RAW: HHH shows his true side
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
Tonight's show from Manchester, NH, begins with Evolution discussing the events of Sunday's Vengeance pay-per-view. Specifically, everyone's more than a little miffed at Eugene, who allegedly cost Triple H a chance at the world heavyweight title and Randy Orton his beloved Intercontinental belt. Much to the surprise of his teammates, Hunter accepts Eugene's apology and says everyone makes mistakes. But one person is mad at the wrestling prodigy, and that's his uncle Eric Bischoff. Trips tells Eugene to run along to see his uncle and tells a confused Orton that once Bischoff does his part, the plan to get back at Eugene will become clear. Ah, but will it be clear to us, the viewers? Read on and find out.
Match 1 - Edge vs. Batista
This is a non-title affair, meaning you'll have to click here to read about Edge's I-C Title win at Vengeance. Batista's strength makes Edge a little cautious at first, but he finally gets going with a drop toehold, a spinning heel kick and a dropkick to the floor. Orton comes down the ramp and signals the coming of a commercial break. Apparently Orton does something to get ejected during the break, but his distraction has given Batista the upper hand. He earns a couple of near falls and locks Edge in a camel clutch, but the young Canadian finally escapes with his inverted facebuster. Building momentum, Edge nails the Impaler for a two count but misses a spear. Several more near falls come and go before Edge gets caught trying another spear, though this time he manages to reverse his predicament into an inside cradle, and, with a little help from the ropes, get the pinfall. That's two down in Edge's quest
to take out all of Evolution, for those of you scoring at home. Or even if you're by yourself - thanks Keith Olbermann!
Gathering his courage, Eugene knocks on Bischoff's door and prepares to face the music. Eric is mad alright... mad that everyone is blaming Eugene for what happened at Vengeance. To show how proud he is of his nephew, the general manager books him to face Chris Benoit tonight for the world heavyweight title. It will be a very special night for a very special person. And I smell a very special rat.
Jerry Lawler introduces one of the Raw Diva Search hopefuls, a young lady named Candace Michelle. SLAM! Wrestling SmackDown writer Dale Plummer gives her a good chance of winning since she won't need "enhancement" surgery if she's picked. Backstage, Hurricane crashes an interview with Ric Flair to get the Nature Boy's new book signed. Flair refuses, claiming that Gregory Helms should be spending more time thinking about his career and less on his ridiculous gimmick. When Hurricane snaps back by implying that Flair's book wasn't as good as Rock's, Austin's, Foley's or Chyna's efforts (ouch), Flair lays him out with a right hand and promises to teach him things in the ring tonight that aren't in the book.
Match 2 - Rhyno vs. Robert Conway
Both men's partners are on the outside, a fact that comes in handy when Sylvan Grenier is able to sneak in some shots. Rhyno gains an advantage with a belly-to-belly and a spinebuster, and while Tajiri is kicking Grenier in the head, he pins Conway with a Gore.
Match 3 - Tyson Tomko vs. Maven
It's yet another match with help on the floor thanks to the presence of Trish Stratus and Nidia. Maven's big moment comes when he launches a dropkick to get a two count, but he's dropped and pinned a few seconds later with a big boot to the head -- you know, the move that all big men have to use?
William Regal interrupts Benoit's preparation for his match to ask him to take it easy on Eugene. The Wolverine stays true to character by saying that though he likes Eugene, he'll have to do whatever it takes to keep his world title. Out in the ring, it's time for what promises to be an explosive edition of Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel (great, now I sound like J.R.) with both Lita and Kane as guests. Jericho gets the fans fired up by talking about the pinnacle of his career, last week's stirring victory in musical chairs. He brings out Kane, who dispenses with pleasantries and demands that Lita come out. Dale sounds the MILF alert - we'll see if that one gets by the SLAM! censors. Anyway, Lita quickly shows that she's no longer afraid of the Big Red Machine by snatching his mic and speaking her piece. Kane fires back that he'll make sure Matt Hardy never sees the birth of their child, but Lita responds that after his victory at Vengeance, she thinks Matt can take
care of himself. Her parting shot is that she knows Matt is actually the father of the baby because she's been with both men and Hardy is more of a man than Kane will ever be. Enraged, Kane attacks the set, though Jericho prevents him from destroying his beloved Jeritron 5000. That's not the end of it though, because Jericho continues a verbal assault as Kane walks to the back, trying to get him back to the ring. He finally scores by calling Kane Raw's biggest diva and insinuating that he has no, um, testicles. That did it. Kane stomps his way back and finds the ring cleared and Jericho ready to fight. We're going to have ourselves a match.
Match 4 - Kane vs. Chris Jericho
We're already underway following a commercial, and Jericho is giving Kane all he can handle. The Big Red Machine slows the pace and bends Jericho around the ringpost, following up with a sidewalk slam, a clothesline and a bearhug. Some back and forth action leads to Kane coming off the top rope and being met with a dropkick, then getting a chokeslam attempt countered with a chop block. Kane powers out of one attempt at the Walls of Jericho but not a second, though he's close enough to escape to the ropes. A running enzuigiri by Jericho gets a two count, as does a roll-up. A frustrated Kane fires back with a low blow, getting him disqualified. That doesn't stop him from grabbing both Jericho and the ref and pulling off a double chokeslam.
It's time for The King to introduce a second Raw Diva Search finalist in the form of Nina Hardin. Here's some advice for the WWE: if she wins, don't let her talk on the mic. Apparently tickets for the Diva Search finals are free - insert your joke here. And the SmackDown Rebound shows us Eddie Guerrero tormenting JBL again, this time in disguise.
Match 5 - Hurricane vs. Ric Flair
The WWE's super hero starts strong with a back body drop and a stiff uppercut, but the wily Flair sends his shoulder into the post and goes to town with an old school attack pn his arm. Hurricane takes the battle to the floor and lands a number of shots that leave Flair bleeding from his left ear. Back in the ring, Flair has to scramble to kick out from a jumping kick and the Overcast. The Nature Boy rallies with a chop block and goes to work on Hurricane's left leg. The Figure Four is next, and though he tries to fight it, 'Cane has no choice but to tap out.
A third Raw Diva Search finalist is introduced. With only a month remaining until the release of Madden 2005, Plummer has decided he must live and has resorted to trying to hit himself hard enough to knock himself out. Good luck with that. In the back, Benoit tells Eugene he wants to wrestle tonight with no foreign objects or other shenanigans. The two men shake hands and Eugene consults with his buddy, a stuffed gorilla.
Interlude: who are Harold and Kumar and why the should I care if they go to White Castle or not? Something to ponder.
Main Event - Eugene (challenger) vs. Chris Benoit (champion) - World Heavyweight Title Match
A series of lock-ups and chops give way to a Benoit snap suplex and three rolling German suplexes. Benoit misses on a diving headbutt but kicks out twice when Eugene covers him. The challenger finds a Pedigree countered by a back body drop and a People's Elbow reversed into a Sharpshooter. Eugene grabs the ropes to escape, then becomes enraged when Benoit chops him through the ropes to the floor. His rage earns him a pair of near falls, and he even uses rolling Germans to set up the Crippler Crossface on the champ. Eugene has mastered the technique of hitting 'L' and 'R' simultaneously to steal your opponent's finisher! Benoit escapes to the ropes and barely gets his foot on the bottom rope when he's planted by a Rock Bottom. That doesn't faze Eugene, who thinks he's won and runs around the ring with Benoit's belt. Evolution comes down the ramp and steps into the ring to applaud Eugene's "victory"... but only for a minute. Triple H lays out Eugene with a right as his cronies go
to work on Benoit. The world champ is taken out with a Pedigree, and even though Regal rushes to aid the faces, he's soon worn down by the numbers game. An RKO finishes him, leaving Eugene helpless against Evolution's onslaught. A smorgasboard of finishing moves has Eugene bloody and unconscious as Triple H's plan comes to its inevitable conclusion. It also leaves me with this thought: if this was WCW about seven years ago, the ring would be full of trash right now. See you next week.
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998 and thinks Eddie Guerrero would be a great person to invite to his upcoming wedding reception since Latino Heat's dancing ability would get everybody on the floor. Discuss the wisdom or foolishness of this idea at email@example.com.