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WWE Ratings soar
WWE\'s flagship program Raw scores needed Nielsen pinfall


There were a lot of smiling faces in Titan Tower when the Nielsen ratings rolled in Wednesday morning.

Raw shot up by a full rating point. It scored a 4.4, which is the second highest rating the Monday franchise has scored in over a year.

The viewership peaked for the Goldberg vs. Christian steel cage match and dropped immediately after, which shows exactly how much interest there is in the Triple H-Kevin Nash snooze-fest.

Here in Canada, Monday\'s edition did even better, drawing the highest audience of the entire season. About 1.03 million Canadian viewers tuned into the pre-empted TSN broadcast.

There was a monster lead-in from the Minnesota-Anaheim Stanley Cup playoff tilt but Raw held onto a solid chunk of the hockey audience and grew throughout the show, despite starting an hour later than usual.

\"The NHL playoff game last night provided us with a strong lead-in,\" said WWE Canada president Carl DaMarco in a TSN press release. \"And the fact that we retained that audience is a positive sign that the brand extension continues to gain momentum.\"

In other good news for WWE stockholders, the Confidential special on the death of Miss Elizabeth doubled the normal rating for the Saturday night magazine-style show. Vince McMahon is milking the story for a second week on tonight\'s edition.

NEW CHAMP: Calgary\'s Hybrid Wrestling crowned its first-ever champion at a tournament at The Palace nightclub last Saturday. The 350-lb. Juggernaut was the odds-on favourite to plough through the competition but in the end it was Johnny Handsome who walked away with the belt.

Handsome, a bodybuilder and former Mr. Alberta, beat Juggy, Mike Myers and Steve Rivers to become the debut title holder for the fledgling group.

\"I\'ve been working my way up the ladder to get here,\" Handsome said. \"I wanted to be the champion and that\'s what I\'ve done.\"

The other big news on the show was the defection of Teddy Hart to the HWC ranks. Though he\'ll still be wrestling for the Hart-run Stampede promotion from time to time, the 22-year-old made his first showing for Hybrid with a win over Highlander.

ILL WILL: Dehydration and pneumonia seem to have been to blame for Booker T missing the Raw and Heat tapings Monday. Booker had wrestled at an untelevised house show the previous Friday, beating Rodney Mack. The following night, he was scheduled to face Chris Jericho at another house show but the 38-year old was too sick to even make it to the arena.

Booker (Robert Huffman) was taken to hospital in Philadelphia, where he was treated for flu-like symptoms and dehydration. He then flew home to Houston to recuperate. He should be back on TV next Monday.

Booker T has six months left on his WWE contract and plans to sign on for another year after it expires but in an interview with a British daily tabloid last weekend, he claimed his wrestling days are coming to an end.

\"I\'m going to sign on for another year,\" he told the UK\'s Sun. \"But after that, I am definitely walking away from the wrestling business.\"

CHAVO SIDELINED: Chavo Guerrero is out of the ladder match at Judgment Day tomorrow, as he prepares to undergo surgery on a torn biceps muscle.

WWE bosses are trying to find a replacement for tomorrow\'s pay-per-view ladder match with Eddie Guerrero and Team Angle.

Rounding out the lacklustre Judgment Day card... Triple H vs. Kevin Nash for the Raw world title, Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show in a stretcher match for the Smackdown world strap, Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr. America, Torrie Wilson vs. Sable in a bikini contest, Test and Scott Steiner vs. La Resistance, Jazz vs. Trish vs. Victoria vs. Jaqueline in a four-way for the women\'s belt, The FBI vs. Chris Benoit, Spanky and Rhyno and a battle royal featuring Lance Storm, Kane, Test, Booker T, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Christian and Goldust for the intercontinental title.