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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Storyline given a proper burial
By TJ Madigan

 At 8:13 p.m. on Monday night, TSN pulled the plug on WWE Raw.

After catching an advance feed of that night's funeral-home segment, the Canadian sports giant decided enough was enough.

Within minutes of Triple H walking on camera, they cut to a seven-minute commercial break.

Fox Sports in Australia and Sky TV in the UK also censored the vignette from their broadcasts, while TNN (Raw's home south of the border) allowed the video onto the airwaves but braced itself for the backlash.

I decided I wouldn't waste column space discussing this ridiculous angle -- talking about it only seems to encourage them -- but the new slant on the murder-necrophilia story has kicked up so much fuss that it simply has to be reported.

If you're easily offended (or a WWE stockholder), I suggest you stop reading.

In the opening segment of Raw, Triple H claimed to have camcorder footage of a young Kane assaulting his dead girlfriend. The video turned out to be HHH (impersonating the Big Red Machine) yelling at a dead body in a funeral- home casket.

What Canadian audiences didn't see: Hunter climbing into the casket and worse.

He later uttered a macabre 'punchline' that was, trust me, too tasteless to print here.

By Wednesday afternoon, the WWE had received more than 1,300 formal complaints.

The Internet was flooded with postings from irate wrestling fans, vowing to boycott Raw in protest of the intelligence-insulting piece.

Wrestling writers around the U.S. tore the show to shreds but the WWE were unapologetic.

Their official line: "While the subject matter is sensitive, on balance this was an attempt at dark humour."

Not only were they refusing to back down but, behind the scenes, the writing team was said to be happy with the show.

You see, just like last month's lesbian segment and the infamous Big Fake Gay Wedding, the WWE were actually counting on a media backlash.

They planned on using the negative publicity to attract curious casual viewers but I guess Vince McMahon missed the memo about the death of Crash TV because the only thing he accomplished was embarrassing the few fans the company has left.

The mainstream press ignored the angle, the networks are furious and, in the end, the "shocking" show drew an unimpressive 3.7 rating, down from the previous two weeks.

I guess burying the company is all in a day's work for an increasingly desperate creative genius.

In other news:

* Scott Steiner has officially signed with the WWE. Big Poppa Pump has been a free agent for months now but McMahon was hesitant to sign him since his nagging injuries could force him to wrestle an extremely limited schedule.

The former WCW champion is set to debut for the Raw brand starting Monday.

* The Undertaker (Mark Callaway) is expected to take some time off this week to be with his wife Sara, who is due to give birth any day now.

'Taker is still booked to face Brock Lesner at today's Rebellion pay-per-view in the U.K. but has been written out of storylines ("injured" during the match) for the immediate future.

He may also undergo elbow surgery on his time off.

* If you're anxious to check out some wrestling action that doesn't involve rape, murder or dead bodies, head to Schanks Athletic Club in northwest Calgary tomorrow for HWC's Hybrid Halloween show.

The six-month-old promotion is quickly becoming one of the hottest indie groups around, operating under the watchful eye of head booker Bad News Allen and trainer Rick Titan (the second Razor Ramon).

Gerry Morrow, Gary Williams, Juggernaut and Michael Myers will all be in the ring, showing why HWC is quickly becoming one to watch.

The action kicks off at 7 p.m.


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