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Monday Night RAW - July 4, 2005
by Samoa Rowe

-The WWE celebrates the Fourth of July in style, as Hulk Hogan will be the special guest on Carlito’s Cabana!

-I am immediately reminded of how sick I was of the “Across the Nation” theme song for Raw. They are airing live from Sacramento, California. Our hosts for the evening are Jim Ross, Jonathan Coachman, and Jerry Lawler.

-It’s time for Carlito’s Cabana! This was the likely high point of Carlito’s career, as he was the reigning Intercontinental Champion and his Cabana segments were highly buzzed about segments. Carlito doesn’t like Hogan, but he’ll plug his new VH1 reality show anyhow. Carlito finally introduces Hogan, who enters to a standing ovation from the fans. Carlito claims that Hogan’s appearance on the Cabana is the biggest moment of Hogan’s career. Carlito wants to know where his daughter, Brooke, is. Hogan threatens to toss Carlito off the top of the building. Carlito isn’t fazed and claims that Brooke is hot. Carlito makes a crack about Brooke (who was 16 at the time) not being sexually active, which leads to Hogan knocking him down. They are interrupted by Kurt Angle, who’s still boasting his victories over Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair. Angle reminds us that the last time he wrestled Hogan, he made Hogan tap out. Angle says he’d rather make Brooke tap out. Carlito then jumps Hogan and they double team the Hulkster. Shawn Michaels runs in for the save. This was entertaining enough, though the comments about Brooke really were unnecessary.

-Backstage, Todd Grisham is fishing for an interview with Eric Bischoff. Shawn Michaels is in his office, having a heated discussion.

Gene Snitsky and Edge (with Lita) vs. Big Show and Kane
This match was supposed to happen last week, but the heels chickened out. Kane cornered Lita in her dressing room and threatened her. And yes, Kane is the baby face here. Edge starts the match off against Kane, though Snitsky gets a cheap shot from the apron. Kane shrugs it off and pummels Edge. Snitsky quickly tags. Edge cheap shots, allowing a clothesline from Snitsky. Kane smashes Snitsky with an elbow and tags Big Show. Snitsky eats a chop and some clotheslines. Hard Irish whip by Big Show, who spins around to clothesline an interfering Edge. Lita pulls Edge out of the ring, saving him from a choke slam. Kane starts chasing Lita around the ring and out of the building. We head to a break.

After the commercial, Snitsky is working over the leg of the Big Show. Show reverses by smashing his leg across Snitsky’s chest. Snitsky retains control, kicking the hurt leg and continues the dismantling. Kane has returned to the apron and wants a tag. Edge tags and picks up on the leg work that Snitsky started. Snitsky tags and argues with the referee while Edge smashes Show’s leg into the apron. Show smashes back against Snitsky, but his leg gets targeted again. Show slugs back to the head, but Snitsky regains control with a single kick to the leg. Edge gets a blind tag, and both he and Snitsky hit flying shoulder tackles off the second rope! Cover by Edge gets 2. Edge and Snitsky attempt a double suplex, but Show reverses! Kane gets the hot tag and cleans house on Snitsky. Flying clothesline by Kane, who then dumps Edge into the ring for some punishment. Show head butts Edge from the apron. Show whips Snitsky into Edge in the corner. Show and Kane double team the evil duo, which boils down to Kane and Snitsky alone in the ring. Kane choke slams Snitsky for the win at 7:34 (shown). This was a lot better than you’d probably expect, solid work by all participants, **¼.
Winners: Big Show and Kane

-Backstage, Todd Grisham is still waiting for an update, but Shawn Michaels storms out. HBK says he moaned and groaned until he got his way (awesome). HBK informs us that tonight’s main event has been set as himself and Hogan vs. Carlito and Kurt Angle.

The Heart Throbs vs. Viscera
Hey, remember the Heart Throbs? No? They were the guys who got fired for risqué behavior on Byte This? Well, they were released a week or two after this episode. Before the match, they flirt with Lillian Garcia, who was recently dumped by Viscera. She’s not pleased with their advances. Garcia breaks into tears as she introduces Viscera. The Heart Throbs jump Viscera from behind, as he’s taking off his robe. Just a reminder, Viscera is wrestling in pajamas. The Heart Throbs aren’t making tags and attempt to double team the big man. Double shoulder block by the Heart Throbs. Antonio gets on Viscera’s back while Romeo slugs the face. Viscera splashes Antonio and spanks him. The Heart Throbs are disqualified at 2:00 for dragging Viscera into the ring post crotch-first. Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that finish, ½*.
Winner by DQ: Viscera

-Backstage, Maria discusses the recent supplemental draft. Her guest is Chavo Guerrero, who has shaved his hair and is dressed like a yuppie. Chavo says that his achievements haven’t lived up to his ability, and he’s blaming Hispanic people. Yup, that’s what he said. Chavo then denounces his Hispanic heritage and to join middle class America. He announces that he has changed his name to Kerwin White. That is the dorkiest name I’ve ever heard. White calls Maria “stupid” and almost makes her cry. Well, this was uncomfortable.

-The Hurricane, Rosey, and Super Stacy provide a public service announcement on fireworks safety. Rosey accidentally sets himself on fire anyway. Luckily, The Hurricane puts him out right away.

-Maria is still pouting over being called “stupid” so John Cena waltzes in to cheer her up.

-It’s time for Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel! The 24/7 Online version of this segment is funny because they edit out the advertisements for the sponsors, so we just see a distant shot of Jericho walking around. Jericho mocks Carlito’s Cabana, putting over his talk show as the superior segment. Jericho introduces his guest, WWE Champion John Cena. Half the fans hadn’t turned on Cena yet, so he comes out to an impressive standing ovation. Jericho puts Cena over for his recent accomplishments. Jericho reminds Cena that he was the first Undisputed champion, has performed hundreds of concerts with Fozzy, and has filmed multiple music videos. Jericho shows footage of his band performing for 50,000 fans at a festival. Cena is annoyed by Jericho’s boasting, says “good luck” and tries to leave. Jericho takes offense to this. Cena tries to leave again, this time saying “Congratulations.” Jericho tells Cena that he can take the WWE title anytime he wants. Cena uses the crowd’s “Cena” chants to support his arguments and then declares that Jericho is cheap. In fact, he’s Y2Cheap.” Jericho slaps Cena, which ignites a brawl. Cena dumps Jericho from the ring and an army of officials come out to make sure no more violence takes place. This was a hot segment.

-The Diva Search contestants are dancing around the stage. Val Venis makes his way to the ring for a match.

Val Venis vs. Rene Dupree
If memory serves me right, this was the only time Dupree would appear on Raw after being drafted from Smackdown. Dupree cuts a promo before the match, he’s going to prove that he’s simply phenomenal. Dupree calls Venis pathetic, which prompts a hot start to the match. Venis hit’s a side Russian legsweep, but Dupree hangs him up on the ropes. Dupree targets the back of the head with some smashes. Suplex by Dupree gets a cover for 2. They exchange chops, but Dupree gets the upper hand with a hard Irish whip. Dupree charges into the boot of Val Venis, allowing a comeback by the former porn star. Venis gets a cover for 2.5. Dupree surprises Venis with a cover, using the ropes for leverage, and gets the win at 1:51. This was too short to amount to anything, ½*.
Winner: Rene Dupree

-Backstage, Todd Grisham is standing by with Kurt Angle and Carlito. He asks them how it feels to face two icons. Carlito disagrees with that label, saying that nobody disrespects himself or Angle. Angle is stoked that it’s the Fourth of July, and he’s going to get the respect he deserves. Angle storms off, leaving Carlito to pretend to spit his apple in Grisham’s face.

Kurt Angle and Carlito vs. Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan
Tell me you don’t miss the crowd chanting “You suck” along with Angle’s WWE music. Hogan kicks the match off against Carlito, easily shoving him off. Angle tags and locks up with Hogan, but also gets easily shoved off. Angle targets the back, but Hogan wrings the arm and tags HBK. Angle blocks HBK but runs into a deep arm drag. HBK works the arm, but Angle rakes the eyes and hit’s a scoop slam. Carlito tags, but misses an elbow drop. Arm drag by HBK leads to an armbar. Hogan tags and easily manhandles Carlito. HBK tags, but finds himself cornered by Carlito. Angle tags and aggressively smashes at HBK. HBK corners Angle with knife edge chops. Angle reverses a hard Irish whip, but is distracted by Carlito. Hogan makes the save and they dump Angle and Carlito to the floor. We head to a break!

After the commercial, Angle is busy upper cutting the hell out of HBK. HBK blocks a belly to belly suplex off the top and hit’s the flying elbow on Angle! HBK tunes up the band, but Carlito distracts him. HBK misses Angle’s clothesline and hits more chops. Carlito provides another cheap shot, and HBK walks into an overhead belly to belly suplex by Angle. Carlito tags and works the head and back. The referee is distracted long enough for Angle to cheap shot HBK on the apron and then for Carlito to choke him using the ropes. Angle tags and hit’s a hard back suplex, which earns him a cover for 2. Angle and Carlito keep the tags coming, they are doing a good job keeping HBK isolated. HBK blocks the ankle lock and Angle slam, and manages to hit a DDT. Hogan finally gets the hot tag and cleans house on Carlito in typical Hogan fashion. Hogan dumps Angle to the floor and hit’s the leg drop on Carlito for the win at 9:31 (shown). This was a formulaic tag team match, enhanced due to having both Angle and Michaels involved, **½.
Winners: Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan

-Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan have a posedown for the sake of sending the fans home happy… or so we are led to believe. HBK blasts Hogan with a super kick out of nowhere! This moment is just as awesome now as it was back then, as HBK just stands over the fallen Hogan, with this look of arrogant pity on his face.

Final Thoughts: You know, when you cut out the commercials, constant replays of recent shows, and the Diva Search segment, you’re left with a brisk show that has a very nice pace. There were a lot of hot angles going on in this edition, which lead to a very rewarding Summerslam pay-per-view. It’s also been long enough now that I can feel nostalgic for this time period, so head on over to WWE.com and check this out in the 24/7 Online page.

Thumbs up.

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