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COMMENT





Raw: HHH walks, Lita teases Kane
By NICK TYWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


I've got Gold Rush fever! The tournament to determine the number one contender for Batista's world heavyweight title has already given us the spectacular (Shawn Michaels versus Shelton Benjamin) and the unexpected (Triple H losing in the first round). Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is the site of the semi-finals, plus the usual batch of assorted foolishness on this week's installment of Raw.

My home state fans remind Triple H that he tapped out to Chris Benoit last week as he makes his way to the ring. The Game tries to downplay his loss by calling the whole tournament bogus and suggesting that Eric Bischoff is afraid to give him the rematch he deserves because he knows Batista would lose. He says Batista is afraid too, which brings the champ out to "face his fears." Like me, Big Dave is a bit confused as to why Helmsley is complaining, since he already got one rematch plus an entry in the Gold Rush tourney. Enraged, Trips says the world title means nothing to anyone who doesn't go through him ... never mind, I guess, that Batista already did that. Anyway, Triple H says he will pack his bags and go home, biding his time until Batista fails and comes begging for him to return. Batista tells him not to let the door hit him in the rear on the way out, and The Game does, in fact, head for the back. Thanks for wasting ten minutes of my life.

Breaking news: the deadline for entering the next Raw Diva Search is this Friday. To all those Playboy wanna-bes who regularly read my report, you don't have much time left to get your act together. In the back, Ric Flair pleads with Trips to get him to stay. When that doesn't work, the Nature Boy says he'll go get Bischoff to realize the mistake he's making. Good luck with that. Elsewhere, Muhammad Hassan and Daivari make their entrance. Daivari begs forgiveness for letting Hassan down at Backlash and challenges anyone in the back to a match to try to make up for it. Chris Jericho's music hits, so it looks like we've got ...

Match 1 - Daivari vs. Chris Jericho

Daivari starts out fast by throwing Jericho into the post twice, then going to work on his left shoulder. Jericho rallies following an armbar takedown with a back body drop, a running enzuigiri and his jumping guillotine move. He looks for the Walls of Jericho but Daivari slips away, and both men end up on the top turnbuckle. Daivari tries a hurricarana, but Y2J hops down into the Walls and gets his opponent to quickly tap out. Hassan wastes no time assaulting Jericho from behind, planting him with a Jihad Drop and locking on a Camel Clutch until Benjamin arrives to clear the ring.

Christy Hemme asks Bischoff a question I know we were all wondering: will the Divas be involved in the upcoming draft? The GM says everyone is fair game. La Resistance crashes in to demand a tag team title shot, but like Triple H, they seem to have forgotten that they got one just last week and blew it. Sylvain Grenier and Robert Conway start bickering and blaming each other for their recent losses, so Bischoff is forced to quiet them by offering them both singles matches tonight against mystery opponents a la the first round of the Gold Rush. May the best man win, or more likely, may both men lose.

Flair is on the phone with Triple H, telling him things are still unresolved with Bischoff. Christian and Tyson Tomko drop by to make sure Naitch is okay, since he was the first person to "console" Captain Charisma after his Gold Rush loss last Monday. Ric says he doesn't like Christian, and the Canadian picked the wrong day to get in his face. He offers to meet in the ring and Christian quickly accepts. Our next commercial break is sandwiched between two unusually delicious plugs, the first being a promo for the ECW: One Night Stand pay-per-view and the second being a clip from WWE 24/7 showing Jerry "The King" Lawler winning a world title 17 years ago today.

Match 2 - Sylvain Grenier vs. Viscera

Conway leaves his partner to face Big Vis alone, which looks like a losing proposition until Viscera misses the Big Splash. Grenier hits a missile dropkick for a two count but is soon dropped by a rolling heel kick. Viscera lifts Sylvain up in a two-handed choke lift into a sit-down power bomb to get the duke. Afterwards, Viscera continues his harassment of Lillian Garcia by taking some nachos from a guy in the front row and forcing the ring announcer to eat one of the chips from his mouth. That's disturbing.

And speaking of disturbing, that makes a great segue into Lita's visit to her hubby Kane. The Big Red Machine points out that when they were married mine months ago, Lita said she hoped Kane would rot in hell. Now Trish Stratus is gone and Kane will soon be the world heavyweight champion. You know, the usual things any married couple hopes for. Kane says he always gets what he wants and Lita says she does too, which is what makes them such a cute couple.

Match 3 - Kane vs. Chris Benoit - Gold Rush Tournament - Semi-Final

Using the only real smart way to attack Kane, Benoit goes after his legs early and tries for a Sharpshooter and the Crippler Crossface, both to no avail. Kane responds with a sidewalk slam for a near fall and an uppercut that forces Benoit to get his foot on the ropes to break the count. Both men continue to trade near falls until Kane goes up top for his jumping clothesline only to be met by a dropkick on his way down. Benoit uses the opening to hit five rolling German suplexes and a low dropkick when Kane sits up. He follows with the diving head butt, but Kane kicks out at two. Unfazed, The Wolverine uses an enzuigiri and a baseball slide to knock Kane out to the floor. He fakes a suicide dive, sending Kane tumbling back into Lita, who looks like she is hurt. Benoit makes the mistake of checking on her, allowing Kane to clothesline him from behind. Back in the ring, both men counter each other's finishers, but Kane scores with his second attempt at a choke slam and gets the three count. Lita sure is helping her man out ... meaning she's sure to turn on him soon.

Match 4 - Ric Flair vs. Tyson Tomko

Yep, Christian pulls a fast one and inserts his Problem Solver in his place. Tomko hits a quick clothesline and power slam but pulls out of the count at two to continue to punish Flair. That proves to be a mistake when the Nature Boy hits a chop block and the referee ejects Christian for interfering. The Dirtiest Player in the Game lives up to his name with a quick shot to Tomko's groin and a roll-up with a handful of tights to 'earn' the victory.

For some reason, the WWE allows Todd Grisham to interview Stacy Keibler in the ring instead of in the back, where his overacting is even more obvious. Those are some nice shots of Stacy from Stuff magazine though. I need to pick that up to read the articles, wink, wink. Stacy says she was wearing her favorite panties in one of the pictures and has them on again tonight. She starts to take her shorts off but her zipper gets stuck, and without any real men around, she has to ask Grisham for help. The lucky jerk almost gets to but is interrupted by Simon Dean and Maven. The heels send Todd packing and decide Keibler needs a Simon System shake. Their attempts to make her drink it are bordering on assault when tag team champs Rosey and Hurricane arrive to make the save, just like good super heroes should. Still, that now makes about 20 minutes of my time the writers have wasted tonight. In Bischoff's office, The Coach raves about tonight's show and seems especially excited about the promo for the ECW pay-per-view. That irritates Bischoff, who thought he already put Paul Heyman and his disgusting brand of sports entertainment out of business for good. He vows to get his attorney to squash ECW before June gets here.

Match 5 - Robert Conway vs. Shelton Benjamin

The other member of La Resistance draws an even tougher assignment in the form of the Intercontinental champ, so he attacks before the bell to get an advantage. A back elbow and a vertical suplex earn Conway a pair of near falls, but Benjamin shakes them off and launches a counterassault with a flying forearm shot and a Samoan drop. Conway drops Shelton on the top rope and hits a knee lift, but Benjamin pulls himself up on the apron and catches his charging opponent with a kick to the head. He springboards off the top rope to execute a bulldog, and it's enough to keep Conway down for three. There's no time to celebrate, though, as Hassan and Daivari meet him on stage to extract a little revenge. Benjamin ends up in the Camel Clutch and gets spit on as the Arab-Americans enjoy their moment of triumph.

John Cena's new video for Bad, Bad Man would run my total of wasted time tonight to about 25 minutes except for three things. First, I like Cena, even if I am somewhat wary about how 17 tracks from him might sound. Second, the song features legit guest rapper Bumpy Knuckles, a.k.a. Freddie Foxxx. And C, the video is an A-Team parody, and that's something all of us who grew up in the '80s can enjoy. So Raw gets a free pass for this one, though perhaps the people who paid for tickets in Wilkes-Barre would disagree. In the back, Michaels teases Maria for calling his opponent tonight ... The ... Edge. I'm thinking HBK beats U2's guitar player with no problem, unless Bono shows up to make the save.

Main Event - Edge vs. Shawn Michaels - Gold Rush Tournament - Semi-Final

Edge quickly finds himself out on the floor and a victim of Michaels' springboard cross body. The fight moves back inside where Edge uses a hotshot and a couple of dirty tricks to put Shawn on the defensive. HBK powers out of a couple of holds and meets Edge up top only to get hurled down to the canvas. Edge leaps off the top turnbuckle but is met with a kick to the gut and a jumping knee lift that leaves both men down. Michaels rises first to hit a flying forearm, then nips up to continue his attack. A whirlwind of offense includes an inverted atomic drop, numerous right hands, a back body drop and a scoop slam, and The Showstoppa tops it off with his big elbow drop off the top. Shawn tunes up the band, but Edge catches the kick and lifts him up for an electric chair drop. Michaels counters with a victory roll that just misses a three count. Edge rallies with a hard Irish whip and a takedown for his own near fall. HBK tries for a clothesline in the corner, but Edge dodges and the ref gets taken out instead. A stunned Michaels is dropped by the Impaler but no count is coming. Frustrated, Edge goes for a Spear that is met with Sweet Chin Music. Michaels would have it wrapped up but the ref is still out. Edge summons his trusty briefcase but can't use it on Michaels, though he does flip HBK out to the apron. Shawn leaps back into the ring with a sunset flip, but Edge grabs the briefcase before he goes over and uses it to hit Michaels with a nasty shot to the face. Edge disposes of the evidence and covers Michaels just as the ref revives to advance to the tournament final. Yes, that means Edge will face Kane, and if you can't see what's coming that you must be new to pro wrestling in general and WWE wrestling in particular. Good night everyone!

Next week: Jericho and Benjamin team to face Hassan and Daivari and Christian takes on Flair - this time we mean it! Also the aforementioned Gold Rush final and if Lita doesn't turn on Kane and side with Edge, I'll shave my head!


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    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He wishes Las Vegas sports books could make lines on things like "WWE writers will have Lita turn on Kane for Edge" but knows they would probably make him lay about $500 to win $100 on things like that.