February 15, 2005
Raw: Love is in the air
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
Let's face it, nothing says Valentine's Day quite like Raw. That's especially true right now, when world champion Triple H is hoping that Batista will be JBL's valentine and go to face the WWE champion at WrestleMania. Big Dave hasn't made his mind up yet, though maybe a rumored appearance by JBL on tonight's show will change his mind. We've also got Randy Orton versus Christian and Batista versus Edge to look forward to, so snuggle up to a loved one, pass the chocolate hearts and enjoy this Valentine's Day edition of Raw, live from Cincinnati.
First on tonight's agenda is the Highlight Reel, with Chris Jericho welcoming "controversial" Super Bowl ad star Candice Michelle. Of course, they discuss the GoDaddy.com commercial that was apparently so racy that Fox and the NFL felt the need to pull it after a single airing. Jericho plays the ad on his Jeritron 5000 and mocks the idea that it was over the line. Michelle pulls both the straps of her dress off her shoulder and Y2J throws a sarcastic fit. Things would probably continue to progress along these lines were it not for the untimely arrival of Muhammad Hassan and Daivari. The Arab-American is outraged at the way Michelle is being praised for disgracing herself while his victory over true American hero Sgt. Slaughter was hardly discussed. Calling Jericho the poster child for stupidity, Hassan offers to embarrass the Reel's host for a second time on his own segment. Chris responds by making some, um, allegations about the true nature of Hassan's relationship with Daivari, enraging him to the point where Muhammad accepts a match, starting... now.
Match 1 - Chris Jericho vs. Muhammad Hassan
Not wasting any time, we come back from a commercial break to find Jericho putting the boots to Hassan. Two suplexes lead to a springboard dropkick, and a cross body off the top rope gets a two count. Muhammad turns the tide with some help from his manager, but Jericho chops his way out of a submission hold and hits a jumping heel kick. Hassan still has too much left to fall to the Walls of Jericho, so Y2J hits a bulldog and dropkicks Daivari off the apron for distracting the ref. Unfortunately for our hero, that's enough of an opening for Hassan to hit the Jihad Drop (inverted Russian leg sweep) and add another win to his undefeated record. Who's next? Hmm, that sounds familiar but I just can't quite remember where I've heard it before.
Triple H tapes his hands up, telling Ric Flair that he's getting ready because JBL is on his way here. Evolution's leader tells Ric to let Batista know that he can concentrate on his match with Edge, because if the big Texan actually has the gall to show up on Raw, The Game will take care of him. A clip airs showing that the Hot Rod himself, Roddy Piper has been added to the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2005. That leads to Orton discussing Piper and his father with Stacy Kiebler, who kind of sort of asks the Legend Killer on a date after the show. Elsewhere, Flair crashes in on Batista making time with Maria to deliver the message from HHH. Batista answers the question of the day by revelaing that he'll make his WrestleMania decision next Monday on Raw and also tells Flair to tell Hunter to stay out of the way - he'll handle JBL himself. Aren't the guys in Evolution supposed to have money? Couldn't they just, I don't know, text message each other instead of using Flair as a message boy? Just a thought.
Match 2 - Shelton Benjamin (champion) vs. Gene Snitsky (challenger) - Intercontinental Title Match
Benjamin has an open contract to defend the I-C belt against all comers, which is another way of saying that the WWE writers can't think of anyone to feud with him. Tonight's challenger is Snitsky, which doesn't excite me in the least. The champ hits a jumping forearm shot and a top rope lariat for some early near falls; Snitsky uses a body slam and a clothesline to get two twos of his own. Gene can't quite pull off a pumphandle slam, so he hits a big boot and goes for the cover... then another, then another. Benjamin kicks out of all three, dismaying Snitsky to the point where he gets in the face of referee Earl Hebner. Shelton sends the big man over the top rope to the floor, where he snatches a steel chair and waffles Benjamin. Hebner has enough and disqualifies Snitsky, which is probably best for all involved. Let's just move on.
Match 3 - La Resistance (challengers) vs. Tajiri and William Regal (champions) - World Tag Team Title Match
Robert Conway gets the early edge on Regal, so he tags out to Tajiri so the Japanese Buzzsaw can work his magic. He hits a standing moonsault for two but can't get the Tarantula locked in, though he does nail Sylvain Grenier with a bulldog and his handspring back elbow. Regal gets tagged back in and uses a suplex and a running knee shot to pin Conway and retain the straps.
Match 4 - Randy Orton vs. Christian
Christian doesn't even have time to get out of his entrance gear before Orton starts his assault. The early momentum goes back and forth until Orton takes the fight to the floor, where Tyson Tomko makes an unsuccessful attempt to interfere and gets clotheslined by the Legend Killer. Back in the ring, Orton uses mounted punches and a clothesline for a near fall, but Christian flips him back out to the floor and Tomko bashes him into the steps as we go to a break. We return to learn that Tomko has been ejected, though his buddy is in control with a dropkick and a elbowdrop that both lead to two counts. Christian also avoids an RKO even though a big knot is forming on the left side of his forehead. Orton takes control with a big dropkick, a clothesline and a back body drop, then hits not 10, not 15, but 20 forearm shots and a powerslam for another near fall. Randy's high cross body gets yet another two; Christian fires right back by sending his foe shoulder first into the ringpost. Captain Charisma ties up the ref to allow Tomko to sneak back in for a big boot to the head, but that's still not enough to keep Orton down for three. A series of reversals leads to Orton leapfrogging Christian, then planting him with the RKO coming back off the ropes to end what was probably the best Raw match of Orton's young career.
Eric Bischoff does his GM thing, talking on the phone to Smackdown counterpart Theodore Long about the whole Batista/JBL situation. Edge drops in and makes it very clear that he expects the WrestleMania world title shot if Batista leaves for the other show. Duly noted. Out in the ring, Trish Stratus has a little chit-chat with Christy Hemme. Stratus says people used to chant "slut" at her, but feels the title would be better suited to Hemme now that the fiery redhead has agreed to pose sans clothing for Playboy. Christy says that it isn't posing for Playboy that makes someone a slut, but sleeping with half the locker room does. That line must strike a nerve with the women's champ, because she knocks Hemme down with a slap to the face before she leaves the ring.
From the "I Can't Do it Justice" file comes the latest WWE ad for WrestleMania 21. Sticking with the Hollywood theme that's already seen Eugene as Forrest Gump and Triple H as WIlliam Wallace, the latest is a recreation of the most famous scene from Basic Instinct with Stacy Kiebler in the Sharon Stone role. I'll just tell you that Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Christian are the detectives asking the questions, and that Moolah and Mae Young have a cameo at the end. Your imagination should probably take care of the rest. Good stuff.
Match 5 - Simon Dean vs. Kane
Otherwise known as the "Squash of the Night." Dean tries his best to find something in his gym bag that will stop the Big Red Machine, but he still falls to the chokeslam. Um, thanks for that WWE.
The ever popular earlier tonight device is used to show us Coach interrogating Shawn Michaels. Specifically, Coachman wants to know if HBK is aware that Kurt Angle has been bragging about what he did to the Showstoppa at the Royal Rumble. Michaels feels like Kurt should be concentrating on the number one contender tournament currently running on Smackdown, but he is aware. He's very aware. Ladies and gentlemen, your cross-brand match at WrestleMania. In the back, Batista makes it extremely clear to Trips that he wants to handle JBL by himself. The Game cryptically says he has the big man's back. Cue evil laugh. Oh yeah, and the "unveiling" of Chris "The Masterpiece" Masters is happening next Monday. Thank goodness, because I can't take another running of that
Main Event - Batista vs. Edge
Not much time left, so this one's bound to be short. Edge gets the first near fall with a neckbreaker, but Batista responds right away with a front powerslam. A spinebuster is reversed into a jumping DDT, and Edge looks for a Spear but gets greeted by a spinebuster. Batista hits the Batista Bomb and is just about to cover when the arrival of JBL's limo plays on the Titan Tron. Batista is disqualified when Triple H shoves the ref, but Evolution has bigger fish to fry as all three members head for the back.
Triple H rants about how Evolution is going to end this thing with JBL tonight, but Batista stops everyone just shy of the back door and repeats his emphatic demand that he be allowed to handle this solo. He goes out back to find JBL is nowhere in sight. The limo roars to life and makes a run at the behemoth, but Trips tackles Batista just in the nick of time as the limo speeds off into the night. Furious, Batista says he's going to have to show up on Smackdown alone this Thursday. But Dave, that's just what Triple H wants! Maybe you're not as smart as you seem. I've got to go - good night!
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He'd like to clear up for all of his fellow Dallas Cowboy fans out there that he did not miss last week's report to mourn the Eagles Super Bowl loss, so he shouldn't be getting any more angry e-mail at email@example.com. At least not on that subject.