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   Tue, September 12, 2006



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Raw: Trish has two words - good bye
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


It seems as though any WWE show at Madison Square Garden has a special touch to it, and tonight's show was no different. With Vince McMahon vs. Triple H and Trish Stratus's last free TV match, there was certainly enough to go around tonight. Let's see what happened on The Score.

We kicked off tonight's program, fittingly, with a moment of silence in honour of 9/11 and Lillian Garcia singing America the Beautiful. Someone explain this to me, because I've never understood it - why do they sing America the Beautiful as opposed to the national anthem?

Match 1 - Ric Flair vs. Umaga

Umaga physically dominates the match and no-sells everything from Slick Ric. Eventually, Flair gets a chair and the official proceedings are officially done.

Winner: Umaga (DQ)

Post-match, the further Flair attacks have no effect on the Samoan Bulldozer. Eventually Kane comes out, and gets much the same treatment for a while, but eventually gets the advantage, at one point throwing the steps at Umaga whie the Samoan was outside the ring. That was actually quite the visual.

Outside we go and Vince and Shane McMahon are checking out the marquee and Walk of Fame. They point out the plaque bearing Vinnie's name. Gee, what do you think will happen out there tonight?

Back to the ring, we get the New York Police Department Emerald Society playing bagpipes and drums, and sure enough, the Highlanders come out, with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Piper shills the WWE Magazine for a bit then has some fun with the Highlanders. Eventually, the Spirit Squad comes out. The end result is a 6-man tag between the groups.

Match 2 - "Rowdy" Roddy Piper/The Highlanders vs. The Spirit Squad

Our Spirit Squad tonight consists of Johnny, Mikey and Kenny. Anyone else ever notice that Mitch is the least active of all the Squads? Seriously. Look at the archives at any 4-man matches involving the Squad and you'll see, each and every time, that Mitch never wrestles.

The match itself is decent, naturally leading to Piper getting the pin. Now, somehow I doubt this goes anywhere except the Highlanders losing on Sunday.

Winner: Piper/The Highlanders

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews Melina and Johnny Nitro, which I muted to save myself from falling asleep. To entertain me, Jeff Hardy makes a painting then watches it dry. Nitro and Melina notice this and get PETA'd with paint buckets as a result. Decent little segment.

Match 3 - Edge/Johnny Nitro/Randy Orton vs. John Cena/Jeff Hardy/Carlito

Pre-match, Edge gets a few shots in on Cena and gets a rap going. He's decent, but he's no Christian.

The New York crowd does a good job in preparing Cena for his reception Sunday. The match goes extremely strong with a good mix of combinations. Edge and Carlito have a hot segment and the "gen-next" dream bout of Orton vs. Cena gets a teaser as well. As much as anything else, the crowd keeps this match hot. The action goes back and forth between the teams. At one point, Hardy goes for a version of a Tope Con Sabu, vaulting off Carlito, but gets tripped up in the ropes. It looked pretty ugly, but he was okay.

Hardy, in fact, recovers from the situation and takes most of the heel heat segment. Then it's Carlito's turn and the crowd, I must say, is absolutely rabid for the Carribean sensation. As one might expect, Cena gets the hottest tag and wins the match for his team, getting Nitro to tap to the STFU. Hot, hot match by Raw's version of the Smackdown Six.

Winners: Carlito/Cena/Hardy

Up next is a promo for Cryme Tyme. If these weren't as campy as the Los Guerreros segments, they'd be offensive, but as is, they're pretty damn good.

Backstage we go and Vince and Shane are chatting up Vinnie Mac's MSG debut.

Match 4 - Super Crazy vs. Chris Masters

This, of course, is a rematch from last week, and once again, Super Crazy gets the duke, this time in a very short match.

Winner: Super Crazy

Match 5 - Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus

Both women work their butts off to not only make this match memorable as Stratus's last on Raw, but also as a solid bout. Lita attempts to interfere, but Trish instead uses here as a push-off for the Stratusfaction.

Winner: Trish Stratus

Post-match, Stratus gives a short farewell speech.

Backstage, after the PPV rundown, DX is confronted first by Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, then gang-beaten by the duo, Shane O' Mac and Big Show. Once DX is down, Vince comes in and declares the match with Triple H no holds barred.

Match 6 - Vince McMahon vs. Triple H (No Holds Barred match)

Triple H comes out with a stream of blood from his ear to his navel. I guess this is the "The More You Know" moment of the week - lesson being that there's a hell of a lot of blood inside your ear.

Vince, naturally, dominates the start of the bout, using his belt. In fact, he is all offence until he hits a Pedigree on the Cerebral Assassin, which causes Triple H to, as they say, "Hulk Up." Shortly, Shane comes out to help his father. Eventually, Shawn Michaels comes out, followed soon after by Big Show. In all the confusion, Triple H grabs the sledgehammer but is unable to use it. Instead, Vince uses it on Triple H's skull and gets the W.

Winner: Vince McMahon

Well, the evening was fairly good with two above-average matches and a couple good retro moments and certainly was solid in terms of being a go-home show before Unforgiven.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.