop any physicality with Lita and Hardy, plus Lita and Hardy can get married if they choose. If Kane wins, Lita must marry Kane. Lita signed it, Kane signed it, and Hardy was about to sign it, but then walked away and began pacing. Hardy finally signed it, then threw the pen down. Ross said it was now official. Kane grabbed the mic and said, "Now Matt, everyone knows the truth. It looks like I'm more man that you will ever be!" Maniacal laughter followed as Hardy took a deep breath. Hardy then mocked Kane's laughter and tipped the table over and rammed him with the briefcase containing the contract paperwork. That was enough to knock Kane unconscious. Lawler said he can't remember anyone knocking Kane out. Hardy screamed, "You will be mine!" Hardy and Lita walked out of the ring. Then Kane up and huffed and puffed. Good stuff. Everyone played their parts well. Others have criticized the acting in this storyline, but I think it's been strong lately. I think the way this match has been built up, it's going to be one of the primary selling points of the PPV.
-Coach introduced videos of the WWE Diva candidates seductively eating ice cream and whipped cream for 20 seconds each. This is so ridiculous, it's hard to really put into words. This is being done in a tone that doesn't seem aware of how juvenile it is. Between segments, someone had to come in that room and clean up the mess each of the women made. Coach then said, "That is some stiff competition." God, how can a human being stoop to a lower level of lameness than a bad use of a double entrendre that would be sad even if it was a clever use of a double ententre. I'm even starting to sense that Coach is a tad bit embarrassed to be associated with this, while still being turned on, of course.
2 - CHRIS JERICHO vs. EDGE
Ross said this would be a good way for one wrestler to gain a mental edge on the other. The first segment of the match was pretty methodically paced. When Jericho flew to ringside and landed hard at ringside, they cut to a commercial at 7:30.
The pace picked up in the second half of the match with a series of nice near falls. When Edge went for a spear, Jericho leapfrogged him and then pinned him with his feet on the ropes for leverage. Jericho smiled at ringside and began to return to the back. Batista then attacked Edge inside the ring. Jericho returned to ringside, but didn't intervene for the save. Instead, he made a lap around the ring, then returned to the back. Ross said he was shocked Jericho didn't get involved, but that proves it's every man for himself. Batista gave Edge a final KO clothesline for good measure.
WINNER: Jericho at 18:30.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Listless but fundamentally sound first half and strong but not great second half.
-They showed Eugene arriving at the arena. Ross and Lawler wondered where Regal was.
-Eugene entered the ring and said Triple H attacked his friend. He called for him to come to the ring. Triple H showed up on the big screen. He said he sent Eugene a message last week about what would happen when he messed with his World Title aspirations. He said he apparently didn't get the message, but his friend William Regal did because he told him to stay put in his hotel room. He said, "Yet there you stand in that ring yelling for me, and here I am at your hotel room. And you see Eugene, just like everything else that's happened, what happened here, that's your fault, too." He then showed a bloodied Regal tied up. Hunter rammed his head into the heating unit. He said at Summerslam he would put him out of wrestling for good. Eugene sucked on his fingers and cried. Then he ran to the back in a panic. Am I the only one who saw "The Village" and thought Nick Dinsmore would have been better in the role of Noah Percy than Adrien Brody, who was good, but not as consistently "fully in character" as Dinsmore is with Eugene? (I also liked "The Village" quite a bit, so what do I know?)
3 -- TAJIRI & RHYNO vs. RIP ALBRIGHT & CHRIS CAGE -- Two Minute Challenge
Lilian Garcia announced that if Tajiri & Rhyno won this tag team match in under two minutes, they'd get a tag title shot at Summerslam. La Resistance walked to the ring in the opening 30 seconds. In the end, Rhyno gave the Gore to Cage. La Resistance distracted the referee as the time expired even though Rhyno had Cage covered.
WINNERS: Two minute draw.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Not bad action while it lasted. The sense of urgency made it more entertaining than most two minute matches.
-Trish Stratus led the other women wrestlers to the ring. She challenged the seven remaining WWE Divas to a game of Dodge Ball at Summerslam. I guess that's a good idea. After all, who deserves a Summerslam payoff more, the WWE Diva competitors or Shannon Moore and Val Venis?
-Michael Cole and Tazz plugged the Smackdown-brand Summerslam matches - Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero, John Cena vs. Booker T, Rey Mysterio & Kidman & Paul London vs. The Dudleys, and JBL vs. Undertaker.
-Ross and Lawler then discussed the Raw-brand Summerslam matches - Benoit vs. Orton, Triple H vs. Eugene, Edge vs. Batista vs. Chris Jericho, Kane vs. Matt Hardy,
-Backstage Ric Flair congratulated Hunter for his attack on Regal. Hunter said he figures Eugene got the message, and now Benoit would get the message. Hunter, Flair, and Orton made their way toward the entrance tunnel.
4 -- EUGENE & CHRIS BENOIT vs. RANDY ORTON & TRIPLE H (w/Ric Flair)
Benoit began the match without Eugene, who was nowhere to be seen. Benoit got in early offense, including an early German suplex series on Hunter. When Flair distracted Benoit, it gave Hunter a chance to make a comeback and tag in Orton. Orton's offense included a side headlock on the mat, as always. He kept it sorta interesting by making it seem like a struggle to keep it applied. Hunter tagged back in and worked over Benoit for a minute. At ringside, Flair joined in with some stomps. Back in the ring Hunter scored a two count. Benoit scored a surprise small package for a near fall, then gave Orton a superplex off the top rope at 9:00. Benoit followed up with a knee to Orton's gut, then back suplexed Hunter. Benoit backdropped Hunter over the top rope to the floor, then went for a Sharpshooter on Orton. He locked it on. Orton screamed no. Flair jumped on the ring apron. Benoit released the Sharpshooter and knocked Flair to the floor. Orton went for an RKO from behind, but Benoit slipped out and applied the Crossface. Flair then entered the ring and stomped Benoit. The ref called for the DQ.
WINNERS: Benoit (& Eugene) at 10:44 via DQ.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good action.
-After the match Eugene ran to the ring to save Benoit from a post-match attack. Hunter quickly escaped, so then Orton and Flair took turns bumping for Eugene. Hunter stood on the stage and seemed conflicted about whether he should return to the ring to make the save or not. Eugene gave Flair a Stunner as the show went off the air. Nice final hard sell for the PPV overall without overplaying any hands.
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