WWE Monday Night Raw: Homecoming
October 3rd, 2005

It was the pay-per-view that wasn't a PPV. WWE Raw comes home to USA Network, celebrating their new move with a 3-hour show (to combat the Spike TV surge of UFC). Some people claimed that Raw was giving up too many good matches for free. Some people couldn't wait for this show to get on the air. Personally? I'm just happy to be here. Let's get to it.

- We started with a mini-review of RAW Is USA, which really spoke to the history of the companies. Not a bad way to start. Of course, they're not just relying on history, since they have a new set and a lot of fireworks.

- Mick Foley came out to be on "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's Piper's Pit. Both got big pops. Piper basically pushed Foley to return to WWE, talking about the fans giving him 12,000 reasons to come back. They're interrupted, though, by "Cowboy" Bob Orton & his son, Randy, of Smackdown, with Randy out for Piper. Randy talked about how Piper wouldn't be where he is today without "Cowboy Bob" (potentially a valid argument). Piper & Randy brawled, with Foley trying to pull them apart, only to be hit by "Cowboy Bob". This allowed Randy to get RKO's on both men, laying out the legends once again.

- Eric Bischoff & Teddy Long argued in the back about the Ortons attacking on Raw. Long claimed to have nothing to do with it.

- Match #1: Shawn Michaels & Kurt Angle fought to a Draw in a "30-Minute Iron Man" Match. The definite BUMMER Finish of the night. Angle got a huge Angle Slam off the top turnbuckle on HBK for the first fall, about 8 minutes in. HBK evened things up a few minutes later, though, rolling up Angle after an attempted Ankle Lock. Later on, before the 2nd commercial break, Michaels tapped to the Ankle Lock Grapevine, giving Angle a 2-1 edge.

With only about 5 minutes left, Michaels tied it up again, getting the Flying Elbowdrop followed by the Sweet Chin Music. Near the end, HBK did a Moonsault on Angle, but Angle somehow caught his leg and got the Ankle Lock instead! Although Angle locked it into the Grapevine, HBK was able to escape as time was almost up, then got some Sweet Chin Music again. However, the ref was down from an Angle bump, and the clock ran out, causing it to be a Draw. Afterwards, HBK tried to go to Sudden Death, but Angle just walked off.

- John Cena was shown participating in the Hip Hop Awards. Makes sense, I suppose, although I'm sure there were some purists that hated to see him there.

- A massive group of legends were sitting in the front row, watching the event. They included Kevin von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Ted DiBiase, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Koko B. Ware, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, the Fabulous Moolah, and a bunch more.

- In the back, Bischoff tried to get Vince McMahon to make his match No Disqualification, but Vince wouldn't hear it.

- Vince came out to the ring and talked about his favorite moments (all apparently dealing with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Austin then came out to crashing glass, and showed some highlights of his own (all about Vince). Austin then, not surprisingly, hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Vince. Shane McMahon surprisingly ran to the ring, but was also Stunned. Stephanie McMahon came out, and, yep, got Stunned. Linda McMahon then came out and talked about how the rest of the McMahons were trash, then shared beer with Austin. Always a mistake. 4 McMahons, 4 Stunners. Feel-good segment.

- After a break, Vince McMahon is seen leaving in a limo, saying that someone would be fired for what just happened.

- Match #2: Edge, with Lita, defeated Matt Hardy in the "Loser Leaves Raw Money In The Bank" Match. Pretty good match, with a lot of great moves, including near the end, when Hardy got the Twist of Fate on Edge off the ladder. He then went to climb, only to be attacked by Lita. For some reason, Hardy just shoves Lita into the corner (ok, she hit hard), then tried to climb again, only to have Lita take away the ladder. Edge then grabbed Hardy's legs and yanked him so that he fell onto the ropes. Edge tied Hardy to the ropes, and Lita held him as Edge made the climb and got the briefcase, sending Hardy off of Raw. Hardy is escorted from the building afterwards.

- In the back, Trish Stratus & Ashley are shown getting dressed for their match. They're interrupted by Mae Young (oh god!), who wants to show it off. She leaves the locker room and runs into DiBiase, Duggan, & Snuka, who all look shocked about what they might see. DiBiase offers Young money not to show her 'puppies'. Snuka then grabbed the money from DiBiase, said he would pay him back, and took off after Young. Ok, so I was laughing pretty hard here, I admit it. Duggan actually really looks like he's in shape, btw.

- Maria (dressed as a Homecoming Queen; I guess she got confused again) interviewed Ric Flair, who put over Triple H's return in their tag match.

- Match #3: (BTW, about 2 hours in, and this is our 3rd match) Triple H & Ric Flair defeated Chris Masters & Carlito. Triple H was hugely over, more than anyone else in the ring. Guess I shouldn't be surprised. Flair took a turn as the face-in-peril (with a funny bit where Flair looked to finally make the tag to HHH, but then did a Flair Flop instead). Flair finally tagged the Game, who dominated. Triple H then went for his sledgehammer, but didn't get to use it on Masters, as it was broken up by Carlito. However, the Game quickly got the best of Carlito and went for the Pedigree, as Flair took out Masters (who had gotten the sledge). The Pedigree landed, and the pin quickly followed.

- After the match, Triple H & Flair celebrated, but Triple H then turned and smashed Flair with the sledge. He beat Flair bloody and dragged him all the way to the back, yelling at him about "What are you thinking?" Maybe Triple H is mad about Flair calling him in? Eventually, he threw the beaten Flair into a limo and told the driver to "get this piece of crap out of my building". The driver complied when the Game hit the door window with the sledge. That'll cost you your deposit, Nature Boy. Course, the blood on the seats won't help.

- The legends entered the ring, with Dusty Rhodes as the spokesperson. They were interrupted by Rob Conway, who made old-age jokes, then entered the ring with the 30 or so legends. Honestly, who is THAT stupid? As expected, the legends eventually beat the hell out of Conway, with Race getting the first shots in, followed by a Dusty Bionic Elbow, the Iron Claw from von Erich (I popped huge for that!), and the Superfly Splash. Great, if unbelievable, moment for the return to USA.

- Match #4: Trish Stratus & Ashley won the "Bra & Panties Handicap" Match over Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle, & Victoria. This match was strictly for male pleasure. Not much wrestling; just a lot of stripping girls. One point to note: both Candice (who will be in Playboy soon) and Wilson (been on Playboy) were both covering up their bodies, even though they had on bras. That's just always strange to me.

- In the back, Angle mentions to Bischoff that he had seen Mr. Kennedy! Woohoo! Anyway, Bischoff says that he has a plan for the Smackdown guys, then mentions that, since Vince has left, he's now back in charge, so his match WILL BE a NO DQ match, with Angle at ringside. OK, who else thinks they could get away with asking their boss for something, getting told they couldn't, then changing it anyway after they leave?

- "Match" #5: Batista, Chris Benoit, & Rey Mysterio vs. JBL, Christian, & Eddie Guerrero doesn't even start, as Bischoff comes out and cuts the lights, again mentioning that since Vince is gone, he's in control. So a major match they were touting for the past week doesn't even happen? Bummer.

- Mean Gene Okerlund introduced Hulk Hogan, who basically said that his next target will be the Rattlesnake, Steve Austin. The match that everyone wanted to see! Maybe about five years ago, at any rate.

- Match #6: John Cena stayed the WWE Champ, winning a "No DQ" Match over Eric Bischoff. This was a pretty short match, especially since it started a few minutes after 10pm. Angle interfered a lot, but Cena was able to get the best of both men, with Angle clocking himself off the ropes with a chair shot. Cena then FU'ed Bischoff for the win.

- After the match, Cena and Angle started to brawl, only to be interrupted by a ticked-off Teddy Long, who sent the Smackdown troops to the ring to beat up both Raw stars! More Raw stars came out to aid them, and flashbacks of WWE Invasion were stirred as the two organizations fought all over the place! The night ended with a wild brawl.

Summary: All-in-all, it wasn't a bad show. I enjoyed various parts of it, and got my fix. My main beef is that they extended the show to 3 hours, yet had only 5 actual matches (with one being a Bra & Panties match). So much for promoting due to the wrestlers. I also wasn't satisfied with the Iron Man Match or the Ladder Match, although I may have put them on too high of a pedestal in my mind for them to succeed. I expected more, basically, especially a clean ending to the Iron Man Match.

Still, it was good to see the top talent of Raw be showcased, as well as the legends of the past recognized. I felt a sobering shiver down my spine when Kevin von Erich got the Iron Claw on Conway. For those that have read the von Erich history, it was a moment that had to get to you. Cena's win also wasn't a bad thing, as he really dominated Bischoff (which he freakin' should!). Of course, where were the Tag-Team Champs? Just a small question there.

So I'll give Homecoming a pretty good rating, all things considered, even if it felt more like a "set-up" show than a PPV. Here's hoping that WWE is able to follow it up with some success over the next few weeks, as they stabilize themselves in USA.

The Accelerator