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COMMENT





Raw: Spike TV era gets tabled
By NICK TYLWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


Talk about a lame duck. With Raw moving back to the USA network here in the States next Monday, there's little chance anything of consequence will happen on tonight's show. Wouldn't want to ruin the "Homecoming" now would we? Alas, the show must go on, so let's do it one last time: Raw is live from Waco, Texas on Spike TV.

Maybe I spoke a little too hastily. Tonight's main event is a tag team Tables Match pitting John Cena and Shawn Michaels against Carlito and Chris Masters. Sounds promising, as does Vince McMahon coming down the ramp to kick off the show. I love when he's a face, by the way. People in the front row are actually bowing to him. Vinnie Mac announces that tonight's show is the last one on Spike TV. He thanks Spike instead of blasting it, which would have been more fun. McMahon goes on to do some more promotion for the Homecoming show, but he's interrupted by the arrival of Kurt Angle. Vince says this better be good, but it looks like it's just Kurt whining again about getting another WWE title shot. Of course one good interruption deserves another, so Michaels decides to join the fun. HBK wants to know if winning a match at Unforgiven is the only criteria for getting a title shot, because he won a match too. Kurt reminds the Showstoppa that he tapped out to the Ankle Lock at WrestleMania; Shawn reminds the Olympic Hero of a little Sweet Chin Music at Vengeance. Vince has to step in to stop the squabbling, and he does so by booking the rubber match for next week's Homecoming show. To spice it up, McMahon even makes it a 30-minute Iron Man Match. But that's next week. For tonight, Vince wants to start things off with a championship match. And you know what that means...

Match 1 - Trish Stratus (champion) vs. Victoria (challenger) - Women's Title Match

Stop the presses! Ashley actually changed her clothes. She's there supporting Trish, while Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle are by Victoria's side once again. Stratus hits an early spinning headscissors, but Victoria takes the fight to the floor and hurls Trish into the crowd. Stratus clotheslines her foe off the top of the guard wall, and the other ladies quickly get involved. Victoria hits a somersault leg drop back into the ring for a near fall. A spinning sidewalk slam gets another two count, and the women end up battling on the top rope. Both of them tumble all the way to the floor but quickly return to trade shots in the ring. Trish hits a spinebuster for two, uses the Matrix to get out of trouble and scores with the Stratusfaction. Candice and Torrie storm the ring when she makes the cover, prompting the ref to call for the bell. Torrie gets a Chick Kick for her trouble while Ashley take care of Candice. For our viewing pleasure, Ashley strips Candice down to her bra and panties. Michelle gets pretty upset about it, which is strange considering she's probably been in similar states of undress any number of times. Candice says the women will finish their feud next week in a 3-on-2 Bra and Panties Match. I have no objection to that.

Match 2 - The Big Show vs. Snitsky - Street Fight

Snitsky brings a steel chair to the ring with him but he's the first one to taste it. He grabs some assorted foreign objects from beneath the ring and immediately puts a street sign to good use. Snitsky covers but gets only two. More shots just anger the Big Show, who suplexes Snitsky on top of a trash can. The lid makes a good weapon too, setting Snitsky up for a chokeslam. Show doesn't cover, going under the ring instead to grab a kitchen sink. A shot from the sink puts Snitsky away, and The Coach starts ranting about Spike TV censoring parts of tonight's broadcast. You guys didn't really think they were going to let you just plug away for a show that's going to be on another station starting next week, did you? Well they can't censor me here, so I'm going to say that...

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{Technical difficulties, please stand by...}

Hmm... anyway, a video package takes us back through the high points of the Carlito-Ric Flair feud. Carlito had the most recent laugh, but the Nature Boy is getting comforted by Maria, so I'd say he's doing alright. The commercial break features an ad for a new DVD release called The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm really seeing it, but just seeing Triple H calling the Warrior "the most unprofessional person I ever stepped in the ring with" and Vince saying "I couldn't wait to fire him" has me intrigued. J.R. says that the Ultimate Warrior was invited to be a guest on Byte This with no limits on what he could say, but declined the offer.

Intercontinental champion Flair (and it's weird to type those words) comes to the stage to address Carlito. Ric says he's been jumped plenty of times, but he always comes back and he always gets even. Flair also mentions that he's always had friends to help him, like the Four Horsemen back in the day. But nowadays, Ric says it takes just one. He says he'll be right back, and returns with a sledgehammer. Flair puts over the return of his best friend, Triple H, and a video package ensures we don't forget who he is. Like he'd let us. Elsewhere, Bischoff is discussing Homecoming on his cell phone when his call is forcefully ended by Cena. The WWE champ tells the GM he knows about his karate skills, and that the internet told him that Eric Bischoff is a ninja in four states. That's funny to me. Cena warns Bischoff that he better bring his entire arsenal of ninja weapons when he faces The Champ next Monday.

Match 3 - Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White

Benjamin can't believe that White went out and got himself a caddie. You know, a guy who carries golf clubs. The ref gets the caddie out of the ring as Benjamin and White do battle. Benjamin misses his Stinger Splash, but lands on the top rope and turns to deliver a flying clothesline. Shelton tries to suplex Kerwin in off the apron, but White counters the move in mid-air and lands on top to get the pinfall. Oh yeah, it helped that the caddie was holding Benjamin's foot. Shelton's attempt to get some revenge ends when the caddie breaks a golf club over his back.

A ladder is set up in the ring, awaiting the arrival of Edge and Lita. Ironically, five years ago on the first episode of Raw to air on Spike TV, Matt and Jeff Hardy faced Edge and Christian in a Ladder Match. Lita was proud to support her man Matt back then, but my, my, my, how things have changed. Edge laughs at how the seven steps on the ladder represent the seven days left in Hardy's career. As Edge taunts Hardy from the top of the ladder, Matt sneaks in from the crowd and toys with his foe by rocking the ladder as if he's going to knock it over. Hardy feints like he's going to walk away, then returns to dump Edge painfully to the canvas and out to the floor. Coach and The King finally get in some plugs for the USA network just by saying it so many times that the censors can't keep up with them. Meanwhile, Bischoff is startled by the sudden arrival of Smackdown GM Teddy Long. It seems Long wants to make a deal to get his show some exposure on the Homecoming show, but Bischoff isn't in a dealing mood. An ally arrives in the form of Mr. McMahon, who compares the Homecoming show to a pay-per-view. And since the PPVs sometimes feature both brands, well, you see where he's going with this. Ever the kiss-up, Bischoff claims he was just talking to Long about putting some of his guys on the show. Vince tells Long to put one big match together and announce it Friday (Thursday in Canada) on Smackdown. Eric uses this opportunity to make one last-ditch effort to get Vince to change his mind about making him face Cena. McMahon reminds his GM that he once almost took down the WWE with help from Ted Turner and Time Warner, and he has resources and friends to help him in his struggle next week. Hint, hint.

Match 4 - Val Venis and Viscera vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch

Venis enjoys a strong start against Cade until Murdoch pushes him off the top rope to the floor. The tag champs hit an atomic drop/swinging neckbreaker combo but only get a two count. Venis makes a quick rally and tags his partner, who dishes out punishment to both heels. Cade takes a ride over the top rope, leaving Murdoch to get hit by a big splash and the Money Shot. A cover is made, but Cade slides in just in time to prevent the ref from counting the three. The champs are disqualified, which is strange since this wasn't a title match.

In the locker room, Carlito whines about being in a Tables Match, but The Masterpiece calms him by assuring him that he has a master plan. Get it?

Match 5 - Eugene vs. Rob Conway

Conway gets the better of Eugene by ripping up the stuffed animal that the wrestling savant brought with him to the ring. The Ego Trip puts Eugene away, and Conway stays undefeated on Raw.

The Friday Night Smackdown Rebound chronicles the continuing shenanigans of Eddie Guerrero. A full body cavity search is involved. Batista doesn't seem to know what to make of him either. The announcers run down the card and the various special guests that will be appearing at Homecoming.

Main Event - Carlito and "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters vs. Shawn Michaels and John Cena - Tables Match

All four men scrap in the ring, with our heroes getting the early advantage. The heels set up a table on the floor, but the ref is the first person to go through it (well, bounce off it to be more precise) after Sweet Chin Music intended for Carlito hits him instead. A new ref joins the fun as we take our last commercial break. Cena has Masters up for an F-U when we come back, but he has to stop to deal with Carlito, and Masters takes advantage by sliding down and applying the Master Lock. HBK returns to save his partner and runs right into a Carlito DDT. The faces eventually recover, with Cena giving Carlito the Five Knuckle Shuffle and Masters the F-U. The Champ has a table set up in the ring with Carlito's name on it, but Angle and Bischoff run down to ringside. Angle nails Cena from behind, forcing Michaels to deal with him. HBK goes up top to drop an elbow on Carlito through the table, but never gets the chance before Angle pushes him off the turnbuckle and through the table on the floor. The match is over, though Cena still wants to F-U Angle through the table in the ring. A low blow from Bischoff puts an end to that idea. Angle follows up with an Angle Slam through the table. Bischoff holds the WWE title belt aloft, staring down at Cena to bring the Spike TV era to a close.

Next week: In case you hadn't heard, Raw makes its Homecoming to the USA Network. We're celebrating here at SLAM! Wrestling with a brand new Raw reporter. Who will it be? Join us in seven days to find out.


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  • Order The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior Double DVD

    Nick Tylwalk has been a SLAM! Wrestling contributor since 1998. He's enjoyed his years of covering Raw, and is happy to hand the reigns of the Raw report off to one of his good friends. Write Nick at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com and join him for his new weekly column beginning Monday, October 3.