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COMMENT





Raw: The long-awaited return of ... Daivari?
By NICK TYWALK -- SLAM! Wrestling


With regular SLAM! Wrestling Raw reporter Dale Plummer off serving his suspension for conduct detrimental to the site, this dependable veteran is stepping up to bring you the first Raw of November. Supposedly there's a fairly big football game being played tonight somewhere too, but we're concerned with what's going on in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. And what's going on, apparently, is most of the roster hanging out on the apron waiting for Eric Bischoff to make his way to the ring. So let's get on with it then. It's Raw, live on USA.

For those curious, yes, Joey Styles is part of a three-man booth with The Coach and The King, though Coachman is quick to point out that it's only temporary. Anyway, Bischoff talks about his Survivor Series challenge to Teddy Long and says he made it because he knows Raw will dominate. Aside from that, he's already made two big matches for the pay-per-view: Triple H versus Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing Match, and Kurt Angle against John Cena (again!) for the WWE Title. But who, Bischoff wonders aloud, will make up Team Raw for the Survivor Series showdown? Tag team champs Kane and Big Show get the first two spots, and the third - and also the team captain - is Shawn Michaels. Bischoff wants to know who else will step up. Carlito is first to speak up, saying he'll skip all the cabanas and concentrate on being the best wrestler in the WWE. Shelton Benjamin isn't impressed, saying Team Raw needs the best athlete on the roster: him, of course. The bickering gives Bischoff an idea, booking the two men to wrestle each other tonight for a spot on the team. And since he's granting wishes, Bischoff gives Cade and Murdoch a rematch for the tag straps (in a hardcore match), lets Gregory Helms have a shot at his ex-partner Rosey and allows Mickie James to ask everyone to applaud Trish Stratus. Eric also plugs tonight's main event, featuring Michaels and Cena against Chris Masters and Angle, but he's forgotten a couple of people. Oh yeah, it's Edge and Lita. Bischoff invites them both into the ring and delivers some bad news: he's sending Edge to Friday Night Smackdown to face Batista in a Street Fight. To add insult to upcoming injury, Raw's GM orders them out of the ring and leads the fans in a rousing rendition of "na, na, na, na... hey, hey, hey... goodbye!"

Match 1 - Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin

I have to say I am not really digging this thing where you need to be logged on to WWE.com to see the beginnings of matches and such. It's all I can do to watch and take notes, much less have the computer going too. Benjamin connects with a rolling neck snap from the apron to the floor, but Carlito attacks Shelton's knee when the fight goes back inside. Benjamin's rally includes a backbreaker and some clotheslines, and he's able to reverse a vertical suplex into his own Northern Lights suplex for a near fall. A fight on the top turnbuckle ends with Shelton missing off the top, and Carlito hits a DDT for a two count. Benjamin hits a Samoan drop but is still selling his knee, leading us into the finale. A series of reversing pinning attempts ends with Carlito on top over by the ropes, and he holds on to get the leverage he needs to steal the pinfall.

Trish Stratus tries to have a long overdue talk with Mickie James about switching to decaf. Sadly, she can't get a word in, and it's time for their match.

Match 2 - Trish Stratus and Mickie James vs. Victoria and Candice Michelle

James shows off a nice-looking hurracanrana, but Victoria scores with a powerslam and Candice low bridges her to the floor. Michelle has learned an actual wrestling move, which happens to be a Tarantula-like move on the ropes. Stratus has enough, comes flying in for a Thesz press, and pretty soon all kinds of foolishness is going on with all four women involved. Out of the chaos, Michelle slides the magic wand she brought to the ring to Victoria, and the vicious vixen lands a wand shot that gets the heels the duke. Yes, you read that right - a magic wand shot.

A long highlight package shows all of us who didn't order Taboo Tuesday - and that was a lot of us, judging by the low buyrate - what we missed. Just still shots for the main events if you please. In the back, Show and Kane discuss strategy for the hardcore tag match, and Kane becomes the second person tonight who needs to lay off the caffeine.

Match 3 - Gregory Helms vs. Rosey

This match between former partners is almost all Rosey, as the big man dominates from the opening bell. Things turn in Helms' favor when he yanks Rosey's head down into the middle turnbuckle, then knocks him off the top turnbuckle. A Shining Wizard leads to a three count for the hero turned villain.

Match 4 - Kane and Big Show (champions) vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch (challengers) - Hardcore Tag Team Title Match

Here we go. Murdoch immediately ticks off Kane with a trash can shot and has to deal with an angry Big Red Machine. His partner cheats on the outside and low bridges the Big Show. Kendo sticks and trash can lids join the fun, and Cade receives a belly-to-back on a trash can. Murdoch ends up inside a trash can and gets sandwiched painfully against the ringpost. The faces follow Cade up the ramp and administer a beating, culminating in a vicious double chokeslam through the announce table. Go ahead and say it Joey: "On my God!" The pin is made and the champs retain.

With 45 minutes still left in the show, it's supposedly time for the main event. Or is it? Angle is introduced and he flips out about the usual "you suck" chant that rings out. Kurt says he's going to do his entrance again, and he demands the respect of the fans this time. Naturally, that just makes it worse the second time, and Angle is really enraged. Maybe the third time will be the charm, but Styles is skeptical. You see where this is heading. Angle has enough, going off about how much he's sacrificed to wrestle for the self-absorbed people. He tells the crowd that they suck, he's leaving and the main event can go straight to hell. Okay then.

Panicked, Bischoff tries to convince Angle not to leave. He finally relents, but only on the conditions that Bischoff prevent the fans from chanting and that he be allowed to hand pick a special guest referee. The ref is no problem, but Bischoff can't figure out how to control the crowd. The GM assures Angle he'll take care of it somehow. Out on the stage, Triple H makes an entrance and sits in a comfy chair. Why? Maybe because of this...

Match 5 - Rob Conway (challenger) vs. Ric Flair (champion) - Intercontinental Title Match

Flair hits a hip toss and some chops and taunts Triple H. Conway strikes from behind with a pair of swinging neckbreakers, but the Nature Boy responds by grabbing somewhere south of the border. Flair keeps it rolling with an axhandle off the top rope and a vertical suplex, and it's time for the Figure Four. Conway taps out just as Helmsley reaches the ring to choke Flair with a chain. The ref takes a shot and the melee spills out into the crowd, where the two enemies continue to fight until enough referees and agents show up to pull them apart.

The Smackdown Rebound asks if the Undertaker is really dead? Um, probably not, I'm guessing. In Bischoff's office, Lita tries to persuade the GM not to send Edge to Smackdown by showing off her breasts. Bischoff declines the implied offer, calling her a slut after she slinks away.

Main Event - Chris Masters and Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels and John Cena

The "you suck" chants are beeped out, which is pretty funny, but also pretty dumb considering Angle can still hear them in the arena. Right? It also turns out that Angle's hand-picked ref is Daivari, who was last seen a while back on Smackdown and seems like a strange choice in any case. He shows immediate bias for the heels, leading to a lot of back and forth between Styles and Coachman. Cena runs into some early trouble in the heel corner, rallying with a hip toss and a fisherman's suplex on Masters. Michaels tags in but has to punch his way out of a bearhug by Masters - and quickly, since Daivari is looking for any excuse to call for the bell. Angle tags in and looks for an Angle Slam, but HBK reverses it into a DDT. Cena gets the hot tag and scores with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, though Masters prevents an F-U. The action goes back and forth until Michaels tags back in for the good guys. He trades with Masters, hits the flying forearm and nips up. A body slam follows, but Angle slides in a steel chair and Masters puts it to good use. Michaels grabs the chair and swings wildly; conveniently Daivari sees this and calls for the bell. HBK serves up Sweet Chin Music to Masters anyway, and Angle is about to get an F-U when Daivari nails Cena with a chair shot. An incensed Joey Styles signs off by talking about how much this situation sucks, and we're out of here for another seven days.


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    Nick Tylwalk has been a member of the SLAM! Wrestling family since 1998. He'd like everyone to know that Dale is not really suspended, but instead is off helping the Applebee's restaurant chain continue its plans for world domination by conquering one small town at a time. Join the resistance by e-mailing ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.