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WWE: Raw Report (UK Spoilers)

The 11/24 episode of RAW IS ROULETTE aired live from Salt Lake City. It was a mixed bag show. I’ve never been a big fan of the roulette wheel gimmick, and this time it came across as way too fake since too many of the spins were rigged (actually they always are, but it was made obvious here). A few things on the show seemed a little screwed up. But on the positive side, everyone worked hard, the crowd was into it, and they continued building well towards Armageddon. So I’d give it a thumb’s up as an enjoyable show.

The show opened with Eric Bischoff in the ring spinning the wheel, accompanied by two babes dressed as showgirls. Bischoff promised to bring Las Vegas style excitement to the dull little town of Salt Lake City. He said the typical Utah fan was probably at this point asking his three or four wives what RAW Roulette is. Hey, it’s probably only a matter of time until some judge “creates” a right to polygamy, so Bischoff had a point. He explained that prior to each match he would spin the wheel and select the stipulations, which could be a first blood match, a last man standing match, or a kiss my ass match, among many other possibilities. He also plugged the scheduled Goldberg vs. Triple H world title rematch. “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels showed up, much to Bischoff’s disgust. HBK said Bischoff interrupted his promo last week, so he decided to return the favor and interrupt Bischoff this week. He said he went home and looked in the mirror as Bischoff suggested, but felt no guilt because he knew in his heart that he fought with all the strength he had at Survivor Series. So HBK told Bischoff that his psycho-babble, reverse psychology attempt to lay a guilt trip on him didn’t work, adding that it was Bischoff & Evolution who are to blame for Steve Austin’s career coming to an end. This brought Batista out to the ramp top. He agreed with HBK about Evolution costing Austin his job. In fact, Batista was proud of the fact that he powerbombed HBK straight to hell, setting him up to be pinned by Randy Orton in the Survivor Series match. HBK dared Batista to come to the ring and fight, calling him a jacked-up nimrod. The jacked-up part may be true, and the nimrod part is open for discussion. Batista came down and was about to get in the ring but Bischoff told them both to stop. He said HBK vs. Batista is a great idea, but that he’d already scheduled a great show for the Salt Lake City fans and they don’t deserve to see it. So he set that match up for Armageddon. He also pointed to the wheel, which had stopped on “Bischoff’s Choice” on an earlier spin. He said that means he can choose whatever match he wants to see, so he ordered a Batista & Ric Flair vs. HBK & Chris Jericho match for later on the show. Of course, that appeared to doom HBK since he and Jericho are long-time enemies. Pretty good opening segment.

Lita came down to the ring for a scheduled match. They should have given her some mic time to put over last week’s break-up angle, but they didn’t. Heaven only knows why not. Anyway, Bischoff appeared on the TitanTron and made fun of her for having such a bad week. He admitted that at first he was a little angry that Christian used his favor for being on the winning Survivor Series team to get her re-hired. But he added that after thinking it over, he decided he can have more fun by keeping her around and playing with her like a government mule (actually he said toy). He gave the wheel a spin and it came up as “cage match”. Sure enough, a cage descended on the ring……

Victoria defeated Lita in the cage match in 4:10. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler put over that they’d never seen a women’s cage match before. They’ve actually done many of them in Japan. They did a great angle there one time in a Bull Nakano & Monster Ripper vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura cage match. Aja legit had her appendix taken out shortly before the match. The doctors told her not to wrestle, but she had them staple her up and did so anyway. The fans all knew she had had the operation, so they did an angle where she missed a splash off the cage top (yes, that was insane under the circumstances) and it caused a condom filled with blood to burst inside her tights. To the fans, it looked as if her operation incision had ripped open and she was bleeding to death. Don’t hold your breath waiting to see that one in a women’s match here. Anyway, in this week’s cage match, Victoria and Lita each sent the other into the steel mesh. Lita hit a headscissors. Lita tried to climb out but Victoria bumped her down. Victoria bodyslammed Lita. Lita hit a powerbomb and a moonsault, but as she was exiting the cage, Matt Hardy ran out and slammed the door on her head. Victoria crawled out and got the win. Afterward, Matt got in the ring to celebrate. Christian ran in after him, but Matt escaped by climbing over the cage top and fleeing.

Backstage, Randy Orton bragged to the showgirls that he’ll be the next IC Champion. He was scheduled to wrestle, so Bischoff spun the wheel and it “coincidentally” came up on “legends’ match”, which Orton thought was appropriate since he’s a legend killer. Bischoff promised to provide him with a true legend for an opponent. Orton seemed confident. After Orton left, Hurricane & Rosey arrived. Bischoff spun the wheel for them and it came up as a “capture the midget match”. Bischoff produced a midget named Fernando, and told Hurricane & Rosey that whichever one caught him first would be the winner. Fernando ran off. Hurricane told Rosey to stay, and ran off after the midget. Rosey stood there a few seconds before realizing he should be chasing the midget, too, and he then took off. Bischoff put his arms around the showgirls and said he loves his job.

Orton defeated Sgt. Slaughter in 1:54. Well, Sarge does fit the bill as a legend. He twice hooked the famous Cobra clutch on Orton. Both times Orton made the ropes. Orton scored with a kneedrop and a dropkick before winning with the RKO. Orton put the boots to Sarge after the match until Rob Van Dam made the save. RVD hit two big kicks which put Orton down, but Orton revived and escaped before RVD could do the frog splash.

Highlights aired of Goldberg’s Survivor Series win over HHH, followed by highlights of Evolution’s handicap match win over Goldberg last week on RAW.

Footage aired of Goldberg making an appearance on the Maury Povich show where he was shown greeting and comforting a young woman with his title belt. JR reported that we can find out the whole story when the show airs, this coming Sunday night, I believe, but check your listings to be sure.

Val Venis & Lance Storm were waiting on some girls to arrive. Venis reminded Storm that these were two conservative Utah girls, so they would have to be a little more cautious and gentlemanly around them. Two cuties showed up, and they said they were a little nervous about going out with two wrestlers since they’d heard wrestling was kind of a wild profession. At this moment, the midget ran by, being chased by Rosey. Rosey cornered the midget, but he escaped by hitting Rosey in the gonads. Hurricane then arrived with a huge butterfly net to try to catch the midget. The girls looked surprised by all this, prompting Venis & Storm to swear they had no idea who any of those guys were. I’m surprised they didn’t do an angle here involving Storm’s alleged endowment. Surprised, not disappointed.

Jonathan Coachman interviewed Flair about his new DVD, which is the fastest selling WWE DVD release ever. Flair said a few nice words about his DVD, but, unselfish as always, spent most of the promo putting over HHH, Orton, and Batista. It was vintage Flair, meaning it was a great promo that made everyone he talked about look good, ending with a whooooo!

Matt Hardy visited Bischoff and they agreed that their plan to set Lita up worked like a charm last week. So, for the record, Bischoff was in on it all along. Regarding Lita, Matt said he has slammed the door shut (specifically a cage door) on that chapter in his life. Bischoff plugged the Steve Austin special that airs on Wednesday, noting that it will be Austin’s last hurrah. Matt then spun the wheel to select the stips for what he called his first match back on RAW. It landed on “Strange Bedfellows Match”. Matt was worried that it would be some kind of homosexual match, but Bischoff assured him that strange bedfellows was being used metaphorically. It meant a tag match where partners were guys who don’t like each other. Matt seemed okay with that idea, and left without even bothering to ask who the other guys involved in the match would be.

Goldberg was shown lifting weights in preparation for his title defense.

Bubba Ray Dudley & Garrison Cade beat Matt Hardy & Christian in 3:50. This was weird, because Christian should have been furious with Matt, given the current storyline, but he did little to indicate anger. He shoved Matt toward Bubba to start the match, but otherwise did nothing to indicate a desire to avenge Lita. Bubba pounded Matt. Matt hit a lariat and tagged Christian in. Christian brawled with Cade. The crowd chanted for tables. JR gave the official explanation that Matt’s Smackdown contract expired between the departure of Stephanie McMahon and the hiring of Paul Heyman, so he used that opening to jump to RAW. At least it got explained. Bubba came in and destroyed Christian with backdrops, lariats, and fists. Christian tried to tag Matt, but Matt took a hike. Matt left, proving he has walkouttitude. Bubba hit a Bubba Bomb on Christian, but played good guy by not going for the pin. Instead, he got mad at Matt for walking out. Cade, however, hit an elbow off the top on Christian and pinned him. Bubba seemed ticked off at Cade for scoring the pin, maybe because he stole the pin after the Bubba Bomb did most of the damage, though it wasn’t all that clear. Bubba also got mad at Cade for handling one of the tag belts as if it belonged to him. Cade was heelish, acting like he didn’t understand why Bubba was mad. I was having more trouble understanding why Christian didn’t go after his partner Matt in a big way.

Terri interviewed HBK, who vowed to win his tag team match even with bitter enemy Jericho as his partner. The interview didn’t last long, though, as midget Fernando arrived and took a peek up Terri’s dress. He fled, with Hurricane, Rosey, and now Terri, in hot pursuit. Well, let’s make it lukewarm pursuit.

Hour two began with Goldberg retaining the RAW World Title by DQ over HHH in either 6:13 or 7:19, depending on which DQ gets counted. HHH attacked Goldberg at the bell and beat him down. Goldberg came back with a backdrop and a lariat. HHH bailed out to the floor. Goldberg pounded him out there until HHH rammed him into the stairs. Back in the ring, HHH hit a Ric Flair/Harley Race kneedrop. Flair choked Goldberg behind the ref’s back. The crowd heat for all this was good. Goldberg slammed HHH off the top, but HHH avoided a spear by bailing out again to the floor. With the action returning to the ring, Goldberg hit a powerslam. Flair got on the apron, where Goldberg slugged him. Orton ran in and tried for the RKO, but Goldberg speared him. The ref signaled for the bell, which was the first DQ. But HHH and Goldberg continued as if the match was still on. HHH hit a low blow and then nailed Goldberg with the pedigree. The ref began counting HHH’s pin, as if he hadn’t earlier called for the bell. Kane’s music began playing and his pyro went off. Goldberg kicked out of the pin at two, even though both JR & Lawler sold it as if he didn’t. In fact, they said there’s no way Goldberg could have kicked out after that pedigree, as if Kane’s music interrupted the pin. HHH slugged Kane as he was coming through the ropes. Goldberg saw the opening and speared HHH. But Kane then attacked Goldberg. This all led to the ref calling for the bell again, presumably DQ’ing HHH for Kane’s assault on Goldberg, though I guess it could have been a no-contest. They major league screwed up the finish(es) here on what was otherwise a decent match. Goldberg retained the belt, but was beaten down and chokeslammed by Kane.

Backstage, HHH charged into Bischoff’s office. He was furious over Kane’s run-in. He screamed that Bischoff was supposed to be in control, and reminded him that if it hadn’t been for Evolution he’d be out of a job. Well, actually he’d still have the job, but it would be shared with Austin. He called Bischoff a jackoff. As HHH was yelling, Kane walked in and stood behind him. When HHH realized this, he calmed down and seemed at a loss for words. Funny! Kane demanded a shot at Goldberg’s belt. HHH demanded another rematch. After some arguing back and forth, Bischoff set up a three way for the title (Goldberg vs. HHH vs. Kane) at Armageddon. Kane said he was happy, and so did HHH, but it was clear that HHH was only saying that because Kane was looming over him, intimidating him.

Hurricane & Rosey & Terri were shown chasing Fernando around in the parking lot.

Mark Henry & Theodore Long visited Bischoff. Long complained about the snow white showgirls, wondering why Bischoff didn’t locate some black booty in Salt Lake City. That might have been kind of hard to do. Bischoff spun the wheel and it landed on “Salt Lake City Street Fight” as the stips for Henry’s scheduled match against Booker T. Henry liked it, and Bischoff handed him a garbage can full of weapons.

Henry beat Booker in the street fight in 3:09. Booker ambushed Henry as he came out carrying the garbage can. Booker used a stop sign on Henry, who got it away from him and bent it. Booker used a skillet and a 2×4. Henry bent the skillet. That was scary. But he didn’t bend the 2×4. Booker shot Henry in the face with a fire extinguisher. He put Henry down with a missile kick and a scissor kick. But Henry shook the blows off and won a surprisingly decisive win after ramming Booker into the garbage can, which was wedged between the ropes. A pretty good short brawl.

Trish Stratus was called to Bischoff’s office. The wheel, in an amazing coincidence, landed on “Bra & Panties Match”. As she left the office, she encountered Jericho. He offered to call in his favor to Bischoff by getting the bra & panties stips cancelled, but she said she didn’t mind wrestling under those stips. Trish then told Jericho she wanted him to do the right thing in his upcoming match teaming with HBK. Jericho explained that he and HBK hate each other’s guts, but Trish was adamant that Jericho should be the type of man she knows he can be. Jericho didn’t like this, but then she kissed him and hinted that she would do something very nice for him after the show if he did as she asked. Jericho seemed to soften considerably. Well, maybe that’s a bad way of putting it.

JR & Lawler hyped the Wednesday night Austin special, insisting it will be our last chance to see Stone Cold. Fernando arrived, being chased by Hurricane & Rosey. He jumped on JR’s lap for protection and JR was declared the winner for capturing the midget. Pretty silly.

RVD was in the ring, waiting for his match to start. Bischoff appeared on the TitanTron to spin the wheel. Orton was there as well. The wheel came up on “Handicap Match”. Orton suggested another stip should be added, so Bischoff spun again and it landed on “Singapore Cane Match”.

Scott Steiner & Test defeated RVD in a non-title, handicap, Singapore cane match in 2:45. Bischoff had conveniently armed the heel duo with canes. RVD kicked Steiner off the apron as he was coming in, and then did a somersault plancha on Test. Steiner used a cane on RVD. RVD used one on Test, who was hilarious selling the blows. Test used Stacy Keibler as a shield to prevent further blows. The heels doubled on RVD with the canes until he used kicks to put them down. Test accidentally hit Steiner with a cane. RVD bumped Test out and hit the frog splash on Steiner, but before he could go for the pin, Test hit him from behind with a hard cane shot to the head and scored the pin. Short, but all action. Stacy reluctantly raised Steiner & Test’s hands in victory afterward.

Jericho went to Bischoff’s office and tried to get him to change the bra & panties stips for Trish’s match. Bischoff said Jericho must really have fallen for her. Jericho stammered that he was just trying to improve the show by coming up with classier stips, but it was clear he was really just upset that “his girl” was risking being stripped in front of millions of people. Bischoff said the stips couldn’t be changed, and Jericho didn’t invoke his favor since Trish earlier said he didn’t need to do that. Anyway, Bischoff wanted Jericho’s assurance that he would do the right thing (wink, wink) when teaming with HBK. Jericho said he’d do the right thing, but as he left the office it looked as if he was unsure which right thing he would do, Trish’s or Bischoff’s. I normally don’t like romance angles but the ones they’re doing with Jericho-Trish and Christian-Lita are interesting.

Trish beat Miss Jackie in the bra & panties match in 1:59. JR & Lawler both mentioned that Jackie’s boob got exposed last week. It was the usual stuff, with a lot of clothes tearing, some chops, and very little wrestling. Both got their tops torn off. Rico got in the ring. Trish tore his pants off and he was wearing pink panties. He seemed proud of that fact. Jackie accidentally kicked him and Trish tore her bottom off for the win. Afterward, Jackie confronted Lilian Garcia over announcing Trish as the winner. She tore Lilian’s top off. Lilian didn’t care, and in fact got in the ring and strutted her stuff.

Jericho was happy that Trish won and at least managed to be only stripped of her top. He asked if they were still on for after the show. Trish said it depends on whether or not Jericho does the right thing.

HBK & Jericho defeated Flair & Batista in 5:04. Flair and HBK traded hard chops. Flair took a high backdrop, as always. HBK hit a missile kick. The arena was kind of hazy from all the pyro. Batista came in and pounded Jericho, who fought back with chops. Batista gave Jericho a spinebuster. Flair went to the top, but got slammed off by Jericho. JR noted that Flair’s attempts to come off the top never work, at least not in this decade. There was a weird spot where Flair appeared to legit get his nose busted on the ropes when he head snapped through them. It was a weird accident but they worked around it. Jericho was working just fine with HBK, and Lawler noted he’d do just that to get a favor from Trish. Jericho hurled Batista from the ring. Flair raked Jericho’s eyes and he accidentally slugged HBK while swinging blindly. HBK backdropped Flair and hit him with the sweet chin music. But Jericho then turned, hitting the chin music on HBK. However, HBK fell on Flair and pinned him. Jericho left with a smirk on his face, feeling he had satisfied Trish by working with HBK long enough to win the match, while also satisfying Bischoff by leaving HBK laying at the end to be destroyed by Batista. And that’s what happened, as afterward Batista mauled HBK with a sit-down powerbomb and a major choke-out that left HBK bleeding big from the mouth. Batista got on the mic and said “I believe in Armageddon!” Pretty good match and angle. The show left the air with JR screaming that they needed some help out there.