Prag begins an epic defense of Eric Bischoff: Eric Bischoff brought 'rasslin back to wrestling.
The legendary David Campbell has his last XP report for a while, and busts out a thirteen-word, three-exclamation-mark name for the DAVEBOMB that comes with a 1 and an 'at' sign. I hope I get to use it tonight...
Fried has a very special UK edition of Velocity, featuring some very special booking of Charlie Haas. As in, especially questionable.
P has one of my old guilty pleasures, the pre-PPV Heat.
... oh yeah, that Randle guy. All the praise he mustered for the new Family Guy was an admission that it had its moments. I will not stand for this. That opening gag was gold. So was the rest of the show. Let this be a warning to all 411 staffers: If you write a Sunday or Monday column and mention Family Guy without heaping adequate praise on it, you get a low low pimp in Background Material. No one is safe.
Then again, Randle did pump up the world's coolest baseball team, the mighty Toronto Fightin' Jays, 14-12 heading into a titanic road series with the mighty 17-7 Baltimore Orioles, winners of eight straight. And AL Rookie of the Month Gustavo Chacin has them riding a 2-0 lead into the sixth. Awesome.
OK, it's time for the backlash from Backlash. Let's do this...
411's WWE RAW REPORT - 05.02.05
Backstage, Christy Hemme congratulates Batista on winning his title match against HHH. Eric Bischoff barges in to congratulate him too. He announces an eight-man tournament to name the #1 Contender for the World Title. He calls it the Gold Rush Tournament. The eight men who are in it won't even know who they're facing until they're already in the ring. Intrigue! Bischoff also gives Batista the night off, but Batista refuses, saying he'd prefer to hang around for the night. Actually, since he's on a roll, he wants a match tonight, and was trying to come up with a suitable opponent. Someone brave, powerful -- brave and powerful enough to challenge Vince McMahon. And he gets in Bischoff's face, demanding a match RIGHT NOW! Bischoff begs off. Batista tells him to lighten up -- "Maybe you need the night off." -- and walks off with Christy.
PYRO! Move to his music, because we are LIVE once again from Boston. Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. The Gold Rush tournament starts tonight, with the following match!
Match #1: Christian (w/ Tyson Tomko) vs Kane (w/ Lita)
There's a little dramatic pause after Lilian says "And his opponent...," which is cool. Christian bails from the ring upon seeing Kane's pyro. Continuity! Lita still has a crutch. He heads back in, and the bell rings. Captain Charisma talks some trash. They lock up. Kane shoves him out of the ring. Tomko helps Christian recover. He heads back in. Christian sneaks out of the lockup and gets some punches, but runs the ropes right into a boot, and Kane clotheslines him out. Kane heads out, and Tomko distracts Referee Jack Doan. Kane thinks something is up, but the joke's on him -- nothing is, and he just runs into a drop toe hold into the ring steps from Christian. Then Christian distracts Doan, allowing Tomko to get some cheap shots before Christian gets Kane with a plancha! Christian covers for two. He gets some stomping and such against the ropes. He gets punches, too, but Kane fights back and floors him with two rights. But Christian puts Kane in the corner somehow and gets a boot choke. Christian uses a blatant choke against the second rope, standing on Kane's neck in the process. That spot rules. Christian hits the inverted DDT for two. He tries to undo a turnbuckle... and Kane sits up. Kane gets a clothesline. Kane gets a whip and sends Christian flying. Christian blocks an avalanche, but walks into a chokeslam attempt. But Christian COUNTERS to a sleeper! Kane reverses that to a sidewalk slam. Kane heads up, but gets crotched. Christian tries the Unprettier! Kane reverses. He tries the Tombstone, but Christian escapes and motions to Tomko to get on the apron. He does, but Kane reverses a whip and Tomko headbutts Christian. Oops. Chokeslam, three, winner!
Winner: Kane via pinfall (4:41)
This was a spirited little match.
Post-match, Tomko heads in and tries to whip Kane. It's reversed, and Kane boots him. Chokeslam is academic.
Backstage, Christian is still running from Kane... where he meets Ric Flair. Continuity SQUARED! Flair asks him whether he just lost. He asks him whether he said something about Flair and Triple H last night during his rap. Christian swears he doesn't remember. Flair offers a rap to Christian. "You lost the match, kid, so take it from the Naitch / The winner of this tournament will be HHH. Woo!"
He struts. "Woo!" He leaves.
Christian: "I hate that guy." Everything Christian does these days is gold.
We return with a video package of the buildup to Hulk Hogan's return last night, set to a crowd screaming "one more match!"
And this segues nicely into Muhammad Hassan & Khosrow Daivari walking out in suits.
["USA!"] Daivari provides an introduction. Hassan basks in it and takes the stick. "I'm out here tonight because I will not allow this injustice to go without confrontation. Namely, I"m talking about the fact that I am undefeated - undefeated! - on Raw, and yet again, I'm excluded from the Gold Rush tournament. Just like I was excluded from Wrestlemania by the prejudiced administration staff of the WWE." ["You suck!"] "And why was I excluded! Was it because of what happened last night at Backlash? What happened to me at Backlash was a travesty. And I blame Shawn Michaels, and I blame your so-called American hero Hulk Hogan, but most importantly, I blame each and every single one of you. But there is one more person that needs to be held accountable for their actions." Dramatic pause... and he points to Daivari. "You.
"Last night, I had Michaels and Hogan on their knees, and you blew it, and you know it. Last night, I could've been a legend. I could've became an icon, and you blew it. You blew it." Slap!
Daivari takes some time to recover. So Hassan kicks him. "I could've been a legend." He starts to leave, but kicks him in the head one more time instead. ["Hogan!"] Yeah, he's coming out. Hassan gets on the apron and hops off. Daivari rolls out of the ring behind him and follows him from a distance, selling the pain and begging for forgiveness as well as one can from a distance.
Viscera is here. He hits the ring with mic in hand.
"Last night, I proved just how physical I can be. And I also proved my hunger for love. Which brings me to you, Lilian Garcia. Yeah. You see, I'm sure you know that I'm a big man. And I like to eat spicy. And seeing that you are a spicy Latina, why don't you let me go south of the border tonight? Like this --"
Simon Dean is here. "Vis! Hold on man! You'er going about this all wrong! See women, they don't want men who are out of shape like you or David Wells, no! They want a man who's in shape. They want Greek Gods like me." Dean is here to help him. The Simon System will help him stop causing solar eclipses when he greets women at their front doors. "From one badass to another, instead of having a match tonight, how about I offer you a lifetime supply of my patented Simon System." A lifetime supply because, of course, it'll take a lifetime for Simon's products to do their work. Just like they will for everyone here in Boston. "You disgusting, ugly, fat --"
This prompts Viscera to attack.
Match #2: Viscera vs Simon Dean
He gets a whip. Simon baseball slides under, but his punches are no-sold, and Vis just shoves him. Simon walks into a bodyslam. JR says Viscera impressed him last night at Backlash. Vis puts Simon in the Tree of Woe, and hits Rikishi's running butt-bump. Vis misses a running elbow, though, and Simon covers for two as Vis kicks out with authority and gets up. Simon charges and gets knocked down hard, and Vis finishes him with the running splash.
Winner: Viscera via pinfall (1:29)
Post-match. "Lilian, I just want you to know, and every woman in the world, to know that Big Vis is back on the market. The black market." He slaps her on the buttocks and walks off. Lilian is quite confused.
Stacy Keibler and Candice marvel at Stacy's pictures in "Stuff" magazine. Eric Bischoff asks what magazine it is, so that it can be said on air. King mentions it too.
Bischoff walks into his office. Triple H thought he'd hang out looking for answers to some of his questions, like "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, ERIC?" A tournament? HHH should be the champ already. HHH did what he said he'd do: hit the Pedigree, but the incompetent referees screwed him by counting too slowly. There is no need for a tournament! HHH needs a rematch now. "You owe me that."
Bischoff says that if HHH keeps trashing the refs, he won't even be in the tournament. Until HHH reassumes any trust, he's going to do things his way.
"You tell Batista he's on borrowed time. I don't care who I have to go through. I will get my rematch, and I will be the World Heavyweight Champion again."
Backstage, Maria has Shelton Benjamin. She asks if he's nervous. He's not. He's a champ.
Chris Jericho barges in. Shelton: "I don't see your guitarist. No concert?" Jericho says last night, he lost, and he was impressed. Jericho has respect. "Fact is, Shelton, you're nobody's bitch."
Shelton asks whether that's suppsoed to mean something. Jericho asks whether Shelton's in the Gold Rush tournament. Turns out they both are, and Jericho even raises the possibility that they might face each other next.
Jericho says this could be his last shot at a 1-on-1 world title match, something he hasn't had in three years. He'd give everything up for a chance to be the champ one more time. "I can respect that. Best of luck." And off goes Shelton. Jericho smiles and nods.
And we close the segment with a tribute to Chris Candido, 1972-2005.
Match #3: Shelton Benjamin vs... Shawn Michaels
This is another quarterfinal match. They lock up. Shawn gets a waistlock takedown, reversed by Shelton, and Michaels bails to the ropes as quickly as he can, fighting out of a bunch of holds. Senior Official Earl Hebner makes Shelton break. ["HBK!"] They lock up again. Shelton gets a headlock, reversed to a hammerlock, reversed again by Shelton, reversed again by Shawn, and Shawn gets the waistlock takedown again. Shelton easily reverses, and Michaels gets to the ropes. Shelton shakes his head. Nuh-uh. Not gonna beat him at that game. Another HBK chant. Shawn gets a headlock takedown. Shelton gets up and sends him into the ropes, but Shawn gets a shoulderblock. Shawn gets a whip and blocks a hiptoss with a hiptoss, but bends over into a kick to the head, and Shelton gets a pair of armdrag takedowns. They're still even. They pace around again. Shelton gets a headlock takedown and hangs on for two. Shawn manages to get a pinning position out of it for two. Shelton keeps hanging on, so Shawn has to get to his feet to escape. Shelton sends him out of a headlock of his own, but Shawn gets a shoulderblock and a crazy rollup out of nowhere that I have no idea how to identify for two. He gets a running forearm and a chop, but Shelton leapfrogs him after getting whipped. He clotheslines Shawn out, and both men are on the outside, though Shawn doesn't land on his feet. Shelton heads back in; Shawn recovers on the outside, and you know what that means. Ad Break! (4:33)
Ad Break ends (7:35)
We're back, and Shawn is lined up to hit a back superplex. He tries to hit it, but Shelton reverses and hits a sort of cross body to crush Shawn! Backstage, Batista is watching interestedly. Shawn tries to fight to his feet, but Shelton whips him and hits a Samoan drop. They get up about the same time, and Shawn wins the slugfest. Shawn reverses a whip, but Shelton gets a forearm and an armdrag. He gets a clothesline. He ducks a clothesline and hits a full nelson into a backbreaker. Yowza! It gets two. Shelton gets a whip. But he lowers his head, and Shawn kicks him. SHawn gets a chop, but Shelton reverses a whip. Shawn gets the forearm anyway. And he kips up at 7, crazy backbreaker be damned. Shelton kips up. But Shawn blocks a kick and tries a Northern Lights suplex. Shetlon sneaks out with a cradle, reversed by Shawn, reversed by Shelton, reversed, reversed again by Shelton and he covers for two. Shawn kicks Shelton to buy some time. Nice sequence. Shawn puts Shelton in the corner. He unloads more chops. But Shelton gets some shots in the opposite corner. He tries the Exploder, but Shawn blocks and reverses to a backdrop. The 10-count starts again. Shawn gets up by the ropes and tries the superkick, blocked. Shelton tries one, blocked... LEG LARIAT! One... two... NO! Awesome sequence, and awesome writing. Shelton puts Shawn up top, presumably for a superplex of his own. Shawn shoves him off and hits the flying elbow! Shawn tunes up the band for the superkick... blocked! Shelton hits Trish's big kick to the side of the head... two! Shelton waits for Shawn to start to get up, then flies onto the top turnbuckle and hits a corner clothesline... two! This match rules. Shelton heads to the apron, and gets stupid, trying a unique variant of the Flying Nothing, the Springboard Nothing. That leads him directly into the superkick, and you can't get up from that. Shawn covers and gets three.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pinfall (14:42)
Shawn slooowly gets up and looks over Shelton. He gets his hand raised and is bleeding from the mouth. He sells the wooziness from the crazy beating he just took. That was a heck of a match, with a hectic pace that blew almost everything on Raw this year away.
Backstage, Todd Grisham says we've just learned that Edge, his interview subject, will be in the next match. Grisham asks him why he's in this when he already has a title shot. Edge tells him not to gloss over the fact that he beat Chris Benoit, toughest man in WWE, in a Last Man Standing match, leaving him in an unconscious heap and making himself the toughest man in WWE. Edge says no one -- not even Batista -- can withstand two title matches against Edge. Grisham says that the guaranteed title match would be useless if Edge moved to Smackdown in the lottery, since his contract is for a World Title shot. "All that matters is that I will be champion. Bank on it."
Backstage, Victoria and Lita converse. He asks what the hell they're looking at. Victoria: "Absolutely nothing." Edge moves on and heads to the ring.
Match #4: The Hurricane & Rosey (c) vs La Résistance World Tag Team Championships
The champs are entering first already? Wow. Referee Jack Doan adds to the prestige by lifting the belts up before the match. Rosey and Sylvain start. Grenier gets a few punches to the gut, but tries a whip. Stupid. It's reversed, but he tries a sunset flip. Stupid. Rosey sits on his face. Conway distracts the ref, then proceeds to do nothing. Rosey heads out of a headlock, and Conway pulls the top rope down, allowing Rosey to fall outside. Conway shoves Rosey into the ringpost. They go to Hurricane and beat on him, then team up to put Rosey back in. Grenier covers for two. Conway tags in, and there is much stomping. He proceeds to move on to mounted punches and a running elbowdrop. Rosey rolls over to the ropes, but gets covered and kicks out anyway. Grenier tags in, cheapshots Hurricane, and tags in Conway. They hit a Hart Attack for two. Conway puts Rosey in the heel corner, tags in Grenier, and watches as the nefarious double-teaming continues until Rosey punches both of them a couple of times, rolls under a clothesline, and it's hot tag Hurricane! Clotheslines for both men. Cool move resembling an inverted Unprettier (best I can do) to Conway. He whips Grenier into the corner, meets elbow, but hits the Overcast anyway for two. Conway breaks it up and goes for some offense on Hurricane in the corner, but he gets quickly dumped by both superheroes. Grenier gets trapped in a sideslam by Rosey, and Hurricane adds the Eye of the Hurricane on the way down. That's a cool finisher. It finishes, as Hurricane covers for three.
Winners and still champions: Hurricane & Rosey via pinfall (3:38)
Smackdown Rebound: Eddie Guerrero refuses to accept a hot tag from Rey Mysterio, then watches Johnny Nitro & Joey Mercury double-team him to retain the tag titles and walks out as Rey collapses.
Our hosts show us some pictures of prospective divas who have applied for the exciting 2005 diva search.
Match #5: Edge vs... Chris Jericho
They lock up. Jericho backs Edge in the corner, shoves him and backs off. "You screwed Bret!" Yes, Senior Official Earl Hebner is your referee. Jericho gets a hammerlock, reversed to a headlock, reversed to an overhead wristlock. Edge uses a hair pull to get back to square one. Jericho slaps him for using this dirty tactic, then unloads the chops against the ropes. Jericho slams Edge's head into the top turnbuckle ten times. He follows with another corner chop, but Edge uses a cross-corner whip. When Jericho jumps on the middle turnbuckle, Edge shoves him out. Edge heads out and puts Jericho back in. He gets a faceslam and covers for one. Edge returns the slap favor and heads to a backbreaker for two. Edge heads to a surfboard as Batista is still looking on. Jericho gets to his feet and starts to reverse it. Jericho ecapes and gets a punch and a chop, but Edge simply chokes him on the second rope. He mocks Jericho's happy dance and tries the running knee choke, but Jericho gets up and hotshots him. Edge reverses a whip, but Jericho clotheslines him and shoulderblocks him. Jericho runs over Edge, dodges a clothesline, "C'mon assclown!" and he gets a drop toe hold and the running knee choke. Jericho hits a rana for two. Jericho hits the Y2J Stinger for two. Edge gets a kick and buys some time, but he walks into the Flashback for two. Jericho gets a kick and a punch. He sends Edge into the opposite corner and tries the one-handed bulldog, but Edge stays low to power out and gets a clothesline. I love that counter. Edge fetches the briefcase and gets on the apron, but all that earns him is a springboard dropkick. How could he possibly come out ahead after using the briefcase in plain view of WWE's #1 official? Jericho gets a plancha. Back in, Jericho heads up, but Edge dodges a Flying Nothing as Jericho leapfrogs him. Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic for two and lines up the spear! Jericho leapfrogs THAT, and Edge goes headfirst off the turnbuckle! Jericho gets a schoolboy into the Walls! Edge is close to the ropes, and discovers that merely reaching out is enough to break the hold. And he bails. Hebner restrains Jericho, allowing Edge to use the briefcase behind his back and waffle Jericho between the eyes with it. Edge heads up with a missile dropkick and covers... for two! Edge is this close to losing it, but he lines up the spear... and hits it! That gets the three.
Winner: Edge via pinfall (8:12)
Edge taunts the crowd after the match.
We get a Happy Birthday message to The Rock!
Only one match remains in the Gold Rush Tournament's first round, and it'll feature Triple H against... someone. Who?
Well, it won't be Chris Masters, because here he is! We have a few signs about breaking the Masterlock. Masters hits the ring, and it's time for...
MASTERLOCK CHALLENGE IV
"Y'know, I gotta admit, this has been a lot easier than I first tought, 'cause there hasn't been a man, or woman for that matter, that has even come close to breaking the Masterlock. I was even thinking about not having the challenge tonight. I mean, seeing as some tough New Yorker can't even break it, why would I think that anybody in Boston could?" [Boo!] "What? I'm being serious. But I've been thinking about it. I've decided I would up the offer. So tonight, what I've got is $4,000 - hehehey, that's not all. Check this out. How 'bout this Boston Red Sox Curt Schilling jersey? Oh yeah. You like it. But even better yet, check out this personally autographed Tom Brady football. Pretty popular, huh? Pretty popular here in Boston. So who's up to the Masterlock Challenge tonight? Who's it gonna be, huh?"
He picks a guy whom he names Tubby wearing a Backlash T-shirt. His name is James and he's from Boston. He's also a Boston sports fan ("Heck yeah!"). Masters teases him with the football a couple of times, then tells him that to win the stuff, all he has to do is break the lock. That actually makes the gimmick pretty cool. Referee Jack Doan assumes the position as Masters locks it in and jerks the guy around for about five seconds before the bell rings. Masters wins again! He kicks the stuff out of the ring, but gets his money back and poses with it. JR promises that someday, someone will break the Masterlock.
Backstage, Ric Flair & Triple H walk to the ring. But whom will he face... next?
We get our first ad for "You Can't See Me," the debut album from John Cena, which comes with 17 new tracks and a steady, untouchable flow. His time is now.
Match #6: Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs... Chris Benoit
This is the final first-round match. They lock up. HHH gets Benoit in the corner, but Benoit ducks a punch and gets a chop. ["Let's go Benoit!"] They lock up again. Benoit gets a headlock. HHH sends him into the ropes, but Benoit gets a shoulderblock. He runs the ropes into a kick, but blocks the Pedigree and tries to reverse to the crossface. It's blocked, and HHH elbows him down. Benoit gets a kick and a double-leg takedown, but HHH gets to the ropes before the Sharpshooter can be locked in. Benoit gets a slam. He tries the Crossface again, but HHH bails, so Benoit chases him out... and back in. Benoit gets more chopping in the corner. HHH reverses a whip, though, and murders Benoit with a clothesline to the back of the head. Continuity! (He might be concussed after last night's brutal Last Man Standing match.) Benoit has a crazed, out-of-it look on his face, and we get a great close-up of it as we head to an Ad Break! (2:19)
Ad Break ends (5:20)
During the break, HHH controlled because of the nasty clothesline to the back of Benoit's head before the break. He gets another clothesline to the back of the head for two, followed by a kneedrop for two. But Benoit manages to get into a slugfest and even gets a couple of chops. HHH locks him in a sleeper when he runs the ropes, though, and Benoit fights it as hard as he can before falling down. Our hosts sell the fact that Benoit is hurt bad. But Benoit's arm stays up when Referee Chad Patton lifts it a third time, and Benoit manages to run HHH into the corner and make him go headfirst into the corner. HHH gets up at five, but Benoit counters a sleeper attempt with a back suplex out of nowhere. Flair is wearing a pink shirt. When both men get up, Benoit manages to get a German out of nowhere! He hangs on and tries a second, but HHH kicks him low and escapes to a Pedigree attempt. But Benoit escapes it and gets a German... and another German... and another German! And he heads up with the diving headbutt! And he's dead. But he crawls over slowly into a cover... for two. HHH gets up first, but walks directly into a double-leg takedown. Benoit tries the Sharpshooter, so Flair alertly gets on the apron. Benoit brings him in, but the referee restrains him with Flair bails into the corner, allowing HHH to attack from behind, taking out Benoit and the ref. He uses some double-teaming and a kneedrop to the crotch, bringing out Batista in his ring gear! Sideslam to HHH. Backdrop to Flair. Clothesline to Flair. HHH gets a kick, but Batista blocks the Pedigree and hits the spinebuster. He heads outside and slaps the ring to try to encourage Benoit to get up. And he does at the same time as HHH. And Benoit gets a third double-leg takedown, and THIS time he gets the Sharpshooter! HHH almost gets to the ropes, but Benoit pulls him back in. HHH is taunted by Batista from the outside at every turn. HHH gets close, and Batista pulls the rope away. Benoit pulls HHH back in. HHH is in some serious trouble here! He keeps fighting it a bit longer, writhing in pain... and he finally taps!
Winner: Chris Benoit via submission (13:31)
Post-match, Batista taunts HHH for tapping... and we're out!
Nice to see a wrestling-heavy edition of Raw to balance out the talk-loaded hard sell from last week. Tournaments SO rule. So does the HHH/Benoit feud that should stem from this. So does Christian. See you next week.