Raw is War
San Antonio, Texas
December 29, 2003
A STUNNING RETURN
There are billions of people around the world preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve and looking forward to what 2004 will bring. After RAW, Eric Bischoff is not one of them. While he found a way to aid Evolution and Triple H by declaring the World Champion the winner of his clash with Shawn Michaels, any celebration was quickly tempered by the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Austin made it clear that there is a new sheriff in town and he has returned to RAW on his own terms, meaning that he can raise hell as he sees fit. As a sign of the new era on RAW, Austin ended the evening – and 2003 – with a Stunner on Bischoff – something he was unable to do when he had to be “physically provoked” in order to attack a foe. Austin said he would only return on his terms and clearly he has done so – reinstating a thorn in Bischoff and Evolution’s side. His first act was to rehire Shawn Michaels – who was fired minutes earlier after hitting Bischoff – and declaring that Michaels will get a rematch with Triple H.
And it will be a well deserved rematch. For nearly 40 minutes, HBK and Triple H engaged in what can only be described as yet another epic encounter between these two for the World Heavyweight Championship. Appearing for the first time on television in his hometown of San Antonio in nearly seven years, Michaels gave his hometown fans everything he had, and then some, but every time he seemed to have the match won, Triple H was there to counter. After more than a dozen attempted pinfalls by both Superstars and a near submission win for Michaels while he had Triple H in the Figure Four Leg Lock, HBK appeared to gain the win by pinfall. However, Bischoff – who had taken over as referee when Earl Hebner was injured – declared that both Superstars’ shoulders were on the mat for the three count, and by rule, Triple H retained the World Heavyweight Championship. The decision set off Michaels and led to Austin’s shocking return.
Austin’s return capped what had been another successful night for Evolution as the foursome will end 2003 with all four members holding a Title. Randy Orton – who opened RAW by proclaiming himself the new Hardcore Legend – defeated Booker T in a match for the Intercontinental Championship thanks to a distraction by Kane. Later, the Dudley Boyz’ quest to challenge once again for the World Tag Team Championship was derailed by guest referee Ric Flair, who disqualified the Dudleys in their match against newcomers Eddie Kramer and Russell Simpson for punching with a closed fist.
While it was a good night for Evolution, how many good nights lie ahead is the question as they enter 2004? Stone Cold Steve Austin is back on RAW … what does that mean for Evolution? When will the rematch between Triple H and HBK take place? And, what does 2004 have in store for the rest of the RAW Superstars? Only one way to find out … watch RAW next week live from Memphis – the home of Jerry “The King” Lawler – at 9/8 CT on Spike TV!
RVD defeated Scott Steiner
Eddie Kramer & Russell Simpson defeated the Dudley Boyz via disqualification
Randy Orton defeated Booker T
Trish Stratus, Lita, & Stacy Keibler defeated Molly Holly, Miss Jackie, & Victoria in a Happy Holidays Match
Triple H was declared the winner over Shawn Michaels by referee Eric Bischoff