20 YRS AGO – WWE Raw Report (3-29-2004): Keller’s report on Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” with Trish Stratus, Triple H vs. Shelton, plus Flair, Bischoff, Batista, Michaels, more

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Batista (photo credit © PWTorch)


The following report originally published 20 years ago this week here at PWTorch.com…

MARCH 29, 2004

-Clips aired of last week’s draft, focused on Triple H, and then footage aired of Kurt Angle announcing he was the new G.M. of Smackdown and that he traded Hunter for The Dudleys and Booker T.

-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and talked about Hunter being traded back to Raw.

-Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton walked to the ring. Ross and Lawler wondered why Hunter wasn’t with them. Flair said he and Batista are thrilled to defend the World Tag Team Titles against Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit later in the show. He said Hunter would be on Raw later. He said they are all disappointed with the reaction of the Raw locker room last week when it appeared he was leaving Raw. Flair said Hunter would deal with them later. Flair then said he is tired of the lack of respect for Randy Orton. The crowd booed. Orton lifted his chin and took deep, confident breaths. Flair bragged about Orton pinning Foley. Flair said Orton was so upset, he was going to talk despite having a sore throat from his tonsil surgery last week. Lawler demanded fans show Orton some respect since he was recovering from “major surgery.” It’s good to hear Flair talk more than usual on Raw.

Orton apologized for being difficult to understand. Lawler said tonsil surgery “can be fatal.” Orton said his presense proves he has guts, unlike Mick Foley. He said he has prroven Foley is a coward. Foley’s music played and he walked out onto the stage. Foley said Orton proved himself at WrestleMania. “He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, in a three-on-two situation, he is capable of beating a Hollywood actor and a guy who writes children’s books,” Foley said. He added that if Evolution weren’t by his side at WM, things would have turned out differently. He said the fans realize that in a one-on-one situation, “I would have kicked your little ass all over Madison Square Garden.” Flair told Foley he had a chance to wrestle Orton at Backlash, but he didn’t show up. Foley said he wants to be sure it’s one-on-one, so he wanted Evolution banned from ringside. Flair said, “No problem-o.” Foley then suggested they put Orton’s IC Title on the line. Foley then said he wanted there to be no rules in the match. Flair said okay. Foley said he wanted to hear Orton say he agreed. Orton agreed. Then Foley told Orton he better keep his distance between now and the PPV or he will tear him apart. Not a homerun segment by any means, but it got its point across well.

-La Resistance joined by Garrison Cade told Tajiri that as his initiation into Raw, he needed to mist whoever showed up in the room next. Coach entered the room and Tajiri sprayed him. Coach sold it better than anyone ever has, although a bit cartoonishly with his bodylanguage. Tajiri laughed. La Resistance and Cade then told him he was in big trouble because Coach is a friend of Bischoff.

[Commercial Break]


Ross questioned how Molly’s hair grew out long and curly already. Nidia didn’t get much fanfare for her in-ring debut on Raw since switching from Smackdown. Ross seemed to be trying to stay awake when talking at length about Molly’s wigs. It just didn’t seem to be a subject of great interest to him. Lawler said Molly’s wig is so realistic, it even has dandruff. Lawler should self-edit stuff like that. That’s not even funny to a six year old. Nidia ripped off Molly’s wig for the “house show pop” at 2:40. Seconds later Nidia rolled up a distracted Molly for the win.

WINNER: Nidia at 2:47.


-A clip aired of Eric Bischoff announcing the acquisition of Edge. With the huge rating for Raw last week, I am surprised that they didn’t start off with a hotter 30 minutes both in terms of content and production values.

-Bischoff complained to Johnny Blaze about the footage airing of Edge spearing Bischoff. Bischoff said people around there need to start respecting him more and realizing he runs the show. Johnny said he hasn’t seen Edge all day, but he’d look for him. When he called him “E.B.,” Bischoff told him to call him “Mr. Bischoff.” Bischoff said Edge would get taught a lesson right away because his first match back at Backlash would be against Kane.

[Commercial Break]

-Hurricane came out for his match, but Triple H attacked him on the stage. Hunter entered the ring and said the wrestlers who cheered his departure should realize that Bischoff would have traded any of them to get him back. He said Kurt Angle traded him from Smackdown back to Raw because he didn’t want him stealing his spotlight and because he was still bitter at him for slapping him around years ago. He said Bischoff is better G.M. because he knows his value, he knows he puts fans in their seats, and he knows that it would be best to change the TV main event to him vs. Chris Benoit. Bischoff came out and said he made a verbal commitment last week so he couldn’t break that, but he would book the ultimate rematch ever, a final encounter with Hunter vs. Benoit vs. Michaels. Lawler said he thinks that match at WrestleMania was the greatest WM main event ever.

[Commercial Break]

-Evolution were chatting backstage when they saw Shelton Benjamin. Batista got in his face and asked him what he was laughing at last week. They attacked him. Hunter told him to never disrespect him.

-Lance Storm stood center-ring as his music played. He screamed for his music to stop. He said he couldn’t stand it anymore. He said he tried to please the people with his music and that silly dance. “Where’s it gotten me? I’ve become a joke,” he said. “Everywhere I go, all I hear is ‘dance, Lance, dance.'” He said after 14 years of hard work, he was reduced to a dance. He said last week was his last chance to put it all behind him, only if he could have been traded to Smackdown. “I could have had a new beginning with new fans,” he said. Then Rhyno’s music interrupted. Storm’s voice didn’t exactly command respect. He sounded really whiny.


Rhyno gave Storm a Gore early in the match and scored a clean 1-2-3.

WINNER: Storm at 0:43.

STAR RATING: N/R — That’s either the end of Storm entirely or the beginning of something entirely new for him because there’s no way to go lower than jobbing to Rhyno, who’s practically been used as a jobber lately already.

-Backstage, Coach told Bischoff what Tajiri did to him. Coach complained that the green stuff still stings and is still on his teeth. Coach began saying that Tajiri was disrespected Raw and called Bischoff incompetent. Tajiri denied Coach’s claims with gasps. Coach asked Bischoff to imagine it had been him walking through that door. Bischoff said he would give him an initiation, a one-on-one match, no-DQ against Kane. Tajiri bit his fingers in fear and made those silly faces. Coach laughed at him.

[Commercial Break]


Benoit came out to his music followed by Michaels to his music. Then Flair & Batista followed. The ring introductions made the tag champs out to be more important than the singles world champ, but it made sense that those who are defending their belts came out last as is tradition (although the tradition isn’t always followed). Lilian Garcia announced she had just been informed that Johnny Spade was made the special referee for the match. Johnny whispered into Lilian’s ear. She said that Johnny Spade now wants to be known as Johnny Nitro. Ross joked that his middle name is “Monday” and he is just sucking up to his boss. Lawler called it the “ill-fated Nitro.” Speaking of sucking up to bosses. Michaels dove over the top rope onto both Flair and Batista in the opening minute. Batista sold a left leg injury at 2:00 after an elbowdrop by Michaels, then limped over to tag in Flair. Michaels went right to a figure-four leglock at 2:30. Flair screamed in agony, but rolled to the bottom rope quickly. Benoit tagged in and chopped Flair, who fell face-first to the mat. At 3:45 Batista tagged in and punched awa at Benoit. Benoit, though, fired right back at Batista’s leg. Ross complained that Johnny’s first assignment as a referee ever was in a tag team title match live on Raw. By 6:00 Flair was on offense against Michaels. He did a little bit of his Flair strut, then tagged in Batista. Benoit hot-tagged in at 7:30 and gave Flair three consecutive German suplexes, then applied the Sharpshooter. Batista broke it up right away. Michaels charged into the ring to knock Batista to ringside. Michaels got in Johnny’s face as they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break – An ad ran for the WWE toy ring featuring “real superstars” like “Brock Lesnar and Goldberg.” No other wrestlers were mentioned. Not the best timing for that product’s release.]

Benoit gave Flair an enzuigiri during the break, then hit his top rope headbutt at 13:30. Michaels then tagged in and hit the Sweet Chin Music for the win. Benoit couldn’t believe what just happened. Micheals shrugged his shoulders and hugged Benoit. Johnny explained to Garcia that Flair was not the legal wrestler in the ring when he was pinned. Flair schoolboyed Flair for a super-fast two count. Michaels then punched Johnny Nitro. Benoit and Michaels then cleared the ring of Flair and Batista. Nitro called for the bell. After Flair and Batista returned to the ring, Michaels threw Johnny into the ring and then Benoit put him in the Crossface. Michaels and Benoit held each other’s arms in the air afterward as Benoit’s music played.

WINNERS: Batista & Flair at 15:26 via DQ to retain the World Tag Team Titles.

STAR RATING: **1/4 — Just an average match. The false title change was convincing.

-Benjamin confronted Bischoff about being attacked by Evolution backstage earlier. He asked Bischoff to do something about it. Bischoff told him that Hunter was trying to teach him a lesson. Bischoff told Benjamin that he needs to learn not to disrespect The Game or him. Bischoff offered a handshake to Benjamin. Benjamin didn’t accept the offer. Steve Austin made his first appearance of the show, stepping up behind Bischoff. Austin told Benjmain that he has a chance to start his career over on Raw as a singles wrestler. Austin told him not to be a sellout and a suck-up by accepting Bischoff’s handshake. He told him instead to challenge Hunter to a match. Benjamin did that. Bischoff gave him what he wanted. Austin then told Benjamin, “I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into. Good luck, kid.” Benjamin looked a bit perplexed that he did exactly what Austin said, but then Austin said that to him.

[Commercial Break]

-Time for Chris Jericho’s “Highlight Reel.” Jericho said he was warned not to put his hands on Trish Stratus or he’d get suspended, so he just wanted an explanation from her. He introduced her as his guest for the evening. Ross called Trish “evil” and “ex-wife material.” Trish taunted Jericho for not being able to touch her. She gloated about slapping him at WrestleMania. She said Jericho should have sacrificed himself more to protect her. She said Christian was there for her. “I’m a three time Babe of the Year. You’re not even in my league,” she said. The fans chanted “slut, slut” at her. She said she was proud of humiliating him on the grandest stage of all. She said they planned and plotted all night long, and “that’s not all we did all… night… long.” Jericho called Trish the “biggest slut of the century.” That got a big crowd pop. Jericho said all he did was put his foot in his mouth, “and that’s nothing compared to what you put in your mouth. You say I blew it. I’d say you’ve been doing all the blowing around here. And they say Kurt Angle sucks. You’re easier than Paris Hilton on Viagra. Three-time Babe of the Year? Wasn’t Babe a pig? Thanks for coming out here and opening up. That is what you do best, after all.” He then said he is a sexy beast. He called Christian the CLB and Trish the FDDBBFTH. He said that stood for “Filthy Dirty Disgusted Brutal Bottom Feeding Trashbag Ho.” He led the crowd in chanting each of those unflattering adjectives at her. Trish stormed away. Good segment, although Trish is still really green as a heel behind the mic. If she ever develops into a standout heel interview, she’ll look back at this performance and cringe. She seemed nervous and overly rehearsed.

[Commercial Break]

-Ross thanked the fans for making Raw the no. 1 most watched show on basic cable last week.

-Trish stormed up to Christian and said he should have been there for her, but instead he was in Bischoff’s office. He said the good news he secured a match against Jericho at Backlash.

4 — KANE vs. TAJIRI — No DQ match

Tajiri attacked Kane with his kicks. When Kane quickly took over, Tajiri sprayed him with his green mist at ringside. Kane was then counted out. As Kane was about to destroy Tajiri for celebrating his win, Edge ran out and speared Kane, setting up their Backlash match. It appears Edge is set up to score a big win over “the monster Kane” at Backlash setting up his feud with Triple H thereafter.

WINNER: Tajiri at 1:50.


[Commercial Break]

-Benoit gave Benjamin a pep talk backstage. Then Hurricane told him to do everyone a favor and take Triple H down. Foley then told Benjamin that “on Raw you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” He told him he has a chance to show off what he can do.

-Ross and Lawler discussed the TV main event. Lawler said Hunter is going to make Benjamin wish he was never drafted to Raw. Ross said it was a great opportunity. Ross then introduced a new Smackdown recap segment called “Smackdown Re-bound.” It seems the strategy is to show Raw viewers what some former Raw stars are up to on the show they may not be watching regularly.

-Flair gave Hunter a pep talk backstage.

[Commercial Break]


Benjamin looked smaller than Triple H, but not too small to be a main eventer against him. Shelton used some amateur wrestling to ground Hunter, who grabbed the bottom rope to break free. He looked a bit surprised by Benjamin’s early domination. Hunter had to grab the bottom rope a second time. Benjmain gave Hunter a patronizing slap to the face, getting back at Hunter for his condescending attitude earlier. That’s the type of ring presense you need to be taken seriously by fans. Speaking of which, the crowd chanted “Shelton, Shelton.” Then they switched to “You tapped out, you tapped out.” It’s nice how that chant shifted from Brock to Hunter so smoothly. Hunter went for a quick Pedigree, but Benjamin escaped. Hunter signalled how close he was to finishing him off. Someone held up a sign in the second or third row that said “Jeff Jarrrett: No-Talent Jabroni.” The fact that anyone in a WWE crowd thought to put Jeff Jarrrett’s name on a sign is a victory for TNA. Benjamin scored a quick two count on Hunter, then signalled to Hunter just how close he was to beating Hunter. As Hunter yapped at the ref, Benjamin took him to the mat and applied an armbar. Lawler said Hunter is going to have to start taking Benjamin seriously. Benjamin scored a near fall a 5:15 after a jump spin hook kick. When Flair interfered at ringside, Benoit walked to ringside to even the odds. That led to the mid-match commercial.

[Commercial Break]

Benjamin scored another near fall. Ross said Benjamin was ahead on two counts. Hunter came back and dominated the first minutes of the match after the break. Benjamin teased some comebacks. He applied a sleeper at 16:30, but Hunter backdropped out of it. When Hunter came off the top rope toward Benjamin (although I have no idea what he intended to actually execute), Benjamin lifted his boot and caught him in the face. He knocked Hunter to ringside and then dove off the apron with a clothesline. He showed fire as he fended off Flair. Hunter recovered and went to ram him into the stairs. Benjamin blocked it and sent Hunter head-first into the stairs. Benjamin then nailed Hunter with a high flying clothesline off the top rope. Ross called the three count dramatically without calling it “over” prematurely. Hunter kicked out just before three. Lawler said he couldn’t believe his eyes. They caught Hunter on camera calling a spot, so Ross covered by saying he was “trash talking” to Benjamin. Benjamin hit a powerslam out of nowhere, but on the follow-up, Hunter went for a Pedigree. Benjamin reversed it into a pin attempt for another two count. Hunter was flustered. Flair threw an elbow to Benjamin’s head as Hunter distracted the ref. Benoit then chased down Flair at ringside. Benjamin gave Hunter the Steiner Splash in the corner from behind and then schoolboyed Hunter for the three count. Ross screamed, “Oh my god! Shelton Benjamin has just beat The Game!”

WINNER: Benjamin at 19:56.

STAR RATING: ***1/2 – Very good TV main event. Well executed, well plotted, well paced. Nice finish, too.

RECOMMENDED NEXT: 20 YRS AGO – WWE Smackdown Report (3/25/2004): Keller’s report on Triple H naming Kurt Angle new G.M., then trade announcement involving Dudleys and Booker T

OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: Becky Lynch on what’s left to accomplish, the pressure of living up to the expectations for her WrestleMania XL match with Rhea Ripley, taking pride in the growth of women’s wrestling

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply