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RAW: Tick Tock goes the clock
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


There's nothing quite like getting things started with a bang. Eric Bischoff tells the Biloxi, Mississippi crowd that all six contestants in the upcoming Elimination Chamber match will have Beat the Clock matches tonight against mystery opponents. The man who wins his match the fastest will get to enter last at New Year's Revolution, but there's a catch: anyone who loses his match tonight will be replaced by his opponent. Bischoff will also be announcing a special guest referee for NYR's main event. It's high stakes for the last Raw of 2004, live on Spike TV.

Match 1 - Chris Jericho vs. Christian

We might as well get right to the Beat the Clock matches, eh? Jericho tries to end things early with a number of pinning attempts that all prove fruitless. Christian hits a backbreaker and grounds Y2J for several minutes with a variety of holds. Jericho finally tosses Captain Charisma out to the floor, hitting a springboard cross body on Christian and Tyson Tomko that ushers in a commercial break. The clock shows 8:30 after the break, but things are clearly approaching a finale. Christian dodges a Lionsault, allowing Tomko to get in a cheap shot which leads to a near fall. Jericho dropkicks Tomko off the apron, then counters an Unprettier with the Walls of Jericho to make Christian submit at the 10:47 mark.

Backstage, Triple H does his expected bit of complaining about the circumstances of tonight's show, but soon changes his tune when Batista claims to be confident despite the uncertainty. Ric Flair attempts to get everyone focused on the goal of getting The Game his beloved world heavyweight title back, and things seem okay for the time being. Elsewhere, Randy Orton tells Maria (I once met a girl named Maria) that he plans on winning quickly and going on to make his New Year's resolution a reality by reclaiming the title. Oh, and Randy? You're up next.

Match 2 - Randy Orton vs. Maven

The heel life seems to be treating Maven fairly well, as he controls the early portion of the match. Orton rallies on the outside, hitting a Russian leg sweep on the floor and a DDT when Maven tries to climb back into the ring. Randy keeps things rolling with a cross body off the top rope, but Maven rolls through and almost steals the match. The RKO is countered once, but not the second time, and Orton gets the pinfall in a time of 6:14.

Match 3 - Lita vs. Molly Holly

This is not a Beat the Clock match, though it would be cool to see a woman in the Elimination Chamber. It would be different anyway, since there are hardly any women wrestlers left and they just keep wrestling each other. To wit, it's announced that Lita will face Trish Stratus for the women's title at New Year's Revolution. Well yeah, who else would she face? In any case, this is pretty much a squash for Lita which she wins with a DDT. No time to celebrate though, as Gene Snitsky arrives and chases Lita into the crowd.

Snitsky's pursuit continues backstage until Lita locks herself in one of the locker rooms. Bischoff confronts Snitsky and asks if he's having fun, which he definitely is. Eric wonders if he'll be having as much fun at NYR when he goes up against a returning Kane. My guess? Probably not.

Match 4 - Rosey vs. Simon Dean

Um, yeah. This one kind of screams out filler, doesn't it? Since I'm unable to convince myself to take detailed notes, I can tell you that the finish involves Rosey getting caught with Dean's weight belt and Simon using the resulting distraction to use a schoolboy to get the pin. Next!

Match 5 - Edge vs. Eugene

Edge tries for the quick pin a number of times but to no avail. Frustration starts to set in after a number of near falls, and Eugene gets his own momentum going with an electric chair drop. The wrestling savant goes out to shake hands with the fans and runs around the ring several times, wasting precious time for Edge. He even goes as far as to hide under the ring, but Edge finds him with a sliding kick that gets another two count. A series of reversals and counters ends with Edge connecting with a Spear, but the impact knocks Eugene out to the floor and time expires. The match continues with a Stone Cold Stunner that forces Edge to kick out at the last second. Eugene misses a charge into the corner, allowing Edge to work his leg over and use a hold that looks something like an inverted Figure Four to get his young foe to tap out. Edge won't be the last man into the Elimination Chamber, but at least he'll still be participating.

Bischoff talks to the mystery guest referee on his cell, learning that whoever it is will be here later tonight. Coach tries to bribe the ref's identity out of his boss with a belated Christmas present (the Coach's own model of sunglasses), but Bischoff wants him to be as surprised as everyone else. One thing Bischoff promises is that no one in the match will be happy about it.

Match 6 - Chris Benoit vs. Viscera

The Wolverine certainly has the biggest challenge of all of the contestants, pun definitely intended. The big man stands his ground against Benoit's attack and shows surprising agility by hitting a spinning heel kick. Vis scores a near fall with a Samoan drop, then counters a Crippler Crossface attempt with a sidewalk slam. Amazingly, Benoit fires back with a German suplex and locks on the CCF, and after a valiant attempt to fight it, Viscera taps out at the 5:43 mark to make The Crippler the leader.

Stacy Keibler hits the ring to thank the fans for voting her the 2004 Babe of the Year. She resolves to bend over backwards and forwards to make 2005 even better, but her demonstration is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Muhammad Hassan and his manager. Hassan complains about the lack of holiday goodwill shown to his Arab brothers, and possibly takes things a step too far for most fans by citing a recent study at Cornell to prove his point. He resolves to beat some sense into all Americans in 2005, but his manager thinks announcers like J.R. and The King are the problem with their media propaganda. A confrontation at the announce table ends with J.R. getting smacked and Lawler in a cold staredown with Hassan.

Match 7 - Batista vs. Rhyno

Rhyno draws first blood by connecting with a Gore, though Batista is able to kick out. A second Gore is halted by a spinebuster, leading to a sit-down power bomb. Batista says there's plenty of time for one more, and his second bomb pins Rhyno in a new leading time of 3:02.

The sounds of Creed accompany a recap of Smackdown's trip to entertain the U.S. troops in Iraq. If you're an American, please insert goosebumps here.

Coach bursts into Bischoff's office to announce that the guest referee is here and that the Elimination Chamber match just got a lot more interesting. Hassan and his manager also barge in, demanding a match with Raw's allegedly racist announcers. Bischoff refuses to put J.R. in a match and instead sets up a debate between the two parties for next Monday's Raw. Next up is a rundown of the NYR card which contains... three matches? Finally, Triple H takes Batista to task for winning his match too quickly, and things quickly become heated to the point that Ric Flair has to step in and play peacemaker.

Main Event - Triple H vs. Shelton Benjamin

The previous Beat the Clock contestants are seated at ringside, and even Batista is clearly pleased that The Game has been assigned such a tough opponent. HHH does what you might expect, attacking before the bell and trying unsuccessfully to end things immediately. Helmsley takes the battle to the floor and throws Shelton into the steps, softening him up for a near fall. A big spinebuster gets another two count, though Benjamin manges to counter a sleeperhold. A second sleeper is more successful, and it looks like Benjamin might go unconscious just in time for Trips to win in the fastest time. But wait: referee Earl Hebner sees Benjamin get his foot on the ropes right at the buzzer, and the match continues. Benjamin hits his corner splash, a spinning heel kick and a backbreaker, but none are enough to keep Triple H down. A t-bone suplex connects but Hebner can't make the count thanks to Flair's interference. Benjamin sends the Nature Boy flying but turns around into a Pedigree and is quickly pinned. That's not quite all though, as Bischoff comes to the stage to intorduce the guest referee. It's Shawn Michaels, and none of the combatants look real happy as HBK soaks in some applause and Raw ends its 2004 run. See you next year.

Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998, and would like to thank both of his loyal readers for joining him every week for his Raw report. He's looking to expand to three or four readers a week in 2005.