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How Much Did I Like This Ending?
October 5, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Last week in this spot, I took the time to -- in the parlance of wrestling -- "show ass" by admitted to how very wrong I'd been about WWE's intentions for RAW, and specifically to how the work by and booking of Randy Orton made me eat my words.
Well, a week later, and you can forget about my ass, people. I would have loved to have been wrong again, but the simple fact is that on a night that was largely VERY entertaining and seemed exceptionally fast-paced, RAW once again exhibited a frustratingly poor grasp on how to handle Randy Orton, and by extension, made sure that the 

entire main event title picture remained a garbled mess and reduced Orton's "breakout" promo last week to a one-off aberration instead of trying to build on it as part of a more complex storyline.

And I almost feel bad for harping on this as my main thesis, cuz there WAS so much good elsewhere on the show, and WWE really did pull a few nice little tricks out of their sleeves. But you also MUST know your Wrestling Buddy, The Rick, by now: a show is only as good as its climax. And though it was nowhere NEAR as bad as the night before at No Mercy, RAW still managed to make frustration and annoyance the last things I was feeling at the conclusion of the show. Which I'll fight against as best I can, but which is not one of my favorite things.

So I'll try to ignore those metaphorical vaginal abrasions due to sand until its appropriate to bring them up, and take you by the hand through the Ups of RAW before we get to the Downs...

Video Package: Randy Orton CAN speak, and proved it last week.  And then, as punishment for not learning how to do so until he left the group, Evolution beat the shit out of him. 

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and you better believe we get long, lingering, LOVING camera pans of the arena tonight, cuz we're sold out at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Sports Entertainment. JR and King run some of tonight's planned highlights, and then it's time to get this party started.....

The Opening Schmozzterview

"Theme from Evolution" hits, but it's only Triple H and Ric Flair who enter, both dressed to the nines (whatever the hell that means).  HHH decides to defer to Ric Flair; but before you think it's respect for the legend, you'd best listen in... cuz HHH was glad to let Flair talk first because Flair's first comment was "Last week, when I said HHH was the greatest wrestler alive today, I misspoke... [pregnant pause where they COULD have taken this in a meaningfully interesting direction, but didn't]...  because HHH is the greatest wrestler of ALL TIMES." We get a Sigh of Relief, and then a Smirk of I So Totally Knew He Was Gonna Say That All Along, from HHH....

From here, it's mostly repeat, as Flair details the requirements for a "legend," and how he's not only a true legend himself, but he's uniquely qualified to decide who's a legend and who isn't, and as such, he's noticed that Randy Orton has not killed one single true legend.  He tells Randy, "You're not a legend killer, you're a virgin." Which seemed like a really odd and unnecessary choice of words until Flair hit the punchline: "And do you know how many virgins I've made scream and bleed all night long? WHOOOO!"  Which, admittedly, is a pretty fricking sweet twist with some 21st Century edginess on a basic concept that Flair's been parroting for 20 years.  Flair continues to riff on Randy the Virgin (including sneaking in the morsel of info that he's been barred from the building tonight, "for his own safety"); And so this is how we learn that Randall will be made to scream and bleed in entirely MANLY ways at Taboo Tuesday, because there's a match that's been made between him and Flair... and fans will get to pick the stipulation (Cage Match, Submissions Match, or Falls Count Anywhere Match).

At the mention of fans picking stuff, HHH decided to chime in with about 3 minutes of almost the exact same promo he did last week (which itself was a promo he'd cut earlier that day)... I know there's something to be said for tried and true formulas, but this was really kinda obvious recycling.  Although: maybe it was supposed to be.  Because 3 minutes into the "you fans shouldn't have the right to decide what happens to me" spiel, Chris Jericho interrupted, and immediately accused HHH of being "in reruns." Well, no argument here...

Although Jericho has nothing to do with anything here, he quickly reminds us that if HHH wants to bitch about the Interactive Show concept, he should remember that Chris Jericho is the man who came up with that idea a month ago (getting fans to vote on a Ladder Match at Unforgiven). As is his wont, Jericho did some scatting and be-bopping all over HHH and Flair for a few moments, and the crowd was lapping it up.  Then he hit his final rant, that he'll love watching the main event at Taboo Tuesday because he'd get to see HHH lose the World Title, "you Sanctimonious Son of a Bitch."  And I love Jericho and all, but I think he likes that phrase more than anyone else, cuz I think the learned prissiness of "sanctimonious" pretty much undoes the basic derogatoriness of "son of a bitch," and it just sounds forced.  But don't tell that to these three: Jericho hit the punchline, and both HHH and Flair sold it like they'd been told their mothers had both been sodomized by an albino hippopotamus kept in a basement by Jericho's deaf-mute half-cousin from Botswana.  Which seemed a bit excessive for such a tame bit of name calling.

HHH and Flair, however, they want Jericho, and they want him now. And at first, Jericho saunters towards the ring, so Flair and HHH begin disrobing in anticipation. But then Jericho walks back, and actually leaves the arena. Huh? Oh, nevermind, he's back...  and with a steel chair!  Jericho's on his way to the ring with his equalizer, and if you can't see this coming down Main Street, I'm going to have to insist that you turn in your Wrestling Fan Card to the nearest authority...  cuz sure enough, Jericho gets halfway to the ring, and that's when the conspicuously-absent Batista decides to make his presence felt by sprinting up from behind Jericho and pasting him with a clothesline (but NOT the KO-thesline, apparently, even though it kinda looked like the same thing).  Batista tosses Jericho into the wolves, and it's a three-on-one beatdown for about 20 seconds.  

Sounds like the crowd was chanting for "HBK" (damn you, MSG, what of Benoit? Well, at least it was for "Randy")... but instead they get a save from Chris Benoit. But Save #1 doesn't take, and Evolution regains the 3-on-2 advantage.  Again, MSG has decided that if somebody's gonna run-in, it should be "HBK," but again, they are disappointed, as it's Edge who sprints out to even the score.  With the sides even, The Canadian Connection of Benoit/Jericho/Edge get the better of Evolution, who decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and head to the dressing room.  The Canuck Crew celebrate to Edge's music to close out the segment; pretty hot open, I guess.  I mean, for all my bitching about HHH repeating himself, they actually crammed a lot (six guys all getting at least some chance to shine) in, and it felt big and busy enough that you didn't even really have time to pause and wonder, "So they STILL haven't explained why Edge is in this title mix, have they?"...  which would be a fair issue to raise, but there just wasn't time to do it here; too much else going on....


Corporate Sponsorship That Only Works On Chumps Without DVR: Looked like some product or service sponsored the footage from last week where Christian pinned HBK in a tag match before the ad break.  Then after, another product or service sponsored VIDEOGAME footage of what an HBK vs. Christian re-match might look like.  My 7.3 second version does not entice me to buy any product or service, but does whet my appetite for Michaels vs. Christian.... 

Backstage: the Coach has gotten Christian for a quick final, pre-match promo.  Christian is oozing that magnificent smarminess of his, saying that everybody in MSG has their panties bunched for Shawn Michaels because he LOST in a WrestleMania match in 1994, but nobody is giving him props for WINNING a WrestleMania match there in 2004.  Tonight, Christian says, he'll open some eyes and the torch will be passed from HBK to Captain Charisma.  He beckons to The Lovely Miss Tomko, and says it's time to leave and go "steal this show."

Shawn Michaels vs. Christian

Really simple back and forth stuff to start: lock-ups, breaks in the corners, chances for Christian to do a lot of pausing for smacktalk after he hits some relatively meaningless move or another.  But after about 2 minutes of that, Michaels gains the edge after dodging a straddle-based-move and Xtian crotched himself.  Michaels set up behind and tuned up the band, but The Lovely Miss Tomko made herself useful by yanking Christian out of the ring before Michaels could land the superkick. So while they're regrouping outside, Michaels does this cool thing that's not even a highspot (in the traditional Highspot Before The Break kind of way), but he just did it so fast that it SEEMED sweet as hell.  Slides out, picks off Christian with a neckbreaker, then bounds to his feet and tags Tomko with a superkick.  Then hops back in the ring to bask in the cheers.  Babyface celebrating, heels both KO'ed, time for....


Back, and Christian has somehow regained the edge and has Michaels in a chinlock or something. We get a "During the Break" package of Tomko being escorted out and the Christian retaking the advantage after Shawn missed a dive off the ropes to the floor, and EXACTLY as the package wraps, Michaels starts Comeback #1 (way to hit the cue).  HBK powers out of the chinlock, and hits a few moves in a row...  but Christian puts an end to that with a thumb to the eye and an inverted tornado DDT.  Michaels is in trouble again, but this time starts a comeback after the two men knock heads on an Irish Whip.  Ref gets up to nine on his double count, but both get up, and this time, when he comes off the ropes, Michaels hits the Flying Burrito. Again both men down, but this time, Michaels kips up and is en feugo for Comeback #2.  This time, his rally lasts a little bit longer, but it is again foiled.  They do a neat little triple-reverse-y spot in which Michaels turned Christian's Unprettier Attempt into a pinning combo, but then Christian came back with a SECOND attempt, which Michaels turned into a Clothesline attempt, which Christian ducked, and turned into an Actual Unprettier.  Surely that's it!  But Michaels kicks out at 2 and 89/100ths!  

Crowd's hot for this, and Christian represses the urge to throw a 2002-caliber temper tantrum.  Instead, he keeps pounding on Michaels and sets him up for some kind of top rope move.  Except Michaels still has something left in the tank, and gets to his feet, and then joins Christian on the top rope... and back body drops him off the top.  Nice spot.  From here, Comeback #3 will be brief, but extremely concentrated.  Already on the ropes, Michaels turns around and repositions himself, and nails the Macho Man Elbow.  Then he retires to a corner, tunes up the band, and pastes Christian with the Sweet Chin Music.  One, two, three.  And Michaels is your clean winner.  Well, so much for booking this in a way so that Michaels will keep on "slumming it" in the IC Title picture...  but those snarky criticisms are easily countered by simply recognizing that this was just a sweet-ass 12 minute match.  The first 3 minutes before the ads was very basic, and it's not like they were re-inveting the wheel with the post-ads part, but it was just excellently executed (d'oh, sorry HBK's sworn archnemesis!) and with both men brining enough charisma and intensity to the formula that the series of simple, escalating comebacks by Shawn REALLY was easy and fun to get into.  Longer would have been better, but things seemed rushed and slammed together all night long, so they were obviously running tight on time.  I'll take my 12 minutes, and be happy!


Added Attractions: JR announces that Bischoff has signed two more matches for tonight... Chris Benoit vs. Batista, and also Chris Jericho vs. Triple H.  Champion vs. Champion?  You know, I'd probably have made a bigger deal out of that... except maybe with neither title on the line, it wouldn't really have mattered.

Earlier Today: in what looked like almost the exact same Undisclosed Location as the interview with Kane last week, Tough Questions Todd Grisham got a few choice minutes with Lita.  Todd really only gets one predictable question in ("So, how you doin'?"), which gives Lita all she needs to hit her marks.  She says that she regrets a lot about the last 6 months, but she doesn't regret her pregnancy, because her baby was the one good, pure thing in all this mess between her and Matt and Kane. She realized that once she started feeling her baby growing and moving inside her, and now, she'll never see her baby's face, never hold her baby in her arms, and it's tough for her. When pressed as to who she blames, Lita quit being all weepy and emotional and got angry as she said she might not have any love for Kane, but she is behind him on one thing: "Snitsky is a dead man," says Lita.  [Well, it's a tough spot, since Lita's role in this has been almost entirely unlikable and unsympathetic, and there are logic holes you could drive a truck through at just about every turn, including here tonight.  But I've also seen enough dramatic changes in friends and wives of friends when they get pregnant, and what might seem like melodramatic, sappy nonsense about Lita's connection with her baby is probably about as reasonable an explanation as they could come up with here, and frankly, Lita did a nice job keeping it short enough so that us insensitive guys in the audience didn't revolt while she was still making her point.  And also, you probably remember this from the Jericho/Trish part of the love rhombus, but I'm a sucker for couples using each other's catchphrases.  That, kids, is true love!  And I think that little touch might be signaling the start of an interesting new dynamic between Kane and Lita, one that'll only get more interesting once Matt's back, as well.]

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is talking to somebody.  Oy, how I hate the Convenient Camera Positioning Of Extreme Mystery.  Even worse, the camera keeps zooming and panning, but apparently can't go past a certain point when panning to the right, so we don't see who Bischoff is talking to.  So all we get is Bischoff talking about seeing the Mystery Person in the ring later for part of his master plan to get the better of Eugene, and then when Bischoff shakes the Mystery Hand, we find out it's a woman with really over-done nails.  Then Coach storms in with something on his mind... but he does a double-take at the Mystery Woman, and tells Bischoff "You can't trust her, she shouldn't even be here."  But Bischoff tells Coach to relax, he's got a plan.  Then Coach finally gets to his point, which is that he doesn't feel like interviewing Kane, since it might get a little volatile, and Coach is all about the smooth groove.  So Bischoff and Coach decide that JR will conduct the interview, instead.


Snitskymania's Running Wild~!

JR's in the ring, doing Coach's job, as he welcomes Gene Snitsky to Madison Square Garden... and out comes Snitsky with two things: (1) I'm 95% sure that was a different theme song, and quite a fitting one, somehow (hard-edged, but EXCEPTIONALLY generic, just like Snitsky), and (2) a baby carriage.  Hmmm.  Now, we don't know much about Gene Snitsky, but he doesn't exactly seem like a rocket scientist, if you catch my drift...  so right away I disqualify that baby carriage as part of any subtle, underhanded display of true douchebaggery on Snitsky's part. More likely, we should all be on the look out for something entirely more bludgeoningly asshole-ish.  

And sure enough, once Snitsky gets to the ring, he doesn't have any clever set-piece using the carriage. Instead, he just interrupts JR's question to announce, "I'm sick of hearing about this.  It's NOT MY FAULT."  And before we get much further than that, it's another interruption: Kane makes his way to the ring.  Snitsky just tosses the baby carriage at Kane, who easily dodges it.  But unbeknownst to Kane, Snitsky ALSO removed a handy lead pipe from the carriage before he tossed it.  So when Kane rushed into the ring, recklessly, Snitsky was able to strike with the pipe.  Shot to the back, shot to the gut, shot to the leg, and Kane's down.  Then, a final shot right to the head, and Kane's bleeding.  Whoa; for six years the guy wore a mask and it wasn't an issue, and I can't really recall a single blade-job by Kane in the last year, but he gets color for Snitsky.  Wild.

Snitsky follows up with a bit of choking Kane out with the pipe, and then leaves, while Kane is in a crumpled, bloody heap in the ring. Two things occur: first, this took balls, but it was also the right play. Just unabashedly putting Snitsky over (without it being cheap or gimmicky; even if the lead pipe makes it underhanded, it was STILL a straight-up ass-whomping he delivered) not only makes sure Snitsky has enough legs to make it to Taboo Tuesday as a believable, if still sacrificial, foil for Kane, but it also gives you a sense of Kane being off-balance, vengeance-hungry, and reckless for rushing in to the ring, which is something that makes him vaguely sympathetic.  And second: I guess it's about damned time I added "Snitsky" to my PC's custom dictionary, where it can enjoy a hallowed spot alongside "douchebaggery" and other gems not recognized by Microsoft.

Or mayhap it's not worth the trouble. For as dead-on a segment as this was for Kane and Snitsky, I still have my doubts that he makes it past Taboo Tuesday...


Chris Benoit vs. Batista

This was another entry in the "Batista vs. Technical Wrestler" series that just strikes me as looking not-quite-smooth.  I think it might just be that Batista's gotten really good at the part of wrestling where he does HIS moves, but when he has to sell for others, he's kind of limited, and some of the stuff guys like Regal or Benoit want to try just aren't in his argot, yet.  Or something....  I'm trying to be profound because, for the first 2 minutes or so, this was just clunky and disjointed as Benoit would sort of hit a sequence, then Batista would just shove him away and go take a walk outside the ring, or something.  They kind of got settled in after a few minutes, and sustained some flow as Benoit started to show a focus on Batista's leg for a minute or so, which set up for a Sharpshooter attempt.  But Batista powered out.  So Benoit followed up with the Hat Trick of Germans.  And as Benoit was thinking about going up top to finish things off with a Swandive Headbutt, Ric Flair decided to stick his rather substantial beak into things...  the distraction lured Benoit out of the ring, and then Batista recovered enough to keep the ref distracted for a bit more, allowing Flair to (a) toss Benoit into the steel ring steps, and then (b) follow up with a blatant kick to the testicles.  Flair tossed Benoit back in the ring, where Batista was circling.  So with Benoit on the mat, and Batista contemplating his next move, what do YOU think happened?

If you said "Randy Orton runs out and attacks Batista, causing Benoit to get disqualified," then you're a winner!  And if you think it makes even a lick of sense, then you are either a bus-mate of Eugene's or on the RAW Creative Team!  GODDAMMIT, I honestly am trying to reign in my ranting during recaps (so I can save it for Wednesday's OO), but this is the second fucking time in three weeks when it's not even Me The Internet Jackoff who's angry at something Randy Orton does... it's Me The Wrestling Fan Who'd Had A Few Beers While Sitting On His Couch Last Night who was livid.  One of my favorite wrestlers is sitting here trying to have a match, and for the second time in three weeks, Randy fricking Orton (who I don't hate, mind you, who I MIGHT even be starting to tolerate) runs in in the middle of the match where he is neither needed nor wanted, and makes sure that whatever the story coming out of the match is, it's NOT gonna be "Chris Benoit," even though Benoit's the one with World Title Aspirations over the next 3 weeks.  I know I'm not the only Benoit fan in the world, so can somehow please explain to me how this finish is supposed to be the Ideal Choice For Making Everybody Think Randy Orton Is The World's Greatest Babyface?  I think a goodly number of plain ol' wrestling fans are at best confused by this, and some (like me) might even have been angry.  Me The Internet Jackoff promises to explain in more detail tomorrow, too, because once the knee-jerk fan reaction passed, I had about a thousand different business-y reasons why this was an awful booking more occur to me, too.... but tomorrow.

So anyway, Orton, who's apparently feuding with Flair now, comes out and attacks Batista for only the flimsiest of reasons.  When Eric Bischoff immediately leads security out to re-eject Orton from the building, Batista and Orton try to attack from behind while Orton's being escorted away in a nicely intense little bit, but finally the rent-an-indie-wrestler cops get separation, and we can break for..,


Unwarranted Contract Theater

Apparently, GM Bischoff decided to stick around after that last fracas, cuz he's in the ring with a mic and with a few things to say.  First is that he's DEFINITELY, FOR SURE, 100% banished Randy Orton from the building, so don't go thinking he'll show up again tonight. Second is that he's signed another match for Taboo Tuesday: it'll be Kane vs. Snitsky, and the fans will get to vote on which of three weapons will be Completely Legal during the match (a lead pipe, a steel chair, or a chain...  I was suddenly grateful that WWE's sense of bad taste has not included Snitsky adopting a Wire Hanger as his weapon of choice).  And third: if Jericho wants to embrace the random/interactive concept, then he'll love this, because at Taboo Tuesday, he'll have it WAY tougher than HHH, as Jericho will have to defend the IC Title against one of 20 men (anybody who isn't already involved in a match is eligible to be made an IC Title contender).  Chew on that, Junior.

But with those announcements made, Eric wants to move on to his personal business.  Specifically his match against Eugene. So he calls Eugene out to the ring.  And out comes Eugene, getting a nice pop from the MSG crowd.  Bischoff puts his nephew at ease, saying he's not here to fight, but rather to tell him something important. Because Uncle Eric says there's somebody backstage with a crush on Eugene, somebody who REALLY wants to meet Eugene tonight.  Eugene is a bit shy at first, but then says, OK, he'll meet her.  So Bischoff proudly introduces....

Carmella The Vapid Playmate?  Well, plus 10 points for swerving me (I had "Coerced Christy" forced into this by Bischoff, but then being such a spunky free-spirit that she wound up really liking Eugene and ending up as his girlfriend for real, because making lemonade out of lemons is what Christy does), but minus several million for living down to my expectations about actually signing Carmella to a contract for no discernable reason.  She brings Nudity to the table, admittedly, but WWE can't make use of that, so really, how's about we spend all this Carmella time and Carmella money on somebody who might actually be entertaining, huh?

First, Bischoff says that he thinks Carmella was robbed in the Diva Search, which is why he's brought her back and given her a match against Christy at Taboo Tuesday.  Oh sweet fancy Moses...  And then Bischoff and Eugene have a few admittedly-very-funny exchanges about Carmella's day job. And finally, Carmella -- in competent fashion, and not even the slightest tinch better -- launches into a speech about how Eugene is so hot (again, much like they gave up and let the Kane/Lita wedding be purposely bad, I think WWE figures that now she's SUPPOSED to be obnoxiously dumb and patronizing, it makes it OK that she comes off dumb and patronizing, but they are wrong), except for one thing: she LOVES bald men (christ, thanks for nothing, WWE~!), so if Eugene were shaved bald, he'd be the Perfect Man For Carmella.  Of course, it takes Bischoff about 13 nanoseconds to have a Spontaneous Revelation that maybe if he and Eugene had the Haircut Match at Taboo Tuesday and if Eugene lost on purpose, then he'd get his head shaved and he could have Carmella as his girlfriend.  

This sounds good to Eugene, except he has one condition of his own: he wants a kiss from his girlfriend RIGHT NOW.  Not quite so dim as we think he is, huh?  So Eugene puckers up, but despite the urging of Bischoff, Carmella will NOT go through with it.  She can't stand Eugene, he's not in her league, nobody's in her league, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Bischoff isn't too happy about this mutiny, but says he still like's Carmella's "style," so she can still have her match against Christy at the PPV.  Then, turning his attention to Eugene, Bischoff decides since Plan A didn't work, he'd try Plan B, which is psychological warfare, circa May of this year.  He does the whole "NOBODY like you Eugene, nobody will EVER like you" spiel.  Which of course, is the cue for the pounding drums and rocking guitars of "Walk Idiot Walk"!

OK, so I didn't get it EXACTLY right, but here comes Christy, afterall.  And after shoving Carmella to the mat, Christy walks over to Eugene and chastely gives him a peck on the lips as Carmella and Bischoff watch on in... well, let's call it confusion. And then, because she's such a spunky free-spirit, Christy decides to go back for seconds and jumps Eugene's bones and lays in with a decidedly wetter and less-chaste bit of making out.  Eugene appears dazed as Christy leads him away to the strains of "Walk Idiot Walk."  

You know, I may not be a fan of Carmella showing up as a recurring character, but I'll try to restrain myself on the grounds that I'm naively hoping that all this is is a one-month contract so WWE can put Christy over somebody without sacrificing one of their own divas (hey, I won't even put "Carmella" into my custom dictionary with "Snitksy," that way she CAN'T stick around!). And also, this was just a fun segment; I don't like Carmella, but I DO like being surprised, so points for that. Also: points for the fun exchanges between Bischoff and Eugene.  And there's not a single, rational, scientific explanation why, but for some reason, low-rise jeans and a hint of ass cleavage tend to have this strange effect on my mood and put a smile on my face.


La Resistance vs. Hurricane and Rosey (Tag Team Title Match)

Jim Ross has a brief moment of confusion, as he (logically, if you ask me) figured this was a non-title match, since Hurricane and Rosey might still have to prove themselves after going on all of a one-match winning streak.  A Big Whooshy Graphic and Jerry Lawler quickly correct him, and I think the bickering over that lasted longer than the match itself.  This was just Hurricane getting about 30 seconds of offense, then becoming the Ultra Time Compressed Face In Peril, and as soon as he almost made the hot tag, Rosey got knocked off the ring apron by Rob Conway.  When Rosey tried to run in to get revenge, he distracted the ref, allowing La Resistance to hit the double team Au Revoir finisher on Hurricane for the win.  I swear, if this was much more than 2 minutes, I'll eat a bug.  Just nothing as a match, but....

After the match: Rosey DID make his late run-in to get revenge, but he was also quickly double-teamed. And in a REALLY bad spot, Grenier was supposed to turn Rosey's mask around to "blind" him, but the cameras caught Rosey clearly turning the mask himself.  D'oh.  So "blinded," Rosey just started swinging at anything that moved... and of course, after La Resistance had been scared off, he bumped into the recovered Hurricane and slammed him hard to the mat.  And then he turned his mask BACK around, saw what he did, and seemed concerned.  Interesting little twist; but too bad the match was less than nothing and that they kinda botched the post-match angle with the camera angle....

Self Congratulatory Something Or Other: I FF'ed, sorry. But judging from the types of people interviewed and the preponderance of soft focus shots, I'm guessing it was something about how WWE are good corporate citizens. When they aren't playing host the Cum Guzzling Gutter Slut Hour, anyway....


Not An [ad], Really: the exact same Simon Dean vignette as last week, or so it seemed in the first 10 seconds, so oh yes, you'd best believe I FF'ed again.

Backstage: Coach interviewed Edge, asking him (in much less-smarky terms than I would have) "Why in the hell are even part of this World Title voting?"... and although it's probably too little, too late, Edge cuts a really good, really intense, really simple and believable promo about how unlike Benoit and Michaels, he hasn't faced HHH a million times or had countless title shots.  [In so doing, Edge claimed to have had "nilch" title shots, which YOU might think is a fumbled line, and so I should mock Edge the same way I do Randy Orton.  Except I have it on good authority that Edge did it on purpose; in an attempt to be more economical with his speech, he combined "nada" and "zilch" into one word which we all easily comprehended.  C'mon, people, you didn't really think Edge was as stuptarded as Young Randall, did you?]  And just to make sure he got a slight heelish tinge in there, Edge closed with a rant about his own achievements and how he's never gotten full credit for them and how fans will vote for him because, unlike Michaels and Benoit, Edge is the only one who "deserves it."  Nice work here to give Edge at least SOME reason for existing in this storyline, but again, some forethought and effort a week or two ago might have been even more appropriate....

Elsewhere Backstage: the 20 mostly-B-teamers (plus Shelton and Batista and Christian) are assembled in Bischoff's office, where they are told that if they want to show the fans why THEY should be the IC contender at the PPV, tonight they'll get their chance as they will all be Lumberjacks in the Jericho/HHH main event.  Basically, it's Bischoff giving them all permission to beat the shit out of Jericho.  Hmmm....  interesting idea.

Elsewhere Elsewhere Backstage: Stacy Keibler is STRETCHING~!  


Before We Get Started: Trish Stratus is out to do some guest commentary, and first would like to show us some footage from last week. First footage of how she and Molly and Gail initiated Christy and beat her in a match, but then footage of Christy prancing around in her undies even though she lost.  This launches Trish into a rather hilarious riff on how Christy is a slut.  I don't have the quotes handy, but try as Trish might, she's succeeding more in making smile than in making me angry with free-form rambling like that...

Molly Holly vs. Stacy Keibler

They try to sell it like Stacy's obviously over-matched, but they forgot to actually lay the match out to tell that story (or they had to cut it too short to get to that part of the story).  Out of the gate, Stacy did the Big Flexible Boot Of Suggestiveness, and other leg-related offense.  I honestly don't know if Molly got in any sustained offense despite being the "favorite."  On commentary, you had an interesting dynamic, and Trish was trying her hardest to be flirty with Lawler (since she's a heel and he's a heel, and clearly she can't slap him for being such an idiot), except that Lawler was trying his best to stay true to himself (which mean openly lusting for Stacy, even though Trish had already lumped Stacy in with Girls What Are Slutty), and honestly I think there was more even sparring there than in the ring, where it was way more Stacy than I'd have expected.  Finally, Trish decided she didn't really want Stacy to win, so she left the commentary desk to interfere.  And after a double-reverse, Molly whiffed on a roll-up after Trish's distraction, and Stacy countered it into her own pinning combo, and beat Molly for the third time in the last month.  

Again, really short (maybe 3 minutes), booked kind of frustratingly (OK, I get Stacy winning, but how about letting Molly look at least competent before the upset loss?), and not really all that tautly-executed, either.  When Stacy's involved, it usually comes off as a throwback to the era of "girls who are wrestling" instead of today's RAW standard of "wrestlers who just so happen to be girls," if that explanation makes any sense to you.... it's something that's not completely without its charms, but it's kind of what SD!'s for, if you ask me, not what Molly and Trish should be spending their time on.


Triple H vs. Chris Jericho (Non-Title vs. Non-Title Lumberjack Match)

Well, I was caught up on DVR on the commercial break before this one, and could help but notice that it was 11pm exactly once all the lumberjacks and both wrestlers made it to the ring...  so an epic, this shan't be. But Jericho must have realized the time shortage, and jumpstarted things, taking an early edge and tossing HHH out to some of the babyface lumberjacks (who took liberties with HHH before tossing him back in).  A minute or two more of basic back and forth, and HHH was able to return the favor by tossing Jericho out to some of the 'jacks.  Important detail: heel lumberjacks (led by Christian) beat the hell out of Jericho for a moment, and Rhyno came over for the save and then helped Jericho back into the ring.  But Jericho interpreted things wrong, and thought Rhyno had been in on the lumberjack attack.  So at his first free moment, Jericho detatched from HHH and nailed Rhyno with a baseball slide when Rhyno wasn't looking. 

Turning back to HHH, Jericho locked in a Walls of Jericho.  HHH couldn't escape, so non-lumberjack Ric Flair ran out to run interference.  Jericho released HHH from the Walls, and did a double-jump dropkick on Flair, sending him into a mess of lumberjacks, both heel and face.  Sensing an opportunity, Jericho saw the huge pack, went up to the top rope, and leapt onto about a dozen men, leaving only a 6-10 spare.  While the ref got distracted trying to sort that mess out, Jericho got back in the ring and....  took a Gore from Rhyno?  Huh.  HHH is still hurting from the Walls, but drapes an arm over Jericho, and... gets the win?  Double huh.  Not more than five minutes, hardly no real flow to the Jericho/HHH ringwork, but enough other extracurricular action to be entertaining and fast-paced... and the finish caused by Rhyno?  I don't know if that's Cool Surprising or if it's Anticlimactic Surprising, but it WAS surprisingly, and at least semi-elevates Rhyno up to the level of the Batistas and Christians in IC Title voting, which is good.

After the match: obviously, all the lumberjacks got in the ring and started brawling.  So, because he's not feuding with any of them, here comes Randy Orton for the "save."  And apparently, somebody decided that if they were gonna go back to not giving Randy any personality of his own, they should give him somebody else's, and this week's choice was Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Orton hit everybody (pausing only long enough to semi-gesture "Eh, sorry, you get one too," JUST LIKE AUSTIN if it was to a face) with RKOs of varying sloppiness.  "Maybe Orton was just RKO'ing everybody to clear the ring and get to One Final Meaningful RKO on an Actual Enemy?", you ask.  Guess again, Potsie.  Orton's superman act emptied the ring and left him alone with.... Coach.  RKO to Coach (COACH?!?), and play Randall's sphincter-spasmingly bad theme song as we fade out on this Stunning Climax. 


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