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Surprisingly, No Trash Here 
December 6, 2005

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


OK, so my fantasy football team had a nice day on Sunday. Outscored my opponent by about 30 points. I was so confident that Monday night's game wouldn't change that that I made a special point to talk some smack on our league's message board about how I'd just ended his winning streak and cemented the #1 seed heading into our play-offs.
And then the fucking incompetent Eagles happened. And my fantasy opponent? Just so happened to have the Seattle Defense. A good defense might get you 15, 20 points on a rare outstanding week.

Last night, with the Eagles handing the ball over to the Seahawks, Seattle's Defense scored 44 fantasy points. Let 

me repeat that: 44 points. Three defensive touchdowns, six takeaways, four sacks, and a big fat bonus for pitching the shutout. Goddammit.

Some sort of karmic retribution for me talking smack and boasting before all precincts reported? A harbinger of bad things to come as the Whiskey Ninjas limp into the playoffs losers of 2 games in a row after only losing one all season? A one-in-a-million fluke of offensive incompetence by the Eagles?

I dunno, but it's the last thing I was expecting last night. We were all treated to a surprisingly entertaining RAW. And then I'm online for a little bit afterwards -- entertaining myself as is my wont, which didn't involve anything as silly or pointless as checking in on the foregone conclusion of my Fantasy Football match-up --  and like a sac punch a friend pings me and tells me I better look at the stats on the Seattle/Eagles game... 44 fricking points. That NEVER happens.

Again: goddammit. For a stupid game that I'm not very knowledgeable about and that I only decided to play because they needed a 12th, I sure am getting pissed off at losing, aren't I?

It's alright, I'll try not to let it affect my mood. RAW really was fun for the most part... there were some presentational issues, that you'll see as we run through the show, and I'm betting this is exactly the kind of show that the prototypical "internet jack-off" will piss all over. But by and large, I thought it was the exact kind of show that would go over extremely well with the vast majority of fans. Not the kind of show you can do every week, but for a one-week-only lean towards the Entertainment Side, quite amusing.

And away from that Entertainment Side, RAW had some VERY interesting moments. It's almost like the untalented sitcom-reject Writer Monkeys were so focused on the "Trial of Eric Bischoff" skits that somebody else -- with an actual Wrestling IQ, instead of a resume that includes "Two and a Half Men" -- handled the stuff that went in between. 

The editing/production of the "Trial" stuff got on my nerves, as I think there would have been way better, more realistic/compelling ways to frame those skits so that they looked like something other than a cheesy three-camera sitcom shoot that was edited together by somebody whose sole experience comes from working on a cable access show... but if you let yourself get past those stylistic issues, this was a rare case where the ubiquitous Entertainment Side actually was mostly entertaining and funny. And then the wrestling side delivered one good match, and a few more standard and unHollywood type storyline developments that I think hit the mark.

Here's how it all went down....

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live in the confoundingly-named North Charleston, South Carolina. We get a rundown of tonight's agenda from our hosts Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, and Jona..... hey wait, NO COACH! [burns]Excellent.[/burns] Looks like it was just a matter of tying Joey up for five years, and then WWE was more than happy to end the Coach Experiment. Anyway, our schedule entertainment tonight includes Ric Flair appearing as the debut guest on "The Cutting Edge" where we are told Edge will pull no punches and will get to the bottom of Flair's Road Rage Arrest. (So much for me trying to take the high road and say it's none of the fans' business what's going on in Flair's personal life, eh?) And also: Shawn Michaels/Shelton Benjamin vs. Kurt Angle/Carlito Cool will be our main event. Huh; I can't pretend to understand this schizophrenic booking of Shelton, but I gotta admit that when you just imagine how much WWE probably wanted to do a Michaels/Cena vs. Angle/Masters match instead, you just shut up and accept the gift of Shelton in a main event. We should also shut up because it's time to kick the show off with....

Vince McMahon's Unnecessary Vehicular Stuntery Theatre

Vince's music fires up, and goddammit, I should have guessed... when WWE latches on to something as retarded as "time to take out the trash" and spends a week hyping it up, it's for a reason. In this case, it means Vince drives a garbage truck out to the ring. The cleanest, most pristine, least filthy garbage truck I've ever seen. But a garbage truck never-the-less.

Vince parks the truck in the entrance aisle, where it would pretty much remain all night (albeit moved off to one side), so that the monkeys in the truck could annoy me by REALLY over-doing it with distracting and unnecessary camera cut-aways to the truck so we could look at the remarkably-sanitary-looking trash in the back of the truck. Wheee. Then Vince hops in the ring to start talking. He said he promised last week to take out the trash, and he's gonna make good on that promise tonight. He's got his truck. Now all he needs is the trash. So wouldn't Still-Current RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff please come down to the ring?

Bischoff does, and gets in the ring with Vince acting just as ass-kissy as you please. Bischoff prostrates himself before the boss, pleading to keep his job (the crowd? already pre-serenading him with the "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" song) because this job isn't just what he does. It's who he is. Very deep, Sleazy E, very deep.

Vince has had just about enough of sac-less, prostrate Bischoff, though, and says "Relax for just a second, nothing's been decided for sure yet." Vince says the reason the ring is currently set up with two podiums and a chair on a raised platform is because he's going to give Bischoff one more chance to win over the Boss. Tonight, we're going to have The Trial Of Eric Bischoff. And in fact, opening arguments are going to take place RIGHT NOW.

Vince says he's assigned Bischoff a defense attorney, so lets meet him... hey, it's the Coach! Back to the role he was born to play: heel lackey who is very entertaining in small doses! Bischoff says he's willing to speak on his own behalf, but Coach assures him, "I got this one." So what's Coach's opening line? "Mr. McMahon, my client is an asshole."

Bischoff looks pissed, but Vince seems won over by the honesty. Do continue, Mr. Coachman... seems Eric Bischoff is an asshole, but that's because it takes an asshole to do this job. The general manager job isn't about making friends, it's about making money. Coach says that he's heard Vince McMahon use the mantra "Controversy Creates Cash" (which is every bit as retarded as the notion that "Perception Is Reality," but whatever; Jimmy James, Vince is not, and I don't think anybody would stand in line to learn the Secret of Management from Vince McMahon). Coach asserts that GM Bischoff has created a lot of BOTH controversy and cash, and thus, should be retained as RAW's general manager.

Coach's opening statement concluded, it's time for Vince to bring out the Special Prosecutor.... Mick Foley. Dammit, shoulda guessed that one, too. If WWE's leaving for the Middle East almost immediately following the RAW tapings, you know Mick's gonna be on the plane, so of course he's available for a cameo appearance tonight.

Mick opens with a suspicious statement: that nobody has done more to benefit RAW than Eric Bischoff. Huh. But then the trap is sprung, because Mick is talking about that fateful night in December 1998, when Eric Bischoff thought he'd steal the WWF's thunder by announcing that Mick Foley would be winning the WWF Title in a pre-taped match later on that night, so there's no point flipping over... just stay right here with Uncle Eric on Nitro, where we're live as live can be. Except: it didn't work out that way. Nitro might have been live, but the WWF was giving the fans something they actually wanted to see. And after Bischoff's announcement, a half-million viewers simultaneously switched from Nitro to RAW to watch Mick's first WWF Title win. That night helped cement RAW's ratings dominance in the Monday Night Wars, and Mick is still overwhelmed by Bischoff's generosity.

But that was then, and this is now. And as a GM, Bischoff is lacking, in Mick's eyes. He's been conniving, deceitful, and about a half-dozen other gerunds and adjectives that had the crowd on the brink of "What-ing" Mick. But most of all, Bischoff has not provided the best possible product to the fans. Including, Mick said knowingly, the fans. Right here. In Cheap Pop, South Carolina.

Vince takes that catchphrase usage as a sign Mick has wrapped up his opening arguments, and says that the Trial will continue all night long, but from "more appropriate" (read: pre-taped) environs. So we'll adjourn for now, and pick this up in a few moments.

Not bad. I mean, the jack-off in me can't help but notice that they're essentially ignoring the first 4 weeks or so of RAW's USA Homecoming, by having Vince as a babyface and acting all chummy with Mick and stuff.... but given how bafflingly awful those four weeks were, I'm not gonna raise too big a stink. Instead, I must admit that the "Trial" gimmick has potential, and that having strong "skit performers" like Foley and Coach involved got me kinda interested to see where this goes.


Big Show/Kane vs. Snitsky/The Lovely Miss Tomko vs. Val Venis/Viscera vs. the Heartthrobs (Tag Team Title Match)

The three non-champion teams are already in the ring when we return from break, leading one to the obvious conclusion that they're all worthless jobbers. Then Show and Kane enter together (to Kane's entrance), leading one to believe that maybe, just maybe, we're just tight on time.

Of note: Joey and King do mention that Show/Kane are headed to SD! to face Batista/Rey at the next PPV, but there is again no explanation for the reasons/mechanism that is allowing for this continued brand-hopping. 

There is also no real explanation offered as to whether this is elimination style, or first-decision style (where the champs could lose the titles by not even being involved in the decision). But that's OK, because they just turn it into a Pier Eight Brawl (no tagging or anything), which makes for some pretty frenetic action.

It's just Show and Kane decimating everybody. I think Viscera might have gotten in one (1) offensive move, but that would be the only one executed by anyone other than Show or Kane. This satisfyingly kick-ass beatdown seemed to be heading to a finish when Kane and Show had (independently) positioned both One Of The Heartthrobs and Val Venis for chokeslams. But then Tomko tried to interfere and break those up. Instead, he ate a double boot from Show/Kane as both men still held tight to their intended chokeslam victims. Then Show and Kane shared a look, decided "What the hell?", and reach down to grab Tomko with their free hands.

With a Heartthrob in Kane's right hand, Val in Show's left hand, and Tomko in the middle, Show and Kane Triple Chokeslammed the three men in what was really a cool visual. Very creative. Of course, then Show and Kane went ahead and covered all three men, each one representing one of the three opposing teams. Joey: "Sorry, SmackDown!, but Rey and Batista don't stand a chance."

Your Winners: Big Show and Kane, via triple pinfall, in 2 minutes flat. Just plain fun, and if you didn't get a kick out of that creative, and visually-amazing finish, then I don't know what's wrong with you. That was just cool.

Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part 2: we find that the judge and litigants have been relocated to an actual courtroom. Vince has even donned a judicial robe. And he's gotten himself a bailiff, in the form of Chris F. Masters. Master has opted to be shirtless and well-oiled, surely a breach of some element of court decorum. But also: surely a chance for me to jest that -- back when I had the illegal cable box and had all channels unscrambled, because otherwise, SURELY such filth would never have found its way onto my TV screen -- I remember a Playboy Channel show called "Sex Court" that featured scantily-clad women in the roles of bailiffs. And now, Chris F. Masters is staking his claim to a starring role on it's Bravo Network spin-off "Gay Sex Court." I slay me!

Anyway, after we've made all the necessary introductions and gotten situated in our new setting, it's time for Prosecution Witness #1... Stephanie McMahon. Vince and Steph share one of their patented "Why must they act so creepy around each other?" moments, and then Mick gets to the questioning. Stephanie has experience as a GM, you see, and Mick wants to know if (in her expert opinion) she thinks Bischoff is doing a good job. Steph assures us that both she and her brother (hey, who asked him?) agree that Bischoff should be removed immediately. As to why? Well, Steph has some videotape evidence of Bischoff behaving badly. The footage is from 2002, when Bischoff snuck into SD! (in costume, due to a Halloween party gimmick) and confronted Stephanie, and then -- because he's a complete scuzzball -- shoved his tongue down her throat (and make no mistake, after about 3 seconds of token resistance, Stephanie liked it and reciprocated, that whore). Coming out of the Prosecution's Exhibit A, Steph launches into an stilted, over-written spiel about the many ways she felt violated. Coach tries to object, but is told to "shut up" by Vince. Then Vince remembers he's pretending to be an impartial judge and corrects himself, saying Coach is "over-ruled." Joey opines that if this is how things are gonna go tonight, it'll be a long one for Bischoff.


Coming in Two Weeks: RAW will present a special episode from Afghanistan... after airing the promo for that, they cut into the arena where an Armed Forces Special Services guy is at ringside and gets announced to the crowd. You know, a few years ago, I said WWE's first Christmas in Iraq was a unique and oddly-compelling show, albeit under unfortunate circumstances, and that I just wished there was no reason to make it an on-going tradition. Here in 2005, it *is* a tradition, and I was capable of instantly recognizing the face of the Armed Forces Guy who is always in charge of coordinating the tour. D'oh.

Mickie James vs. Victoria

Accompanying Victoria are Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, and Torrie Wilson's trying-to-emulate-an-obnoxious-worthless-bitch Yap Dog. Again: Yap Dogs are so out as fashion accessories for vapid skanks. Monkeys are in. You wanna be Paris, you gotta stay current, honey. So get a monkey, Torrie. It'll be gold. GOLD, I tells ya. MONKEY~!

Accompanying Mickie is Trish Stratus, whose own (usually-debilitatingly-smoking) fashion sense seems to have taken a one-week hiatus. Capri-length jeans and pink boots? No sale. Luckily, the women's title belt goes with anything.

In fact, the match starts with Victoria looking past the rookie, Mickie James, to jaw with the champ. That lets Mickie get off to a fast start... until she ends up outside the ring, and on the same side as Torrie and Boobies McTitsalot. Though Mickie fights them off at first, once Victoria shows up to make it 3-on-1, it spells the end of Mickie's offensive.

Victoria takes an unusual tack: she starts targeting Mickie's hand and wrist. Not conventional, but actually a strategy that's fairly easy to convey convincingly with simple moves. I mean: it's not a Flying Space Tiger Dragon Sky Twister Moonsault Press, or anything, but who can't relate to having somebody stomp the shit out of your poor fingers? This also has the effect of rendering Mickie's comebacks relatively short-lived.... the punchy-kicky is always a staple of the comeback, and Mickie? Couldn't punchy with one of her hands without hurting herself more than Victoria. Simple-but-effective intramatch psychology.

Finally, Mickie does begin a bona fide comeback, this time focusing on her arsenal of kicks (Lawler tried to sell us on the notion that they are "Mick Kicks," which only possesses an iota of relevance if you have accepted that Trish has a move in her arsenal known as the "Chick Kick," which, as you know, OO has not accepted, because that's an absolutely retarded name). Things started looking bad for Victoria, so Torrie and Boobies tried to interfere. The ref managed to intercept Torrie, but Candice got up on the apron (with her little scepter-thingie that I *still* don't understand how it continued to live on past the Halloween Episode of RAW, since it's one of the most useless-looking foreign objects/affectations I can ever recall), requiring that Trish finally come to the rescue.

Trish and Boobies tussled on the apron, with Trish finally booting Candice in the belly. Somehow, this caused Candice to release her scepter-thingie and it actually flew right into Mickie's face as she came over to see if Trish needed any help. To my massive annoyance, this seemingly vital plot point was glossed over, as King decided to go off on a tangent about how "Oh my god, Candice's magic wand has shot off prematurely!". Are you kidding me, Lawler? The little spot that's supposed to explain the finish of the match, and you've having some sort of fantasy about Candice Michelle (to the best of my ability to read between the lines of your half-entendres) having both a penis and premature ejaculation issues. I wouldn't even know where to begin griping about what's wrong with that...

Anyway, though the announcers never really latch onto the wand-to-the-face element, right after that happens, Victoria sneaks up behind the momentarily-distracted Mickie James and schoolgirls her into a roll-up and a quick three count.

Your Winner: Victoria, via pinfall, in about 4 minutes. Nothing fancy, but just rock solid wrestling, and a story well told.

After the Match: Mickie casts some pretty wicked glances at Trish when Trish tries to get in the ring to help... the announcers again seem to be whiffing on the fact that Trish's kick to Candice resulted in the wand-to-the-face that led to Mickie's loss.... instead, they are just hitting the point that Mickie has helped Trish win so many matches, but tonight, Trish didn't do anything to help Mickie win her match. Has a lot more teeth to it if Trish didn't just not-help Mickie, but also (inadvertently) caused the foreign object shot that caused the distraction that cost Mickie the match. Something that can probably be addressed next week, though, with replays/dialogue/skits... for the segment still ended with Mickie repressing her frustration to accept Trish's assistance.

Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Three: Mick Foley has called another witness. Holy crap, Tajiri on a Monday Night! Tajiri is accompanied by the traditional cute Japanese Translator, who helps us get Tajiri's points about how he was a huge star in Japan and in ECW, but now, under Bischoff's regime, he's forgotten. Then there's a bit about how Tajiri wishes that a pregnant rhinoceros would violate Bischoff's anal cavity with its horn. And finally, Tajiri excuses his translator, and busts out the Requisite Broken English Punchline: "Tajiri hope you fired." Tajiri becomes agitated and is removed by Bailiff Chris F. Masters.

You know what that skit needed? More filth, whiskey, mutton chops, and unfortunate facial hair choices all around. Less Cute Translator, and more the-retarded-brother-from-"Something-About-Mary" trying to understand Tajiri's rhinoceros fantasies by playing a bastardized version of charades. And finally, a Much Funnier Broken English Punchline in which Tajiri reverts to broken English only to declare: "Eric Bischoff, Cocksucker." And then Vince responding, "Yes, Tajiri, I know, Eric Bischoff, Cocksucker. But if I don't give him his due fucking process, then his other cocksucker friends from back in WCW might get it in their heads to try to annex this here Federation again. And I don't need them poking their prodigious fucking hard-on in the general direction of our hindquarters just yet, Tajiri. So settle the fuck down, and let me handle things you don't know fuck-all about. Just go with Dan and get back with your people, Tajiri, amongst the Independent Contractors. And Dan, on your way out, wouldn't you be a dear and tell Trixie to come in here and attend to my prick while I deliver the remainder of this meaningful monologue." Tajiri should, of course, get one more "Cocksucker" while pointing at Bischoff on the way out. Because it would make me smile.

And also because then it would be an adequate punchline to end this skit.... because instead of ending with Tajiri's ouster, it continued, as Mick Foley called Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah to the stand. Ugh. This can't end well. But apparently in the mind of Vince McMahon, it's such a ratings-generating teaser that we'll have to wait to see what happens after these....


The Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Four: we return to the courtroom, questioning already in progress, just in time to hear Mae Young utter the phrase, "And that, Your Honor, is why Eric Bischoff has no penis." Coach objects to this speculation and hearsay, and the sitcom writer monkeys miss a great opening to let Mick riff all over Coach for why he might possess first-hand eye-witness evidence of the existence of Bischoff's penis. Dum dums. Instead, Mick sort of does a non-sequitur segue into how the witness has had a strange relationship with the accused, and we can see by looking at Exhibit B. Which is footage from 2003, when -- for some reason -- it was deemed necessary to have Mae Young strip down to a thong and do a Bronco Buster on Bischoff's face. We return to the courtroom to see Mae gesturing (crudely) towards Bischoff to indicate her fond memories of their special time together in which Eric face was buried between Mae's thighs. Use your imaginations. Or just watch the first 20 minutes of "Kingpin." Needless to say, this puts just about everybody in the courtroom off their lunch, so when Coach once again raises some objection, Vince sustains it and excuses the witness.

But now it's time to call the first Defense Witness. Coach says he'll be calling a man who has thrived under Eric Bischoff's management. Someone who came to RAW less than a year ago, and who has now reached main event status. He calls Chris F. Masters to the stand. Masters sashays his self over to the stand, and no sooner does he state his name for the record than Vince excuses the witness on charges of perjury! Aha, so Vince finally recognizes that Chris F. Masters has NOT ascended to legitimate main event status, and that whole spiel was a lie! Nope: Vince says that he knows for a fact that Masters just lied about his name. For a brief shining moment, I held out hope that Vince was speaking of a heretofore unacknowledged middle name beginning with "F," but no dice. Instead, Vince says he knows Masters' real last name is "Mordeski" (or something along those lines). Masters is thus excused from the stand, and from his duties as bailiff. No more Chris F. Masters tonight? Works for me...

Backstage: Shelton Benjamin is getting taped up for his match tonight, when in walks his partner, Shawn Michaels. Michaels starts off all chummy, talking about how it's a big night for Shelton, wrestling in front of his home state crowd. Coming home to where he was a 2-time All-State high school wrestler. Where he learned what it took to go on and become a 4-time All-American in college in both wrestling AND track-and-field. "Yep, I was bad," says Shelton. But then, Michaels turns on a dime and takes things down another path. Because it was very well-done and could actually represent the start of something cool, allow me to do something rare; I'll resort to rewatching the DVR footage so I may transcribe. 

Shawn says, "It's just too bad your career here in WWE has amounted to a big fat zero. [beat, while Shelton's mega-watt smile suddenly turns into a scowl at Shawn's change of topic] The night you faced me, you were never better, you took me to the limit. But since that time, your career has gone downhill, and downhill fast. Now, me? I got no amateur credentials to speak of, but in this line of work, there's nobody better. Now, granted, sometimes I've not been all that popular. But I'm always successful. I guess the question you need to be asking yourself, Shelton, is Do you want friends, or do you want success? [beat, as Shelton's eyes flick up, like it's a question he already knows the answer to] Some people say I have an attitude problem. But what about you, Shelton Benjamin? What are you gonna do about *your* attitude problem?"

Shelton finally turns to face Michaels face-to-face, stares him down, and says, "You want an attitude? You'll get an attitude." Then Shelton shoves Michaels out of the way and leaves the room. Michaels then does a nice job looking initially offended, but then breaking into a huge grin, as he reveals to us all that his dickish speech just had the intended result. "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" is Michaels outro line as he also saunters off-camera...


The Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Five: Vince is asking Coach to call his next witness, but Coach is on a cell phone... apparently, he has some Very Special Star Witness who is on his way to the courtroom, but who isn't here yet. So Vince sighs, and we just return to the arena for...

Chavo Guerrero vs. Lance Cade

Almost all the blonde is out of Chavo's hair, and he's back to his old self. The fans can't stop chanting "Eddie, Eddie" at the start, and the announcers openly acknowledge it and talk about the late, great Eddie Guerrero and how his death has motivated Chavo to get back to his roots so he can continue the family tradition.

Early match is basically Cade using his size advantage to overpower Chavo. Then Chavo gets one flurry in, but is snuffed out when Cade dodges a running attack and tosses Chavo over the top rope. From there, Cade rams Chavo's back into the steel ring post, and commences to a Standard Heel Beatdown sequence that focuses entirely on Chavo's lower back.

Cade's pretty active, so this isn't as boring as you'd expect, and he's also interacting well with the crowd. He finds the right tone to play off the "Eddie" chants so that he seems heelish, but not so that he seems disrespectful, too, which is a subtle touch. In fact, it works so well, that towards the end of the beatdown, the "Eddie" chants morph into "Chavo" chants. That's as good an indication as any that -- for a total throw-away filler match -- this thing did a nice job of connecting with the fans.

Chavo doesn't get a standard babyface comeback. Instead, he gets one huge move out of nowhere. As Cade's attack was on-going, he attempted a delayed vertical suplex on Chavo.... but Chavo countered by snapping Cade into a DDT. Quick as a cat, Chavo identified the opportunity, hopped up on the top rope, and landed a Frog Splash for the three count. In a stark contrast the the apparent cluelessness displayed by the Heat announcers, Joey Styles has the entire backstory on Chavo's use of the Frog Splash. Did you know that Eddie only used it as an homage to his friend, the late Art Barr? And now, Chavo's using it as an homage to his uncle, so it's almost like a double homage. Let's see Coach try to pull off that level of infotainment without spraining something....

Your Winner: Chavo Guerrero, via pinfall, in 5-6 minutes. As far as quickie throwaway TV matches go, this one's about as good as you'll see. Chavo's excellent, and Cade's got all kinds of Barry-Windham-esque potential, and they clicked together on this night. It started out being thanks to the Eddie Sympathy Card that Chavo was able to play, but like I said: by the end, the fans were cheering for Chavo to win, not chanting for Eddie. That counts for something, I gotta think.

The Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Six: we're back, and find that Coach has called Shawn Daivari to the stand, and is in the process of questioning him. The gist is that when nobody else would, Bischoff didn't just give Daivari an opportunity, he actually fully reinstated him to his job on RAW. Daivari is appreciative of that. Daivari also chimes in that he watched back when Mick Foley was commissioner (nice, Daivari didn't try to retroactively change the 2001 job titles to fit the current nomenclature), and he was awful. While Eric Bischoff conducts his business with class and professionalism. Coach determines that that's enough, and he has no further questions, Your Honor. Your Honor? YOUR HONOR? Vince is off space cadeting, oblivious to the fact that now everybody is trying to get his attention. Finally he looks over... as we move in for a close-up, we see he's got some ear plugs in, which he takes out. An exact quote, not requiring DVR, but remembered for its sheer, overwhelming, factual accuracy: "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't hear a word your witness said. I was listening to Ashlee Simpson on my iPod. CHRIST, she sucks." Ah, Vince, we share a mind on at least one thing, then. Daivari offers to repeat his testimony, but Vince assures him that won't be necessary, cuz he really doesn't care. Oh, and before the witness is excused, Daivari is informed that he will NOT be refereeing tonight's main event involving Kurt Angle. With that, the court is in recess.

Recess? Mick Foley loves recess. And while Coach and Bischoff brought stuffy briefcases and other gear to the courtroom, Foley's only accoutrement was a Batman lunchbox. Which he now opens to reveal moon pies and a mini-can of RC Cola. Mick's so happy it's recess time, he even tosses Bischoff and Coach a couple of moon pies for themselves. You know what? Should've been a drink-box (or that pouch-thingie... Capri Sun? I forget, but up until high school, my sack lunch's beverage always came in box or pouch form, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever) instead of RC...

[ads; observation: whether or not "Capri Sun" is right or not, do you realize this is the first time I can remember ever using the word "Capri" twice in the same day? Well, technically, four times, now. Who knew one word could cover such a broad spectrum from stupid-looking-pants to non-nutritious artificially-flavored sugar-water packaged in metallic pouches?]

The Cutting Edge: Special "Guests, We Don't Need No Steenking Guests" Edition

As promised, there's no bells and whistles. Just Edge, Lita, and two bar stools in the middle of the ring. Well: and the ring's covered in black carpet. And Edge gets his own special "ninja-throwing-star with an E in the middle of it" graphic in the corner of the screen, replacing the WWE logo. And Edge has a new t-shirt, proclaiming he's a "Rated-R Superstar," which is actually not an uncool idea, except that (much like all of WWE's pathetic attempts at T&A on network TV), you can't really pay-off on the "Rated R" concept if you're only allowed to max out at "TV-14." Just avoid Rucking any Fules, Edge, and you oughta be OK for at least a while, though...

Edge welcomes us to the big shoe. The show so big, so controversial that he knows he'll be ruffling feathers in the locker room, but he doesn't care. Not as long as he's got his lovely co-host, Lita. (Crowd: "Slut, Slut, Slut" / Edge: "You wish, but she's only a slut for me." / Crowd: "D'oh, good one, you lucky bastard. It is, afterall, the ultimate male fantasy to score a babe whose insatiable sexual appetite is matched only by her zealous addiction to monogamy.... I mean: BOOOOOOOOOOOOO~!") Lita chimes in that she's experienced first-hand just why Edge is the "Rated-R Superstar." Really? So Edge's idea of a freaky slut is a girl who likes to get in bed, carefully arrange the sheets so that the hip-regions are covered up to any hypothetical on-looker (or movie camera), and then gyrate awkwardly to badly-simulate penetration? Cuz that's Rated-R, baby!

I keed, I keed. But Edge is still happy to accept the "Rated R" semi-compliment from his favorite dry-hump buddy, because it's the necessary segue to declare that everybody else on RAW is "PG-13." Cuz nobody in the locker room has the guts to appear on the Cutting Edge. In fact, last week, the show was supposed to debut, but didn't because there was no guest. Then this week, they lined up a guest, but he backed out on the advice of his attorneys. So there you have it: Ric Flair will not be appearing tonight, afterall.

And from there, the Roast is on. Edge and Lita start tearing into Flair, mocking the fans who are under the misapprehension that this is "Flair Country," when really, it's "Edge Country." This includes "exposing" the fact that Flair was arrested for assault a couple weeks ago (the crowd cheers when Edge says Flair pulled some guy out of a car and beat him up; Edge's response, "Oh, real nice, people"). This leads up to Edge talking about the (ahem) Downward Spiral of Flair's career.... he puts a circa-1989 picture of Flair up on the TitanTron as says that Flair has gone from the limousine-riding, jet-flying, wheelin'-dealin' son of a gun to (picture is replaced by Flair's unflattering mugshot, as seen right here on OO last week) a handcuff-wearing, mugshot-posing, road-rage-commitin' convict. WHOOOOO~! Edge punctuates with an attempted Crazy Old Man Strut, but Lita corrals him in and say, "You know what? You might wanna cut that out. We'll work on it later, honey. But our point is that look at what Ric Flair has been reduced to."

Edge picks up the ball and keeps on running, accusing Flair of having insecurity issues now that he's unable to compete at the same level he once did, which is why he's reduced to beating random strangers on the interstate, since he can't beat anybody in a wrestling ring. And Flair's personal life? Don't even get Edge started on Flair's personal life, cuz that's like a whole OTHER 5 minute riff that Edge wants to do....

Until he's interrupted by WWE Officials Michael Hayes and Sgt. Slaughter, who have slinked down to ringside and given Edge the universal symbol for "Wrap it up." Wrap it up? Why? Because the boss said so, Edge. [Wait.... but Vince: at courthouse. Bischoff: at courthouse. Who could possibly be "the boss"? Internal reality of pro wrestling, dissolving before my very eyes. But also, in this case, I don't mind, since this is kinda interesting given how Edge isn't trying to hard to make this "shoot-y" and is staying totally in character.]

Edge is all, "So somebody's afraid I might go too far? Well tough. If the boss wants me to shut up, he can come out here and tell me to shut up himself. But I'm not gonna shut up because you two tell me to." Edge dubs them "Bartles and James," which is only barely funny to me and my Swiss Cheese childhood memory, but should probably be high-fricking-larious to anybody who's got at least 2 or 3 years on me. And then Lita declares that they are two has-beens who now collect a paycheck only because they're willing to kiss Vince McMahon's ass backstage. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: I present to you The Stooges 2K6!

That last accusation from Lita hit a little close to home, so Sarge and Hayes stop flaccidly gesturing at Edge from ringside, and stiffen their upper lips to step into the ring. The taunting from Edge continues unabated, though, as he deduces that the reason these two have come on down is because they heard that Edge had (looking at Sarge) a bottle of Jack Daniels and (turning to Hayes) an 8-ball. 

That's about enough of that noise, so Hayes grabs the mic away from Edge (Edge simply re-loads by taking Lita's). Hayes, bringing the intensity, says: "What is it with you kids today? Cuz I don't get it. I just don't get it. You come out here and shoot your mouth off, and you have your guaranteed contracts and guaranteed days off, but you show no respect to guys like Sarge and me and Ric Flair who built this business so that you could have a goddamned job, much less the the chance to stand in this ring with a live mic. Listen: Ric Flair is not my best friend, not by a long shot, but I respect him. I respect what he's done and I respect that he's bled and sweat all over the world. I respect that he's a 16-time World Champion, and whatever's going on in his life, that respect means I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Which is NOT something I'm prepared to give you."

Edge tries to chime in, but Hayes is dead-set on out-promo'ing four-fifths of Johnny Ace's Gay Porno Ready Developmental Muscleheads, so he cuts Edge off with, "No, no, no. You say you like to ask the tough questions. Well, let me ask you a couple. How many times have you been in the main event? How many times have you sold out the arena and turn fans away? And the best one of all: how many times have YOU been World Champion... oh, wait, the math on that one should be easy. Because the answer is ZERO." With that, Edge gets very agitated and slaps the mic out of Hayes' hand. 

Edge says this is his show, and he doesn't have to put up with this, and basically throws down the challenge: if Hayes has a problem, then he should settle it with fisticuffs. Edge offers his rather-pronounced chin as a target, but Hayes restrains himself, as is befitting a man of his front office position. But Edge isn't gonna let him off easy: Edge says the only reason Hayes isn't stepping up is because Hayes doesn't have any back-up.... where is his old tag team partner Terry Gordy, anyway. Oh. That's right. Terry Gordy is dead and buried. That finally gets Hayes' dander up. He grabs Edge by the shirt, and pulls him in, blustering about how Edge is nobody and he shouldn't be saying things like that and he wouldn't even have this talk show if he wasn't banging Matt Hardy's ex-girlfri....

And Edge finally just hauls off and pops Hayes in the mouth. Slaughter tries to get involved, but with Lita there and willing to jump on his back and choke him out, there's enough time for Edge to take care of business. Finally, Lita slips Edge the Money In The Bank Briefcase, and Edge finishes both geezers off with shots to the noggins.

Very, VERY intense stuff. In the short term, it could set up Edge getting "low-impact" matches with Slaughter/Hayes while he's still rehabbing his chest injury.... but better yet, in the long-term, we've just now established how far the "Cutting Edge" will go in terms of acknowledging "real life," and seen that -- in the right hands -- the weaving of shooty-ness and storytelling can be done very effectively, as it was here. That's excellent for Edge's character and the "Rated-R"/says-things-he-isn't-supposed-to-say gimmick. And best of all: it all seemed fairly real and spontaneous, and you didn't see Fingerprint #1 of a Hollywood Writer Monkey once Hayes and Slaughter showed up. It felt more like a throwback to when two guys would know the basic story they had to tell, and were intense and charismatic and sharp enough to bounce off each other and tell it by the seats of their pants. Good stuff....


Tajiri vs. Triple H

This match, by the way, is at the order of Still-Active GM Eric Bischoff, who apparently didn't like Tajiri's sass-mouth earlier. Huh. Just imagine what the repercussions might have been if my vision had been realized, and Tajiri went all Mister Wu on Bischoff's cocksucker self, instead.

Tajiri's already in the ring as we return from break, once again making me wonder why they are telegraphing that certain guys are such jobbers that they don't even deserve ring entrances. But then HHH comes out, and only gets about 20 seconds to start on his way to the ring (he gets nowhere NEAR doing the bottled-water spit-take) before the announcers break away to do "Promotional Consideration Paid For By The Following"... which again makes me think that WWE just knew they were tight on time all night long.

Tajiri further underscores that possibility by jumpstarting the match while Joey Styles is still trying, earnestly, to convince us that you can get a good sandwich at Subway. Sorry, Joey, but we're not buying it; and you lived in Philly, for chrissakes, you should know good grinders.  Tajiri, once we leave the Subway logo, is seen peppering HHH with kicks... but when he goes for the back handspring elbow, HHH is NOT gonna put up with that happy crappy 30 seconds into a match. He just clubbers Tajiri to the mat, and takes control for a bit.

Tajiri gets a modest rally a minute or so later, when HHH gets cocky, and pays homage to the late Pat Morita by showboating to the crowd with "The Crane" pose. Tajiri manages to recover, and again starts trying to chop HHH down to size with stiff kicks. Tajiri also manages to land the handspring elbow during his flurry, proving that if first you don't succeed, try, try again. But things go south when Tajiri tries for the Tarantula. Trips powers out and shoves Tajiri down to ringside. A quick beating out there, Hunter tosses Tajiri back into the ring. A spinebuster. And then the Pedigree. That's that.

Your Winner: Triple H, via pinfall, in about 3 minutes. Too well-executed to be bad, but too short to be good. Just your basic squash, albeit on that they tried to pretend has a reason for existing (with the earlier courtroom scene and Bischoff's order to make the match). Meh. I still say Tajiri deserves better.

The Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Seven: Coach announces that his Special Witness is here, and it's somebody who remains eternally grateful to Eric Bischoff despite now competing on SmackDown!... he calls Simon Dean to the stand. Simon? Oh, Simon? Where's Simon? Vince is starting to get perturbed with the no-show when suddenly, the Boogeyman magically rises from underneath the witness stand. Ugh. "Yo, Eric B / Listen to me / For it has become clear / That the time is drawing near / And you will no longer be here." Somewhere, I'm sure John Cena is envying Boogey's mad rhymes... but here and now, the punchline is "I'm the Boogeyman, and I'm coming to getchya." Then he just ducks back down under the witness stand, and Vince, Coach, and Bischoff all have to act mystified and scared of what they just saw. Meantime, Mick's just lounging at his desk, blithely munching on moon pies, with a contented, unconcerned smile on his face. Careful, Mick, that's the kind of no-selling that'll make Jim Cornette go apeshit on you in front of a locker room full of your peers!

And also: you're telling me that the walls between RAW and SD! are being knocked down without any real rhyme nor reason, and the fucking BOOGEYMAN is the best we can do? We could be doing cool stuff, but instead, it's Future WrestleCrap that gets to traverse the brands at his leisure. Great.


Backstage: Triple H is WALKING~! And he just so happens to bump into the Big Show. Show wonders if HHH is all proud after beating a little guy like Tajiri... and further speculates that things'll be different when HHH steps into the ring and looks across to see the Big Show. Because it's like Big Show said last week: HHH's time is coming. And it's coming soon. HHH looks mildly miffed as Show walks away with a smirk.

The Trial of Eric Bischoff, Part Eight: Mick just has one final guest to call tonight.... Maria the Mic Stand. Bischoff and Coach start cackling, positive that Maria lacks the vocabulary to provide any damning evidence against them. Mick tries to start the questioning, but Maria just giggles vapidly and says she wants Mr. Socko to ask the questions. More cackling from the defense table. Vince decides to allow the introduction of a sock puppet attorney. And so Socko asks, "Maria, what are your honest feelings about General Manager Eric Bischoff?"... Maria suddenly gets a Serious Face and says: "Eric Bischoff abused his power last week in a way that was capricious and malicious. And it is this rash discourse that has led to a locker room of disdain and mutiny. It should be grounds for Eric Bischoff's immediate dismissal." Then Maria gets her Bimbo Face back on and asks if she did good. Mick assure her she did, and excuses her from the stand. Coach says he'd like to call another witness, but Vince says no. Because he's heard enough, and it's time to head back to the arena for Closing Arguments.
Ummm, okay, so the random appearance of "Smart Maria" was kind of cute, as an homage to one of my favorite Beavis Moments (when Oxygen Deprivation suddenly led to 30-seconds worth of a Genius Level IQ, which allowed him to surgically eviscerate a Korn video while Butthead sat around and contributed nothing).... but it reaches a whole new level of unintentionally funny when you actually listen to what Maria said and realize that it's at least as dumb as anything she's ever said. I don't know if that's a meta-joke inserted by the writer monkeys to test if anyone was paying attention or not, but I'm going to appreciate this on the level of "just because you string together a bunch of big words doesn't mean they necessarily hold together grammatically or logically." Heh.

SmackDown! Rebound: I don't recap recaps.


Shawn Michaels/Shelton Benjamin vs. Kurt Angle/Carlito Cool

STILL with the bleeping "You Suck" out during Kurt's ring entrance? That does not increase heel heat. It merely offends my ear drums. Please stop.

Some pre-match Broad Gesturing makes it clear that Shelton wants to start this match and won't take no for an answer, because tonight's the night that he shows Shawn Michaels and the world what Shelton Benjamin is made of. And for a while, this works out great. It's all Shelton when Carlito starts the match for the other team and promptly gets out-mat-wrestled for about 90 seconds. Shawn is loving it, in the role of cheerleader on the apron.

Then things get a bit more competitive when Angle tags in. We are reminded that Angle's the one-time mentor of Shelton and also has had Shelton's number in recent matches... and what the hell? Is Kurt just wearing sneakers? It'd be one thing if they were wrestling shoes (that might be a new character quirk for Angle), but these were big heavy basketball shoes. That's odd. After some very evenly-matched back and forth, Shelton finally gets the advantage with his Leg Whip Thingie on Kurt. Carlito makes the save on the cover and gets a suplex for his troubles. Michaels is loving the Driven Shelton Benjamin, who's standing tall in the ring, while we get stuck checking out these....


Back, and fortunes have changed... Michaels apparently tagged in during the break, and is having his lunch handed to him by Carlito. For about 45 seconds, anyway. Then Michaels hits a neckbreaker out of nowhere, and crawls to his corner to tag Shelton back in. And though it was only a lukewarm tag, Shelton comes in a house o' fire against Carlito, hitting him with everything but the kitchen sink. It gets so bad that Kurt tries to interfere, but Shelton's got him covered, too...

Things only turn for the worse when Daivari (who is not refereeing, but remains in Kurt's corner, nonetheless) causes a distraction. Shelton turns to address Daivari, and then Kurt takes another shot at Benjamin, this time from behind. That works a lot better. After pummeling Shelton at ringside, Angle tosses him back in to Carlito, who had been keeping the referee occupied.

The heels then commence to administering the required thrashing. At first, the establish dominance with frequent tags and some covert double teaming. Once they were firmly in command, the tags became less frequent, and we got more-extended sequences of one-on-one ass-whupping. Of note: nobody in the arena was cheering for Kurt Angle. And there were audible "Shelton, Shelton" chants. You still want to tell me the problem is with Angle being a capable heel, and not with Cena's character, WWE? Or are you gonna claim that the only reason Shelton stayed a babyface against Kurt is because of the "home town factor"? If so, kindly explain the reaction at the end of this match.... and then let's just wait till Homey the Clown gets his homecoming next week in Boston...

But I digress. Point was: no mutinous crowd this week. Fans LIKE Shelton and are vocally cheering for him to beat Angle, who apparently sucks, in their opinions. And when Angle locks Shelton in the waistlock of extreme visual unimpressiveness, the crowd gets behind Shelton, as he powers out. Then, when Angle tries to regain control with an Angle Slam, Shelton counters it into a wicked DDT to a huge pop. Both men down, and both men start crawling for their corners. And both men get tags to their partners, and then powder out.

Shawn comes in and wastes no time: he cuts straight to the five moves of doom. Flying Burrito for Carlito (take *that* rhyme, Boogeyman!), Kip Up. and the Macho Man Elbow. Just that fast. But as Michaels starts tuning up the band in his corner, Shelton finally gets back to his feet and processes what's going on. He sees a chance to show HBK just how motivated he is by tagging in and finishing Carlito off his own self. So Shelton blind tags himself into the match, much to Michaels confusion. Shelton goes to the top rope to hit a Steamboat Style High Cross Body. But Carlito dodges, and instantly rolls Shelton up and gets the three count before Michaels can even break out of his confused daze.

Your Winners: Carlito and Kurt Angle, via pinfall, in about 12-15 minutes. Good stuff that relied on the basic tried and true tag match formula; only match that got to that "good" level, too. Although I think it was also the only match that lasted more than 5 minutes, so that's not surprising. But just as importantly as the in-ring action is that they told a good story.... anytime you tease me with visions of Shelton Benjamin finally getting something worthwhile to do, I'm gonna be tuning in for the next chapter. Speaking of which....

After the Match: Michaels finally realized that he's a loser in this match because Shelton got a little too big for his britches and tagged in despite still being wounded. But "do unto others" and "turn the other cheek" all that other crap, right? So Michaels represses his frustration and goes over to offer Shelton a hand up to his feet. Shelton refuses it, gets to his feet on his own, and then turns his back to Shawn. Michaels tries to continue talking to him, but Shelton just turns around and shoves Michaels away. The look on Michaels face says, "Boy, I'd like to learn this brat a little respect. But I partially responsible for putting him up to this, so I have to give him his space." Perfect. Shelton and Michaels stand on opposite sides of the ring for about 20 seconds, with Shelton periodically glancing at Michaels, as if trying to decide what to do next. In the end, he just shakes his head and bails out of the ring to a chorus of boos. See that: when circumstances dictate, there's no Home Town Favoritism here. Good match, even more promising prospects from this angle, though...

Backstage: a limo arrives, and contains both Vince and Stephanie McMahon. Triple H is there to greet them. Hmmm... well, actually, HHH is there to do some last second campaigning. Because as "your #1 guy in this whole company," HHH thought he should weigh in on the GM issue with Vince; and Trips wants to keep Bischoff around. Devil you know vs. the devil you don't, and all. Vince says HHH just wants Bischoff to stay because HHH knows how to manipulate Bischoff and get whatever he wants. HHH admits that, yup, that's pretty much what it boils down to. Vince appreciates the honesty and says he'll make no promises, but will take it under consideration. Fair 'nuff, says HHH. And now? Vince must go to the ring to wrap this up.... that'll just leave these two kids together in a parking garage, so Vince makes the formal introductions betwixt the once violently-divorced couple. Stephanie, you remember Triple H, right? And Hunter, you remember Stephanie? Good... so Vince leaves, and HHH and Steph share some shy "hi's" and some friendly smiles and a lot of meaningful eye-contact all tinged with lots of awkward silence. Which is as it should be; McMahon-Helmsley Era 2.0, or Red Herring? Don't know, but it's something I'd be willing to stick around and find out about....


The Trial of Eric Bischoff: Part Nine of Nine, The Trash Outtakening

Already brushing up against 11pm (eastern) when we return, so Vince wastes no time insisting that we finish this up. Mr. Prosecuting Attorney, you go first...

Foley's also a man of few words, saying that "From HLA to Daivari as Kurt Angle's Personal Referee, Erica Bischoff has abused his power. You've got the truck, Vince. By god, I say let's use it." Short and sweet. Except that everybody knows that if you're going to screw up Eric's name to be a girl's name "Erica" is not the most-common way to do it. At least, not if you're typing 90 words per minute. But I guess, OK, it makes sense in the spoken word.

Vince turns it over to the defense, where Coach is about to speak, but Bischoff cuts him off. He'll make his own closing remarks.

Because Bischoff wants to admit that, OK, he's done some horrible things as GM of RAW, and he sure as hell doesn't care about the fans. But he does care about the fans' money. And during his tenure, he's been nothing short of expert at separating the fans from their money, which Vince should appreciate. Fans don't like this tack, but Vince is listening.

You want proof? Bischoff points to the Elimination Chamber, the match HE invented, that's spiked PPV buyrates and sold out arenas. In fact, whether he stays on as RAW GM or not, Bischoff is so proud of his creation that he's ordering it right now: the next RAW PPV will be headlined by an Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Title.

So c'mon Vince, let Eric keep his job, because he's totally confident that together, the two of you will make a fortune together. Vince appears torn. He's not sure what to do. But he's about to speak when....

DAMMIT. Cena's here. Who. The. Fuck. Asked. You. Homey? Something stinks around here and it ain't the garbage truck. It's the shoehorn that was last used by someone with serious foot odor issues and which is no being used to insert John Cena into a show where he really doesn't quite fit.

Vince, of course, decides to allow the Final Surprise Witness. And as soon as Cena's music cuts out, he's serenaded with the mix of squeals and boos. Even when he comes out to confront the Hated Eric Bischoff, the fans want Vince to know: They don't like John Cena.

Cena's not here to voice HIS opinion, he says. Because everybody knows that he thinks Bischoff is a "jag-off." He's here to make sure 10,000 other voices get heard. Because if there's one thing Eric Bischoff is guilty of, it's taking away the voice of the fans. Ummm, Homey? There are people on this roster who should talk about listening to the voice of the fans. You, my friend, are no longer one of them.

While Vince McMahon is a Constitution-loving advocate of free speech (whhaaaaaaaaa? forget Smart Maria still saying dumb things, *THIS* takes the cake on the night's Unintentional Comedy Scale), he's employing a no-good jag-off with his finger on the censor button every time Kurt Angle makes a ring entrance.  Cena doesn't see how the two can possibly co-exist. And just to drive the point home, he wants to call 10,000 witnesses of his own... does South Carolina think that Eric Bischoff should be fired? Well, on that, Cena actually does get the desired response.... but given how the crowd was leaning during his other stuff, it's a good thing he didn't ask about his own popularity rating.

Vince, making a comical claim about how he always listens to the fans announces that it looks like the verdict is in. Eric Bischoff: YOOOUUUU'RRRRRRREEEE FFIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRREEDDDDDD! Vince then points to Cena and says, "Take out the trash." Cena is happy to comply, and just grabs Bischoff for an F-U. Are those boos? For F-U'ing Eric freaking Bischoff? Well, I guess if fans were willing to take up Chris F. Masters' side last week instead of Cena, nothing shocks me anymore...

Coach stays out of the way as Vince then rolls Bischoff's carcass out of the ring, and fireman carries it over to the garbage truck. Vince does the honor of hoisting Bischoff into the back himself. You know my stance: anytime an angle like this happens, it's because in some unhealthy part of Vince McMahon's mind, it's still 1997, and humiliating Eric Bischoff is the only way to make him feel better. Vince then hops in the truck and drives away... what's this mean for RAW? Who'll be the GM next week? Fair questions, asked by the announcers before we fade to black.

So, OK, the shoehorning of John Cena made no sense and the whole "listening to the fans instead of censoring them" thing was just so ridiculously absurd given WWE's standard operating procedures that you have to laugh.... the proper finish, in my mind, would have just been Vince teasing Bischoff by pretending to take his comments under consideration, and then still just capriciously firing him. Then Mick would have been more than capable (not to mention willing) to incapacitate Bischoff with a Mandible Claw, allowing Vince to take out the trash... no need for the other stuff that felt more like an obligatory tag than a fitting ending. But still: Bischoff being oustered as GM is the finish the fans wanted, and even if the road getting there had a few late moments of retardation (and two earlier ones, in the forms of Mae Young and the Boogeyman), this was still a big-time satisfying finish that had a bunch of amusing sideroads over the course of the night. It's a night where you let your gripes go, and just appreciate that RAW had it's best hit-to-miss ratio in a while, and on top of that, delivered the rare, intangible quality of "sizzle." It's a show that didn't just entertain you with densely-packed pacing that made you wonder where the time was going, it's a show that made you excited to check out next week. 

It's not just the GM issue. What's up with Shelton? How far will Edge go next time he has a live mic? Is there something brewing once again between Trips and Stephanie? For the first time that I can remember in the second half of 2005, I finished RAW anxious to see the next episode. That's definitely a good thing. 


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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