Monday Night Raw – July 26, 2004 – HHH vs. Benoit: Iron Man Match

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 26, 2004
Location: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

So last night I spent four hours downloading a copy of this show. Then I found it all on Youtube. Anyway this is another request and it’s because the main event is an Iron Man match for the title between HHH and Benoit. The only other match on the card is a battle royal for the shot at Benoit at Summerslam. Let’s get to it.

We see the Diva Search girls in the back. Of the ten, five would wind up with jobs unless I’m forgetting some of them. Some blonde named Julia is gone. Michelle, Christy, Amy Webber, Joy Giovanni and Carmella are still in there. Oh and Maria so it’s 6/10. Tonight, the 9 remaining ones have to verbally seduce a former WWE star.

Clip of Benoit winning the Rumble then winning the title at Mania. HHH says the games are ending and tonight it’s the two of them for the title.

Theme song opens us up.

We go to the ring and it’s almost full. A few more come out though. Edge is one of the few to get entrances. He’s the IC Champion here. Matt gets one as well. The announcers don’t know what this is. Jericho comes out to a big pop. Kane comes out as well as JR and King are at a loss for words. Evolution (minus HHH) are in this also. Eric comes out and says it’s a twenty man battle royal and the winner gets the title shot at Summerslam.

Battle Royal

Regal is put out first. Jericho and Flair chop it out before Jericho and Edge team up to put Tomko out. Edge spears Palumbo down and the Canadians throw him out. RKO to Jericho but Edge saves him from Evolution. Flair hits Edge low and we take a break. Back with JR being way too excited. Kane eliminated Val Venis and Matt Hardy during the break. Matt came back in and beat on Kane but didn’t eliminate him.

Hurricane is out as are Rodney Mack, Rosey and a guy I didn’t recognize. I think it was Steven Richards. Tajiri puts Rob Conway out and Grenier is out as well. We have about eight left. Tajiri tries the Tarantula on Kane and is tossed out. We have the three members of Evolution, Kane, Jericho, Edge, Rhyno and Maven for our final eight. Flair goes up top for no logically explained reason. Edge slams him back into the ring for no logically explained reason.

Jericho hooks Flair in the Walls but Batista makes the save. Edge spears Kane down but he sits up. We take a break and come back with all eight still in it. Edge almost got eliminated during the break but low blowed his way out of it. Flair tries to chop Kane which goes as well as you would expect. Kane very carefully chokeslams him and it’s time for the battle of the bulls.

Batista and Kane slug it out (I remember watching this live) and Big Dave spinebusters him down but walks into a Gore to a BIG pop. Why is Maven still in there? Why is he getting to throw Flair into the corner for the (failed) Flair Flip? WHY IS HE CLOTHESLINING FLAIR OUT??? Rhyno Gores Maven and Batista throws Rhyno out. The Canadians go after Kane and everyone gangs up on him to get him out.

So we have Orton, Batista, Maven, Jericho and Edge left. Maven sends Orton to the apron but he hangs on. Orton manages to suplex Maven onto the top rope and then dump him to get us to the final four and a PPV level tag match. Jericho and Edge manage to get rid of Batista and Jericho turns on Edge to get us down to two. Slugout is won by Orton and he hits something like a spinebuster to take over.

In a smart move he tries a slingshot but Jericho hooks the rope. He pulls himself back in and grabs Orton into a fireman’s carry but Orton escapes as well. Jericho gets thrown again but he skins the cat. Orton clotheslines him to the apron again but he holds on with one arm. They do the Big Show/Benoit sequence but Orton lands on the apron. They’re both on the apron now and they slug it out. Both guys get knocked down but they hang on. Orton slides back in and hits an RKO (kind of) onto the middle rope then kicks Jericho out to go to Summerslam.

Rating: B-. I was enjoying this a lot more than most regular battle royals. These matches are always hard to rate because other than the Rumble, if you’ve seen one battle royal, you’ve seen almost all of them. This had star power and drama in it though which made this better than most. Good match and it gave us a mostly surprising winner.

Time for the Divas nonsense. What this has to do with getting a contract to be a female wrestler is beyond me but whatever. All nine of them have 20 seconds to verbally seduce a former WWE Superstar. Michelle starts first and it’s Kamala. She does the whole sexy teacher thing and yeah I’m not going to comment on most of this. Christy looks good in blue though. This goes nowhere and isn’t funny or anything like that. I get how it could be funny once or so but this happens NINE TIMES. This eats up like 8 minutes.

Smackdown recap.

Smackdown Your Vote at the Democratic National Convention. You’ll NEVER see this today. To be fair they went to the GOP National Convention as well and this was non-partisan.

Here are the Diva Search chicks in bikinis and numbers to call to vote for them. This went on OVER TWO MONTHS.

HHH comes in to see Evolution and Orton says it’ll be an honor to face him at Summerslam. He wishes HHH good luck but HHH says he doesn’t need it.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Chris Benoit

HHH is challenging and it’s an Iron Man match. They do the referee instructions and they say if there’s a tie, it’s sudden death. Slugout to start but it turns into more of a feeling out process. Benoit takes it to the mat with a headlock and into a top wristlock with Benoit bridging out of it very nicely. Crossface is attempted but HHH rolls out. Back in the Pedigree is easily escaped and it’s a standoff.

HHH tries to take it to the mat but Benoit gets the advantage. Five minutes in and HHH rolls to the floor to escape the Crossface attempt again. After a quick trip to the floor, Benoit goes after the knee. Benoit slams him at eight minutes in and stays on the knee. Chris runs into a boot in the corner and a DDT takes him down. Benoit comes back with chops but walks into the Facebuster. Pedigree is countered into a Sharpshooter attempt but that’s countered too. He hooks a Crossface out of nowhere though but HHH rolls out, but Benoit rolls him up for the first fall with about 49:30 to go.

We take a break and come back with 46:15 to go and HHH in a chinlock. Snap suplex gets two. Off to an abdominal stretch as this has been almost all Benoit. HHH manages to send him over the top and Benoit hits his back on the apron. The Game rams him into the apron and starts working it over. Benoit tries a charge but gets kicked in the face, busting his mouth open.

Benoit tries to whip him in but falls down. That’s either good selling of the back or a rare botch. They try it again and HHH gets whipped over the top to the floor. Benoit tries a suicide dive but hits mostly the barricade. Both guys are down as we hear about the Pegasus Kid. We’re about twenty minutes in now. We take a break with both guys down.

Back with HHH still down and thirty seven minutes to go. During the break HHH went into the steps and might have a bad shoulder now. Benoit tries a Sharpshooter (in a rare misstep of psychology) but HHH escapes. Off to a freaky modified Indian Deathlock with thirty six minutes to go. Chris stays on the leg with a Figure Four and a decent one at that. HHH makes the rope so Benoit pounds away in the corner.

HHH hot shots him out for two with thirty three minutes left. Benoit is like CANADA POWER and hits rolling Germans to take HHH down. Here’s the Swan Dive but HHH rolls away. HHH sends him into the buckle chest first, which is apparently an injury from a few weeks ago. Pedigree ties us up at about halfway through.

Benoit rolls to the floor but HHH knocks him down again and front suplexes him onto the steps for a countout to make it 2-1. We take another break and come back with 25:30 to go and HHH whipping Benoit into the corner for two. Release suplex lands on the chest again and gets two. Another whip into the corner gets two. 23:20 to go. HHH starts working on the back for some reason but Benoit hammers him in the face with a forearm to put both guys down. A spinebuster out of nowhere makes it 3-1 HHH with just under 22:00 to go.

There’s another break and we come back with Benoit hiptossing him at 18:30 to go. HHH loads up a Pedigree but Benoit dead weights him and goes for a Sharpshooter but HHH counters again. Pedigree attempt #2 is countered into the Sharpshooter which this time is hooked. HHH is in big trouble as Benoit keeps pulling him back from the ropes. He FINALLY (not meant as a bad thing) taps out to make it 3-2 with 15:30 to go.

15:00 to go and HHH falls to the floor. Benoit follows him out and pounds away but HHH runs back into the ring. Back in Benoit charges into a foot but HHH jumps into the Crossface. He eventually gets his foot to the rope but Benoit immediately hooks it again and HHH taps out to tie things up with 12:00 to go.

Here come Batista and Flair and we take a break. Back with about 8:30 to go and Benoit getting sent to the outside. Eight minutes left and HHH blocks a sunset flip to send Benoit back outside. Batista sends Benoit into the post and the champ is busted open. That gets two with 6:30 to go. HHH pounds him down in the corner with 6:00 to go. Benoit ducks a punch and comes back with rolling Germans. The referee gets clotheslined and Benoit grabs the Crossface.

Batista distracts Benoit and Flair throws in a chair with 5:00 to go. Flair gets knocked off and HHH caves in the back of Benoit’s head with the chair. He covers but there’s no referee. Bischoff sends out another referee who counts two. Four minutes left and HHH clocks the other referee. Evolution beats on Benoit but someone comes through the crowd.

Of all people, it’s EUGENE, who is still one of the most popular acts in years at this point. He cleans house, beating up Evolution all by himself. Stunner to Flair and a Rock Bottom to HHH. Bischoff gets a right hand as well and HHH gets killed with the chair. Eugene had been beaten down by Evolution two weeks before if you’re wondering why he’s here. Benoit comes back in with 1:20 to go. Eugene throws the referee back in for the pin on HHH with six seconds left and Benoit retains with a final score of 4-3.

Rating: B-. The match is certainly good, but I see no reason at all here for this to be an Iron Man match. This easily could have been cut down to about thirty or even forty minutes and nothing would have been lost. The ending is ridiculous with there being nothing resembling a regular match for the last five minutes. Good match and it set up Summerslam, but absolutely no reason for it to be an Iron Man match.

Overall Rating: B. Good show with an interesting twist by having basically two angles the entire show plus the Divas nonsense. At the end of the day though, you can only complain so much about good looking women in swimsuits though. Fun show but it’s not something that would work every time.

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5 comments

  1. TheSDQQKidJoe says:

    Remind me why Eugene’s character failed?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Because he was supposed to be fun, not serious. Having him run in and do his goofy stuff is one thing. Having him have a 17 minute match at Summerslam is another.

    TheSDQQKidJoe Reply:

    Maybe if that Summerslam wasn’t in Canada….Eugene would have had a better reaction.

  2. Mando>Eddie says:

    Could you do the 9/22/08 Raw from Cincinnati? I know we live nearby so we’ve probably been at a handful of the same shows. Did you attend that one? At the time my friend Adam and I did a live co-review of it: http://neverhandover.blogspot.com/2008/10/nho-road-report-1-wwe-raw-92208.html

  3. Great review as always, KB.

    I found the Benoit/HHH Iron Match on YouTube earlier today. Before today, I can’t remember the last time I saw it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the match…..until the ending. Eugene’s interference just KILLS this match (I didn’t have a problem with Batista and Flair), and his silly antics towards the end just made everything feel so foolish. For the mast part, this was a grueling, physical match, that featured great selling from both men, and at times, there was some excellent back and forth action in this match. But Eugene just had to interfere, and what did his interference lead to? That awful Eugene VS HHH match at Summerslam ’04. Ugh.

    Anyway, I still enjoy the match. This wasn’t as good as their match from No Mercy 2000, and as far as Iron Man matches go, Rock VS HHH from Judgement Day 2000 will always be my #1 favorite, but it’s still an enjoyable match.