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Raw: A Japanese Edge-ucation
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Welcome to the SLAM! Wrestling Raw Report. This is Jon Waldman reporting, as Nick Tywalk takes time to mourn the Eagles loss. What can I say? Donovan McNabb just wasn't ready for the main event.

Raw is taped this week from Saitama, Japan (not Tokyo as they'd like to have us believe). The video quality is impeccable here, much better than it was in Britain.

We start off with Eric Bischoff in the ring, with a Japanese individual in the ring with him, who is acting as a translator. The translator gets a lot of boos, so it seems as if he is some sort of heel in the Land of the Rising Sun. The card for the night is run down, and we head right into our first match.

Match #1 Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho (Submission Match)

The two start with a series of reversals before going into the Mexican standoff. The respect shown by the Japanese is remarkable. In an early candidate for spot of the night, both men fight on the outside ropes and crash backwards after a headbutt.

Back from commercial, Benoit is in control and Jericho is bloody. Jericho gets the fist submission try on a modified Octopus that Benoit reverses into a back body drop. Benoit keeps control until Jericho moves to the single-leg crab. Benoit this time gets into the ropes and then is able to get control again. More reversals eventually lead to the Crippler Crossface, but Jericho is able to reach the ropes. Another quick reversal sequence leads Benoit into a modified Crossface for the tap.

Winner: Chris Benoit
Rating 5 out of 10

I would have liked to have seen more submissions by these two men, and obviously a longer match than 10 or so minutes would have allowed for that.

Post match, the Canadian boys shake hands.

Back from the commercial, HHH and Ric Flair have a chat. Then Christian and Tyson Tomko are talking with a Japanese reporter and run into Stacy Kiebler. The Japanese reporter wants to interview Randy Orton. This ends up leading to a Tomko/Orton match. This, of course, is all so very fake, because as we all know, reporters aren't allowed backstage. Before we go to break, we see Batista headed to the ring.

Before we get to our next match, we get a Braveheart mock-up done by Triple H and Ric Flair. Funny, but not Eugene Gump funny.

Match #2 Batista vs. Maven

Maven starts off with a promo, which is interrupted by Batista's music. Maven's offense lasts all of 30 secods before Batista takes over with the spinebuster and follows with the Demon Bomb.

Winner: Batista
Rating: 3 out of 10

Yes it was short; yes it wasn't much of a match; but damned if it wasn't a hot Goldberg-esque heat generator.

After the match, a Big Show promo is aired talking about the possibility of facing Batista.

Back from break, Batista is talking with Bischoff about the videos that have been airing. Bischoff tries to convince Batista to stay on Raw, with an undetermined amount of success.

Match #3 - La Resistance vs. The Eurasian Connection (World Tag Team Title Match)

Yoshihiro Tajiri gets a huge ovation coming out, and William Regal gets the defacto heat. These two had really good chemistry togther in 2000/2001, so I seriously hope we see some skits with them.

Regal gets an early kip-up, if you can believe it, as his team dominates early. Regal ends up getting caught in the enemy corner, allowing the Frenchmen to take the advantage. Regal ends up getting the Regal stretch (miscalled the STF by JR), and eventually Tajiri gets tagged in to the massive pop. Tajiri gets two of the wheelbarrow bulldog, and gets a second two-count off the enziguri before Conway interferes. Conway again interferes later, getting the Tarantula. Grenier gets the flagpole, but is unable to use it as Tajiri gets the mist and Buzzsaw Kick for the three-count and titles.

Winners: Eurasian Connection
Rating: 2.5 out of 10

The result was a forgone conclusion, but the heat was there enough to make it watchable.

Post-match, Tajiri cuts a promo in Japanese.

Back from the break, Akebono is introduced at ringside before we get another look at the Hall of Fame. JR confirms that more will be named.

Match #4 "Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels

Something interesting that I haven't seen before -- the Japanese crowd is clapping along to "Sexy Boy". Someone get PN News out of retirement! He might just be able to get over here!

Now let's play "Count Flair's Signaure Moments" to see just how repetitive he's become:

Chopfest and Reversal 3
Back-body drop - 3
Thumb to the eye 2
Knee-begging 1
Strut 0
Mid-ring chops 3
Flair Flop 2
Chop Block 2
Figure-Four Attempt 2
Figure Four Reversal 1
Figure Four Pin - 2
Whoos 3
Top-rope toss - 1

Yep, and Bret Hart's stuff was repetitive, right Naitch?

HBK wins with the Superkick.

Winner: Shawn Michaels
Rating 2.5 out of 10

Sorry, I just can't watch Flair matches anymore. I'll stick to the DVD, thank you very much.

Back in the ring we get more Diva humiliation with an "All-American" fashion show. Surprise, surprise, Jerry Lawler is hosting. God-awful waste of time that just made the girls look more useless than ever, especially Victoria. Thankfully, Simon Dean interrupts. He then becomes my new favourite wrestler by saying what a waste of time the whole thing is. A sumo wrestler joke upsets Akebono, which gets the expected chant. Dean also gets in the "Burger King" joke before he gets low blowed by Christy Hemme. Wow, that Diva contest was so worthwhile, eh?

Back from break we see an Evolution conference talking about Batista's title choice. Then we get an Edge promo.

Match #4 Tyson Tomko vs Randy Orton

Orton and Tomko start with back and forth action. Orton doesn't even get one after a shouder-block. Once Tomko gains control, we see Christian dragging Kiebler down to ringside. Distracted, Orton eats a huge clothesline by Tomko. Tomko continues to work on Orton's head, employing obvious psychology. Orton is able to reverse the flow with his backbreaker. Orton stalls on the RKO and Tomko is able to regain control, but uses a rope-roll-roll-up to get the duke.

Winner: Randy Orton
Rating: 1.5 out of 10

Almost all of those points were for the psychology, which was thrown out by the dizzying finish. You know, there's an old theory that you can get any wrestler over with a hot woman as his valet. That should say a lot about how well the Orton face-turn has gone.

Post-match, Christian and Tomko do more damage to Orton, including the Tomakaze.

After the break, we get highlights from the Tag Team Title match.

Match #6 Edge vs. Triple H (World Heavyweight Title Match)

Flair is out with Trips, but Batista is not.

The two start off with a nice reversal sequence before the Mexican Standoff. A bridge gets two for Edge, and a backslide gets one for HHH. Edge's headscissors gets nowhere as the Game uses the Japanese headstand (sort of) to reverse out. HHH then goes to work on Edge after the Canadian misses a spear in the corner, ramming his shoulder into the steel post.

Back to the match fro the break and both men were on the mat, but get up at 5. Triple H gets the advantage and gets two off the facebuster. Edge then gets control and gets two off the Missile Dropkick. Triple H then gets a two-count on the spinebuster as the back-and-forth action continues. Edge then gets two off the Edge-o-Matic. HHH regains the advantage, but misses the Pedigree. Edge goes for the Spear, but Triple H counters with a high-knee for two. Triple H gets a sleeper, but Edge pushes out and is able to get the Edgecator to no avail as Triple H gets to the ropes. Edge goes for it again, but HHH is able to kick out. Edge charges but hits Mike Chioda. Edge gets a neckbreaker, but the ref is out.

While the ref is out, Naitch comes in with a chair but is speared. Edge then takes the chair and tries to hit HHH, but The Game escapes and gets a side-back suplex. Both men reach the chair as Batista comes out and grabs it away. Edge heads to the apron to taunt Batista, but HHH nails him into the big man. HHH brings Edge back in and tries the Pedigree, but Edge counters into the Edgecution. Edge then sets up for the Spear, but Batista intervenes and gets the spinebuster. Triple H is then able to follow up with the Pedigree for three.

Winner: Triple H
Rating: 4 out of 10

Not bad for a TV main event, and the psychology of Edge continuing to get "screwed" out of the title worked very well.


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    Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.