Monday Night Raw – September 1, 2003: Shocking

Monday Night Raw
Date: September 1, 2003
Location: Cajundome, Lafayette, Louisiana
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Wrestling please. Last week’s show was about everything but wrestling and I’d like to see that change this time around. The McMahons were all over last week’s show, along with various things such as attempted murder and bragging about sexual assault. That’s not what I was expecting on a wrestling show so hopefully it’s not here this time around. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Kane’s path of rage, leading to Shane burning him alive (again) last week. There’s going to be a crazy amount of Shane tonight isn’t there?

Opening sequence.

JR let us know that Kane is NOT dead. Well that’s quite the start to the show.

Jerry Lawler vs. Jonathan Coachman

Well at least they’re getting it out of the way early. Coach wears University of Texas gear to tick JR off even further. Lawler gets tired of Coach circling him and punches him in the jaw to start us off. A belly to back suplex gets King out of a suplex….and here’s Al Snow (Coach’s broadcast partner on Heat) to say stop this. Coach gets back inside anyway and is wristlocked into an armbar. Lawler lets go so Coach heads outside and tells Snow he can do this, only to get punched down again. As you might expect, it’s a ruse with Snow posting Lawler so Coach can drop an elbow for the pin.

Rating: F. This is what they used to start Monday Night Raw. Not as filler later on, but during the first ten minutes of the show. It’s not going to appeal to the mainstream wrestling fans because they would know Al Snow as a comedy guy and it’s not going to appeal to the hardcore fans because it’s Jonathan Coachman. What is the thought process here, and why wasn’t it “no one is going to care about this” before moving on?

Terri asks Shane McMahon about burning Kane last week while mentioning that Kane “disappeared” from the dumpster. Shane hopes he’s still burning. Whatever keeps this story off TV.

Coach and Snow are celebrating when Eric Bischoff joins them. Steve Austin comes in and isn’t happy before going into the arena, despite it being time for the Highlight Reel. The set is quickly tossed to the floor and Austin has a beer. Please don’t spill it on that sweet carpet. First, Austin would like JR to stand up. Austin has been hearing that JR is Stone Cold’s boy and he’s getting sick of it. At Unforgiven, it’s Coach vs. JR (seriously), along with Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton.

Austin talks about the main event of Goldberg vs. HHH with Goldberg’s career on the line. Therefore, the fans in Lafayette, Louisiana should get to see Goldberg in a six man tag when he teams up with Maven/Shawn Michaels vs. Evolution. Austin is ready to go but cue an angry Chris Jericho to interrupt.

Jericho yells about the set being destroyed and how much it costs. Austin: “Yes I know because I wrote the check.” Jericho offers to forgive Austin if he’ll kiss Chris’ boots but it’s a middle finger instead. Now it’s Christian, who wants an apology for last week. Austin says no but does give Christian a match tonight. Jericho is ready for a tag match but Austin had something else in mind. This did what it needed to do but EGADS are they serious with this Coach vs. JR stuff? Like I said earlier: who in the world is this supposed to be appealing to?

Intercontinental Title: Christian vs. Chris Jericho

Christian is defending and the fans immediately call this boring. What else do you want here? Coach vs. King II? King rejoins commentary and the match ignoring can begin. Feeling out process to start with Jericho, in street clothes, having to skin the cat early on. Back in and some right hands in the corner don’t have much effect on Jericho so he grabs a rollup for two, much to Christian’s annoyance. Christian: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???” Jericho: “Trying to be the champion!” Ask a simple question, get a simple answer.

They slug it out with Jericho being knocked to the floor but sending Christian into the steps for his efforts. Back in and Jericho chokes with the wrist tape like a real Canadian villain. Christian gets two off the reverse DDT backbreaker and chokes as well. A reverse tornado DDT gives Christian two but Jericho kicks the referee into the ropes to crotch the champ on top. As usual though, that’s not a DQ because the rules change almost by the minute.

The Lionsault hits knees but the Unprettier is countered into a Walls attempt with Christian reversing into a small package. Back up and Jericho’s spinning crossbody (off a turnbuckle with the pad removed) takes the referee down by mistake. The belt is brought in and Jericho’s bad looking Flashback (with Christian falling out of his grip) getting two. Jericho rolls him up with the tights for two but Christian reverses into one of his own, grabbing the ropes to retain.

Rating: C+. This started slowly but got better as things went on and you saw what kind of dastardly things they were willing to do to win the match. It fits them perfectly to be winning to cheat their best friend to get ahead, making the ending that much better. The fans wanted to see Jericho win here but he’s still a solid heel.

Shane McMahon is in the back when Austin comes up to him and says it might be best if Shane leaves. Shane thinks he’ll stick around actually. Well you can’t get the TV time from anywhere else. Unless you’re Linda that is.

Video on Goldberg dominating the Elimination Chamber until HHH destroyed him. Again: remember who is really in charge around here.

HHH is sick of hearing about Goldberg and starts the chant by mistake. Goldberg isn’t a wrestler but rather a mass marketed version of what someone thought a wrestler should be (I wonder who he’s talking about…). HHH is the best there is and the best in the game so he’ll end Goldberg’s mystique at Unforgiven. Goldberg comes in to say he’ll hurt HHH….later tonight because he wants HHH to think about it. The levels of ineptness when it comes to Goldberg continue to amaze me.

Trish Stratus/Ivory vs. Gail Kim/Molly Holly

King: “JR do you think Trish has a VCR?” JR: “A video recorder?” King: “No. A very cute rear.” Oh good grief go fight Coach again. The villains jump Trish and Ivory to start with Gail chopping Ivory up against the ropes. The spunky Ivory fights out because spunky is pretty much her entire character. JR thinks jealously might be the reason Molly and Gail hate Trish while Lawler thinks it’s just because women hate each other.

Gail misses a charge in the corner and Ivory sunset flips Molly for two. Ivory gets choked against the ropes and Molly grabs an over the shoulder backbreaker of all things. That’s escaped in short order and the hot tag brings in Trish as everything breaks down. Gail breaks up the Stratusphere on Molly and a double powerbomb ends Trish.

Rating: D+. This story continues to go nowhere and adding Ivory isn’t going to help anything because she’s just there for the sake of being a warm body. So Gail and Molly are jealous of Trish and Trish goes and gets Ivory to help her? That’s how low the depth is on the women’s roster? This story is a black hole of charisma and it’s not showing any signs of getting better. That finish looked good though.

Post match Ivory takes a double DDT.

Shane goes to leave but runs into Vince McMahon, who is on both shows again. Vince has a right to be here and while he hasn’t been the best father, he’s concerned about Shane. That doesn’t fly with the son, who wants to deal with this in the ring. In other words we need to get another long talking segment between these two.

Shane comes to the arena to call out Vince but he gets Eric Bischoff instead. After Shane says he’s not exactly scared here, Eric makes a threat….but gets cut off by Kane, who sneaks in from behind. Shane is sent into and smashed with the steps before Kane cuffs him to the post. With Shane’s legs pinned down by the steps, Kane pours water over him and pulls out a battery with some jumper cables. He attaches the cables to Shane’s crotch and electrocutes him until Rob Van Dam runs out for the save with a chair. Rob frees Shane’s testicles and beats Kane up even more.

I remembered the electrocution going on longer but maybe it was just because the story was dumb. Again: they’ve wasted their big moment with Kane and having him face Shane on pay per view in a street fight or whatever isn’t going to make up for a lot of this stuff. Kane should be in the World Title hunt but we’re getting this instead.

Bischoff makes Kane vs. Van Dam in a cage next week.

Hurricane/Rosey vs. La Resistance

Non-title. Hurricane armdrags Dupree to start as JR thinks Kane was planning to torture Shane tonight. Good thing he had a plan ready that includes Shane bumping into Vince in the back and saying he wanted to deal with this in the ring. Grenier sends Hurricane into the corner and we hit the bearhug as JR and King talk strategy for JR vs. Coach.

Now the discussion shifts to Kane attacking Linda and JR saying he won’t be a swimsuit model. Geez people can you please at least pretend that this that this match matters? Rosey gets in a splash for two as everything breaks down. Hurricane’s high crossbody gets two but Rob Conway (JR: “The master of disguise!” He’s in jeans and a sleeveless shirt here.) comes in with a belt shot to give Grenier the pin.

Rating: D-. Commentary is getting really annoying here as it’s all about ANYTHING else as they can’t even focus on a four minute match. Are the fans really going to stop caring if we’re not talking about Kane every second of every day? If it mattered that much, they would be doing something bigger for him than the Shane feud. I mean, I know WWE thinks Shane is the greatest thing since Stephanie, but not everyone else goes with that line of thinking.

Post match Grenier wants tables but here are the Dudleys for the save as this feud keeps going.

Maven has been wanting to be in this position since he came to WWE (All that time huh?) but Evolution comes in to laugh at him.

Post break Shawn comes in to see Maven, who has earned this. I know they’re trying with Maven but come on already. Hurricane has earned this more than he has.

Teddy Long asks Steve Austin why Rodney Mack and Mark Henry didn’t get the Intercontinental Title shot tonight. Austin says they got bumped and that’s that. He keeps walking and bumps into Rob Van Dam. Rob is cool with the cage match next week but wants it to start the show. Austin grants the request, mainly because next week is the season premiere of Monday Night Football.

Stacy Keibler calls Test a jerk and she doesn’t trust him. Egads that’s harsh for the man treating you like a sex slave. Test brings up the Testicles bit and says people can love them again. Everything will be fine.

Steven Richards/Victoria vs. Test/Stacy Keibler

This is intergender, meaning men can face women. Test and Stacy come out to the Legs song. As they come to the ring, the match is announced as No DQ. Test punches Steven to start and brings Stacy in (Why would she accept the tag?) to kick him in the ribs. Victoria gets in a cheap shot though and shouts about Stacy being a Barbie.

It’s back to Steven for a few spanks but he loads up a pumphandle, drawing Test in for a clothesline. Stacy crawls over for the tag and Test drops to the floor (JR: “Did Test slip off the apron?”). He comes back in and holds her for a slap from Victoria, who hits Test by mistake. Steven beats Test up and clotheslines Stacy, drawing in Scott Steiner for the save. Test kicks Victoria in the face by mistake (aiming for Steiner), giving Stacy the pin.

Rating: F. The Rock N Roll Express and the Midnight Express think this feud has been going on too long. I know Steiner isn’t exactly in the best place in the world at this point but they didn’t have ANYTHING else for him to do? Like maybe sit at home while his contract ran out? Somehow this is probably leading to Test vs. Steiner again as they manage to make this story even more ridiculous.

Test drags Stacy away again and stops to sneer at Steiner. What emotion.

Evolution vs. Shawn Michaels/Goldberg/Maven

Goldberg’s entrance is shortened a bit this week as Shawn, in a hat, slugs away at Orton to start. Maven comes in for some armdrags as JR pushes him as the big young star. It’s already off to Flair for some right hands in the corner but Shawn comes back in for the big staredown. Well it’s the best combination they have for this match.

Shawn punches everyone down, including knocking the still injured HHH off the apron. The slingshot dive takes out all of Evolution (Which JR calls a split. Taking down everything is called a strike JR.) but Flair gets in a low blow to cut him off. HHH actually comes in for a low blow of his own as JR says the people HHH has defeated in World Title matches could fill a Hall of Fame. I’d be down for a Taka Michinoku induction. Shawn kicks Flair away but HHH is back in to stomp him down.

Evolution keeps taking turns on Michaels with JR playing cheerleader. HHH grabs the abdominal stretch but gets caught cheating, earning a break so Shawn can chop away. Another hot tag attempt is cut off and HHH stops to taunt Goldberg a bit. A big shot allows the tag to Goldberg and things pick up in a hurry. HHH cuts Goldberg off (well of course) and punches him down in the corner, followed by Orton getting in a shot of his own. Instead it’s a spear to Orton and some trash talk to HHH before the Jackhammer puts Orton away.

Rating: C-. Totally standard main event tag formula, even though the match was a glorified handicap match as Maven was a total non-factor after the opening thirty seconds. Goldberg vs. HHH still isn’t a great story as they’re setting up Goldberg as the challenger of the month but at least the fans are still into him. Odds are we’ll be getting Shawn vs. Orton as well, which should do some good things for Randy’s future.

Overall Rating: D-. And somehow, this is MILES better than last week’s show. There’s a bunch of bad stuff here but at least it felt like a wrestling show (electrocution segment aside). They’re setting stuff up for Unforgiven and while it’s still not a good show, at least they’re going somewhere and it’s not all about the announcers and McMahons. The fact that it’s still heavily about them doesn’t help, but I’ll take what I can get after the recently terrible shows.

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