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Raw: Surviving a Smackdown invasion
By WRITER X - mystery SLAM! Wrestling correspondent


It's going to be somewhat surreal getting back to business following the very well done Eddie Guerrero tributes last week, but it's going to happen tonight as Raw heads across the pond to Sheffield, England. Survivor Series is only six days away, and much of the build-up is focused on the competition between Raw and its little sister, Smackdown. Dale Plummer can't be here to see it, but we'll hold down the fort for him as a very British edition of Raw hits the air on the USA network. Ironic, eh?

The opening segment recaps the Raw superstars' surprising (sort of) attack on Batista two weeks ago on Smackdown. Kind of makes you wonder why we still have a brand split if you have to watch both shows to know what's going on. The show begins in earnest with Team Raw - consisting of Shawn Michaels, world tag team champs Big Show and Kane, Chris Masters and Carlito - heading to the ring, followed by general manager Eric Bischoff. Eric scoffs at the internet rumors that Teddy Long and the Smackdown boys will be here tonight. You know you just can't trust that internet! Besides, Todd Grisham is on Smackdown Watch out in the parking lot and he's seen no sign of them. Bischoff puts over Show and Kane's assault on Batista, saying nothing can stop his soldiers. The Big Show grabs the mic and begs to differ, claiming the two big guys were there of their own accord and Batista just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Grisham breaks in and announces that JBL's limo has made an appearance, and its passengers are Teddy Long, Batista and the rest of Team Smackdown. Batista says that if the guys from Raw have any guts, they'll come to the parking lot. HBK answers that his squad is on its way, much to the chagrin on Bischoff, who unsuccessfully tries to order Team Raw to stay put.

Just as they are about to reach the parking lot, the members of Team Raw stop to consider the possibility of a trap. Shrugging it off, the five men head out and meet their counterparts. It only takes a second for a donnybrook to break out, with bodies flying everywhere and smashing car windows and such. Show and Kane chokeslam Batista on the hood of a car, and everything comes to a quick halt when Bischoff leads a small army of refs and security guards to break it up. Long calls for medical help for his injured champion.

Match 1 - Ric Flair vs. Trevor Murdoch

Mr. Sour gets the drop on the Nature Boy right after the opening bell, hitting a shoulderblock and a back body drop; Flair battles back with his trademark chops. Ric comes off the top rope but gets caught with a shot to the midsection, and Murdoch goes back on offense. An elbowdrop leads to a near fall, then Murdoch grounds Flair with a submission hold. Trevor rolls down his kneepad and tries for a kneedrop off the turnbuckle, but Flair rolls out of the way just in time. The Nature Boy goes to work on the legs to set up the Figure Four, and while he can't apply his finisher, he does roll Murdoch and grab a handful of tights to get the three count. Triple H cuts any victory celebration short, appearing on the Titan Tron screen to tell Flair that he's going to finish what he started in six days in their Last Man Standing Match. He invites Ric to watch his match tonight for a preview of coming attractions.

Match 2 - Tajiri vs. Rob Conway

We join this one in progress, with Conway feeling the pain of the Tarantula. It's over as quick as its begun thanks to JBL, who lays both men out on the floor. Bradshaw asks rhetorically if Raw wants a fight and challenges anyone to respond. He specifically has a mad on for Masters, but Bischoff appears on the ramp to squash that idea. Telling the Smackdown champ that he's either the dumbest or bravest guy around, Bischoff says he can have a match tonight... but against Michaels, not Masters.

Match 3 - Kurt Angle vs. Shelton Benjamin

Once again, Angle summons Daivari to referee his match. Kurt takes control early, getting some quick two counts and using mat wrestling to slow the pace. Benjamin finally scores with a Samoan drop and a flip over neckbreaker, followed by a spinning heel kick and a baseball slide that sends Angle to the floor. After a struggle on the apron, Shelton hits a DDT and things look sunny. But back inside the ring, Angle gets the Ankle Lock applied, and Benjamin can't figure out how to get to the ropes. He does manage to roll through for a pinning attempt, but Angle reverses it and gets the pinfall. Grabbing the mic, Angle tells the world that he has an announcement coming up that will affect his WWE title match with John Cena at Survivor Series.

And here it is: Daivari will be the referee for all of Angle's matches from here on out, including the bout at the pay-per-view. The probability of a ref bump in that match is so high that Vegas has taken the line off the board. Daivari spouts off in Arabic until Cena appears on screen. The Champ decides to ask some of the Raw superstars if they think Angle sucks, but things don't go quite as planned. Behind door number one, he walks in on the Raw Divas, and Candice Michelle asks him - topless - if he thinks she sucks. Behind door number two, Cena finds Snitsky giving Tyson Tomko some kind of shoulder massage. And behind door number three, he finds the incomprehensible horror known as the Boogeyman. Striking out with the superstars, Cena turns to the fans, who agree that Kurt sucks. Cena charges the ring and goes toe to toe with his rival, eventually tossing him and Daivari out to the floor.

Match 4 - Triple H vs. Val Venis

Settling comfortably into his sacrifical lamb role, Venis gets in the first few shots and clotheslines Hunter over the top rope. Triple H grabs a chair and waffles Venis, earning a quick DQ. To prove his point to Flair, HHH lands quite a few more chair shots and a crushing Pedigree. Thanks for flying to England, Val!

Back in the GM's office, an employee interrupts Bischoff to tell him that Long has requested an audience. Eric tells the dude to show Long in. Viewers of Raw's newfangled internet thingie find out before the rest of us that the two GMs have agreed to make tonight's main event into a Lumberjack Match, with the Survivor Series teams as the lumberjacks.

Match 5 - Candice Michelle vs. Mickie James

This doesn't seem like a fair fight, but to paraphrase Chris Berman, that's why they wrestle the matches. Victoria and Trish Stratus cheer on their respective buddies, with Michelle actually landing some blows after Victoria provides a distraction. James rallies and the ever spunky one goes after Victoria as well. All of a sudden, two guys in ski masks carry Trish away. No, really. Victoria kicks a worried James and Michelle covers to get the duke.

Turns out the masked men are none other than Smackdown tag team MNM, and they take Trish to an undisclosed location so that their manager Melina can speak her mind. Melina thinks it's unfair that she doesn't get a chance to go for the women's title on her show, so she challenges Trish to a title match at Survivor Series. Stratus accepts, and Melina thinks it would be a kick in the head if she won. She's actually speaking literally, as she kicks Stratus and leaves her on the floor. The King leaves the announce table to help her while Joey Styles and The Coach run down the Survivor Series card. Backstage, Maria gives Michaels a chance to plug his new autobiography and tell JBL that he's about to learn what it's like to get Raw.

Main Event - Shawn Michaels vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield - Lumberjack Match

Michaels beats JBL to the punch in the opening exchange of right hands, and the Wrestling God thinks about escaping to the floor until he remembers the lumberjacks. Both men exchange offense until JBL gets the first near fall with a sidewalk slam. Michaels tries to respond by going up top, but he's quickly thrown down and dropped by a running shoulderblock. A missed elbowdrop gives Michaels an opening, and he takes advantage with a clothesline that sends both men tumbling to the floor. The lumberjacks intervene, and Big Show tosses Michaels back into the ring, right onto Bradshaw for a two count. The show breaks for commercial and returns with HBK hitting a sunset flip for two. JBL proceeds to go on a tear, battering Michaels for numerous near falls mixed in with repeated visits to the floor where the Smackdown lumberjacks put the boots to our hero. Shawn gets his second wind with a flying forearm, a nip up, an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. A body slam leaves Layfield a sitting duck for a big elbow off the top, and Michaels tunes up the band. Team Smackdown pulls JBL out of the ring just before he gets kicked in the head, but Michaels slingshots himself out to the floor with a plancha that scatters bodies all over the place. JBL returns to the ring to hit a big boot, and both men end up battling on the top turnbuckle. Michaels punches JBL down and has thoughts of a second elbow until Randy Orton pushes him down. JBL goes for the Clothesline from Hell, but HBK ducks and strikes with Sweet Chin Music. That's the signal for all heck to break loose, beginning with an Orton RKO on Michaels. All the lumberjacks get involved, with Smackdown taking charge until Show and Kane get rolling. Lashley puts up a bit of a fight but still ends up on the business end of a double chokeslam. But wait, there's more. A bandaged Batista runs down to the ring wielding a steel pipe. He easily dispatches Kane and plants Big Show with a spinebuster, leaving Smackdown triumphant on Raw as we say good night.


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  • Wrestlemania: The Complete Anthology DVD Boxset

    Writer X hails from the ever popular Parts Unknown and appears in his luchadore mask to cover Raw when regular reporter Dale Plummer is away. His identity is also unknown, but his writing style is suspiciously similar to that of former Raw reporter and current columnist Nick Tylwalk. Learn his true identity by mailing ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.