Monday Night Raw – August 1, 2005: Who, Who And WHY???
Monday Night Raw
Date: August 1, 2005
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman
We’re less than three weeks away from Summerslam and this week has a big title rematch. Last week Chris Jericho helped Carlito defeat John Cena to earn the title match this week, even though it’s pretty clear that we’re coming up on Cena defending against Jericho. Other than that, we have more on the Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan build. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Chris Jericho to get things going. He and Eric Bischoff have been working on a BRILLIANT plan to get the WWE Championship off of John Cena. First of all, we saw Cena’s exposure as a fake rapper and then as a fake champion after Carlito beat Cena with a completely fair referee. After a quick clip of Carlito winning thanks to a low blow, Jericho gets serious to promise Cena some pain at Summerslam. Cue a charging Cena and the fight is on, with Bischoff sending security out a few seconds later. With the fight broken up, Bischoff makes Jericho guest referee for Carlito’s title shot. Cena looks crushed, as expected.
Big Show/Shelton Benjamin vs. Snitsky/Chris Masters
Fallout from last week. It’s a brawl before the bell with Show throwing Shelton inside and pulling Snitsky outside. We settle down to Shelton shouldering Masters and bringing in Show for some headbutting. The huge chop lets Show mock Snitsky’s pain but Masters’ attempt at a cheap shot completely fails. Show tosses him over the top for the big crash onto Snitsky and we take a break.
Back with Shelton hammering on Snitsky some more but having to deal with Masters again, allowing Snitsky to block the Stinger Splash. Masters hits some backbreakers for two, followed by the bearhug. A powerslam gives Masters two and it’s back to Snitsky for the chinlock. Shelton finally gets two off a rollup to Masters but a backslide is countered with a heck of a clothesline. Back up and Shelton finally gets in a neckbreaker for a breather, allowing the hot tag to Big Show. House is cleaned with splashes and running shoulders but Snitsky kicks Show in the face. Not that it matters as Show chokeslams him for the pin.
Rating: D. This was VERY long and dull but I’ll take whatever gets Shelton going again. I don’t expect it to last at the moment, but at least he finally got something back. I don’t know what kind of a future Masters and Snitsky have, though it’s not like there is anyone else doing anything at the moment in the tag division (including the champions).
Here’s Eugene, now with Christy Hemme as his literal cheerleader, for the Eugene Invitational. The hometown hero is….Kurt Angle, with Eugene demanding to know where his name is and where he is from. Angle gets so annoyed that he admits he isn’t from Connecticut so there’s no match. Sure Eugene said he was from Cleveland last week but that was pretending and this is real! Angle brings up that this is an Indian casino and asks who could really be from here. And now, for your random cameo of the week.
Eugene vs. Tatanka
Eugene is rather pleased that Tatanka can drive him back into the corner so Tatanka shoulders him down for two. They fight over the arm with a minute gone and Lawler talking about Christy’s pom poms. A chop puts Eugene down and Tatanka tries the warpath to a non-existent reaction. The top rope chop to the head gets two on Eugene with just under a minute left. Eugene hits an Angle Slam and pulls down the non-existent straps. The ankle lock goes on and Angle comes in for the DQ. Tatanka can’t take a loss here? Really?
Post match Eugene and Tatanka clear the ring. That’s a bad tag team at a legends of wrestling event if I’ve ever seen one.
Post break a furious Angle promises to get his medal back next week in Pittsburgh. Next week, he’s making Eugene REALLY special.
We look at Kane losing the stretcher match and kidnapping Lita to blow off some steam.
Carlito and Jericho rant about Cena and nearly come to blows. Bischoff comes in to calm things down, saying Jericho’s job is to make Carlito WWE Champion. Now go come up with a plan. Jericho thinks a fast count is in order.
Vince McMahon arrives.
Here’s Vince in the ring for a major announcement. This is the 636th episode of Raw, putting the show past all other original shows for total episodes. The classy thing to do would be to thank the fans, but Vince thanks himself instead. He has a history of making good business decisions, like bringing back people or concepts that make him money. That’s what he’s doing again tonight as he brings back a former WWE superstar. This man has been wrecking havoc backstage and now he will be facing Edge at Summerslam: MATT HARDY.
We see Matt walking through the back before hitting the arena for a big reaction. Matt says he should thank Vince but it was the people who brought him back to Raw. Unlike Vince, Matt is willing to thank the fans for getting him back here. Matt recaps the entire love triangle with Edge and Lita, including real names and breaking kayfabe by talking about how the marriage to Kane was just on TV.
The story came out and the fans let Edge and Lita know how they felt. Then he heard 20,000 people chanting WE WANT MATT in Madison Square Garden so now Matt is back to destroy Edge’s life. Matt promises to hurt Edge at Summerslam and he WILL NOT DIE. It’s a big moment, but after Matt popped up a few times, it was hardly some game changer.
Vince is in the back and runs into Kerwin White, but he’s been rich for so long that he’s forgotten what it’s like to be middle class. Vince leaves and Kerwin longs for some polo.
Rob Conway vs. Val Venis
Conway debuts his “Just Look At Me” song and wrestles in sunglasses because he’s now something like Buff Bagwell. From now on, he’s doing things the Con-Way. JR is incredulous over the sunglasses as Conway starts with a headlock. Venis runs him over and the glasses fall off, sending Conway over the edge. Conway is so mad that he gets wristlocked and hammerlocked, though he does get in an elbow to the jaw. An exchange of forearms on the floor doesn’t last long but Conway snaps him throat first across the rope.
The beating against the barricade keeps Val down and it’s time to crank on the neck back inside. Venis spins out into a Blue Thunder Bomb as the announcers make porn jokes about Venis to fill in some time. A reverse Figure Four sends Conway over to the ropes as we get a loud THIS MATCH SUCKS chant. I’d go more with it’s not that interesting but it doesn’t suck. The Money Shot is broken up and a hanging swinging neckbreaker (the Ego Trip) finishes Venis.
Rating: D. Conway feels like someone who belongs in another era, as you could see him being a star in something closer to the territory days. On Raw in 2005 though? This really didn’t click, though part of that is due to the match being Conway vs. Venis. Who is going to look at this and see something they might want to watch? Conway could be fine in the midcard, but don’t expect to see me care about him with a heel character that isn’t exactly groundbreaking.
And now, Shawn Michaels imitates Hulk Hogan on a fake Larry King Show, getting in every old joke that he can think of and talking about how different he is outside of the ring. With about five BROTHER’s per sentence, Shawn takes a call from Battle Creek, Michigan, where he’ll never go again because Hulk only makes the big towns brother. We get a long and good Shawn highlight video, capped off by the superkick to Hogan.
Shawn, in Hogan pose: “…..brother….”. Before the match, “Hulk” has a lot of politicking to do with Vince. We hear about how Shawn failed when Hogan bailed on the company for more money because Shawn would rather work as hard in Battle Creek, Michigan than he would in Madison Square Garden. It won’t matter though because (“You know something Mean Gene!” Larry: “It’s Larry King!” Hulk: “It doesn’t matter brother. I’m selling tickets!”) he’ll prove himself at Summerslam.
Hulk gets a bad cramp but he’s fine enough to superkick Larry and rip off the wig. Hogan has a reality show, but at Summerslam, reality is kicking him in the face, just like Shawn kicks the camera. Shawn is great at this stuff and even though it’s pretty easy to mock Hogan, you can tell Shawn is in this one hard. That being said, you can imagine how Hogan is going to take this because he’s a little serious about himself. Shawn at least feels like he’s saying something though and it’s coming across even with the comedy stuff. That’s more than Hogan has done, as he’s just promised to beat Shawn up. More of Shawn’s stuff please.
It’s Diva Search time and Summer is cut. Yes another good looking blonde is out, leaving the rest to try Queen of the Mountain (the duel with big sticks). Hold on though as here’s Rob Schneider of all people to promote Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo. Schneider: “As you battle, do not be distracted by my boner.” The four do their tournament, Schneider isn’t funny, Schneider gets physical on the big inflatable mat, Elizabeth wins. So much for them not spending as much time on this stuff.
We recap Carlito vs. Cena from last week.
Raw World Title: Carlito vs. John Cena
Bischoff is at ringside, Cena is defending, Carlito’s Intercontinental Title isn’t on the line and Jericho is guest referee. Jericho gets in a distraction to start so Carlito can hammer away at the bell. Cena’s early comeback is cut off by Jericho and a crazy fast count gets two. Jericho helps Carlito send him shoulder first into the post and we take a break. Back with Carlito hitting a running neckbreaker for a fast two and the handicap match continues.
Cena tries a suplex but Jericho breaks it up so Carlito can hit a DDT for two, despite Cena being all over the ropes. A flying shoulder drops Carlito and Cena spears Jericho, only to get taken down from behind again. We hit the chinlock again but Cena powers out, meaning it’s time for another cheap shot from Jericho.
They head outside with Jericho pulling the pad off of the barricade. Even Jericho gets in a ram but Cena comes back with the shots to the face. The usual looks to finish but Jericho won’t count, meaning Cena goes after him again. Jericho breaks up the FU, only to hit Bischoff by mistake. Cena clotheslines Jericho to the floor and hits the FU to get the retaining pin from another referee.
Rating: D+. I’m not sure what to think about this one. They didn’t waste time hiding what they were doing here but there was no chance that they were going to change the title with a Summerslam main event ready for them. The idea is there, but was there NO ONE but the Intercontinental Champion for this spot? Throw Snitsky in there or something but find a better way to protect the title.
Post match Jericho hits Cena low and busts him open with a TV camera. The Walls go on and Bischoff slaps Cena a few times, sending JR over the edge to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. Matt coming back was cool (yet it would have been better had he just gotten into the fight with Edge some other way), Shawn’s deal was funny and that’s it for your positives on this show. A fifteen minute Masters/Snitsky match? The same main event we had last week? ROB SCHNEIDER AND TATANKA??? They had a few ideas here (Conway is at least a genuine attempt to push someone new and I can go for that) but the bad stuff really cripples anything good the show could have had. It’s not a failure, but they need to get rid of the awful stuff in a hurry because it’s killing what good things they have.
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