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Raw: Da Man takes over
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


Say it is so. Goldberg was true to his word Sunday night at Unforgiven, ending the lengthy world title reign of Triple H. Unfortunately, Jonathan Coachman and Al Snow also ended the long announcing tenure of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, leaving Raw with a decidedly second string feel. More reason than ever to get the rundown (pun intended) here on SLAM! Wrestling. Raw is live from Washington D.C.

Lillian Garcia welcomes some U.S. troops who are enjoying tonight's action ringside after being injured on duty overseas. She also introduces Coach and Snow, who waste little time putting themselves over for their victory with nary a mention of Chris Jericho's role in the affair. Goldberg heads to the ring to celebrate his upheld promise to dethrone HHH, and he's soon joined by co-general manager Steve Austin. There aren't too many things that make the Rattlesnake happy, but Goldberg pulled off the feat with his big win, and Austin will drink to that. Only a few beers fly before Eric Bischoff joins the party, ostensibly to congratulate Goldberg. After all, Bischoff figures he made Goldberg during their time in WCW. Goldberg responds the best way he knows how - with a spear. Coach and Snow are appalled, like many people will be with their announcing, no doubt.

Match 1 - Rob Van Dam vs. Christian - Intercontinental Title Match

It's all Van Dam early, with the crowd favorite looking to finish a job he started at Unforgiven. Christian dodges a Five Star Frog Splash, then gets in some offense until Rob hits Rolling Thunder and a split-legged moonsault. Christian soon finds himself on the floor, where he retrieves his belt and smacks Van Dam with it to retain the title by disqualification. To add insult and injury, Christian sets up a ladder in one corner and hits RVD with his own version of the Five Star.

As a trainer works on Bischoff's side, he's visited by an outraged Jericho. Still looking to crack Austin and now also knock Goldberg down a peg, Jericho asks for - and gets - a world title shot against the new champ tonight. Back in the ring area, Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak are heading down for a match when they are unceremoniously jumped and given the heave-ho by Evolution. The ensuing promo by Triple H is pretty standard stuff, with the short story having him claiming he's still the best and vowing to take back what's his.

I have to admit, The Rundown is actually getting some decent reviews. Maybe my hostile attitude towards the flick comes from being force fed like we are during the segment that's showing right now. Please go see the movie so the WWE can use the time for even more pointless bits. You'll be glad you did.

Match 2 - Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer

This has a "let's gloss over this match" feel to it, so I'll sum up by saying that Dreamer fights valiantly with a trash can but gets put away by the World's Strongest Slam. Darned if it didn't look like Dreamer taking pictures of Unforgiven matches for fans right in front of our section on Sunday night, but I hope not.

Cade and Jindrak show more guts than brains by storming angrily into Evolution's locker room despite Maven's efforts to hold them back. Triple H tells the youngsters that they'll get Evolution if that's what they want, and they can have Maven to even up the sides. My Magic 8-Ball (tm) is telling me it's too soon for Maven to turn, but you never know. Backstage, Christian and Jericho are as impressed with themselves as ever, but their smiles disappear once Austin drops by. He says he'll make things right by having J.R. and Coach go one-on-one next week for Raw broadcast rights, as well as making CLB (that's creepy little bastard to Austin) defend the I-C strap against RVD again, this time in a ladder match.

Match 3 - Molly Holly and Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus and Lita

This is a rematch fron Unforgiven and much less interesting at that. It seems like an effort to get Lita some more televised ring time, really, as she ends up isolated in the ring for quite a while. Trish never does get the hot tag, choosing instead to dive off the apron to neutralize Molly on the floor. That allows Lita to pin Kim with a Twist of Fate.

Bischoff still isn't feeling too well after his spear, but that doesn't stop Jericho from asking him to be the special guest referee for his world title match tonight. Y2J even hatches a plan for Bischoff to be the special outside referee so he can stay out of harm's way but still help stick it to Goldberg and Austin. Always the thinker, that Jericho.

A video package airs to recap the Test-Scott Steiner feud, all to the strains of the song "Sufficate" by Cold. Please go buy their album so we don't have to walk this road again. It occurs to me that perhaps the WWE's marketing efforts are intended to be reverse psychology. Clever girl. From earlier today, we see Stacy apologizing to Steiner for the way things went down at Unforgiven and Test ordering Big Poppa Pump to carry his bags or risk facing a lawsuit. Early indications are that Steiner may not be the most cooperative employee ever. Call it intuition.

More video airs, this time of Shane's leap from atop the Unforgiven set which, by the way, really was spectacular in person. Live from a hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Shane reports that he hopes to be released tomorrow and that he will be right back in Kane's face. If you have ever, and I mean ever watched one second of WWE programming, you see what's coming here. Kane storms into Shane's room, breaks an IV full of blood over him and starts battering him around the hallway. A security guard gets punched in the face for his trouble, then Kane tosses Shane into a door and leaves him a bloody mess as his get well soon wish. Only in wrestling could a recuperating person's location be undisclosed to everyone except the person with whom he's having a vicious feud.

Match 4 - Rob Conway and Rene Dupree vs. Hurricane and Rosey

Both heels are sporting bandages thanks to the table match that saw La Resistance lose their tag team titles Sunday night. Sylvan Grenier immeidately lends a hand with a French flag shot on the outside, an act which angers even the heel announcers. Rosey gets the hot tag and hits a big legdrop on Conway, who has to be saved by Dupree. Hurricane takes out the interloper with a cross body off the top, leaving Conway easy pickings to be pinned by a Samoan drop/swinging neckbreaker combo. After the three count, the Dudley Boyz come out to celebrate with the U.S. troops.

Finally, a productive use is found for the filler time after commercial breaks as we see a press conference announcing the WWE teaming up with music mogul Russell Simmons to get people to register to vote. That actually is a worthy cause.

Match 5 - Evolution vs. Garrison Cade, Mark Jindrak and Maven

The young faces sprint to the ring and clear it, but Triple H is in control once things settle down. Everyone gets a chance to work, but it's Cade who runs into the first trouble as he gets worn down and cut off by Evolution's teamwork. Triple H locks on a sleeper, but Cade responds with a suplex and follows with a bulldog before tags are made and all six men hit the ring. Orton's attempt to use a chair on the outside is stopped by referee Earl Hebner, who isn't in position to count as Maven nails Flair with a jumping top rope kick. HHH takes advantage with a Pedigree and rolls Flair on top of Maven for the cover and three count. Triple H isn't quite done, as he grabs the mic to make a cryptic comment that the fans need him more than he needs them.

We're not quite done with The Rundown, as we head to the red carpet in Hollywood for an interview with The Rock. Interviewer Mark Lloyd is no match for the usual Rocky shenanigans, especially after he mentions the scene in the movie where The Rock gets a little monkey love. The People's Champ has to take off, but not before he accuses Lloyd of his own monkey love in his spare time and confirms that it is okay to use the word bunghole on TV.

Main Event - Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg - World Title Match

Bischoff is still holding his side as he makes his way to ringside, and apparently he is only the outside ref as Charles Robinson is on hand to be inside the ring. Goldberg tosses Jericho around in the early going, but the challenger gets a chance to rally on the outside when an attmepted spear sees Goldberg go hard into the ringpost. The action sees both men score near falls and Bischoff interfere when his man is in trouble. Goldberg turns his attention to Bischoff but is cut down by a low blow from Jericho, who presses his advantage with a Lionsault. EB makes the count but only manages two. Cue Austin as the Rattlesnake yanks Bischoff out of the ring and lays him out, distracting Jericho in the process. As sure as the sun rises in the east, it's the spear and jackhammer to wrap things up for the champ. That's all for tonight. Don't forget to tip your server on your way out.

Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. Aside from holding down three part time jobs, he is currently working on growing back his eyebrows after getting a little too close to the pyro at Unforgiven.