Here’s a story to kick of tonight’s recap… There I was, last Saturday night, clicking away on my Toshiba Satellite 1750, finishing up the Wrestlemania XX recap I’d said I’d have gotten done for about 2 weeks now – when BOOM, the laptop shuts down.
No problem, Word backs itself up.
I boot up…BOOM, shuts down.
This repeats for awhile before I decide (in my infinite non-technical wisdom) that I MUST have a virus. And since I can’t run a virus scan before it shuts down, I simply reformat, losing tons and tons of personal documents.
No dice. The bloody computer shuts down during the reformat.
The internal fan was broken. It was at that moment, with my computer half-way reformatted, and god knows HOW many other issues (broken fan, broken internal 56K modem, non-functioning mouse, drained battery, and more…) that I decided to buy a new machine.
Some $1600 after taxes later, I’m now on a brand new Presario 2100 Notebook. I don’t think I’ll be buying that new car anytime in the near future.
So I likely won’t be recapping Wrestlemania XX anytime soon. After losing hours of work on one show, it’s REALLY not that much fun to go back and do it a second time.
And then the reason THIS is so late is from a world of overtime this week – but that’s my own doing in order to get that car!
And that’s that! Let’s hit RAW.
Attitude – Entertainment – Eric Bischoff
Here’s a look at RAW’S LOCKER ROOM, sitting around – and feeling tension if JIM ROSS is to be believed. Naturally, he is never to be believed. JERRY LAWLER sits nearby. Meanwhile, in another part of town, a sea of blue t-shirts make up SMACKDOWN!’S LOCKER ROOM. MICHAEL COLE and TAZZ will be responsible for talking about them.
ERIC BISCHOFF and PAUL HEYMAN stand nose-to-nose in another part of the arena. VINCE MCMAHON joins them, and excitedly prepares for the shakeup. Vince goes over the rules. All of the Smackdown! stars names will be put into one bin, and RAW into another. Paul Heyman draws from the RAW bin, Bischoff from the Smackdown! bin. They each get 6 picks, and are also welcome to trade stars at anytime from now until Midnight. Bischoff asks for some consideration to be shown towards his champions, but Vince promises no one will be spared. Heyman thanks Vince for his time, offering a hand which Vince ignores. Bischoff does the same, to the same result – and Vince walks off while the GMs give eachother the evil eye.
Let’s see, if I’m booking, I definitely move RVD and Scott Steiner to Smackdown! to fill the main event void (Steiner being the next big challenger to the belt), and throw in the Dudleys and Kane. And JR too, they can keep him. On RAW, we’ll take TWGTT to fill the tag-team void…and well, quite frankly, that’s all that’s required. Good thing I’m not a booker.
We are LIVE from Detroit, Michigan.
The GMs hit the stage – with Paul Heyman there to make the first pick of the evening. Heyman reminds us he was assaulted by The Undertaker, but instead of whining to the board of directors like Bischoff would, he plans on dealing with The Undertaker in his own personal way this coming week. With that bit of business out of the way – Heyman digs into the hopper and comes out with…
RENE DUPREE Height: 6’3” Weight: 250 lbs. Age: 20 Career Highlights: - Youngest world tag-team champion in WWE history - Wrestled first professional match at age 14
Dupree joins us on stage, waiving his flag around – and Heyman makes sure to pose for a photo with his newest star. The crowd chants “USA!” including some dude in a Nordiques jersey. Dupree says that he doesn’t want his last RAW memory to be getting a Stunner from Steve Austin – so he demands one final match, against any RAW jabroni.
RENE DUPREE vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Jericho takes Dupree down after trading slaps – and uses a reverse elbow to drop him. Dupree hits a sunset flip, but it’s moved into a Wall Of Jericho from which Dupree escapes. On the apron, Jericho hits a springboard dropkick, and Dupree falls outside. Jericho follows, and rolls him back in. Dropkick from Jericho – but a crossbody is blocked by a dropkick, and Dupree gets 2. Dupree does his French dance, covers again, and gets another 2. He goes into another dance, and gets rolled up with a handful of tights for 2. Jericho delivers the chops, but gets clotheslined and covered for 2. Dupree charges, but Jericho’s ready with a drop toe hold into the ropes. From there, he does the Bossman straddle, hits a weak enzuigiri, and scores the pin off that. (3:09) ** Decent enough. Dupree screams about being cheated – and wants respect, which of COURSE calls out SHERIFF AUSTIN. Austin circles the ring with his ATV – but upon entering offers Dupree the hand of respect. Dupree, naturally, falls for it and takes another Stunner. Bon voyage!
RICO (with Jackie Gayda) vs. ???
ERIC BISCHOFF arrives on the stage, and asks Heyman that if Smackdown! is the superior brand, then why is RAW holding the draft? Good point. Bischoff draws his first name, and joining RAW is…
SHELTON BENJAMIN Height: 6’2” Weight: 245 lbs. Career Highlights: - WWE tag-team champion - All American wrestler - University of Minnesota
Benjamin gives a hug to his now former tag-team partner, while JR crows about the acquisition. I suppose reminding them that they actually HAD Benjamin and then let him go to Smackdown! without a fight would be too much for them to handle, so I won’t.
RICO (with Jackie Gayda) vs. KANE
Rico gets his shots in, and kicks Kane in the head. That’s no easy feat for a man of his size…or age, considering he’s 42. Kane chokeslams him, 1, 2, 3. (0:27) DUD As Kane walks back up the stage, he says it doesn’t matter where he winds up – but he damn well not wind up on the same show as Taker.
Heyman: “Why don’t you have just a little control over your superstars? I don’t want to be on the same show as The Undertaker either.” That said, he draws his next star…
MARK JINDRAK Height: 6’6” Weight: 253 lbs. Age: 24 Career Highlights: - WCW tag-team champion
Lawler breathes a sigh of relief, while I’m simply shocked they acknowledged his WCW tag-team title runs! I believe this is the first time since his return to WWE TV that they’ve mentioned that point.
TONIGHT: Booker T and Rob Van Dam defend their tag-team titles against Ric Flair and Batista. Didn’t the Torch or Observer or something report that Ric Flair was injured so badly he had to retire before Wrestlemania? Yeesh.
Bischoff goes back to the hopper once again, after the commercial, and draws someone “good looking” apparently. Joining RAW is…
Nidia happily bounces out of the locker room – throwing something at JAMIE NOBLE. And thus far, we’ve blown 4 picks on virtual nobodies based on their overall pushes, with Shelton being the biggest name to change. Fingers crossed this starts to get interesting. Nidia rips off her old top, revealing her rather large breasts – and throws on a RAW t-shirt.
Heyman wishes Nidia luck, by hoping that she goes blind again. JOHN CENA hits the stage before Heyman makes his next pick, drawing a really loud pop.
“The Franchise is crashing this party, Paul don’t get mad at me He’s wearing a neckbrace because he’s blowing the whole lottery I heard that about you, he ain’t the one-way type Believe the hype, John Cena more RAW than Monday night I’m the lottery pick they both wanna get their hands on This ain’t no Junior high dance, so fellas keep your pants on Oh, and if you draft me, save your t-shirts I ain’t kissin’ yo butts We in the D baby! So you can choke on Deez nuts! You the General Manager, but I’m making the next pick I’m giving you one ball, but you still got no…”
Cena tosses his pick at Heyman, but Heyman wants none of it. Bischoff forces him to keep the ball he’s taken, and it of course backfires because the next guy jumping ship is…
TRIPLE H Height: 6’4” Weight: 260 lbs. (give me a break) Career Highlights: - WWE champion - World heavyweight champion - Intercontinental champion - WWE tag-team champion - WWE European champion - 1997 King of the Ring
What, no 2002 Royal Rumble Winner? Hunter does a spit take in the locker room, and Bischoff throws an absolute shit fit. Meanwhile, the locker room bursts out laughing, and chants the “nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!” song.
CHRISTIAN (with Trish Stratus) vs. SPIKE DUDLEY
Spike spears Christian immediately, and gets 2. He drives Christian’s head to the buckle a number of times, and rips off his shirt. ACK! PUT IT ON, PUT IT ON! He throws Trish into the ring, but can’t do anything before taking a hotshot onto the ropes. Christian chokes him out in the ropes – and then distracts the referee so that Trish can do it too. Christian kicks and slaps Spike around, but has a scoop slam countered into a DDT. A vertical suplex is turned into a rollup, and Spike tosses Christian outside. The plancha off the top connects – and Spike rolls Christian in. He goes up, but gets caught. Spike counters with a bit, does the Kevin Sullivan super stomp from the top…and gets a close 2! Christian throws Spike shoulder first into the post, hits the Unprettier, and scores the win! (3:20) * While Christian was on offense, he carried himself like a star – but that was an awful lot of offense from Spike. They’re on the right track though. I do wish they’d drop the “CLB” though.
Bischoff can’t make his next pick because he’s in such a bad mood about having lost Hunter – and runs off to find Vince.
Backstage, he manages to find Vince, and says he can’t lose Hunter, but Vince isn’t willing to reverse it. Heyman interrupts, and offers to have Eddie Guerrero defend his title against Triple H. Ooooh, I can’t say I like that! Vince looks at him like he farted, but Heyman manages to win him over, stating he’s doing exactly what Vince wanted them to do – shake things up. Vince agrees.
Back on stage, Bischoff says he’s going to use some aggressive thinking of his own – offering to have the next name come out of the hopper, be it Big Show or Michael Cole, to face Chris Benoit for the world title! He reaches in deep, and comes out with…
RHYNO Height: 6’0” Weight: 275 lbs. Career Highlights: - WWE hardcore champion - United States champion - ECW world champion
Rhyno, who happened to be standing nearby JOHN CENA asks “can you see me now Cena??? HAHAHAHA!” I love it. On the stage, Rhyno throws his old shirt in Heyman’s face, and happily grabs a RAW shirt.
BOOKER T and ROB VAN DAM vs. BATISTA and RIC FLAIR (for the world tag-team titles)
Booker and Flair start out. Flair chases Booker around, and gets taken down with a shoulderblock. Booker works a hammerlock, but Ric fights out, and takes down Booker with his own shoulderblock. Booker comes back with a dropkick, but Flair chops away and tags in Batista. Booker gives him a back elbow, and tags in Van Dam who kicks him in the face. Off the top, Van Dam hits a crossbody for 2. RVD gives a dropkick to the leg, tags in Booker, and then catapults Batista into an awaiting superkick from the Bookerman. It gets 2. Batista smartly tags out and Flair starts in with the chops. Flair flops – and upon standing gets backdropped. He begs for mercy from Booker, and pokes him in the eyes to a big pop! Flair whips Booker into Batista’s knee while Van Dam whines in the corner. Chop from Flair into a cover gets 2. Scoop slam from Flair and a kneedrop leaves Booker grounded. Flair delivers some more chops, but Booker fires back with some of his own. Flair smartly delivers a back elbow, but goes up, and gets caught, as usual. Booker makes a tag to Van Dam, who hits the Five Star…but rolls out as Batista charges. And we take a break!
We return to see Booker hitting Batista with a superkick, and tagging in RVD, who goes up. Booker elevates Batista, and RVD hits a single leg kick, covering…and getting 2. The referee orders Booker out – and with his back turned, Flair hits a NASTY little chop block on Van Dam. Batista tags out to Ric officially, and Flair starts to stomp at the leg, and applies the Figure Four!!! The crowd tries to will Van Dam back into the match – and he slowly manages to crawl to the bottom rope, forcing a break. Flair doesn’t let up, kicking at the leg some more, and pulls on it out of the corner – but Van Dam hits an enzuigiri! The step over heel kick follows, and RVD starts the crawl to his corner. Booker does get the hot tag, and kicks anything in his path. He gets Batista alone in the corner, and fires away a series of punches. Book End connects…and rather than cover, Booker decides to break dance. Superkick for Flair, axekick for Batista, 1, 2, Flair breaks it up. Van Dam comes back in with Rolling Thunder on Flair. Batista sets up the powerbomb – but when he sees RVD on the top, he shoves him away right into a single leg dropkick! Batista knocks RVD out of the ring, hits the sitdown powerbomb on Booker, and we’ve got us a new set of tag-team champions! (13:30) **3/4 Thank GOD this idiotic title reign of Booker and Van Dam is over.
Back to the lottery – Heyman is happy to pull out an Extreme Reunion between himself and…
ROB VAN DAM Height: 6’0” Weight: 225 lbs. Career Highlights: - Intercontinental champion - World tag-team champion - Hardcore champion - ECW tag-team champion
In the back, Van Dam and BOOKER T are busy whining to eachother about their loss, after the hard struggle we watched them attain to get to the top in the first place. Booker promises they’ll get their belts back, but THE COACH walks in to announce that Van Dam’s going to Smackdown! Booker: “We’re a team man!” Directly from an MSN chat I was having at the time…
Chris says: "I'll miss you Booker T! We go way back to 3 weeks ago..." Bryon says: "Rob, remember the time we lost the Tag titles? It's been a crazy-ass 5 minutes since then" Chris says: "The memories Book, the memories.... God, it feels like just yesterday we started teaming."
CHRIS BENOIT vs. RHYNO (for the world heavyweight title)
The two trade shots, and Benoit takes down Rhyno with an elbow. Rhyno books Benoit in the midsection – and alley-oops Chris face first onto the top turnbuckle. Double leg takedown from Rhyno leads into a Sharpshooter – but Benoit escapes, making it to the turnbuckle. Rhyno stomps on Benoit, but Chris comes back with a takedown and Sharpshooter attempt of his own – blocked by Rhyno. Rhyno throws some forearms, but takes a trifecta of Germans! Thumb to the throat – and Chris is going up! Benoit hits the flying headbutt, covers, but Rhyno kicks out! Rhyno comes right back with a spinebuster, and calls for the GORE! It misses, and he walks right into the Crossface!!! Rhyno taps right away. (4:37) *1/4 My the crowd was dreadfully silent. I can’t say I like THAT.
Bischoff watches on from the back – but is greeted quickly by SHAWN MICHAELS. Michaels says that as much as he wants a shot at Benoit, he’s nowhere near done with Hunter. Shawn insists on being traded to Smackdown!, and traded now. Bischoff refuses, but does allow Shawn to headline Backlash, so long as he’s not drafted to Smackdown! later tonight. Shawn agrees, and says that this time the kick is going to stick.
Back to the stage, and the draft continues. Bischoff takes his 4th pick, and coming over to RAW is…
TAJIRI Height: 5’9” Weight: 205 lbs. Career Highlights: - WWE cruiserweight champion - WWE tag-team champion - ECW television champion - ECW tag-team chmpion
What the hell is this all about? I REALLY don’t get moving a Cruiserweight over to RAW unless they’ve got big plans for him, and for whatever reason, I can’t see THAT being the case. He shares a tearful goodbye with his brothers in Yakuza.
Heyman wants to move it along quickly, and immediately picks up…
THEODORE LONG World Renowned Manager Career Highlights: - Has managed tag and singles champions in WWE and WCW
JAZZ is a little pissed, screaming “you never made me the money anyway, get out of here!” Gotta wonder how Rodney Mack and Mark Henry feel about this one.
Bischoff goes along with the plans to pick up the pace, and drafts…
EDGE Height: 6’4” Weight: 240 lbs. Career Highlights: - Intercontinental champion - United States champion - WWE tag-team champion - 2001 King of the Ring
Heyman protests, stating Edge is injured reserve and doesn’t qualify for the draft – but what’s done is done. So Heyman decides to dig deep, and whips out his final pick in the form of…
SPIKE DUDLEY Height: 5’8” Weight: 150 lbs. Career highlights: - WWE tag-team champion - ECW tag-team champion
Bischoff laughs at Heyman’s lousy pick after Heyman throws the paper on the floor. Cole and Tazz TRY to save it, stating it’s not a bad pick and Spike’s what Smackdown!’s all about. Hey, since I’m a RAW kind of guy, GOOD RIDDANCE. Bischoff goes into his final pick – and comes up smiling like the cat that just ate the bird, and announces he’s drafted…
JR: “Give him back!” Bischoff starts going on about all the chores he needs doing, but Heyman’s unwilling to appear before the animals that he calls a Monday Night RAW audience, and refuses to sell his soul to slime. “Eric Bischoff, SCREW YOU, I quit!!!”
With Heyman out of the way, Bischoff takes his chance to start gloating about having withstood yet another GM – but is rapidly interrupted by EDGE!!! While Bischoff throws his arms open to welcome his biggest theft of the night from Smackdown! – Edge spears him? What was that all about???
DURING THE BREAK: Paul Heyman storms off into a limo, and says goodbye to the WWE.
TRIPLE H vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (for the WWE title)
During his entrance, Hunter rips off his RAW shirt to reveal a Smackdown! tee instead. Eddie offers up the hand of friendship to start…and then stiffs Hunter, walking the other way. They get into a shoving match – and Hunter takes him down with a shoulderblock. Eddie comes back with a couple of hiptosses, and puts on an armbar. It’s broken up in the ropes, so Eddie hits a drop toe hold, and hiptosses him, holding onto the armbar again. Hunter rolls to the outside, selling the arm the whole way. Eddie gets dragged out too – but winds up on the offensive, throwing Hunter into the ringsteps, and then shoulder first into the post. Back in, Triple H hits the high knee – and they go to commercial.
Back live, we join Eddie being thrown shoulder first into the steps outside the ring. With Eddie down, Hunter rolls back in to sell the shoulder. Back out, Triple H drives Eddie back first into the ring, and rolls him back in. Triple H whips Eddie to the corner, and stomps at his back when he falls. Another whip to the corner, and this time he covers for 2. Triple H goes to the backdrop and gets another 2. Big time backbreaker, and he moves to the abdominal stretch. Eddie screams, but Triple H gets greedy, and reaches for the ropes, getting caught immediately. Upon breaking, Hunter whips Eddie to the ropes – but Guerrero snaps off a rana, and follows with a dropkick! The two start to trade punches, and Eddie wins that round with a couple of clotheslines. Eddie hits a belly to back – and scores a 2! Back elbow from the champ connects, and follows with a tornado DDT, and gets another 2! The momentum stops dead with a facebuster though, and Hunter goes up. Eddie stops that with an atomic drop – so Triple H tries a Pedigree. It’s reversed into a slingshot to the buckle, and the vertical suplex trifecta hits!!! Eddie prepares to go up, but EVOLUTION hits the ringside area – and Hunter hits a DDT! Flair tries to attack – and with the referee distracted, Batista hands Hunter a tag-team title belt! JOHN CENA and REY MYSTERIO JR. are having NONE of that, and head down to attack Batista. In the distraction, nobody sees SHAWN MICHAELS hit Sweet Chin Music on Hunter, before diving onto everyone outside the ring! Eddie heads up, but can’t hit the Froggy Splash because CHRISTIAN catches him. The referee decides that’s it (13:53) ***1/2 – and it’s for the best because EVERYONE IN BOTH LOCKER ROOMS comes flying to the ring. A sea of blue and red is all around the ringside area, with Hunter and Guerrero right smack dab in the middle of the mess, continuing to fight! With the locker rooms STILL emptying, SHERIFF AUSTIN drives out and invites MORE RAW MEMBERS to rush the ringside area. Van Dam has wasted no time finding himself in his new role, attacking RAW people left in right. Austin gets in and fights for his brand, and with him single-handedly taking out every jobber on Smackdown! we are OUT OF TIME!!!!
Welcome, everyone, to the latest EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED and EXTREMELY CONTROVERSIAL edition of Inside The Ropes. I'm Canadian Bulldog – and you're not. We've got a lot to get to this week, but first, a quick poll: