July 20, 2004
RAW: Divas, Edge-Orton, Iron Man
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
Poor Eugene. That's the first thought that comes to mind as tonight's show from Washington D.C. leads off with a montage that features Triple H and Evolution befriending Eric Bischoff's "special" nephew only to turn on him and leave him a bloody mess at the end of last week's show.
I'm thinking we won't be seeing Eugene this evening in order to sell the attack, so the fans at the MCI Center are likely to see Evolution and Raw's general manager conspiring to follow up on their devious plan by making a play for Chris Benoit's world title. Is the end near for the Wolverine? Let's get it started and find out. And the bass keeps running, running and running, running...
Triple H comes to the ring to his usual mixed reaction from the paying customers. He admits that last week's deception and subsequent assault was low even by his standards, and that he felt sick to his stomach about it... until he passed gas and felt better. Saying that he knows Eugene is watching at home, Trips speaks directly into the camera to deliver the message that he hates the youngster. Furthermore, Helmsley claims that no one likes Eugene, even his own mom is ashamed of him and that he has no business being in the WWE. HHH also calls him pathetic, and just in case he isn't sure what that means, he rolls footage from last Monday of Benoit and William Regal summoning help for Eugene after Raw went off the air and shedding a few tears in the process. There's no crying in wrestling!
Bischoff enters and agrees that crying is pathetic, but he's happy to announce that Eugene is officially done in the WWE. He also has an idea to upstage SmackDown's recent steel cage championship match: a 60-minute Iron Man Match next week in Pittsburgh between HHH and Benoit for the world title. Triple H gets the night off to prepare, but not wanting to "disappoint the fans," Eric does book Benoit for non-title action tonight against Batista. Everything is peachy for the heels until they are interrupted by the arrival of William Regal. Eugene's former manager admits that he's not afraid to shed a tear on occasion, and he's also not afraid of them. He dedicates his next action to Eugene watching at home, then he storms in and attacks Triple H. Regal gets the better of the exchange, knocking HHH to the floor and forcing a panicked Bischoff to call for security. It takes five guards to finally drag the enraged Regal back up the ramp to end the segment.
J.R. and The King inform us that Edge and Randy Orton will have a rematch tonight for the Intercontinental Title. Unfortunately, there will also be more foolishness with the Raw Diva Search finalists. We head back to the ring after a commercial to find La Resistance ready to exercise their right to express themselves with a French rendition of the Canadian national anthem. Sylvan Grenier's singing would make a dog blush, but it's not long before Tajiri and Rhyno crash the party so we can move on.
Match 1 - Sylvan Grenier vs. Tajiri
Tajiri starts a "U.S.A." chant, much to the amazement of The King. A blown spot right off the bat looks pretty bad, but the men recover and Grenier takes over while his running buddy Robert Conway distracts the ref. Tajiri has to kick out of three near falls, but he rallies with his handspring back elbow and a variety of kicks. Grenier looks to be in trouble when he falls victim to the Tarantula, though Conway is on hand to help again, landing a running shot to the head from the floor. Grenier yanks Tajiri off the ropes and plants him with a facebuster (shades of X-Pac) to score the pinfall.
J.R. does some cheerleading for the excitement of attending a Raw brand show in person. It does my heart good since many of the clips are from shows right here in my native Pennsylvania. But such a blatant plug begs the question: are you having a little trouble putting fannies in the seats right now?
A Special Message from the Writer
I usually try to write these reports in the present tense, as if I'm typing right as I'm watching the action unfold. But for the sake of you, the reader, I'm going to break that rule for just a second. The following segment is especially bad, and could ruin your enjoyment of reading about what is otherwise an entertaining show. Reader discretion is advised.
Back to the Regularly Scheduled Report
The Jeritron 5000 can mean only one thing: Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel is up next. Tonight, Y2S is pleased to welcome not one, not two but ten guests, who just so happen to be the ten Raw Diva Search finalists. The ladies come to the ring and tell us their names and hometowns, several of which draw boos from the D.C. crowd. There doesn't seem to be a lot going on upstairs with some of these ladies either. In any case, Jericho tells the finalists that anything can happen on Raw, so he's going to deviate from what they've rehearsed in order to prsent a special part of the Diva Search. Apparently an "immunity envelope" has been hidden somewhere in Bischoff's office, and whoever finds it can't be eliminated by the voting that will take place later tonight that will vote one of the hopefuls out of the contest. He leads the women into the crowd, where some of them prove almost unable to make it over the retaining wall. Those tight skirts will do that to you. Once they arrive at the GM's office, the wanna-be divas go to town ripping everything apart while Jericho eggs them on. It's pretty bad, and it goes on like that for a few painful minutes until they all just stop. An awkward moment passes when Bischoff enters and starts berating the ladies. Some can't help but laugh, and it's clear not many of the finalists are ready for TV. Aren't some of you supposed to be actresses? Eric gets one of them to rat out Jericho before he kicks them out, and in case you were wondering, there is no immunity envelope. That's five minutes of my life I'll never get back. Thanks WWE!
Match 2 - Tyson Tomko vs. The Hurricane
Tomko is accompanied by Trish Stratus as usual, but The Hurricane has some help tonight in the form of Stacy Keibler. Her distraction of Tomko sets up a sequence of moves that leads to the Overcast and a low dropkick, but Stratus interferes directly and gives Tomko an opening for a big boot that ends the match quickly. Trish confronts Stacy outside the ring, punching her in the stomach and rolling her back into the ring to Tomko. Fortunately Rosey arrives to save the day, and sporting a snazzy new costume to boot.
As Ric Flair prepares Batista for his upcoming bout, Triple H pops out and says he wants to talk to him about that very match. Up at the announcer's table, J.R. and The King discuss Flair's controversial book. Let's just say Bret Hart and Mick Foley won't be sending the Nature Boy any thank-you cards any time soon.
Match 3 - Chris Benoit vs. Batista
A physical opening sequence sees the world champ going up top early, but Batista pops up before the diving headbutt can be launched. Batista grabs the advantage with a backbreaker and several blatant chokes, much to the consternation of J.R. Benoit can't get the Sharpshooter locked on, so he hits a German suplex and takes the fight outside to the floor. Batista catches his breath and takes it back inside, battering the Wolverine with right hands and a few power moves. A spinebuster leads to more right hands, then Batista hangs Benoit upside down by tangling his foot in the top two ropes. He lands a few running kicks to the head before the ref calls for the bell and the disqualification. More refs come down, but Batista chases them off and hits his sit-down power bomb anyway. If his goal was just to wear Benoit down for his boss, mission accomplished.
The lovely Lita is walking backstage when she bumps into Matt Hardy. She wants to talk, but Hardy isn't sure he can handle the whole messy situation right now. Lita tells him to take all the time he needs, but warns him that with or without him, she's having the baby. Quick, cue Madonna!
Hardy don't preach
Elsewhere, Edge crashes an interview with Orton and gets the best of him in a battle of wits. Plus, you can vote now by phone or internet for the Diva Search. The lady who gets the least amount of votes will be kicked off next week. How do we vote them all off?
Match 4 - Chris Jericho vs. Kane
Jericho figures he'd better attack before the bell rings to stand a chance, but Kane recovers quickly. A big boot and some elbowdrops force Y2J to kick out, then Kane locks on a camel clutch. Jericho escapes and launches a reverse elbow off the top turnbuckle and his drop toehold into the ropes. Taking the fight outside, Jericho sends Kane's head into the post twice and follows up with a running enzuigiri. He slides back in the ring as the ref continues to count, and though Kane staggers to his feet at eight, he can't beat the count and the ref calls for the bell. But wait: Bischoff isn't about to let it end like this. Eric orders the match restarted and adds that it is now Falls Count Anywhere. We'll get a commercial break to digest this bad news for our hero. We return to see Jericho low bridge Kane and leap from the top rope to take him out on the floor. That only gets a two-count, and the fight spills over the wall into the crowd. This makes me nostalgic for the days when every title match (especially those involving Stone Cold) used to spill into the crowd at some point. The two men scrap all the way over to where the boards would be for ice hockey and take turns hurling each other into them. Jericho grabs one of the TV cameras that's on a long supporting arm and smashes it into Kane's head. He covers for the count, but Batista shows up to break it up. Evolution's big man throws Jericho into the boards one more time and watches as Kane covers to get the pin.
A highlight package recaps the Raw Diva Search Casting Special, which by all accounts was God awful. Coach says the voting has begun, and will continue until 4 am Eastern time. Sorry readers, I'm dedicated and all, but I'm not staying up that late to cover the results. We also get the SmackDown Rebound, which features a surprisingly good-looking show that saw Eddie Guerrero frog splash Bradshaw off the top of a steel cage and later get screwed by the devious (and now presumably healthy) Kurt Angle.
Main Event - Randy Orton vs. Edge - Intercontinental Title Match
This is probably a pretty darn good match. Sadly, a thunderstorm knocks out my cable for most of it, returning only near the end. Thanks a lot Comcast! Edge launches a cross body off the top rope, but Orton moves and the ref is splattered instead. Randy uses a thumb to the eye and an uppercut to slow the champ, then he leaves the ring to grab a steel chair. He returns and walks right into a spear, and Edge covers but gets no count since the ref is still out. A low blow sets up an RKO, and the ref slowly revives and crawls over to make the count. Edge kicks out at two and the match continues. A reverse elbow leads to a second spear but this time it's Orton who kicks out at two. He looks for a second RKO, but it's countered with a backslide. Edge puts his feet on the ropes and the ref counts the three for him to retain his belt. J.R. and The King get in one last plug for next week's Iron Man Match. Tell your friends to watch, or just read about it here. Good night!
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Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998 but has never had to take notes for an entire Iron Man Match. Send any hand exercises that might be useful to email@example.com.