David Campbell's pinch-hitter for the XP report this week was me. Is it poor form to pimp oneself? I guess I'll know tomorrow, judging by whether I get deluged with complaints from the 411 powers that be.
Newton Gimmick's lucha report made it up before I started the pimp section.
And be sure to drop into the live Raw thread in the forums, whenever it pops up.
Edge, new World Champion? It may happen sooner than you think. But tonight? Let's find out...
411's WWE RAW REPORT -- 05.23.05
We start with highlights of Kane and Edge in the Gold Rush tournament final, and Lita turning on Kane.
And we head to Green Bay cold with no entrance video or pyro; instead, security guards line the walkway to the ring as our hosts, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler, welcome us to the show.
Promised for Tonight:
- Batista vs Edge (World Heavyweight Championship)
Edge & Lita head out to the ring together with the briefcase. Security surrounds the ring.
Lita implores fans to throw their stones at her. She tells people that they are welcome to pass judgement. She pleads that what she did to Kane, women do all the time. They use their husbands! Can you really blame her? Where does she start? Maybe the boiler room incident, maybe forcing her to have sexual relations, maybe the pregnancy, maybe the marriage she didn't want to be in, and maybe the lack of protection that caused her to lose her baby. "The way I see it, is Kane owes me. Yeah, Kane owes me. So I used him. Big deal. I used Kane to take care of Trish, and anything else my heart desired. All I had to do was close my eyes, pucker up, and give him a really gross big wet kiss. But I had Kane wrapped around my finger. Let's get one thing straight." [Loud, violent "Slut!" chant.] "Just because I've had more action in the past few months than any of you have in your entire lifetimes -- don't be jealous of me, OK?" [Boo!] "So let's get one thing straight, OK? Kane, I never loved you. I could never love a sick, twisted, sweaty freak like you. While you were running my errands, doing whatever I wanted, following me around like a cute little puppy dog, I was busy falling in love. I fell in love with a real man. Kane, you could never satisfy me. Iin fact, no man that I've ever been with could have satisfied me" (OUCH!) "except one -- the man I've been seeing behind your back for months, now. The next World Heavyweight Champion. Edge."
Lita throws herself at Edge, who smiles, puts one arm around her and goes on a rant of his iown. "Hahahaha. Ahahahahahaha. Oh, this feels good. This feels really good." Throughout this monologue, Edge teases the big wet kiss, drawing big boos every single time. "You know, you can call her a slut, but she's my slut. And we don't owe them an explanation or apology. They couldn't walk a foot in our boots, let alone a mile. And the only reason you say anything is because you're all jealous. Jealous because we look the way we do? Because we do the things we do? And you're all jealous because I've got this fiery redheaded sexpot by my side. I'm on top of the world. Hahahaha. I got the girl. And tonight, I get the World Title." [Boo!] "You see, at Wrestlemania 21, I went through five of the best superstars in this industry to become Mr Money in the Bank. And in the Gold Rush Tournament, I beat Jericho, I beat Shawn Michaels and put him on the shelf, and I beat Kane. And tonight, Batista, I go through you." [Boo!] "Say what you want, but you all know it's true, because tonight -- tonight -- I claim my destiny. I grab the throne, and I become the new World Heavyweight Champion." They tease the kiss before Edge realizes he forgot something. "Bank on it." Now they exchange another passionate kiss in the ring. Play Edge's music!
JR goes through the litany of insults again, finishing with the blunt and straightforward "What these two have done to another human being's life is absolutely repulsive in my view."
Backstage, Kane stews in his locker room, silently rocking back and forth on a bench.
- Chris Jericho & Shelton Benjamin vs Muhammad Hassan & Khosrow Daivari in a rematch from last week
Eric Bischoff tells a stagehand that he wants a black podium, a black carpet, and a barbed-wire wreath with ECW in the ring for an official ECW funeral.
Shelton Benjamin walks in to tell him that Chris Jericho isn't here, and he has no partner for his match with Hassan & Daivari. Bischoff is too busy with his various affairs (including the draft -- he's GOT to find a way to get John Cena on Raw!) to find Shelton a partner, instead making the match a handicap match. Shelton says it'd be great to see Cena on Raw. The only thing better would be seeing Bischoff on Smackdown. Ohhh SNAP.
Match #1: Muhammad Hassan & Khosrow Daivari vs Shelton Benjamin
[Sign: "Brett Favre should bow down to Daivari & Muhammad Hassan" -- how the hell did THAT make it on TV?] ["USA!"] They pause before Shelton's entrance, which effectively gets him a nice pop. Hassan and Shelton start, and Hassan unloads rights. Shelton reverses a whip and gets an elbow and a hiptoss. Shelton goes to a headlock (in a handicap match?), but Daivari blind-tags in as Hassan powers out to run the ropes. Shelton dumps Hassan anyway and gets an armdrag into an armbar. Shelton gets an armwringer and works over the left arm. ["Let's go Shelton!"] Daivari reverses the armwringer, but Shelton shoves him against the ropes and hits a big back suplex for two. Shelton runs the ropes... right into a trip from outside from Hassan, who pulls him out and drops him throat-first on the security wall. Hassan puts Shelton in and tags in. Hassan gets a whip and a back elbow for two. Hassan goes to the chinlock. Shelton starts to escape, so Hassan hits a snap suplex. Daivari asks for the tag, and gets it. Daivari lines up a vertical suplex and shouts something, but Shelton reverses into a slingshot suplex of his own! Daivari stumbles toward Hassan, but decides to stand still instead, allowing Shelton to clothesline him twice and hit a bodyslam. Hassan starts to enter the ring, but Referee Jack Doan admonishes him, and Jericho's still not here. Daivari runs into a backdrop. Hassan enters the ring, and Shelton dumps him. Daivari gets up, and Shelton whips him and hits a flapjack and a running knee to the head. Ouch! Daivari's out of the ring. Hassan gets on the apron, so Shelton draws him in and stomps a mudhole in the corner. Daivari heads outside with a chair. Doan intercepts him. Shelton lines him up for the Exploder, but Hassan sneaks in with the Flatliner, and Daivari gets the pin!
Winners: Muhammad Hassan & Khosrow Daivari via pinfall (4:49)
But where the hell is Jericho? We leave with that question as we go to our second...
Chris Jericho arrives. Todd Grisham wants an interview, but Jericho blows him off, saying he wants a match. Todd says it's already over -- Shelton lost -- and wants to know why he missed it. Chris is apologetic and says he lost track of time while touring Australia with Fozzy. And Shelton? One loss isn't going to hurt him. Jericho tells Todd to tell Bischoff he'll take anyone in a singles match. Jericho = Ratings, right? He asks whether Jericho feels guilty, not being there for his tag team partner. Jericho tells him he's already said he's sorry and tells Todd not to begrudge him his life outside of wrestling.
Christian tells Tyson Tomko that Smackdown definitely needs a charisma bypass. Booker T? Rey Mysterio? Tomko likes Mark Jindrak. Christian notes that he's already beat him. Edge & Lita walk in. Edge tells them that Batista beating them down might provide them motivation to help him against Batista tonight. He also suggests that if he wins the title, he won't need his Magic Briefcase, and since he can do anything he wants with it, he's prepared to offer it to anyone who might help him tonight.
- Maria has an in-depth interview with the world's biggest love machine, Viscera
Match #2: Chris Masters vs Steven Richards
Three months ago, Masters broke Richards' nose with the Polish hammer and then locked in the dreaded Masterlock. We also get a shot of Stevie backstage after the injury. Stevie charges the ring right away, but Masters gets him in the corner, whips him hard the other way, and hits two backbreakers and a sidewalk slam. Stevie slaps him hard in the chest, so Masters hits a stalling vertical suplex. Masters: "Now I'm gonna break his face!" Does he really have to do it again? He lines up the Polisy hammer with a batting stance, but he runs right into a hard boot to the head. Stevie ducks a punch and gets two rights. Stevie wins a slugfest against the ropes, whaling away on Masters. Masters buys time with a shot to the gut. Masters charges into a boot in the corner, but blocks it and hits the knee hard with a CLUBBING BLOW. Masters comes from behind with the Masterlock, and that'll do it.
Winner: Chris Masters via submission (1:56)
Referees & Officials hit the ring to look over Richards, and King suggests that Stevie stay away from Chris Masters.
Eric Bischoff tells Todd Grisham to tell Jericho he has a match next, and wants to Todd to go and interview Kane. Todd is a bit worried. Bischoff tells him not to be afraid to ask the tough questions. Bischoff smiles.
We get some pictures of new applicants for the exciting second annual diva search, set to "Be Yourself" by Audioslave.
Match #3: Chris Jericho vs Sylvain Grenier
Why?!!!??! Why not Conway? You could put him over clean after eight minutes with Le Whiplash and just chalk it up to Jericho's head not being in the game, and it'd establish him and maybe even prime him for a singles push and whatever I'm just a Conway mark. Grenier gets a kick to the gut and dumps Jericho. He slams him throatfirst onto the security wall and upts him back into the ring, where he unloads the stomps. Grenier gets a cross-corner whip but charges into an elbow, and Jericho unloads the chops. He gets whipped but baseball slides under a kick and tries the Walls, reversed to an inside cradle by Grenier for two. Grenier gets a hard clothesline. Grenier goes to the torture rack, but Jericho gets otu of it to his feet. Grenier whips him into the corner, but Jericho gets a sunset flip into a schoolboy for two. Grenier reverses a whip but gets forearmed and shoulderblocked. Jericho runs on Grenier's back, ducks a clothesline, and hits the Y2J Stinger. Grenier stumbles into 619 position, but dodges the running choke. Jericho pops him witha right anyway and heads up wtih a flying shoulderblock. Lionsault hits knees, though. Grenier hits a big back suplex with an elbowdrop (I think Matt Hardy called it the Ricochet?) for two. Grenier disputes the speed of the count with Senior Official Earl Hebner, and he falls victim to the springboard dropkick and the Walls. He taps.
Winner: Chris Jericho via submission (3:14)
But wait. Here's Shelton Benjamin, presumably to ask for an explanation. Jericiho heads out of the ring and gets a mic. He apologizes and cuts a quick mumbling promo on his way backstage, in which he says that Shelton's a great athlete, but Jericho's a great athlete too and a singer and a radio host and a pop culture pundit, too. So sometimes he'll have to put up with Jericho being a little late. "That's a luxury that I can afford, though, because I'm Chris Jericho, and no matter what I do, the Jerichoholics will always be on my side." Jericho heads backstage. That was a magnificent speech that got its point across in 30 seconds. I take back the rant about Conway. This was a well-structured segment.
The mysterious ECW funeral is next!
We're back with a plug for ECW One Night Stand.
Eric Bischoff is in the ring with a barbed wire wreath, a black carpet and a podium for a funeral.
"We are gathering here tonight to celebrate the life, and more importantly, the death of ECW. But before Ig et into my eulogy, allow me to give you a little history on ECW. See, back in the '90s, Extreme Championship Wrestling was a young, upstart promotion." ["Asshole!"] "A young upstart promotion wrestling out of all places a bingo hall in south Philadelphia! But ECW thought that they were a group of groundbreaking, innovative rebels. But in the end, ECW -- ECW was crushed. CRUSHED BY ME! So you can understand my surprise. See, when I was -- when I was running WCW, I took all of ECW's stars and I put on a vastly superior product. And in the end, well in the end, ECW just died. So I was shocked when all of a sudden, I start seeing commercials fro ECW's One Night Stand pay-per-view on MY show. Raw. Well, let me make one thing really, really clear! I killed ECW once. And this funeral signifies the fact that I'm going to kill it again. See, I'm on a rusade." He's going to bring a jobber heel brigade to the PPV to put an end to ECW once and for all, and nobody is going to stop him. "Not Paul Heyman, not Sabu, not the Sandman, no one NO ONE NO ONE! Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."
Vincent Kennedy McMahon interrupts him, and Bischoff freezes before smiling and applauding. He's not here to join the eulogy; quite frankly, it's the contrary. He's here to let him and everyone else know that he has a vested interest in the well-being of ECW. Bischoff doesn't understand. Vince says that for years, behind the scenes, WWE financially supported ECW. For many years. Nobody knew about it; he had the philosophy that the stars of ECW might one day become the superstars of WWE, and boy was he right. There's a whole litany of individuals who became superstars in WWE who passed through ECW. Names too numerous to mention, but there are a few notables like Mick Foley, the Dudley Boys, that guy Eric fired who went to ECW -- Stone Cold Steve Austin... "You see, Eric, while I was supporting ECW, what were you doing? You were raping, pillaging and robbing their locker room, and why, Eric? Why did you want to do that, Eric? You realize you single-handedly drove them into bankruptcy. Yeah." About that bankruptcy, if you look it up, you'll see WWE listed as a creditor for $587,000. So Vince wants One Night Stand to be a viable financial success. "And you wonder where all these ECW commercials come from, and how they magically appear on Raw? Hell, I PUT THEM THERE."
Vince also promises a taste of One Night Stand up next, an ECW Rules match between Chris Benoit and Tajiri, the match Bischoff cancelled last week. ["ECW!"]
He says that Eric's out here to have a eulogy for a brand he thinks is dead, but Vince doesn't think it's dead at all; he hears the ECW chant everywhere he goes. One Night Stand might even be a resurrection of sorts.
But Vince recalls one brand of wrestling that is totally is dead. "That's right, it's the dubya-see-dubya brand. And just for the record, just as you want to take credit, and should, for the demise and death and killing the ECW brand, Eric, I killed WCW. But enough about me talking about this ECW one-night stand, because quite frankly, I'm not qualified to talk about it." He didn't have anything to do with the legacy of ECW and its creative stuff, but perhaps an individual he's invited to join them tonight does.
PAUL HEYMAN is here to the ECW theme! He proudly wears his credentials in his suit.
"Well, well, well. Look at this. For the first time ever in history, in the same ring, at the same time, Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman. WWE, WCW and E-C-W. Speaking of ECW, please remember our deal. You can own ECW, but I still control ECW. And as for you, Eric Bischoff, you think you understand ECW? You think you've got what Extreme Championship Wrestling was all about? Eric Bischoff, you're so wrong. ECW wasn't about garbage wrestling and just bloodshed and violence." ECW discovered Rey Mysterio, not WWE or WCW. It was about pure scientific submission style perfected by Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero and Taz. That innovative style didn't start in WCW or WWE; the somebody who put it on the air was ECW. ECW was about everybody believing in their favorite wrestler so much they'd point to themselves and say in unison the initials RVD, and long before he was Mr Monday Night in WWE, RVD was ECW. "And you're right, Eric. WCW was about wrapping up the rules in barbed wire and powerbombing them through a flaming table, a style personified by Tommy Dreamer and the Dudley Boys and the Sandman and Mick Foley and the suicidal homicidal death-defying Sabu. ECW was a lifestyle. It was anti-establishment, it was counter-culture, and it was up in your face! I invite you, Eric, to experience ECdub" -- ["ECW!"] -- "I can't speak for him, but thank you, that means a lot to me." He invites him to experience what ECW was about live, in person, June 12th at ECW One Night Stand.
Vince interrupts and makes one thing clear to both gentlemen: he supports Raw as much as ECW, and if Bischoff wants to lead a group of crusaders into the Hammerstein Ballroom and kick the living hell out of ECW, then that's all right with him too, because if there's one thing Vince loves as much as a pot full of money, it's a damn good fight.
Paul informs Eric that this won't be the first time a billion-dollar corporation has come after ECW. Call it a crusade -- he calls it gang warfare, and he'll take that gang warfare straight to the extreme."
"Heyman, I don't think that's a problem whatsoever."
"You know, Eric, you're gonna have a big problem, because I guarantee you, you're going to start a fire that you cannot put out." Heyman lights the barbed wire wreath on fire. Play his music!
We get a video package of Stone Cold Steve Austin's cameo appearance in "The Longest Yard."
Match #4: Chris Benoit vs Tajiri ECW Rules Match
Tajiri attacks from behind with a kendo stick during Benoit's entrance, but Benoit fights him off and gets the stick before Tajiri can enter the ring. But Tajiri promptly unloads the GREEN MIST as Benoit lines up the stick shot and gets a garbage can lid. And more plundah, including road signs and the can itself and more can lids. Benoit throws the stick to Tajiri and then chops him down hard. Benoit sets up a can in the corner. He's covered with the green mist. Tajiri reverses a whip into the garbage can. Benoit dodges a can lid shot and gets two rolling Germans. Tajiri elbows out of the third one, but Benoit ducks the stick and gets two more Germans into the Crossface. Tajiri is in the middle of the ring, but he manages to get his hands on the kendo stick and tries to hit Benoit a few times to get him to break, but Benoit manages to work the stick into the crossface itself, and Tajiri has no choice but to tap.
Winner: Chris Benoit via submission (2:30)
Backstage, Ric Flair walks in on Batista that he did very well. This is Batista's first appearance of the show, at 10:25. Sometimes it's hard to say things that are heartfelt, but he thanks Batista for last week, when he really showed the kind of man he really is. "And --" He offers a handshake. "It means that much." It's accepted. "Good luck with Edge tonight. For a guy like you, that's easy money." Batista is pumped.
Backstage, Kane is still swaying back and forth. Todd Grisham is sorry to bother him, but he wants to know how Kane is, y'know, coping with losing his wife to another man, Edge. (Yeah, he said that.)
"My whole life has been about pain. I was born into pain. I was born to bring pain. Pain has always been my best friend. My only friend." He stops rocking. "But now, it's my worst enemy. This pain hurts so much." He... he cries... and then starts laughing and rocking violently. "Maybe I deserve this for all the things that I've done. I don't want this pain. I DON'T -- WANT -- THIS -- PAIN! I DON'T WANT IT! GET OFF ME! I DON'T WANT TO HAVE PAIN. I want to give pain. I WANT to -- I want to be left alone." He seethes. "Leave me alone." Todd is bewildered. He withdraws the microphone and heads off. Kane goes back to rocking back and forth. We close with a long shot of his face.
Backstage, Kane is walking. He heads to an exit and leaves, and we can only imagine what he must be thinking.
In the ring, it's Maria the interviewer: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Viscera!"
Big Vis strolls down to the ring. "Viscera, I hive to admit that I have an interior [sic] motive for bringing you out here tonight. We all saw what happened between you and Lilian Garcia last week, so Lilian, would you please make your way up here? Based on what happened last week, I came up wtih a theory: you like Lilian. So my question is, amirite?"
"You're right, sweet little sexy thing, you. I am feeling Lilian Garcia. But I don't know if she feels the same way. You see, I waited all night long for you to come to my hotel room last week, but you didn't show." [Sympathy boo!] "So I got a little surprise for you. Lights? Music?"
Maria heads out and gets a hot dog from a fan at ringside at Vis' behest. "You know, Lilian, I think it's about time for me to show you what you'e been missing. Last week, you heard me sing, and that was pretty damn good. This week, it's time to dance, baby."
He eats while dancing, and removes his jacket. JR astutely remarks that he's shaking his groove thing. Then he proceeds to remove his tie and put it around Lilian's neck, smartly pulling her toward him. Then he removes his belt to reveal some bright red boxers.
Jonathan Coachman is here. "Stop this, please! Viscera, Eric Bischoff already has a lot on his plate. The last thing that he needs is a sexual harassment lawsuit! So I would suggest that you leave this ring right now. Oh, and Vis, just a little piece of friendly advice: I know you're feeling a little comfortable here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where you are even considered thin, but I got some news for you, Big Vis: you're nothing -- nothing -- but a big joke and a big embarrassment." Hey! That wasn't advice, that was an insult! "Now, Mr Bischoff has ordered you -- he's not asknig, not requesting, Mr Bischoff is telling you to leave. So the Coach would suggest that you step. And I don't wanna ask you again."
Vis looks down. "Now then, Lilian, what the hell --"
Vis gets him in a goozle. He's got that "hands off my woman" look. He backs Coach against the ropes and slaps his chest a few times. Samoan drop! Then he gets on Coach's back and uses a chinlock while proceeding to thrust his pelvis. I can understand why Coach would be a bit put off by that -- he leaves the ring. Lilian raises Vis' arm in victory, but he won't let go before sneaking in a wet one. Then he leaves, pleased with himself.
Edge and Batista are walking to the ring. Their match is next!
Match #5: Edge (w/ Lita) vs Batista (c) World Heavyweight Championship
Edge can be called a number of things: Mr Money in the Bank, a relationship wrecker, among others, but tonight he can add Heavyweight Champion of the World to the list. Batista gets his name chanted before his entrance, and tonight, the pyro returns! Referee Chad Patton, making the most of his moment in the spotlight, shows off the belt before the match. ["Batista!"] They lock up. Batista backs Edge into the corner, and Patton gets a bit vigilant, forcing Batista to break at two. Edge sneaks a right in to get the momentum, but Batista gets a whip and a shoulderblock. Batista knocks Edge down with a hard whip into the corner. Edge gets up on the apron. Batista sends him headfirst into the turnbuckle, then shoulderblocks him off the apron throat-first into the security wall. Lita looks over Edge on the outside... and Christian & Tyson Tomko stand on the ramp and start to stroll down. And if ever there were a time for an Ad Break, this would be it. (1:38)
Ad Break ends (4:41)
We return with Batista unloading mounted rights in the corner, but as Lita distracts Patton, Christian knocks Batista down. Edge stomps away and sends Batista shoulderfirst into the ringpost. He poses in the ring as Batista bails outside. Edge rams Batista's head into the steel ring steps and unloads shots to the back. ["Batista!"] Batista heads back in and tries to start a slugfest, but Edge rakes the eyes and hits a running boot for two. Edge goes to a bodyscissors and gets a few two-counts from that position. Batista manages to power out and reverse to a series of mounted punches. This prompts Christian to get on the apron, and Edge uses a thumb to the eye and a leg lariat for two. Edge goes to the chinlock. Batista starts to get up, so Edge turns it into a sleeper. The arm drops twice, but the ["Batista!"] chants keep him in it on three, and he starts to power up to his feet. He elbows out and runs the ropes... right into a dropkick. Edge heads up top, but Batista gets up and pops him with a right. Batista slugs it out up top and goes for the superplex. And it connects! They get up at the same time, and Batista wins the slugfest. He gets a whip into the corner and a clothesline to a big pop. Batista gets a whip. Edge ducks a clothesline; Batista ducks a clothesline, and Edge clotheslines Patton in a truly Chiodan moment. Batista blocks a cross body and hits a front slam. He lines up the DAVEBOMB, but Tomko sneaks in with the Problem Solver Boot, and he and Christian double-team... until Ric Flair makes the save! Woo! He slugs it out with everyone, but Edge spears him. However, that buys Batista enough time to murder Edge with the clothesline, spinebuster Tomko, spinebuster Christian, and dump Tomko and Christian... but EDGE HITS THE SPEAR! ONE... TWO... NO!! Lita slips him the briefcase, and Patton's still down. Lita distracts him as long as she can, and Edge goes for the running briefcase shot. Why does every heel do that? He walks directly into the spinebuster. Thumbs up... thumbs down! DAVEBOMB! One... two... three!
Winner: Batista via pinfall (13:07)
Batista poses with the belt, and Flair is still down in the ring. Batista helps Flair up.
Time to play the game! Triple H is here at 11:05... and he's got his sledgehammer. It distracts Batista, and Flair blindsides him with a HUGE low blow from behind! HHH marches down to ringside with the sledgehammer, and DRILLS the ring steps with the hammer. Flair looks at HHH, who gets a shot in with the hammer and murders Batista with rights on the outside. HHH tears his shirt. ["Asshole!"] HHH whips Batista into the ring steps. ["You tapped out!"] HHH slams Batista's head into the steps a few times. Patton admonishes him, but Flair shoves Patton aside, allowing HHH to keep the beating goin. Batista has been busted open for a while now. Batista staggers to his feet in the ring -- ["Batista!"] -- allowing HHH to get another hard shot to the head with the hammer. Flair holds Batista against the ropes. HHH slaps him across the face a couple of times.
"You wanna fight me now, huh? You wanna fight me? Hell in a Cell."
That's quite the non sequitur, no? Batista staggers to his feet, so HHH Pedigrees him on the belt. Closing credits, "Damn you, Triple H!" and we're out!