Monday Night Raw – July 28, 2003: You Knew This Was Coming

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 28, 2003
Location: World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Commentators: Jonathan Coachman, Jerry Lawler

We’re finally past the final single brand pay per view before it’s time for Summerslam and that means the build begins tonight. Last week saw Goldberg come out to face off with HHH so odds are we’ll have a title match set up in the very near future. Other than that, Kane is still a monster and there’s not much that can be done to stop him. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of Linda McMahon’s appearance last week, including getting Tombstoned by Kane.

Here’s Vince (in a rather hideous shirt) to open things up. He’s here to confront Kane’s lack of manhood, not because he’s a good husband (Vince: “Everybody knows better than that.”). Before tonight, everything is going to break loose against Kane.

Booker T./Scott Steiner vs. Christian/Test

Egads these feuds just won’t die. Booker and Test start things off by trading some shots to the face until Christian’s cheap shot lets the dastardly Canadians take over. Steiner comes in and Test actually runs to the floor to hide. Back in and the push-up elbow has Christian in trouble and a gorilla press makes things even worse.

The reverse DDT gives Christian a breather and of course Test is ready to come in and stomp away. A running clothesline in the corner allows Test to do his own pushups, though Stacy really isn’t impressed. The hot tag brings in Booker and everything breaks down with Steiner suplexing Christian over to the floor. Lawler, I guess thinking this is the NWA for some reason, says that should be a DQ.

That confusing idea takes us to a break and we come back with Steiner fighting out of Test’s chinlock. Another suplex allows another hot tag to Booker as things pick up again. House is quickly cleaned and Test kicks Christian by mistake, allowing Booker to ax kick Christian for the pin.

Rating: D+. I’m thoroughly sick of both of these feuds but for some reason both just keep going. Test vs. Steiner is likely leading to another big gimmick match but I’m not sure Booker vs. Christian needs to be anything more than over. While this wasn’t terrible, it was a pair of feuds that didn’t need to continue and for some reason that’s what we’re stuck with.

We see a clip of the press conference with HHH vs. Goldberg being announced as the Raw main event for Summerslam.

Goldberg vs. Steven Richards

The usual finishes Richards in just over a minute.

Post match, Evolution comes out with HHH talking about how that was an impressive win…against Steven Richards. However, HHH isn’t Richards and that’s not how things are going to go at Summerslam. Goldberg wants to fight right now but, of course, it’s not convenient for HHH right now. Flair tells Goldberg to pay attention so Goldberg is ready to fight Flair instead. The fight is almost on but Bischoff comes out and says we’ll do it next week.

Rico vs. Val Venis

Rematch from a few weeks ago where Rico beat Venis on Heat. Rico disrobes to start and it’s an early spank for Val. A waistlock just makes Rico bend over as I think you can get the joke. Don’t worry if you can’t though as WWE will make sure to beat you over the head with it in short order.

Rico flips up to his feet and gets dropkicked in the back, which only seems to set Rico off. A middle rope ax handle gives Rico two and he gets in some right hands to the head as this is going WAY longer than it needs to. Val comes back with a spinebuster and the Money Shot is good for the pin, despite Miss Jackie’s failed interference attempt.

Rating: D. WAY too long here (and it was only about five minutes) as there was no need for this match to have any kind of time whatsoever. Rico did his nonsense at first but after that it was just Rico vs. Val Venis for longer than it needed on Raw. I know they need to build midcard characters but they really need something better than this.

Bischoff instructs security on how to handle the arriving Kane. The solution: keep him locked in a van until the time is right.

It’s time for the Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho in a great mood after making Shawn Michaels tap out last week. Jericho calls that the first time Shawn ever tapped out, which almost has to be an exaggeration. Anyway, after looking at the clip a few times, here’s Randy Orton as the official guest. Orton talks about Evolution loving the Highlight Reel and they even have a gift for Jericho: an Evolution t-shirt. Jericho is touched and would love to give Orton a Highlight Reel shirt but they’re all sold out.

Anyway, Jericho asks about the RKO, which he calls majestic. That brings Jericho to the big question though: why did Orton interfere in the match last week? It’s not like Jericho needed it you see. Orton says he was trying to make a name for himself and what better way to do it than by killing another legend. Shawn says Jericho is the kind of guy who has made him a millionaire over the years and he’s ready to face Jericho one more time right here tonight. Jericho declines and the fight is on in a hurry with the numbers game getting the better of Shawn. Kevin Nash makes the save and says he’ll fight Jericho right now.

Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash

Joined in progress with Nash forearming Jericho in the corner but Chris takes the knee out to put Nash down. Jericho stomps away on the bad knee in the corner as the announcers get in every possible nickname they can think of for either guy. Nash comes back with a side slam but Jericho hits him low for a DQ.

Rating: D-. Nothing to see here and it might as well have been attached to the previous segment. I was liking Nash being stuck in the lower midcard but you knew he wasn’t going to lower himself down to that point for very long. There was nothing to see here, but you can pretty much guess that it’s just a way to advance to another point in the story.

Post match Nash snaps and destroys Jericho, dropping him face first into an exposed buckle to bust him open. Nash does it again but Jericho bails into the crowd before Nash can hit him with the steps.

We look back at the opening sequence.

Hurricane thinks something is wrong with Rosey and wants to know whatsupwithdat. Rosey, the Superhero in Training, said that he was at the airport (must have been with Kevin Nash) today and someone called him a big piece of…..yeah. Maybe Rosey can have half a match and a beach towel, but one day he’ll have hurri-powers. Rosey tries to fly but goes and sits down instead. This was basically saying “yeah this is still going.”.

Bischoff yells at the guards for opening the van doors to give Kane some air.

Rob Van Dam has a severe concussion and JR is out of the hospital.

Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. Garrison Cade/Mark Jindrak

La Resistance is defending and the Dudley Boyz are on commentary. Jindrak and Cade won a non-title match on Heat to set this up, because the tag division is so deep that you can have the champs lose clean falls. Cade shoulders Dupree down to start and a second version sends him to the floor. Back in and a double dropkick gets two on Rene and Jindrak hits a regular version to keep him in trouble.

Cade comes in for some right hands as the fans want tables. A hot shot (to the middle rope) cuts Cade off though and the champs take over. The threat of a flag shot brings the Dudleys down for a save and we take a break. Back with Jindrak coming in for more dropkicks and one of the highest backdrops I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe if he did that more than just dropkick everyone, he could have stayed in Evolution. Everything breaks down and the double spinebuster puts Jindrak away to retain the titles.

Rating: D+. The French guys are rapidly hitting their ceiling but there’s only so much you can do when you have the Dudleys and virtually no one else to face. It also doesn’t help that your whole characters are “we’re French”. Jindrak and Cade are fine for some pretty boys, but you have a limited amount of chances with the first name Garrison. Was someone watching South Park and got pressed for a name?

Post match the beatdown is teased but the Dudleys come in for the save. That lasts all of five seconds before some flag shots leave the good guys laying.

Kane is let out of the van but isn’t in a good mood.

Women’s Title: Gail Kim vs. Molly Holly

Gail is defending after Molly pinned her in a tag match last week. Kim armbars her to start as Lawler goes straight into the “all women hate each other” speech. The rope walk armdrag is broken up as Molly shoves her out to the floor in a heap. It’s off to a bow and arrow hold for a few moments until Kim snaps off a headscissors. Some rollups give Gail two and she gets in the required hurricanrana for the same. The top rope hurricanrana is broken up though and the Molly Go Round gives Holly the title.

Rating: D. They didn’t have a choice here as Kim was bombing out there as champion. I know she would get better in later years but it REALLY wasn’t working at this point and there’s no way around that. Somehow, Kim would never win another title in WWE. You really would think they would have gone back to her at some point but it just never happened. The match was nothing of course and just a way to give us the necessary title change.

Here’s Vince to address Kane face to face. Kane is brought out in shackles but Vince wants them removed. They go face to face in the ring with Vince insulting him but then shifting to the idea of having a monster in the palm of his hand. Before he can get too far though, here’s Austin to interrupt, giving us that amazing look that only Vince hearing Austin’s music can bring.

Austin gets straight to the point: he’s continuing as General Manager, which means he can’t beat people up without being physically provoked. Therefore, he wants Kane to provoke him RIGHT NOW. Austin insults him a few times and literally sticks his chin out while begging Kane to hit him. Kane backs up instead but here’s the returning Shane McMahon to beat Kane up instead. Shane hits some chair shots to knock Kane up the ramp and a big one sends him off the stage. Kane sits up and laughs to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. Well that didn’t work. With no good matches in sight and almost nothing that makes me want to see Summerslam (at least on the Raw side), this show did little more than make me want to watch Smackdown. Somehow HHH vs. Goldberg might be the most interesting thing on this show and that’s really not saying much. Shane vs. Kane makes my head hurt as you have Rob Van Dam, as in an actual wrestler, there to face Kane instead. Really bad show here, which you knew was coming sooner or later.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume VI: July – December 1999 in e-book or paperback. Check out the information here:

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