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Raw: Kane burns Goldberg
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


It sure seems like Survivor Series was the end of an era. Despite a valiant effort from a bloody Shawn Michaels, the five men fighting for the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin fell to Eric Bischoff\'s squad. To reinforce the reality that Austin is gone, tonight\'s show begins with Bischoff spraying paint over the picture of his foe and a bittersweet tribute to the Rattlesnake\'s career. The times, they are a-changing tonight, as Eric Bischoff brings you Raw, live from Beaumont, Texas.

Surrounded by the five members of his Survivor Series team, Bischoff mocks Austin\'s memory by stomping on two beer cans in the center of the ring. The general manager promises a new beginning for those who supported him and the beginning of the end for those who didn\'t. Specifically, all five men will be granted a favor that can be used any time and for anything within reason. Bischoff is about to elaborate, but he\'s cut off by Triple H\'s music and the arrival of The Game, Batista and Ric Flair. Helmsley congratulates Bischoff but reminds him that without the help of two members of Evolution, Austin would still be here. Eric agrees and says a rematch with Goldberg for the world title can happen whenever he says the word. That\'s fine with Triple H, but he has another idea that he whispers to Bischoff. With glee in his voice, Eric announces that Goldberg will face off against HHH, Batista and Randy Orton tonight. Hey, it was fun while it lasted Bill.

Match 1 - Booker T vs. Mark Henry

If this is Henry\'s favor, he\'s reminding me of one of those people that is granted three wishes and squanders them. Booker can\'t knock Henry off his feet in the opening minute, but he\'s soon sent to the canvas by a clothesline from the World\'s Strongest Man. Switching tactics, he reverses a suplex into a sleeper, which Henry finally escapes by backing his opponent hard into the corner. Theodore Long prevents Booker from hitting his scissor kick, and his man scores a near fall with an elbowdrop. Booker rallies with a series of kicks, a scissor kick and a missile dropkick, but it\'s still not enough. Henry hits a powerslam, but Booker rolls him up in the corner and uses the ropes for leverage to get the pinfall.

Match 2 - La Resistance vs. Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade

All four men brawl until the young faces clear the ring. Grabbing a mic, Cade tells La Resistance how sick they make him and that they are dedicating the match to the armed forces of the US. He backs up the tough talk by getting the hot tag in the match, clotheslining Rene Dupree and forcing Mark Conway to make the save. Seconds later, Cade holds Dupree in the air and Jindrak hits a dropkick to wrap the contest up.

It\'s interview time, with Jim Ross telling Michaels how proud he was to watch HBK\'s performance on Sunday night. Michaels never gets a chance to respond though, since Bischoff stops by with a few members of the security staff. HBK admits that while he\'s never been Austin\'s friend, he couldn\'t stand watching Bischoff take away the one thing that mattered to Stone Cold. The GM fires back by blaming Michaels for the loss and asking security to escort him out of the building. Friends, if we\'ve learned anything watching WWE programming over the last few years, it\'s that it\'s just no fun being a face when there\'s a heel in charge of the show.

Fresh from a commercial break, we get treated to a bunch of pictures of Sunday night\'s Ambulance Match between Kane and Shane McMahon. If you missed the pay-per-view, trust me, the match wasn\'t that much more exciting at regular speed. Next we head backstage, where Scott Steiner reveals that he used his favor to get a tag team title shot against the Dudleys for himself and Test. These guys are thinking too small. How about asking for eternal youth or unlimited wealth? Or is that not considered to be \"within reason?\"

Match 3 - Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair - Intercontinental Title Match

Flair did not get a favor but still gets a title shot. Orton joins the announce team to do a little boasting as we learn that Bischoff has outlawed the Five Star Frog Splash for this match. Ric starts out with a series of his trademark chops; Rob returns fire with a standing moonsault for two. Van Dam gets knocked off the top rope all the way to the floor, but he recovers quickly and returns to the ring to score with a spinning heel kick. Flair locks in the Figure Four only to see it flipped over and reversed, and Van Dam scores yet another near fall with a springboard cross body. Momentum builds and culminates in Rolling Thunder, forcing Orton to leave the table and get involved. Flair takes advantage with a low blow and cover, but RVD manages to kick out at two. Rob goes up top and looks like he will try a Five Star regardless of the consequences, but Orton crotches him and yanks him off the top with an RKO. The ref gives Van Dam the DQ victory as Orton poses with the I-C title and seems to think it looks good on him. Of course, he thinks everything looks good on him.

The Coach mocks Rosey and The Hurricane as he heads for Bischoff\'s office. It turns out Eric needs his help to spread the word about a big surprise for next week\'s Raw from Salt Lake City: the return of Raw Roulette. Insert your joke here. Next it\'s time for the return of the Highlight Reel, which has apparently been on hiatus during November sweeps - never a good sign. Calling himself the man who was responsible for Austin\'s firing, Jericho introduces Lita as his guest for the night. The host expresses his sympathy for Lita\'s loss at Survivor Series, but she doubts his sincerity and says she did not come out to be insulted by a jackass. Jericho presses ona and says he knows someone who can cheer her up, and it\'s not Christian. It\'s someone whose Smackdown contract has just expired and is making his return to Raw. The fans erupt for the return of Matt Hardy, Version 1.0. Hardy claims he has a question that he\'s been waiting to ask Lita, and he\'s about to ask it down on one knee when Molly Holly interrupts. The women\'s champ is feeling slighted and is miffed that things continue to revolve around Lita. Jericho proposes a match featuring Hardy and Lita against Holly and a male partner of her choosing. After a minute of consideration, Molly chooses Bischoff. And if your set-up-o-meter isn\'t going off right now, you might want to check the batteries.

Bischoff stops Molly in the hallway to yell at her for putting him in a match, but she tries to calm him by saying it could be the beginning of the end for Lita. Bischoff makes it more interesting by declaring that Lita gets a rematch for the women\'s title if her team wins, but is fired if they lose.

Match 4 - Dudley Boyz vs. Test and Scott Steiner - World Tag Team Title Match

Bubba opens with a sidewalk slam and a quick two on Steiner, and Test yells at Stacy for cheering for the other team. She ignores him and fires up the crowd so Bubba can power out of a submission hold. A Bubba Bomb is hit out of desperation and the hot tag is made to D-Von. His shoulderblock on Test gets a near fall, then Bubba goes to work as D-Von neutralizes Steiner. The Whassup headbutt scores, but Steiner returns to the ring with one of the title belts. He\'s laid out by a double neckbreaker, though Test comes in and plants D-Von with a full nelson slam. Test calls for the other belt, but Stacy refuses to give it to him and the Dudleys recover to pin him with a 3-D.

Lita wants to know what Matt\'s big question is, but he defers until later and says they need to concentrate on their upcoming match. Trish Stratus asks Lita if Hardy is going to propose. Oh, so that\'s what we\'re supposed to think. Thanks, because this angle was too subtle for me.

Match 5 - Matt Hardy and Lita vs. Eric Bischoff and Molly Holly

Bischoff isn\'t dressed to wrestle, sending the set-up-o-meter into overdrive. The women work first and go back and forth until both of them are down. Lita crawls to her corner to make a tag, but Hardy jumps off the mat and backs away. Crsuhed, Lita is easy prey for Bischoff to attack from behind and get the three count. Eric happily fires Lita and Hardy grabs a mic to say that his question for Lita is about her selfishness. Instead of joining her boyfriend on Smackdown, she rehabbed from her neck injury with her eyes on returning to Raw to chase the women\'s title. Since her career is obviously more important to her than their relationship, Hardy tells her that they are through.

Match 6 - Val Venis vs. Rico

Umm, yeah. Venis wins with the Money Shot. Let\'s get back to the program.

A tearful Lita is on her way out of the building, and the last person she wants to see is Christian. But he has a surprise for her, as he reveals that he has used his favor to get Lita her job back. Christian suggests the two of them leave and go somewhere to talk. That\'s pretty smooth, getting Lita on the rebound.

Replays are the name of the game, as we see the Austin tribute again and footage of Orton\'s attack on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Evolution loves it, but Orton says it\'s nothing compared to what he\'ll do at Armageddon, since he used his favor to get a title shot at RVD\'s intercontinental title. HHH puts the focus back on tonight\'s main event, telling the two junior members of his group that they can maim and mutilate Goldberg all they want, but the three count is reserved for him. Elsewhere, Jericho wants another date with Trish, but the blonde bombshell wants answers about his involvement with the Lita fiasco. Y2J denies any involvement and say he only suggested the match as a way to get Lita her rematch. He goes on to say he can\'t stop thinking about Stratus and wants the two of them to continue seeing each other. Then he leans in and the two Canadians play a little hockey of the tonsil variety.

Main Event - Evolution vs. Goldberg

Orton is the first to try his luck, but he\'s quickly sent packing with a shoulderblock and a military press. Goldberg tosses him down to the floor onto both of his teammates. Orton gives the world champ a thumb to the eye and tags in Batista. He fares no better, kicking out of a pwerslam and making the tag to Triple H. Goldberg manhandles The Game until Flair trips him going for a spear and HHH hits his high knee to the face. Quick tags by Evolution keep Goldberg off balance, but he recovers in time to spear Triple H and wreck Orton and Batista. He looks for the Jackhammer, but Orton makes the save and HHH scores with a facebuster. The RKO and sit-out power bomb follow in succession, and Triple H accomplishes his goal by pinning Goldberg with a Pedigree. He tells Goldberg it\'s not over between them, as his favor is a rematch for the world title next week. As for this week, he puts Goldberg\'s head in a chair and is about to come off the middle rope when a burst of fire signals the arrival of Kane. Evolution scatters as the Big Red Machine makes his way to the ring, where he scoops up Goldberg and delivers a chokeslam. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you Goldberg\'s next feud. Have a safe trip home.

Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998, but has never hooked up with a WWE diva on the rebound. Any wishing to do so can holla at him at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.