December 7, 2004
Raw: Lita finally prevails
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
Just who is the World Heavyweight Champion? Tonight's acting general manager, Chris Jericho, promises to address the big question on his show tonight, but not until everyone gets... well... lei-ed. He makes good on his word when hundreds of leis drop from the ceiling, kicking off what Jericho promises will be Raw's biggest party ever. Festivities will include Lita versus Trish Stratus for the Women's Title and something called the Rock and Roll Limbo-A-Go-Go. But first, Vince McMahon will join Jericho on the Highlight Reel to answer "The Question" as Raw goes live once again from Flair Country, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wasting little time, the Chairman of the Board gets right down to the controversial title situation that saw Chris Benoit pin Edge just as he was tapping out from a Crippler Crossface. In Vince's mind, two challengers doing something like that usually means neither of them are named champion. That's all Triple H apparently needs to hear, and a smiling Game makes his way to the ring. McMahon congratulates Helmsley, but it's for the impending release of his fitness book and Blade: Trinity. Trips makes a grab for the belt, causing McMahon to come right out with it -- no one will be named champion tonight. Instead, McMahon vacates the title with the intent to force the vacationing Eric Bischoff to sort out the mess when he returns next week. Do I even need to tell you how upset this makes Triple H?
As you might expect, Triple H goes on a rampage backstage while his teammates in Evolution try to calm him down. Once again, tensions flare up between Trips and Batista. Elsewhere, Christian barges in on Jericho's rather unique GM's office to protest the ring attire he's been given. Y2J tells him the only way he'll wrestle Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Title tonight is if he suits up as ordered. Benoit also drops in, feeling a bit anxious as he waits for Bischoff's decision next Monday. We do get a rare smile from the Crippler a minute later when he finds out he'll be teaming with Jericho to take on Triple H and Batista later tonight.
Match 1 - Eugene vs. Maven
Maven offers a pre-match handshake but William Regal remains skeptical. Eugene gets the better of things during some early mat wrestling, and Maven looks like he's being a good sport about it. That illusion quickly fades when he fakes getting tripped along the ropes, earning Regal an unwarranted ejection from ringside. Eugene rips off a couple of two counts, so Maven slows the pace and offers the youngster a handshake. Maven takes advantage of Eugene's naivete by kicking him repeatedly in the leg and choking him in the corner, forcing the ref to call for the bell. That's not enough for Maven though, as he grabs Eugene's tag team title belt and lays out Regal when he comes to check on his ward. Time will tell if Maven has enough personality to pull off a heel turn.
Jericho calls for the Raw Divas to join him in the ring for Rock and Roll Limbo-A-Go-Go. As the name implies, it's a limbo contest set to the music of Jericho's band Fozzy. Christy Hemme takes the title of limbo champ, and the GM orders the girls to dance while he launches into a live version of Don't You Wish You Were Me. How should I put this... it's the opposite of good. The lights suddenly go out, and for the first time I am actually happy to see Muhammed Hassad and his manager appear on the Titan Tron. Hassad declares that the party is over, and promises to make everyone feel the same way he does when he makes his debut next week.
Speaking of people I'm not usually happy to see on Raw, Simon Dean makes his way down the ramp. Dean wants to talk about his Fitno Powder, but Jericho won't let him plug it unless he agrees to participate in his first actual wrestling match. You know what that means.
Match 2 - Simon Dean vs. The Hurricane
Hurricane obliges Dean by participating in some mat wrestling, but the fitness guru is the first to turn it into a more pro-style affair with some big right hands and a backbreaker. The fans get a "Simon sucks" chant going to prove they already hate this guy, but I suppose that's the point. After some near falls both ways, Hurricane gets some momentum going with spinning headscissors and an uppercut. But Dean ducks the Shining Wizard, grabbing a handful of tights and rolling up his foe to win his debut match.
Randy Orton joins The Coach backstage for some interview time. Randy does a little gloating about the end of Triple H's title reign, pointing out that he can compete for the world title if Bischoff declares Benoit or Edge the new champ. His mood changes a bit when he's interrupted by Edge's music and Raw's most bitter superstar storms down to the ring. Edge says he came to Charlotte ready to defend his world title but got screwed again. In his mind, he won both the battle royal and the Triple Threat Match a week ago and blames just one person for the current predicament: Orton. He calls out Randy, who quickly joins him in the squared circle. Orton reminds Edge that he ordered the three-way dance and kicked out Evolution to even give the Canadian a shot at the title. Edge responds by calling Orton another word for a female dog, touching off a scrap that makes Ron Artest look like a boy scout. Nine men, including Sgt. Slaughter and Arn Anderson, eventually pull the two rivals apart.
I have two words for Blade: Trinity: midnight show. I'm there.
Match 3 - Shelton Benjamin (champion) vs. Captain Charisma (challenger) - Intercontinental Title Match
Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but Captain Charisma is really mild-mannered Christian under that mask. It looks like Hurricane and Rosey aren't the only superheroes on Raw, thanks to the Captain's red tights and mask with little 'C's' on the side. After he gets some laughs out of his system, the champ trades near falls with his challenger until he gets strung on the top rope and locked in an abdominal stretch. Benjamin rallies by catching the Captain coming off the top rope and follows with a Russian leg sweep and a big sunset flip from the top rope, both for two counts. Shelton misses his leap into the corner and finds himself kicking out a second later. Tyson Tomko lends a hand by tossing the belt to his man and hitting a big boot to the face, but Benjamin turns the tables by hitting a spinning kick and kicking Tomko off the apron. With Captain Charisma's mask turned around, he's easy pickings for a t-bone suplex that ends the match. Jericho can't resist one last laugh at Christian's expense, and he also announces that he's booked Orton and Edge to face each other next week. And since he won't be GM after tonight, that makes perfect sense, I guess.
The Smackdown Rebound shows us JBL and Orlando Jordan laying the proverbial smack down on The Undertaker with some help form the Basham Brothers. At least I think that's them, I didn't read Dale Plummer's Smackdown report last Friday. Shame on me.
Backstage, Lita gets stopped by Gene Snitsky for his usual bit of rambling nonsense. Did you know he ended Kane's career? Just ask him, he'll tell you. Elsewhere, Triple H and Flair leave the world's longest voice mail for Bischoff expounding on all the reasons The Game should be named champ when Eric returns. Helmsley is just about to end the message with a threat when Batista stops him from "making a big mistake." See you in the ring.
Match 4 - Batista and Triple H vs. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho
In an amusing start, Trips gets angry when Lillian Garcia announces him as a "former" world champ and chases her into my lap... I mean, the crowd. A big "we want Flair" chant goes up as the Nature Boy counsels his teammates from ringside. Batista has to save Triple H from an early Crippler Crossface, but both heels soon find themselves in a heap on the floor as we go to a commercial. Batista has Jericho in a camel clutch when we return, and HHH tags in to administer an abdominal stretch. Flair interferes liberally, setting up a Triple H neckbreaker for two. Batista tags in to toss Y2J around a bit before dropping him with a clothesline. Jericho manages to trip the big man into the turnbuckles long enough to make the hot tag to Benoit, who starts unloading on Evolution. Trips takes a bunch of abuse thanks to three rolling German suplexes, a lionsault and a diving headbutt. Our heroes lock him in the Walls of Jericho and the CCF at the same time, but Batista saves his bacon once again. A frustrated Game grabs a steel chair, waffling both Benoit and the ref when he calls for the DQ. His next swing is targeted for Jericho but hits Batista instead. Trips gets Jericho with his next shot, but the damage to the already shaky Evolution chemistry is already done.
A couple of stagehands watch Trish stretch in preparation for her match until she hints that they should leave. Her challenger stops by to give her the literal kiss of death. Yes, you read that right, Lita and Trish kissed. Ahem.
Main Event - Trish Stratus (champion) vs. Lita (challenger) - Women's Title Match
Yes, the main event is a women's match, but stick around, because I have a feeling this is not going to suck. Trish uses the Matrix to avoid some early harm, but Lita still covers her for two and gets another near fall with a Russian leg sweep. Stratus is dumped over the top rope to the floor and Lita looks like she darn near kills herself with a tope that sees her land awkwardly on her neck and shoulder after nailing Trish. Later replays make it look a little less painful, but it's still a scary spot. Trish cheats by using her facemask to get in a shot from the floor, but soon finds herself on the wrong end of a superplex when she re-enters the ring. Trish revives to hit a high kick, though Lita counters her mounted corner punches with a power bomb. More countering leads to near falls both ways, setting us up for the big finish. Trish goes for the Stratusfaction, but Lita escapes and hits an inverted Twist of Fate. A moonsault finds its mark and Lita wins the women's title to complete a long feud. Good night everyone.
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's hoping this report will have the headline "RAW: Everyone Gets Lei-ed" but that's in the hands of the editors.