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Raw: Lotteries, locks and lethal lascerations
By NICK TYWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


Madison Square Garden used to be the place that WWE shows had a little something extra. With the most prominent match on tonight's card pitting Triple H against announcer Jim Ross, that sadly no longer seems to be the case. Still, we soldier on for another edition of Raw, live from the Big Apple.

Before the show's intro, the aforementioned Ross pays a visit to general manager Eric Bischoff, who says he'd be scared too if he had to face The Game. He even gave some thought to calling off the match, but decided that the show must go on. To make matters worse, he's turning it into a No Disqualification Match and allowing Ric Flair in Triple H's corner. But never fear, because Bischoff is putting the world champion, Batista, in J.R.'s corner. Ah, now I get it.

Match 1 - Edge vs. Chris Benoit

You've got to love Edge still toting the briefcase with him like he's afraid that he'll lose his title shot if he lets it go. It doesn't help him much once the bell rings, as Benoit nails him with five rolling German Suplexes. Edge does manage to roll away from a diving head butt, but The Crippler returns the favor by sidestepping a Spear. The Crippler Crossface makes an appearance, though Edge manages to get to the ropes, then all the way out of the ring. The fight spills all the way to the backstage area, something we really haven't seen in a while. Various referees and personalities like Sergeant Slaughter step in to break things up, but after a commercial the fight rages on, sending the Raw Divas scurrying for cover. Bischoff finally restores a semblance of order and decrees that the two men will face each other in a Last Man Standing Match, presumably at Backlash.

Trish Stratus hits the ring and makes the dubious claim that she wants to bury the hatchet with Lita and make a fresh start. The redheaded Diva limps down on one crutch to a surprising (or maybe not) number of boos. Stratus tries to offer her apologies but finds it difficult to be heard while the chant is chanting things like 'slut' and 'you screwed Matt'. The segment is officially a disaster, but Lita plays it through to the end by telling Stratus that payback is a bitch. Kane's pyro erupts, and the Big Red Machine emerges to menace his wife's foe. That comes to an abrupt end when Viscera - yes, you read that right - comes from the back and lays a beating on Kane, ending it in the ring with a Samoan drop and a big splash. The big man finishes his work by carrying Trish back up the ramp. Talk about random.

And we're not done yet. Viscera literally has Trish cornered backstage to remind her of the deal they made: I do something for you and you do' something for me. You get the unpleasant picture. After a series of uncomfortable innuendos, it seems that Trish has agreed to go out with Viscera next week. He seals the deal by stealing a nice long kiss from the blonde bombshell, making you wonder if he has something on Vince McMahon to get in a storyline like this.

Match 2 - William Regal and Tajiri vs. The Heart Throbs

The tag team champs look as stunned as I am to see The Heart Throbs, who, for lack of a better description, look like effeminate hip hop dance instructors. I'm serious; I'm having a hard time even taking notes down for this one. Sufficed to say, Regal and Tajiri manage to put away Romeo and Antonio without too much trouble, but the Throbs make it personal by attacking after the bell. They hit a double STP on Tajiri, so I guess they're here to stay, whoever they are.

Ross gets some bad news when a ref tells him that no one has seen Batista all night. Then we find out why; it seems Triple H made a call to the limo company that the world champ is using to arrange a long detour for Big Dave.

Elsewhere, Muhammad Hassan and Daivari tell Todd Grisham that they're not concerned about the possibility of Hulk Hogan teaming up with Shawn Michaels at Backlash; but maybe they should be. Speaking of which'

Match 3 - Muhammad Hassan vs. Shawn Michaels

As usual, Daivari makes his presence felt on the outside. Hassan uses the distraction to take the fight outside and batter Michaels against the steel steps, but HBK fights back inside the ring and sends Muhammad flying over the top rope. Commercial time. We return to action suddenly with chops and punches being exchanged before Hassan hits a couple of moves in succession. Michaels responds with a flying forearm shot and both men are down. Shawn kips up for an inverted atomic drop and some pain for Daivari too. He tunes up the band but has to stop to deal with Daivari again, leaving him wide open for the Jihad Drop. The ref throws the match out, but that doesn't stop the Arab-Americans from laying into HBK again. Things change in a hurry when Real American hits and Hulk Hogan makes his way to the ring. Hassan and Daivari turn their attention to the Hulkster, but he Hulks Up and soon introduces both of them to his big boot. Michaels revives in time to help clear the ring, much to the delight of the MSG fans. There's plenty of time for posing as the segment drags on. I mean it, Hogan and Michaels are really out there for a while before they decide to finally return to the back.

Just when you thought he was banished to Heat forever, Chris 'The Masterpiece' Masters heads to the ring. SLAM! Wrestling Smackdown writer Dale Plummer wants to know what's sticking out of his trunks? um, okay. Turns out it's $1000 of his own money, to be paid to anyone who can break out of his patented Master Lock submission. First of all, I'm pretty sure that's a trademark violation of some kind, and second, it's really just a glorified full nelson. Dale points out that any young lad worth his salt knows how to escape a full nelson with a mule kick to the groin. Anyway, Masters selects a guy from the crowd named Roman (screaming OVW plant by the way) to try to break out of the hold; he fails. Next segment please.

Today's random thought is again supplied by Dale: WWE personnel were lucky the first time to find someone as seemingly enthusiastic for the business as Christy Hemme. Why push your luck with a second Raw Diva Search?

Match 4 - Simon Dean vs. Shelton Benjamin

The highlight of this one is actually the pre-match festivities, which feature Chris Jericho coming to the stage to serenade Shelton with the help of Fozzy's lead guitarist. I can't catch the name of the song, but it sounds like it might be "Shelton is a Little Bitch." Dean attacks from behind before the bell, but it's all downhill from there for the fitness guru. Benjamin fires through a dizzying series of attacks and puts Dean out of our misery with a T-Bone Suplex, which is looking more and more like a T-Bone Powerslam all the time. Y2J offers up mock applause from the stage.

Tonight's Smackdown Rebound shows us Angle versus Guerrero and Rey Rey's best laid plans going astray. Next up in live action is Christian and Tyson Tomko headed down the ramp. The Canadian says he expected a bigger reaction from the 'Christian Coalition' after his big win last week over Benoit. He's prevented from saying more by the return of none other than Mr. McMahon himself. The Chairman of the Board is not here to congratulate Christian. Instead, he's ready for a big announcement ... and it's not the Diva Search. Nope, we're having another draft lottery in about a month, all the better to steal John Cena and Rey Mysterio from Smackdown. Christian seems excited for the chance that he might get to jump shows and face Cena, and McMahon is convinced that he is indeed main event talent. With that in mind, Vince books him to face Batista next week on Raw.

Backstage, Triple H lectures Todd Grisham on the fine art of the Pedigree, backing up his point with a video package that shows darn near every finisher HHH has hit over the years. Meanwhile, J.R. is on his way to the ring dressed in his Oklahoma Sooners jersey, looking every bit like a man who is facing a death sentence. And if Batista doesn't hurry up and get to the arena, Ross just might feel like he's facing one in about fifteen minutes.

Main Event - Triple H vs. Jim Ross

J.R. refuses a pre-match handshake and the carnage begins. Ross gets in one shot that just ticks The Game off more, and blood starts to flow from the announcer before too long. Trips takes the belt off his helpless foe and begins to choke him, and The King has seen enough. Lawler makes his way to the ring to intervene on his partner's behalf, but he's quickly hit with a Pedigree and neutralized by Flair. Finally, a limo pulls up and Batista makes his arrival. The champ hits the ring with a barrage of punches and a spinebuster for Flair, who drops the chair he had carried into the ring. Triple H gets in a chair shot and goes for the Pedigree only to have it countered with a back body drop. Batista lands a chair shot of his own, laying The Game out cold. Big Dave cracks a smile and drags J.R. on top of Helmsley to get the pinfall in the ending you could see coming from a mile away. That's it for this week - we're overseas in seven days.

Next week: the show rolls into Great Britain with Batista defending his title against Christian. Also, Viscera tries to get more action from Trish, and we see if Europeans know how to get out of a full nelson.


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    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998, and he'd be more than happy to kick Chris Masters in the groin for $1000. Chris, if you're reading, you can reach me at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.