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   Tue, December 20, 2005



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COMMENT





Raw pays tribute to the troops
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


Say what you will about Vince McMahon, but the man is patriotic through and through. And for the third year in a row, Vince has taken his boys overseas to visit and perform with American troops that will not be home for the holidays. First it was Kuwait, last year from the war zone in Baghdad, and tonight Monday Night Raw is hosting the tribute to the troops from Bagram, Afghanistan, so take that UPN!

That being said, since this is a tribute show, I will try my best to play it straight. Even though Candace Michelle will be wrestling, I'll try not to take shots at anyone. Although I will say, this show is almost like a televised house show, and that's not a bad thing. We get a lot of matches, good wrestling, and no storylines to get in the way. And I give credit to the production crew over at WWE for the great package showing as many troops as they can, sending wishes home, and letting loved one know they are okay.

Vince kicks off the show, strutting to the ring. Vince blasts the U.S. media for forgetting about the troops and not covering the good they are doing in Afghanistan. Vince then introduces Lillian Garcia to sing the National Anthem. Even though Joey Styles and the King are back in the States, they inform us that it's only in the 30s with the wind chill, and Lillian is sporting a bikini. Now that's dedication.

Match # 1 ? Carlito vs. The Big Show

Carlito tries to hide behind the ref and the turnbuckle to start the match. Show finds him, and even though Carlito mounts some offense, it's not enough. Carlito climbs the turnbuckle, but leaps into the grasp of Show. A choke slam finishes off Carlito, and Show covers for the pin.

Winner via pinfall: The Big Show

Looks like Coach made the trip; does this mean RAW is going back to a two-man booth? (Please, oh, please Santa! I've been a good boy this year.) Coachman introduces Santa Claus, and Saint Nick walks out in desert cammo Santa suit. "Santa" runs down Afghanistan and announces he's canceling Christmas next year, along with the rest of the holidays, and the soldiers leave. (That really fires up the troops. And this Santa sounds a lot like JBL.) Another Santa hits the ring, and he's a lot fatter. This good Santa challenges the bad Santa to a No Ho-Ho-Ho-Holds Barred Match.

Match # 2 ? Good Santa (Mick Foley) vs. Bad Santa (JBL)

JBL grabs the upper hand, but Foley responds with a bag of toys shot to the head. Foley then produces a pair of salad tongs, and drags JBL by the chestnuts. Foley starts to take off his costume, and he nails JBL with a pillow, that he thankfully doesn't sell. Foley runs into a big boot. Foley then pulls out Mr. Socko, and slaps the mandible claw on JBL, and JBL taps.

Winner via submission: Mick Foley

Highlights from the Afghani press conference are shown.

Match #3 ? Shelton Benjamin vs. Snitsky

Snitsky exposes the turnbuckle to start the match. He sets Benji up for a vertical suplex, but Shelton counters into a neckbreaker. Benji follows with a flying forearm. Snitsky dodges a corner splash, and Benjamin hits the exposed turnbuckle. A big boot sends Benji to the mat, and Snitsky covers for the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Snitsky

Match #4 ? John Cena vs. Chris Masters

The best part of the show was the troops next to the entrance mocking Masters entrance, and they were standing right next to him. Good stuff. Masters and Cena trade headlocks, until Masters is tossed from the ring. Cena follows, but Masters smashes him into the ring steps. Both men roll back into the ring, and Masters slaps on the Master Lock. Cena almost breaks the hold, but Masters releases it before he has the chance. Masters climbs the turnbuckle, but Cena get a boot up to block a fist drop. Cena nails him with a clothesline, and follows up with a side slam. Cena pulls out the five-knuckle shuffle, and finishes Masters off with the F-U.

Winner via pinfall: John Cena

Coach is in the ring again. This time he calls Ric Flair out to the ring. Coach congratulates Flair on his farewell tour, and then challenges Flair for his Intercontinental Title.

Match #5 ? The Coach vs. Ric Flair ? Intercontinental Title Match

Coach lays out Flair with a reverse elbow, and then tries to choke out Flair with his shirt. Flair fights back with a series of chops (and in 30 degree weather that has gotta sting). Flair distracts the ref, and goes downstairs on Coach. The Nature Boy locks in the figure four, and Coach taps.

Winner via submission: Ric Flair

Match #6 ? Trish Stratus and Ashley vs. Candace Michelle and Maria ? Santa's Helper Diva Match

Columnist Nick Tylwalk's observation during this match, "What does it say when Candace is the strongest wrestler on her team? Wait, what does it say when Ashley is the second best wrestler in the match?" I think that about sums it up.

Winner via pinfall: Candace and Maria

Match #7 ? HHH vs. Shawn Michaels ? Boot Camp Match

There are no rules in a Boot Camp Match. The fight spills up the ramp, and HBK nails HHH with a sand bag, but Trips fights back with a gas can shot to Michaels. The fight heads back to the ring, and the ref takes a bump. HHH doesn't like the new ref, as HHH didn't get a pinfall, and he knocks out the second guy. HBK blocks a fist drop, and then hits a flying forearm off the ropes. Michaels kips up, and nails an inverted atomic drop. HBK drops an elbow, and warms up the band. HHH ducks Sweet Chin Music, and sets Michaels up for a pedigree. HBK counters, and catapults HHH into the turnbuckle. Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music, and gets the clean pin on HHH.

Winner via pinfall: Shawn Michaels


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    Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale would like to send holiday wishes to all the troops that cannot be home for the holidays. He hopes that they will all come home safe and sound as soon as the job is done. You can email Dale at Dplummer627@yahoo.com.