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The Pendulum Swings Back...
September 17, 2002

by Christopher Robin Zimmerman


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: As long as the audience likes what we do, we'll be in business forever. - Vince McMahon

Isn't it great how they always seem to trot out Vince to suck up to "his" audience? Like, he's all "The general public simply doesn't give our audience credit for their level of sophistication and sense of humour" and you know the whole time he's thinking "THAT oughta hold those little SOBs. MARK MARK MARK MARK MARK" and so on.

I thought his use of "faggots" was Vince Being Controversial For No Good Reason Once Again...then I learned that Phil Mushnick had used the same word in his Post piece so it was *really* Vince Sticking It To Mushnick, How Insider.

Then again, what the HELL am I doing watching "Confidential" if not to pick up shit like this and then put it in the top of the report?

I've said it before (so skip down) but even though I'm a whole lot closer to 34 than to 18, I'm *still* in the target demographic...as far as I know. Why I continue to find myself baffled by certain decisions this company makes, has made, continues to make...well, it's probably not so baffling. Occam's Razor and all that...

THREE YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: Eric Bischoff was shown the way out of WCW...even today, we ask: what was the straw that broke the camel's back? Was it....was it the "Chowdaheads" cartoon?

So how long's he got for THIS company?

BUY THESE THINGS: Out today is the double CD "10 Years of Banco de Gaia," a "best of" from one of my favourite musicians on this earth. If you like it, "Maya" and "Last Train to Lhasa" have recently been reissued!

Also, while you're throwing money around, be sure to pick up a twin-pak of Reggio films: the "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Powaqqatsi" DVD bundle comes out today. Keep an eye out for "Naqoyqatsi" in theatres 18 October! (Thanks, Miramax!)

QUICK QUOTE: WWE 9.70 (+ .20, last year: 11.02, two years ago: 22) Boy, all that mainstream press really helped the stock price, didn't it?

TONIGHT: The Women's Championship will be on the line in a triple threat match - Trish, Molly, and Victoria! Also, Bischoff AND Rico are promised at the very top of the hour - can you make it through the last twelve minutes of TNG? HARDLY!

What's William Shatner doing back with Priceline.com ads, anyway? Is it 1999 again and no one told me? (Dude, BISCHOFF IS IN CHARGE) Oh yeah...


TV-14-DLV - CC - Attitude - Entertainment - FACE

LAST THURSDAY: How come the RAW guys can get their hands on this SmackDown! footage and air it on their show, anyway? Aren't they in COMPETITION? Anyway, Jamal & Rosey did some thing and here's a shot of Bischoff with post-production fireworks added...eek

Live and to the arena we go, where everything is dark except for two spotlights on the centre of the ring and the man sitting on a stool: "Hello, I'm ERIC BISCHOFF. Now some of you may recognise me from shows like RAW...and starring last week on SmackDown! Oh, but alas - my guest appearance on SmackDown! was sort of a one-time shot - y'see because even I (Eric Bischoff) can only provide the most RIVETING moment in the history of SmackDown! only so often! But you know what the good news is? For each and every of you people...I'm back here on RAW. And I didn't come alone. Oh no, I brought with me the man who helped make what you just saw possible - RICO! Come on out and say hello to the people, Rico!" The spotlight expands as Rico enters the light. "Hi there!" "Isn't he just a hoot? And Rico, to reward you for all of your hard work last week, you're going to make your debut here on Monday Night RAW against the one and only Ric Flair, whaddaya think about that?" "Woooooo!" "Ha ha - Ric Flair isn't the only one who can style and profile. Y'know, Rico believes in the Eric Bischoff philosophy - that being Controversy Creates Cash, and with that in mind I have a very special evening planned tonight. See, as many of you know, Rob van Dam and Triple H...they're scheduled to face each other at Unforgiven. Now, for a show like SmackDown!, they might just leave it like that - but not Eric Bischoff, oh no. See I've arranged tonight for both Rob van Dam AND Triple H to defend their intercontinental and world heavyweight championships against opponents of my choice, here tonight!" Fist in the air! "You're welcome. And hey, if that changes the title picture at ah, at Unforgiven, I'll deal with that later, because I'll be DAMNED if I let *anybody* accuse Eric Bischoff of providing boring, predictable standard television." Man look at his hand shake. "I'll leave *that* to Stephanie McMahon and SmackDown! So with that in mind, get ready to enjoy the best show in sports entertainment - MONDAY NIGHT RAW!"

Opening Credits - nothing's forever...yeah, they refuse to see the change in me - WHY WON'T THEY WAKE UP

AROMATHERAPYRO! Once again it's on - coming to you LIVE from the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO 16.9.2 and transmitido en espanol SAP on The New TNN and TSN, it's Episode #486 of RAW!

With the words "boring, predictable standard television" still ringing in our ears, TRIPLE H comes out to kick off the show. Four championship matches tonight! World heavyweight, intercontinental, tag (Dudleys vs. Un-Americans) and women's on the line, but for now it's TALKIN' TIME: "Every place I go, everywhere I've been over the last week I hear the same damn thing...yeah, that. (points to "RVD" signs) I hear people sayin' the same damn crap - 'you're gonna lose your title to Rob van Dam! You're gonna get your ass kicked by Rob van Dam! Triple H, you're SCARED of Rob - van - Dam!' Well let me explain something to you people - I do not sweat Rob van Dam. I am not scared of Rob van Dam. And as much as you might love him, you've got to come to the realisation that Rob van Dam is not championship material. What, I'm supposed to be scared because he got lucky with one frog splash and then went on to become the #1 contender to MY title? I don't think so. You see, van Dam can't cut the mustard - but I can. You see (2), I am the greatest world heavyweight champion there has ever been. Whether ya like it or not, fact is fact. And the reason being is, I've got it all. I've got the body, I've got the ability, I've got the talent and I've got the brains, and Rob van Dam doesn't stand a chance in the ring with me. But, what IS starting to get under my skin is when I'm out defending this title all around the world, and I'm in these arenas, it's people like you chanting 'RVD.' ... Yeah. You see (3), it's that kind of disrespect that gets under my skin. Let me explain to you people just who the hell I am! I am Triple H! I am the heavyweight champion of the world! Because *I* am The Game! And because I am That Damn--" The music interrupts at this point and POINTS TO SELF makes it to the ring. Get him a mic, he wants to speak! "I hear you sayin' that you're not concerned about me...but dude, you are SERIOUSLY stressed out. Big time, I mean like - can you feel that tension radiating off your body? You know what - what's coming off is anger. Let me tell you something, man - anger is a negative energy - you need to shake that right now. What do you wanna be all angry for anyway? Oh. Is it because you've seen me in the ring? That's it, right, 'cause of all my cool moves that I do? Hey...Triple H, that's what RVD is all about, I mean...that's why all these fans love me! That's just me, that's the way I am, it's - I'm amazing!" "Oh yeah, Rob...you're amazing all right, yeah. You're right about that. But you know what you're right about, too? You're right - I am angry. And that anger - that anger is a gift - it's a gift I've been given - and that anger is the reason why I am the world's heavyweight champion. That anger, that anger is the reason why I sell out arenas - that anger is the reason why I headline pay-per-views!" "Whoa - hold on a second now, I don't want any misunderstandings, no one is trying to take away your accomplishments. Nobody - in fact, congratulations on all your success thus far. I'll tell ya - I personally am quite taken by the way that you display your abilities. I am, I watch you - I watch you, Triple H, and everybody's gotta admit, man, nobody can deny, you have proven time and time again that brother, YOU can SPIT some WATER. Oh ho ho ho...are you kiddin' me? You, you take it to another level, man, I - I see you do that, the way you get prepped up, and you're all poppin' them lats out like GRRRR, gettin' all that anger out, oh ho, that's a nice touch, you're all 'GRRRRRR, I'm Mr. Muscle and Fitness. GRRRRRRRRarrr!' Love it, love it, everybody does, man - I mean, that's - and then, oh, and then you wait for that cue in the music, and here comes the water you just 'ptoooo' - ho ho ho oh, that is BEAUTIFUL, man! What - I'm not impressed by that? Of *course* I am! Hey, everybody's gotta admit, man, that - THAT - takes - talent!" van Dam applauds. H ain't amused - no, wait, he is. "Hahahaha - hahaha - you know, Rob...heh - you're a funny guy. I can see why all these people love you. As a matter of fact, you know, they love you 'cause you're just like them - as a matter of fact, you're exactly like them...you are a gross underachiever. You see (4), Rob, you can come out here and you can make your jokes, but the fact of the matter is, that for all your athleticism, that for all your cool moves, for all your great talent and ability...you're not gonna amount to a damn thing in this business. Fact is, RVD, you are not championship material. And you will never be a world's heavyweight champion." "Ooooooooooooooooh-kay. Okay, NOW I see what this is all about. Yeah, I think I've located the source of your anger. You're upset because all of my fans aren't cheering for you! Right? You wanna hear them chant HHH! HHH! Hahaha - hey... brother, that's not gonna happen - no offense, don't take it personally, man - it's just that all the fans are a little too busy and way too excited chantingthe name of their *favourite* superstar AND the next world champion - Rob van Dam." H looks about as van Dam points to himself a second time - goes for a gutshot - van Dam catches the boot, steps over and delivers a heel kick that you have to go into REALLLLLLLY slow motion to make sure it didn't connect (that means it looked GREAT). van Dam plays to the crowd one more time before leaving the ring. Hey...they didn't play his music before heading to the break! That's kinda weird, isn't it?

"Unforgiven" spot in the local slot - also they sneak in a Tour of Defiance house show for Saturday

EARLIER TODAY, the WWE cameras caught up with a circle of fifteen women representing the "International Organization for Women" carrying placards in protest and chanting "IOW" outside the arena

RIC FLAIR (Charlotte, North Carolina - 234 pounds) v. RICO (Las Vegas, Nevada - 232 pounds)
Ross notes that tomorrow is the 21st Anniversary of Flair's first world title victory over Dusty Rhodes. Rico still comes out to "You Look So Good to Me," and has apparently dropped four pounds. Here we go - no, Flair moves back and fluffs his hair. Rico isn't pleased but stops short of trying to deck him. NOW they lock up - Flair to a hammerlock, drops down, trips him up and lets him go. "Wooo!" We go again - side headlock, chain wrestling again to the hammerlock, snapmares him over, then lets him SIT there for a looooong time as he comes off the ropes and still manages to connect on the kneedrop - headlock takeover - 1, 2, no. Flair stands up, still holding the headlock - Rico knee, knee, gets out, slaps on a headlock of his own - Flair powers out and Rico dutifully hits a shoulderblock coming off the ropes. Off the ropes, up and over, Flair with a hiptoss, another side headlock takeover and has him down again. 1, nope. Rico to his feet - and to the shortcuts - right, right, into the ropes, Flair ducks the back elbow but Rico spins into a kick in the gut. Rico grabs a hand, steps over into a pumphandle than lands a back kick that puts Flair down. Rico puts him in the corner, right, kick, kick, kick, steps on the second rope for a kick in the head - FLAIR FLOP! Rico hooks the leg - 1, 2, no. Rico right, right, into the opposite corner, big back body drop as Flair comes out. Stomp. Flair into the corner, Rico follows with a clothesline. Back to the first corner, but Flair gets the elbow up. Chop! Chop! Chops him down! Rico into the ropes, back elbow by Flair. Flair looks good! Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. Rico rolls outside - thinks about grabbing Lilian Garcia's chair, but Flair steps on the chair as he slides it in - handful of hair by Flair - chop! Brings him in with a suplex - holding it - HOLDING IT - and drops him down. 1, hooks the leg, 2, Rico's out. Chop! Left, right, left, right, accidentally backhands Robinson as he tries to move in to stop the closed fistery...looks at the chair but decides to kick it out of the ring - turns back and walks RIGHT into a spinning roundhouse kick - 1, 2, 3! Rico pins Ric Flair! (3:59) Flair was actually practically grabbing the bottom rope, but I guess they just happened to be too close - nobody mentions it, because it's WHAT AN UPSET! And it IS, at that...

Backstage, TERRI has Booker T - tonight he takes on Test. Hey! Somebody remembered they were partners! Thank you! "You know ever since I was a little Book, the one thing I HATED was tests. It didn't make no difference whether it was a blood test, pregnancy test, or some dumb un-American. You know this remind me of when I was in French class." Terri is surprised he took French. "Yeah - check it out. Oui oui - ay caramba - parlez vous francais - voulez vous coucher (or did he say "GOUcher?") avec'oi - and all of that there all good stuff! That's another story. See my teacher told me a long time ago, it don't make no difference whether you pass the test - Book, just show up! You know, I wish she woulda told me that when she failed me, and I had to go to summer school! That's another story! Point is this: tonight, I'll show up. And I'm'o pass that test, and I'm'o pass it with flying colours! This Test...ain't gon' be taken with no #2 pencil - no, sweetheart - this Test is gon' be taken with BOOYA! Straight up! #5! Like as in five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time WCW Champion! Now can u dig THAT... ...SUCKAAAAAAAAAA!"

Stacker 2 ad (Bubba Ray Dudley)

Commentators shill "CSI" - NEXT!

The IOW tries to get into the arena, but Security puts up a brave front. "Fine, if you won't let us in, we'll protest right here."

TEST (Toronto, Ontario - 282 pounds - one of the members of the Un-Americans) v. BOOKER T (Houston, Texas - 262 pounds - with "Confidential" hype)
WHEN T & T EXPLODES! Ross mentions that Bradshaw tore his bicep last week - he'll be out four to six months, so pencil him out for now. These guys aren't polite enough to wait out Ross' plug of Confidential before they start slugging - back and forth we go - T finally ducks, chop, slap, chop, into the ropes is reversed, but T hits a flying jalapeno. Right, chop, slap, chop, into the ropes is reversed into a - blown move of some sort by Test, but he drops down and starts wailing away - that's ten rights. Ross remembered these guys were tag team champions! T into the ropes, Test with a sidewalk slam (which was a "redo the spot" spot, yep) - 1, 2, no. In the corner, back elbow, back elbow, back elbow, kick, stomp, stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp. BOO! T back up - right, right, Test with a knee, and a clubbing forearm. T driven into the corner and Test follows with a clothesline. Cover - 1, 2, T kicks out. Test to the armbar. "USA" chant brings T back to his feet. T with a knee, elbow, elbow, off the ropes but Test meets him with a back elbow. Cover, leg is hooked, 2, T kicks out. Big right hand by Test. Into the ropes, but T comes off with a flying clothesline! T with "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine," again, chop, slap, chop, slap, chop, slap, into the ropes, viscera...but Test is right back up with a knee. Into the ropes is reversed - T catches Test in position for a belly-to-belly but he kinda flops onto his back - T kinda drops him...then drops a leg between Test's legs - hmm, maybe they shouldn't be letting Test call spots if this is how they deal with miscommunication. Somehow, Patrick lets all this go. Gutshot by T, gutshot, gutshot, T wants the back heel kick but Test ducks - T ducks a clothesline - T lands the side kick! After consulting his hand, T drops down and breakdances back to his feet. Test just getting back up - T with a gutshot - off the ropes but Test ducks the axe kick - Test with a gutshot, grabs the pumphandle but T lands on the apron - block, right, shoulder through the ropes to double him over - and hits the axe kick from the apron run! T climbs up top - MISSILE DROPKICK! That's one of his moves! T covers - 1, 2, NO!! Man, T's only GOT two finishers LEFT. T grabs a choke...puts the arm behind Test's neck and unleashes some kicks to the side of Test's head - Test ducks the third, grabs the pumphandle and DOES complete the Meltdown - 1, 2, JOHNNY ACE! Test is unhappy about this turn of events. Brings up T and wants a powerbomb...but T not only takes the powerbomb but simultaneously counters with the ugliest huracanrana you'll ever see! (Whoa!) T runs right into the back elbow - Test tries for the Wotsitolla Boot but T ducks THAT - whip into the corner by Test but T goes up and over with a crisscross rollup - 1, 2, 3!! (5:54) Ugly match, but still a lot of fun to watch.

Backstage, Terri catches up to Flair - she'd like his thoughts. "Can you get my thoughts? What do you think's goin' through the mind of Ric Flair when I lose to a guy like Rico? Don't bother me--" Triple H shows up at this point. "I'll tell you what his thoughts are. I'll tell you EXACTLY what his thoughts are. He's humiliated. He's embarrassed. What's the matter with you, huh? At one time you were The Man; I looked UP to you! I *idolised* you, and this is what you've become? I can't even believe you held this title sixteen times. Sixteen times heavyweight champion of the world, and you just lost a match to a man that can't even hold your jock. You've lost it, Flair. You've lost it, you've lost your instincts, you've lost your guts....if this is the way you're gonna be, why don't you just do everybody a favour, why don't you just give it up, retire - get out while the gettin's good...the Ric Flair I see before me right now is pathetic." Flair gets up. "Pathetic? You don't know what pathetic is! Pathetic is walkin' around with the most coveted trophy in this sport, the world heavyweight championship, without earnin' it! That's pathetic! And as far as Ric Flair goes, YOU don't know what I'm all about and never will! You don't know what I'm capable of, either." "Oh, I think I do know, Ric...I think I do know."

Unforgiven spot - Triple H/Rob van Dam hyped

And now, the WWE Boot of the Week, brought to you by Lugz! From last week, Regal joins the Un-Americans and the last of Bradshaw you'll see is this pinfall.

JONATHAN COACHMAN stands in the midst of the protestors, and identifies their spokesperson as Rebecca Lovey: "Well, we at the International Organisation for Women have noticed an alarming trend. The treatment of women on RAW has been deplorable. And tonight, we're not going anywhere until we've talked to Eric Bischoff. Come on, girls!" The "IOW" chants...continue...

WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: THE UN-AMERICANS (Lance Storm & Christian - champions - Canada - 434 pounds) v. BUBBA RAY & SPIKE DUDLEY (champions - Dudleyville - 510 pounds - with "Forceable Entry" CD cover)
referee: EARL HEBNER
Oops, the Dudleyz pyro fails to go off. That music just doesn't pack that punch without those big explosions, does it? Also funny is Lawler yelling out "INCOMING!!!" and then nothing happens. (I've heard tell that that's ALSO how he performs in bed! Ba dum bum.) At any rate, ring flowerpot LILIAN GARCIA is *so* rattled as a result of all this non-commotion that she overshoots the last known combined weight of the Dudleyz by fifty to seventy pounds, depending on what they're claiming Bubba as THIS week. It's Bubba and Storm starting. Bubba shows off his shins this week - "pasty" would be a proper, if unkind description. Lockup, side headlock by Storm. Crowd wants tables already. Bubba powers out, Storm slides under, Bubba grabs a headlock - and there's a suplex. Into the ropes, head down, Storm kicks - Dudley ducks a clothesline and gives him a death suplex. Clubbing forearm. Sat up on top - pulled back into the Tree of Woe - forearm across the chest - pulled up but before he can deliver a second, Christian tries an apron run - but Dudley is ready and clotheslines him to the floor. Over to Spike and there's a tag - Spike on top - open double axe handle. Into the ropes is reversed, but Spike bulldogs him down. Clothesline. Atomic drop, clothesline, cover, hooks the leg, Christian saves at 2. Christian goes back to his corner and Spike pops him from behind with a forearm in the back, putting him on the floor. Forearm for Storm - whip into the corner is reversed and Spike hits sternum first, going SPLAT. Tag to Christian, bring on the WWE onsale crawl at the bottom of the screen. Christian stomp, turns him over, stomp, stomp, stomp, blatant choke for 4. Meanwhile, Storm has produced a table from underneath the ring and sets it up on the floor. Bubba runs around the ring but Hebner heads him off - this allows an un-American doubleteam on Spike in the ring. Running powerslam by Storm only gets 2. "We want tables!" Well, it's right there, baby. Tag to Christian - open kick, forearm, big kick in the gut. Choke on the second rope for 4. Hebner gives Christian what for while Storm adds injury behind his back. Christian with a gutbuster. 1, 2, no. Tag to Storm - held open for the kick. Knee by Storm - into the ropes, Spike manages a headscissors..and makes the slow crawl to Bubba Ray. Just before he makes the tag, Christian comes in to make sure Hebner MISSES the tag - sure enough, Bubba gets one blow on Storm before Hebner shoves him back to his corner. Again we get a doubleteam behind Hebner's back. Christian covers - 1, 2, kickout. I guess Christian's legal now (but they forgot to clap the air!) Spike tries a flurry - elbow, elbow, elbow, off the ropes but Christian lands a knee - perpendicular backbreaker - 1, 2, Bubba breaks it up. Snapmares him over, then puts his shin between the shoulderblades with a kick. Christian goes to the headlock as the "USA" chant fires up again. Bubba doing his part to keep it up. Spike's back to his feet - elbow, elbow, elbow breaks it up but Christian puts a forearm in the back - going for a suplex but Spike reverses to an inside cradle - 1, 2, no! Christian clubs him and tags out. Stomp by Storm. Kneelift, knee, has a chicken wing/chinlock - again Spike elbows out (three) but Storm puts him in the unfriendly corner - but Spike tries to battle out with back elbows to Christian and rights for Storm - between Storm's legs, Storm grabs an ankle...but Spike hits the enzuigiri and makes the HOT TAG! Christian gets the tag on the other side, Bubba with a clothesline, clothesline, free shot for Storm, sidewalk slam for Christian, Storm in and HE gets flapjacked, Storm into Christian in the corner, Storm out leaving only Christian to eat the avalanche - Storm lunges, Bubba ducks and Christian takes the shot from his teammate - Dudley clotheslines Storm and he goes outside. Scoop and a slam for Christian - Spike isn't rested enough but STILL manages to go for "What Are You Doing?" Spike...get the table. Baby, the table's ALREADY out...Storm tries to halt the big mo - Spike ducks, headbutts the gut - then baseball slides into Christian on the outside. Back inside, Bubba goes to work on Storm with the familiar left, left, left, flip, flop, says "USA" while thrusting his pelvis, elbow - Christian finally back in and Bubba spears HIM down - Christian IS the legal man, you know - leg is hooked - 1, 2, Storm pulls him outside - ducks a clothesline and hits the superkick. Meanwhile, Spike tries to surprise Christian with a Dudley 'dog...only to have Storm catch him in midmove, and they BOTH throw him over the top rope and through the table! Bubba back in, apparently unawares - clothesline for Storm, Christian hooked into a Bubbabomb - leg is hooked and the crowd counts to 3...because Hebner is out checking on Spike! He's quickly joined by other REFS & TRAINER CHRIS IFORGOTHISLASTNAME - Bubba pulls up and *finally* notices Spike's out - EMT's on the scene now - Storm back in and he's got a title belt - lunging at Bubba but he ducks, then dumps him over the top rope to the floor (almost into the EMT's) - meanwhile, Christian has a handful of whatever he can grab as Hebner comes back in - 1, 2, 3. Champs retain. (8:32) Almost a textbook tag formula match there, in case you were looking for a recent example to point to. Bubba shoves some EMT's around as if HE could better administer first aid to his half brother.

Backstage, Bischoff's face! "Everybody's looking forward to your match with RVD tonight. And I want to wish you luck - I know that you're going to make a great intercontinental champion once again." Zoom out...it's Chris Jericho! "EB, you got nothin' to worry about - tonight, I redeem myself against RVD - you got NOTHING to worry about." "I know that!" Before he can go WALKING! a Security feller stops him. "Mr. Bischoff." "Yyyes." "There's a group of women protesting outside in front of the arena. The building manager would like you to meet with them. What do you want me to do?" "...let 'em in. I'll meet with 'em." "Okay." Bischoff laughs. "I've got a few minutes." Sheesh, talk about telegraphing...

1-800-CAL-LATT brings you the WWE Rewind! From last week, Rob van Dam wins the Fatal Four-way to claim the #1 Contendership by giving Chris Jericho the Fivestar frog splash.

Coming back live, Bubba tries to reassure Spike before he's loaded onto the ambulance. Triple H happens by - surveys the situation - and breaks into laughter.

CHRIS JERICHO (Winnipeg, Manitoba - 227 pounds - with RAW is brought to you by Lugz, PlayStation 2, and JVC's Tower of Power HX Series!) v. AD BREAK

Wow, this is the first time they've put a clear delineation between the "RAW" and "RAW Zone" hours in....forever!

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: CHRIS JERICHO (challenger) v. ROB VAN DAM (champion - Battle Creek, Michigan - 235 pounds - with TV-14-DLV & CC boxes - AND "Forceable Entry" CD cover)
referee: Robinson
We actually never *see* the RAW credits, which is kind of a trip when you're so used to marking them down - the only way I can confirm we're into the second hour (besides the fact that it's 10:08) is that van Dam *does* get "RAW Zone" chyron for his intro when Jericho didn't. Nobody cares about this but me, I guarantee you, but fortunately I'm the one who happens to be writing about the show on this occasion from where I sit in my estimation. You think they'll actually start "CSI" AT 11:00 on the dot? Me neither. HEEEEERE WE GO! Lockup, side headlock by Jericho after a back and forth, van Dam tries to power out but Jericho doesn't move - two quick shots to the abdomen by van Dam and he DOES power out, but - wait for it - Jericho connects with a shoulderblock. "I'm the king of the world!" Up and over, leapfrog by Jericho, viscera by van Dam. There's like a MOTH in the ring, and it's drawn to van Dam's tights. That's BIZARRE. Ross now says that if Bischoff meets with the protestors, they'll have to bump the women's title match - oh oh, SOMEBODY took too much time in the first hour! Nice of them to scratch the ONE match they hyped during the "TNG" ad time, ain't it? Anywho... van Dam kick, elbow, kick, elbow, into the ropes is reversed, van Dam back to back over him, Jericho catches the kick, ducks the enzuigiri but van Dam is right back with a mule kick on the bounce. Elbow, into the ropes, Jericho with a flying jalapeno to turn it around. Right, right, death suplex. Chop! van Dam tries to elbow out - Jericho answeres, another chop, into the ropes, dropkick is caught - van Dam with the WOW catapult but Jericho turns it into a leap and lands on the second rope - springs off but eats a van Dam dropkick! van Dam stomps - seated dropkick - springboard guillotine on his way out to the floor. van Dam's mouth is bleeding. Shoulder between the ropes - overhead kick to Jericho - van Dam climbing up, but Jericho kicks Robinson into the ropes, crotching van Dam. Jericho over to the corner - right, climbing up after him - double underhook into the BUTTERFLY SUPERPLEX! Both men are down and let's take this opportunity to look at van Dam's bleedin' gums. Jericho up first - kick to the small of the back - kick, kick, stomp, pulls him out of the corner and delivers the backbreaker. Hmm, I think he's picking a body part! Jericho stops to cup his ear to and fro - and they answer with boos. A SECOND backbreaker, and this time Jericho leaves van Dam bent over his knee. van Dam fails to submit, of course. Jericho reminds van Dam that he's King of the World. Head to the buckle by Jericho. Elbow, elbow, into the opposite corner, but van Dam gets the boot up - there's a leg scissors rollup by van Dam - 1, 2, no! Jericho right back with a dropkick. Right, right, pulls back on both arms with the standing surfboard. Let's look at van Dam's blood again - eww. van Dam starts to quiver, and the crowd starts to chant "RVD" - back on his feet, kicks to break up the hold, elbow, elbow, elbow, into the opposite corner is reversed, but van Dam gets the boot up on Jericho's charge and Jericho runs RIGHT into it! Both men slow to get up - Jericho up before 5 - grabs van Dam but he breaks it up and delivers a TIMBERRRRRRRRRRRR kick to Jericho! van Dam goes to work - kick, elbow, elbow, to the opposite corner, tumbling run monkey flip, springs off the corner with a kick, Rolling Thunder, cover, leg is hooked, Jericho kicks out at 2! Castrol GTX provides the replay of the thunder kick. Jericho into the ropes, slides under, leaps over the legsweep, drops down and grabs the ankles, trying to lock in the Walls, van Dam fighting it, rolls him into a pinning predicament - 1, 2, NO! Forearm, forearm, into the opposite corner, boot up by Jericho - runs at him but van Dam ducks the clothesline, catches the kick, and delivers the stepover heel kick! van Dam's going for it - but out comes TRIPLE H - spying him, van Dam changes his mind on the Fivestar on Jerihco, opting instead to hit a splash on H on the floor! Forearm, forearm, forearm, Jericho tries to surprise him with a baseball slide dropkick but van Dam sidesteps THAT - spin heel kick connects - Jericho rolled in - van Dam up top - leaps into a flying kick - up and DOWN with a split-legged moonsault - 1, 2, NO!! Jericho with a forearm, whip, reversed, reversed back and Jericho is sent into a chop block on Triple H on the apron, bringing him into the ring! van Dam back on H - forearm, forearm, forearm, spin kick - but from behind, Jericho grabs the double leg and steps over into the Walls of Jericho! van Dam's in the centre and too far from every rope. Lawler says he'd better tap and give up now, or give up on his world title match at Unforgiven. van Dam has nowhere to go - HE ACTUALLY TAPS OUT!!! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new intercontinental champion. (8:46) Jericho is now a five-time champ - or six-time, depending on how you count it. Jericho heads up the ramp and out - time to celebrate. But Triple H isn't done - there's a PEDIGREE for van Dam! H thoughtfully massages his jaw one more time before heading out of the ring. Hey, they didn't play HIS music either! Maybe this is a new across-the-board change where they don't feel like they have to play music every time some guy does something - if so, I approve. We head to the break...

Stacker 2 ad #2 (Bubba again)

MOMENTS AGO, Ross says Jericho only won the title because of Triple H, while Lawler pragmatically says van Dam brought it upon himself by attacking Triple H first.

The Security guy puts the IOW protestors in an office. Bischoff, Jamal & Rosey will see them later.

Jericho has not one but TWO bottles of bubbly - I guess one's for drinkin' and the other one's for shakin' up and sprayin'! Bischoff meets him in mid-walk - Jericho says now that he's proven himself against van Dam, he'd like to take the opportunity to take out Flair at Unforgiven. Bischoff makes the match.

"Not Enough" by Our Lady Peace serves as soundtrack for a "WWE Desire" clip centered around Jeff Hardy. "I'm always scared before I wrestle... it's just that if there weren't any fear in it, you know, there wouldn't be that big of a payoff - that's just what really, like, fires me up about it. ... I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't feel like I've had enough, and there's nothing left... 'Desire' means never quit."

Back at the locker room where William Regal addresses his comrades. "All right, gentlemen - now as you know, I have a match against Kane up next. When I look at Kane, I see everything that is wrong with America, beacuse America like Kane hides beneath a mosque - they try to hide the horrors that everyone knows exists, but are too ashamed to show who they really are, and thati s a lesson I'm going to teach Kane, and a lesson that I'm going to teach the pathetic Americans." He takes off while Storm, Christian and Test nod knowingly...

Meanwhile, Kane is WALKING!

Have a look-see at the Pepsi Center! Triple H defends his title later tonight! By the way, Castrol GTX High Mileage presents Unforgiven THIS Sunday! I wonder if I'LL get to see it...

WILLIAM REGAL (already in the ring) v. KANE (Parts Unknown - 326? pounds)
referee: CHAD PATTON
We STILL haven't gotten a proper ring introduction on Kane since his return, so who knows what they've settled his weight at. By the way, did we ever figure out what "MY FUTURE IS CLEAR / A DATE WITH THE DEVIL / A DANCE WITH HIS MISTRESS / MY PATH IS CHOSEN" means? And by "we," I mean "the writers?" Regal tries to get the jump as soon as the ringpost flashpots are out - forearm to the back of the head - lariat - lariat - "damn you go outside!" third left-handed lariat finally puts Kane out. Regal out after him - but caught in a choke. Scooped up...put back in over the (ha) bottom rope. Regal with a knee through the ropes as Kane gets back on the apron - totally misses but Kane sells like a champ. Reverse hot shot puts Kane back on the floor. Regal follows out. Stomp, to the ringpost, back in, cover, just 2. Forearm, kick, kick, forearm, knee, elbow, elbow, elbow, elbow, choke with the forearm - European uppercut - Kane right, right, Regal drop toehold, floats over to a headlock - double kneelift to the head. Arm wringer - to a clothesline. Left, left, left, left, left - maybe they're all elbows, I'm not getting the camera view. Rakes the mask (?) for 4. "Regal sux" chant. Kick. Forearm in the back. Elbow. Kane right, right, right, right, into the ropes, big back body drop! Big boot! Into the opposite corner, Kane with a follow clothesline, to the opposite corner, another clothesline, and there's a sidewalk slam. Kane going out and going up - time for that trademark flying clothesline. Kane gives the international sign of the chokeslam...while Regal fishes in his trunks for the brass knuckles. Moot point as TEST is out - Kane pops him and Patton jumps the gun, immediately calling for the (DQ 2:54) despite the fact that Test didn't initiate anything yet - Kane with the choke on Regal - Test comes in with Wotsitolla Boot - missing Kane and hitting Regal instead - Kane grabs *Test* - but now LANCE STORM & CHRISTIAN are up and the numbers take over - until BUBBA RAY DUDLEY comes out and helps clean house - but now GOLDUST & BOOKER T join the fray until we've got our four-by-four. Lance Storm is the designated chokeslamee and the ring is duly cleared. T takes THE STICK as the Un-Americans gather on the ramp. "Hold up, hold 'em up! Hold 'em up - you wanna talk about America, I TELL you - I TELL ya about America - see I hold THESE truths to be self-evident. You see, you suckas ain't got no HEART. You suckas ain't got no GUTS. And you know, Goldy - most definitely, these suckas ain't got no spauldings. So I tell you what...the four of you - against the four of this right here...Sunday night, Unforgiven, what about that?" They appear amenable. Damn, Regal's busted up AGAIN. "Sunday night, Unforgiven, and I know you - and I know you - and I most definitely know YOU can most definitely dig that - suckaaaaaa!" Well, I guess that answers the question of who takes Bradshaw's place...

Back to the IOW and the Security Guy. "Okay, ladies, Mr. Bischoff is ready to see you now. However, he's not gonna come back here; he'd like to give you a public forum...in the ring. If you'd just all follow me..." "All right, ladies - this is our chance to be heard! Let's go!" "IOW" chant...

Golly! In this "Forceable Entry" ad, Matt Pinfield sure sounds like he's back on the stuff, doesn't he?

Catch the WWE live when it comes to YOUR area! Tomorrow, Colorado Springs! Saturday, Fresno! Sunday is Unforgiven in Los Angeles! RAW is Anaheim! And Tuesday is San Diego!

"Eric Bischoff is a fair and...just man. I believe in equality. I believe that women are...(laughing) just as smart and just as powerful as men. (breaks up) Oh, which is why I'm willing to provide an open forum for this group of ...women who have been protesting my show here tonight, so - ladies, your microphone awaits you." And here they come. We take a while for the ring to fill with IOW. Finally, the ring is full and Rebecca halts the chant. "Mr. Bischoff, this group of women represents the International Organisation for Women. We exist to represent women - um - we exist to preserve the fair and equal rights of women in entertainment - and quite frankly, Mr. Bischoff, (Bischoff checks her out) you have gone over the line with RAW. You have exploited women on your show by promoting bra and panty matches... mud matches... and pillow fights. And most recently, you've exploited two lesbains on your show by having them...the lesbians perform a sexual act--" Bischoff takes back the mic. "That's it, isn't it. I shoulda known. The lesbians? That's what this is all about? Oh, wait a minute. I don't know how I didn't see it. I'm surrounded by a horde of LESBIANS! Hey, no problem, ladies - git it on! I have no problem with that - all of these people, each and every one of them wanna see some...hot lesbian action! HLA! HLA! So go ahead. Perform for all of us! Or...is this all about your fifteen minutes of fame - is that what this is all about? Well ladies...I don't have fifteen minutes. As a matter of fact ladies, AWWWWWWWW." Well, it turns out that STEFFO was amidst the group, clad in wig and glasses - and that's a big kick square in the nuts. "What was that, Eric? What was that you were gonna say? You have, what... THREE MINUTES?" BILLY & CHUCK hit the ring and Stephanie starts directing traffic by way of screeching - Bischoff on Chuck's shoulders and Billy on top - crotch chop and devastation device! Now here comes THE NEW GOOD OL' JR - Jamal takes out Billy and Rosey is whipped into him. Jamal moves to give Chuck the quick Samoan Drop...but Chuck lands on his feet off the ropes - right hand - Jungle Kick for Rosey - Billy with a Fame-Ass'er on Jamal! Stephanie jumps up and down at ringside, then calls them to follow her over the barrier and out through the crowd. Unlike on SmackDown!, nobody from the locker room comes to the fallen general manager's aid HMM and now this commercial break

MOMENTS AGO, you just seen it

Coming back live, Bisch is still doubled over, hand on crotch, but Jamal holds the mic. "Steph! You bitch! Ahh you're gonna, you're gonna pay for this! I bet you're proud of yourself, aren'cha. Ahhh, ahh. Well I got an idea. How 'bout a little challenge? This Sunday at Unforgiven, how 'bout an intercontinental matchup - SmackDown! and RAW [I think he meant "interpromotional"] - Rosey & Jamal against - woooow whooa Billy & Chuck. But I got a stipulation. That's right, I got a stipulation, y'see here's how it goes down. If Chuck & Billy win, I'm gonna ohhhhh man I'm gonna give you what you've been wantin' since the day I showed up here - I will kiss your little ass right in the centre of this ring! Oh...but, and this is a big BUTT - if Rosey & Jamal win, since you like to dress up like a lesbian, at Unforgiven you get to perform some hot lesbian action - right in the centre of this ring! How 'bout it, STEPH - some HLA at Unforgiven. Huh? I can't wait to hear your answer on SmackDown! Thursday, STEPH - if you've got the BALLS. Awwwwwwwww." Hit his music, but we're running out of show! Let's quickly move own

TRIPLE H (Greenwich, Connecticut - 260 pounds) v. ? - Either H has lost twelve pounds, or Garcia's pulling weights out of thin air again. Everybody stop and admire Triple H's "whale's blowhole" spot! Well, if the show ends at 11, we've only got four minutes of show left. Before H can get out of the corner pose, POINTS TO SELF is out and taking him down - they roll around a bit, trading punches and....whatever van Dam throws - the REFS come out and try to separate them and don't have much luck - now they're joined by FIT FINLAY & JOHN LARIAN - LAURIANA - JOHN L- JOHNNY ACE - van Dam has the title belt - takes a swing at Finlay to put him back - then gets a clear shot at H and BRAINS him with the belt! Finally Finlay gets HIS shot and takes down van Dam (!) - Finlay, Ace and two refs carry out van Dam while we're told that we'll see H's opponent NEXT!

Unforgiven ad - Lesnar/Taker hyped

referee: Hebner
H is showing off his blade job when we return. Check out the new title graphic (using the RAW logo as template). Also, note well that "CSI coming up NEXT" because for the *first* time on RAW, we have The New TNN's screen treatment that every other show on the network has had cluttering up the bottom of the picture. The music hits and sadly, the mystery opponent is revealed to NOT be The Big Show (nor Savio Vega) as Hardy sprints out to try to steal a quick one from the champ. Right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right, into the ropes is reversed, Hardy ducks, flying forearm, right, right, right, into the corner is revesred, Hardy leaps and misses, catches himself, leaps, springs off, and H has been patiently waiting to catch SOMETHING and dutifully takes the crossbody block - 1, 2, no. Hardy with a viscera - seated dropkick - second rope...caught with a gutshot by H, Pedigree attempt countered with the speaking in tongues double legdrop. ANOTHER seated dropkick by Hardy - 1, 2, no. Hardy going up - wants the swantonbomb but H rolls out of the way. Ross actually remembers Hardy beat Triple H for the intercontinental title once upon a time! Of course, he forgot that a week later...well, that's too cynical of me. Hardy goes outside - barricade run - has to land before hitting the clothesline as H isn't in position. Hardy ain't too pleased about that. H tossed back in - Hardy with a double clutch then leaps into a split-legged moonsault - 1, 2, no. Off the ropes...H shoves him underneath the bottom rope and to the floor. H out after him - hard whip into the STEEL steps. H rolls in and dares Hebner to count all the way to ten. Hebner's up to four - Hardy isn't moving - five - six - seven - pulling himself up - eight - and makes it in - H stomp, stomp, stomp, CSI is coming up next - vertical suplex. H to the second rope - what's he EVER done from there - sure enough, Hardy catches up - right, right, climbing up after him - top rope - Frankensteiner! Leg is hooked - 1, 2, no! Crowd is actually starting to think it might happen - Hardy misses in the corner and shoulders the post. Hardy sat up top - H climbing up after him for the superplex - Hardy elbow, elbows him off - springs off with the moonsault and the foot connected - 1, 2, H shoots the shoulder up! Hardy stomps - Twist of Fate attempt is shoved off, Hardy ducks the clothesline, gutshot, Twist of Fate HITS! Hardy decides to go for it all, climbing up to the top and HITTING the swantonbomb! Slow to cover - 1, 2, FOOT ON THE ROPE. Off the ropes...H catches him in the sleeper. Well, it worked on Spike, why not? Ross says H has been perfecting this hold over the past few weeks....oh. Well, I guess that telegraphs the ending right there. Hebner checks in and sure enough, that'll do ya. Champ retains when Hebner calls for the submission and stops the match. (5:43) POINTS TO SELF is back out! Spin heel kick! van Dam up top - Fivestar frog splash! van Dam grabs the title belt and holds it high - then he points to himself! Is it an omen? Well, the credits are up and you'll have to wait until Sunday! CSI is RIGHT NOW!

A cookie to whoever put the muzzle on Lawler this week - let's hope they keep up the good work... and just *maybe* all the people who swore they wouldn't tune in again after LAST week might come back!

Getting them to pay for Unforgiven, of course, is an entirely different story.

CRZ is participating in his OWN "Tour of Defiance" by not going to the house show.


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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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