Raw is War

Memphis, Tennessee
January 5, 2004


It may be a new year, there may be a new sheriff in town, but near the end of RAW, it appeared as if nothing had changed. Evolution is still in control of every championship that a male RAW Superstar can hold, thanks to the efforts of Triple H. When it seemed as if the Dudley Boyz were mere seconds from their 18th run as Tag Team Champions, the World Heavyweight Champ was there to distract the referee long enough for Batista & Ric Flair to gain the upper hand and retain the World Tag Team Championship.

However, while Evolution still holds the Titles, if Sheriff Stone Cold Steve Austin has it his way, the reigns will not be for long. At the Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels will have his promised rematch against Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, but with a stipulation that will add a new dimension to this storied rivalry. By decree of Sheriff Austin, HBK and Triple H will meet in a Last Man Standing Match, and with the history of these two to bring out the best in each other, this match as all of the makings of a Royal Rumble Classic. On RAW, both competitors gave a preview of what could be events to come as Triple H reacted to the news of the upcoming match by giving Michaels a Pedigree. Later, HBK ruined any celebration by Evolution at the victory for Ric Flair & Batista by giving Triple H some Sweet Chin Music, and RAW ended with Triple H lying motionless in the ring.

If the events that ended RAW did not upset Evolution enough, Austin made sure that there is a chance they may not make it to Royal Rumble with all three championships in hand. After a No. 1 Contender’s Match that saw RVD defeat Mark Henry, next week on RAW, Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton will have to defend the Championship against RVD – a rematch of the Armageddon match that saw Orton win the Intercontinental Championship. RVD was able to battle past the World’s Strongest Man on RAW, will he have enough to surpass the Legend Killer next week? Tune in to find out!

The Intercontinental Championship scenario was brought about by Theodore Long, who used the favor owed to Mark Henry from Survivor to claim the spot as RAW General Manager for the night. Long’s first act was to order a match between Henry and Orton for the Intercontinental Championship, but Austin stepped in to flash his badge and force Henry to face RVD for the right to challenge Orton.

In other action, Christian and Chris Jericho seemed to put their recent differences aside and teamed together to defeat Hurricane & Rosey. However, the night was not all smiles for Jericho as he received an unpleasant surprise while trying to gain back the affections of Trish Stratus. While Stratus showered after her match with Molly Holly – or at least Jericho thought she showered – Jericho poured his heart to Stratus in an attempt to smooth things over. It turned out that the woman he bore his soul to was not Stratus, but Mae Young, who gave Jericho a gift for his effort that he will probably never forget!

RAW also featured another major development concerning the Royal Rumble as Kane proclaimed that it his he who will win the Rumble for the first time and gain a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Kane claims that last year’s loss due to a double-cross by his brother the Undertaker has only motivated him for the upcoming Rumble, and that last week’s attack on Booker T was revenge for Booker T winning the Rumble in 2003. However, Booker T entered the ring to defend himself and gained a measure of revenge by sending Kane over the top rope via Clothesline. Booker T announced that he will enter the Rumble with two goals – to send Kane over the top rope, and to win the Rumble to get another shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.

The road to the Royal Rumble has begun and with a Main Event that could reach legendary proportions already in place, it is clear that this event could be a memorable one. Next week, RAW is in the New York City area for the final time before WrestleMania, and when WWE comes to New York, something unforgettable always seems to happen. What will happen at the Nassau Coliseum? Will more RAW Superstars enter the Royal Rumble? What law will Sheriff Stone Cold Steve Austin lay down? Only one way to find out – watch RAW next week at 9/8 CT on Spike TV!

Match Results:

Spike Dudley defeated Rene Dupree

Chris Jericho & Christian defeated Hurricane & Rosey

Steven Richards defeated Test

Trish Stratus defeated Molly Holly via disqualification

Rob Van Dam defeated Mark Henry in a No. 1 Contender’s Match

Ric Flair & Batista defeated the Dudley Boyz