WWE RAW: Unleashed House Show
Air Canada Centre
Friday, November 7, 2003
I just got back from the WWE RAW Brand House Show in Toronto and wanted to pass along the results:
The Air Canada Centre was not-sold out, but the sections they used were very full. I couldn’t say exactly how many people were there, but I would say a healthy guess of 9000+ were on in attendance. The entire upper section of the arena was closed off and wasn’t used at all.
Evolution (Randy Orton & Batista) w/ Ric Flair vs. Bill Goldberg & Booker T
Evolution came out to a mixed pop of cheers and boos. Ric Flair got on the house mic after Howard Finkel introduced the faction, and cut a scathing promo on the people of Toronto and namely Tie Domi of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Flair claimed that Batista could make short work and beat the “shit” out of Domi, which drew a loud resounding boo from the crowd. Flair then went to claim that Batista took Goldberg out by breaking his ankle and that the World Champion was too chicken to come to the arena. As Flair continued shooting on the current World Champ, Goldberg’s music hit and he came out and stood in the aisle. He wasn’t dressed to wrestle in his gear, but was wearing athletic pants and his “Goldberg Football Jersey”. After trading some insults with Flair, Goldberg called out his partner and Booker T entered the arena to a wild pop.
Throughout the match, Goldberg continued to sell his injury by doing what has to be the worst limp I have ever seen. At one point, he entered the ring and wasn’t limping on his “bad leg” – nice sell job. He then must have remembered he had a “broken ankle” because he started limping again. There weren’t too many memorable spots, but the match ended on a somewhat sick note as Goldberg hit Randy Orton with a halfhearted spear and went for the jackhammer. Mid-move, it seemed like Goldberg’s bad leg “gave out”, and Orton hit the canvas in a sick manner and was covered for the pin.
Winners: Goldberg & Booker T via Pinfall
Post match saw Booker T give the fans of Toronto, what they wanted to see, namely the spinaroonie. Goldberg and Booker T posed in the corners before leaving. This would set up what would eventually be the tone of the night. When you send your “World Champion” out first to start the evening, that can’t be good in my estimation of things.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Kevin Fertig /w Travis Tomko (Bain and Seven from OVW)
I have to say that I was quite impressed when I saw both Fertig and Tomko for the first time. We don’t get OVW Wrestling here in Canada, so I had no idea what these two men looked like. When they came out, I immediately thought to myself that these guys were monsters, and could one day be burning up the tag team ranks. Travis Tomko reminds me a little bit of a mix of Batista, Perry Saturn and Matt Morgan
The match did feature a little bit of outside interference on the part of Tomko. The finish came when Fertig distracted the referee and Tomko used Dreamer’s Singapore cane on him as he ran the ropes. Fertig finished Tommy Dreamer off with a “reverse stunner” like move that was impressive. I expect these two to debut on RAW very soon, perhaps after Survivor Series or closer to the new year.
Winner: Kevin Fertig via Pinfall
Howard Finkel announced some winners of the new Bell Mobility-WWE Cellular Phone packages that were announced in Toronto on Wednesday in a press conference. Three lucky fans won Cell Phone packages.
Val Venis & Lance Storm vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak
My buddy Carl Walsh from England (Cheap Pop!) has been very high on these two guys (Jindrak & Cade) and I must say they are a very good duo. They can wrestle a solid match, and can even sell very well. As a matter of fact, during the match, after Garrison Cade leapfrogged over Val Venis, he landed awkwardly, and seemingly blew out his knee. He writhed in pain as the referee instructed Venis not to touch him. Storm & Venis seemed very concerned, as was Cade’s partner, Mark Jindrak. The referee signaled for the trainer to come out and check out Cade’s knee. Several officials and referees came out as well, and got Cade to his feet after several quiet moments in the arena. As they hobbled Cade over to the ropes, the crowd gave a polite “Canadian” gesture as the applauded Cade’s efforts as he left the ring. Both Jindrak and Storm held the ropes open wide for the officials to help Cade out of the ring.
Just as it ran through my mind that it was a set-up, Cade jumped to his feet under his own power and planted a boot to the side of Storm’s face, knocking him out of the ring. The crowd was hot at the deception he pulled off. The match continued for another five or ten minutes and ended when both Lance Storm and Val Venis hit their finishers on Jindrak (If I remember correctly) for the pinfall victory.
Winners: Lance Storm & Val Venis via Pinfall
Afterwards, Lance Storm danced, and got Val to dance too. They then teased the crowd by pretending to decide which side of the arena deserved to get Venis’ towel. They eventually decided on the first pretty face they saw, and both men gave the lucky lady a peck on the cheek.
More contest winners were announced…standard WWE House Show business.
The Hurricane vs. Rene Dupree
Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I love the Hurricane gimmick to death. He is one of the best workers I have seen and I hold him in the same esteem as Bret & the late Owen Hart.
Unfortunately, I would not see “my boy” win his match this night as he would lose to Dupree in a schoolboy rollup and a handful of tights in the process. After the match, Hurricane protested the decision by showing the referee how much of his tights Dupree had grabbed. He grabbed so much that he had to pull them out of his butt. He even pantomimed his famous “Whasssup Wit Dat?” gesture to the ref after removing the wedgie, caused by the handful of tights.
Winner: Rene Dupree via Pinfall
Maven vs. Travis Tomko w/ Kevin Fertig
The winner of Tough Enough Season One pulled off a victory thanks to some help and revenge from Tommy Dreamer as he came in and worked over Tomko with the cane when the referee was distracted by the constant interference by Fertig. When the referee turned back around, Maven pinned the OVW star for the 1-2-3. Regardless, it was a good showing for the two OVW Superstars. They impressed me.
Winner: Maven via Pinfall
Howard Finkel introduced the special Guest Ring Announcer for the Divas tag team match, and Stacy Keibler came to the ring as the arena exploded in a massive pop of approval from the males in attendance. Stacy took the microphone and proceeded to introduce Victoria as the special Guest Referee.
Gail Kim & Molly Holly vs. Lita & Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus got a huge hometown pop, where Gail Kim was met with hometown jeers. Both ladies are from Toronto. Standard Divas match, with a cool finish that saw Trish drop down to her knees, like the Hardy Boyz used to do. Lita then went for the Poetry in Motion, but out of nowhere, Victoria, who had been calling the match right down the middle, surprised Lita with a devastating Lariat. Before she knew what hit her, Victoria was pulled outside by Stacy Keibler and the two had a mini-brawl that resulted in Stacy baiting Victoria into the ring, only to be met with stinging blows from Trish and Lita. The end saw Lita taking out Gail Kim, and Trish hitting the Stratusfaction bulldog on the Women’s Champ Molly Holly to win the match.
Winners: Lita & Trish Stratus by Pinfall
After the match, Stacy Keibler celebrated with Lita & Trish in the ring. After posing for the fans, Trish then took her coat, which was styled after the Canadian Flag, and draped it over the prone body of Molly Holly.
Theodore R. Long made his way to the ring with Mark Henry and he cut his usual “Holla at ya playa” promo, stating that “Whitey” was forcing his man into a match tonight, and was sticking it to him with two white boys as partners. As much as Long disliked that fact, he did say that as “long as the dollars” keep coming in, they could deal with it. Long then ordered the two “white boys” to come out, and Christian and Chris Jericho made their way out.
Mark Henry, Christian and Chris Jericho w/ Theodore Long
Rob Van Dam & The Dudley Boyz
Before the match started, Howard Finkel re-entered the ring and started that Co-GM of RAW – Stone Cold Steve Austin – wanted to give the fans the chance to pick the stipulation of this match. The three choices were NO DQ, Falls Count Anywhere, and you guessed it – Table Match. Of course, it was unanimous that it would be “tables”, and Jericho whined and complained about it. Bubba Ray then took the mic and made a promise that because he whined about the stips, he would be the one going through the tables when the match was over.
After a few false finishes with the table, Bubba Ray and D-Von 3-D’ed Y2J through the table to pick up the victory.
Winners: RVD & The Dudley Boyz
After the match, the Dudleys & RVD brought a little boy into the ring and gave him a piece of the table and posed for pictures with him in the ring. Nice touch. It seemed like WWE was trying its hardest to make the house show more memorable and it showed.
Howard Finkel and the “T-Shirt Cannon Guy” shot several shirts into the crowd, as the ring crew prepared to assemble the cage for the main event. It took approximately 20 mins to set the cage up, and would be used for less time than it took to put up. They also announced that the RAW Brand would be returning to Toronto on Monday, February 9, 2004 for WWE RAW.
Main Event: Steel Cage Match
Kane vs. Shane McMahon
What can be expected from someone who doesn’t wrestle often? A short match that only saw the cage come into use no less than five times, as Kane rammed Shane into the cage twice, and Shane returned the favor twice. Shane climbed the cage and went over the top, only to be stopped by Kane. As Kane grabbed Shane’s jersey, Shane slipped out of it and crashed to the floor to win the match. I’m not sure if that was the planned finish, because Kane looked shocked that it happened. Or perhaps it was the finish and he was selling it to the moon.
Regardless, when you book a McMahon as the main attraction, and it goes no less than 5 minutes long, you can be sure a lot of fans didn’t go home happy. I didn’t stick around for long as I had an hour long bus ride home and had to catch it in less time that the main event went.
1) Dudley Boyz & RVD (tables)
2) Trish Stratus
3) Goldberg & Booker T
1) Garrison Cade for his “fake Injury”
2) Ric Flair for ripping on Tie Domi
3) Chris Jericho for ripping on the Toronto Maple Leafs chances on winning the Stanley Cup this year
4) Main Event – just because it was short and a McMahon was put over ahead of the other wrestlers
In closing, I was kind of surprised and upset that they never acknowledged the passing of Michael “Crash Holly” Lockwood. I expected them to at least make a mention of it, and perhaps a 10-bell salute to their fallen comrade. I guess the days of respect are long gone. I remember them doing that for Andre the Giant at Maple Leaf Gardens when he passed away. Even though the circumstances surrounding his death are somewhat questionable, WWE could have done the right thing and acknowledged it, but then my opinion may differ from that of someone else’s.
All in all, it was a pretty good show. Again, WWE RAW Brand returns on Feb. 9 for a live RAW Broadcast on Spike TV and the tickets go on sale January 3, 2004 at all area Ticketmaster Outlets, Internet & Phone, in addition to the Air Canada Centre box office.