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Raw: Bischoff's Cena obsession continues
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


We all have to make sacrifices sometimes. In the case of those of us here in the States, we have to give up watching the first Monday Night Football game of the season, which features the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons in a blossoming rivalry so intense that two players were ejected before the game even started. Let's hope we see that kind of intensity tonight on Raw. Join us and your other friends in the U.S. as we test our love for wrestling and head to Little Rock, Arkansas for tonight's show.

Match 1 -- Big Show vs. Edge

I guess the "Show faces two jobbers" gimmick has run its course, unless we're just running out of jobbers. Show is all over Edge for the first few minutes as the announcers sell the idea that Edge can't deal with the big guy's brute strength. Edge finally manages to score with a low dropkick, but tries to bite off a bit too much attempting a tornado DDT and pays for it. Show hits a shoulder charge and looks for the chokeslam only to be rudely interrupted by Snitsky. The ref watches Snitsky and Edge helplessly for a minute before he realizes he can call for the bell. Then Matt Hardy joins the party and things really get out of hand. The faces quickly team to throw Edge and Snitsky out of the ring, and it's hard to shake the feeling that we're going to get a tag team match out of this. Sure enough, Eric Bischoff comes out on stage and says this isn't how his show is going to start. He orders the match restarted as a tag battle, so I guess we have...

Match 1.5 -- Big Show and Matt Hardy vs. Edge and Snitsky

Hardy wastes little time going after and pounding his arch-enemy, though Edge manages to reverse a power bomb into a back body drop. Mr. Money in the Bank misses a dropkick and has to scramble to kick out at two following a Hardy catapult. Show tags in, hanging Edge up in the corner and punting him right in the chest as we head for some commercials. Hardy takes the obligatory face beating when we return, but he's able to hit an inverted DDT and make the hot tag to avoid further punishment. Show runs rampant and tries to take the fight to Edge on the outside, but fails to account for the briefcase and takes a shot in the face. Hardy is back in the ring hitting the Side Effect and a legdrop off the ropes on Snitsky, at which point Lita decides to involve herself. Former beau Hardy thinks about giving Lita a taste of the Twist of Fate, but has to stop to kick Edge when he runs in. Lita saves her new man from the Twist with a strategically placed low kick to the groin. Edge runs off the ropes and hits a Spear to get the pinfall. The bell doesn't stop Edge from pounding Hardy, and Lita gives Matt a taste of his own medicine with a Twist of Fate.

In case you were wondering, Ric Flair will face Chris Masters later tonight, while John Cena takes on Kurt Angle and Tyson Tomko in a Handicap Match. Also, the Falcons lead the Eagles 14-0.

Making a rare non-backstage appearance, Todd Grisham comes out with Shawn Michaels. Grisham rolls footage of Shawn's unfortunate appearance in the Master Lock Challenge last Monday, to which HBK says half of him is upset and the other half wonders why he did that -- especially for no money. Michaels decides he did it because he's made a career out of defying the odds and doing things other people simply can't do. He notes that Masters took it one step too far with his chair shot tactics, but Michaels is okay with that because he's also built his career by taking things that final step. In any case, The Masterpiece will have his hands full tonight with... whoo! Flair joins Michaels to do a lot of yelling along with promising wins tonight and at Unforgiven for Carlito's Intercontinental title. Has a wrestler ever not vowed to win his match? I think it's an unwritten rule that you have to do that.

A video package takes us back through Cena's travails during last week's show. Something about this whole "Cena versus the heel GM" thing seems kind of familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Hmm... let me think. Oh yeah, it's just like the long, long feud between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vince McMahon except nowhere near as good. Anyway, I could recap last week's show but I already did that once, and you can read about by clicking here.

Match 2 -- Kerwin White vs. Shelton Benjamin

White has a hanger for his sweater and may be the first guy I've ever seen to wrestle in a polo shirt and khaki shorts. Or did the Mean Street/Greenwich Posse do that too? There's an Attitude Era reference for you. Both men seem pretty evenly matched, with Benjamin hitting his new sliding clothesline and White following soon after with a near fall. White goes for his hanger but is foiled by the ref, so he uses his polo shirt to choke Shelton while the zebra tends to the hanger. He covers for two, but Benjamin rallies with a Samoan drop, some clotheslines and a backbreaker for his own two. More back and forth action frustrates White, so he gets his golf club and wraps it around Benjamin's back, forcing the ref to call for the bell.

Mr. Angle, it's time for your close-up. The Olympic Hero (not as fitting a nickname now that he's a badass heel) boasts that he's the greatest pro wrestler on the planet, and we all know it. Even Cena knows it, so he should think about how Angle is going to take his title away at Unforgiven. Out in the ring, the villainous trio of Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle and Victoria head for the ring. They'd like to have some more fun with Ashley, but the Diva Search winner knows it's a trap. I'm calling it now: Trish Stratus is returning as a face to help her out. Ashley agrees to go to the ring, claiming to have a surprise of her own tonight. Yep, it's Trish, looking pretty good in my opinion. A fight breaks out among all five women, and Stratus uses her Matrix move to get two of the heels to take each other out. A Chick Kick dispatches Victoria, and all is right in Diva Land for the time being.

Match 3 -- Ric Flair vs. "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters

Plenty of posing and head games to start this one. I guess a slower pace is appropriate for Flair at his age. J.R. tells a story about Flair breaking his back and being told he would never wrestle again -- and that was about 30 years ago. You've got to give it up for that. [SLAM! Archive: The plane crash that changed wrestling] Masters uses a couple of gorilla press slams to soften up the Nature Boy and calls for the Master Lock, forcing Flair to try to escape the squared circle. Masters suplexes him back in, where a chopping battle ensues. Flair takes The Masterpiece off his feet a couple of times, so Chris takes the battle out to the floor. A sidewalk slam on the floor leaves Flair in pain and us watching commercials. After the break, Masters uses a bearhug to wear Flair down. Then he uses another, and a third. Flair finally works his way free and goes to work on Masters' leg, eventually applying his famous Figure Four. Carlito runs in to attack Flair and yet another match ends in a DQ. I know the pay-per-view is this coming Sunday, but come on. Michaels joins the fray and dispatches Carlito with Sweet Chin Music. But Masters is back on his feet, and he throws HBK shoulder-first into the post. The Master Lock makes its inevitable appearance, and a weakened Michaels is no match for it. My wife wants to know why the ref is calling for the bell when Michaels wasn't even in the match. Diane, that's just kind of the way things work around here.

The Smackdown Rebound shows us the events of the first Friday Night Smackdown, and it actually looks pretty decent. There was even a bullrope match for goodness sakes.

Match 4 -- Eugene and Tajiri vs. Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade

The new tag team in town gets their second test against the unusual pairing of Eugene and Tajiri, a.k.a. two singles wrestlers with no current feuds. Eugene whips out the airplane spin and bites Murdoch on the rear end, then hits Cade with a drop toehold and rides him like a horse to the delight of the crowd. The heels turn the tide by double teaming constantly, and Eugene finds himself in a bad way in the enemy corner. The wrestling savant eventually pulls off a backslide, but the ref is distracted and doesn't make a count. Eugene fights off more double teaming and hits a Stone Cold Stunner on Murdoch before making the hot tag to Tajiri. The Japanese Buzzsaw lives up to his nickname, dishing out kicks and giving Cade a taste of the handspring back elbow and the Tarantula. Murdoch strikes from the floor with a big right hand, then climbs back in and hits a sit-down power bomb. Cade follows with an elbow off the top rope and pins Tajiri to keep his team's record spotless. They'll take on Hurricane and Rosey for the tag titles at Unforgiven.

Lita and Edge come out to the stage to mock Hardy one last time. You know, because we don't know yet how much all the parties involved dislike each other. Edge promises an unhappy ending to the Matt Hardy story, which is, I think, another mandatory promo one has to cut during a long feud. The promo ends with a make-out session just to make our skin crawl a little more. The announce crew runs down the Unforgiven card -- I can't believe it's this Sunday already. By the way, David Akers just missed a second field goal for the Eagles.

Bischoff's cell phone call is interrupted by a visitor, and it's Cena. The WWE champ says he doesn't want to be in tonight's handicap match, or face Angle at Unforgiven. He tells the GM that he's giving up, and says Bischoff can have the title belt if he wants it. Eric reaches for it, but it's a trick. I can't believe you fell for it -- what's with you man? Calling his boss a stupid s.o.b., Cena says he will not quit and he will never give up, no matter how Bischoff tries to stack the deck against him.

Main Event -- Kurt Angle and Tyson Tomko vs. John Cena

Tomko starts out and is immediately pounded by Cena right hands. Angle gets in an early cheap shot from the apron as a smiling Bischoff looks on from the stage. Angle tags in and is met with a Cena sidewalk slam for two. The Champ starts pounding both heels, then a Tomko kick knocks Cena down, and everyone is on the canvas as we head to the last commercial break. We return to find Cena in trouble, with Angle using submission holds and Tomko hitting a running powerslam to earn a near fall. Cena fights back in the corner, but Angle sneaks in when the ref isn't looking and hits a German suplex. The heels take over for a while and force Cena to kick out of numerous pin attempts. The Doctor of Thuganomics regains the momentum against Tomko, firing off clotheslines, a jumping hip toss and a suplex. Cena hoists Tomko for the F-U, but in a cool spot, Angle picks up both men for a suplex. Tomko hops up and tries for his big boot, but Cena ducks and the kick takes out Angle. Tomko gets the F-U and is quickly pinned, though Angle doesn't let Cena have more than a second to celebrate before coming back in to attack him again. Kurt hits an Angle Slam and a knee to the groin and takes Cena's ankle into the post. Bischoff gets in the last word, getting right in Cena's face a la Austin to tell him that he can't win. That's it until Unforgiven.

Next week: Bischoff reveals his Plan C for getting the title off of Cena. There's sure to be a D and E too if necessary. Oh yeah, go Falcons!


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  • Behind Closed Doors: Jake Roberts DVD-R

    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He lives in Central Pennsylvania but roots for the Dallas Cowboys because they taught him how to read when he was a young child. Discuss this unique story and what it's like to be shunned by all of your friends during the NFL season by writing to ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.