This article was originally published 15 years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 9, 2004
LIVE FROM PORTLAND, ORE.
-After the opening montage, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They previewed the two main events – Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T and Chris Benoit vs. Ric Flair, plus the Benoit-Triple H WM20 contract signing.
-Bill Goldberg came to the ring for a match. Ross touted that they were in Portland for Raw for the first time ever (WWE didn’t visit Oregon for years because of the stringent athletic commission requirements). When Goldberg got to the ring, Vince McMahon marched out to his music and then stomped up the stairs into the ring. “Mr. McMahon, to put it bluntly, looks pissed,” said Ross. “What the hell is this all about?” McMahon made a big deal out of him standing in the same ring at Goldberg, as if everyone would have assumed that hadn’t happened already over the last nine months. He told him he was cancelling his match, predictable considering Ross never mentioned Goldberg’s opponent by name. Steve Austin then drove his ATV to the ring.
McMahon mocked Austin and demanded to know what he was doing there. Austin said he wanted to know why McMahon was in “his ring.” He added, “You’re pissing me off.” He gave him a minute to explain himself, then remove himself from the ring. McMahon said he was upset that Austin gave Goldberg a ticket to No Way Out and told him not to do anything he wouldn’t do because he, Austin, would do anything. The crowd chanted “asshole.” McMahon then invited the general manager of Smackdown to come to the ring. Ross immediately said, “I feel like I need a shower already.” Heyman told Austin he should be ashamed of taking advantage of a legal loophole to get Benoit to jump to Raw. Heyman said he may be a big shark in the small pond known as Raw, but on Smackdown, Brock Lesnar would eat him alive.
Heyman said he had a message from Lesnar: “You will sit in your seat and you will watch Brock Lesnar defend the WWE Title against Eddie Guerrero and you won’t interfere because if you do, Brock Lesnar will deal with you, Goldberg. And by the time Brock Lesnar is done with you, nobody will ever look at you and say, ‘Who’s next?’ They’ll look at you and say, ‘Who’s Goldberg?’ Do you understand me?” Goldberg said, “Understand this. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Brock Lesnar is next!” Once again, keeping Goldberg’s speaking role to a minimum. Heyman then complained to the crowd for treating him poorly. “I’m Paul Heyman!” he said. Goldberg then gave Heyman a Spear for a big pop. Then Goldberg went to give McMahon a Spear, but McMahon moved and Goldberg gave Austin a Spear instead. Ross went nuts. I’m sure it’s no big deal. Austin will understand it was an honest mistake and Goldberg will apologize and all will be well.
-For those of us who are forgetful, they replayed Goldberg spearing Austin. Then they cut backstage to Goldberg telling Austin “it was a mistake.” He said he wouldn’t apologize or suck up, but it was a mistake. He asked Austin if now he should expect a Stunner when his back is turned. Austin stood up and said, “I’ll tell you like it is. If I do decide to give you a Stone Cold Stunner, it won’t be a mistake.” Goldberg nodded and said, “I can live with that.”
-McMahon charged in Eric Bischoff’s office. He said “your man Goldberg is a certifiable lunatic.” Pot, kettle… kettle, pot. He complained to Bischoff that “his man” Goldberg tried to Spear him. He told Bischoff to tell Goldberg that he is suspended. McMahon added that if Goldberg shows up at No Way Out, ” then it’s going to be your (Bischoff’s) ass.” Bischoff looked worried.
1 — TRISH STRATUS & CHRIS JERICHO vs. MATT HARDY & MOLLY HOLLY
Matt Facts: “Matt loves getting things for free.” Only one Matt Fact this week. Lawler and Ross said it was hard to believe that Matt Hardy was winless since coming to Raw. Jericho dominated Hardy in the opening minute, so Hardy tagged in Molly. Trish then had to tag in. At 3:45 Hardy whipped Jericho into the ring steps. In the ring, Trish gave a head scissors to Molly. Hardy yanked Trish’s hair from behind. Christian then came out and attacked Hardy from behind. Trish then wrapped up Molly with a victory roll for the win. Ross wondered what the heck was going on with Christian helping Trish. Jericho favored his knee afterward.
WINNERS: Trish & Jericho at 4:30.
STAR RATING: * — Good stuff.
-Christian told Trish backstage that he has realized he may have been acting like a jealous jerk lately. He asked how Jericho was. Trish said his knee may be sprained. Christian told Trish she looked great, clearly flirtatiously.
-Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade were looking through Playboy with Torrie and Sable in it. Stacy and Jackie Gayda walked in. Cade and Jindrak said they got the shaft by not getting the Playboy spread. They said they wouldn’t take it lying down.
-Mick Foley walked in the arena. The crowd popped when they saw him on the big screen. Coach walked up to Foley and asked him if he hadn’t been embarrassed enough by Randy Orton. Foley said tonight it would be his turn to embarrass him including perhaps costing him his IC Title.
-Ross plugged Ric Flair vs. Chris Benoit as coming up next.
-A commercial aired for the Monday Night DVD which is released tomorrow. It looks good. It will be interesting to see how truthful or slanted it is.
2 — CHRIS BENOIT vs. RIC FLAIR
They began chopping each other in the ring, at ringside, and back in the ring. Flair bled from the chest early. At 2:30 Flair took a face-first bump. Flair came back and gave Benoit a kneedrop to the back of his head. Benoit gave Flair a superplex off the top rope. When he went for a top rope headbutt, Flair moved. As both recovered on the mat, they cut to a commercial.
More chops after they returned from the break. Benoit hit two consecutive back suplexes. Flair struggled to avoid a third, but Benoit hit the third. Then he went for four. Flair grabbed the ref and then gave Benoit a mule kick. Ross said there is no way the ref could have seen the low kick. Lawler called Flair’s strategy “a thing of beauty.” Flair then applied the figure-four. Benoit reached the bottom rope right away forcing a break. Flair let out a whoo and then did his strut. Benoit countered Flair into the Crippler Crossface. Flair struggled, but then he tapped. “Benoit beats Ric Flair!” shouted Ross. “Flair said Benoit couldn’t beat the big one. Benoit just proved Ric Flair wrong.”
WINNER: Chris Benoit at 11:14.
STAR RATING: **1/4 — Nice stiff chopfest.
-Eric Bischoff introduced Benoit, then Triple H. He said Hunter had the honor of signing first. After Hunter signed it, he gave a several minute long speech to Benoit. First, he created a scenario of Benoit winning the title “that means your The Man.” Then he ripped the fantasy out from under Benoit and said his dream would be shattered. He asked him if it would be worth it, being alone and being a loser at WrestleMania 20. Then, as Benoit was about to sign, Shawn Michaels’s music played. He walked out and told Benoit he earned a title shot “and I respect that.” He said he should have taken care of his business at Smackdown. He said the issue with he and Hunter isn’t over with yet. Michaels said he is very close to finishing his business and he’s not going to let anyone get in his way. He said he wants to finish his business at WM20. Benoit said he has nothing but the utmost respect for him. He said he can talk for everyone in the locker room and all the fans in the arena in saying he will be the last to deny him his right to finish his issue with Triple H. He said he can finish his issue with Hunter, just not at WM20. Michaels superkicked Benoit, stunning the crowd into booing Michaels. Hunter laughed from the aisle. Michaels then signed the line on the contract that Benoit was about to sign. Hunter looked concerned and backtracked to the locker room. Michaels’ facial expression indicated he might be a bit regretful of the means he took to get what he wanted. Lawler wondered aloud whether Hunter and Michaels were in on it together.
3 — KANE vs. HURRICANE
WINNER: Kane at 1:14 after a chokeslam.
STAR RATING: 1/4*
-After the match, Kane did his arm motion signalling for his explosion, but nothing happened. He looked perturbed. Then the Undertaker video aired with glimpses of old-school Dead Man Undertaker. The screen said in 34 days the dead would rise. A worried Kane was covered in purple lighting.
-Bischoff approached Benoit backstage. He said he has a legal issue to deal with now that Michaels’s name is on the contract. He said he would give Benoit what he wants and deserves next week on Raw – a singles match against Michaels. He said he’d also figure out the WM20 title match situation.
-Terri interviewed Randy Orton about defending the IC Title against two men. He said that was unfair enough because he could lose the belt without even getting pinned, but now he also has to worry about Foley. Ross and Lawler talked about Orton’s reasons to be concerned about Foley.
-They replayed Goldberg spearing Heyman and Austin.
-Coach asked Goldberg as he was leaving the arena if he was going to Disney Land now that he was suspended. Goldberg said he is still going to No Way Out.
-A highlight package aired of the Raw tour of Japan last week. As always, a great touch that adds international credibility to the WWE product. Too bad they don’t use those overseas tours to tout the “international credibility” of the World Title when it’s defended there. I guess it being defended against the same people it is in the U.S. takes away most of whatever benefit would come from that, though. It’s not like the old days where World Champions went to Japan to face the best wrestlers in Japan.
-Mick Foley walked to the ring for a promo. Foley said when someone gets obsessed with someone’s faults, he has something to hide himself. He brought up Rev. Jimmy Swaggert, who spoke out against porno but was into porno himself. He brought up Rush Limbaugh for his hypocrisy regarding black market narcotics usage himself. He said he had a story regarding Randy Orton. A photo showed up on the big screen of Orton in the U.S. Marines. He said there are no silver stars, purple hearts, or accommodations of any kind. He said Orton went Absent Without Leave for 62 days. He was given early dismissal for bad conduct. He said this isn’t the story of a man who turned his back on a wrestling match, he turned his back on his country. “Every time you dug down deep to refer to me as a coward, maybe just maybe were you talking about yourself you gutless coward?” He said he was giving Orton the ultimate chance to redeem himself. He said there is only one place where a wrestler becomes a legend, and that is WrestleMania. He said he can call it the Battle of the Legends or the Battle of the Cowards, but he wants “a piece of his ass” at WrestleMania. Orton showed up on the big screen. He asked him how he knows that he’s not going to walk out of MSG like he did in on Raw in December. Orton said he wanted it done on his terms, “right here, right now.” He said he was in catering and he could come get him. Foley immediately accepted and made his way to the back. Orton looked increasingly nervous. The camera followed Foley through the backstage tunnel and toward catering in the back. He found Orton waiting for him, but then Flair and Batista attacked Foley. Orton fled. Batista powerbombed Foley through a table full of food. Orton then stepped in and slapped away at Foley and called him a “son of a bitch.” He took another stomp at him. Excellent interview by Foley and really good post-match segment setting up what looks to be the tag match with Foley & Rock vs. Orton & Batista at WM20.
-Ross and Lawler talked about the angle with Orton and Foley. Lawler said Foley asked for it. Ross disagreed.
-Ring introductions took place for RVD and Booker T for the main event.
4 — RANDY ORTON vs. BOOKER T vs. ROB VAN DAM – IC Title match
When Orton came to the ring, Ross said he can’t be objective and he hopes Orton loses. Orton was nowhere to be seen after the bell rang as RVD and Booker battled each other. Ross said if Orton weren’t around when Booker or RVD scored a pin, how smart would he be? Ross criticized Orton for walking out on his obligation to his country. How are they ever going to turn Orton face with this on his record? Then again, we elected a president who may have done the same thing. They’ll probably come up with a story, assuming they even address it when Orton turns way down the line, that he left to take care of his sick grandmother or something. Basic three-way match with each wrestler taking a turn resting at ringside. Orton dropkicked RVD at 7:00 at ringside, then went to work on Booker T in the ring. Fans chanted “RVD, RVD.” Orton meanwhile went for an RKO in the ring. Booker lifted Orton in the air and RVD leaped off the top rope with a bodysplash onto Orton as Booker suplexed him backward. Similar to The Rockers’ finisher 15 years ago. RVD went for a cover on Orton, but Orton kicked out. RVD then covered Booker, but Booker kicked out at 9:30. Booker hit Orton with the scissors kick. As the ref counted, RVD landed on Booker’s back with a flip splash. RVD went back to the top rope and hit Booker with a Five-Star Frog Splash. Ross declared they had a new champion. Orton then shoved RVD out of the ring and made the cover on the stunned Booker for the win. Ross called Orton “the luckiest son of a…”
WINNER: Orton at 10:55 to retain the IC Title.
STAR RATING: *** – Nice three-way TV main event.
After the match, Batista and Flair joined Orton in celebrating his win. A hunched over Foley limped toward the ring. Fans chanted “Foley, Foley.” Orton gave Foley an RKO on the rampway. Flair and Batista beat on Booker and RVD in the ring as Orton trash-talked Foley at ringside.