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Smackdown's Long army ready for fight
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


If Eric Bischoff wants a fight, Theodore Long is ready, willing and able.

Long brought his Smackdown! troops to the dynamic Homecoming show, the return of WWE to the USA Network in the U.S., on Monday, only to have Bischoff turn out the lights on what would have been a 3-on-3 Smackdown! match.

The night ended in bedlam with Smackdown! heels and heroes standing side by side, slugging RAW (OK, it's once again called Monday Night RAW) heels and heroes.

"I'm hoping the thing between Eric and I is over," said Long, a former referee and manager and currently Smackdown!'s GM. "But ... if Eric wants to continue this ..."

So, Teddy, would you step into the ring to settle the score with RAW's antagonistic GM?

"I'll do what I'm told," he said. "That's what I'm paid for.

"A lot of people think Theodore Long and Smackdown! invaded RAW, but I feel we had just as much right to be represented at Homecoming as they did."

Look for the fight to continue ... perhaps until Survivor Series, where there could very well be a Smackdown! vs. RAW match. Maybe even with heels alongside heroes. Think Big Show and Carlito on the same team. And JBL and Rey Mysterio aligned on the other team. All hell could break loose.

There were many highlights at Homecoming, which lasted a bit more than three hours.

Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mick Foley were bushwhacked by Randy Orton and his daddy, Cowboy Bob Orton.

Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels fought to a draw in the half-hour Ironman match.

Stone Cold Steve Austin returned and stunned The McMahons ... one at a time, all four of them ... in order, Vince, Shane, Stephanie and Linda. It was great to see The Texas Rattlesnake back. His unpredictable nature not so long ago made RAW a can't-miss event.

Hulk Hogan said he would like to fight Austin. A couple of roadblocks with that, though. Austin hasn't fought in several years due to injuries ... and he's not likely to agree to lose to Hogan, a condition that might be vital to The Hulkster.

A bra and panties match with Trish and Ashley taking on Victoria,Candice and Torrie almost featured a bit too much skin, with Candice's panties teasing their way down her leg. Mae Young didn't need to compete to have her shirt come off. So Ted DiBiase offered her $2,000 to put her shirt back on.

WWE legends galore appeared, only to have their in-ring celebration interrupted by Rob Conway. The legends had the last laugh, with Conway getting a Dusty Rhodes elbow, a Superfly Jimmy Snuka splash off the top rope and a Kevin Von Erich claw.

Matt Hardy lost his Loser Leaves RAW ladder match against Edge ... with Lita providing the definitive edge.

John Cena successfully defended his title against Bischoff, despite the efforts of Angle.

And ... Triple H did the inevitable, turning against Ric Flair, whose face was turned into a crimson mask after a savage beating. You can bet The Nature Boy will have plenty to say to Triple H tomorrow night.

A great show, to be sure. Ratings were through the roof in Canada. TSN's ratings were up 75%, with 614,000 just for the Monday showing. That's up from 345,000 the previous Monday and the 351,000 the show averages. The last half hour of the show had 709,000 viewers. Those are stunning increases. The special RAW Exposed had 410,000 viewers, with two timeslots, 3:30 and 12:30.

One question, though. Where was The Rock? The People's Champion would have turned a great show into a spectacular show.

- Long says he enjoyed seeing the legends at Homecoming. "They're the guys that paved the way. I came up in the business with a lot of them," said Long. "Hopefully one day I can walk down and be in that legends position ... and sit in that throne."

- The ratings may not be huge yet, but TNA's Impact is worth checking out Saturdays at 11 p.m. on Spike TV. It's more a throwback to wrestling of days gone by -- except it's amplified by about a hundred, with the competitors pulling off moves you won't believe.

- CPW will hold its next event, Complete Chaos, Oct. 15 at the St-Jean Bosco school gym, 71 St-Jean Bosco St. in Gatineau. Among the matches: Paranoid Jake Matthews vs. Thunder in a No Rules Street Fight and Wild Dangerous Dan and Tray Hugh Mongus vs. Hired Gun Pierre Khoury and Roy Stevens.

tim.baines@ott.sunpub.com