September 7, 2004
Raw: Bischoff's moves are Unforgiven
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
What do you get when general manager Eric Bischoff stands in the middle of the ring with a steel cage ominously looming overhead? Trouble, that's what. And tonight in Wichita Falls, Texas, the smart money says that trouble has Randy Orton's name on it. Then again, we're just six days away from Unforgiven, so just about any face could be a target for everyone's favorite scheming executive. Sorry Donald Trump. We'll find out who catches Bischoff's wrath shortly as Raw hits the airwaves, live as always on Spike TV.
Turns out the smart money's not always right. Bischoff announces that the cage is in place for yet another face-off between Triple H and Eugene. As an added insurance policy, he decrees that anyone interfering will be suspended indefinitely. Turning his attention to the Intercontinental champion, Eric invokes the well-known but little-used rule that champs must defend their titles at least once every 30 days. Since Edge is on the shelf for a minimum of four weeks with a torn groin (which makes me wince just typing it), he is hereby stripped of his title.
Wasting no time, Christian comes to the ring to stake his claim for the belt, insisting that his peeps will riot if he doesn't get it. Chris Jericho also comes out to suggest that he and Christian face off for the gold tonight. Bischoff likes the idea, just not the "tonight" part, and books the match for Unforgiven. Jericho says it needs to be a special match, and wants the fans to decide on the stipulation. A Steel Cage Match is floated to a good response from everyone but Christian, and his counteroffer of a No Count-Out Match is soundly booed. Y2J finally has the brainstorm to turn it into a Ladder Match, and Bischoff says it's on. The two men celebrate by scrapping after Jericho hits Christian with his mic, though Tyson Tomko arrives to pull the CLB's fat out of the fire. Fittingly, Jericho will face Tomko later tonight. See how it all works together?
Match 1 - Batista, Ric Flair and La Resistance vs. Rhyno, Tajiri, William Regal and Chris Benoit
When grapplers from totally unrelated feuds get thrown together like this, it can only be the show before a pay-per-view. Benoit and Flair kick things off with another one of their epic chop battles that ends when Flair takes his famous fall. All eight men soon find themselves inside the squared circle, which once again is the cue to go to commercial. After the break, Rhyno spends several minutes absorbing a beating in the wrong corner of the ring. He escapes after a collision with Flair gives him enough time to crawl over and make the hot tag to Benoit. The Wolverine dishes out suplexes for everyone, and Rhyno serves up a Gore for Batista. Robert Conway, allegedly the legal man in all of the chaos, is hit with a diving headbutt and forced to tap out to Benoit's Sharpshooter. This just in: Regal and Benoit will team to face Batista and Flair at Unforgiven.
A brief replay takes us back to the potty-mouthed Diva Search segment from last Monday's show, also known as the first remotely interesting thing they've done with the contest so far. Never fear, I'm sure we'll be back to boredom later tonight. The SmackDown Rebound pops up a little earlier than usual to show us Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero duking it out best-of-three falls style, while back in the arena, Orton shows us that the one thing he still needs to work on is cutting compelling backstage promos. He's still young though.
Continuing an ongoing theme, Lita bumps into Trish Stratus backstage, and the women's champ commends Kane's bride for being clever enough to insert Shawn Michaels' name into Kane's open contract for Unforgiven. Too bad, Trish says, that Lita wasn't clever enough to keep Kane from inserting himself into her. Ouch. Nidia drops by to insult Trish in Spanish - yes, the company that decided to announce all wrestlers' hometowns as American cities is now playing up Nidia's Puerto Rican heritage. Stratus no ablo Espanol, but she does get the gist when Nidia knocks her hat off and spills her punch on the blonde bombshell. Naturally, that leads us right into...
Match 2 - Trish Stratus vs. Nidia
Cue the censors: we've got us a wardrobe malfunction! While Nidia discusses the breaking of one of the straps that holds her top up with the ref, Stratus sneaks in and uses a Chick Kick to get the pinfall. Other stuff may or may not have happened before that.
Bischoff and Triple H discuss the impending end of Eugene's career in tonight's steel cage extravaganza. Trips says he will take out Eugene, but only to give Orton a "preview trailer" of what's in store for him at the pay-per-view. That's a little redundant since a trailer is a preview, but now's probably not the time to debate fine points like that with The Game. It's game on anyway as the cage lowers into position.
Match 3 - Eugene vs. Triple H - Steel Cage Match
The early action leaves one wondering if Eugene even understands how to win, but he finally heads for the door only to be dragged back in by HHH. An exchange of moves ends with Eugene bloody, and another attempt to exit the cage proves fruitless. Helmsley uses the cage to full advantage, sending Eugene's face into the steel six consecutive times before he mercifully ends the assault with a Pedigree. He has a clear path to exit, but turns around in the doorway and heads back to deliver an armbreaker off the top rope. The Game walks out for an easy win only to make one final return to slam poor Eugene's arm in the cage door. And that, as they say, is that.
Edge puts a stop to The Coach's butt-kissing of Bischoff to declare shenanigans on Bischoff's ruling on the I-C title. Elsewhere, Kane tells Lita that he's not upset about having to face Michaels this Sunday because he's the one that put the Heartbreak Kid on the shelf for two months. Note to my editors: if I ever ask for some time off to be with my family, please don't send Kane to rough me up for "storyline" purposes. We also get a rundown of the Unforgiven card, now with delicious grape flavor.
Match 4 - Chris Jericho vs. Tyson Tomko
A little distraction from Christian proves effective enough to give the Problem Solver the early edge, but Y2J rallies with a flying forearm. Christian makes his way to the apron with a ladder while Tomko strikes with a big boot to the face. Jericho fires back with a running enzuigiri, but there's no count since the ref is discussing something (dinner plans, maybe?) with the CLB. Tomko gets the three count and Christian gives Jericho a ladder shot to the face, standing over our hero in fine gloating fashion.
The final four Diva Search contestants come to the ring in evening gowns for tonight's round of foolishness. Stacy Kiebler is hosting an arm wrestling tournament, with the winner getting the chance to dump a "Texas-sized" bucket of chili on the losers. Here's an idea - why don't we eat it instead? Christy easily dispatches Amy in one semifinal while Carmella takes out Joy in the other, and psycho Christy takes the final. Meat and sauce are dumped on the losers as promised, and we find out that Amy is the real loser since she has been voted off. I'm predicting that voting in tonight's poll will be at a record low since everyone will be on the website signing up for the WWE's new fantasy league. When does the "SLAM! Wrestling Writers League" get going? After another word from our sponsors (which has been the same group of companies during every break tonight), a video reveals that Mr. Benjamin is coming back, and not a moment too soon.
Main Event - Randy Orton vs. Kane
I thought this was going to be a title match, but apparently it's not. Orton plays some mind games with the Big Red Machine by smacking him in the head and forcing him to chase the champ around the outside. Orton dropkicks Kane to the floor, where he goes for a chair only to be halted by Lita. He re-enters the ring and is greeted by a low blow from the Legend Killer that forces the ref to call for the bell. It looks like Orton has escaped with a DQ loss, but wait! Triple H runs out from the back followed closely by Bischoff, and both men want the cage to be lowered. The GM orders the match to restart inside the cage, but not before we leave for one last set of commercials. We return to find Orton eating large doses of metal and getting dropped by a powerslam for two. He gets clotheslined down for another near fall and dropped by a big boot. Kane goes up top, but he's crotched and quickly dropkicked to the canvas. An inverted neckbreaker gives Randy a chance to try to climb
out... or does it? Kane sits up and yanks the champ back down. Forgotten in the chaos, the steel chair is still in the ring. Orton uses it to waffle Kane and set up the RKO. Triple H scrambles over to stop Orton from escaping, but Randy kicks the door into Hunter's face and escapes for the victory. There's no time to celebrate though, as HHH's Evolution cronies emerge from the back and join him in a post-match beating. They roll Orton back into the cage where he soon finds himself holding off Evolution and a revived Kane with the chair. He chucks the chair and makes a dash for the top, narrowly avoiding capture at Triple H's hands as he hurtles down to the outside. It looks like Orton has outsmarted all of his enemies for now, but his match with his former mentor is looming. Good night everyone!
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's working on a SLAM! Wrestling fantasy game but can't imagine how anyone would fit him, Dlae Plummer and Jason Clevett under the salary cap with their massive salaries. Wink, wink.