Monday Night Raw – December 27, 2004: Save The Best For Last

IMG Credit: WWE

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 27, 2004
Location: Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the final show of a year that wasn’t very good in the first place. We’re coming off the Best of 2004 last week so it’s been a little while since we’ve gotten anything new. The big story is still the build towards the Elimination Chamber at New Year’s Revolution. Other than that, things aren’t the most exciting around here. Let’s get to it.

Here are last week’s results if you need a recap.

We open with a recap of Eric Bischoff announcing the Elimination Chamber. Flair’s “oh s***” look at Batista when he was announced for the Chamber was a great touch that I missed before. It makes sense that they would start there as it’s not like there is anything else going on at the moment.

Here’s Bischoff in the arena to explain the Elimination Chamber. Makes sense as there have only been two of them and we haven’t seen it in over a year. As for tonight, all six participants will be taking part in singles matches against mystery opponents, with the one who wins in the shortest time getting to enter last. If any of them lose, they’re out of the Chamber and replaced by whoever beats them. We’ll call it the Beat The Clock Challenge and Christy Hemme will be timekeeper. Oh and there will be a guest referee for the Chamber, who will be announced later tonight. Works for me.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Chris Jericho vs. Christian

Christian has Tomko with him. Christian goes with a slap to the face and a slap to start so Jericho tries the fast pins which never work in a match like this. A sunset flip from Christian sets up a pinfall reversal sequence but the Walls are countered into a small package for two more. Some right hands in the corner have Jericho in more trouble and we hit the chinlock, which goes through a few forms.

Jericho gets sent to the apron but he backdrops Christian over, with Christian landing face first on the floor in a nasty crash. We’re not done yet though as Jericho springboards onto both villains as we take a break. Back with Jericho hitting a crossbody for two, followed by Tomko getting in a cheap shot to give Christian the same. Jericho has had it with Tomko and dropkicks him down before reversing Christian’s rollup into the Walls for the win at 10:47.

Rating: C+. Good match here but you have to expect that from the two of them. It was nice to have some stakes in the match though and the idea that Christian could get in made it better. The time thing is something that can work quite well and makes the matches later on mean something, so at least we’re off to a nice start.

Ric Flair tries to calm HHH down while Batista doesn’t care who he’s facing tonight. The question is why HHH isn’t confident. HHH tries to talk his way out of it and bets $100 that he beats Batista’s time. Flair intervenes again and makes it clear that this is all about HHH, though Batista doesn’t seem phased.

Randy Orton is excited to go into the Chamber since he was able to challenge for the World Title. And they wonder why the face turn didn’t work. His New Year’s resolution is to go to New Year’s Revolution and win the title. Tonight though, he’s winning in the fastest time.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Randy Orton vs. Maven

Christy has changed outfits for the match and the clock is set at 10:47, meaning the countdown clock counts down in a logical move. They lock up to start until Orton hits the dropkick. Maven catches him on top though and sneaks in a poke to the eye, allowing him to shove Orton off the apron. That means a hard ram into the steps and Maven mocks Orton’s pose (with King referring to Orton as the Big O).

The chinlock goes on for a good while until Maven sends him outside. King: “Orton, you cannot win this match out on the floor!” Uh, yeah he can. Orton hits a Russian legsweep into the barricade and the hanging DDT plants Maven back inside. Maven is fine enough to roll through a high crossbody into a rollup for two but it’s the RKO to give Orton the pin at 6:14.

Rating: D+. Not as good of a match as the previous one but Maven isn’t as good as Christian. Orton’s face push still isn’t working, though he’s getting some positive reactions when he’s in the ring. The character just isn’t quite there though and having him not be able to fight for the title for three months was death to the whole thing.

Lita vs. Molly Holly

Non-title. Molly follows Christian’s plan from earlier and slaps Lita in the face. This time works a bit better though as she sends Lita into the corner and grabs a chinlock as JR recaps Lita’s rather up and down year. A monkey flip lets Lita hit some right hands and there’s a headbutt to the ribs for two. Molly misses a charge into the corner and the DDT gives Lita the fast pin.

Post match here’s Snitsky to chase Lita through the crowd and into the back. Lita gets into a room so here’s Bischoff to make Kane vs. Snitsky at New Year’s Revolution.

Simon Dean vs. Rosey

This is fallout from Heat, which either took place last night or two weeks ago depending on if you believe JR or the graphic. Before the match, Simon does the standard YOU’RE ALL FAT stuff. Being called a hog is too much for Rosey, who pulls Simon in to start the beating. For some reason Dean tries a sunset flip, earning himself a big sitdown splash.

Dean gets smart by going after the knee, including wrapping it around the post. The fans don’t like Simon as he works on the knee but Rosey’s comeback gets their attention a bit. It doesn’t go well for Rosey though as the Vader Bomb misses, though Dean decides to go for a slam for some reason. After that falls apart, Rosey grabs Dean’s weightlifting belt and gets rolled up for the pin.

Rating: D. What are you expecting here? Dean is a lower card heel and nothing more than that, which is fine for something short like this. Rosey on the other hand looks like a goof who can’t beat someone like Dean, which doesn’t exactly make me care about either guy. Then again, I don’t know how far they’re expecting Dean to go in the first place.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Edge vs. Eugene

The clock is set at 6:14 so Edge jumps him before the bell to start fast. Eugene fights back without even taking off his ring jacket and gets in a hiptoss. Edge gets sent outside so the jacket can come off but the delay lets Edge snap his throat across the top. The chinlock goes on in a rather dumb move, followed by Edge hitting a dropkick for two. It’s back to the reverse chinlock with less than three minutes to go as Edge keeps wasting time. Eugene fights up and hits an electric chair drop, setting up a crisscross. That’s enough for Eugene to head outside and high five some fans as the clock keeps ticking.

Eugene even hides under the ring as the clock continues to tick away. Back in and Eugene tries a Rock Bottom and Stunner but gets reversed into the spear….which sends Eugene to the floor as time expires. The match keeps going though as Eugene could still win and take the spot. Back in and Eugene hits the Stunner for a very delayed two but a running knee hits the buckle. Edge wraps the knee around the post and debuts (I believe) the Edgecator (the Sharpshooter without stepping over) for the win.

Rating: C-. Not too bad here with the clock playing more of a role this time around. Edge getting frustrated and not making the time was a nice twist, even though there was almost no way the change was coming here. The Beat the Clock thing has worked so far as it’s adding in some drama, which is a lot better than building momentum matches.

Bischoff is on the phone and is glad that someone will make it here tonight. Coach comes in and gives Bischoff his Christmas present: some Coach sunglasses. The call was from the guest referee but Coach doesn’t get to know who it was in advance.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Chris Benoit vs. Viscera

The clock is still at 6:14. Viscera shoves him down without much effort to start as JR and King have no idea how Benoit can pull this off. Benoit gets smart by going after the legs so Viscera runs him over again. That’s fine with Benoit, who tries the chops but walks into a spinwheel kick. Viscera mounts Benoit on the mat for some shots to the face in a rather disturbing image.

A Samoan drop crushes Benoit again and the Crossface attempt is easily countered into a side slam. Benoit somehow manages a belly to back suplex and the Crossface (or Crossthroat here) with Viscera waiting a ridiculous forty seconds before tapping (or moving for that matter) to give Benoit the win at 5:43.

Rating: D. What in the world was that ending? Viscera doing his giant thing for most of the match was fine but did HHH even survive that long in the Crossface at Wrestlemania? I’m hoping it was just a clock thing where they needed the time lower, but at least roll over or fight for the escape or something.

Here’s Stacy Keibler to say he hopes we had a great Christmas. 2004 was a great year and thank you for voting her the Babe of the Year. She’ll bend over backwards and forward to make 2005 that much better. Thankfully Muhammad Hassan and Daivari come out to break up this scintillating promo. Daivari throws Stacy out and Hassan rants about Christmas before going into his same standard speech about how prejudiced we all are.

The fans drown him out with a USA chant so Daivari goes up to commentary to yell at JR and King. Hassan joins them as Lawler gets up and threatens Daivari, meaning the fight is on. JR gets knocked down and Jerry gets in Hassan’s face, meaning a New Year’s Revolution match is likely.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Batista vs. Rhyno

The clock is set at 5:43. Batista tells Rhyno to bring it to start and then elbows him in the face. A shoulder goes well for Batista again as Rhyno’s power game is completely outmatched here. Rhyno gets in a quick Gore for two and Batista is right back up with the Batista Bomb. Batista is so confident that he hits a second one for the pin at 3:02.

Rating: D+. Oh yeah they know what they’re doing with Batista. This was a monster style match with Batista shrugging off an established finisher and nearly cutting Benoit’s time in half. I still don’t think it’s fair to blame Orton’s face push on Orton himself but sweet goodness Batista is nailing every single thing about this push.

Video on Tribute to the Troops.

Coach interrupts Bischoff talking to Candice Michelle to say the special referee is here. Bischoff wants to know how Coach knows he’s here if he doesn’t know the referee. Coach says it has to be him but here’s Hassan to interrupt. He doesn’t like JR and King’s anti-Arab American propaganda so we should have a debate. Bischoff says no because JR isn’t a wrestler, so we’ll have…..a debate. The complete lack of a crowd reaction should tell you all you need to know.

New Year’s Revolution rundown.

HHH complains to Flair about Batista, who doesn’t see the problem. Batista says HHH is starting to tick him off and THAT gets the fans’ attention. Flair plays peacekeeper, again.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Shelton Benjamin vs. HHH

Non-title and the clock is set at 3:02. Everyone else in the Chamber is sitting at ringside. Also, is this a fair match for HHH? Maven, Rhyno, Viscera and the Intercontinental Champion? HHH goes right after him to start and sends Benjamin to the floor, with Lawler again incorrectly saying he can’t win out there. A whip into the steps has Shelton in more trouble and HHH hammers away with right hands. There’s the spinebuster for two and we hit the sleeper to keep HHH in control.

A way too early Pedigree attempt is countered so HHH goes back to the sleeper. HHH gets two arm drops but Shelton gets his foot on the rope as it drops the third time. The celebration is on but time expires to anger HHH all over again. Shelton hits a quick Stinger Splash for two as King starts to panic. There’s the Dragon Whip for two more but HHH gets in a spinebuster for the same. Flair offers a distraction so the exploder doesn’t get a count. Shelton gets rid of Flair and the Pedigree gives HHH the pin.

Rating: C. I liked this more than I should have with HHH being aggressive but not being able to seal the deal. Once the clock expired though, fans got more into things as the possibility that HHH might not make it intrigued them quite a bit. Shelton was even protected in the loss, making this quite a nice little piece of business, especially given the short amount of time.

Post match HHH is relieved but Bischoff brings out Shawn Michaels as guest referee for the Chamber so everyone can freak out to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. They kept things moving this week and it made for a much better show. The matches might not have been masterpieces but the clock deal was a nice touch and it offered something a little different for a change. That’s as good as you’re going to get when so much of the roster is tied up in one match and it wound up being a good show to end the show.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1 (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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