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COMMENT





Not just another manic Monday
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun




Monday's edition of Raw is going to be the biggest in history.

Rolling your eyes? You should be. WWE bosses make the 'biggest episode ever' claim about as often as Terrell Owens acts like he's the centre of the universe and usually both suggestions are full of you-know-what.

But this coming Monday, it's OK to believe the hype.

In fact, forget being the biggest Raw in history, Monday's show will probably even wipe the floor with all but a few of WWE's biggest pay-per-views.

The occasion is Raw's move from Spike TV to the USA Network and the end result is what some insiders are calling the start of the new Monday Night War.

It's a back-and-forth counter-programming battle, with both networks scheduling and re-scheduling shows to get a leg up in the ratings tug-of-war on the night of the big switch. The grand total: 10 hours of first-run fight programming dominating the airwaves.

WWE Raw will be a three-hour special on USA Network, with the returns of Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

A plethora of old timers are also coming out of the woodwork to make cameos, ranging from Rowdy Roddy Piper and Koko B. Ware to Superfly Jimmy Snuka and Superstar Billy Graham. Short of bringing Andre the Giant back from the dead, there's not too much more WWE could do to load this show with nostalgia and star power.

The match list runs like a PPV show, with John Cena defending his WWE title against Eric Bischoff; Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels going at it in a 30-minute iron man match and Matt Hardy wrestling in what's expected to be his last match on Raw against Edge.

USA will also air a WWE best-of show before and after Raw, just to make sure there's minimal chance of post-Raw channel surfing.

In Canada, the three-hour Raw will air on TSN at 7 p.m. followed by the best-of show at 10:30 p.m. after SportsCentre.

Over on Spike TV, the counter-programming begins at 5 p.m. with two hours of archive UFC shows, followed by a two-hour live fight special with Evan Tanner, Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck in action. After that, it's the latest episode of the Ultimate Fighter reality show, then the Spike TV premiere episode of TNA Impact at 10 p.m.

The Monday night battle lines have been drawn and there's no question the fight is going to be dirty.