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Raw Report: The Rock Unplugged
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling >> Wrestling


With respect to Yogi Berra, it really is deja vu all over again.  It >> almost seems like it's 2001 again, what with Stone Cold and The Rock on a >> collision course along the road to WrestleMania, Limp Bizkit getting set to >> perform and Slam! Wrestling covering all the action.  This new but >> strangely familar era gets underway tonight with wrestling and a Rock >> Concert.  It's Raw, live from Sacramento, California.

>> >>

The show kicks off on a patriotic note as Lillian Garcia belts out the >> U.S. national anthem.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your American Idol >> 2!  Ah well, a guy can dream, can't he?  Thunderous "USA" chants erupt from >> the crowd.

>> >> >>

Breaking glass signals the arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin.  It turns >> out that a match is scheduled and the Rattlesnake is not supposed to be out >> there, but he doesn't much care.  Instead, Austin takes us through a >> history lesson from last week, when The Rock gave him a Stunner and a Rock >> Bottom.  He doesn't want to leave until The Rock comes out and sings him a >> song, but as I said before, there is a match scheduled, a fact reinforced >> when Test's music hits.

>> >>

Match 1 - Test vs. Lance Storm

>> >> >>

Accompanied by Stacy, Test tries something that's proved futile every >> time it's been tried in the past: he tries to reason with Austin.  He gets >> a Stunner for his trouble, and Storm runs down to try to take advantage to >> get a quick pin.  Imagine his surprise when it's Austin who makes the two >> count, then gives him the finger and a Stunner of his own.  Match over, >> Autin style.

>> >>

Eric Bischoff makes his entrance, and he's not alone.  About a dozen of >> Sacramento's finest flank him as he reveals that he's got a restraining >> order stating that Austin must leave the arena or face mandatory >> arrest.  Austin slowly leaves the ring and makes his way up the ramp, >> seemingly considering attacking Bischoff anyway before sensibly headed for >> the back.  With that matter settled for now, Bischoff looks forward to >> tonight's Rock Concert.  Speaking of The Rock, he just happens to be tuning >> his guitar in the back as Austin and the cops pass by.  And wouldn't you >> know it, he just can't help but tease Stone Cold with a little prison >> ditty.

>> >> >>

This Miller Lite catfight girl at WrestleMania thing is dumb.  No, it's >> stupid.  Dumb!  Stupid!  (Sounds of scuffling at the computer >> keyboard...)

>> >>

Match 2 - Trish Stratus and Jeff Hardy vs. Victoria and Steven >> Richards

>> >>

Hardy gets the upper hand early and forces Richards to tag out, and >> Victoria is unable to goad Jeff into attacking her.  Victoria hits Trish >> with a spinning side slam for two; Stratus responds with her handstand move >> in the corner.  The end comes shortly after when Trish springboards off >> Richards on the ropes right into the Stratusfaction for the pin.  The >> victorious faces look like they might celebrate the win with a kiss on the >> ramp, but Jazz pops out to put an end to that, even getting in a shot at >> Victoria in the process.

>> >>

Bischoff's bragging on his cell phone is interrupted by >> Coach.  Apparently security has an emergency and is asking for the general >> manager.  This couldn't have anything to do with that Austin character, >> eh?  Meanwhile, Goldust is checking out Torrie Wilson's Playboy spread when >> Booker T walks in.  The Bizarre One tells his buddy how proud he is that >> he'll be challenging Triple H at WrestleMania.  Unfortunately, it takes >> about five minutes because of Goldie's tedious Tourette's gimmick.  Let's >> just put a stop to this.  Please.

>> >>

It turns out Stone Cold hasn't gone anywhere, choosing to bide his time >> in his truck outside the arena.  Bischoff persuades Coach to go outside and >> tell Austin to leave, threatening his job if he doesn't.  When you put it >> that way...

>> >>

Match 3 - Scott Steiner vs. Christian

>> >>

Big Poppa Pump leads off with an elbowdrop and some push-ups, then >> presses Christian overhead several times before dropping him.  Both men >> exchange near falls before Christian guillotines Steiner on the top rope >> and goes up top.  Steiner follows him up and delivers a second rope Samoan >> drop, covering to get the three count.  In case you didn't know it, BPP >> wants you to know that he's your hook up.

>> >>

Outside, Coach delivers Bischoff's message to Stone Cold.  and he'll be >> leaving now if it's alright with you.

>> >>

Chief Morley promises Terri a big announcement and here it is: because >> of William Regal's illness, the WWE has suddenly remembered the >> oft-forgotten rule that titles must be defended at least once every 30 >> days.  Regal and Storm are stripped of the tag belts, but Morley gives them >> to Storm and himself.  What about a title shot at WrestleMania?  That's >> what Rob Van Dam and Kane want to know, with RVD going so far as to >> question Morley's testicular fortitude when he declines.  It's Kane that >> actually comes up with the perfect solution, as he and his partner will >> take on the Dudley Boyz in a No. 1 Contenders Match tonight.

>> >>

Match 4 - Triple H and Ric Flair vs. Goldust and Booker T

>> >> >>

Goldie pairs off against Flair, then the two world title combatants work >> against each other.  Flair tags back in when the momentum swings against >> the heels, leading to a huge exchange of chops.  The Nature Boy turns to >> his bag of tricks and takes advantage of Booker on the outside as we head >> to a commercial break.  And we're back!  We find Booker in the throes of >> the Figure Four, which he quickly turns against Flair.  Chops are exchanged >> before Goldust tags in and proceeds to clean house.  Triple H takes him to >> the floor and makes him taste the steps; Flair follows with a low blow and >> a choke.  The heels get a couple of quick two counts as Goldust makes it to >> safety, but the ref doesn't see the tag.  The second time's the charm as >> Booker gets in and launches a flurry of kicks.  Everyone hits the floor >> then spills back into the ring, and a couple of reversals later, Booker >> drops a scissor kick on Helmsley and heads to WrestleMania with momentum.

>> >>

Obviously not pleased about his loss (or maybe just upset that he >> actually did a job), Triple H blows off Flair's pep talk.  Back in the >> ring, we get a long segment that sees Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels face >> to face.  Jericho remembers how much he wanted to be like HBK when he was >> younger, producing video and pictures to prove his point.  But that's over >> now, as Jericho is concentrating on being the first Jericho instead of the >> next Michaels, and he can't wait to prove his superiority at >> WrestleMania.  Michaels gets smacked in the face for not looking at Jericho >> but quickly responds with a hard slap of his own.  Both men smile as they >> stare each other down.

>> >>

The Rock has a great idea, which worries Bischoff since the last two >> "great ideas" hatched by the Hollywood heel ended with the GM on the wrong >> side of a beating.  No such worries tonight, though.  The Rock simply wants >> Bischoff to put speakers outside the arena so Austin doesn't miss out on >> The Rock Concert.  Bischoff smiles weakly and reluctantly consents.  A >> rundown of the entire 'Mania card leads into another word from our >> sponsors.

>> >>

Match 5 - RVD and Kane vs. Dudley Boyz - No. 1 Contenders Match

>> >>

All four men brawl before the match settles into Kane versus >> Bubba.  D-Von gets Rolling Thunder from Van Dam, but responds with a pretty >> nice move of his own when he yanks RVD off the top rope for a jumping >> neckbreaker.  RVD powers out of the cover, hits his step-over kick and >> makes a tag.  Kane hits a backdrop and a slam for a near fall, then goes up >> top but misses his jumping lariat.  The Dudleyz flapjack Kane before RVD >> counterattacks; Bubba hits a hiptoss into a brainbuster and Van Dam nails a >> jumping kick.  Morley gets on the apron to distract the ref, a plan that >> backfires when Storm hits D-Von with a kick.  The other heels are knocked >> to the outside, leading to a chokeslam and Five Star Frog Splash and a face >> victory.

>> >>

Speakers are indeed set up for Austin's listening pleasure.  That causes >> the Rattlesnake to get out his cell and place a call to someone.

>> >>

Finally, it's time for An Evening with The Rock.  The crowd turns from >> boos to cheers as Rocky claims the best part of visiting Sacramento will be >> leaving.  Naturally, he kicks off his set with his stunning ode to the >> Lakers' superiority over the Kings, "Leaving Sacramento."  He then whips >> into two songs for Austin, interpolating Elvis on "Ain't Nothing but a >> Redneck" and Willie Nelson on "Whip Your Ass Again."  And what Rock >> playlist would be complete without that tribute to the Chairman of the >> Board?  Of course, I'm talking about "Rock's Way."  Look for the mp3's to >> be available on the internet right after the show.

>> >>

Any thoughts of an encore are interrupted as an ambulance rushes into >> the arena with Austin's truck right behind.  Police come down the ramp to >> assist the movie star, but it's not Austin at the wheel: it's The >> Hurricane.  Laughing, The Rock instructs the cops to arrest the >> "Hamburgler."  Just as things start to settle down, Austin emerges from >> under a tarp in the back of his truck and the fight is on.  Rock takes a >> beating then takes a powder, but he drops his precious Willie Nelson-signed >> guitar during the melee.  Stone Cold tries unsuccessfully to lure his foe >> back to the ring, then satisfies himself by smashing the guitar with his >> size 13 boot.  Yes folks, the road to WrestleMania 19 is paved with guitar >> splinters this year.

>> >>

But wait, there's more.  Bonus coverage from this past week's Smackdown >> show what many of us here in the U.S. missed due to coverage of the >> conflict in Iraq.  And frankly, it wasn't much.  Vince McMahon ambushed >> Hulk Hogan at their contract signing with repeated chair shots, busting >> open the Hulkster and forcing The Immortal to sign the contract with his >> own blood.  Brock Lesnar fell victim to a similar ambush by the Brothers >> Angle.  Really, the faces need to get a seminar together to teach their own >> to prevent this sort of thing.

>> >>

Since this is my only forum in which to do so, I'd like to take this >> opportunity to wish safety to all U.S. troops in Iraq.  I hope all >> Americans, regardless of their feelings on the conflict, keep you in their >> thoughts and prayers during the coming weeks.  And that's as serious as >> I'll ever get.  Be sure to catch the debut of new Slam! Wrestling Smackdown >> reporter Dale Plummer this Friday, then all the WrestleMania goodies >> leading up to the big day.  I'll be back in seven days with the 'Mania >> fallout and... Goldberg?  See you then, and oh yeah - we're back!