September 20, 2005
Raw: The feuds roll on
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling
I have a problem with Eric Bischoff. If you're the general manager of Raw and you don't like the WWE champion, instead of making him jump through all kinds of hoops, why don't you just strip him of the title? It's one of those things that doesn't make sense, even using wrestling logic. Fortunately, tonight's show from Wichita Falls may answer that very question.
In case you were wondering if Unforgiven resolved any of the feuds on Raw, the eight-man tag match scheduled for tonight's main event suggests that it probably didn't. And speaking of unresolved, Eric Bischoff heads for the ring with the WWE title slung over his shoulder. He's looking quite pleased, and sharp-eyed SLAM! Wrestling reporter Dale Plummer (currently on hiatus) says the nameplate has Kurt Angle on it. Hmm... Bischoff says there was some confusion at the end of Sunday's main event (you can read about it here) and vows to clear it up with a major announcement. But first he wants to introduce Angle, who joins the GM between the ropes. Citing John Cena's flagrant disregard for authority -- specifically, Bischoff's authority -- Eric announces that he is stripping Cena of the title. He's just about to name Angle the new champ when Vince McMahon's music hits and the boss does his familiar walk down the ramp. Bischoff and Angle think he must be there to congratulate the Olympic Hero, and Angle promises to represent the WWE properly as the new champion. Vince asks who named Kurt the champ, and he wastes no time throwing Bischoff under the bus. The Chairman states that his GM doesn't have the authority to strip Cena and doesn't buy Eric's excuse that the Doctor of Thuganomics roughed him up. So Cena is still the champ since Angle won by DQ, and we all know belts don't change hands on disqualifications. Since he's out there and has an audience, Vince makes his own big announcement concerning Raw's "Homecoming" to USA two weeks from tonight. (Without mentioning USA Network, of course.) He claims it will be the biggest night in the show's history and that Mick Foley, Triple H, Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin will all be there. There will also be a big WWE championship match between Cena and... Bischoff. A suddenly frightened general manager is left to digest that startling development as Vinnie Mac snatches the gold and heads back up the ramp.
After a quick commercial time-out, Bischoff pleads for McMahon to call off the match with Cena, given his preference for working behind the scenes. Vince snickers and points out that Bischoff has the karate thing going for him, but says he'll think about it. Once he's settled into his limo, Vince says he's thought about it, and the match is still on.
Match 1 - Torrie Wilson vs. Trish Stratus
Who else thinks the recent revelation that Candice Michelle was going to pose for Playboy qualifies as one of the least surprising announcements in WWE history? She also needs some new moves, since she can only get so much mileage out of her GoDaddy.com dance. I'd be happy to teach her some. Ahem. Anyway, Victoria interferes almost immediately, so Ashley equalizes things on the outside. Torrie looks to steal one with a roll-up, then turns to pouting to the ref when Stratus kicks out. Trish seizes the moment with a roll-up of her own, getting the pinfall in the process. We all know what's coming next -- the heel ladies engage in a three-on-two beatdown, ending with a Widow's Peak for Trish.
Match 2 - Trevor Murdoch vs. The Hurricane
You have to hand it to Murdoch and Lance Cade for telling everyone they were going to win the tag team titles and then going out and doing exactly that. Murdoch is flying solo here, but Rosey and Cade are still on hand and very much involved. Trevor tries for a DDT, but Hurricane foils him by grabbing the top rope. The super hero hits a running knee, a jumping clothesline and a missile dropkick off the middle rope, but the effort takes a lot out of him and both men end up on the canvas. Hurricane is selling an injury to his left arm, and I'm not sure if it is supposed to be from Unforgiven or this match. It quickly becomes a moot point when Murdoch drops him face first on the middle turnbuckle and hits a DDT to get the duke.
Todd Grisham doesn't need to remind Carlito what happened to him at Unforgiven. Mr. Cool knows he lost his Intercontinental title to Ric Flair, but he swears he'll get it back in the rematch tonight. See? No feuds were harmed during the making of Unforgiven. Elsewhere, Edge demands that Bischoff fire Matt Hardy again, because laying his hands on Lita was taking their feud one step too far. Eric brushes him off, whining about his own problems and how sick he is of Edge and Hardy always trying to kill each other with no end in sight. With that in mind, Bischoff wants to end the feud once and for all with a match at Homecoming. It's going to be a Loser Leaves Raw Match, but also a Ladder Match with Edge's money in the bank briefcase hanging above the ring. Not only will the winner see his most hated rival leave the show, he'll also get a free WWE title shot to use at a time of his choosing. Not too shabby.
Match 3 - Tyson Tomko vs. Eddie Craven
I'm not familiar with Mr. Craven, but it hardly matters since Tomko KO's him with a big boot to the face after about two minutes. Yawn.
Match 4 - Carlito (challenger) vs. Ric Flair (champion) - Intercontinental Title Match
Carlito has to retreat to the relative safety of the floor several times in the early going, not liking the feel of Flair's hard chops. Ric finally gets him to engage in some mat wrestling, and Carlito mounts his first offensive of the match by clotheslining Flair out over the top rope and rolling him back in to batter him in the corner. The Nature Boy battles back, giving Carlito a taste of his own medicine by grabbing an apple from ringside and spitting it in the challenger's face. We break for commercial, returning to find Carlito swung Big Mo (that's momentum to you) in his favor on the ramp. He returns to the ring to use a spinebuster and a suplex to get a pair of near falls. The battle goes back and forth with plenty of chops and right hands until Flair goes up top, and miracle of miracles, he lands a blow from the top for the second night in a row. A chop block weakens Carlito's left knee, and though he gains a brief respite by hurling Flair to the outside, the Nature Boy returns to slap on the Figure Four. Flair holds on to the ropes for an extra edge and makes Carlito tap out to retain his belt. And just in time too -- I'm not sure Ric could have gone much longer at his age.
Todd Grisham wants to talk to Matt Hardy, but Shawn Michaels crashes to say a lot of people are talking about Hardy and Edge's Cage Match, but a lot of people are also buzzing about the Heartbreak Kid beating Chris Masters. Shawn says the Showstoppa stole the show again, but Big Show wanders by and says there is only one show. Cena makes the party complete, and The Champ is anxious for the main event since he has partners that can win with a chokeslam, Sweet Chin Music, a Twist of Fate, and... Cena asks Grisham what it is that he can do. Todd busts out "The Robot." Yes, the dance. Funny stuff. Cena says one move can sum it up for all four men they will be facing: F-U.
The less intelligent but much better looking of Raw's two interviewers (Maria) gets some time with Flair. An enraged Carlito barges in, and he brings help in the form of The Masterpiece. The Master Lock holds the Nature Boy in place for some free shots by Carlito and a shower of chewed up apple pieces. And we can't have a Raw without the Smackdown Rebound, featuring Undertaker getting some measure of revenge on Randy Orton. The other show also has feuds that just won't quit.
Main Event - Kurt Angle, Snitsky, Edge and "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters vs. Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Matt Hardy and John Cena
Cena gets the ball rolling for our heroes, taking it to Edge to the tune of several near falls. Big Show tags in and literally walks all over Edge, which can't feel all that good. Hardy, Masters and HBK all get some time to work, but it's Hardy who ends up in the Master Lock. A Big Show headbutt frees him, and we're off to commercial land. Edge has Hardy in a chinlock, then hits him with a flapjack for two. Snitsky also earns a two count but ends up on the receiving end of the Twist of Fate seconds later. Michaels and Angle both tag in, and Kurt finds himself in trouble until he's able to roll away from Shawn's big elbow off the top. A big melee breaks out and Angle dumps Show over the top rope hard to the floor. Time for one last ad break. We return to find Show still out and Michaels in trouble. He hits a desperation suplex on Angle, but the Olympic Hero recovers quickly and scores with an Angle Slam. Hardy makes the save as Edge Spears Cena off the apron. Somewhere in the chaos Show tags back in and proceeds to clean house. Snitsky finally slows the giant with a south of the border kick, and Edge follows with a Spear for a two count. All four heels put the boots to Show but find themselves repulsed by the big guy's brute strength. Show lifts Hardy overhead and tosses him to the floor to take out two of the villains. Edge goes for his briefcase, but Cena strikes first with his spinning side slam and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Still apparently the legal man, Big Show plants Edge with a chokeslam, and all the faces (Michaels is especially funny sitting on top of the pile) jump on Edge to make sure he stays down for three. The penultimate chapter of Raw's Spike TV era comes to a close with all of our heroes triumphant in the ring.
Next week: Hard to say, as once again we are looking
down the road to the Homecoming on USA in two weeks.
SLAM! Wrestling also has something special planned...
but next week it's just me again.
Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor
since 1998. He wants to make sure everyone has a date
for Homecoming, so if you're having trouble hooking
one up, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and
he'll see if he can put in some good words with the
ladies or the guys, depending on your preference.