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Raw: J.R. sacked, Nash\'s back
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


As a girl named Alice once said, people come and go so quickly here. Last week\'s arrival of Goldberg and departure of Stone Cold Steve Austin brought new meaning to Da Man\'s trademark phrase, \"Who\'s next?\" The fans in snowy Milwaukee, Wisconsin are preparing for more comings and goings as Raw kicks off from the Bradley Center.

Match 1 - Trish Stratus vs. Jazz - Women\'s Title Match

We head straight into the action as Stratus defends her strap. Jazz soon finds herself the victim of several kicks and a Thesz press from the apron. Gaining control back in the ring, the challenger scores a two count with a fisherman\'s brainbuster and presses her advantage with a half crab and an STF. Trish escapes to the ropes and gets several near falls before sealing the deal via the Stratusfaction. But the win is not without controversy (shades of NASCAR), as Jazz clearly had her foot on the bottom rope as the ref counted the fall.

Another Raw means another conversation between Eric Bischoff and The Rock. As expected, the People\'s Champ is a bit miffed about his reception from Goldberg seven days ago. He plans on proving he won\'t back down by calling out his new foe tonight, a proposition that makes Raw\'s GM grin.

New tag team champs Rob Van Dam and Kane compare notes on how they spent their first seven days with the belts. While RVD spent the time soaking up positive energy (so that\'s what they\'re calling it nowOe), the Big Red Machine had an encounter with a skunk. Eh? Meanwhile, Teddy Long and Rodney Mack strike up an alliance with a dejected Jazz. Hey, they got her in an angle with her real life hubby. How cute.

The Rock attempts to get some Stratusfaction of his own, but Trish isn\'t trying to hear it. Stratus\' beau Jeff Hardy happens upon the scene and isn\'t too happy about the Great One hitting on his girl. Rocky decides he\'ll kick Hardy\'s behind in the ring in about 30 to 45 minutes. After the break, Austin\'s ESPN commercial shows SportsCenter anchor Dan Patrick come up with a novel way to keep Stone Cold awake for his studying. Think steel chair.

Match 2 - Rob Van Dam vs. Chief Morley

Both men engage in a bit of mat wrestling before RVD bridges out of a German suplex to get a quick two count. Morley scores his own near falls with rolling vertical suplexes and a knee to the midsection, then Van Dam rallies with a series of kicks. A monkey flip and a standing somersault splash set up Rolling Thunder, but Lance Storm arrives to make the save. Storm continues to meddle, so Mr. Monday Night decides to take him out with a cross body from the top rope to the floor. Lance still manages to trip RVD up long enough for Morley to nail a spike DDT and pull off the upset. Van Dam does manage to recover quickly and fight off a double team after the bell.

Booker T and Shawn Michaels psych each other up for a tag team main event against Triple H and Chris Jericho. And that\'s about it. A video package takes us to a naval base in Washington where Ivory and HBK support U.S. troops.

Match 3 - Scott Steiner vs. Christopher Nowinski

Hold on, let me check my notes from last weekOe okay, it looks like Nowinski has earned \"Squash of the Week\" status on two consecutive shows. Yikes. He can\'t even get cheap heat correctly, as his anti-American rant on the war in Iraq draws only halfhearted boos from the Milwaukee fans. Steiner quickly puts and end to this nonsense by slamming the Harvard grad on the steel ramp and locking on the Steiner Recliner. Nowinski never taps (and fellow SLAM! Wrestling writer Dale Plummer says the ref never rang the bell to start the match), but the match is apparently over.

People backstage point and whisper as Goldberg walks through. For the folks who weren\'t watching WCW during Goldberg\'s reign in Turner-land, a montage recaps his impressive run.

The Rock didn\'t hear him knock, but Christian enters his dressing room anyway. The Great One happily autographs Christian\'s Scorpion King DVD, though he tells the young Canadian that he needs to seize the moment and take advantage of opportunities. And just for the record, Rock makes it known that he is not afraid of Goldberg. Elsewhere, Stratus gives Hardy a good luck kiss.

Match 4 - The Rock vs. Jeff Hardy

Rocky quickly takes control, mocking his opponent\'s enthusiastic ring entrance with a few gyrations of his own. Hardy stages a rally but is quickly put down with a Samoan drop and a vertical suplex that gets a two count. A guillotine and a springboard moonsault set up Hardy\'s legdrop to the groin, but his luck runs out when he misses the Whisper in the Wind. He does score with an inverted Twist of Fate, giving him enough time to pull off his own interpretation of the People\'s Elbow. A Swanton Bomb follows, but it\'s not enough to keep the Rock down. A DDT leads to a Rock Bottom, and the People\'s Champ escapes with a hard-fought victory.

And The Rock\'s not through. Grabbing the mic, he tells Goldberg to \"just bring it bitch.\" Goldberg heads down the ramp, and something\'s telling me it\'s not for an oratorical contest. How about Rock-Goldberg at Backlash? NahOe Apparently attempting to seize the day, Christian tries to ambush Goldberg and is quickly speared for his trouble. Rock tries a sneak attack of his own but decides to head for the hills when Da Man no-sells his shot. Better get used to that Rocky. During the break, the People\'s Champ offers Terri this explanation for turning down a match with Goldberg, \"Because.\" Yep, that clears it up.

It occurs to me that calling it a handicap match is not very politically correct, so I hereby declare it a Numerically Challenged Match. Kane fights off early double team efforts but gets crotched on the ringpost by D-Von. Bubba\'s elbowdrops earn a near fall; Kane rallies as the fans show their disinterest by sitting on their hands. Really, it\'s quiet for a Dudley Boyz match. A double chokeslam is reversed into an awkward 3-D and Kane stays down for three. Tables are on the menu but RVD comes to the rescue. The heels get reinforcements in the form of Morley and Storm and pretty soon our heroes are falling victim to numerous finishers. Storm puts the icing on the cake by hitting a missile dropkick into a chair held in front of Van Dam\'s face.

Test is still upset that Goldust got him in hot water with Stacy last week. Darn that fake Tourette\'s syndrome. Graciously, Test offers a chance to make it right. Goldust tells Stacy that it was he reading the Torrie Wilson Playboy last week. Things are just about settled when the \"syndrome\" kicks in again and betrays the magazine in Test\'s bag, not so cleverly hidden in the middle of the new WWE magazine. Oh, this has the makings of classic comedy (sarcasm intended). You know, like that episode of Three\'s Company that dealt with the misunderstanding.

Can it be? The sound of breaking glass sends the fans into a frenzy as Austin\'s truck drives into the Bradley Center. Turns out its just Stone Cold Eric Bischoff behind the wheel. Gloating about his firing of the Texas Rattlesnake, Raw\'s GM sticks to the story that Austin\'s neck injury made him a liability to the company. Bischoff does admit that not everyone agreed with the move, punctuating his point by rolling footage from last week showing Jim Ross going off. Eric gives J.R. a chance to express himself face to face, and the announcer heads for the stage despite Jerry Lawler\'s pleas. A loud \"J.R.\" chant erupts as Ross tells his boss he meant every word of what he said and that he thinks Bischoff is one lousy son of a bitch. Then he drops the bombshell: he quits. As a stunned King watches his partner walk off, Bischoff tries to fire Ross retroactively.

Match 6 n Goldust vs. Steven Richards

Coach quickly joins the King for commentary for tonight\'s time filler. Both men earn a number of near falls, but it\'s Richards who has the upper hand when Victoria interrupts from the outside because she can\'t find her belt. Um, you lost it baby. Goldust hits the Shock Treatment to get the duke and knocks the psycho lovers\' heads together just for so.

Ambassador Ric Flair tries to get Triple H and Chris Jericho to play nice. They agree to help each other out, sending Flair into one of his famous spasms. And what is this? Leave it to WWE to try to cash in on America\'s current difference of opinion with France. Ooh, two French wrestlers are coming. I\'m so scared.

Main Event - Chris Jericho and Triple H vs. Booker T and Shawn Michaels

All four men are in the ring, but not for long. Michaels slingshots Jericho to the floor and throws himself over on both heels. Booker works over Triple H before tagging in his partner, but HBK soon finds himself at the mercy of both opponents. Michaels rallies and warms up the band; Triple H ducks but his Pedigree is reversed into a backdrop. The heels take charge thanks to Flair\'s interference as a limo pulls up to the back of the arena. Commercial time! Not much has changed when we return n Michaels is on the ropes once again. Triple H softens up HBK with a sleeper and tags in Jericho, but his Lionsault fails to connect. The hot tag is made to Booker, who clears the ring to make room for a Spineroonie. Jericho recovers to apply the Walls of Jericho, then gets decked by some Sweet Chin Music. Hunter avoids a scissor kick and goes for a Pedigree. But Booker flips over into a bridge and holds it for the pinfall. Like all good heels do, Jericho, Flair and Helmsley press their numerical advantage after the bell. Michaels is busted open and handcuffed to the ropes, and Hurricane\'s sudden arrival does nothing to help. Some unfamiliar music hits and Kevin Nash strides to the ring for the first time in nine months. Big Sexy drops Jericho and Flair with boots to the face; Triple H bugs out to avoid the same. A Jackknife Power Bomb wrecks Y2J just as Triple H returns with a sledgehammer. Nash grabs a chair and the two old friends stare each other down. The world champ decides to retreat as Raw goes off the air.

Nick Tylwalk may or may not be the man penning reports and stories for SLAM! Wrestling for the last four and a half years. His identity cannot be corroborated, but the editors have a pretty good idea who he is.