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Raw: HHH-HBK can't get enough
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


In case you missed it, Kane is now the number one contender for Chris Benoit's world heavyweight title, emerging victorious in last week's 20-man battle royal. The subplot, though, was runner-up Triple H getting eliminated by the suspended Shawn Michaels. Expect that storyline to come to the forefront as we head to the MetroCentre in Rockford, Illinois, the home of... um, the Rockfordians. Once again it's on, Raw live on Spike TV.

As you might expect, Triple H is still a bit miffed over the end of last Monday's show, whining to general manager Eric Bischoff and his stooge Johnny Nitro. Trips wants Michaels reinstated immediately so they can settle their seemingly eternal feud in the ring. Eric obliges but says Shawn has a few demands of his own, which doesn't bother Hunter as he says HBK can have whatever he wants. Let's see a show of hands for those who think that might come back to bite him in the rear. Trips scolds his Evolution teammates for not helping him when Michaels appeared and orders them to take care of Shawn if and when he shows up tonight. The boys depart, but Helmsley asks Batista to stay with him. You know, just in case.

Match 1 - Edge vs. Ric Flair

Flair chops down Edge in classic Nature Boy style but soon suffers a back body drop and gets dumped out to the floor. Some mounted punches and a clothesline follow, then Randy Orton gets involved from the outside. A thumb to the eye sets up punches, chops, kicks and a knee drop by Flair as the two men go toe-to-toe in the center of the ring. Edge rallies and whips Flair hard into the corner; Ric tries to come off the top rope but gets caught and dropped. Orton interferes again and Flair almost wins with a roll-up, but Shelton Benjamin comes down to take care of Randy as Edge wins the match with a spear.

The main man himself, VInce McMahon, has a very special announcement. The WWE is conducting the first Raw Diva search, looking for a new hot female to join the show. The winner gets $250,000 and a one-year contract, and the fans will get to vote for the winner by eliminating one of ten finalists each week a la Survivor or American Idol. You just knew that with Tough Enough long gone, the WWE couldn't resist some kind of crappy reality TV stunt for very long. Whoops, now this is sure to get cut by SLAM! Wrestling editor and reality TV guru John Powell. Meanwhile, Matt Hardy is outside Lita's locker room when she approaches from the hallway. Matt wants to know why she hasn't been returning his calls, but she just says she's had a difficult week and hasn't been talking to anyone. She has decided that she loves Matt and wants to show him exactly how much if he'll just wait until she gets her bags. Oh, but there's someone waiting in that locker room: Kane. A frightened Lita tells Kane he ensured her it was over, and he says it is. But in the words of Sugar Ray, when it's over, is it really over? Lita grabs her stuff and gets the heck out of Dodge with Hardy.

With nothing better to do, Triple H and Batista wait outside the arena for Michaels to show up. A car approaches and they hustle over to pull the driver out and beat him down. In their haste, they realize it's not Michaels but Steven Richards. My bad!

Match 2 - La Resistance vs. Rosey and The Hurricane

A strong "U.S.A." chant rings out while Rosey tosses Rob Conway around. Hurricane tags in and hits a legdrop off the turnbuckle that forces a save by Sylvan Grenier, who low bridges the super hero and works over his left leg. Conway tags in just as Rosey gets the hot tag from his partner. A returning Hurricane hits a cross body off the top rope but it's still not enough. Grenier ducks the Shining Wizard and rolls up the 'Cane to get the pinfall. [Editor's note: How about The King and J.R. promising that La Resistance will get cheered in Montreal. Hopefully the fans there know better -- The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers these clowns aren't.]

Still walking around outside, Triple H finally gets what he wants when Michaels hits the scene and jumps him from behind. Refs and crew members are getting pretty good at pulling these guys apart, and they do it again. Back in the arena, it's time for Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. He says Raw is feeling a little different now that Christian is out injured, but his guest tonight is none other than Randy Orton. Y2J commends the Intercontinental champ for his recent accomplishments but questions why he would duck last week's challenge from Benjamin. He even suggests that Randy is scared of Shelton, earning himself a slap in the face from Orton. A jumping enzuigri is the response and Batista and Benjamin soon show up to add to the fun. The faces clear the ring, but Bischoff orders the Highlight Reel set to be removed so the four men can do battle in a tag team match post haste.

Match 3 - Chris Jericho and Shelton Benjamin vs. Randy Orton and Batista

Orton and Jericho engage in a bit of mat wrestling as Randy ends up on the wrong end of a bow-and-arrow submission. A Jericho clothesline gets a near fall and the match settles into a bit of a rhythm as all four men get a chance to work. Jericho eventually gets a chance to try for the Walls of Jericho on Orton but has to drop the hold to launch a springboard dropkick on Batista. A bulldog to Orton follows, but Randy evades a Lionsault and escapes the Walls yet again. Jericho nails a springboard plancha to both heels as we break for a commercial. Batista has Y2J in trouble when we return and Trish Stratus has joined the announcers. Evolution takes turns working on Jericho's right arm until he can finally make the hot tag to Benjamin. A spinning heel kick and a sunset flip earn Shelton a pair of near falls on Batista, who fights back with a big spinebuster that forces Jericho to make a save. Y2J has enough of Batista and clotheslines him to the floor, then pushes his way out of an attempted RKO. Benjamin grabs Orton into a powerslam and it's enough to get the duke. As Jericho heads back up the ramp, Trish leaves the announce table to talk some smack. Turns out it's just a distraction for Tyson Tomko to attack from behind, and J.R. and The King scurry for cover as the fight comes their way. Tomko ends the scrap emphatically by power bombing Jericho through the announce table. Ouch.

During the break, Jericho is carted out an a stretcher. Kane comes down to the ring and cuts a largely uninteresting promo on Chris Benoit, saying he wants the Wolverine's world title. Backstage, Michaels asks Bischoff if he can have the Badd Blood match exactly the way he wants it. Eric barely even has time to respond when Triple H jumps HBK, taking out Bischoff in the process. Once again, various WWE personnel physically separate the two foes.

Match 4 - Victoria vs. Molly Holly

Holly has running buddy Gail Kim in tow and Victoria has new entrace music. Kim makes her presence felt early and helps Molly take control. Victoria escapes a couple of two counts and gets off a backslide for two of her own. She follows with a Widow's Peak and that's all she wrote. Kim attacks right after the bell but feels the pain of the Widow's Peak for herself. At the risk of sounding sexist, why is it that a female has the coolest finishing move in the WWE right now? As Bill Simmons would say, someone needs to look into this.

The Smackdown Rebound showcases Eddie Guerrero's "collapse" in the ring, which seems like it's in bad taste until you recall that they worked Eddie's mom's "heart attack" into an angle a few weeks ago. Bischoff orders Nitro to assemble all of the Raw wrestlers and officials so he can address the HHH-HBK situation with them. Once the gang is all together, Bischoff implores everyone to physically separate the two rampagin superstars or risk getting a pink slip.

A video package shows the highlights (well, nearly the whole segment) of Eugene and The Rock from last Monday. That leads into an interview with Eugene and William Regal, who are scheduled to tag up and face Garrison Cade and The Coach. Unfortunately, party pooper Johnny Nitro informs Regal that he's not cleared to wrestle, and if Eugene doesn't find a partner in the next three minutes he'll experience his first handicap match. Uh-oh.

Main Event - Garrison Cade and Jonathan Coachman vs. Eugene and ?

After Eugene is introduced, Lillian Garcia builds the tension with a dramatic pause for his partner. Music hits - it's Chris Benoit! The match begins and the world champ wastes no time tearing into Cade. Garrison regains his footing and tags in The Coach, who bites off a bit more than he can chew tangling with Benoit. Eugene catches Cade with an airplane spin as Benoit hits three rolling German suplexes on Coachman. The diving headbutt is next, then Benoit tags in Eugene for a diving headbutt of his own. Eugene covers and pins the Coach and the crowd goes wild.

What happens when the writers run out of ideas? Michaels barges into the Evolution locker room and attacks Triple H again. Okay, these guys really want a piece of each other. We get it.

Trips stomps his way out to the ring and declares that this is going to end here and now. Thank goodness. He calls out HBK, who runs down to start the brawling yet again. Flair enters the squared circle only to get a little Sweet Chin Music. Orton, Batista, Edge and Benoit join the fray in short order, followed by Hurricane, Nitro, Cade and La Resistance. Bischoff calls for more reinforcements and nearly the entire locker room heeds the call. Michaels hits a plancha on five men outside the ring, but the weight of over 20 men finally proves too much for HHH and HBK. Bischoff finally wraps things up by announcing that the match at Badd Blood will be a Hell in a Cell contest. The show comes to an end, but for all I know, everyone's still back in Rockford trying to keep Hunter and Shawn apart. We'll find out next week.


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    Ric Flair: To Be the Man

    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's currently training the rest of the SLAM! staff to pull him apart from Smackdown! reporter Dale Plummer if they ever come to blows. Send your training tips to ntylwalk7@yahoo.com..