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RAW: Vote for me! No, vote for me!
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


The Windy City is set for what should be an interesting edition of Raw just a day away from the next pay-per-view. Wait, that can't be right, can it? Inspired by the need to try something different, and definitely not to move a fall PPV away from the NFL and its monster ratings, the WWE is indeed staging the aptly named Taboo Tuesday tomorrow night. What's more, the fans have a rare chance to make their voices felt by voting on certain matches and stipulations they want to see. And even if the results turn out to be just as fraudulent as the recent Afghan elections, even we cynical wrestling writers have to give the WWE some credit for doing something, anything different. One of the key votes may hinge on the result of tonight's Triple Threat Match between Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels and Edge. So without further ado, let's get to Chi-town.

First things first, I suppose. Eric Bischoff is in the ring in full karate garb and he wants his nephew Eugene to join him. Vowing to embarrass the wrestling savant in their match tomorrow night, Bischoff says he doesn't want to fight tonight. But someone does, and that someone is... Gene Snitsky. Ah crap.

Match 1 - Eugene vs. Gene Snitsky

Snitsky asserts his power right off the bat, at least until Eugene summons his inner Hogan to "Hulk up." His rally is short-lived though, and he soon finds himself getting rammed into the ringpost outside the ring. Back inside, Snitsky elbows out of a Rock Bottom attempt and hits a clothesline and a powerslam of sorts to score the pinfall. He wants to continue the carnage with the help of a steel chair, but William Regal arrives on the scene and puts the kibosh on his fun with a flurry of rights and lefts. A low blow turns the tables and Snitsky connects on Regal with a chair shot. Meanwhile, Bischoff enters the ring and hits a spinning kick to the head on a near helpless Eugene. And in case you're wondering, Kane is banned from the building tonight, thus explaining his absence in this escapade.

Alright everyone, it's time for the Triple Threat... debate? Yes, led by moderator Todd Grisham, the three candidates to wrestle Triple H for his world title at Taboo Tuesday - that's Benoit, Michaels and Edge if you weren't paying attnetion during the opening paragraph - each have two minutes to answer a question posed to them. No word on any rebuttal time. I'll try to summarize the positions of each candidate so that you too can be a more informed voter.

Edge: He is the only one of the three who has never faced Triple H one-on-one or received a world title shot. He also claims to be the youngest (definitely) and hungriest (possibly), and guarantees a win if he is elected. Edge, watch out for those campaign promises!

Benoit: Kind of like an incumbent, Benoit chooses to rest on his experience at making Triple H and HBK tap out. Call it a "more of the same" approach.

Michaels: A la John Kerry, Michaels has a plan. He's a little vague on the details, but part of it apparently hinges on starting the Triple Threat match right now.

Grisham steps in to remind the candidates that they have agreed to put off any physicality (which I'm not sure is even a word) until the match happens later tonight, but Edge baits the others into action. Benoit unleashes a suplex while Michaels readies a dose of Sweet Chin Music. Edge manages to duck at the last second, leaving Grisham to literally take it on the chin.

Match 2 - Trish Stratus, Gail Kim and Molly Holly vs. Nidia, Victoria and Stacy Keibler

Stacy actually "wrestles" most of this match for the face side, and isn't too awful outside of one especially bad spot with Kim. She finally tags out to Victoria, who uses her spiffy new Black Widow to set up the Widow's Peak that pins Kim.

Snitsky is talking to someone on a cell phone, no doubt running up peak hour phone charges on Kane's account to rub salt in the wound. Lita smacks the phone away and the two of them have an uninteresting exchange of threats, which seems to be par for the course where Snitsky is concerned. Next up is a clip of Randy Orton as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, featuring the host ragging on Ric Flair's age while Orton desperately tries to plug Taboo Tuesday. The Nature Boy seems pretty down watching the clip on a backstage monitor, so Triple H drops in to give him a little pep talk. You know, like Coach used to give you in Little League.

Match 3 - Batista and Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho and Randy Orton

Jericho fires right out of the gate with a series of dropkicks, though Batista recovers quickly and both men tag in their partners. A fierce chop battle ends with all four men in the ring, and the faces eventually clear out their foes. That can mean only one thing: commercial! We return to find Y2J launching a missile dropkick on Batista and fighting off both of the bad guys. Jericho finds himself the victim of a prolonged attack on his back, but he finally manages to get off his running enzuigiri and make the hot tag to Orton. The ref takes a bump while Orton and Jericho have the uppoer hand, allowing Flair to slow Randy with a low blow. The Walls of Jericho make an appearance, but a big clothesline from Batista changes things in a hurry. Flair locks the Figure Four on Jericho, and Chris is forced to submit.

The fans respond as Vince McMahon makes a rare (at least recently) appearance on the WWE's flagship program. The Chairman seems happy that his vision will be fulfilled tomorrow when the people control the pay-per-view. As he attempts to speak further on this topic, he's interrupted a total of six times by Christian, Tajiri, Coach, Rhyno, Hurricane and Shelton Benjamin. To make a long story short, each of the men wants Mr. McMahon's endorsement in the race to see who will face Jericho for his I-C strap. Vince gets fed up with everyone and orders a six-man elimination match for the right to this endorsement.

Match 4 - Six-Man Elimination Match

Vince brings back memories of the old WW days by joining the announcers. Tajiri uses a stiff kick to pin and eliminate Hurricane, and we lose Tajiri during the commercial break. A Gore to Coach and an Unprettier to Rhyno claim two more victims, leaving Christian and Benjamin as the last men standing. Shelton takes the lead early with a pair of near falls, then fires off a series of moves that includes a flying forearm, a Russian leg sweep, a Northern Lights suplex and an inside cradle. He finally misses his leap into the corner, giving Christian a chance to roll him up for two. After a series of counters, Benjamin uses a t-bone suplex to get the duke. Vince congratulates Benjamin and gives him an official endorsement, but curiously, Benjamin turns it down. After all, Vince only has one vote, and Shelton's aim was to impress everyone watching tonight. Confidently, Benjamin declares that he knows he can beat Jericho.

Lillian Garcia comes to the ring for "The Last Word" with former Diva Search rivals and future Taboo Tuesday opponents Carmella and Christy. Carmella says she would never stoop to parading around in her bra and panties or allow an evening gown to be ripped from her body, so she hopes the fans vote for the aerobics challenge. Yeah, Playboy's Playmates of the Year usually are pretty modest. Christy, on the other hand, says she'll give the people exactly what they want. Apparently the people want girl-on-girl action, because Christy walks over and plants a kiss on a startled Garcia. King, this one's for you! Oh yeah, and there's a cheap shot by Carmella and a rundown of the Taboo Tuesday card - at least what's known of it. Triple H takes a seat with the announcers as we get set for tonight's big match.

Main Event - Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit vs. Edge

If only Bush and Kerry could settle their election this way. Think of the entertainment value. The opening sequence ends with Edge and Benoit both out on the floor, the better for Michaels to hit them with a springboard cross body. Time for one last commercial interruption. HBK is feeling the sting of the Crippler Crossface upon our return, but Edge breaks the hold and suplexes Benoit. Keeping Michaels on the outside, Edge goes to work on Benoit. HBK returns and lands a flying forearm shot to Edge, but he's hurt his left leg sometime during the match and can't capitalize. Shawn fights through the pain to land his flying elbow and warm up the band, but Benoit ducks Sweet Chin Music and hits three rolling German suplexes and his trademark diving headbutt. The Crippler sidesteps a spear and covers Michaels only to have him kick out at two. Benoit turns his attention to Edge and locks on the CCF only to have Sweet Chin Music hit him from the other side. Everyone is on the canvas, though Edge revives in time to crotch Michaels on one of the posts, effectively removing him from the equation. In a nifty final sequence, the Spear is countered by the CCF, which in turn leads to both men rolling through for pin attempts. Edge ends up on top, and the crafty Canadian grabs the ropes to aid his pinfall victory. Will Edge get his title shot? Tune in tomorrow night to find out.

Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. This space is now for rent. Please contact ntylwalk7@yahoo.com for some of the lowest advertising rates on the internet.