WWE Monday Night Raw
October 17th, 2005

As build-up FINALLY begins for Taboo Tuesday, Raw hits the air, probably to continue the issue of Vince & Linda McMahon firing Jim Ross last week. Will there be a replacement for JR, or just the same two guys? Let's get to it.

- Vince McMahon started the show, continuing the recent "McMahon-Mania". Vince talked about the firing of Jim Ross, then ran a "tribute" that basically showed all the beatdowns good ol' JR has taken in his career. Vince then introduced who he called the "new lead announcer", Jonathan Coachman! If I was Jerry Lawler, I'd be ticked that the Coach jumped over him.

- In the back, Kurt Angle wanted to know from Vince whether he was the #1 Contender, to which Vince replied that he'd be talking to Eric Bischoff about it. At least Bischoff apparently has SOME power. The Hurricane then interrupted, saying bad things about the Coach. To no one's surprise, Vince sent Angle after the Hurricane, and Angle mainly beat the hell out of him all the way to the ring. The Hurricane, at one point, tried to fight back, but Angle's just too tough, breaking his ankle in the Ankle Lock Grapevine. May I predict an Angle vs. Rosey match for next week?

- In an interesting note, on WWE.com, in the WWE Unlimited section, you can see Rosey come down to help the Hurricane up. The Hurricane SLAPPED Rosey, then unmasked!!!! Wow, is the Hurricane, aka Shane Helms, finally dropping the Super-Hero angle? Y'know, I was always hoping he would go bad and become a "super-villian" for Rosey to fight.

- Again in the back (after a break), Bischoff announced to Vince that, at Taboo Tuesday, it would be John Cena vs. Kurt Angle vs. an unknown opponent in a "Triple Threat" Match. The three qualifiers would be chosen later tonight in their respective matches. Ok, this one I'm up for, because Qualification Nights always rock!

- Match #1: The Big Show defeated Edge to become one of the Qualifiers for Taboo Tuesday. Edge was prepared to use his briefcase at one point, but the music of Smackdown's JBL distracted him, allowing TBS to get the Chokeslam for the victory. (Note: The match lasted about 10 minutes, a nice improvement from last week) - Edge & Lita were upset about "JBL's" interference. Hey, how do we know that JBL played the music? Didn't Triple H use JBL's music to try to fool Batista not too long ago? For all we know, The Big Show arranged it so that he would win! Don't sell a Giant short. Anyway, Bischoff told Edge to do something about it, and Edge basically promised to be on Smackdown.

- In Carlito's Cabana, Carlito promised to defeat Shawn Michaels and become a qualifier later on. His guest was Mick Foley, and the two exchanged insults about Foley's lack of coolness and Carlito having worse hair than even Foley. During the interview, Foley talked about the rough treatment of JR, to which Linda McMahon, on the Titon Tron, talked about JR's surgery, and how Linda's blow had nothing to do with it. She said that any lawsuits would be met with their massive team of lawyers. I'm losing more and more faith that the JR-Firing was anything but a complete Internet set-up that many of us fell for. Oh well, go Kayfabe! Anyway, Foley told Carlito, who was chewing on his apple, that he'd better be ready for Michaels, then left w/o getting spit on.

- Match #2: Shawn Michaels won the 2nd Qualifying Match over Carlito. Pretty long match here, that started right way as Carlito attacked HBK on the ramp. The two really went at it, and if you're a fan of HBK's matches (as I am), then you probably enjoyed yourself. In the end, the ref went down, allowing Carlito to cheat, grabbing a chair. But HBK gave Carlito some Sweet Chin Music straight through the chair for the victory. WWE's match choices are really impressing me this week, and we still got the main event battle royal to go!

- Ric Flair gave a TREMENDOUS promo about Triple H's assault on him. Flair even made himself bleed, hitting himself in the head, adding some fire to the tirade against his former best friend. Honestly, if you missed it, I suggest finding a complete statement of Flair's promo, because it was THAT good. When Triple H came out to respond, Flair immediately chased him to the back with a baseball bat. Y'know, I haven't been a huge fan of Flair lately, not like many other Internet gurus, but he just showed me something I've missed: a really intense promo. Alright, I admit it. You da Man, Flair!

- Carlito blamed Mick Foley for his loss to HBK (huh?) and demanded a match with him at Taboo Tuesday. Hmmm. Can we vote for a Hell In A Cell?

- Match #3: Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle, & Victoria defeated Trish Stratus, Ashley, & Mickie James. Very little match here. James got a nice Hurricanrana, but she bragged to Trish, which allowed Victoria to roll her up for the win. Afterwards, a ticked-off James gave Victoria the Stratus-faction.

- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin drove his truck to the ring before the break.

- After the break, Austin sat in the ring, wanting a piece of Vince McMahon. He got Stephanie instead. Fair trade, in my opinion. Austin talked about Stephanie's "big balls" that she talked about the week before. Yikes. Stephanie then blamed JR's firing on Austin's Stunners on the McMahons, to which Austin replied that JR had nothing to do with them. Austin then prepared to spank Stephanie (saying he'd take care not to reveal her jewels... again, yikes), but the Coach interrupted, obviously remembering how he had to apologize for not helping the McMahons last time. This leads to Stephanie coming up with the 'brilliant' idea that Austin will wrestle the Coach at Taboo Tuesday. If Austin wins, he gets JR's job back. If the Coach wins, Austin is fired. Ummmmm, ok, not a match I would pay to see. Afterwards, Austin insulted the Coach, poured beer in his "JR"-like hat, then put the hat on the Coach's head. Classic Rattlesnake.

- Bischoff announced several matches for Taboo Tuesday, including Triple H vs. Flair, a Diva Battle Royal, and Mick Foley vs. Carlito. He then started to introduce the first participant in the Battle Royal, but got interrupted by John Cena, who came to the broadcast table to be a special announcer. Bischoff then finished his announcement, bringing out Kane. The Big Red Machine is back!

- Match #4: Kane won the final Qualifying Spot by winning the Battle Royal. Ok, let me just list the other competitors in this match: Edge, Chris Masters, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Rob Conway, Eugene, Tyson Tomko, Kerwin White, Gene Snitsky, Trevor Murdoch, Lance Cade, Viscera, Val Venis, Rosey, Tajiri, & the Heart Throbs. Basically, you can see that the only two possibilities in this one were Edge or Kane, and Edge was eliminated during the commercial break! The final four were the Heart Throbs, Masters, & Kane. Kane, of course, eliminated all three, as well as most of the others in this match, to win the Battle Royal. It was a glorified Squash Battle Royal! Talk about wild.

- After the match, Kane pointed to Cena and made the sign of the title around his waist, and Cena had the smarts to look a little worried. Show over.

Summary: Ok, pretty good show, way above what they had last week. They had around 35 minutes of matches, with 1 of those lasting less than 2 minutes, so it was an alright night for wrestling. I wouldn't have minded one more match, but I'll be satisfied with what I got. The Michaels/Carlito and TBS/Edge matches were worth seeing, with HBK/CCC taking top honors for the night.

Really, my only problem was with the main event. I was really interested in a Battle Royal, but that's before I realized how depleted the Raw roster is. With Triple H and Flair busy with their own stuff, and TBS & HBK having already won, the only real contender was Kane. Really, the only other two in the Battle Royal who possibly had a chance were Edge & Benjamin (giving Benjamin just a little credit), with Carlito and the Tag Champs, Cade & Murdoch, as outside possibilities. Of these 5 men, none even made the Final Four, with Benjamin coming the closest as the 6th-to-last man eliminated.

Now, I'm not saying that it wasn't an interesting match. I just think it would have made things more interesting to have the Heartthrobs replaced by Cade/Murdoch, and maybe have Benjamin or Edge replace Masters. That way, you have a Final Four with something to root for. The crowd kind of died off, in my opinion, when Benjamin and Val Venis went out, because why cheer for the four heels in the ring?

All-in-all, though, I can't let that one match spoil things for me. We got some excellent promos from masters like Foley, Flair, and, yes, Austin. We got two excellent matches, which always makes my night. And we had a Battle Royal, the results of which don't change the fact that they had one of my favorite style matches on free television.

So now we've got The Big Show, Shawn Michaels, or Kane as the potential third in the Cena/Angle match. Part of me thinks a Cena/Angle/Michaels match would be incredible. Another part of me, though, REALLY wants to vote for the Big Show, who, I think, deserves the spotlight again. I'll just have to think about it over the next few weeks.

The Accelerator