Hope you missed me last week. I was busy contributing to the Inside Pulse Top 50 Wrestlers of 2004. I covered all of the NWA:TNA guys for Hevia. I think we’ve brought something different tot he table with that list, but you’ll have to see for yourself. Check out 11 through 50 and 10 through 1.
Starting next week we return to our normally scheduled broadcasting.
What a year it’s been on RAW. As we look through the statistics and who’s new and who’s gone, there are some interesting things to note.
2004 RAW/PPV STATS – Seriously, it’s worth a look
Are we better off at the start of 2005 then we were in 2004? My short answer? Yes. The longer one? We are. 2004 was spent making new wrestlers and 2003 was cluttered with already established stars. This is evident by the amount of firings and contract expirings we’ve seen this year. Scott Steiner, Terri Runnels, Steve Austin, Goldberg, Jacquelyn, A-Train, Test, Gail Kim, Rodney Mack, Nidia, Chuck Palumbo, and Jazz. And that’s just on the RAW side of things. For ALL of the firings and hirings, you could always look at the 2004 Transaction Log for the WWE. So we have less dead weight lying around, but there is one issue leaving 2004 behind. The world title picture is too crowded. The show is simply not big enough for all of the seven personalities that are currently shooting for the title (six elimination chamber guys plus HBK)
This year was a year that saw a lot of veterans taking turns in grooming new stars.
Triple H: He lost the belt to Chris Benoit further cementing his status as one of the greats, but after losing the title, Triple H went right to work on new stars. He took the Shelton Benjamin from the World’s Greatest Tag Team and through three wins over Hunter, made him Shelton Benjamin, upper mid carder. He had a surprisingly long feud with Eugene, bringing him from OVW into the main event spotlight on RAW and Eugene was important enough to have had a big influence on the finish of the main event match of Benoit vs. Triple H at Vengeance. His turn on Randy Orton gave Orton that extra oomph after winning the title, making Orton one of the top faces on RAW in the second half of the year.
Chris Benoit: After winning the Royal Rumble and the title at Wrestlemania XX, Benoit surprisingly lost the title to Randy Orton, giving Orton one of two things needed for that main event rub he seemed destined for. All year long Benoit had feuded with Evolution, but mostly he took on Batista, taking Batista’s spine busters, clotheslines, big boots, and Demon Bombs to make the big man look good. And did he ever. While he held the title, he got involved in the Eugene storyline, helping Eugene, and in turn Eugene helped him beat HHH at Vengeance. When Edge was on the cusp of the main event title picture at Taboo Tuesday, Benoit got involved with a tag title victory without Edge despite being on his team (Edge walked out of their match at Taboo Tuesday and the rematch title defense that followed costing Benoit the tag titles). It was this mini-feud that really gave Edge a spot in the main event spotlight because he had feuds with all of the main event faces (Jericho, Benoit, Orton, HBK)
Jericho: Jericho entered 2004 starting a feud with Christian that would last months, with a cleverly thought out storyline, great wrestling to back it all up, and an even better twist at Wrestlemania XX. Jericho’s feud with Christian brought them both back to relevancy, but brought Christian into the IC title picture. Jericho also spent time this year grooming Batista as a monster in the ring. On more than one occasion Jericho met Batista in the ring only to be wiped out by a boot, clothesline of Demon Bomb. One of the reasons that Batista is so intimidating currently is because of Jericho’s selling this year. Y2J’s also one of the guys who helped Eugene along his way during a Highlight Reel segment. Jericho’s feud with Christian spilled into the IC title picture once Edge was out with an injury and he would resume his feud with Christian once Christian returned from injuries. Because of Edge’s title being vacated, there was no love lost between Jericho and Edge and Jericho carried Edge right into the title picture when Jericho re-emerged there as well. Before getting there though, Jericho would lose two matches very cleanly to Shelton Benjamin, who was returning from injury right after getting a rub from Triple H; giving Shelton the title.
Ric Flair: Spent the first part of the year tag teaming with Batista, with his charisma hopefully rubbing off on the monster that started the year close to Lance Storm’s “boring” gimmick charisma, but a “million dollar body” as Triple H says. flair was alongside Batista all year helping him in matches, holding the tag team belt together on different occasions and tag teaming with him and Orton at Wrestlemania XX as well. Speaking of Orton, once he separated from Evolution after winning the title, then losing it, all of Ric flair’s praise turned to trash talk, but regardless, it brought Orton to our attention. That “virgin” that he was gonna make bleed so-headlined Taboo Tuesday with him in a good steel cage match, giving Orton the victory, further cementing Randy as a main eventer. He even had a little amtch with the Hurricane, while beating the Hurricane, the promo was entertaining.
William Regal: Returned and was placed right into the Eugene angle, and besides going for the ride that the Eugene character did this year, his stock also rose as he changed his character and turned face for the first time in a long time to help give a push to this “disadvantaged boy” as he once put it. Plus some of his promos with Eugene, including the initial training vignettes, have been absolute gold.
Kane: This has been one interesting year for the big red machine. His feud with, and big losses to Matt Hardy along with the involvement of Lita have made the crowd remember how great of a wrestler V1 really is. Matt Hardy is out with knee surgery, and in the mean time, Kane has made a monster out of “It’s not my fault” Gene Snitsky. In their match on Taboo Tuesday, Kane made Snitsky believable to the fans as an uncontrollable monster (something Kane used to be). Kane even went through his first story line injury that I can remember.
Mick Foley: I don’t think I can over-state the importance Mick Foley has had on Randy Orton’s career. Mick sacrificed his “retirement” to have a go at it with Randy Orton for another run in the WWE.
The Rock: You might not remember, the the Rock gav the rub to a lot of superstars this year. Rhyno and Tajiri came to the Rock’s aide during their run for the tag team titles. This was after Tajiri’s delivery of pie to the Rock for the Diva Search. The Rock also announced that Eugene was his friend and helped Eugene along in his first few weeks as a RAW talent. And he also returned a few weeks before Wrestlemania to hel pout his old friend Mick Foley to reunite the Rock and Sock connection, only to lose to Evolution at Wrestlemania and give the Foley/ORton feud a push forward.
The Boss wants us to get on with it already. So without further adue, the rest of the mess that was the Year of RAW…
DECONSTRUCTING THE MOVESET: A Year of RAW Part 4 of 4
it’s finally over!
Q1 of RAW: January 1st – WRESTLEMANIA
Q2 of RAW: March 15th – BADD BLOOD
Q3 of RAW: June 14th – UNFORGIVEN
Q4 Part 1 of 2 of RAW: June 14th – UNFORGIVEN
Q4 PART 2 of 2 NOVEMBER 15TH – DECEMBER 27TH
November 15th –
Eugene/Regal d. (TAG)La Resistance & Rhyno/Tajiri to win the tag titles w/People’s Elbow on Grenier
Lita d. Molly w/choke submission
Orton d. Coach w/RKO
Benoit/(IC)Shelton d. E&C w/Crossface on Christian
Christy d. Stacy in a lingerie pillow fight
(WORLD)HHH d. Maven w/Pedigree and a lot of outside interference to protect Maven’s wrestling abilities
Grenier is singing the Canadian National anthem and Maven interrupts to say he’s in charge tonight. He makes a triple threat of La Resistance, Rhyno. Tajiri and Eugene/Regal, announces himself vs. HHH for the title, and JR vs. Coach. Later, Maven enters his office to find HHH waiting for him and offers him a spot in Evolution. HHH knows that Maven’s hurt from Snitsky’s beating, and HHH says he can join Evolution or get a beating tonight. Even later, Coach is ready for his match and Maven says the J was silent, and he really meant to say R-K-O. Later, Maven’s having second thoughts about his title match and Orton tries to pump him up. Maven says Orton just wants a shot at the title if Maven wins. Before the main event, Maven has to make a choice. Jericho and Benoit come down to support Maven, and Maven goes for the fight. During the match, Flair and Batista get tossed by the ref. Edge comes down, accidentally spears the ref, Evolution come back, Orton comes in and Snitsky comes in as well. Everyone is cleared, Snitsky boots Maven in the face, Pedigree, end of match.
FUCK YOU TODD GRISHAM is with Edge and Christian, who are tagging tonight and aren’t happy about it. Christian says to follow his lead because last time he fought, he beat Shawn Michaels. The CLB walks away and Edge offers a middle finger salute five second pose for old time sakes.
Simon Dean calls people fat in the ring, Rosey breaks it up, Simon hits him with a powder jug and throws powder in his face.
Muhammad Hassan wants respect after 9-11 from us Americans.
November 22nd –
Monday Night Football spoof airs this week.
Snitsky d. Maven w/Morning After Slam
Jericho d. Batista via DQ when Batista won’t release Jericho from a Tree of Woe
Rhyno d. Coach w/Gore
Trish d. Molly & Lita w/pin on Molly after Lita DDT’d her
Eugene/Regal/Benjamin d. La Resistance/Christian w/Shelton’s t-bone on Conway after Eugene hit a stunner on Conway
Benoit d. Edge in a cage match by exiting the door because of a Spear
Benoit’s in charge and says he left open contracts for tonight. Maven vs Snitsky, Batista vs. Jericho, Lita vs. Molly vs. Trish, Coach vs. JR and Benoit vs. HHH in a steel cage!
HHH complains about having to fight in a steel cage, Batista says he’ll have his back. HHH says like he had his back last week? They get heated and Flair pulls them apart, HHH bets $100 Batista will lose his match tonight. Later, Batista tells Flair HHH needs to back off. After Batista’s match. HHH says he owes him $100, Batista gets steamed, HHH gets steamed saying Batista’s got a million dollar body and two cent brain, Dave walks away. HHH tells Flair he needs to talk to him.
Stacy shots t-shirts and Simon Dean comes out to harass her. Hurricane makes the save, then gets shipped by Dean’s belt and Rosey makes the further save.
FUCK YOU TODD GRISHAM is with Edge and Edge says he deserves the title and he was upset that he had to fight in a tag match. He asks some if he deserves a title shot and everyone says no. He nearly goes after someone but Benoit’s there and says he should do something about it if he wants a title shot.
When he said “JR”, Benoit thought Coach meant Just Rhyno.
Muhammad Hassan wants the same rights as the rest of us Americans, especially in airports, where he is at the moment.
HHH has been taken out backstage by someone (the thought was Batista) and he can’t wrestle in the cage tonight. Benoit’s pissed and wants to fight and tells the EMT’s to drag HHH out to the ring, a doc says no way. Edge teases Benoit and Benoit says for him t get to the ring because they have a cage match right now. Later Flair finds Batista and says he needs to leave cause HHH is pissed. Batista says HHH should meet him in the ring right now. They meet in the ring and it was all a joke to get HHH out of the title shot! Cue Orton, who’s not happy and says it’s gonna be a 20 man battle royal next week for the world title, and the locker room is standing on the entrance ramp waiting for HHH, but you know, next week.
November 29th –
20 man Battle Royal in order of elimination and who eliminated them:
Tyson Tomko (Shelton Benjamin)
Sylvain Greiner (Maven)
Steven Richards (Jericho/Benoit/Benjamin)
Shelton Benjamin (Edge)
Chris Jericho (Batista)
winners and #1 contenders? Edge and Benoit eliminated at the same time
Lita/Victoria d. (WOMAN)Trish/Molly w/Lita’s DDT on Trish
Flair d. Lawler w/figure four and the ropes for leverage
(TAG)Eugene/Regal d. La Resistance
Benoit and Edge appear to have both beaten HHH. Benoit made Edge tap and Edge pinned Benoit at the same time.
Vince walks out while almost everyone’s in the ring to say that the match is not for the World Title, but a #1 contender spot. If it’s for the world title, even Stevie Richards could win. So it’s not for the title. What does he think this is, the 1993 Royal Rumble? Randy Orton can’t do that. Of course not, only Vince can over a decade ago.
Maven is upset about being eliminated by Eugene and is jealous that Eugene has a title. Cue Eugene who asks Maven for help getting his title on. Maven says he can’t spell title, Eugene proves Maven wrong and Maven’s told to cool it be Shelton and Regal.
Orton walks to the ring to announce matches and what will be done about the battle royal. LA Resistance get a rematch against Eugene/Regal, Lawler will fight Ric Flair in a legends match, and it will be a three way for the title with HHH vs. Benoit vs. Edge. Later, Orton has a lingerie fashion show in the ring. No Seriously.
Jericho runs into Trish and says that Lita’s walking Kiss of death, but the Walking KOD just beat the Walking STD. Next week, it’s Lita vs. Trish for the title.
December 6th –
Eugene d. Maven w/DQ when Maven wouldn’t stop stomping on Eugene in the corner
Simon Dean d. Hurricane w/roll-up pulling the tights
(IC)Shelton d. Captain Charisma w/T-Bone after Christian’s mask got twisted in his face
Jericho/Benoit d. HHH/Batista via DQ when HHH gives chair shots to everyone (including Batista accidentally)
Lita d. Trish w/Twist of Fate and a moonsault
Jericho’s in charge and everyone gets lei’d. Lei’s fall from the ceiling. He wants to clear up the title picture but there’s only one man to do it – Vince! Vince explains what happened last week and says that – Cue Triple H. Vince congratulates HHH on his recent success and book and movie, and Triple H thanks Vince for the title and tries to take it. Vince doesn’t like that. Vince vacates the title and says that Eric will have to decide when he gets back. Later, HHH flips out backstage and yells at Batista for not showing emotion over this. Odd, that’s how he looked for most of Evolution’s run, anyway – Batista reminds him that without Batista he would have lost the title last week and says “You’re welcome”. Later in Jericho’s office, Jericho gives Christian a Captain Charisma outfit to wear and if he wants an IC title shot, he’ll wear it. Benoit comes in and Jericho announces Jericho/Benoit vs. HHH/Batista. Later in the ring Jericho has a limbo-a-go-go match with the divas and is interrupted by Muhammad Hassan who says he’ll be showing up next week and asks how it feels to be having a good time and have all the lights go out (he’s on the tron, and it appeared like the power went out during Jericho’s limbo match)
HHH leaves an angry message on Eric’s voice mail and Batista says that HHH is making a mistake.
Trish asks who’s career Lita’s gonna kill tonight and Lita says hers and KISSES HER ON THE LIPS.
December 13th –
Orton d. Edge w/RKO
Batista/HHH d. Benoit/Jericho w/Batista’s spine buster on Benoit
Maven/CLB/Goat-Boy d. Eugene/Regal/Shelton w/Maven rollup on Shelton
Uncle Eric enjoyed his vacation, but the show’s totally different, a new woman’s champ, new tag champs and a vacated world title. He brings out Edge, HHH and Benoit, they start fighting and Eric announces a tag rematch form last week and Orton vs. Edge.
HHH says he’s gonna complain to Eric, Dave says that’s not a good idea and that HHH should go out to the tag match tonight and prove who should be the champ.
The divas are in the ring with the shirt gun and Snitsky interrupts saying he wants to have fun. then he grabs Christy and says he only has fun when someone is suffering. Cue Lita who tells Gene that Kane is returning next week, when Snitsky gives chase a wall of flames stops him from going up the entrance ramp.
Christian is backstage getting his make up done, he insults Candace who is doing his make up and leaves. He walks into Eugene who says that Captain Charisma is one of his top 10 superheroes. He starts listing the powers Aqua man has and his jaw drops. Christian asks what this person is doing here and it’s Mick Foley! Foley says he’s got business to do and Eugene tells Foley that he’s on of his top four wrestlers. Mick Foley, the Rock, Papa Shango and ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton cause he’s from right here in Huntsville Alabama. (Guess he lost HHH as his favorite). Foley says he stole his cheap pop, but there’s a bigger announcement to make. Later in the ring, Foley talks about going to Christmas in Iraq, and cue Muhammad Hassan to make an intense moment. They go back and forth and Foley invites Hassan to Foley island (the ring) and Hassan says he won’t fight anyone he doesn’t respect and walks away. It was a great segment.
Simon Dean signs a contract and becomes a Raw superstar. Benoit comes in and says that if Eric gives the title away it’ll prove how spineless he really is. Later, Edge wants the title and Eric says he’ll give him something he’s never got. Even later, HHH comes in a begs and pleads and cried to get the title back. Later in the ring, Eric reviews his choices, Benoit says he beat Edge, Edge says he beat Benoit and HHH says the title should revert back to the champ. He doesn’t want to just hand out the title, so he announces an Elimination chamber match at New Year Revolution with HHH, Benoit, Edge, Batista, Jericho and Randy Orton. Show ends with Orton landing an RKO on HHH.
Current New Year’s Revolution Card:
Elimination Chamber: HHH, Orton, Batista, Benoit, Edge, Y2J
Trish vs. (WOMAN)Lita
Snitsky vs. Kane
December 27th –
Y2J d. CLB w/Walls of Jericho -Jericho is the leader w/10:47
Orton d. Maven w/RKO – Orton is the new leader w/6:14
Lita d. Molly w/DDT
Simon d. Rosey w/roll up
Edge d. Eugene w/Edgeucation – does not beat Orton’s time
Benoit d. Viscera w/Crossface – Benoit is the new leader w/5:43
Batista d. Rhyno w/2 Demon Bombs – Batista’s the new leader w/3:02
HHH d. Shelton w/Pedigree
Eric will have a “Beat the Clock” night where all six participants for the title will fight a mystery opponent and whoever beats their opponent the fastest will be the sixth man out of their chamber for the Elimination Chamber match. If they lose, their opponent will replace them in the match! He’s also got a special guest referee for the match as well.
Batista is calm that he can beat anyone, but HHH is flipping out about it. He asks HHH if he’s confident or not. Later, HHH is mad at Batista for beating Rhyno so quick, Batista said he pissed him off and that HHH is starting to piss him off. flair breaks up the fight and HHH gets ready for his match.
Snitsky runs after Lita after her match and Lita runs backstage and gets into a dressing room. He encounters Eric who informs him he’ll be facing Kane at New Year’s Revolution.
Stacy’s in the ring and thanks the fans for voting her the babe of the year. Cue Muhammad Hassan and his manager I can’t spell the name of. They kick Stacy out of the ring, and talk about being hated. I bet they can’t get through one glass of Playa-ade without getting hated on. Anyway… They complain more, and King finally says he’s sick of this already and gets shoved around. JR gets punched and knocked down by Hassan and King and Hassan have a stare-down. Later, Hassan and manager guy demand Eric make a match with the announcers for next week. Eric says JR is not a wrestler and will not fight (thank god) and instead we’ll have a debate in New York (damn it).
Eric announces the special referee for the Elimination Chamber – HBK!
Current New Year’s Revolution Card:
Elimination Chamber: HHH, Orton, Batista, Benoit, Edge, Y2J Batista comes out last, special referee – Shawn Michaels
Trish vs. (WOMAN)Lita
Snitsky vs. Kane
And that’s 2004 ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.