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   Tue, May 6, 2003



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Raw: Beer bash!
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


To borrow a phrase, business is about to pick up. With Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the picture as co-general manager of Raw, things figure to get a whole lot more interesting in a hurry. Rumors are swirling that the Rattlesnake will bring back a few victims of the Eric Bischoff regime, but thereis only one way to find out for sure. Read on, because Raw is live from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The new co-general manager doesn't wait long to make an entrance. Clutching a metal briefcase, Austin heads to the ring and thanks Linda McMahon for the unexpected phone call that got him his new gig. His first thought was to keep a low profile, but Austin admits that was never his style. Instead, Stone Cold announces his plan to throw the biggest beer bash in the history of Raw. So I guess probation is over, eh? Austin goes on to talk about some of the stupid ideas he saw while he was sitting at home and how he plans to right some wrongs. His first idea is to bring back the Intercontinental Title at Judgment Day in a battle royal featuring former titleholders. He also has a plan for tonight, but Bischoff and Chief Morley interrupt before he gets to spit it out. The other general manager reminds Austin that Linda McMahon named them 50-50 partners, so they must agree on any decisions. To prove he's a team player (and no doubt spurred on by a very loud and unflattering chant), Bischoff concedes that the I-C battle royal is a good idea. Eric also has his own announcement: Triple H will defend the world title against Kevin Nash at Judgment Day. Austin has no problem with that, but he's not quite finished. It seems he's also rehired one of his best buddies, good old Jim Ross. That sets off Bischoff, whose attempt to re-fire J.R. turns into an exchange reminiscent of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Fired! Hired! Fired! Hired! Eventually, Austin proposes they settle it with a match. Trouble is, Linda has declared that the two GM's can't lay a finger on each other. Chief Morley steps up for his boss, and Jerry Lawler volunteers to do battle for his friend's job. So it's Morley versus the King for J.R.is job, and Stone Cold figures they should do it right now.

Match 1 : Chief Morley vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler

The King starts out on fire as the Coach muses about joining a three-man booth. Guess you can't fault a guy for dreaming. Morley kicks out of a piledriver, and more misfortune finds Lawler when he misses off the middle rope. Rolling vertical suplexes by Morley set up a top rope elbow and a near fall. Bischoff interferes but Austin is on the case. J.R. knocks Morley off the top rope, allowing the King to drop a fist from the ropes and get the pinfall. The two announcers hug while Bischoff slaps Morley in disgust. Austin calls the Coach to the ring, where he receives the painful news that Raw only needs two announcers. At least the news becomes painful when Austin drops him with a patented Stone Cold Stunner.

Poor Morley. We hardly knew ye. You can almost see it coming as Bischoff fires the Chief backstage. Austin happens upon the scene and chides his partner for firing someone without consulting him first. But Morley is still fired. In other news, J.R. thanks the King for saving his job, the Coach is still getting scraped out of the ring and Stacy tries to motivate Test and Scott Steiner.

Match 2 : Kane and Rob Van Dam vs. Scott Steiner and Test : World Tag Team Title Match

RVD's offense - including a split-legged moonsault and a plancha - takes the opening few minutes, but the power of Steiner and Test soon has Rob in trouble. Escaping several near falls, Van Dam finally manages to tag in Kane. Test actually manages to hold his own, hitting a pumphandle slam and a full nelson slam. A big elbowdrop from the top rope follows, but RVD is able to make the save. Test goes for the big boot; Van Dam ducks and Steiner ends up on the receiving end. The chokeslam and Five Star Frog Splash wrap up a successful title defense.

How can Austin make life even more miserable for Bischoff? How about a little office redecorating? Stone Cold decides his desk is more important than his partner's couch, and he just happens to like his plant right in front of Bischoff's portrait. To top it off, Eric isn't even invited to the beer bash. That's more beer for us!

Canadians love Chris Jericho. That's the only explanation for the huge reaction Y2J gets as he prepares for another edition of Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel - note the correct spelling this week - complete with what appears to be modern art set up in the ring. Never one to shy away from controversial guests, Jericho brings out Kevin Nash. Jericho chides his guest for smashing the window of a limo last week, but Big Daddy Cool is in no mood to talk. All he wants to do is call out Triple H. How convenient then, that Jericho's next guest is none other than the world heavyweight champion himself. Nash tosses the host out of the ring and starts taking his anger out on the defenseless set, though Jericho rebounds quickly and hits a low blow. Helmsley hits the ring and nails Nash with a chair shot to the back, then looks for a Pedigree on the chair. Nash reverses it into a backdrop and the fight is on in earnest. They fight and fight and fight. No really, I nod off during this segment and awaken to discover they are still fighting. The action spills backstage, then into the street like hardcore matches from the days of yore. Triple H commandeers (you could also say carjacks) an SUV to escape more damage, while Nash can only vent his frustration on a lippy security guard.

After the break, bystanders are still dazed by the battle. Or maybe theyire just waking up like I am. In any case, Austin asks Jericho if he's proud of the havoc heis wreaked. The co-GM wants to reward Chris by putting him in the main event next week on Raw. His opponent? Naturally, it's Nash.

Match 3 : Booker T vs. Lance Storm

Storm enters proudly waving the Maple Leaf and the fans respond. He quickly locks Booker in a Sharpshooter to an even bigger reaction. Book makes it to the ropes, then hits a jumping kick for two and a spinebuster for another near fall. A couple of counters lead to a sidekick; Storm then gets a two count of his own. Booker flapjacks Storm coming off the ropes and follows with a scissor kick to bring this to a relatively quick close.

It's those French guys again. La Resistance harasses Stacy in what appears to be an attempt to recruit her. Somehow I don't see that happening.

Match 4 : La Resistance vs. Spike Dudley and Tommy Dreamer

I've got two words for La Resistance: nice berets. Team ECW actually works well in the early going, at least until a low bridge sends Spike flying to the floor. Dreamer saves him once heis back in the ring, then gets tagged in and hits a cool simultaneous DDT and neckbreaker to drop both of his foes. Spike comes off the top with his chest stomp, but the littlest Dudley gets double-teamed and is quickly pinned. The Frenchmen have thoughts of a post-match beating until Steiner enters the picture. Numbers start going against Big Poppa Pump, but Test arrives and helps his partner clear the ring. Test and Steiner working together. It's possible I might be back asleep and dreaming.

Bischoff whines to Linda on the phone and finds out his only choices are to work together with Austin or resign. His attempt to hit on Mrs. Mac proves fruitless once again. But he does say that he's got no choice except to "raise the bar" next week. Elsewhere, Terri interviews Christian, a.k.a. the New People's Champ. He's ready to take on Goldberg for all of his peeps out there. Surely Christian wonit get squashed in front of the home crowd. Right?

Match 5 : Trish Stratus vs. Jazz : Women's Title Match

More fun and games with the women's title as Trish gets the rematch Bischoff tried to sleaze her out of last Monday. Things look good as Trish hits the Stratusfaction, but Victoria hops up on the apron and distracts the ref. A belt shot with some help from her hubby Rodney Mack gets Jazz the pinfall.

Main Event : Christian vs. Goldberg

No, not quite. Before the match can begin, Rico and Three Minute Warning come to the stage to say they haven't forgotten what Goldberg did to them last week. They head to the ring and get in a few licks, but Goldberg rallies and soon Rico stands alone. He gets a Jackhammer and the ref counts the pin, though I'm not sure why since Christian is supposed to be the opponent. Speaking of Christian, he whacks Goldberg with a chair and takes off through the crowd.

We can't end the show like that. The sound of breaking glass brings Austin out yet again. It's time for the beer bash, unless Goldberg has a problem with that. Actually he does, so Stone Cold offers to give him a match with Christian next week. When that isn't enough, Austin ups his offer to a cage match and that does the trick. With Goldberg placated, Austin calls for some beer (Canadian beer tonight) and the bash is underway. Goldberg gets to share in the fun too, as the festivities include beer girls coming down the ramp and what appears to be the entire student body of a local college. And the beer just keeps on coming - Austin's mysterious Beer-Throwing Guy is going to need rotator cuff surgery. A beer-soaked Raw finally fades out with Austin and Goldberg enjoying the bash to the fullest.