May 24, 2005
Raw: Golly, look who's back
By NICK TYWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
I'm not sure if the good folks of Green Bay, Wisconsin are ready for tonight's show. Raw's new power couple, Edge and Lita, don't exactly embody good old fashioned Midwestern values. They're about adultery, deceit, greed ... more of the Desperate Housewives set of mores. Be that as it may, Edge and his new girl get their moment in the sun tonight as they try to steal the world heavyweight title from Batista live on Spike TV.
Two rows of security guards line the ramp as Edge and Lita make their way to the ring. It's not obvious why the guards are there -- maybe its to protect them from ex-WWE wrestlers. Lita takes the mic to gloat about the way she used her hubby Kane to get back at Trish Stratus while she acted the part of the faithful wife. In reality, she was falling in love with Edge, the only man who ever satisfied her. The fans dutifully start in with the "slut" chant, but Edge claims they're just jealous of him. He has the girl and not one but two world title shots, so he's feeling like he's on top of the world. The evil duo engages in some more PDA before they head back up the ramp. My skin is now officially crawling.
General manager Eric Bischoff tells an unnamed henchman about his funeral plans for ECW, which he intends to put into motion tonight. Shelton Benjamin bursts in to let Bischoff know that Chris Jericho is not in the building, which is a problem since he is supposed to team with Shelton for a rematch with Muhammad Hassan and Daivari. Bischoff doesn't want to be bothered, since he's preparing for the upcoming draft by trying to figure out how to lure John Cena to Raw. Turns out there's a simple solution: the bout just becomes a handicap match. Sorry Shelton. As he leaves, Benjamin says the only thing better than Cena coming to Raw would be Bischoff going to Smackdown. Zing!
Match 1 - Muhammad Hassan and Daivari vs. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin takes one more glance at the stage before he hits the ring, but Y2J is still AWOL. The Intercontinental champ holds his own early, at least until Hassan drops him on the retaining wall outside the ring. Shelton fires back with a slingshot suplex on Daivari, then gathers steam with clotheslines, a scoop slam and a back body drop. The heels continue to take abuse until Daivari fetches a steel chair. The ref stops him from using it, but the distraction gives Hassan time to sneak in and hit the Jihad Drop, and legal man Daivari covers to get the three count.
Well, look who decided to show up. Todd Grisham catches Jericho on his way in and informs him that he missed his match. Chris says he's sorry he left his partner hanging, but he wants Grisham to tell Bischoff he'll face anyone one-on-one since Jericho equals ratings. It seems his planning for Fozzy's Australian tour caused him to lose track of time, and he deflects Grisham's lecturing by saying he's not going to be punished for having a life outside of wrestling. Elsewhere, Christian and Tyson Tomko mock the Smackdown roster and dream of running over it, but Edge and Lita arrive to rain on their parade by suggesting that the duo will probably end up staying on Raw. With that in mind, Edge suggests that if Christian were to help ensure that Batista loses tonight, he might get rewarded with the title shot in Edge's trusty briefcase, which the Canadian wouldn't need since he would be the new world champ. Captain Charisma sees where all this is headed and hints that Edge might be seeing him and his Problem Solver later.
Match 2 - "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters vs. Steven Richards
I just got done telling SLAM! Wrestling Smackdown reporter Dale Plummer what a life it must be to be a wrestler getting paid to not wrestle when I realize that Masters is actually in action tonight. And Richards makes sense as the opponent, if only so The Masterpiece doesn't hurt anyone higher up the card. Stevie gets tossed around the way you might expect, but shows some spunk when he lands a kick to the head. Masters grounds him with a wicked shot to the knee and makes him the latest victim of the Master Lock, which even Jim Ross is openly admitting is just a fancy name for a full nelson.
Bischoff scoffs at the message that Grisham delivers equating Jericho with ratings. The GM sends Todd to tell Y2J that he will have a singles match, but he also has another, less desirable task for the young interviewer: he wants Grisham to interview Kane to get his state of mind. It's been nice knowing you Todd.
Match 3 - Chris Jericho vs. Sylvain Grenier
Wait, this is supposed to teach Jericho a lesson? I thought Bischoff would give him a difficult match. Grenier tries to help his cause by attacking on the outside before the bell, and his effort pays off with the first two count of the bout. He follows up by putting Jericho in his version of the Torture Rack, but Y2J escapes and rolls him up for two. A running enzuigiri and a forearm off the top rope set up a Lionsault, but Grenier gets his knees up at the last second. Sylvain uses a slam similar to a Rock Bottom to put Jericho down but it's still not enough for three. Jericho finally ends things by hitting a missile dropkick and making his foe tap out to the Walls of Jericho. A slightly perturbed Benjamin comes down to the ring to discuss his partner's tardiness, but Jericho grabs a mic and does his talking on his way back up the ramp. He apologizes again but says that when you have as many business ventures outside the ring as he does, lateness comes with the territory and the Jerichoholics understand. The scattering of boos that greet his speech suggests that he may have misread the Green Bay branch.
A black podium and a wreath of barbed wire are set up for Bischoff's funeral for ECW. Despite some unflattering chants directed at him by the crowd, Eric mocks the promotion that started up in a "bingo hall" in South Philadelphia. Bischoff gloats that he stole many of ECW's performers while he was running WCW and takes credit for killing ECW, a feat he plans to repeat at the upcoming One Night Stand PPV. As he outlined last week, Bischoff wants to lead a group of Raw "volunteers" to shut the show to shut down ECW once and for all. Further musings are interrupted by the arrival of the Chairman of the Board, Vince McMahon. Eric is happy to see his boss, thinking he's come to the ring to add some of his own thoughts to ECW's eulogy. But he couldn't be more wrong -- Vince says he has a vested interest in making sure that One Night Stand succeeds. Explaining that he supported ECW financially behind the scenes for years, McMahon claims that the WWE is still owed money from those loans. Thus his full support of One Night Stand, including placing commercials for it on Raw and presenting a match that Bischoff cancelled last week, an ECW Rules match between Chris Benoit and Tajiri. To further rub salt in Bischoff's wounds, Vince reminds him that one brand, WCW, is actually dead. He also summons Paul Heyman from the back to talk about his old promotion, much to Eric's dismay. Heyman gives an impassioned recap of what made ECW great besides just blood and guts, including introducing the lucha libre style to more American fans, making scientific wrestling more prominent and introducing talent like Rob Van Dam. Just before Heyman is about to work himself into a complete lather, McMahon interrupts again to say that while he supports ECW, he also supports Raw and its GM. With that in mind, McMahon says Bischoff is free to lead a team of Raw superstars onto the show, and may the best man win. That news makes Eric giddy, but Heyman says he's starting a fire he can't put out -- and he starts the wreath on fire to back up his point. Not a bad segment, but I'm not sure the Green Bay fans appreciate paying their hard-earned money to watch what is essentially a 20-minute commercial for the ECW pay-per-view.
Match 4 - Chris Benoit vs. Tajiri - ECW Rules Match
ECW rules means, of course, no rules. Tajiri brings a kendo stick to the ring to soften up The Crippler, and a dose of the green mist helps as well. Garbage cans and other assorted items come into play, especially when Tajiri whips Benoit into a can set up in the corner. Chris responds with some rolling German suplexes and slaps on the Crippler Crossface. Tajiri tries to use the kendo stick to break the hold, but Benoit snatches it and uses the stick to add to the pain of the hold on Tajiri's face, forcing the Japanese Buzzsaw to tap out.
The world champ prepares for his title defense in the locker room when he gets a visitor in the form of Ric Flair. The Nature Boy comes in peace, thanking Batista for his help last week and offering a handshake and good luck wishes. Elsewhere, Grisham sucks it up and tries to interview Kane, who goes into a rambling soliloquy about pain morphing from his best friend to his worst enemy. And is he ... crying? We don't want to see the Big Red Machine in tears. Kane, put the mask back on and go back to your silent persona and I promise, all will be forgiven.
In other senseless interview news, Maria (easily the dumbest interviewer in WWE history) calls Viscera to the ring. But she has an interior motive (her actual words!): she wants to get Vis and Lillian Garcia in the ring together again. Big Vis is digging Lillian but doesn't think she feels the same, especially since she didn't make use of her room key last Monday. To win her heart, Viscera sang last week and wants to dance with her tonight. It's at this point that I have to temporarily turn the channel to the NBA playoffs, because Dale is threatening to give himself an intentional low blow to escape this segment. We turn it back just in time to say "Thank God" for The Coach arriving in the ring, and how often can you say that? Coachman claims that Bischoff wants Viscera out of the ring immediately, but the big man has other ideas. A few chops and a Samoan drop set Coach up for a move that I'll just say you don't want to be on the receiving end of and just leave it at that. Garcia raises Viscera's arm in victory ... and gets a long French kiss in return. And by George, I think she liked it. I also think this segment destroyed some of my brain cells.
Main Event - Edge vs. Batista - World Heavyweight Title Match
Batista manhandles Edge in the opening minutes, though Christian and Tyson Tomko coming to ringside might change that. Commercial time. The match slows considerably after the break, with Edge using a body scissors and a sleeper to keep Big Dave under control. Batista gets hit with a dropkick right after he escapes, but he shakes it off and follows Edge to the top rope to deliver a superplex. Edge tries to fire back with a jumping forearm shot, but the ref takes the blow instead. Christian and Tomko storm the ring and pummel the champ until Flair comes to save the day. Ric cleans house but gets a Spear from Edge for his trouble. Batista revives and hands out spine busters and clotheslines to Christian and Tomko, knocking them both back to the floor. Edge hits a Spear on the champ and covers as the ref revives, but Batista just beats the count to kick out. Lita finally lends a hand to her new man by slipping the briefcase into his hands, but Batista avoids the shot and connects with a spine buster. The Batista Bomb follows and puts Edge down for the count. Batista goes over to hug Flair and thank him for his help, and it looks like a happy ending for Raw. Ah, but this is the Director's Cut, which means we have an...
Epilogue - Triple H's music hits, and The Game approaches the ring with sledgehammer in hand. Batista barely has time to get over his surprise when he gets an even bigger one in the form of a patented Ric Flair low blow. HHH takes advantage with a sledgehammer shot that knocks the world champ out to the floor, where he is bloodied by a barrage of right hands. The assault returns to the ring for another hammer shot and Triple H's announcement that if he wants a fight, it will be in a Hell in the Cell. The Game Pedigrees Batista on the world title belt to complete his triumphant return. Yes, I know he wasn't gone that long.
Next week: Your guess is as good as mine, but hopefully it won't involve Viscera getting past first base or anything involving Chris Masters.
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He'd like to thank his buddy and fellow SLAM! Wrestling staffer Dale Plummer for skipping his seventh trip to see Revenge of the Sith to sit through this week's show with him.