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Raw: New tag champs; Batista still has it
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


As the United States heads toward a historic election, members of the WWE Universe just saw their votes counted at Cyber Sunday. Raw is headed for some history of its own next week as it celebrates 800 episodes and a dozen storylines. First though, we go to Tucson, Arizona for a show anchored by a tag team match pitting new world heavyweight champion Batista and Shawn Michaels against Chris Jericho and JBL.

The show begins with a silent tribute for Conrad Efraim, better known as Special Delivery Jones, who passed away on Sunday. A quick recap is shown of the main event from Cyber Sunday, which was a good match -- if your idea of a good match is having as many people as possible interfere.

A bitter Jericho addresses the crowd first. He thinks Batista should be ashamed to call himself the champion since it took "an army" to win the belt. Heís dying to get his hands on Michaels and the new champ tonight, and he also has a rematch clause that he intends to exercise next week. That brings General Manager Mike Adamle to the ring with a big announcement: to avoid the kind of chaos that happened on Sunday, heís making the rematch a Steel Cage Match. Jericho is none too pleased, and he bumps Adamle on his way out of the ramp. He also passes someone even more ticked with the GM in the form of Randy Orton. The Legend Killer states that heís not fully recovered from injury and should not have been put in harmís way by being forced to participate as a back-up referee at Cyber Sunday -- where he got a Stone Cold Stunner as his reward. Orton appeals to Shane and Stephanie McMahon and asks them to come to Raw next week to fire Adamle. If they donít, he says he will quit. Orton also gets in Adamleís face and calls him a failure as an interviewer, an announcer (truth hurts), a GM and probably a father and husband too. He also calls him spineless, but Adamle slaps him in the face. Orton fumes but storms off without further action, and Adamle looks surprised he had it in himself.

Match 1 - CM Punk and Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase - World Tag Team Title Match

Punk does some early flying before we go to commercial. Both faces take turns absorbing a beating as the second generation heels show they learned a thing or two about distracting the ref and sneaking in cheap shots. Punk is the one who gets the hot tag, but Kingston has the most impressive spot when he leapfrogs his own partner to take Rhodes to the floor. DiBiase is crushed with a GTS, and just like that, weíve got new tag team champions.

Recent Cyber Sunday candidates Roddy Piper, Goldust and Honky Tonk Man come down to do guest commentary. Personally, I think these three doing commentary tracks on future DVD releases would be wildly entertaining. WWE, think about it! In any case, Santino unveils the latest edition of the Honk-A-Meter and finds that he has just over one year to go. He also points to the guest commentators and warns the ladies in the crowd that this is what happens when you do drugs during pregnancy. Heís about to continue when heís interrupted by Charlie Haas dressed as Beth Phoenix. And yes, thatís just as disturbing as it sounds.

Match 2 - Santino Marella vs. Charlie Haas - Intercontinental Title Match

Actually, this one never really gets started. Marella heads for the announce table and slaps Honky Tonk Man. He tries to retreat but is cut off by Piper and Goldust. Honky sneaks into the ring and lays him out with a guitar shot. Nice.

A video package promotes Mike Knox and his impending arrival on Raw. An unstoppable wrecking machine -- now thereís a gimmick we havenít seen before! And did you know WWE.com gets more monthly visits than NFL.com, UFC.com, Maxim.com, FHM.com and NASCAR.com combined? You canít prove itís not true!

Michael Cole gets a few words in the ring with Batista, and I mean only a few. He says it was a long road back to the title, but the WWE Universe was with him all the way. Special thanks to all the fans in the Alpha Centauri system. When asked if heís concerned about his upcoming cage match with Jericho, he laughs and says, "No." Batista says Jericho will have nowhere to hide and no excuses.

Match 3 - Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle and Mickie James vs. Jillian, Layla and Katie Lea

At least this match is easy on the eyes. Also Mickie can actually wrestle, and some of the other ladies, oops, I mean Divas, are improving. Kelly is one of them, and she wrecks Katie with the K2 to get the pinfall.

JBL appears on the screen to express his displeasure with Michaels costing him a lot of money. Apparently he had struck a deal with Jericho to ensure he kept his title in return for getting the first shot at it after Cyber Sunday. Layfield promises Michaels will learn that nobody crosses JBL. Also, next weekís milestone episode of Raw will be a three-hour affair. The risk of carpal tunnel syndrome for recappers like me is high.

Match 4 - Rey Mysterio vs. Evan Bourne

Earlier tonight, there was an expression of mutual respect between these two men that carries over to a pre-match handshake. Neither man can get the upper hand early, leading to a stalemate at the commercial break. Rey later misses a springboard move and looks like he may have hurt his knee. He continues on, hitting his next springboard move but getting caught by Bourneís running enzuigiri. He also hits a standing moonsault but itís not enough to put Mysterio away. Rey hits the 619 but Bourne escapes the follow-up. He tries a flipping roll-up, but Mysterio rolls through one more time and manages to hold on for three. They shake hands again, and a familiar burst of flames signals the arrival of Kane. Bourne sticks around to prevent Kane from unmasking Rey, but Mark Henry soon arrives to even the odds. A chokeslam to Rey and a Worldís Strongest Slam to Evan leaves the big men triumphant. Smart money says a tag team match next week.

The latest in a long series of video packages on John Cena is aired. Fortunately he will be back soon. Back in the arena, John Morrison and The Miz come to the stage to do some posing and insult D-Generation X. The young upstarts will take on DX on the anniversary show, and they also promise a special Dirt Sheet on tomorrow nightís ECW broadcast. Iím going to nod my head and act like I know what that means.

Main Event - Chris Jericho and JBL vs. Batista and Shawn Michaels

Right after Jerichoís introduction, we cut to the back to see JBL smashing Michaels and leaving him out cold. Looks like this may be a handicap match. Thatís how it starts out, but Batista pulls himself together and sends both his foes out to the floor before the obligatory commercial break. The champ is still in charge when we return, but JBL distracts him and Jericho strikes with an enzuigiri. Both heels get in some licks until Batista catches Jericho with a clothesline coming off the top rope. He runs wild on both heels and sets up Jericho for a Batista Bomb, but Chris counters with a Code Breaker. A slow cover means Batista is able to kick out at two. JBL tags in and hits a big boot to the face. He goes for a Clothesline from Hell, but Batista ducks and scores with a spear. True to form, Michaels chooses this moment to limp down the ramp and join in the fun. He gets the hot tag, but the ref doesnít see it. No matter, as Batista ducks under an attempted belt shot from Jericho. While HBK sends Jericho scurrying away, Batista nails JBL with a spinebuster and a Batista Bomb to wrap up the match and the show. Three, yes, three hours next week!

Nick Tylwalk hopes that once and future Raw reporter Dale Plummer is okay after he rented a car and drove to Philly to celebrate a World Series win that was delayed by Mother Nature. Report all sightings of Dale sleeping in random parking lots in a van to ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.