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SPECIAL PREVIEW OF THE FIRST ELITE PRO WRESTLING INSIDER WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR ALL PWINSIDER.COM USERS

By PWINSIDER.COM STAFF on 2004-02-08 20:00:00

RAW REPORT
by Tim Whitehead

The 1/26 episode of RAW IS A POSITIVE FORM OF HATRED aired live from Hershey, PA. It was a great show which followed up on the Royal Rumble in a good way. There were lots of interesting angles.

Before beginning, I want to note that I realize I'm a day late with this, but with the big switchover to the new site yesterday I missed the deadline. So better late than never, I'm going ahead with my first report here at pwinsider.com. Thanks to Dave Scherer & Co. and welcome to all the fans joining us here.

RAW opened with footage from the Rumble of Mick Foley attacking Randy Orton, leading to both being eliminated by bumping over the top rope.

Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler highlighted the results of the key matches at the Rumble PPV.

Chris Jericho came down to the ring. He said many people might assume he's angry that Chris Benoit won the Rumble, but such is not the case. Jericho noted that Benoit is a Smackdown wrestler, so the WrestleMania XX World Title shot he earned will be against the Smackdown World Champ. Thus, Jericho theorized that the World Title picture in RAW was still wide open. He pointed out that he was the last RAW guy to be eliminated from the Rumble, so he felt that entitled him to a shot at the RAW World Title. In addition, Jericho reminded us all that Eric Bischoff still owes him a favor from Survivor Series, and he was ready to call in that favor to get a World Title shot at Triple H. He wanted the title shot right there tonight, rather than waiting for WrestleMania. He imitated Howard Dean, listing a bunch of states where he said he would defend the belt after winning it, ending with a "yeeeeaaaagggghh" type yell. At this point, unlike at the Iowa caucuses, Bischoff came out. The fans called him an "a**hole". Jericho played Steve Austin here, noting that an arena full of fans was calling Bischoff an a**hole. I'm still waiting for some overly sensitive fans to protest the "a**hole" chant on the grounds that people who are a**holes might be offended. Bischoff agreed that he owed Jericho a favor, and indicated a willingness to give Jericho a title shot at HHH. But, he then said that Jericho might want to use his favor a different way, and pointed to the TitanTron. A graphic appeared there hyping a match between Kane and Trish Stratus. Bischoff boasted that he would indeed force Trish to fight the monster Kane, unless Jericho used his favor to call the match off. Jericho didn't say anything, but when Bischoff asked which favor he wanted granted, it was clear that Jericho was willing to give up his title shot to save Trish. So Bischoff cancelled the Kane vs. Trish match as his "favor" to Jericho. Bischoff then went off on Jericho, noting that he and Rob Van Dam were the final two RAW guys in the Rumble and they dropped the ball, letting a Smackdown wrestler win for the second year in a row. As punishment, Bischoff ordered a Jericho & RVD vs. Ric Flair & Batista & Randy Orton handicap match to start immediately. Good opening segment.

Flair & Batista & Orton beat Jericho & RVD in 17:12. Jericho hit Flair with punches and dropkicks. Flair raked the eyes to take command. Orton came in and put the boots to Jericho. RVD tagged in and scored twos on Orton with kicks, a springboard crossbody, and a baseball slide. Jericho came in and continued to dominate, as they got a surprising amount of heat on Orton. Orton managed to tag Flair, who came in and bumped for RVD's kicks. Orton made the save to keep Flair from being pinned. Jericho and Batista went at it outside the ring, with Batista powerbombing Jericho on the floor as they headed into a commercial break. When the action returned, RVD was being tripled on with Jericho still unconscious on the floor, being attended to by medics and trainers. He finally got up but acted dizzy and disoriented, as if he had a concussion. This built to RVD finally hot tagging Jericho, who backdropped Flair from the ring and chop blocked Batista. Jericho bumped Orton out and hooked the walls on Batista. Flair came back in, where RVD laid him out and frog splashed him. Batista seemed about to tap to the walls hold, but Orton broke it up and nailed Jericho with the RKO and scored the pin. Good match, and surpisingly long.

Orton complained to Bischoff that Foley cost him the win in the Rumble., and thus ended the dream of an all Evolution main event at 'Mania. He said it was his night and he would have gone all the way if not for Foley ruining it. Orton asked Bischoff's permission to kick Foley's ass if he showed up. Bischoff said "permission granted". Austin overheard all this and said Foley definitely would be there. He said Orton can try to kick Foley's ass if he thinks he's up to it, but banned him from doing so until after Foley had a chance to verbally respond to the anti-Foley ads Orton has been airing. Austin felt Foley deserved equal time to present his side of the story, as if fairness has anything to do with wrestling.

Trish visited Jericho. She thanked him for giving up his title shot to save her from having to fight Kane, noting that flames and implants don't mix very well. Actually, she didn't note that. They acted like they were about to revive their romance, but Trish then offered to shake Jericho's hand so they could be "friends". Trish mentioned the incident from two weeks ago where Jericho & Christian partied with all the girls, saying she couldn't be the type of friend to do that type of thing with Jericho. Jericho asked how she found out about that. See? I told you no one on RAW watches RAW. Christian walked up and Trish quickly excused herself. Christian ridiculed Jericho for giving up his title shot for some chick. Christian was also mad that Jericho eliminated him in the Rumble. Jericho noted it was every man for himself and said he did it only after Christian tried to eliminate him. Finally, Christian said he had talked to Bischoff and smoothed things over for Jericho, and that Bischoff agreed to let the two of them team next week in a match to determine the #1 contenders for the tag titles. Before leaving, Christian jabbed his finger at Jericho's chest several times, warning him to straighten up and get his head out of his ass. Jericho looked to be seething inside.

Victoria & Lita defeated Molly Holly & Jazz in 5:54. Theodore Long was in the heel corner and Steven Richards was in the babyface corner, and yes, it does look strange seeing Richards & Victoria as babyfaces. Lita started off suplexing Molly. Victoria began literally begging to be tagged in. Victoria and Jazz traded spots and each got two counts. On the mic, Lawler was going even crazier than usual with lust, if that's possible. Lita and Molly came back in. Lita flattened Molly and did a spinning headscissors on Jazz. Lita and Jazz brawled out to the floor, leaving Victoria to pin Molly with an inside cradle, which was put over as the second time Victoria has done that in 24 hours since she also pinned Molly in a non-title match on HEAT before the Royal Rumble. The match seemed slower than the usual women's match, and not very smooth.

Hour two opened with HHH coming out, all bandaged up from his bloodbath with "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels at the Rumble. JR & Lawler noted that HHH retained the World Title in a draw, and did a stretcher job afterward. HHH said that he and HBK scratched, clawed, and bled buckets fighting for a prize they both believed in, but in the end HBK just didn't quite have what it takes to pull out a victory, and thus he (HHH) stood before us all, still the champion of the world. HBK came out, also bandaged and bruised. HHH got in his face and asked if he hadn't had enough yet. HBK said the two of them haven't even gotten started. Out came Austin on his ATV. He said it was a damn shame their match ended in a tie, saying the bout was so bloody it reminded him of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Austin told HBK he deserves another re-match, but unfortunately that wasn't in the cards. Instead, Austin noted that the winner of the Rumble was guaranteed a World Title shot at WrestleMania. He then introduced, to everyone's surprise, Chris Benoit as the Rumble winner. Benoit came out to a nice pop as JR & Lawler acted flabbergasted that a Smackdown star was showing up on RAW. Neither HHH nor HBK were happy to see him. The story was that the WWE rule book doesn't specify that the Rumble winner's title shot has to be against the champion in his own division, so Benoit decided to cross divisional lines to challenge HHH. Benoit got in HHH's face. He said HHH went through hell to retain his belt, but that he went through 62 minutes of hell and 29 opponents to win the Rumble. He flat out told HHH that he would be the next RAW World Champion. HHH didn't look pleased, to say the least. Benoit should shake things up on RAW.

Bubba Ray Dudley defeated Kane by DQ in 2:20. Bubba asked for this match to avenge Spike Dudley, who was assaulted by Kane at the Rumble. They just brawled around until Kane got DQ'ed for hitting Bubba with the stairs. D-Von ran in for the save but Kane destroyed him as well and gave him a tombstone piledriver. Kane was pleased with himself until Undertaker's music played, and a weird video with a bunch of eerie images (sort of like in the movie "The Ring") appeared on the TitanTron. The lights then went out, except for one spotlight directed on Kane. Kane grew terrified and fled.

Paul Heyman phoned Bischoff. He was outraged that Benoit was on RAW. Bischoff swore he had nothing to do with it and said Austin does things all the time without clearing it with him first. However, Bischoff also added that Benoit likely came to RAW because he wanted superior levels of competition. Heyman accused Bischoff of working together with Austin in some sort of conspiracy, acting like they had developed a good cop/bad cop routine that was staged. Heyman vowed to sue, and hung up. Jonathan Coachman walked in and asked what was up. Bischoff said Heyman was threatening to sue over Austin bringing Benoit to RAW. Coach warned Bischoff to be careful, noting that Austin gave stunners to both Bischoff and Heyman at the Rumble. Coach also stupidly laughed about how Bischoff and Heyman got into a fight at the Rumble, saying they were pretty funny rolling around on the mat fighting like two little girls. Bischoff got mad and Coach said he was just joking. But Bischoff was so pissed that he ordered Coach to fight Goldberg in a no-DQ match.

Rico beat Rob Conway in 3:21. Rico patted Conway on the ass and kissed him. Conway was enraged and threw Rico from the ring, where Rene Dupree walloped him. Conway hit Rico with a big lariat. Rico came back with his kicks and fast-paced moves. Miss Jackie got on the apron and flashed her boobs (out of camera range). That was kind of funny because Lawler went crazy over this, even though no one on his side of the ring could see anything, and she was no doubt wearing pasties anyway. Conway was distracted by her boobs, allowing Rico to kick him in the head and score the pin. During this match, and also the earlier women's match, Lawler dwelled on an upcoming Playboy issue which will feature two WWE divas. Apparently it'll be Sable and Torrie Wilson again, but the storyline is that all the divas are being scouted. So to tease this, Stacy Keibler came out (she looked awesome) and posed in the ring with Miss Jackie, allowing Lawler to theorize that maybe they're the two divas who will be in Playboy.

JR & Lawler discussed the Benoit arrival, and also noted that Goldberg got eliminated in the Rumble due to interference from Brock Lesnar, which appears to set up an opportunity for a RAW wrestler to invade Smackdown.

Coach came out to the ring. He got on the mic and apologized to Bischoff and begged him not to make him fight Goldberg. He listed all his recent injuries, such as being put through a table by the Dudleys. He said no one wants to see him in a match against Goldberg. Mark Henry & Theodore Long came out. Long called Bischoff a "cracker" and said he was dumping his white man problems on a black man again. He said Bischoff was "haterizing" and that when whitey tells them to jump they're expected to say "yessah boss, yessah boss". Long was sick of Bischoff's behavior and promised that the world's strongest man Mark Henry would be there to protect Coach from Goldberg.

Goldberg beat Coach in 4:25 in the no-DQ match. Since it was nn-DQ, Henry stayed in the ring and fought most of the match for Coach. Goldberg hit Henry with a lariat but Henry came back and pounded Goldberg with his clubbing blows. Goldberg sold for about three minutes, which was surprising. Finally, Goldberg made the big comeback, powerslammed Henry, and threw him out to the floor. Goldberg caught Coach and put him away with the spear and jackhammer. Henry wanted to go back in after Goldberg but Long restrained him. Goldberg grabbed a mic and said, "I don't care what show you're on, I'm hunting your ass....Brock Lesnar, you're next!" So this sets up a chance for Heyman to bring in a RAW wrestler to counter Benoit's move from Smackdown.

Foley came down to the ring to climax the show. JR admitted he was wrong for thinking Foley was a coward and apologized for it. Lawler (falsely) denied ever thinking Foley was a coward in the first place. Foley said that ever since his walk-out on 12/15 people have been asking him why. He said there were many reasons why he was so successful during his career in the ring, such as courage and his love for the business. But he said that hate was the biggest reason. He said in his youth he had a lot of hate bottled up inside him, but that he learned to channel that hate inside the ring and it led him to become a hardcore legend. He talked about how hate can be a positive thing when directed toward a particular goal, such as defeating one's opponent, but that once you retire from active competition you risk having all that hate start to bottle up inside you again. He cited Pete Rose as an example, saying he was awesome as a competitor on the ball field, but now at age 61 he's reduced to lying about his gambling habits because he no longer has a competitive outlet for his anger. Foley continued, saying that when he retired, he decided he would have to find a way to stop hating, otherwise he would become bitter and mentally broken-down since he no longer had opponents to channel his hatred against. So he spent time with his wife and kids, learned to enjoy life and think about nice things, allowing the hate inside him to fade away. Then came the night of 12/15, when he was challenged to face Randy Orton in a match. He said accepting that match was a mistake, because as he walked to the ring he realized he no longer possessed the hate necessary to be a winner. All his time with his family had made him too happy inside. So he concluded it was better to just walk out rather than trying to muster the hate necessary to be successful in the ring. At this point, Foley admitted Orton is a great young competitor, and called him out to the ring. He said he wanted to ask Orton for a favor. Orton came out. Foley asked him to spit in his face again, just like he did on 12/15. Orton couldn't believe it. Foley said he wanted to see if Orton really had the guts to do it again, or if it was just a fluke when he spat on him on 12/15. Orton started making excuses, which prompted Foley to slap the mic out of his hand. Foley called Orton a little bastard and said he was spilling blood on six continents when Orton was still attached to his mother's breast. He said he's listened to Orton spew his crap for seven weeks and ordered him to spit in his face. He slapped Orton twice in the face. Orton, who looked totally intimidated, lamely spat in Foley's face. Foley laughed about it, saying it was nothing. He said he was going to turn the other cheek and demanded that Orton spit again. Orton spat on the other cheek, but it was still a relatively mild one. Foley said it still wasn't good enough. Foley led the crowd in a chant demanding a really big, juicy spit, and Orton finally obliged, really letting Foley have it. Foley smiled, but then started to let the hate rise to the surface. He said all those paid Orton advertisements where Orton called him a coward and a bitch were infuriating. He said Orton adopted the big lie theory, where if you repeat a big lie often enough people start to believe it. Foley kept getting angrier, as if about to explode. He said people were starting to believe he really was a coward due to Orton's ads and promos. He said the idea of Orton as some kind of hardcore legend was nothing but a load of crap. Foley described how he lost an ear in Germany, had his flesh torn off on barbed wire in Japan, and even got bludgeoned in Nigeria establishing his reputation as a hardcore legend. Foley smacked himself in the face until he actually drew blood. He said when Orton spat in his face, he spat on his name, his legacy, and on the business he loves, and said he simply can't allow that to stand. Foley said his hate was back, like a long lost friend. He said there's a time and place for hatred, and the place was Hershey, Pennsylvania and the time was now. He unloaded on Orton and began beating the hell out of him. As Foley stomped Orton through the mat, Flair and Batista ran in. Foley lariated Flair, but Batista managed to take Foley down. Batista put the boots to Foley, but he made his own comeback and hit Flair and Batista with a chair. All three Evolution members fled as Foley reigned dominant in the ring. To say this was an excellent segment, and that Foley was awesome, would be an understatement.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS:

Did the WWE board approve Foley's return?

Isn't it just sort of assumed that the Rumble winner gets his title shot against the champ in his own division?

If Howard Dean were a Republican, would he have ended his Iowa speech with a "whoooo"?

How did Bischoff get the graphics for the proposed Kane vs. Trish match up so fast after Jericho called in his favor?

Why did Orton need Bischoff's permission to attack Foley?

Hasn't Heyman had enough dealings with lawyers over the past two years?

Feel free to e-mail me at puroresu2@webtv.net.


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