Raw is War

Cincinnati, Ohio
March 29, 2004


They said he was too young. They said he lacked experience. They said that Shelton Benjamin never had a chance. But on his very first night in his very first match on RAW, Shelton Benjamin not only stunned his Evolution detractors ... he left them gasping in awe when he pinned Triple H's shoulders to the mat. The victory was a huge boost to Benjamin's career. It will be interesting to see if he can carry this momentum into next week.

One thing did seem to go Triple H's way, however, when he was added to the World Heavyweight Championship Match at Backlash. The previously announced match between Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels will now be a Final Encounter Triple Threat Match between the three participants in the WrestleMania main event. With this being the final encounter, who will gain the upper hand during the weeks leading up to Backlash? Watch RAW to find out!

Amazingly, the night could have been far worse for Evolution. Earlier in the evening, the new World Tag Team Champions -- Batista & Ric Flair -- defended their Championship against Benoit & Michaels. While the weeks leading up to WrestleMania brought tension and strife between Michaels & Benoit when they teamed together, it seemed as if it was a different story this time around. Michaels & Benoit worked brilliantly together and seemed to score the pinfall to win the World Tag Team Championship. As they celebrated an upset win of their own, guest referee Johnny Nitro (the former Johnny Spade) ruled that Flair, who had been pinned, was not the legal man in the ring and the match was ordered to continue. The emotions of the reversal were too much for Michaels & Benoit to handle and within minutes they were disqualified for punching Nitro.

RAW also saw several other developments regarding the upcoming Backlash pay-per-view event. First, the much anticipated one on one match between Mick Foley and Randy Orton will finally take place, and it seems as if the match will be on Foley's terms. Not only will the Intercontinental Championship be on the line, but Evolution will be banned from ringside and the match will have Hardcore/Street Fight Rules. Also, thanks to his attack on Eric Bischoff last week, Edge will face Kane at Backlash. Finally, Chris Jericho -- after gaining a measure of verbal revenge on Trish Stratus during the Highlight Reel -- will have a WrestleMania rematch with Christian.

With Backlash less than three weeks away, can Evolution rebound from a difficult night? Will Triple H recover from the upset loss to Shelton Benjamin? What is next for Benjamin after the biggest win of his career? What other developments for Backlash will take place? Only one way to find out ... watch RAW next week at 9/8 CT on Spike TV!

Match Results:
Nidia defeated Molly Holly
Rhyno defeated Lance Storm
Ric Flair & Batista defeated Chris Benoit & Shawn Michaels via disqualification
Tajiri defeated Kane via countout
Shelton Benjamin defeated Triple H