Lita came out to do a promo. Jerry Lawler complained that she wasn’t as scantily clad as usual. She got in a couple of sentences, talking about what a great feeling it will be to defeat Molly Holly for the women’s belt at Survivor Series, but was then interrupted by the arrival of Evolution. Triple H was back, and had Randy Orton & Batista with him. Ric Flair was announced as having the night off for personal reasons. Lita asked what was up. HHH told her he was nice enough to let her come out and say a few words, but then offered her a dollar to dance naked, telling her if she wasn’t willing to do that she should take a hike. So she took a hike. Okay, I’ll admit, that was funny. HHH had footage shown of Batista breaking Goldberg’s ankle a few weeks back. He put Batista over, saying that usually when someone comes back from an injury they need a few weeks to get back on top, but Batista went straight to the top on the very night he returned by destroying Goldberg. It came off kind of weird for HHH to be lavishing praise on Batista like that since Goldberg was back in action only two weeks after having his career supposedly ended. HHH then went off on Goldberg, saying there’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity. He predicted that Goldberg will be like the proverbial one-legged man in an ass kicking contest this coming weekend at Survivor Series, adding that he (HHH) wrote the book on kicking ass. All this brought Steve Austin out. He said the same thing to HHH that HHH said to Lita, namely that he was nice enough to let HHH give a speech, but it was now time for him to take a hike. Luckily, Austin didn’t offer HHH a buck to dance naked. HHH said that Austin must be trying to give the fans one last great Austin vs. HHH moment, predicting that Austin will be history after Survivor Series. Orton stepped up and promised that he’ll be the Team Bischoff member who kills off the legendary Austin. Austin asked HHH if he was planning on wrestling tonight, and listed a bunch of different match styles (cage match, tag match, etc.) to elicit the “whats” from the crowd. HHH calmly said he wasn’t going to wrestle, so Austin told him to get the hell out of the arena. HHH challenged him to force him to leave. Batista told HHH that Austin wouldn’t do it because he’s nothing but a coward. Austin fumed over that one, but then said that after Survivor Series he won’t have to put up with crap like that anymore, from Batista or anyone else. Austin then called for security, telling them to escort HHH out. HHH said he’d leave, but only because he wanted to, not because Austin ordered him to. He threatened to sue any security officer who touched him, and then left on his own. An okay opening segment, though a little quirky here and there.
Backstage, Austin encountered Eric Bischoff, who was backed up by four of his team members (Orton was absent since he had been out in the ring with HHH). They all went off on Austin, laughing at him and predicting his team will go down on Sunday. Austin’s team members immediately materialized and went off on Bischoff & Co. as they went to a commercial break.
Rob Van Dam defeated Christian to retain the IC Title in 5:28. This was the first of several matches on the show following the Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff theme. Other team members were banned from ringside in all these matches by mutual agreement of Austin & Bischoff, each of whom wanted to prove his team was the best. RVD started off with his kicks and flips. He kind of got lost on one rope spot, and ended up backdropping Christian out for a big bump. He then legdropped Christian on the security rail. In the ring, Christian hit a DDT and neckbreaker, scoring some twos. Christian hooked a chin lock. RVD hit a split-leg moonsault and a regular moonsault for some near falls. Christian hit RVD with a low blow, and then threw Lilian Garcia out of her chair. Lilian got the shaft on this show. Christian tried to hit RVD with the chair, but RVD blocked it, flattened Christian, hit the rolling thunder, and then nailed the frog splash for the pin. A good match overall.
Shane McMahon arrived at a Chinese restaurant (I think it was called Kowloon’s) and asked for a table for two.
Jonathan Coachman came out in a Yankees jersey, to guarantee he got heel heat in Boston. He told Lilian that Bischoff was afraid she might get hurt out there, noting that she got thrown from her chair during the RVD vs. Christian match. So in the great tradition of chivalry, Coach said Bischoff assigned him to take over as ring announcer for the rest of the show, to protect Lilian from any further risks. So he took the mic and told her to “get to steppin'”. This was a gimmick to allow Coach to do bland intros for Team Austin wrestlers and grandiose, over-the-top intros for Team Bischoff wrestlers.
La Resistance (Rene Dupree & Rob Conway) defeated Hurricane & Rosey in 3:06. They all brawled on the floor before the match, with Hurricane hitting an awesome high flying bodypress on Dupree & Conway. In the ring, Conway kicked Rosey’s knee to bring him down to the mat. Dupree did his little dance designed to make people think he’s gay. Rosey took Dupree up for a slam but his knee gave out. Hurricane came in and cleaned house until taking a lame bump on his throat across the ropes, allowing Conway to pin him after a swinging neckbreaker.
Terri was upset backstage because Bischoff had ordered her to wrestle (teaming with Lita against Molly Holly & Gail Kim). Terri was wearing a nice dress and said she isn’t a wrestler and doesn’t even have any wrestling attire. Lita tried to assure her that she’d carry the match. Bischoff walked up and reminded Lita that he fired her a few months back. He said Austin (who rehired her) will be gone after Survivor Series, so he smirkingly told Lita she’d better get in the mood to (ahem) play ball with him if she wants to keep her job.
Jericho rallied the troops, so to speak, giving a pep talk to his fellow Team Bischoff members. He told Christian he lost the IC Title only because Austin stuck him in that ladder match (ignoring the fact that Christian lost a regular match to RVD minutes earlier) and implied that the reason Lita hasn’t been responding to him is because Austin ridiculed him as a “creepy little bastard”. He told Mark Henry that he would have collected that $100,000 bounty if Austin hasn’t thrown him out of the arena before he had a chance to finish the job on Goldberg. He praised Scott Steiner for walloping Austin a few weeks ago to deliberately provoke him. Steiner said he did it because he hates rednecks. Orton walked in, late for the meeting, which Jericho clearly didn’t appreciate. Orton was totally full of himself, telling everyone not to worry because he would handle things this Sunday and see to it that they win the match. He was scheduled to face “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels later on the show, and told them all to watch how easily he destroys him. Jericho seemed really perturbed at Orton’s arrogance and apparent over-confidence. After Orton left, Theodore Long said, “That’s one cocky cracker”.
Val Venis arrived at the arena with two hot babes. He told them they were going to surprise Lance Storm. He said Lance is a great guy with a big heart. They went into Storm’s locker room, where he was in the shower. Venis asked Storm to come out, saying he had a surprise for him. Not knowing there were girls out there, he came out naked (off camera, of course), and was embarrassed. The girls giggled, with one saying that Storm’s heart isn’t the only thing that’s big. We’ll see if all this turns Storm into a Don Juan.
Back at the Chinese restaurant, Shane ordered his dinner. He told the waiter his guest would soon be arriving.
Molly & Gail defeated Lita & Terri in 2:34. Coach introduced Lita & Terri as having a combined weight of 310 pounds. That reminded me of the angle they ran back in the AWA when Sherri Martel was the women’s champ and the late Wally Karbo would “accidentally” introduce her as the world’s heavyweight champion. Terri wrestled in her dress and high heels. Molly & Gail destroyed her until she somehow managed to make the tag. Lita came in, hitting the kicks and headscissors to put the heels on the defensive. But Gail nailed Lita from behind with a kick and Molly pinned her using the ropes. Molly & Gail stripped Terri down to her undies afterward.
Footage aired of Orton using the brass knux to beat HBK at Unforgiven back in September.
Hour two began with HBK defeating Orton in 6:41. Orton started strong with shoulderblocks and dropkicks, which sent HBK bumping. HBK hit some chops and backdropped Orton. Orton evaded the sweet chin music, but HBK still nailed him with fists and chops. HBK scored some twos. Orton hurled HBK out and rammed his back into the apron. Orton kept trash talking to HBK, to put over his cockiness and arrogance. Orton put the boots to HBK and suplexed him, scoring some near falls. They traded chops. HBK hit a flying forearm and a backdrop. The ref took a major bump. Orton gave HBK a backbreaker and retrieved a chair. He was planning to slam HBK on the chair, but HBK countered the move and slammed Orton on the chair. HBK hit the chin music to great heat, with the ref reviving just in time to count HBK’s pinfall victory. A good, though short, match, which put Team Austin up 2-0. A case can be made, though, that Orton shouldn’t have lost, or even been put in against HBK on this show, but it did fit the storyline of Team Bischoff not looking so good this week.
Shane was enjoying his meal at Kowloon’s when his guest, Kane, arrived. Yes, the invitation Shane sent him last week was to have dinner with him. Kane took his seat. Shane said that whoever gets hauled off in the ambulance at Survivor Series probably won’t be coming back. That would come off as a greater threat if both hadn’t already come back from some pretty horrendous things like car crashes, infernos, and deadly falls from high places. Shane calmly claimed to be out-of-control and said that Kane has pushed him to the point that he no longer has remorse and will do whatever it takes to massacre Kane at the PPV. Kane sarcastically asked Shane how his mother is doing, and said he loved the sound her head made when it struck the steel the night he tombstoned her. He said he tried to fry Shane’s testicles so he and his pretty little wife could never have kids. He said he never had any compassion in the first place, so unlike Shane he didn’t have to lose it. He warned Shane that pure evil can’t be stopped. All this, mind you, was spoken calmly over dinner at an upscale Chinese restaurant. Shane called Kane a pathetic, self-pitying son of a bitch and accused him of being afraid of living in the real world, or something like that. This all sounded like Sigmund Freud discussing the subconscious mind with Karl Jung. Shane said that at Survivor Series he’ll put Kane out of his misery, and then simply left. This was lame. At least Kane should have walloped someone with a wok or a Peking duck or something. But it just ended with Kane sitting there looking pissed.
The Dudleys beat Scott Steiner & Mark Henry via DQ in a non-title match in 7:14. Steiner dragged Stacy Keibler out with him. She just stood there looking sad. Steiner suplexed D-Von. D-Von hit a lariat and a dropkick. Steiner bailed out but Bubba Ray threw him right back in. Henry came in and overpowered both Dudleys. Jim Ross must have mentioned that Henry is the “world’s strongest man” 312 times during this match. Henry just kept tossing Bubba & D-Von around. Steiner came back in and beat up on D-Von. Bubba hot tagged and cleaned house. Steiner bumped out. The Dudleys had Henry set up for the 3D but Steiner came back in and hit both with chairshots for the DQ. So Team Bischoff lost again, though at least this time they did leave their foes laying, thanks to the chairshots. Average match. And, by the way, Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade watched this match backstage on a monitor since they have a tag title shot upcoming.
Bischoff visited Austin and acted confident, which was odd given that his team members were 0-3 for the night so far. He said it was ironic that Austin, the man who took the industry by storm and who many say put WCW out of business, will now see his career ended by former WCW president Bischoff. Bischoff predicted that a little bit of Austin will die each time one of his men is eliminated Sunday, until the final man is put out and Austin’s career dies. Austin, even though his guys seemed to be on a roll, looked dejected and concerned.
They showed LeBron James from ringside last week. They then showed some Patriots players at ringside this week.
A tech gal brought Jericho some water. He yelled at her for being late and for the water being warm. He said when Bischoff takes over completely next week, he’ll start firing people who goof up like that. Trish Stratus walked up and seemed a little put off by Jericho’s attitude. Jericho apologized and said he was just on pins and needles over the Survivor Series deal and was worried because Team Bischoff members had been losing all night. Trish said she understood, so they started flirting again. Jericho ended up asking her out for a date after the show, and she accepted. JR didn’t seem to like the idea of Trish dating Jericho, as if he’s her father or something. Hey, maybe that can be a future angle.
A tape aired with Tazz & Michael Cole hyping the Smackdown matches for Survivor Series, with JR & Lawler then hyping the RAW matches.
Booker was in his locker room reading the new WWE Unscripted book and praising it. Jon Heidenreich liked it too. He said he wants to buy a copy for Little Johnny. There was a knock on the door. Heidenreich opened it but no one was there. Instead, a note for Booker was taped to the door. The note said simply, “I Still Remember”. Booker looked disturbed when he read it, and stammered that he doesn’t have time for stuff like this. Another mystery angle, which I guess is good.
Booker beat Jericho in 3:52. Booker hit some arm drags and chops, but got crotched when he went for the scissor kick. Jericho hit an elbow off the top. Lawler began talking about the note and said it was probably from Booker’s parole officer. Booker used some fists and kicks. Jericho took Booker down with a neckbreaker type move. Booker missed another scissor kick. Jericho went for the walls but Booker escaped. Jericho hit a bulldog. Booker then won out of nowhere with a Brisco type roll-up, though it looked a little clumsy. An okay match while it lasted. Team Austin won a clean sweep of four matches, which would seem to imply that Team Bischoff will win at the PPV if logic prevails. After the match, Jericho blindsided Booker and put the walls on him. All eight of their respective team members ended up running in for a brawl, which Team Austin also won. After the Team Bischoff guys retreated, Coach stupidly got on the mic and announced that in his opinion, Jericho was the winner by disqualification. The Dudleys 3D’ed him, and Lilian returned to do the intros for the main event.
Highlights aired of all the recent Kane vs Shane altercations.
JR & Lawler hyped the Unscripted book.
Goldberg beat Batista by DQ in 2:15. This was a non-title match. Goldberg wrestled wearing a cast. He limped a little but otherwise was his usual self. He press slammed Batista and lariated him out to the floor. Batista went after the bad leg, ramming it into the ring apron and wrapping it around the post. Batista slammed Goldberg, but Goldberg rallied and speared Batista after a backdrop. Goldberg had Batista up for the jackhammer when HHH, having sneaked back into the building, attacked him for the weak DQ. Really, it probably was a bad idea to put Goldberg in the ring against Batista at a time when they’re trying to build Batista as a monster, because neither guy could really afford a real loss here. Even having Batista so close to losing at the DQ hurt his aura, especially in a two minute match. Anyway, HHH pedigreed Goldberg, and then retrieved a chair and the sledgehammer. He put Goldberg’s leg through the chair, like when Batista broke it three short weeks ago, and was about to hit it with the sledgehammer but Goldberg managed to kick HHH in the balls with his other leg. He then speared HHH. Goldberg got the sledgehammer, but Batista went after him. Goldberg speared Batista, allowing HHH to retreat. HHH & Batista backed away up the ramp, clutching their speared ribs in pain, as Goldberg reigned triumphant. I presume HHH will regain the belt at Survivor Series, but with booking changing so often, it’s no guarantee.