May 28, 2005
Raw makes Calgary centre of attention
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun

Millions of TV sets around the world will be tuned to Calgary Monday as Raw, WWE's flagship show, rolls into the Saddledome.

The action kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a series of matches taped for WWE's weekend cable show.

These are usually mid-card bouts with names such as William Regal, Tajiri, Chris Masters and the Heart Throbs taking part.

Also expect a couple of dark matches -- bouts not recorded for TV -- in which unsigned talents will get to strut their stuff before a full arena of fans and the watchful eyes of WWE scouts. Calgary's Harry Smith and Vancouver-based Scotty Mac are reportedly under consideration for dark-match opportunities on the show.

After the Heat tapings wrap, Jim Ross and Jerry (The King) Lawler will arrive at the broadcast booth they've occupied for the better part of the past decade.

Then we're only an O Canada away from going live.

At 7 p.m., the Raw theme plays, the pyro hits and the Saddledome is beamed live to four million American homes.

The show also goes out live on TSN in Canada and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and will be seen on tape delay in 17 languages and in more than 100 other countries.

As is usually the case, Monday's show could be the most watched event to emanate from Calgary this year.

Even factoring out the worldwide TV audience, Raw regularly pulls higher ratings than any other specialty show in Canada and is often the most-watched show on U.S. cable, too.

To give an idea of how big the viewership is, especially in the U.S. where the future of such programming is often decided, a typical Raw episode draws 10 times more American viewers than regular-season NHL games did on ESPN last year and draws double the ratings of the Stanley Cup final.

As for the 'rassling action scheduled for Calgary, the detailed lineup for Raw is rarely made available in advance and often is only decided on the day of the event, so no matches officially have been announced.

The storylines currently centre around the feud between Triple H and Batista and the pair is expected to come face to face in Calgary to formally set up their Hell in a Cell match for Vengeance.

Raw is also expected to have some heavy ECW undertones as the company builds toward the upcoming ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view June 12.

Beyond that, Edge and Kane are likely to clash in Cowtown and it's possible we'll get some in-ring segments to build to the draft lottery, which begins the following week.

Other stars expected to be on hand at Raw include Intercontinental champ Shelton Benjamin, Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Muhammad Hassan, Christian and Eric Bischoff.

Shawn Michaels and Trish Stratus are on the injured list and likely won't be coming to town.

The Raw portion of the show runs for two hours, going off the air just after 9 p.m., but it doesn't end there. These days, Raw generally includes a non-televised main event for the live crowd.

These matches tend to be a lot more relaxed than the rest of the show. With the TV cameras turned off, the wrestlers get to break character and have some fun with the audience.

The scheduled main event for Monday's show is Triple H and Ric Flair vs. Batista in a handicap match, although that may change due to storyline twists in the show.

Tickets for Raw at the 'Dome are still available through Ticketmaster.

Fans can also meet Chris Jericho at the Play store in Market Mall, Monday at 11 a.m.


Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Check out the best of Lucha Libre from Mexico.
    Order Lucha-rific Volume 1 DVD


  • CANOE.CA SLAM!