NEWZ NUGGET: It's important to note that the "E" puts the Emphasis on *Entertainment* - according to the folks at SoundScan, the Neurotica CD - the first non-WWF-affiliated CD out on SmackDown! Records, the CD that has been given oodles of hype on WWE programming, the CD that included the "official theme song" of King of the Ring - THAT CD - out two weeks already... has sold... a *staggering*...... 2,760 units.

Guys, they haven't even managed to push three thousand CDs out the door despite playing that song to death and giving them prime ad space during the shows. Now, whether this says more about the musical taste of our nation, or the music business in general, I don't know BUT I think has to go down as another mark in the column under "gee, maybe the WWE folks really don't have their finger on the pulse after all, especially given the fact that they can't even seem to maintain consistent levels *in the areas of their core competency* fnar fnar &c." I mean, we got the record company, the restaurant, the football league...do they still want to make movies?

Now, Neurotica ARE on the Ozzfest tour so perhaps the sales will pick up just like the magic happened last year with....ummm, whoever did "Bodies." Damn, I feel bad I can't even remember who did that and it was ONLY a year ago.

(It was Drowning Pool.)

QUICK QUOTE: WWE 10.98 (-2.11) - wait, maybe they ARE catching on? Last year: 14.10, two years ago: 21 1/8 They tested all-time lows today - I don't have to tell you that's "not good"

TONIGHT: They'll never say "East Rutherford" I bet! Rob van Dam & Ric Flair team up to take on Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker! Can you say PAREJAS INCREIBLE? That's 'cause in thirteen minutes, I'd rather be watching LUCHA LIBRE HIYO

TV-14-DLV - CC - Attitude - Entertainment - WW!

Taker! Stares at! Paul Heyman! Who stares at! The Belt! "I'm really not feeling all that well tonight. You know, Rob van Dam hit me with that Van Terminator last week, but...I had to come here tonight to let you know that tonight's main event was all my idea." "All your idea." "Yes sir - The Undertaker, teaming for the very first time with the Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar...against Nature Boy Ric Flair and Rob van Dam. Andand and Brock wanted me to come here and let you know that it's such a great honour, just to team with you, the Phenom, the Dead Man, the Undertaker tonight, and Brock also wants you to know, sir, that he hopes that you retain the Undisputed title this Sunday at Vengeance, because there'll be no privlige in Brock Lesnar's life than to face you at SummerSlam for the Undisputed--" "Whoawhoawhoawhoawhoa. Now you got Brock Lesnar's best interests in mind, I'm sure." "Oh, of COURSE I do--" "Ah ah - I'm talkin'. You two need to think about this. You better HOPE that Sunday at Vengeance that I lose." "...the title?" "Yeah, lose the title. You see, I've made a career out o' takin' the next big thing and makin' 'em famous, and I make 'em famous by makin' 'em disappear." "We're getting so far ahead of ourselves talking about SummerSlam...let's just concentrate on the match tonight, you and Brock against Flair and van Dam and thank you so much--" Taker pulls his hand away from the handshake attempt. "Don't EVER touch me again." Heyman heads out in rapid fashion.

Opening Credits - they refuse to see the change in me, WHY WON'T THEY WAKE UP

DROOPYRO! Coming to you LIVE from the Continental Airlines Arena in E. Rutherford, NJ 15.7.2 and six days away from Vengeance, transmitido en espanol SAP on the New TNN and TSN!

TONIGHT: Rob van Dam & Ric Flair team to take on Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker! WHY? LATER

But first, "Theme from NWO" leads out the...no, that's BILLIONAIRE VINCE coming out to the epileptic seizure inducing lighting treatment. I guess he's about to inject that poison for the last time? "Well, I'm quite sure you're all wondering why did Mr. McMahon come out here to the NWO Music. Thanks for that warm New Jersey welcome, by the way. Well, you see, the reason I walked out here to NWO is because I thought maybe you would want to hear it one last time. And you just did. You heard the NWO music for the very last time. See, because there is no more NWO - the NWO is now history. The NWO era is now history - no different than many of the other preceding eras here in World Wrestling Entertainment. We started out, of course, with the Buddy Rogers era...following that, we went to the Bruno Sammartino era - that was followed by the Pedro Morales era, going into the Superstar Billy Graham era - after that we hit upon something known as the Hulk Hogan era." What, screw Bob Backlund? "After that was the Ultimate Warrior era. And then after that was the Bret 'the Hitman' Hart era! And most recently, the Stone Cold Steve Austin era. See, all these eras made their mark but during each and every one of these eras, we (World Wrestling Entertainment) changed with the times. So too we must change now. You see, not long ago some..." Crowd gives up chanting "What?" to chant "Asshole" - gee, they're REALLY into this speech, aren't they? "All I ask for is just one little bit of respect - just one little bit! This very program (RAW) was born some ten years ago, right across the Hudson river in downtown New York City at the Manhattan Center. And soon, believe it or not, we will celebrate our 500th edition of RAW. But now, it's time for RAW to be yet reborn again! It's time to SHAKE up RAW! Time to shake up SmackDown! Time to shake up the entire World Wrestling Entertainment brand...and by God, the shakeup begins right here tonight! I've hired two new general managers - one general manager for RAW, another general manager for SmackDown! These two general mangers will have complete authority and responsibility over their respective brands, and most importantly will have my unqualified support in their endeavours. And right here tonight...within the next hour, I will name the new general manager of RAW. A general manager who will be firm, but fair. A general manager who won't back down from adversity. A general manager who will take RAW to higher ground! Yes, tonight, right here..." Crowd, who is clearly into this whole thing, returns to "Asshole!" chant. "Disrespect me if you will, do NOT disrespect this new general manager. I'll tell you why - because THIS new general manager will give each and every one of you WWE fans what you truly want - and take my word for it - this new general manager, announced in this ring, will give each and every one of you what you truly deserve. I thank you very much!"

The entire locker room is assembled around a monitor backstage. Everybody shows general consternation. Hey, what the heck is Fit Finlay doing there? This ain't SmackDown!

Catch the blue crew tomorrow in Wilkes-Barre, Sunday in Detroit for Vengeance, a week from tonight in Flint, the next night in Indy, a week from Saturday at Arkansas State, and Sunday in Little Rock!

Check out the New York skyline 'cause we wish we were THERE instead of HERE

Terri stands backstage with Ric Flair. What's his reaction to Vince's bombshell? "Terri, I have no idea who the new GM is, I don't want to speculate at this point, I'll just tell you this: running this company, or managing this company is a thankless job and I don't know anyone who can possibly do it whose last name is not McMahon. That's it."

JEFF HARDY (European champion - Cameron, North Carolina - 218 pounds - with Let Us Take You Back to Last Week) and BUBBA RAY & SPIKE DUDLEY (Dudleyville - 475 pounds - with Vengeance graphic) v. WILLIAM REGAL (Blackpool, England - 240 pounds) and CHRIS BENOIT & EDDIE GUERRERO (457 pounds) in an elimination six man tag
referee: EARL HEBNER
Wow, don't tell *me* that the WWE isn't influenced by the TNA cards - do you really think they'd throw out six guys to wrestle to five decisions if we hadn't had those big main events on Wednesdays of late? Not that it's a particularly good idea to be influenced by matches no one's watching, but par for the course these days. The graphic don't lie: at Vengeance, Bubba Ray & Spike team up to take on Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit in a tag team (Ross: "ladder match") table match. Hey look, another bad idea! Keep 'em coming! Given tonight's matchup the Regal/Hardy Euro rematch seems academic at this point, but it goes unannounced...which may make it the Heat match, I dunno - they sure like putting Regal on PPV Heat, have you noticed? Katie, bar the door - it's a Pier Six brawl - Bubba and Benoit go out, Regal and Hardy go out, Spike reverses the whip, big back body drop on Guerrero, armdrag, atomic drop, Guerrero ducks the clothesline but not the back elbow, 1, 2, no. Guerrero back on him, pound, pound, suplex attempt countered into a neckbreaker, right by Spike, head to the buckle, whip into the corner is reversed, headbutt to the gut out by Spike, sunset flip but Guerrero rolls through - Guerrero with a small package - 1, 2, 3! (0:57) Bubba Ray in - ducks the swing, hooks the swing and hits the Bubbabomb - but Regal isn't about to let us have two elminations in a minute and breaks it up at 2. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp - Hebner gets Regal back to his corner but he drags Guerrero to his corner so he can tag out to Benoit. Benoit kicks, kick, kick, kick, kick, Hebner pulls HIM off - Bubba with a spear - right, right, right, right. Head to the buckle, open-handed slap, again, into the opposite corner, avalanche. Benoit reverses a whip into the ropes, Regal from behind, Bubba gives him a back elbow but falls to a reverse elbow from Benoit when he turns back. Nice snap suplex by Benoit gets 2. Kick, tag to Regal - shoulderblock off the ropes, cover, 1. Cover, 1. Euro elbow, again, again, seven more agains - into the opposite corner is reversed, big back body drop by Dudley, clothesline, scoop...and a slam - left, left, left, flip flop and elbow, cover, 1, 2, Benoit in, so Dudley lets up and Regal takes the elbowdrop. Dudley with a death suplex for Benoit. Guerrero in - Dudley hiptosses HIM to the floor. Regal ends up in the unfriendly corner so Hardy gives him a forearm in the bag, then gets the SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL tag. Into the opposite corner, Dudley on all fours for Poetry in Motion to Regal - Benoit back in, Dudley ducks a swing and chops him - into the corner, Hardy is prevented from Poetry in Motion again when Regal grabs the hair for a takedown. Benoit with a German suplex on Dudley - Guerrero gives Hardy a death suplex behind Hebner's back. Benoit with a back elbow. Into the corner, chop, chop - tag to Guerrero - Regal holds him for some punching and kicking by Guerrero. Into the ropes, back elbow, stomp. Elbow. Stomp. Brainbuster. 1, 2, Hardy kicks out. Tag to Regal. Held open for the kick. Hardy sent into the ropes, Hardy ducks, crossbody off the ropes gets 2. Regal back up with a left. Double jumpin' knee to the head. Tag to Benoit, held open for the kick. Elbow by Benoit. Death suplex. Hardy reverses another one but only gets 1. Tag to Guerrero - Benoit holds him down so Guerrero can grind his boot into Hardy's face. Stomp, stomp. Five elbows to the head. Tag to Regal - holding Hardy for a kick. Crowd comes alive but Regal stays in control - snapmares him over, drops a knee, 2. Butterfly suplex - Dudley breaks up the cover. Hardy manages a dropkick and both men are down. Guerrero comes in without a tag and dropkicks Hardy. Regal back up - suplex. Free left forearm for Dudley. Hardy manages a right, right, right, knocks him down, stomp, so Guerrero comes back in and knocks him down again. Meanwhile, Benoit's got the European title belt - passed to Regal while Hebner is busy arguing with Guerrero - Regal ready to swing but Dudley catches him, swipes the bel and brains him! But oops, Hebner SAW that - and disqualifies Dudley. (DQ 7:48) Bubba ain't none too happy about this, so he gives free shots to Benoit and Guerrero - meanwhile, Hardy is up - swantonbomb on Regal - 1, 2, 3! (8:05) Benoit quickly comes in to take it to Hardy - and WE take an ad break, because - I guess - only interview segments can last this long without a break...

Coming back live two and a half later, we are told that Guerrero and Benoit have pretty much been in control the entire break. It's Guerrero in now - stomp - tag to Benoit. Right, elbow, elbow, Benoit takes over with a whip and a back elbow. Headbutt. Scoop...and a slam. Tag to Guerrero - Hardy evades the slingshot senton, but Guerrero rolls through. Double leg takeown - split legged legdrop cover - 1, 2, 3! (11:38) Benoit doesn't want any more surprises and takes control with a stomp - Guerrero joins him for a doubleteam despite being eliminated. In the corner, more doubleteaming with the punching and the kicking. Into the opposite corner - do si do whip of Benoit is ducked and Hardy follows through with a viscera for Guerrero! But Benoit is back with a German suplex. Benoit with a short clothesline. 1, 2, no. Guerrero is lingering on the aisle. Chop. Ross actually reminds us Hardy actually touched the Undisputed title on that ladder just a few weeks ago. Head to the buckle. Into the opposite corner, Hardy stairsteps up and springs off with a corkscrew moonsault! Hebner starts the count...not Guerrero is back - Hebner heads him off, then goes outside to actually shove him back up the ramp - meanwhile, *Regal* has reappeared, knux in hand...and down goes Hardy. Hebner back in and both men are still down - but now Regal applies the Crippler crossface! Hebner drops the arm once, (oops we saw Hardy's lips moving) twice, three times. See ya. Benoit is the sole survivor. (14:02) Guerrero BACK out - Eddie, get the table. Benoit and Guerrero set up the table and take a rather lengthy time in doing so. But back come the Dudleys - so Guerrero and Benoit hightail it. Play *their* music! Replay of Regal's punch.

Backstage, JONATHAN COACHMAN stands outside an *exciting* door! Who could the GM be? Mick Foley? Vince McMahon's brother Rob in Texas? (Umm, who?) Paul Heyman walks by. Hey, what's he doing here? "Well, Vince wanted to see me. How is that any of your business?" Coach brings up his history running ECW. Let me check my calendar - ECW's been bankrupt... almost a year and a half - okay. "Well, I guess I'm about to find out, Coach, and let's be honest with each other: who's more eminently qualified to be the general manager of RAW? Who's more qualified than Paul Heyman, huh? Think about it." Paul opens the door and we see Vince's back. Coach says he'll wait until Heyman comes out and see if he can find out - but then, we see a floor director rush into the office - the camera follows. "Excuse me, Mr. McMahon?" "Calm down - calm down, what is it?" "You told me to interrupt you the second he arrived, and..." "'HE?'" "Yes - the new general manager - he's arrived." "The new general manager's here." "Yes, Mr. McMahon." "Well would you be so kind as to bring the new GM here to my office for me? This is going to be a momentous occasion. Would you excuse me, please?" "That's it." "Excuse me, please." "It was nice seein' ya." "Thank you." Vince takes a deep breath and gulps. Well, they've eliminated practically everybody, right? It can only be one person, folks - that's right...SAVIO VEGA

Ivory's artificial cleavage shills Stacker 2

Time to register for the live webcast of Vengeance!

"Come in!" "Excuse me, Mr. McMahon - the new general manager's here." Hey how come that girl knows who it is but nobody else does? "Well, please, invite the new general manager to my office." Vince's smile turns to shock - it's Shane. "What the hell are you doin' here? You're not my new general manager." "No I'm not your new general manager. I'm here to prevent you from making the single biggest mistake in the history of our family's business. This goes all the way back to your father, and to your *grandfather.*" "Now wait a minute - spare me, okay? YOU, my son, you tried to put me out of business - yet all of a sudden you have this family concern?" "Oh, at least it was family - when it was you and I battling for control of this company, at least you knew who you were dealing with. Your new choice for 'general manager' - and oh yes, I do know who it is - this guy is nothing more than a parasite! He is a parasite. And the first chance that this guy gets, he's gonna screw you, this company, and our family over royally." "Well, let me just say that I appreciate your concern - I'm not gonna change my mind, it's my decision to make." "It is your decision - one that affects YOU...and everybody else." Then he walks away.

Meanwhile, in the locker room, Tommy Dreamer walks by Goldust and ends up next to Rob van Dam. "Hey hey, what up, Tommy." "Hey Rob. Hey what do you think of all this GM stuff, huh?" "Yeah, I know - huge news, right? Well, I don't know who it is, but I'm glad it's NOT Paul Heyman." "Me too. Speaking of our good friend Paul Heyman, I gotta ask ya - how did it feel when you hit him with the Van Terminator last week? I mean, you jumped from one side of the ring complete to the other. Amazing, bro." Hmm, that's the second guy to call it the Van Terminator despite the fact that Jim Ross never called it that LAST week. "Yeah, I did - hey, how do you think it felt? Hey - but Tommy, you know more than anybody else - Paul had that comin' for years." "You think?" "I just can't wait to give similar treatment to Brock Lesnar...whether it be tonight, or at Vengeance. Speaking of tonight, I gotta go get ready." "All right man." 'Catch you later." "Go get 'em." Say, is van Dam taking on Lesnar or Heyman on Sunday? I mean, I get confused sometimes. Is Paul Heyman the new Poochie? We're not done here! Steven Richards appears. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the guardian of all that's ECW, Tommy Dreamer." "What do you want, Stevie..." "Oh nothing, Tommy - I just wanna come out here and gra- congratulate you for standing up to Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, defending all the old ECW guys - it was very noble." "Thanks." "Yeah - but deep down inside, I know it was a load of crap. You did it for yourself, Tommy - you did it to get noticed. And since there's a new GM tonight on RAW, why don't we make our match a little bit more noticable?" "What are you thinkin' about?" "Well, you seemed to be real handy with the Singapore cane last week - so why don't we make our match tonight...a Singapore cane match. No rules - just brutality. You whip out your stick, I whip out mine. What do you say?" Goldust happens into the frame. "I say it's an offer too good to be true. (Inhales, bites)" Richards and Dreamer crack up to let us know how funny that was. "Well?" "You got it, bro." "Great." Richards tosses a stick to Dreamer, and when he reaches up for it, Richards gives him a shot in his side. "I'll show you!" He runs off while Richards holds his ribs...

In the local slot, the Law Offices of Patrick McMahon make another appearance - that's always a hoot

There's The World! They'll show Vengeance there for money!

STEVEN RICHARDS (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 235 pounds) v. TOMMY DREAMER (Yonkers, New York - 252 pounds) in a Singapore cane match
referee: CHAD PATTON
The problem with all the referring to "Singapore canes" this week is that, for the past umpteen years or so, WWF television has referred to them as "kendo sticks" and just because you're engaging in a little ECWspeak doesn't mean you're going to undo all that history. By the way, ECW has been bankrupt for about a year and a half, but by all means don't let that affect your ability to constantly attempt to dredge them up there, WWE powers that be. It's GOLDEN LIKE GRAHAMS. Dreamer gets the stick Richards has left on the floor - swing under the rope - Richards leaps over - Dreamer gets the stick behind and trips him - whoops, Ross let a "kendo stick" slip out (good for him) - Richards' swing is blocked by Dreamer's stick - Dreamer with the point of the stick in the gut, again, swing and a miss - Richards slides outside. Dreamer outside to meet him with a swing - STICK to the back! Dreamer onto the apron - he actually says "WWE" before leaping off with his stick to Dreamer's back. Oh man, not only will THAT get over but it's so CONSISTENT with what he was talking about JUST LAST WEEK. Sticks dropped, Richards eats barricade - another shot across the barricade by Dreamer. Dreamer grabs the STEEL steps - but Richards finally gets a shot to the head. Richards screams to nobody in particular, to the stick, swings at the barricade, apron, the cameraman (misses) - and breaks the stick across Dreamer's back - Dreamer has been good enough to blade for us. Subway Replay of the stick to the head as Richards gives him another stick to the back. To the ramp for a suplex on the STEEL. WWE onsale crawl. Dreamer thrown back in the ring - hey they aren't wearing the same pants this week! Richards stomps, stomp, stomp, standing on the neck and using the ropes - why not? No DQ, right? Choke with the stick. Ha ha, Ross said "kendo stick" again - up yours, Paul Heyman! Right, right, right, right - every punch to the cut. Into the corner, where Richards had already placed a stick. Richards has Dreamer's blood on his chest - so he rubs it in a little bit. Well, that's rather sick - fortunately for us, commentators are talking about Shane and the GM. STICK! STICK! STICK! Richards gives Dreamer a Gillooly. Now to the ribs. "Come on, you son of a bitch." NO SALE! Dreamer dares him to hit him in the head again - when he tries, he ducks (at least) and gives Richards a side Russian legsweep. Dreamer has the stick - STICK! STICK! STICK! STICK! The stick is pretty well done here but Dreamer swings again - Richards ducks it, tries the Stevenkick, caught, spun, DDT - Dreamer covers - 1, 2, NO! Dreamer is up to about .4 Muta. Dreamer on the second rope - but runs RIGHT into the Stevenkick. 1, 2, JOHNNY ACE! Richards is pretty perturbed about his finisher being kicked out of. Richards grabs a stick - but Dreamer SHATTERS *his* over Richards' head first - 1, 2, 3. (4:16) Hey Tommy, thanks for blading for a four minute special. We'll at least give you a replay of you...taking the Stevenkick. Oh, HERE'S the finish. I wonder what Raven thinks about not being able to be a part of this.

Backstage, Coach catches up with Booker T. He's got a match with The Big Show. "Coach! When Shawn Michaels came back, he put one right there, dawg - right on my grill! NWO, they just stood there, celebrating. BOOYA! One month later, NWO - dead and buried. Hoffa style, baby! You know what I feel? I fell like celebratin'. You feel like celebratin' with me, dawg?" "Well, you know, normally I--" "You damn skippy, hippie! You know what, why don't you give me one o' them Coacharoonies." "Well, Booker, you know, I don't think this is the time, or the - or the--" T takes the mic from him. "It's like that, huh, dawg? Oh, The Rock is the only one who can mess with announcers around here, right? NEWS FLASH! The Rock is on another program...so let's make with the spinning, Jack! Let's do it!" Coach consults his hand - drops down - and spins very poorly. T calls him closer. "What the hell was dat? You sure you black, dog?" That would have been a good line but Lawler snuck in "Is Coach Caucasian?" five seconds earlier - damn racist. "Listen up, man - the fact of the matter is this - Big Show, I'm 'bout to come out here and pull an Allen Ivereson on your punk ass! And show you why you don't put your hands on the five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time WCW Champion - now can you dig that..." We zoom in on T doing a doubletake...then zoom out to see...........Eric Bischoff. He forces a handshake. "It's good to see ya. It's so good to see you again, my friend!" He walks off. "TELL ME I didn't just see that!"

When we come back, Vince walks back out without music and stands at the top of the stage. I sure hope that's another swerve! Crowd is silent. "You know, you don't realise this but it takes a real son of a bitch to be successful in this business. So from one son of a bitch to another, allow me to introduce you to the new general manager of RAW - his name is ERIC BISCHOFF!" Out comes Bischoff to "Back in Black" - he hasn't missed too many meals, if you catch my drift. Big hugs all around (Ross: "They're probably pickin' each other's pockets") - a handshake - and Vince raises his arms high. Vince hands the mic to Bischoff and lets him walk alone to the ring. Bring up the RAW credits, Transmitido En Espanol SAP, TV-14-DLV, CC, boy, Bischoff is CHUNKY. Can "NWO Late Night" be far behind? "For those of you who may not know me...my name is Eric Bischoff, and I used to run WCW. Not that watered-down version, by the way, that invaded this company...but the real deal. You see, when I ran WCW, I became famous. That's right. I was the only person EVER able to take it right to Vince McMahon. That would be me. In fact, when Vince was out here a couple weeks ago talking about ruthless aggression...just who the hell do you think he was talking about? That, of course, would be me - I've personified ruthless aggression. When Vince McMahon needed star power, I was ruthless. Hell, I signed everybody he had! Hulk Hogan - Randy Savage - Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Roddy Piper, it went on and on and on, hell - I was like a kid in a candy store! I signed Bobby the Brain Heenan and Mean Gene Okerlund...just for the hell of it! Just because I could. But what I really did...is I took this little family business, this McMahon monopoly, and I gave it one big swift kick in the crotch. And it was sweet. In fact, while Vince McMahon was on trial with the federal government, he took his eye off the ball - and I raided his company dry. And for all of you people who say the only reason I was successful is because I had Ted Turner's money, I've got news for each and every one of you - I was successful because I was innovative. In fact, I was cutting edge, remember - remember back when RAW was taped every other week and Nitro was live, and I decided to go on the air two minutes before RAW, and I gave away everything that happened on RAW so YOU people didn't have to watch it? Oo! DAMN! That was ruthless. And it was a little aggressive, but it worked. And how about Alundra Blayze, you remember her? Vince's Woman's World Champion, I signed her away and I said 'hey, Alundra, bring your belt to Nitro,' she didn't really want to, but I made her, 'cause...she worked for me. And I had her go out on national television and throw it in the trash! Hahaha...that one killed me, it was a little ruthless, it was a little aggressive, but it worked. But you know what the important thing was? Is I forced Vince McMahon to change the way he did television. *I* did. Because in Nitro, I gave away a competitive main event every week with big stars! Hell, WCW Nitro changed the face of sports entertainment forever! And I singlehandedly forced Vince McMahon to change the way HE did business so HE could keep up with ME. It was beautiful. Hey, remember when I created the NWO? Cutting edge! Ruthless! Aggressive! Not some stale retread." Speaking of stale retreads... "Nitro beat RAW EIGHTY-FOUR WEEKS IN A ROW. Eighty-four weeks in a row, and I came THIS close - can you see it? THIS close to putting this company out of business forever. Singlehandedly! So naturally, I was a little surprised when my phone rang...and on the other end was none other than Vince McMahon, and he said 'hey Eric, whaddaya think about becoming the general manager of RAW?' Well I gotta tell ya, I was surprised. I was DAMN surprised. But then the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me - because you see if there's one person - ONE person who can take this...struggling franchise, and turn it into a national media powerhouse! Well...that would be...ME. And it's gonna start right here on RAW, and we're gonna kick it off this Sunday at Vengeance. Because there was one thing that I really wanted to do when I was running WCW, never got the job done, one piece of talent that I could never sign away. Just one. And I'm absolutely convinced - absolutely convinced that if I would have been able to sign him that right now, today, Nitro would be on the air, and Vince McMahon, my new best friend, with all due respect, would be working for me. But that's okay. Because it's not gonna be the NWO that signs Triple H - uh uh - that would be me. And for all of the rest of you in the back - some of you I've had a chance to work with, some of you I'm meeting for the very first time - one thing I'm sure you'll all agree on is that people generally like working for me - it's really not about the money - truly, it's not. People are drawn to winners - you people are drawn to winners - Mr. McMahon was drawn to a winner, which is why he hired me. Let's face it: the WWE *needs* me - you people DESERVE me - and there's one thing I wanna promise each and every one of you people. I am here to put the 'E' in WWE." How apropos. Go back and watch Bischoff's hands shake during this. Maybe he remembers that the same guy who turned that "struggling franchise into a national media powerhouse" ALSO happeend to be the same guy that turned it right back around into the lifeless husk that Vince scooped up. Of course, that conflicts with the fact that Bischoff kept bringing up things that happened seven years ago and presumably expected the live audience to have any GLIMMER of remembering what he was talking about. Bottom line is this is incredibly fucking depressing. What happened to you, WWF? You used to be cool.

Backstage we go to survey the aseembled masses - everybody seems pretty unhappy except Big Show, who can't hide his grin. Flair's expression most resembles mine, I think.

Vengeance ad - triple threat for the Undisputed title hyped

Stacker 2 ad #2

Local drop-in for Vengeance

Watch the RAW crew (damn, they STILL have that shot of Flair raising Big Show's hand) when they appear Saturday in Sarnia, Sunday in Detroit for Vengeance, RAW in Grand Rapids, Friday in Houston, Saturday in San Antonio, and Sunday in Columbia!)

We fade in just early enough to hear Undertaker call Bischoff a jackoff. Bradshaw: "Dear God! He can't be worse that Vince McMahon, can he? Can he?" "Well, I don't know if anybody--" "Undertaker - Undertaker!" Hey we're in "Eric in every segment" mode now. "You're the guy, I've been dying to meet you. I just want you to know I've been following your career for so long...you're the one guy I REALLY was hoping I could get to come to WCW, but I guess loyalty meant more to you than money, but hey, that's neither here nor there. I just want you to know that if there's anything you ever need - anything at all, you--" Bradshaw interrupts: "Hi." "How you doin." "Bradshaw." "Good to meet you." "Hardcore champion." "Good to meet you. Good luck in your match tonight." "Pleasure to meet you." "Good - good to meet you, too. Good to meet you, too." He pushes him aside to keep his eyes on Taker. "Anything at all you ever need, you call me. I'm there for you. You're the man." And off he walks. "What the HELL is he thinkin'."

WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: TRISH STRATUS (challenger - Toronto, Ontario - with Your hosts are LARRY & JERRY) v. MOLLY HOLLY (champion - Mobile, Alabama)
referee: JACK DOAN
Lockup, arm wringer by Holly, arm wringer flips Stratus, knee to the elbow - Stratus kips up, armdrag for Molly. Stratus walks into a drop toehold into the turnbuckle. Stomp by Molly. Foot on the neck for 4. Two handfuls of hair into a hairpull takedown - 1, 2, no. McMahon has left the arena and left Bischoff in complete control, we are told. Up by the hair - Stratus breaks it, elbow, elbow, kick in the gut by Holly, off the ropes into a flip neckbreaker for 2. Head to the mat. Whip into the corner, elbow up by Stratus - shoved into the corner, elbow, sat up on top, Holly shoves her away - another elbow by Stratus - handstand Frankensteiner on the bottom rope sends Holly into the center. Elbow by Stratus, elbow, into the ropes, reversed, Stratus with a clothesline. Dropkick. Elbow, elbow, into the ropes is reversed, Stratus ducks and kicks - 1, 2, no. Crowd is dead. Slap by Holly. Kick, into the ropes, big back body drop. Tumbling run but Stratus is up and over - victory roll out - 1, 2, no! Stratus ducks a clothesline but falls into a backbreaker. Holly covers - 1, 2, no. Stomp, stomp, chop, into the - nope, reversed, gutshot, going for Stratusfaction but Holly reverses into a death suplex instead. Feet on the ropes, 1, 2, 3, champ retains. (3:01)

Ric Flair is WALKING! up to Eric Bischoff, it turns out. "Ric Flair. I gotta tell you, it is so good to see you again. Listen, I know you and I - we've had a lot of history - lotta history, not all of it's been good, but let's do something - let's leave it in the past where it belongs, WWE - man this is a whole new start for both of us. Think about it. Talk about, think about it, man I bet you were surprised as hell when you found out that I was gonna be the new general manager for RAW, huh?" Flair deadpans, "Surprised isn't the word I was thinkin' of. But if you don't mind, I got a big match comin' up." And he walks off, leaving Bischoff to make a GLARE... oh boy, I think I heard somebody say "we're out!" WCW IS BACK, BABY!

UP NEXT: Booker T vs. Big Show!

"Coming in 10 days to SmackDown!" Man, I hope that new RAW GM *immediately* puts a ban on ads for the other brand! Of course, why bother with making sense or anything?

And now, the Extreme Blast of the Night, rocked by JVC's Tower of Power! From RAW last week, Booker T takes the wrong side of the last NWO victory

BOOKER T (Houston, Texas - 256 pounds - with RAW is brought to you LIVE by 1-800-CAL-LATT, Snickers, and Castrol Motor Oily!) v. WELL IT'S THE BIG SHOW (Tampa, Florida - 500 pounds - with SmackDown! in Wilkes-Barre hype)
Show is back to "Big" for his entrance music. Ross tells us that Shawn Michaels was given the night off, Kevin Nash is out up to six months with a quad injury, and X-Pac has been granted the ever-ominous sounding "leave of absence." One night in the chat we tried to figure out just how many Booker/Show matches there have been in the past year, and we came up with four - with T holding a 3-1 advantage. They were all super memorable, too, winky winky. T ducks, right, right, right, Show shoves him into the corner - big boot is stepped aside, T kicks the thigh, right, right, right, Show puts him in the corner, well it's the big knee, knee, knee, well it's the big open-handed slap and T goes down. Show brings him up - and slaps him in the chest again. Well it's the big hiptoss. Well it's the big half hour suplex. Off the ropes - elbowdrop MISSES. T is up - right hand, chop, slap, chop, slap, chop, slap, chop, slap, chop, slap, whip is reversed and well it's the big sidewalk slam - for 2. Scoop...T is out, shoving him into the turnbuckle, kick, kick, whip...is reversed, of course, and Show puts T back into the corner - then runs into T's boot. T ducks a clothesline, kick, chop, chop, chop, whip...reversed, T ducks, Harlem sidekick! T better avoid trying the Irish whip for the rest of this match, I think - there's a clothesline that takes BOTH men over the top to the floor! T up first - Show runs at him with the knee, but T steps aside and Show rams the STEEL steps! T grabs a chair and swings - but only gets the ringpost. Well it's the big forearm in the back. T back into the ring, and Show decides to bring the chair in with him. Patrick fails to kick the chair out of the ring as Show Diesels back in. *T* has the chair - but Show punches it out of his hands. Clothesline sends T into a flip! Show grabs the chair; so does Patrick - Show shoves Patrick out to the floor, then WHACK! for T. WHACK! Show raises his arms in triumph but the bell rings - Patrick's called for the (DQ 3:23). Show ain't happy. T tossed outside - Show Diesels out after him. T manages a superkick, but runs into the goozle - and then Show chokeslams him through the commentary table! Show grins - play his music, 'cause he LOST! Here's a replay. They call for the medics...

Meanwhile, backstage, Brock Lesnar curls an insanely large piece of the set. Here comes Paul. "Well, they say anything can happen in the WWE. Eric Bischoff! Do you realise now what position you're in, Brock? You're going to be the intercontinental champion Sunday at Vengeance. You are going to be the Undisputed WWE champion at SummerSlam! I couldn't have manipulated us into a better negotiating position than this!" "You talk to Taker?" "Ho ho, did I talk to Taker? He bought everything I have to say hook line and sing-- 'Oh, oh, Brock Lesnar RESPECTS The Undertaker! Brock Lesnar ADMIRES The Undertaker! Blah blah blah blah blah.' (Presumably something in Yiddish) Brock, Taker has no idea why he's teaming with you tonight. He has no idea that as long as Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker are together tonight, there'll be nothing left of Rob van Dam at Vengeance." "That's what I pay ya for, Paul." Lesnar tosses aside the scaffolding as Heyman tells no one in particular that he loves his job. Off they go... Jesus, it's a good thing The Undertaker doesn't watch the television, isn't it? I mean, and he probably didn't even tape this show to watch later, so he'll probably never EVER see this, right? RIGHT? HA

Our hosts show off their broken table, then give tribute to the late Jimmy Miranda, manager of arena merchandise sales.

WWE HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP: CHRISTOPHER NOWINSKI (challenger - Harvard - 260 pounds - with Ozzfest hype - meet Billy Kidman & Torrie Wilson!) v. BRADSHAW (chamipon - Sweetwater, Tejas - 292 pounds)
I don't know if you caught it on Heat, but the new hardcore belt has a removable plate attached - right now, it's the flag of Texas, but I have a feeling it can be swapped out for some other decoration rather easily. I'm gonna miss that old Hardcore title, though... Nowinski asks for the mic just a bit too late but Bradshaw stays back. "Whoa whoa whoa - hold on, Bradshaw - hold on a second. I don't know what I did to deserve this hardcore match - but I don't want it. These people do not wanna see a Harvard graduate get pummelled with trashcans and street signs! You see, they're cheering 'Yeaaah, Chris, you're right, we don't wanna see that!' So I have a proposition for ya, so simple even you can understand it (no offense). I will ALLOW you to beat me. I will lay down on the mat for the 1, 2, 3. That simple. You retain your title, and I don't get hurt - everybody wins. So whaddaya say?" Nowinski lies down. Bradshaw regards this - I think he's going to pull him up by the hair, but Nowinski tries a quick small package - 1, 2, no! Bradshaw ain't happy - spear - right, chop, into the ropes, big boot, lariat takes him over the top to the floor. Nowinski up the ramp - Bradshaw after him - got the tights - Nowinski right, Bradshaw right, chop, shoved into the barricade (and a tech), run into another barricade, Bradshaw grabs the STEEL steps and runs them into Nowinski's head. Bradshaw under the ring and has a chair - but Nowinski is already over the barricade and outta there. Bradshaw gives hot pursuit and catches him. Trashcan to the head! Tosses the can at him. We're backstage now - fire extinguisher - cookie sheet - slammed in a box - but here's Johnny "the Bull" Stmamboli breaking a 2x4 over Bradshaw's head and covering for Chad Patton - 1, 2, 3! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new hardcore champion. (2:01) Stamboli's outta there - I guess he'll be pulling the Lone Star plate for a flag of Italy?

It's been, gosh, twenty minutes since we've seen Eric Bischoff, so let's check on him. Big Show pays him a visit. He calls him "Eazy" while Eric calls him "Giant." Big sweaty hug. Show asks for a favour - he'd like a match with Booker T at Vengeance, no countouts, no disqualifications. Show neglects to mention that he actually LOST in that countout. After hemming and hawing, Bischoff says they're "kinda like blood" and makes the match. Another big sweaty hug. After Show leaves, Bischoff fondles his copy of the Triple H DVD...and presses pause a few times.

The official theme song of Vengeance is Trust Company's "Downfall" - man, I bet that gives them AT LEAST an additional 1,500 buys! (Either that or the fact that CDNow has already discounted it down to $9 new)

Johnny Stamboli is in Eric's Romper Room when we return. "Did you see it - it was BEYOOTIFUL! I whacked Bradshaw over the head with that 2x4 - forget about it! I pinned him 1, 2, 3! Now, I wanna like to c... thank you for lettin' me compete on RAW tonight." "Hey - I didn't do anything for you, man. Everything you did, you did on your own. YOU, you did it, not me - all I did was give you the opportunity. And you took it from there. And I'll give that same opportunity to any other s- young superstar here on RAW. It's all about you. And hey, Johnny - welcome to RAW." "Thank you." At this point, Bradshaw flies in with the Hades lariat and Charles Robinson right behind - 1, 2, 3! Ladies and gentlemen, we have the same old hardcore champion. (6:40) "Welcome to RAW - ya punk ass. That's Bradshaw. Hardcore. Champion." Off he goes.

Meanwhile, Paul wants to talk some more tonight. "I know - I know what you're feeling, the anticipation is better than sex - six days away from becoming the intercontinental champion; then at SummerSlam, you become the Undisputed Champion - this is the summer of the Next Big Thing..." He trails off as Undertaker arrives - Lesnar turns to face him and they have the staredown - Lesnar again fails to say "I will break you." Heyman's head appears on our screen between them. "Once again, Undertaker, on behalf of my client, it is an honour and a privlige--" "PAUL! ...after you." "No no no no, I insist. After you." Lesnar and Heyman take off - with Taker right behind. You know, Heyman must have been bluffing about still feeling that Van Terminator because he seems to have been pretty much the same as he ever was alllllll night...

Vengeance spot #2

"WrestleMania X8" for the GameCube ad

IT'S the WWE Burn of the Night, brought to you by Stacker 2 - last week's Van Terminator

KING BROCK LESNAR (Minneapolis, Minnesota - 295 pounds - with Paul Heyman - and Let Us Take You Back to Last Week) and THE AWESOME UNDERTAKER (Undisputed champion - Houston, Texas - 305 pounds - with Subway presents Vengeance!) v. RIC FLAIR (Charlotte, North Carolina - 234 pounds - with RAW in The G.R. hype) and ROB VAN DAM (intercontinental champion - Battle Creek, Michigan - 235 pounds)
referee: Hebner
As the smoke from van Dam's pyro waves its way through the smoke-filled arena (hey!) it's Flair and Taker starting. Remember when these guys were pals? Of course you do NOT, because it was 1991. Lockup, side headlock by Flair, Taker powers out, Taker with the shoulderblock. Thankfully, that's the first time I've had to type out that exchange sequence tonight. Flair backs up and goes in again - Taker with the knuckle lock and Flair screams. In the corner...Flair manages to break it - chop! Taker swings and Flair ducks - chop, chop, chop - side headlock, tag to van Dam - Taker powers out - Flair hooks the ropes, Taker turns round and takes a plancha from van Dam for 2! van Dam kick, right, right, kick, into the opposite corner is reversed, big "RVD" chant, clothesline by Taker. Ross says "Van Terminator" for the first time. van Dam pulls himself up - Taker runs in with the big boot but van Dam ducks - van Dam tries to make a charley horse with quick kicks to the back of Taker's leg - elbow, kick, kick, dropkick to the shin cuts him off, tag to Flair - Flair with ye olde chope blocke. Flair with the leg - and the figure four!! Taker screams - shoulders down! 1, 2, no! Taker back up - and grabs the choke - Hebner in close so Flair gives Taker an uppernut to break it all up. Flair goes to work - right, right, chop, right, woooo!, off the ropes...into a choke. Taker with a very, very, very gentle chokeslam - 1, 2, van Dam in with a dropkick to Taker's head to break it up. Taker stomps Flair and tags out. Taker holds up Flair for a kick. Forearm in the back by Lesnar, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder. Into the opposite corner - shoulder by Lesnar. Flair acts like all his internal organs just failed. Back into the opposite corner - and another shoulder in the gut. Stomp, stomp, stomp, standing on the neck. van Dam tells him to let Flair tag out and try that with him - but Lesnar doesn't feel like it. Scooped up...dropped into a neckbreaker and Lesnar holds on to give him a second before dropping him. Lesnar wants to add some punishment while Flair is underneath the bottom rope, but Hebner stands in front of him and stops him - so Taker runs the apron and drops a guillotine legdrop behind his back, instead. And a soupbone to the back of the head. Taker pulls him out and gives him *another* soupbone, then rolls him back in for Lesnar. Lesnar covers - 1, 2, HE PULLS HIM UP! Man that's RIC FLAIR you're doing that too, son. Tag to Taker - held open for the kick. Flair sneaks in a chop but it won't turn the tide his way just yet. Taker with a soupbone - soupbone, soupbone, soupbone, and Flair goes down. Taker scares off Hebner but that was just enough time for Flair - chop! Chop, chop, chop, into the ropes, Taker ducks, Taker with the flying clothesline! Flair rolls to the ropes - Taker stomps him. Taker off the ropes - elbowdrop MISSES! Taker gets bleeped. Flair on the apron, pokes the eye and climbs the corner - of course, that doesn't work as Taker meets him with an uppercut, a soupbone, climbs up after him and gives Flair the SUPERPLEX!!!! Cover - 1, 2, van Dam with another dropkick to break it up! Taker tags Lesnar. Lesnar with an open kick. Forearm to the back, forearm to the chest, forearm, shoulder, forearm, Flair with a chop, forearm by Lesnar, Flair chops, chop, chop, Lesnar shoves him back in the corner - shoulder, shoulder, shoulder. Into the ropes, Flair ducks the elbow but Lesnar catches him on the rebound with a powerslam. Into the corner - shoulderblock MISSES and Lesnar meets the ringpost. Flair with a death suplex! Flair presses - 1, 2, Lesnar presses him into flight over Hebner! Ross says Lesnar was a one-armed man and he STILL had that power. Both men are down and the crowd comes alive for a possible tag to van Dam. Tag to Taker - HOT TAG TO VAN DAM! Kick, elbow, elbow, elbow, into the ropes is reversed, van Dam with a viscera! Dropkick for Lesnar! Shoulder for Taker, shoulder, superfluous backflip, monkey flip out, another free shot for Lesnar, Rolling Thunder for Taker - 1, 2, Lesnar drops the elbow to break it up. Lesnar with a forearm in the back, van Dam put in the corner, two boots up by van Dam on the charge. Springs to the top and kicks Lesnar - split-legged moonsault! van Dam covers despite the fact that Lesnar wasn't legal and Hebner goes ahead and counts - 1, 2, Taker drops the leg on the back of van Dam's neck! Taker sets up van Dam for the Last Ride but now FLAIR is in - chop, chop, chop, clotheslined out - oh Lesnar has Flair for the MOVE WITH A CRAPPY NAME!! But van Dam is there with the superkick - vaults to the top - Fivestar frog splash!!! Oh but Taker is back and he's still the legal man - LAAAAAAST RIDE. Taker with the press - 1, 2, 3. (10:03) Taker stands alone - he'll take on two guys not on this show Sunday at Vengeance. Whoops, Lesnar back in with a forearm to the back - one more - up on the shoulders - whoops, he almost caught Taker's crotch on his head but still managed to swing him out for the F-5! Play his music! Lesnar takes the title and gives it a good looksee...then places it on Taker's carcass. Ross proclaims business "picked up."

But now, to Eric for one more bit of Ericness. Cel phone dialed. "Hello - uhh, say, this is Eric Bischoff calling, and I would really rather have this conversation in person but unfortunately, I have to leave a message. Listen, Rock.... you know, I don't know if you were watching RAW, hopefully you were but if you haven't, or you haven't heard, Vince McMahon has made me the new general manager for RAW. And I just want you to know right off the bat, you know, I'm horrible at leaving messages so I'm gonna keep this really short...but Rock, I am a *huge* fan - I mean a HUGE fan...and I really believe that RAW...needs The Rock. Listen, like I said, I hate - I hate leaving messages, so I'm really looking forward to talking to you Thursday at SmackDown! Maybe we can get some business done. See ya there." Well, he's right about one thing - he's HUGE. Bischoff goes into full smarm as we take the RAW Zone credits - WW logo - good night.

Funny! The TNN bumper asks "Are you oblivious? Find out this August!" I think we've found out ALREADY, gang.

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