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Dreams of a rejuvenated Raw
By TJ MADIGAN -- Calgary Sun


You probably know him best as a moderately entertaining mid-card wrestler with a sweet tooth for kendo sticks and street fights. ECW fans may remember him as one of the pioneers of mainstream hardcore wrestling. For Tommy Dreamer though, his legacy is about to take a different route.

The man known as the Innovator of Violence has been promoted to the booking committee for Raw, theoretically making him one of the most powerful wrestlers in the world.

Wrestling\'s Monday night franchise has been tough to watch lately. Talent has been underused and the format of the show has been heavy on laughs but light on quality wrestling. The blame for this has been placed -- perhaps unfairly -- on the shoulders of Brian Gewertz, the 25-year-old comedy writer who heads up the booking team for Raw. Management is hoping Dreamer will bring a wrestler\'s perspective to the decision-making process, giving the show a little bit of the edge that makes Smackdown must-see TV.

Dreamer will be the only active wrestler to hold a booking role in the WWE, which has raised the suggestion the former ECW champ could be facing a major conflict of interests. After all, Triple H has muscled his way into several booking meetings and reportedly used his stroke to push his own career forward at the expense of upcoming talent -- most notably those who could threaten his spot. Unlike Triple H, Dreamer is known for his willingness to advance other wrestlers and his behind-the-scenes involvement should be a big plus for the future of Monday night wrestling.

Dreamer will report directly to Gewertz, working under executive writer Stephanie McMahon. Vince McMahon will still have final say on all storylines.

BEST OF THE REST:

* Joanie Laurer will be stopping off in Calgary tomorrow as part of the World of Wheels exhibition in the Roundup Centre. The artist formerly known as Chyna will be signing autographs and meeting with fans from 1-3 p.m.

* Edge (Adam Copeland) will be out of action for up to a year after he undergoes neck surgery next week. Dr. Lloyd Youngblood, the wrestling physician who worked on Steve Austin, Lita and Chris Benoit, will be performing the operation. Edge is still scheduled to compete at No Way Out, presumably to set up an injury angle but Rhyno is being lined up as a possible last-minute replacement.

* The Test vs. Chris Jericho match has been scrapped from tomorrow night\'s pay-per-view because Test didn\'t show up for the Raw taping in Columbus on Monday night. Extreme blizzard conditions left Test (Andrew Martin) and his real-life girlfriend Stacy Keibler stranded in Baltimore, despite warnings from WWE management to take an earlier flight. Jeff Hardy will replace Test against Y2J tomorrow, which is ironic considering Hardy also pulled a no-show for an untelevised event last weekend.

* According to sources, Triple H (Paul Levesque) and Stephanie McMahon got engaged on Valentine\'s Day. The couple have been dating since their storyline romance turned real in 1999.

* The WWE has reportedly signed 20-year-old Zach Gowen, the one-legged wrestler who performs as Tenacious Z. Gowen lost his left leg to cancer when he was eight years old but continued to follow his dream of becoming a high-flying cruiserweight, eventually earning a spot with NWA TNA. Gowen\'s success story has Oprah written all over it and Vince McMahon obviously smells the marketing potential.

* WWE negotiations with Bill Goldberg have come to a standstill. The former WCW champion is insisting on working a limited schedule, while WWE are pushing him to work more dates.

* Raw dropped to a 3.8 Nielsen rating on Monday night but the viewership is expected to rocket past the 4 mark next week for the TV return of Steve Austin. Joe Millionaire, which opposed the first hour of Raw, drew a staggering 25.1 overnight rating. Vince McMahon should strongly consider making a better offer to the show\'s star, Evan Marriott.

* Final lineup for No Way Out tomorrow: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (Rock is still slated to win with Vince McMahon\'s help) and Triple H vs. Scott Steiner (Triple H is booked to go over) are the headline bouts.

The feature attraction will be Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on Eric Bischoff in what should be a fun novelty match. Austin\'s return has been teased and built up so well that I\'m expecting one of the biggest pops in wrestling history when he walks through the curtain tomorrow.

Rounding out the card, Edge (or Rhyno), Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar team up to take on Team Angle, The Big Show goes up against The Undertaker, RVD and Kane battle William Regal and Lance Storm, and Matt Hardy challenges Billy Kidman for the cruiserweight strap.

* Bret Hart, Jesse Ventura, Bill Goldberg, Harley Race and Shawn Michaels were among the mourners at Curt Hennig\'s funeral service on Monday.