QUICK QUOTE: Let's hear it for the MARKET REBOUND! WWE 10.35 (+ .95, last year: 12.89, two years ago: 21 1/4)

GO READ THIS: I know many of you don't get here through Online Onslaught, so here's a link to Rick Scaia's Friday OOpinion that you might wanna go read. I know I wish *I'd* read it earlier.

THE "E" STANDS FOR...?: Latest Neurotica numbers from SoundScan - in four weeks, they have managed to sell a WHOPPING *6208* copies! Fear not; things ARE looking up for SmackDown! Records - with Sharon out for chemo, an Ozzfest main stage slot has opened up and who do you suppose the frontrunners are? (Hint: WWE co-sponsors Ozzfest) Has anyone seen Wade or Dave break this news yet? Better leak it to them before 1wrestling picks up the scoop! "Please credit CRZ and slashwrestling.com," har har har. Oh, the bit about the main stage is mostly just speculation...but then, we all know how much FUN speculation can be...which reminds me...

SAY, CHRIS...: Okay, you wanted an explanation, here we go. (If you DIDN'T want an explanation, for heaven's sake skip down to the next header) Let Us Take You Back Two Weeks as we all learned who the RAW General Manager would be - we pick it up during the Dreamer/Richards match and move to the Booker interview and...the moment:

See Our Zed: Kendo sticks are now "Singapore canes" again
See Our Zed: ECW ECW ECW
Kim Bitchfactor: Hahahaha
See Our Zed: Tell 'em Jimmy Hart
See Our Zed: Man what's happened to this show
See Our Zed: It used to be cool
Kim Bitchfactor: I know right?
See Our Zed: Hoffa-style
See Our Zed: Whoa edgy
Kim Bitchfactor: Hahaha
See Our Zed: Aw fuck
Kim Bitchfactor: Yup
See Our Zed: This is a swerve, right? Tell me it's a swerve
See Our Zed: Please tell me it's a swerve
Kim Bitchfactor: Uh ... it's a swerve?
See Our Zed: Is it a swerve?
Kim Bitchfactor: (it'snotaswerve)
See Our Zed: damn
See Our Zed: I just told Rick I quit :)
Kim Bitchfactor: :(
Kim Bitchfactor: I'm sorry Poohbear
See Our Zed: Wow I really wanna watch the second hour now
Kim Bitchfactor: I wanted to be here for you when the bad man showed up
See Our Zed: I take it back - this doesn't reek of desperation, it carries the stench of failure
See Our Zed: No wonder Booka made that face
See Our Zed: I should take my site down and let everybody wonder what's up
Kim Bitchfactor: It's very sad.
See Our Zed: I call Dusty Rhodes for SmackDown!
Kim Bitchfactor: That's scary, isn't it? It's really scary.
Kim Bitchfactor: Or Vince Russo. :P
See Our Zed: He hasn't missed many meals
Kim Bitchfactor: I think he's been shooting up the Botox.
See Our Zed: http://slashwrestling.com/
See Our Zed: :)
Kim Bitchfactor: :(
Kim Bitchfactor: }:)
See Our Zed: http://slashwrestling.com/index0.html
Kim Bitchfactor: :)
Kim Bitchfactor: I wonder how long it'll take for anyone on the board to notice :P
See Our Zed: A lot of people are hitting refresh :)
Kim Bitchfactor: :)
See Our Zed: Wow look at his hand shake
Kim Bitchfactor: I missed that
Kim Bitchfactor: I think I was too busy poking myself to make sure I wasn't dead and in hell
Kim Bitchfactor: So are you really quitting, or ... ?
See Our Zed: Nah I'll be back for the next NWA show
Kim Bitchfactor: :)
See Our Zed: I'll probably write a report tonight but I don't know if I'll put it out there or not
See Our Zed: Four IMs that was quick :)

Now I got a lot of IMs that night - and if you're one of the people who sent me one, you know I ignored them all.

The thing was, when I actually sent off that IM to Rick...

See Our Zed: I quit

...it *was* going to be only a JOKE. Unfortunately, it didn't go over too well - the guy who I THOUGHT I was sending it to, the guy who uses the AOL screen name "OO Rick" - well, that's not Rick Scaia. I have no idea WHO it is, and he wasn't nice enough to ever respond to me, so who knows. (Although it DOES shed an interesting light on all the alleged, now known to be bogus "AIM conversations with Scaia" posted by other folks, though.)

For those who were scrupulously paying attention - and God knows there are a hell of a lot more of you than I ever knew about - I took the page down on a whim as soon as I saw Bischoff's ugly mug on my TV screen. Some of you took this to mean "oh wow, JUST THAT ONE THING caused CRZ to throw away HIS ENTIRE ONLINE CAREER" and while there are way too many individual things to laugh at in that thought, I will only correct the main one. Bischoff's appearance signalled (at the time) merely the final straw of an entire silo, so to speak - yeah, that one thing was the trigger, but it alone wouldn't have caused me to act as I did. There was a slow, steady decline compounded by multiple reboots, plot holes, forgotten threads, other random fraying of the fabric, and everything mounted and mounted and all that happened was I was pushed over an edge.

Sure, it was a "protest." Now, you might think that such a thing is meaningless and pointless, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but this one time I didn't want to just do what I always did (write a recap), and I didn't want to just do NOTHING - so I changed my website's front page to a black screen and changed the title to "Good night." Naive ol' me thought that would be self-explanatory.

Of course, it wasn't. What ended up happening was a candlelight vigil on my message board as well as one of the longest threads in history as everyone tried to read the tea leaves and determine what exactly I'd done and what it meant. Especially amusing was the idea that it was all a massive plea for attention despite the fact that I hadn't sad a single word - I can only imagine what you would have called it had I instead left a long, verbose whine about how I wasn't writing, so there!

Now, you can see I told Kim I was going to write the recap anyway, and that was certainly what I'd planned. But as Monday night turned into Tuesday morning, I found that I really DIDN'T want to relive what had happened. The thing is, on that night, all I could see was Nitro. I'd already LIVED through Nitro. It wasn't as bad back then because I at least had a counterbalance - with Nitro AND RAW on my plate, I didn't have to feel like everything was going go come out negative. As much fun as it is to read a CRZ recap when I'm pissed off about the product, it isn't QUITE as much fun to WRITE. I've spent way too long being way too negative recently - and if not "negative," at the very least "usually disappointed."

I looked at the options before me - Bischoff on Monday, Russo on Wednesday and I couldn't think of ANYBODY on Thursday that would provide a decent counterbalance. I decided to extend my leave for a few days.

Since my plans were fluid, I really didn't have any answers as to when I'd come back, and since I didn't have any answers, I figured it'd be for the best if I just didn't GIVE any answers. Emails and IMs ran into triple digits - ironic, of course, that I'd get more contact from you when I SKIP writing than when I DO write, right? Not to mention the spike in message board visits, and believe it or not I think I actually got MORE hits on my website serving an empty page than I did serving actual content. Could people actually have taken me for granted? Heaven forbid I'd fall for believing something like that! I mean, it might boost my ego... or something.

Of course, you know by now that I eventually came around - RAW was written up Wednesday, NWA on Sunday, SmackDown! on Monday and RAW on time, proving that ultimately I'm really anal about keeping up my "workrate," but I STILL held onto everything one more day. Why? Mostly to piss off a very select people who visit my site on a daily basis who I thought MIGHT get a stronger message from me if I stuck it out for two Tuesdays instead of one...and just might do something about it.

See, when you run the show and you aren't beholden to an advertiser, you can afford to do that - even if I choose to lose the hits I'd normally get with a recap, I bring in EXACTLY the same amount of revenue with zero as I do with the thousands, so what do I care? In my mind, I'm still making a statement - even if, with zero words, it's quite a different statement than with nine thousand words (and the 15.7 RAW recap came out 9048 words, in case you cared).

You're probably wondering if the people I was looking to reach even GOT the message. I don't know for sure, but I WILL say the shows sure SEEM to have sucked less - maybe the break gave me perspective (although if it looks like I'm trying to take credit for the shows being better, I know you'd think that that's a complete and utter LACK of perspective being shown!)

Still, I left Rick in the lurch that first Monday - he was smart enough to get Cubs to fill in last week and by the way, did you read it? Cubs did an EXCELLENT job as he always does - and for that I apologise. I'm sure getting the report nine days late wasn't much of a consolation but it IS there in the archives if you're really bored!

I'm already way late on this piece and I've already nattered on way too long. I'm sure there's more you want to know and I'm sure there's stuff I've forgotten - we'll move it to the message board where I'm ALMOST caught up from not having visited for ten days, not to mention the previous weekend. Oh, that reminds me...

SPECIAL POSTSCRIPT FOR TOA READERS: Sorry guys, I was in Tahoe all weekend! Did I miss anything while I was gone, Frank?

By the way...I may have got something even MORE outrageous planned NEXT week! (Does this make you want to come back? I'm told cliffhangers are all the rage and working well these days...)

TONIGHT: Not one but TWO big main events to hype! The Unified Intercontinental title is on the line when Rob van Dam meets Chris Benoit! Also, The Rock takes on Ric Flair - believe it! And finally, will we learn why Triple H attacked Shawn Michaels? MAYBE! Come back in ten!

Are you oblivious? Well, SOMEBODY is

TV-14-DLV - CC - Attitude - Entertainment - Photo

Let Us Take You Back to Last Week...which must have been the Eric 'n' Hunter 'n' Shawn show - wait, what show were WE watching then? Bloody hell! I'll have to go back and totally redo the...NAH

Opening Credits - I dare you: continue to refuse to see the change in me, WHY WON'T YOU WAKE UP

BUMPYRO! Coming to you LIVE from the Coliseum in Greensboro, NC 29.7.2 and transmitido en espanol SAP on THE NEW TNN (and the old tsn) it's your favourite Monday night sports entertainment spectacular, WWE RAW!

TONIGHT: Rob van Dam puts his title on the line against Chris Benoit!

TONIGHT: The Rock challenges Ric Flair in his home state in a nontitle bout!

Lucky YOU, it's THE WIFESWAPPER to kick things off...hey, wanna bet he puts the focus squarely where it belongs? "Steph, Steph, Steph, when are you ever going to learn? I mean last week, when you *stole* Brock Lesnar, I TOLD ya I was gonna knock you out. Well, tonight you're going to find out that when Eric Bischoff knocks you out, you don't get up. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the newest members of RAW, straight from the steel cage right into MY waiting limo - Test and the WWE world tag team champions, Lance Storm & Christian, THE UN-AMERICANS!" Hey, here they are - so much for my cockamamie theories, too bad I found out too late that these guys were taken off the SmackDown! booking sheets or I could have seemed a whole lot more clairvoyant, eh? Test carries an upside-down flag and it's pretty early for me to feel uneasy, isn't it? Ross says we GOTTA be uneasy with this, which apparently means I can feel validated about feeling uneasy - given the options, though, I'd rather they'd just avoided doing something like bringing out a flag like that. "Thank you, Eric, for giving us the freedom to speak live - because we have a message for America! Do you see this upside down flag? It is usually a symbol of distress - but in this case, it stands for the upside down beliefs and values of American society. Your whole culture is based on the worship of celebrities - of so-called American icons. But let's look at those icons, shall we? Elvis Presley: A fat, bloated drug addict who died on a toilet! Marilyn Monroe: a manic depressive who OD'd on sleeping pills. Babe Ruth: a raging alcoholic who slept with dirty prostitutes! And speaking of prostitutes, that's exactly what John Wayne became when his family sold his image to a beer company so he could do commercials beyond the grave. It's disgraceful!" Sheesh - couldn't you come up with ONE example from the decades your target demographic was born, guys? Right now some teenager is going "who the hell are THOSE icons? Think I'll turn to 'Dog Eat Dog.'" Of course, right now, the OLDER demos are going "God dammit, my father DIED defending that flag, you sumbitches. Think I'll turn to 'Dog Eat Dog.'" Well, maybe not that last part. Pass the mic! "I agree with you 100%, Lance. And you know - you know in the heart of America, it's as cold as Ted Williams' frozen corpse! And just like you, you're all cold and ignorant. Tell me, how is it the average teen can list every Britney Spears song, but they can't list the Bill of Rights? Instead of reading and writing, American children would rather suck back Big Macs and search the Internet for their favourite porn sites! And you have the nerve to sit there and wonder why the rest of the world hates your guts!" Back to Lance. "But there is one man who is what America is all about: Mr. Eric Bischoff. He took advantages of the freedoms of this country and he MADE something of himself." Music interrupts - MR. WHYSPYR is out. "Eric Bischoff!" Michaels makes the "Gosh darn it, cut my music already" throat slash - he doesn't say "God dammit" because his shirt reminds us that he's saved. (For the record, I'm saved, but God forgives me for using those terrible words, too.) "Eric Bischoff - everybody's all-American hero! I'm gonna get straight to the point. I want Triple H. Now, I don't know if you gave him the night off - I don't know if he's stuck in traffic. For all I know, he shot himself in the temple after listenin' to THESE pinheads! The fact is, tonight, I am going to exercise MY right as an American citizen to beat him from one side of this arena to the other." I'm not sure WHICH Constitutional amendment covers that, but... "I'll tell you what...SHAWN. Triple H isn't here right now, but as soon as he arrives, I'll talk to him and I'm sure he'd like to address you face to face." Test: "In other words, ya little has-been, take a hint and get the HELL off the stage." "Look, just because you Canucks are still upset because I smacked around your Canadian hero Bret Hart....I suggest you do what he did and learn to live with it. Bischoff, either you find Triple H and bring him to me - or I'm gonna find him myself and drag what's left of him to you." And back he goes. "Guys...I'm, I'm really sorry about that, I had no idea." "It's okay, Eric - Shawn Michaels is just another selfish American, with no regard for anybody but himself. But he will be put in his place - because we didn't come to RAW to be spectators. I promise, no no, WE SWEAR to make an impact tonight, and that impact will strike a blow for freedom and justice - in other words, this impact will be distinctly un-American." Does that make them - tee hee - impact players? OHHHH SNAP HIT THE MUSIC Test waves the flag as we head to the break

So is Jericho still affiliated with these guys or not? TUNE IN THURSDAY

Unfortunately, my cable company eats most of Eric Bischoff's backstage pep talk for Eddie Guerrero. As he leaves, a security guy tells him a limousine is in the parking lot. "The lady wanted me to come and get you - she said she's waiting for you." Bischoff grins. "That's no lady - that's Stephanie McMahon. And you tell that bitch, you t- I'll tell you what - you tell her just to sit tight, because I'm going to finish this thing once and for all." "Yes sir."

BOOKER T (Houston, Texas - 256 pounds) v. EDDIE GUERRERO (El Paso, Texas - 228 pounds)
referee: JACK DOAN
Apparently, Bischoff put this match together because these two both lost last week. Huh? Ross also says each man needs a victory here. I'll let that go, too. You know, I didn't notice it last week but several people commented about the crowd lights being turned down to start matches, and by golly, they are this week as well. HERE WE GO! Lockup, to the corner...Doan wants the clean break but Guerrero punches, right, right, right. Onsale crawl. Into the ropes is reversed, T with a flapjack. Into the ropes, spins into a standing heel kick - 1, no. Scoop and a slam - into the ropes, back elbow. Leg is hooked - 1, out at 2. T with the arm wringer, going for the back heel kick but Guerrero has that scouted and rolls under it - kicks the knee, right, suplex is countered - T's suplex is countered - Guerrero with a kidney shot and a death suplex and Guerrero goes right to work on the previously injured ribs. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stood up in the corner, shoulder, turned round, shoulder to the ribs, shoulder, shoulder, dropkick, stomp, stomp. The ribs aren't taped this week, but T might now be wishing they were. Guerrero measures another kidney shot - and one more. Snapmares him over, climbs onto the shoulder - it's a half camel clutch, adding an abdominal stretch. T doesn't give it up - before he gets up, Guerrero sits on the back - and one more sit. Forearm to the mush, forearm, cover, 2. Guerrero mounts, right, right, press, 2. Guerrero breaks into loud espanol - does the SAP go English when that happens? Right. Head to the buckle. Right, right, right, right, right, right, right, kick, right, right, every shot lands on the ribs. Guerrero starts doing a little turnbuckle cover surgery but doesn't quite succeed. Elbow to the head, elbow, right, T right, Guerrero, T, Guerrero, T, T, T, T, T, T, Guerrero into the ropes, T head down, big back body drop by T, clothesline, Harlem sidekick - 1, 2, NO! Chop, chop, chop! Into the ropes is reversed, Guerrero snaps off a headscissors - crowd doesn't buy it but it was a nice followthrough sell of a move that didn't really connect from Guerrero. With T down, Guerrero heads back to the turnbuckle and DOES remove the cover to expose the eyebolt. Doan tells him if he USES it, he WILL get DQ'd. Kidney shot by Guerrero, right, right, right, whip into the STEEL but T stops himself, goes up and over with the crisscross even with nobody underneath him to roll up - T upends a charging Guerrero into the eyebolt! One axe kick makes it academic - 1, 2, 3! (5:27) T with the celebratory breakdance and the crowd digs it...suckaaaaaa.

Outside, Bischoff opens the limousine door...and finds not Stephanie, but Fabulous Moolah & Johnny Mae Young.

When we come back, the camera following Michaels ends up in the locker room where Hunter ALSO isn't, but Crash, Dreamer, Goldust and Booker are. "Well, well, well - if it ain't Heartbreak Kid. Yeah I saw your punk Pedigreed last week. Yeah, it ain't so funny gettin' dissed in front o' millions of people by somebody you THOUGHT was your crew!" "Look... What happened between you and me was business. Not personal. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got bigger things to worry about right now." "Business. Sounds to me like a PERSONAL invite to an ass WHUPPIN'." "I can dig that...sucka. (inhales, bites)"

And now, the WWE Slam of the Week is brought to you by Vin Diesel IS XXX! From last week, there was an intergender match and William Regal did bad, bad things to Trish Stratus

TRISH STRATUS (Toronto, Ontario - with "WWE Divas: Sex on the Beach" hype) and BUBBA RAY DUDLEY (Dudleyville - 325 pounds) v. MOLLY HOLLY (Women's champion - Mobile, Alabama) and ? in a return match - not to mention easy, sleazy intergender action
Molly's got THE STICK: "Trish, I know you asked for this rematch. Unfortunately, William Regal pulled a muscle and is unable to compete. However, Eric Bischoff has allowed me to find a...suitable replacement." Wellllll, WELL IT'S THE BIG SHOW. While everyone watches that, Molly mauls down Stratus and we're underway. Clothesline, snap suplex, 1, no. Why does it matter WHICH corners Show and Dudley are in? Robinson sends Show all the way to the opposite corner for reasons that I'll probably never grasp. Into the ropes is reversed, Japanese armdrag by Stratus, clothesline, dropkick, elbow, elbow, into the ropes, head down, Molly grabs the hair for the takedown. Tag to Show!! Show advances - ohh missed the elbowdrop and Dudley takes the tag - Dudley right, right, right, chop slap chop, forearm, Show shoves him down with one right hand. Elbow to the armbar puts Dudley to the mat. One more elbow to the elbow. Arm wringer - with Show lifting Dudley over the shoulder by yanking the arm out of the socket. Dudley pounds on the free shoulder and Show finally drops him to the mat. Dudley's arm is taped, I should mention. Head to the buckle. Arm wringer takeover. Hard whip into the corner and Dudley hits hard. Another elbow to the elbow. Did Dudley actually try to reach for a tag? What was he thinking? Didn't get it, though - Show whips him into the opposite corner. Show runs but nobody's home for the boot - Dudley forearms the back, forearm, Show elbows him away Holly tags herself in for God knows why and runs into a hiptoss. Tag to Stratus - big kick gets 2. Elbow, elbow, elbow, into the opposite corner, Molly gets the elbow up on the charge. Up to the second rope, which can only mean it's time for Stratus to hit a bottom rope handstand 'rana for 2. Stratus elbow misses by a mile, whip is reversed and Show takes Stratus down by the hair. This brings in Dudley to run across the ring and give him a free shot - Molly tries the axehandle from behind but has little effect - whip is reversed into...some swing dancing. Now Dudley scoops her up for a slam and calls to Stratus to go to the top for "What Are You Doing?" - but before she can, Show is back in, off the ropes to crotch Stratus, and clotheslines Dudley out of his boots. Back inside the ring, Molly climbs to the second floor - the TOP floor - SUPERPLEX!! Cover - 1, 2, NO! We hear the STEEL steps - then see Dudley ramming the top half into Show's shoulder. Back to the ring - Molly-go-round MISSES - Dudley in - Molly on his shoulders - looks like the modified Dudley Devastation Device - 1, 2, 3! (4:17) But the celebration is short-lived as Show is in, goozle for Dudley, BIG shove for Stratus, ahhhhhhhTHECHOKESLAAAAAM for Dudley. With everybody laid out, Show heads outside and finds a table underneath the ring. Show Diesels back inside and stands up the table. Stratus manages to find a chair and stands between herself and Dudley - Show easily shoves the chair out of her grip, then grabs HER in the choke...Dudley grabs the chair and WHACKS him just in time to prevent the chokeslam, then pulls her (and himself) out of the ring. So play HIS music! Show is angry enough to break the table with one big punch. I wonder...is this over?

Examine the marquee of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex!

Commentators shill a special sneak preview of Slamball - NEXT!

Shawn is STILL skulking about in search of Triple H. Big Show is coming the other way, and starts to complain about Bubba Ray Dudley's chairshot. "Show, look, I didn't see it, I'm busy right now, I'm looking for Triple H." "What do you mean, you're busy, you don't have time for me? Did you see what happened to me? I got screwed over!" "No, I didn't! I don't have time." "Oh, now you don't have time? (muttering) Maybe I oughta MAKE you have time for me, then."

Meanwhile, Ric Flair shakes Jeff Hardy's hand - AGAIN. He tells him he doesn't have to put his whole career on the line every night just for ratings. Lest we get too far in this show without him, Eric Bischoff enters the frame, slapping Hardy in the back. "Isn't that right, Eric?" "Isn't WHAT right?" "He doesn't have to go out there every night - throw his career on the line, risk breaking his leg or breaking even his neck just for ratings, just to make you happy?" "Au contraire, I mean, let's face it - Jeff Hardy, Bradshaw in a hardcore match - that is *great* television but of COURSE I care about him. Of course I care about his health and his physical condition and his family, I mean - this man, he's the future of RAW for crying out loud!" "Ric, I'll be all right, man - I'm extreme, I live for the moment, I'm...home. IN GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA! I'm going to win the hardcore title." Off he goes. "LOVE that guy! LOVE him! YOU on the other hand...I've been looking for you all night, let's get right to the point. Big announcement? What's the deal?" "You know, I've learned a lot from you. But the main thing I learned from you is you save the big moments for the last moments, that makes great TV. So tonight, after I wrestle The Rock, I'll make that announcement to the whole world." "Oh REALLY." "So you want to see great TV?" That last voice was Johnny Mae, who lunges for Eric - is that a headbutt or a pass? "What are you doing, get the HELL away from me, who do you think you are? Don't you know who I am? You don't touch me!" "Wait wait wait - Eric, Eric." "What?" "If you don't let me promote my book, Mae's going to have to keep on kissing you!" "Let me tell you something, and let me tell you what you can do with her AND your book." "Yeeeah?" The light bulb appears to have gone off - Bischoff changes his attitude. "Let me - let me tell you something. I've got an idea, you wanna promote your book?" "Yes." "I'm gonna let you promote your book. No problem. And you, sweetheart...your breath is like a field of North Carolina peppermint - fertilized in PIG MANURE! Do something about it, you old bag!" "YOU--" and unfortunately (?) we fade out before we can hear the rest of Young's no doubt colourful assessment of the situation. What a productive segment!

Tough Enough 2 trainers shill Stacker 2

WWE HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP: JEFF HARDY (challenger - Cameron, North Carolina - 218 pounds - with SmackDown! in Charlotte hype) v. BRADSHAW (champion - Sweetwater, Tejas - 292 pounds)
Lilian Garcia announces Hardy as from "North Carolina," just in case the Greensboro faithful aren't interested in cheering other cities in the state. Hardy is once again decked out like Boy George at Wembley. Lockup, to the corner, knee by Bradshaw, overhand right, elbow. Scoop...and a slam. Elbowdrop gets 2. Hey Robert Lamb, the white hanky in the left pocket is back! Hardy sneaks in an inside cradle for 2. Forearm in the back by Bradshaw. Into the ropes, Hardy ducks, Hardy crossbody is caught for the COFS and Hardy rolls outside. Bradshaw out after him - Hardy whipped into the STEEL steps. Bradshaw grabs the top half and flings it into the ring. Can in, two lids, second can used on Hardy's back. Hardy rolled back in. Hardy grabs the first can and waffles Bradshaw, who collapses. Hardy goes for the quick cover - 1, 2, no. Stomp, stomp. Hardy goes back to the can, which has actually split along the seam. Can to the head. Right, right, off the ropes...into Bradshaw's big boot. Bradshaw sets up Hardy atop the steps in the ring - will he piledrive him? Yeah, right - of course NOT. Hardy manages a back body drop off the steps to the mat. Hardy goes under the ring and finds the ladder. Seeing that ladder makes me SQUEEEEEEEEAL. Ladder to the back. Hardy stands the ladder in a corner...then runs into Bradshaw ramming the steps into his head. Forearm in the back by Bradshaw. What will Flair's announcement be? Hardy whipped into the corner but he stairsteps up and flies off with the Whisper in the Wind (I think). Both men down. Bradshaw comes up with a lid, so WHACK! Bradshaw shoves Patrick into the ropes and he goes down like a sack of shit. Hardy has the other lid - WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! Hardy climbs up the ladder but Bradshaw climbs the other side - Hardy with five more WHACKS and Bradshaw falls back - Hardy atop the ladder (coincidentally, Patrick tries to steady himself by holding onto the ladder - ah, clever) - swantonbomb from the penultimate rung! 1, 2, 3! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new hardcore champion. (4:35) Here's JOHNNY "THE BULL" STAMBOLI from behind - spinebuster - Jack Doan counts 1, 2, 3. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new new hardcore champion. (0:22) Hades Lariat on Stamboli from Bradshaw, but here's the swerve as TOMMY DREAMER comes in, swings the kendo stick to Bradshaw's ribs and hooks Stamboli's leg - 1, 2, 3! Ladies and yadda yadda yadda. (0:16) Dreamer heads out through the crowd before Bradshaw can find him.

Backstage, William Regal addresses the un-Americans. "It's very powerful stuff, y'know. I don't think Churchill could have said it better." "That's because it's the truth." "Oh, without question, yes." "Hey, how's that...muscle of yours?" "My what?" "Your muscle - you know, the one you pulled right before your match." "OH my poor muscle, ooh, it doesn't half bloody hurt, y'know, gives me some terrible - (sound effects) lightning bolts right down the leg. D'ya, d'ya know what I fancy? A good rubdown. Go and get one, you know. Cherrio!" "Enjoy that may-sahj!" Behind the crowd, Benoit exits the green room. "Hey, Chris - Chris - I just wanna say good luck out there tonight, man. Bring home the gold." "Luck? I don't disappoint - I deliver. I WILL bring home the gold."

UP NEXT: Intercontinental championship - Rob van Dam vs. Chris Benoit!

And now, the Extreme Blast of the Night, rocked by JVC's Tower of Power! From last week, Rob van Dam takes the unified intercontinental title in a ladder match

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: CHRIS BENOIT (challenger - Edmonton, Alberta - 229 pounds - with RAW Credits, transmitido en espanol SAP, TV-14-DLV, CC, RAW is brought to you by Vin Diesel IS XXX, Burger King and Snickers! and heck, isn't that enough?) v. ROB VAN DAM (champion - Battle Creek, Michigan - 235 pounds)
referee: Robinson
GET WELL KIM! I didn't know you were sick but that guy with the sign seems pretty sure. Lockup, to the corner, switch, powering out, waistlock by Benoit, standing switch, to a full nelson by van Dam, Benoit escapes and applies the arm wringer, van Dam to his back, kips up and reverses, Benoit reverses back, van Dam tries a roundhouse kick but Benoit ducks. They look at each other until the crowd makes some noise. We go again! Collar and elbow tieup, hammerlock by Benoit, front face, tries a snapmare but van Dam lands on his feet. van Dam ducks a clothesline and DOES hit a roundhouse kick. Benoit back to his feet, taken aback. OH MAN HE POINTS TO HIMSELF! Crowd says his name. Gutshot by Benoit - right, rakes the face, into the corner, but van Dam gets an elbow up. van Dam up and over on the charge, tumbling run to the opposite corner, springs off with the crossbody and gets 2. Elbow, elbow, into the ropes, nice dropkick - and Benoit rolls out to gather himself. van Dam runs the ropes - NO HANDS TOPE FINDS THE MARK!! van Dam up first - boot to the head, rolls Benoit in as Robinson hits 4 - springboard guillotine gets van Dam 2. Benoit breaks it up and chops! Gutshot - into the ropes is reversed, van Dam does the splits but Benoit has it scouted and aims a dropkick. Scoop...and dropped with a shoulderbreaker. Stomp on the shoulder. Shoulder rammed into the ringpost. Say, I think he's picked a body part! Ross mentions the Crippler crossface is good on a shoulder. Benoit with the right hand. Benoit kicks the shoulder. Benoit pulls the arm and drops the leg on it. Stomp, stomp, Benoit applies a good old-fashioned no modifier armbar (!) and then applies some leverage by grabbing the top rope. Robinson misses it, of course, but catches it the second time. Benoit doesn't break the hold and Robinson doesn't seem to mind, so he keeps it on - van Dam finally ends that with an armdrag takeover. Benoit gutshot - hammerlock Northern Lights suplex WITH a bridge! 1, 2, no! Benoit's got a busted lip, looks like. Benoit with another hammerlock - then rams van Dam's shoulder into the ringpost yet again. Kick. Got a handful of hair - pulls van Dam to the centre and executes another death suplex. Cover - 2! Stomp. OH MY GOD I THINK RVD PISSED HIS PANTS - van Dam into the corner - foot up by van Dam - van Dam with a wacky horizontal body scissors rollup - 1, 2, Benoit's out. van Dam to the kick, kick, Benoit is tired of getting kicked, catches the left foot and gives him the dragon screw legwhip. Cover - 2 for Benoit. van Dam across the ropes - handful of hair from Benoit - head to the buckle. Stomps on the back. van Dam comes up punching the body - right, right, backhand, right, left, right, Benoit to the face. Into the ropes, van Dam back to back over the top, catches Benoit's kick and connects with the stepover heel kick. Robinson starts the mandatory ten count as both men are down. van Dam is up just before 6 - so is Benoit. Gutshot by Benoit, right, elbow by van Dam, elbow by Benoit, elbow by van Dam, Benoit, van Dam, gutshot by Benoit, tries to ram him into the ringpost but van Dam counters into Snake Eyes. van Dam springing off the top with a scissors kick - or I'm being generous. van Dam runs the ropes - Rolling Thunder! Leg is hooked - 1, 2, no! Oh no! van Dam's hair is coming undone! Foot Locker Replay. In the corner, shoulder, shoulder, superfluous backflip, Benoit tries to run out and lock in the crossface but van Dam rolls out, then spins into a heel kick. van Dam springs to the top - Fivestar frog splash but Benoit rolls...not COMPLETELY out of the way, but perhaps just enough to deflect some of the impact. In any case, both men are down and Robinson tries again. At 5, van Dam picks Benoit up - but Benoit takes him down just as fast with the Crippler crossface!! van Dam tries to crawl to the ropes...and does manage to inch close enough to get his foot over the bottom rope. Robinson calls for the break this time - Benoit stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. Benoit grabs the left arm and leg and drags van Dam to the centre - van Dam uses his right left to kick Benoit, kick, Benoit spins him, van Dam sweeps Benoit's legs, covers - 1, 2, Benoit is up and kept van Dam's arm - Crippler crossface once again!! van Dam tries to fight it...and DOES manage to slip Benoit's arms off his head - back elbow, back elbow, back elbow, headlock takeover - but Benoit rolls through and gets two feet on the second rope to boot - 1, 2, 3!! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new intercontinental champion. (10:22) Ross is outraged that Benoit is such a cheat. Replay confirms it. van Dam is unhappy and his hair is undone! Benoit kisses his belt.

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When we come back, Shawn Michaels tells the man at the door to tell Triple H that he's waiting for him out back in the parking lot. In the background, Big Show did a fair amount of eavesdropping...

Back out to the ring, and THE WIFESWAPPER is at the commentary table. "It gives me great pleasure to introduce a true legend in this industry; in fact, her new book is going to be hitting bookstores nationwide August 7, so join me in a warm welcome, accompanied by MAE YOUNG, the FABULOUS MOOLAH." While I have a moment, I should probably note that there's a picture of Bischoff affixed to the front of the commentary table. I don't know WHY I should, but there you go. Ross actually confuses Mae with Moolah, so he doesn't just limit that to the youngsters. Are you reassured? "And now, now Moolah, this is your time. You've certainly earned it - and feel free to talk about anything you'd like to talk about, but please keep in mind you have - ah, let's say - three minutes?" "Thank you Eric. I would like to talk about my new book. It all started when I was eight years old. My mother passed away and I was raised up with twelve brothers all older than me. My father started takin' me to the wrestling matches for entertainment." "Yeah, yeah, excuse me, Moolah, do, do us a favour, why don't you talk about your very first match?" "I can also talk the first match. I got the hell beat out of me in Boston, Massachusetts. But that's why I'm still in the wrestling business, because I love it, and I wanted to show the world that I can still take it." "Yeah yeah yeah yeah - this is all just as compelling as hell, but you've ah - you've burned up about a minute - you've got about two minutes left." Young: "Why don't you tell 'em about Cyndi Lauper, Cyndi Lauper?" "I can tell 'em about Cyndi Lauper, she's a little bitch. When she was there - when she came to ah ah - she was secondin' Wendi Richter in my championship match, and SHE caused me to lose the match, although I was never beaten by Wendi Richter - I could beat her ten times in one any time." "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have dozed off. We really need to speed this along, you've, you've, you've got about a minute left." "Lil, why don't you tell her about Hank Williams, Hank Williams!" "All right, Mae, let me talk!" "No, no, talk about Mae Young! Talk about Mae Young!" "This is my book! Let me tell 'em that. That's my book." Young and Moolah start to scuffle over the mic. "Ladies, ladies, ladies, please, please, please, this is all very exciting..." "I'm the one that taught you about--" "Excuse me, please - your attention here ladies. As exciting as this is, and I'm sure the book is a very, very good read...the truth of the matter is, you're just not entertaining me. So let me ask you, Moolah, is the book complete? I mean, is it done?" "Yes Eric the book is completed." "Well, that's too bad, because you're about to experience the last chapter." THEM TWO BIG OL' SAMOAN DUDES are in the ring - one shoves Young to the mat - the other rams Moolah's head into the middle turnbuckle - then gives her an avalanche. Young tries to throw a punch - no effect. Scoop...and a slam! Bischoff makes like the hyena as one guy climbs to the top, then delivers a top rope splash to Young! "Ohhh....Jamal and Rosie, give 'em a big hand because THAT'S great entertainment!" Let's take some replays - man, those women know how to SELL and/or I feel uneasy again

Coming back live, the REFS, OFFICIALS & EMTs have assembled and Young is taking the backboard/neck brace trip out. Bischoff is in the centre. "The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young, everbody. I just knew that they were gonna make a big splash (laughs) here on RAW. Now I know it wasn't the nicest thing to do, but see, I did it to prove a point! Things happen on RAW. Things happen on Eric Bischoff's RAW, you see the people on this show, they all know that Eric Bischoff is in charge. See, all I have to do is (snaps) snap my fingers and things just happen. That's why I've - being here--" THE AWESOME UNDERTAKER walks out at this point and this just might complete a face turn if you're not careful. I must say they've perfectly framed Bischoff's head with that "GRECIAN FORMULA 3:16" sign in the crowd. Taker with the stick: "So you're the head brotha in charge now, huh? And did I just hear you say...by the snap of your fingers, you make things happen? Well I tell you what. Why don't you snap your fingers right now and let's see what happens?" Before we get to THAT excitement, CHRISTOPHER NOWINSKI interrupts things. "Stop my music! Mr. Bischoff, you don't have to take that from this man. He is nothing more than a bully, trying to intimidate you like he did me last week. You're in charge, Mr. Bischoff - not The Undertaker. That's why I want you to make him *apologise* to me for putting his hands on me last week. It's not MY fault you don't have a college degree (much less one from Harvard) but that's no reason to attack me. Make him apologise to me - make him apologise right now!" "I, I'll tell you what, Chris - I'm gonna go you one better because I, I can see that you've got just so much ruthless aggression pent up inside of you, I'm gonna give you an opportunity to work that aggression out right now in a match against The Undertaker, right here!" "No! Whoa, wait a minute, wait a minute - you can't do that - NOBODY tells The Undertaker what to do! You can't make him fight just by snapping your fingers! Isn't that right, Taker?" Ha! "You know the kid's right. I'm not gonna wrestle him just because Eric Bischoff says so. I'm gon' wrestle him just because I like to fight." Soupbone!

THE AWESOME UNDERTAKER v. CHRISTOPHER NOWINSKI - Zebra Chad Patton hits the ring as Taker hits a running splash in the corner. Whip into the opposite corner, but Nowinski gets the elbow up. Taker ducks the clothesline, grabs the choke - Nowinski with a gutshot to get out - DOES hit the clothesline. Three points stance into the dropkick - 1, 2, no! Right hand by Nowinski, forearm across the back, again, off the ropes - big boot by Taker. Arm wringer...old school, and a forearm in the back. Well I guess that'll seal the deal on his face-itude, that he's gone back to Ye Olde Schoole - and we don't mean Hahvahd. Last Ride. 1, 2, 3. (1:41) But here come the UN-AMERICANS. "USA" chant. Taker gets one in on Storm but Christian & Test take over, Test in particular. Taker pulls himself up to get a back elbow on Test, but Storm & Christian turn it back to the numbers. Into the opposite corner - Wotsitolla Boot! Storm & Christian go out and come back in with chairs - first Conchairto totally misses, so they at least have the good sense to throw a second. Test gets the mic, then rolls over Taker. "Here lies YOUR American badass." Test stands over Taker and waves his upside down stars and stripes.

Moments Ago, last paragraph - they wisely ignore the Conchairto that misses.

Backstage, the un-Americans huddle. "Did you see the way Undertaker went down? He'll never be the same again!" "Man, we left him lying in front of ALL those stupid Americans." "Awesome." "Yeah, but guys - our night's not over yet." "Yeah, we got one more piece of business to take care of, and you guys know what I'm talking about." "Oh yeah." "Let's go, guys." "Let's go, come on."

JONATHAN COACHMAN stands with The Rock and eight minutes goes by

TONIGHT: The Rock - Ric Flair - have you heard

But first, TRIPLE H RETURNS! Cut his music? We must be running long! "Shawn, I know you're in that parkin' lot waiting. I don't solve my problems in parking lots, I solve 'em in this ring. That's what I did Monday night, Shawn, I solved a problem when I Pedidgreed your ass. You wanna know why I did it, Shawn? Lemme tell you why. After all this time, after everything I've done, after everything I've been through for you, you couldn't do this *one thing* for me. It was my idea, Shawn, for you to be my manager. That's right; my idea. I knew with you by my side I would be unstoppable. But Shawn, you just couldn't do it, could ya? You just couldn't lower yourself to being my manager. You could never relinquish the spotlight when it was time...for somebody else to shine. Well it's time to face facts, Shawn. And the fact is, The Game has passed you by. The fact is, Shawn, now *I* am the showstopper! Now *I* am the icon! And you, Shawn, your career in this ring - it's over. Shawn, your back is busted up...and from what I see, your mind is more handicapped than your body, I mean come on, Shawn, did you honestly think you could stand in here and still hang with here and be my equal? Come on, Shawn! Monday night was a cold hard slap in the face of reality for you. And reality is, Shawn...your career in here, your time - it's through. And deep inside you, you know it. Deep inside you, Shawn, you know that's the truth, and all you have left now, all you have left is your pride. And Shawn, all your pride can do at this point is get you hurt. Now Shawn, I'm not goin' anywhere, so the way I see it, you've got two choices. You can listen to your pride. You can listen to your pride and you can come down to this ring, and Shawn - you can try to fight me. You can try. Or, and Shawn I'm only gonna offer this one last time. You can put your pride aside, you can say 'screw pride' and you can walk down to this ring and you can accept your role. You can accept your disabilities. You can accept being my manager. What the hell do you want?" Quick hint: Triple H is wearing his watch so there'll be no physicality. Okay, that out of the way - all throughout this monolouge, the floor director has been trying to get H's attention and finally he's got it. We don't hear what he says, but H reacts with shock, drops the mic and runs backstage. Nick Dawes is the stage manager - thanks, JR! H is gone so let's look at the crowd...

...until the camera catches up with H backstage - H blows by and we follow - looks like a lot of officials, Coach, wrestlers are all gathering in the parking lot where Michaels is out cold in a pool of blood. A nearby car has a big mark in the passenger side window where we are presumably led to believe Michaels' head was rammed. Booker T quickly says "I didn't do nothin'." "Somebody get help - somebody go and get some help. Arn, get help!" Me, I think it was FIT FINLAY that done it - and wow, isn't it weird to see Finlay and Regal so close together in a parking lot and not brawling?

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Coming back, Michaels is loaded on the gurney and loaded into the ambulance. Hey, Dean Malenko! Eric Bischoff joins the scene and says to Triple H, "Boy, I guess this means that, uh, you're not friends anymore! I mean, I heard you didn't play well with others, but... MAN!" "You think I did this?! (Fuck) you!" Well, EVERYBODY heard THAT...and Bischoff knows it.

RIC FLAIR (Charlotte, North Carolina - 234 pounds - with Foot Locker's House of Hoops presents SummerSlam!) v. THE ROCK (Undisputed champion - Miami, Florida - 275 pounds) in a nontitle match
referee: EARL HEBNER
Garcia not only forgets Flair's weight but also his city, opting instead for "the great state of North Carolina" - yipe. Flair tests the ropes and they pace about as the opening bell sounds. Flair has a great look on his face. "Woooo!" Rock almost sneers. Collar and elbow tieup - side headlock from Flair. Rock powers out, Flair with a shoulderblock. Flair up and over, Rock leapfrog, Rock armdrag, armdrag, into the ropes, back body drop and Flair rolls to the corner before getting back to his feet. We go again! Lockup, side headlock by Rock - Flair powers out, Rock shoudlerblock - Rock up and over, Flair armdrag, armdrag, armdrag, and Rock decides to go outside rather than force himself into doing all the work on those armdrags. Flair struts and gives us "Woooo!" one more time. Another strut! Rock back in as Hebner gets to eight. We go again! Lockup, to the corner, switching positions and Rock lets up for the clean break - no he doesn't! Right hand! Crowd BOOS! Rock with a chop, chop, chop. Rock doing the strut! Flair switches positions back - chop! Chop! Chop! Chop! Rock sent into the ropes, Flair with another chop! Clothesline puts Rock on the floor! Flair agrees to stay back when Hebner holds him - then goes out through the adjacent set of ropes and walks back around the ring to get to Rock. Chop! Right hand, right, chop. Rock put back in the ring. Flair back in - has the knee - drops Rock across HIS knee. Single leg trip. "Now!" Going for the figure four but Rock kicks him away - then clotheslines him down! Crowd BOOS! Rock with a right hand on the prone Flair - right - right - right. Pulls Flair up by the hair - in the corner with a chop, chop, chop, right, right, waits for Flair to get out of the corner...Flair very slowly approaches him - Flair wants a front face, but Rock lifts him, lifts him, Rock finally with the spinebuster, man that's bizarre. Rock removes the elbowpad to another mixed reaction - off the ropes - off the opposite ropes, pumps the arm but just before dropping the elbow, Flair has Rock's leg, turns - Rock kicks him away AGAIN! Double leg by the Rock - Rock woooo! - into the Sharpshooter! Crowd is going all kinds of nuts. Flair manages to crawl to the bottom rope and Rock breaks the hold - then yanks him back into the centre - Flair has the top rope and takes a hard landing on the back - Rock has the legs - woooo! - but Flair thumbs the eye. Flair chops Rock down - got the legs - got the figure four! Rock is feeling the pain - trying to reach the bottom rope, trying to turn it - some in the crowd chant, some are not. Rock DOES grab the bottom rope, and Flair releases the figure four. Rock to his feet - Flair chops. Kicks the knee, chop, off the ropes and winding up the clothesline - but Rock blocks it! Rock right, right, right, right, right, WOOOO! NOW KISS THAT BLOOOOOCKED! No one has EVER blocked the DEADLY SPIT PUNCH - Flair right, chop, right, chop, right, FLAIR KISSES THE RIGHT!!!! Flair struts one more time - but Rock nips up - ducks the swing - ROCK BOTTOM! 1, 2, 3! (7:24) Rock takes his title and considers leaving...but stops. Back over to Flair...Rock offers the hand! There's the handshake - and they embrace. Flair won't let Rock leave until HE raises HIS hand. Rock back up the ramp as Flair takes the microphone. "Thank you. I have a very important announcement to make tonight. And I couldn't think of a better--" Well, the Y2J countdown sure was unexpected. Whoops, looks like the camera accidentally caught someone behind Flair that we weren't supposed to see yet - sure enough, CHRIS MONDAY JERICHO is up from behind and WHACK goes the steel chair across Flair's skull. "The only announcement that matters tonight...is as of this moment on, RAW is JERICHO!" Now that's no way to treat the show that plugged your CD, is it? Still, I guess that answers the OTHER question about Jericho and the un-Americans. Raw Zone credits are up - almost as an afterthought, Lawler wonders aloud about Stephanie's retaliation...well, darn, I'M sold. Sign me up for Thursday!

Yeah - for those of you wondering, I counted *TEN* Slamball spots during the commercial breaks. So I think I'll just skip this sneak preview.

[slash] wrestling

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