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COMMENT





Raw: Hassan gets his shot
By NICK TYWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling




Raw kicks off with a classy salute by Vince McMahon to the sacrifices made by American veterans to keep the United States free. Ironically, tonight's show is live from Calgary ... Alberta, Canada. No matter, it's still a good way to start a program that, let's face it, will probably just go downhill from here. Let's do this.

It's The King in the ring first tonight, as Jerry Lawler is set to host a Diva swimsuit competition. I'm thinking there might have been a better way to set it off for a group of fans that appreciates actual wrestling, but that's just me. Christy Hemme, Candice Michelle, Maria, Victoria and even ring announcer Lilian Garcia hide their wares behind towels, waiting for Lawler to give the word to show their suits. Lilian is supposed to go first, but these days, where she goes, Viscera follows. Big Vis gets an offer from The King to help judge the contest, but he's there for only one reason. He calls for music and lights and dances over to Garcia, startling her by picking her up and heading for the back. Lawler tells them to have fun, and the unlikely couple is off to places unknown. But the show must go on, and the ladies each take their turn disrobing. The King soaks it all in for a minute or two before declaring Hemme the winner. Maria and Candice congratulate their fellow Diva, but one lady isn't too happy with the outcome, and she just happens to be the one in the ring who can do something violent about it. Victoria easily disposes of the eye candy and goes to town on Hemme, battering her on the mat. Lawler tries to jump in but gets kicked in the, um, junk for his trouble. Victoria finishes her rampage with a Widow's Peak.

Backstage, Todd Grisham asks Victoria to explain herself. To sum up: she's sick of Christy. Okay then.

Match 1 - Hurricane and Rosey vs. The Heart Throbs - World Tag Team Title Match

No, really. Apparently the Throbs won the right to go for the gold in a tag team turmoil match on Heat, which led me to this inevitable thought: Heat is still on the air? The other thing you can't escape is that the Heart Throbs' entrance features the most pelvic gyrations since Elvis was in his prime. Hurricane scores a few near falls on Antonio while the crowd chants "Stacy's hot." Yes she is. The Throbs regroup with a number of double team moves, but Hurricane finally escapes trouble in the corner and makes the hot tag to his partner. Rosey's subsequent rampage climaxes in Hurricane leaping off his shoulders while he's sitting on the top turnbuckle and hitting a cross body that spells the end for Romeo and Antonio.

An extensive video takes us back to last Monday, detailing Ric Flair's role in setting up Batista for the return of Triple H and annoying those of us who already watched it go down seven days ago. Back in Eric Bischoff's office, Big Dave wants revenge, but the GM informs him that The Game is back at WWE Studios for a remote interview with J.R. The world champ contents himself by accepting his foe's challenge for a Hell in a Cell Match on the condition that Trips puts it in writing next week- that means a contract signing. Dissenting voices appear in the form of Muhamad Hassan and Daivari, who correctly point out that Trips has had several shots and Batista and lost while Hassan remains undefeated on Raw. Batista says he wants to take his frustrations out on the Arab-American, so Bischoff says a match between the two of them is a go. Daivari adds his two cents in Arabic, but that just earns him a slap in the face from Dave. That'll learn him.

Match 2 - Shelton Benjamin vs. Robert Conway vs. Sylvain Grenier - Intercontinental Title Match

This one looks like a handicap match at the beginning, with the La Resistance gang teaming to keep Benjamin on the defensive. The champ finally fights back with a back body drop and backbreaker on Conway, but Shelton soon finds himself on the mat while his opponents squabble over the cover. Benjamin takes the fight to the outside, then brings it back inside for a top rope clothesline on Conway. Grenier makes the save and gets his own near fall. Conway gets in one final shot before feeling the pain of a Stinger Splash, and Grenier suffers a spinning heel kick and t-bone suplex that end the match. Put Benjamin on your WWE fantasy team. Except for the excellent match with Shawn Michaels in the Gold Rush Tournament, he hasn't lost a singles match in quite a while.

Amidst all of his extracurricular activities, Chris Jericho found some time to grace us with a few minutes of the Highlight Reel. And he'll apparently do it again next Monday, because he promises an exclusive interview with the first pick in the draft. I'm told he's not referring to Alex Smith or Andrew Bogut. There's business to attend to tonight though, and that business comes in the form of one angry Kane. Jericho asks the Big Red Machine about his feeling on the whole Lita-Edge situation, courting disaster when he decides to mock Kane for not offering an answer. Edge breaks the silence by appearing on the Titan Tron, boasting about Spearing Kane last week and, ahem, spearing Kane's wife in a different way. For her won safety, Lita declines to come to the ring, preferring to address her husband from Edge's locker room. Make that ex-husband, since Lita informs us that she's officially filed for divorce. Lita finishes her soap opera antics by literally flushing her wedding band down the toilet and engaging her new man in some tonsil hockey, once again making my skin crawl.

Bischoff gets some time with the crowd to once again discuss his plan to stick it to Paul Heyman by bringing a team of Raw superstars to the upcoming ECW pay-per-view. He's not alone either, because Kurt Angle is doing the same with wrestlers from Smackdown. As for tonight, Bischoff claims he's allowing a Tables Match between Chris Benoit and Edge simply to prove that Raw can beat ECW at its own game. He goes on to introduce the man who will spearhead the Raw team at One Night Stand (and the man with the most disturbing push right now), Edge. And that leads us nicely to...

Match 3 - Edge vs. Chris Benoit - Tables Match

You all know the drill - first man to get put through a table loses. Benoit chops away and beats Edge all the way to the floor. Edge fights back in the ring with a hard Irish whip and an elbow and goes for the first table. Benoit meets him on the floor with a suicide dive and we go to commercial. We return to find Benoit going for a Sharpshooter to no avail when Edge kicks him away. Edge grabs a table from underneath the ring but gets his mouth bloodied a moment later when Benoit baseball slides the table into his face. The Crippler sets the table up on the floor and a battle of suplexes breaks out between the apron and the ring. The action goes back and forth until a second table is set up inside the ring. Benoit gains the upper hand and tries a superplex to win the match, but Lita moves the table out of the way. She also slips Edge his briefcase, which proves little help against rolling German suplexes. Edge ends up helpless on the table, though his new girl again saves the day by pushing Benoit off the top rope. Bischoff, who had been sitting with the announcers, runs down and motions to the back, bringing Maven, Tyson Tomko and Gene Snitsky running. Gene drops Benoit with a big boot and the threesome beat on The Wolverine long enough for Edge to recover and power bomb him through the table to end the match. Bischoff says he hopes Paul Heyman is watching, but in the words of SLAM! Wrestling Smackdown reporter Dale Plummer, if he is, he ain't too worried.

In case you still haven't seen it, the clip of Triple H's assault on Batista airs yet again. Speaking of The Game, he is live from WWE Studios to deliver a message to Batista. And it's a message we've heard before: I'm the best, you have to beat me at my own game, yadda, yadda, yadda. He promises to end (or at least shorten) Batista's career in the Hell in a Cell just like he did to Kevin Nash and Mick Foley. Out in the ring, Chris Masters fires up another Master Lock Challenge. He's upped the ante to $10,000 this week, and due to lack of competition from the fans, he opens it up to anyone in the back. Seems like a good way to work in someone who rarely sees any TV time, and right on cue, Val Venis comes down the ramp. Masters says he's a fan of Val's work and offers him a seat. Poor Val gets cold cocked from behind a second later, softening him up for the Master Lock. Venis is game but eventually passes out from the pain of the full nelson, or perhaps from embarrassment that his career has fallen this far.

Christian comes out to fire up the Calgary fans with his observation that the Smackdown roster has people from all over but is lacking a Canadian. That would stir my blood if I was Canadian.

Main Event - Muhammad Hassan vs. Batista

Not a dream, not a hoax. It's really Raw's "undefeated" Arab-American superstar against the world heavyweight champion. Hassan tries to jump Batista before the bell but is repulsed by an elbow. Daivari catches a bad one on the outside, though he does give his partner an opening to hit a DDT back inside the ring. Hassan lands some stiff kicks to the champ's head from the floor, then heads back in to get a near fall with a neck breaker. A submission hold is applied, but Batista powers out and begins to assert his power. He pauses to toss Daivari off the top rope and hands out clotheslines to both of his assailants. Daivari is bloodied by a spine buster and Hassan is stomped into a corner. Batista uses his leg to choke Hassan and won't break the hold when the ref makes his five count. The zebra calls for the bell and it appears that Hassan will continue his streak in the most painful way possible. Enraged, Batista lands a chair shot on Hassan and uses his Batista Bomb on Muhammad and Daivari despite the pleading of various refs and officials. Raw draws to a close with the world champ somewhat triumphant in defeat. See you in seven.

Next week: Smackdown shocks the world by trading the first pick in the draft to an indy fed. Also Batista and Triple H sign a piece of paper. Possibly some wrestling too.


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  • Get prepped for the new PPV -- Order The Rise and Fall of ECW

    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998, but rarely has he done a report on as little sleep as this one. He plans to sleep peacefully unless he's haunted by images of Edge and Lita making out.