January 27, 2004
Raw: Mrs. Foley's little boy is back
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
Can you smell the chocolate? Raw rolls into Hershey, Pennsylvania to wrap up any loose ends from the Royal Rumble and to start setting the table for WrestleMania XX. Two big questions that may or may not be answered tonight concern who will be facing Triple H at 'Mania and whether or not Mick Foley will continue to grace us with his presence after he eliminated Randy Orton on Sunday night. Thousands of central Pennsylvanians will be braving the threat of bad weather to watch as Raw takes over the Giant Center live.
From the 'In Case You Missed It' file comes a package with some footage from the Rumble featuring the aforementioned Mr. Foley, as well as Jim Ross sounding like he's about to burst a blood vessel. Chris Jericho kicks off the show in earnest by making his way to the ring. He's disappointed about not winning the Rumble, but he's glad that Chris Benoit, a Smackdown superstar, took the honors. Why? Well the way Jericho figures, the Raw title shot at 'Mania is up for grabs. He intends to use his Survivor Series favour from Eric Bischoff to get a shot at Triple H, but he's not planning on waiting until March - he wants the world champ tonight. Bischoff arrives on the scene with slightly different plans for the evening. He offers Jericho a title shot alright, but he also books another match pitting Trish Stratus against Kane. Embarrassed that Smackdown performers have won the Rumble two years running, Bischoff tells Jericho he can use the favour to get the shot or spare Trish -- and the look in Y2J's eyes means that Stratus is safe. Since he won't be facing Hunter, Eric figures he might as well put Jericho in a match teaming him with Rob Van Dam to face Ric Flair, Batista and Orton. That's to show Chris how failure is punished, and oh by the way, the match is next.
Match 1 - Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam vs. Evolution (Flair, Batista and Orton)
Jericho starts out working against Orton, who quickly hears a 'Foley' chant from the fans. A jumping back elbow gets a near fall for Jericho before he gives way to Van Dam, who has Orton on the defensive. The Legend Killer has to kick out about four times until he can tag in Flair, who he has to save from Van Dam. Jericho uses a springboard dropkick to knock Batista off the apron, but he soon regrets trying to follow up when he is caught coming off the apron himself and planted on the floor with a wicked spine buster. The match breaks for commercial with Van Dam alone against all three heels. We return to find trainers checking out Jericho as RVD carries on solo. He bides his time fighting off various submission holds until Jericho, feeding off the fans' cheers, recovers enough to return. Van Dam's step-over kick to Flair gives him enough time to tag in Jericho, who smartly works over Batista's legs. Orton rushes to help but gets back body dropped to the floor, then Jericho escapes a power bomb attempt and locks Batista in the Walls of Jericho. Van Dam flies to hit a Five Star Frog Splash on Flair, and Batista is just about to tap out when Orton reappears. He slips attempting a running RKO, so he has to run back off the ropes for a second try in a spot that makes Jericho look ridiculous for sitting in one place for so long. The fans let Randy hear it, but the second RKO hits and Batista covers to get the victory for Evolution.
As a quick side note, the Hershey fans seem pretty live. This appears to fly in the face of SLAM! Wrestling Smackdown reporter Dale Plummer's theory that the failure of local sports teams can kill a crowd because the Giant Center's tenants, the Hershey Bears, are not very good this year. In the bowels of the Giant Center, Orton whines to Bischoff about Foley ruining what was going to be his night on Sunday. He asks for and receives permission form the general manager to beat Mick on sight if the rumours are true about Foley showing up. Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupts to say that it's no rumour, but a fact that Foley will be present, because Austin invited him. Raw's sheriff says Orton is welcome to try to beat on Foley, but not before Mick gets equal time on the mic to counter the political ads Orton has been running for the past few weeks.
As Jericho recovers from a tough loss in the locker room, Trish drops in. She thanks Y2J for sacrificing his title shot to save her from certain doom at Kane's hands, and she's also happy they both feel the same way about each other. She LJBF's the Canadian superstar big time, much to his chagrin. You know - Let's Just Be Friends. Stratus goes on to say she's not the type of friend that's going to take him out on the town to "score chicks," and just as he's about to ask how she came across that information, the perpetrator shows up in the form of Christian. Trish excuses herself, and Christian takes his buddy to task for not having his head in the game. After all, this is Raw and not an episode of The O.C. Ah, good one.
Match 2 - Victoria and Lita vs. Molly Holly and Jazz
Steven Richards is sporting shorts that say Stevie Night Heat on the back, which might be the funniest gear I've seen since Al Snow had his J.O.B. Squad apparel. All four ladies get some work, but Victoria eventually finds herself worn down by Molly and Jazz assaulting her neck. Lita takes out Jazz as Victoria scores a near fall on Molly with a power slam, but the women's champ regains control. She goes for a suplex only to be countered by an inside cradle, giving Victoria her second straight pin of Holly.
The night wouldn't be complete without a visit from the world champion, so Triple H, looking a bit worse for wear after his Last Man Standing match with Shawn Michaels, comes down the ramp. He chastises HBK for not being able to stand when it counted, earning a visit from his foe. Michaels stands toe to toe with Helmsley as the champ wonders aloud what he has to do to stop him for good. HBK says their feud is just getting started, but the fun comes to a temporary halt as Austin rides his four-wheeler down and takes a quick spin around the ring. While the sheriff feels that Michaels deserves a rematch for his effort at the Rumble, he's not there to make any matches, but to enforce the law. In this case, he's on hand to make sure Rumble winner Chris Benoit gets his 'Mania title shot, and since the rules don't state it has to be against the champion from his own show, he wants the Wolverine to join them in the ring. Much to the surprise of J.R. and The King, Benoit obliges. A Benoit chant starts from the Raw crowd as the Canadian explains that though HHH and HBK may have gone through hell facing each other, he did too by outlasting 29 other men in the Rumble. He states that he will fulfill his destiny by challenging the world heavyweight champion - whether it's Helmsley or Michaels - at WrestleMania. I wonder what Paul Heyman thinks about that.
Match 3 - Kane vs. Bubba Ray Dudley
Some quick footage shows Kane taking out his frustration from his Rumble exit by annihilating Spike Dudley, who claims he had nothing to do with the Undertaker entrance music that spooked the Big Red Machine. Bubba fights hard to avenge his little half brother, but he's soon in trouble after Kane baits him into fighting on the floor. Bubba rallies in the ring with a clothesline; Kane fires back by attacking Bubba's bandaged eye and leaves the ring to grab the steel steps. A shot from the steps gets Kane disqualified, though that doesn't seem to bother him too much. D-Von runs in and fares no better, getting a Tombstone for his trouble. Speaking of tombstones, the tolling bells of the Undertaker's old music ring again, and the lights go out as a new video shows on the Titan Tron that shows a collage of static, shots of Kane, snakes, a cemetery and a quick glimpse of old school 'Taker. It's just a tease though, as the Dead Man is nowhere to be seen. One gets the feeling it won't be long.
Somewhere in the back, Bischoff is on speakerphone with Heyman, the better for us to hear both sides of the conversation. He pleads his case to Smackdown's GM by denying any knowledge that Austin was going to invite Benoit to Raw, but Heyman is convinced Eric and Stone Cold were working together. He advises Bischoff to lawyer up and get ready for a lawsuit. The Coach stops in to check on his boss, and starts laughing when he thinks back on Heyman attacking Bischoff physically in Philly. Bischoff doesn't see the same humour in that, and he proves it by booking a No DQ match for Coachman ... against Goldberg.
Match 4 - Rob Conroy vs. Rico
I usually at least attempt to recap some moves from each match, but there's something I can't wait to get to in this one. First, Miss Jackie falls out of her top at ringside while she urges Rico on. But that's nothing compared to what she does a minute later when Rico is in trouble, as she hops up on the apron and pulls down her top to expose her, as King would say, puppies. Alas, our camera angle is from the rear, but folks on the east end of the Giant Center got an unexpected treat. Understandably distracted, Conroy is easily pinned by a spinning kick. For some reason, Jackie and Rico are joined in celebration by Stacy Keibler. The King says it's because Playboy magazine is looking for a pair of Divas to feature together. Um, okay. The question is, did Jackie learn that particular skill on Tough Enough?
The rumours are true: Foley is indeed in the arena. It's just too bad it's Hersheypark's off-season, meaning no roller coaster for Mick.
Match 5 - Jonathan Coachman vs. Goldberg - No Disqualification Match
Coach grabs a mic and begs Bischoff to reconsider. It doesn't look like it's going to happen, so this is going to be a laugher, right? Maybe not. Theodore Long and Mark Henry come to the ring, and Long offers Henry's services to keep 'Whitey' from being unfair to Coach. We return from commercial to see Goldberg's entrance and the match is on. Coach hops up and sits in a corner as Henry locks up, then shoulder blocks Goldberg to the canvas. Goldberg fires back with a clothesline, so the heels regroup on the floor. Henry returns to hit a clothesline of his own, then batters away in the corner. He lifts Goldberg into a big bear hug and puts on the squeeze. Goldberg takes a minute to fight his way out, then scores with a kick and a front power slam. He tosses Henry to the floor and sets his sight on Coach, throwing him into the ring. It doesn't take long for the spear and Jackhammer and it's good night sweet prince. Goldberg scowls into the camera that Brock Lesnar is next, Smackdown or not.
Time is running down in the program, but the fans are still fired up because Foley makes his way out. Mick says it's time for an explanation of why he walked out over a month ago, but first he needs to explain where he's been. It goes something like this: to do what he is famous for in the ring, Mick needed to have hatred in his heart to channel into his wrestling. He says his mistake was not in walking out on Orton, but accepting the match in the first place, because in his retirement he had done away with the hatred that he needed to get the job done. But in any case, Foley still thinks Orton owes him a favour, so he asks the Intercontinental champ to join him in the ring. An angry Orton does just that, though he can't imagine what Foley would dare ask him for. Mick says he knows it sounds a bit kooky, but he wants Orton to spit in his face again. Randy is incredulous, but Foley eggs him on by smacking his mic away and slapping him in the face twice. Orton spits and steels himself for retaliation, but Foley laughs and say he will turn the other cheek. He means it literally, as he wants Orton to spit on him yet again, but he thinks the youngster can do better. To make sure, Mick starts what is probably the first ever 'loogie' chant at a wrestling show. Orton spits again, and it's a nice one hanging off Foley's left cheek. The hardcore legend says he's been peed on, pooped on and thrown up on while raising his kids, so the spit doesn't faze him. He's also not bothered by name calling, though he draws the line at being called Randy Orton's bitch. Also, he knows that people can start to believe a lie if they're told enough times, and Foley thinks the idea of Orton as a hardcore legend is a big pile of crap. Foley can't stand Orton spitting on his name and legacy and says he's ready to welcome the darkness back into his heart. There's a time and place for hatred, and the place is Hershey while the time is now. Already bloody from enthusiastically punching himself during his speech, Mick looks crazed as he assaults Orton beating him across the ring and battering him in a corner. Flair and Batista rush down to the rescue and Batista manages to stop the onslaught with a clothesline. As Batista tends to his fallen teammate, Mick grabs a steel chair and rams it into Flair's gut. Batista is facing the wrong way and never sees the chair coming for his back. A bruised Evolution retreats up the ramp as the Hershey faithful cheer and a deranged looking Foley stands alone to end the show. I know it's sacrilegious to some to criticize Foley, but man, that was one long and winding segment.
Unintentionally Funny Quote of the Night
Every now and then, your favorite superstar just says something that doesn't come out right. Tonight's entry is from Goldberg, who sounded a little 'fifi' (as The Rock would say) saying this. Um, not that there's anything wrong with it if he is.
"I don't care where you are, what show you're on. I'm hunting your ass!"
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's willing to take one for the team and be the judge for the Divas Playboy competition. Any Playboy editors reading should send the pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.