SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report originally published 20 years ago this week here at PWTorch.com…
WWE RAW REPORT
DECEMBER 1, 2003
LIVE FROM SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
-Eric Bischoff announced that he had put together a main event featuring Randy Orton & Batista & Kane vs. Rob Van Dam & Shawn Michaels.
-Bill Goldberg marched to the ring as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. He said it seems to him that every week he’s getting jumped by someone, be it Kane or Triple H. He said tonight he is going to make it really simple. “To hell with Armageddon. Either of you two punks have the guts? Let’s get it on right here, right now. Come on, tough guys. That’s one of the longest uninterrupted stints WWE has given Goldberg to talk, by about five seconds. Eric Bischoff interrupted and said he doesn’t decide what happens on Raw. He got in Goldberg’s face and told him if he tries to create mass chaos on his show, he will not hesitate to fire him. He said that goes for everyone else in the back, too. “Because, let’s face it. This is not Monday Night Raw, this is the Eric Bischoff Show. And I, Eric Bischoff, the co… formerly co, now solo general manager of Raw. And not you or anybody else can do a damn thing about it.” Bischoff looked into the camera for a second, which is a big no-no in WWE.
Mick Foley then walked out in a surprise appearance. He was wearing a suit. He said he has been hired by Linda McMahon to be an outside consultant to help out with the show and steer it in the right direction. He said he was changing the two-on-three match Bischoff announced to a six man with Batista & Orton & Kane vs. Shawn Michaels & Goldberg. The crowd popped as Goldberg nodded and Bischoff looked quite upset.
Goldberg walked away. Bischoff got in Foley’s face and complained. Foley said he had more news regarding Steve Austin. The crowd popped. He said Austin can’t return to Raw as co-general manager, but he’d like to think there is some type of role that Austin could have on Raw. He held up a petition which would allow fans to encourage the board of directions to find a role for Austin to return to Raw. He asked Lillian Garcia to pass around the clipboard. Foley said he had one more item on the agenda. He said after doing painstaking research, there is only one thing wrong with Raw. He said, “You are what is wrong with this show, Eric Bischoff, so I have taken it upon myself to hire a new co-general manager of Raw. Me, Mick Foley.” Ross and Lawler went berserk along with the fans. Foley began to leave the ring, but like Columbo, he wasn’t finished yet. He walked up to Bischoff and said, “One more thing. Have a nice day!”
Great opening segment. The wheels are in motion for the return of Austin in some form or fashion. The return of Foley seems fresh. They gave Bischoff just enough time to be so over-the-top evil, including at the start of this show, that Foley comes across as a major equalizer to an evil force.
-After the break, Eric Bischoff was backstage on the phone with Linda McMahon. He told Coach that she hung up on him. Ross said Bischoff got just what he deserved. He announced that fans, too, could participate in the petition to bring back Austin and would provide an address later.
1 — BUBBA & D-VON DUDLEY vs. GARRISON CADE & MARK JINDRAK
Lawler said the Dudleys told him they feel they’re getting zero respect from Jindrak and Cade. Good high-impact, high-energy short match ending when D-Von rolled up Cade and yanked on his tights for leverage. After the match, D-Von leaned over Cade and chewed him out about respect.
WINNERS: The Dudleys at 2:06 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: * — Solid two minute match.
-Cade complained on the mic after the match that the Dudleys cheated. They asked for a replay and got it, but it was of Cade attempting to score a pin on Dudley earlier in the match with a handful of tights himself, then complaining to the ref for not counting to three fast enough. They demanded a rematch. The crowd, on cue, booed. Ross said they were getting a little big for their britches.
-Backstage Coach and Al Snow asked for a new opportunity to oust Raw of Ross and Lawler. Foley said he was going to let them have a rematch, but it would be a singles match with Coach vs. Lawler with Al Snow banned from ringside. Coach said if he won, he’d get to replace Ross? Foley said no, if Coach lost, he would be fired.
2 — BOOKER T vs. TEST (w/Stacy)
Lawler said he wouldn’t be losing to Coach, which meant Coach would soon be fired. Lawler, when talking about Stacy, said smiling is the second favorite thing she does with her mouth. Test attempted to score a pin with his feet on the second rope, but Stacy knocked his legs off the ropes. When Test complained to Stacy, Booker caught Test with a surprise scissors kick for the win. Stacy applauded.
WINNER: Booker T at 2:25.
STAR RATING: 3/4* — Short, but solid energy.
-Booker did the Spinaroonie. Afterward, he said he has a big surprise. He bent over and looked as a smiling Stacy’s legs and asked the crowd if they’d like to see a Leg-a-roonie. Stacy then did her rendition of the Spinaroonie, revealing her white underpants under her skirt in the process. Lawler said that was his favorite of all time. Mark Henry then attacked Booker and powerslammed him. Teddy Long ordered Henry to deliver another powerslam. Ross said he was trying to break Booker’s back. Trainers tended to Booker in the ring.
-Lita presented Trish with an action figure of Chris Jericho backstage. Lita asked Trish what was going on between them. Trish said they have an awesome time together and feel a connection. Trish asked how things were going with her and Christian. Lita wouldn’t answer and asked Trish how their date went last week. Trish said it went well. She then showed off a hockey jersey she made for Jericho with the no. 1 on it. Trish showed off some lingerie, giggled, and said, “I think tonight is the night.”
-Ross and Lawler recapped Mick Foley’s decisions so far tonight. Then they turned to talking about the attack on Shawn Michaels last week by Evolution.
-Terri interviewed Batista and Randy Orton backstage. Batista said he was sorry he didn’t put Shawn Michaels completely out of wrestling last week. He said if he gets in his face, he will destroy him this week in the main event.
-Scott Steiner, Test, and Stacy walked out and talked about Stacy performing the Spinaroonie. He said even though Test owns her, he and Test share everything, “and I mean everything.” Test got in Stacy’s face and said she needs to remember her role. He brought up Vince McMahon’s “Kiss My Ass Club.” He asked her pucker up and kiss their asses. Stacy looked sad. Steiner told her not to be so sad because it’s a privilege. Test yanked down his tights revealing his bare ass. Steiner yanked his pants down, revealing tiny bikini briefs. I think they were pinkish. Foley interrupted and made an “executive order” for Stacy to come consult with him at the entrance stage. Foley thanked Steiner and Test for proving “just what a couple of asses you really are.” Foley told Stacy, who ran up to him, that it makes him sick to see how they treat him. Test reminded Foley that she is his property. Foley said, “Your contract is no longer valid because as of this moment, you’re fired!” Steiner said he can’t do that because they’re a tag team. Typical Steiner logic, huh? Foley said, “Okay, as of now, Steiner, you’re fired!” Ross exclaimed, “Oh my god!” Stacy did a cartwheel and leaped into Foley’s arms.
This has been a really upbeat show so far, a nice “relief” from the “misery” caused by Bischoff the past two weeks since Survivor Series. The comedy quotient is up, too. Sure, Foley’s rulings are stretching the bounds of contract law, but it doesn’t seem anyone minds and at least they’re making attempts to explain his decisions a little bit.
-Foley joined Ross and Lawler on commentary. Foley said: “I just realized something. I love firing people. I’m drunk with power and loving it!”
3 — VAL VENIS & LANCE STORM (w/two women friends) vs.
Foley said he sees great potential in La Resistance. He said they’re like Austin and Rock four or five years ago in that the crowd is booing them, but deep down they’re itching to cheer them. He said, “They’ll be babyfaces in no time.” In small, well-placed doses, Foley is one of the few people who can pull off “insider references” like that without seeming pathetic. Ross and Lawler were perplexed. After the match, Foley said he liked the match and as a co-GM it’s the type of match he likes to see.
WINNERS: Storm & Val when Storm pinned Conway at 2:40.
STAR RATING: * — More solid action, but very short.
-Foley stood up and told them that even though they won’t support the U.S. troops, we are a forgiving country and want to give them a chance to gain the admiration of fans. The fans booed. Foley asked them to place their hand over their hearts and pledge allegiance to the flag. Conway did it, but Rene Dupree didn’t Dupree got mad at Conway. Foley said Conway was rumbling the words, but Dupree didn’t. Conway said Dupree is French and doesn’t know the words. Foley said “You’re fired” in French. Then he said, “To quote Britney Spears, oops, I did it again.” Foley then marched to the ring to patriotic music, slapped some fans’ hands at ringside.
-Jericho asked Trish backstage if she was ready to go. She said yes, then told Jericho that she’s never felt the way she does about anyone as she does about him. Jericho smiled.
4 – MISS JACKIE & RICO vs. TRISH STRATUS & CHRIS JERICHO
Rico worked over Trish at the start, breaking the man vs. man and woman vs. woman rules. Lawler wondered if it was really violation. Ross said Rico’s DNA should be tested, but then later talked about not judging Rico by his cover because he had great athletic background, including in the martial arts. Jackie put Trish in a reverse, back-arching sleeper hold at 4:00. Trish reversed it into a nice roll-up for a two count. Jericho and Rico tagged in and had some good, crisp exchanges beginning with a Jericho flying forearm and shoulder tackle with an enzuigiri thrown in leading to a two count. Jericho then chopped away at Rico’s chest. Rico came back with a reverse sidekick to the gut and a flying roundhouse kick to the head. He flew off the top rope, but got caught with a fist. Jericho followed with a bulldog and Lionsault, then tossed Rico over the top rope. When Jackie climbed to the top rope, he bumped into the ropes to knock Jackie off balance. He then dove over the top rope onto Rico at ringside. Trish, meanwhile, gave Jackie a huracanrana off the top rope followed by the Stratusfaction for the win. Jericho and Trish hugged after the match. Lawler said Trish’s chest was swelling with pride.
WINNERS: Trish & Jericho at 5:40.
STAR RATING: *1/2
-Backstage Bischoff looked up at somebody off camera and talked about Foley changing his main event and starting a petition to bring Austin back. The camera panned back to reveal Kane, who asked how this affects him. Bischoff told him to wonder about his history with Foley and said he heard a rumor that Foley is looking for a way to strip him of his title shot at Armageddon. Bischoff said he’d do everything in his power to be sure that doesn’t happen.
5 — MATT HARDY vs. CHRISTIAN (w/Lita)
Ross brought up the history these two have had in TLC matches over the years. Hardy didn’t seem pleased when he saw Lita come out with Christian. Lawler said he thinks he knows what’s going on with Trish and Jericho, but he hasn’t figured out the Christian-Lita situation. Hardy dove at Christian in the ropes, but Christian moved and Hardy crotched himself on the second rope. Lita smiled. Ross said she deserves to have something to smile about in her life after what she’s been through the past two weeks. Molly Holly came out and threw Lita into the ringside stairs. Christian turned to check on the situation and Hardy rolled him up for a quick three count. Christian helped Lita to her feet after the match.
WINNER: Hardy at 6:33.
STAR RATING: ** — Hardy’s return to Raw has been slow-brewing and already has lost some of the impact the “first jump” between brands could have had initially. He’s not lost in the shuffle, but he’s not being treated as anything particularly special. Too bad, because he is one of those wrestlers with breakout potential. That said, I really like the storylines going on right now with Trish, Jericho, Lita, and Christian. They’re doing a good job with storylines that could have easily gotten really corny fast or worn out their welcome after a couple of weeks.
-Ross plugged the six-man tag main event.
6 – JERRY LAWLER vs. COACH
Coach came out with a cocky demeanor, wearing sunglasses. Ross said Coach is going to join La Resistance, Scott Steiner, and Test in getting fired. He said he knows what it’s like to get fired, and it doesn’t feel good. King went after Coach right away, slapping Coachman around right away. Lawler won quickly with a fistdrop. Coach took one bump on a back suplex, so he wasn’t put in a position to “expose the business” or hurt himself.
WINNER: Lawler at 0:50.
-After the match, Lawler and Ross returned the favor by singing “Na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye” at Coach as Coach did a cartoonish crying routine.
-Ross and Lawler plugged the mailing and email addresses for the return of Austin. Fans were shown signing the petition in the crowd. Ross congratulated Lawler on his win. Ross said it feels great to have the vibrancy and energy that Foley brings to the show. Then they plugged the Triple Threat World Title match at Armageddon, but Michaels vs. Batista, RVD vs. Randy Orton for the IC Title, Booker T vs. Mark Henry, and Val Venis & Storm vs. Jindrak & Kane vs. Hurricane & Rosey vs. The Dudleys in a Tag Team Turmoil match. Great graphics in the background for this PPV plug. They keep upping the production values.
-Christian told Jericho he is going to seal the deal tonight. He said he saw a spark in Lita’s eyes. Jericho told Christian that Trish is falling for everything hook, line, and sinker. Christian said Trish is a prude and is a locked at the knees, whereas Lita is extreme. Jericho mocked Trish saying, “I’ve never felt this way before.” Jericho said he is going to win the bet. He said he’s “going to nail Trish before he can nail Lita.” Christian said he bet him one dollar Canadian he’s wrong. Jericho said the Highlight Reel he puts together is going to be hotter than the Paris Hilton sex tape. The camera panned back and reveals Trish, who was outside the doorway overhearing the conversation. She began crying and then ran off. I wish WWE would have gone to a little extra trouble to show that the camera was filming Jericho and Christian without their knowledge. It’s one thing for performers to ignore the cameras when they’re talking amongst themselves about feuds and matches, but to openly reveal their “secret plot” in front of a live camera just distracts from the enjoyment of the storyline by shattering the “suspension of disbelief.” All it would have taken was someone like Hurricane or even Foley to get the attention of a cameraman and have him sneak over to the conversation “already in progress” and shoot the conversation from behind a stack of crates. The way it was done, it made Jericho and Christian out to be idiots for revealing their plot in front of a cameraman, distracting from an otherwise well-done storyline and great performances on their parts. They go to so much trouble in other areas, but chip away at the effectiveness of angles like this by taking the “it’s all fake, everyone knows it, it’s okay if we’re lazy/sloppy” when it comes to taking the extra easy step to make these types of “secret plot” revelations easier to swallow.
7 — SHAWN MICHAELS & ROB VAN DAM & GOLDBERG vs. RANDY ORTON & BATISTA & KANE.
Ross wondered right away why Triple H and Ric Flair didn’t accompany Orton and Batista. Lawler said they were playing mindgames to wait to be introduced until after Goldberg, the World Heavyweight Champion. Ross pushed Raw as the “flagship program” and talked up the main event, which began at 10:45 p.m. ET, earlier than usual, which would tend to indicate a post-match angle with Foley is going to occupy the overrun. Flair eventually came to ringside. Ross put over Flair’s DVD as the greatest DVD he’s ever seen, and called Flair “Mr. DVD.” I think of all nicknames Flair expected to have in his career, that one never crossed his mind. RVD got in some early offense, then took a beating for a couple of minutes. He hot-tagged Michaels at 3:45 who went to work on all three heels right away. He went to the top rope and plummeted onto Batista with his elbow drop. Michaels stomped the mat, then knocked Flair off the ring apron. Kane then illegally entered the ring and chokeslammed Michaels as the ref was looking at Flair at ringside. They cut to a commercial as the ref began counting down both Michaels and Batista, who were flat on their backs in the ring.
Batista worked over Michaels in the ring, eventually settling into a chinlock. When Batista lifted Michaels into the air by the neck, Michaels thumbed him in the eye then gave him a low blow. Michaels hot-tagged Goldberg, who beat up both Batista and Orton, then called for Kane to enter the ring. Kane tagged in at 11:30. Kane threw the first punches, but Goldberg then overwhelmed Kane with a series of punches. (I should hope the World Champ could beat up a guy who lost to non-wrestler Shane McMahon a dozen times in cage matches.) Goldberg then gave Kane a Spear. When he set up the Jackhammer, Batista and Orton charged into the ring. Michaels and RVD made the save. Goldberg chased Kane into the crowd and brawled. RVD nailed Orton in the ring with a sidekick off the ropes and followed with Rolling Thunder for a near fall. Flair yanked the ref out of the ring to stop the count, then punched the ref. RVD kicked Flair. Orton then attempted to give RVD his RKO, but RVD escaped and gave Orton a reverse sidekick. RVD hit the Five Star. The ref was still down. Foley ran out and counted the pin himself.
WINNERS: RVD & Goldberg & Michaels at 13:52.
STAR RATING: *** — Good TV main event.
-Bischoff came out and ordered them to cut the music because he wanted to talk to Mick Foley alone. Ross said Bischoff was just bitching and moaning. Bischoff told Foley he decimated Raw by firing the people he fired. he said Foley is a worse GM than Austin was because at least Austin was competent. He said Paul Heyman is going to be waiting over at Smackdown to sign those talents. Foley said that’s not going to happen because he isn’t going to sign any release papers. He said he just said he was going to fire everyone because he wanted to show Bischoff what it’s like to be heartless and reckless with power. Foley said he is going to do his best to recapture the spirit of Austin. He announced next week Kane vs. Goldberg. He then said he is going to give the Smackdown fans what they came to see since he stepped foot in the ring. He then punched Bischoff, who bumped to the mat. Foley then pulled out Mr. Socko and shoved it into Bischoff’s mouth. Fans chanted “Foley, Foley.” Ross called Foley a “breath of fresh air.” Ross did a great job during the show putting over the return of Foley and seeming genuinely thrilled with the energy and justice he brought to Raw.
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