Monday Night Raw – May 5, 2003: The Preview is Longer Than the Match

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 5, 2003
Location: Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s another new era as Steve Austin is the new co-General Manager, working with and likely tormenting Eric Bischoff, who has been abusing his power as of late. Other than that we have the slow build towards HHH vs. Kevin Nash while Goldberg is stuck doing almost none of the things that got him over in WCW. Let’s get to it.

In Memory of Miss Elizabeth. That’s still horribly sad.

We open with a recap of Bischoff suddenly trying to use his power to sleep with Trish Stratus and Lita, causing Linda McMahon to show up and name Austin the co-boss.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Austin with a briefcase to get things going, likely in the form of a list of things he’s doing as boss. Austin starts by thanking Linda (with a bunch of WHAT’S included, as it’s spread to Canada) for offering him the job and getting him out of the house. To celebrate, tonight we’re having the biggest beer bash in the history of Monday Night Raw.

As for the business end of things, there were some stupid things that happened while he was gone, including the Intercontinental Title being abolished. Therefore, at Judgment Day, there’s going to be a battle royal and the winner will win the Intercontinental Title, which Austin pulls out of the briefcase. That earns a big AUSTIN chant as he says that all former champions are eligible to enter the battle royal. He has another announcement but here are Bischoff and Chief Morely to cut him off.

Eric reminds Austin that they’re partners and a decision like the return of the Intercontinental Title should be a mutual decision. Austin says he was trying to make the show better and he’s been known to step on some toes. Bischoff brings up that he was the one who abolished the title in the first place and doesn’t seem happy. He eventually agrees with bringing the title back but he has an idea of his own. Therefore, at Judgment Day, HHH will defend the World Title against Kevin Nash.

Austin likes the idea and they actually say they like each other but Austin has one more idea. Actually he’s hired someone and it happens to be one of his best friends. The fans immediately get the idea and cheer the heck out of Austin as he announces the return of Jim Ross. Bischoff fires JR almost immediately and it turns into a Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck (works for me) routine until Austin puts his hand over Eric’s mic. He says he’s trying very hard not to lose his temper, drawing perhaps the only LOSE IT chant in wrestling history.

Austin has an idea: let’s settle it with a match between himself and Bischoff with JR’s job on the line. Eric says no because Linda wouldn’t like it and it’s Bugs and Daffy all over again over whether or not Bischoff is scared. Morely steps in and is willing to wrestle on Bischoff’s behalf….against JR. Austin to Morely: “I think you’re extremely stupid.” JR isn’t a wrestler anyway, so who could Austin get to do it? Lawler stands up and offers his services so the match is on right now.

Jerry Lawler vs. Chief Morely

Coach is now on commentary on his own. Lawler takes Morely (in street clothes) down with some clotheslines and a dropkick. A quick piledriver gives Jerry two but he misses a middle rope elbow. Morely rolls some suplexes and hits his own middle rope elbow for two. Jerry fights back again but Eric trips him up, drawing the referee outside to prevent Austin from killing him. The Money Shot is loaded up but JR shoves him off, setting up the middle rope fist to get JR’s job back.

Rating: D. This was all about the story and there’s nothing wrong with that. There wasn’t any doubt to this one and they kept it short enough to not get too bad. JR is a far better choice on commentary than Coach so let him be back where he belongs. If nothing else it shows Bischoff up, which is where Austin is going to shine.

Post match, Eric slaps Morely and storms off. Austin calls Coach to the ring to congratulate JR and then Stun him off the team. Eh it’s not like anyone cared about him in the first place. JR and King really don’t care and celebrate anyway.

In the back, Bischoff fires Morely. Austin comes up and says Bischoff can’t do that without his permission. Morely: “Then I’m still here!” Austin: “No you’re fired.” Ok that was funny.

We recap Goldberg destroying everyone in sight last week. He gets Christian tonight.

Scott Steiner and Test have a pose off in the back until Stacy Keibler comes in to say chill.

Tag Team Titles: Rob Van Dam/Kane vs. Test/Scott Steiner

Steiner and Test are challenging. Scott chops away at Rob in the corner but a spinning kick to the face takes him down. The split legged moonsault gets two and there’s another kick to put Scott on the floor. Back in and Scott grabs a powerslam to almost no reaction. The elbow drop into the push-ups has Stacy’s eyes glowing and it’s off to Test, drawing a Stacy chant.

We hit the chinlock for a bit until a dropkick allows the hot tag to Kane. House is cleaned in a hurry, including the top rope clothesline to Test. Steiner makes the save though, allowing Test to grab the pumphandle powerslam. Kane takes the full nelson slam and drops his top rope elbow with Van Dam having to make another save. Test kicks Steiner by mistake though and it’s a chokeslam into the Five Star to retain the titles.

Rating: C-. Test and Steiner were a bit better than I was expecting here but at least they didn’t do something stupid here. Kane and Van Dam still have some more time with the titles and they’re the best option to hold them at the moment. Well until La Resistance debuts of course because they’re the kind of real life idea that WWE would want to push.

Austin hangs up a picture of himself in the office and has a few hundred beers delivered. Bischoff says we can’t afford this but Austin doesn’t want to hear it. He has a desk being brought in and shoves over Bischoff’s couch to make room. Oh and Bischoff isn’t invited to the beer bash. I still love the idea that it’s the same office every week and it just travels from arena to arena.

It’s Highlight Reel time (no longer Hi-Lite) and Jericho is instantly beloved in Canada. Jericho wastes no time in entering himself in the battle royal, which he promises to bring home to Canada. He also takes credit for winning the six man tag at Backlash and here’s a clip of the ending. Then we see Kevin Nash chasing HHH off last week and shattering the limo window with the sledgehammer.

This brings out the guest, which of course is Nash himself. Nash gets all serious and shouts that HHH is a dead man. That brings out the second guest: HHH. Nash tosses Jericho without much effort but Chris sneaks back in for a low blow. A loud chair shot to the back looks to set up a Pedigree onto the chair but Nash backdrops his way to freedom. They slowly brawl to the floor as this just kind of keeps going. Nash misses a chair shot but sends him into the steps instead.

The steps go off of HHH’s head to bust him open and there’s a belt shot to the head for good measure. Nash beats up some referees but HHH hits him in the ribs with a pipe. An electric light to the back keeps Nash down but he’s up fast enough to take the fight into the back. Even more slow right hands keep HHH down until a monitor shot drops Nash.

Some agents come in but Nash sends HHH into the side of an ambulance. HHH staggers across the street and steals a car to escape. If you start the clock when HHH first touched Nash, this was over eight minutes long, which will actually be longer than their pay per view match. It wasn’t even a horrible brawl, but it felt like it was in slow motion and it’s still designed to set up HHH vs. Nash on pay per view. That’s about as hard of a dead end as you can run into.

Post break Jericho is smirking at the chaos when Austin comes up behind him. Austin sees Jericho as a main event player and gives him Nash next week.

We recap the opening segment.

Booker T. vs. Lance Storm

Storm takes him down in a hurry and it’s off to an early Sharpshooter, making Storm the most popular man in the world for about ten seconds. Back up and Booker scores with some forearms and the side kick. The Spinarooni is broken up with a superkick for a very close two but the ax kick gives Booker the fast pin.

La Resistance hits on Stacy and tells her to watch their match tonight.

La Resistance vs. Tommy Dreamer/Spike Dudley

Spike starts in on Dupree’s arm and armdrags Grenier for a bonus. A low bridge sends Spike outside though and we hit the chinlock. The fans are WAY behind Spike and Tommy as Spike fights up and gets in a headbutt to the ribs. A DDT/neckbreaker combination takes the French guys down but Dreamer gets sent outside, setting up something like a double spinebuster to end Spike.

Rating: D. Another dull match but it helps to get La Resistance an actual win. It’s not like the division has any kind of depth so even a lame team is better than nothing. If nothing else it lets us see Spike get beaten up, which means some of his normally impressive looking selling.

Post match La Resistance beats on Dreamer until Steiner and Test make the save.

Eric calls Linda and wants to change things. He doesn’t want to resign but does hit on her for some reason. Linda hangs up on him to get away from this really weird new character.

Christian doesn’t want to hear about Goldberg because it’s Canada night. Tonight, Goldberg’s losing streak begins.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Jazz is defending and drives her into the corner to start. JR: “Jazz may be a female of a different kind.” Somehow Jerry doesn’t jump on that line. A slam and a legdrop give Jazz two but Trish is back up with a quick Thesz press. The Stratusphere is broken up and it’s Teddy Long getting on the apron with his shoe off, only to fall on his face. The Stratusfaction connects but Victoria comes out to offer a distraction, allowing Jazz to get in a belt shot to retain.

JR and King hype up Austin’s beer bash, though the graphic says beer party. It’s not a big deal but why is that different? It’s always been a beer bash with Austin.

Christian vs. Goldberg

Goldberg is in the bad looking half black half white shorts. Hang on a second though as here are Rico and 3 Minute Warning. Rico says the three of them are going to come down there, one by one of course, and take Goldberg out. Christian just kind of disappears as the trio hits the ring and gets beaten down. Goldberg spears the Samoans down and Jackhammers Rico for the pin. That was a match?

Christian pops back up and chairs Goldberg in the back before running through the crowd. Goldberg grabs the mic but Austin interrupts. Austin is ready to drink but Goldberg has a problem. He wants to get his hands on Christian so Austin makes another match between the two of them for next week, this time inside a cage. A ton of beer is brought out and a bunch of fans surround the ring to drink as well. This just keeps going for a few minutes until the show ends.

Overall Rating: D. I didn’t hate the show but my goodness those long segments were insanely long. They were really cranking up the Canadian content this week and I get the idea of not having Goldberg face Christian here for fear of having Goldberg booed, but why book the match in the first place? Just do what you did with Rico and 3 Minute Warning and then do the post match stuff as it went. Why create a problem that doesn’t need to be there in the first place?

Austin is a nice breath of air for the show but Goldberg is already completely overshadowed by both Austin and Nash vs. HHH, which is going to be treated as a big deal no matter what. Goldberg is going to be fine in the long run but I haven’t been as uninterested in a big new character in quite a while. The show wasn’t great but it was far less boring than recent weeks, which is an important change of pace.

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