WWE Monday Night Raw
November 21st, 2005

We're a week removed from the tributes to Eddie Guerrero, and less than a week away from the '05 Survivor Series. What will WWE do to promote one of their biggest shows of the year?

Let's get to it.

- We started with highlights of everything that happened regarding Edge and Batista from two weeks ago. Smart move, even I had forgotten parts of it.

- Team Raw (Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito, Kane, & the Big Show) came to the ring, followed by Eric Bischoff. The fans are cheering them, even if they attacked Batista. Hmmm. Bischoff talked about the rumors of Smackdown showing up tonight, and has Todd Grisham watching from the parking lot. When Bischoff talked about the Raw team being his, though, the Big Show took the mic from him and talked about how he and Kane went to Raw, er, from Raw to Smackdown (small slip, barely worth mentioning) because they wanted to prove they were unstoppable. Batista was in the wrong place, was the wrong guy, and it definitely was the wrong time.

- Grisham then interrupted, saying that the Smackdown team was there! The JBL limo pulled up, and all 5 SD stars (Batista, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton (replacing Eddie Guerrero), Bobby Lashley, and JBL) got out, along with Theodore Long. Batista took the mic from Grisham and challenged the Raw stars to a brawl in the parking lot. Although Bischoff tried to say no, Shawn Michaels led his team out to the lot. It's a long walk, though, so we had a commercial break.

- When we came back, the SD guys were still waiting, as the Raw guys made their way towards them. Big arena. Carlito stops them just before they get there, asking about it being a trap. Michaels hopes it is, and the Big Show says that if Batista is still standing, then he & Kane have work to do. The brawl then erupts, with all 10 men going at it. JBL went at it with Michaels onto the limo. Batista put the Big Show through a car window. Mysterio got caught by the Master Lock, as Orton fought with Carlito. Then, all of the sudden, we hear a crash, and the camera pans over to show that Kane & the Big Show have Double-Chokeslammed Batista into a car! No word on what the hell happened to Lashley to allow Batista to get double-teamed. Security broke things up, with the SD guys calling for medical aid for the hurting Batista.

(Note: I'm very unhappy about badly they made SD look here. Raw basically dominated. More on that later.)

- Grisham showed the smashed car again, with Bischoff suddenly appearing and stating that you don't mess with his Raw.

- Match #1: Ric Flair defeated Trevor Murdoch via roll-up, holding the tights to continue being the dirtiest player in the game. It wasn't a bad match, but I'd rather see Cade than Murdoch go against Flair. Just my preference. After the match, Triple H appeared on the big screen, telling Flair that he only had bought himself some more time. In other words, Triple H is going to destroy him in the "Last Man Standing" Match.

- Match #2...?: Tajiri and Rob Conway, who apparently started wrestling during the break (I guess I need to watch that wwe.com footage), immediately get attacked as we come back from commercial by a returning JBL, who nails both with the Clothesline From Hell, then lays down a challenge to Chris Masters, which the crowd seems interested in. But Bischoff comes out, insinuating that JBL is an idiot for challenging Raw, and instead puts JBL in a match against Shawn Michaels in the main event. Of course, this immediately makes Smackdown the heel again (sigh). JBL, still happy, heads off, telling Bischoff that he'll see him in the main event.

- Match #3: Kurt Angle, with Daivari again as the special referee, won over Shelton Benjamin. I was interested again in this match until I heard Daivari's music, making the ending pretty obvious before the match had even begun. Sure enough, Daivari was very biased, ignoring Benjamin being able to reach the rope when in the Ankle Lock. When Benjamin was able to reverse the lock into a roll-up, Daivari reversed the roll-up himself, then made a quick count, giving Angle the win. BTW, Angle's "You Suck" chants were again censored, which, while funny once, is now just annoying.

- After the match, Angle (not surprisingly) announced that Daivari was his referee for all his matches, per Bischoff, which includes the main event this Sunday. Cena is screwed. Speaking of, Cena was shown in the back, where he said he was going to get to the bottom of Angle's "You Suck" problems. He went to the first locker room, finding a naked Candice Michelle asking if she sucked (whew!). I think Maria was there, too, but I was, umm, focused on something else. Cena then got shooed out, and went to the next locker room, where Gene Snitsky was massaging out a 'kink' in Tyson Tomko's shoulder. Yikes. Cena insinuated their sexual preferences, then backed out, as Snitsky shouted "It's not my fault!" to the joy of the fans.

- Next, Cena went to another locker room, this time finding Smackdown's Boogeyman behind it. He gave a quick sing-song about London Bridge falling down (since they were in England), and the crowd actually popped a little for it. Cena seemed a little off. He closed the door, then reopened it, with the Boogeyman saying "My fair lady!" and slamming his clock against his head. Needless to say, a speechless Cena closed the door again. He finally gave up on the Raw stars giving their opinions, and instead came out to the cheers of the crowd. He interviewed several fans, all of whom said Angle sucks. With all the information put together, Cena gave his 'unbiased' opinion: that Angle still sucks. He then entered the ring and brawled with both Angle & Daivari, eventually sending both from the ring. Tremendous segment. To those who don't think Cena belongs as the WWE champ, take another look.

- Match #4: Val Venis won, via DQ, over Triple H, who quickly lost it and attacked Venis with a chair less than a minute into the match, beating him down with it. Who saw that coming? *raises own hand* Oh, c'mon, if you thought Venis had a chance, you're insane. Then again, he DID get the win over Triple H, so maybe that was his plan all along. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

- Eric Bischoff had someone usher Teddy Long into his office, with the two men agreeing to make the JBL/HBK match a "Lumberjack" Match. Seems strange to me, since Batista isn't here, leaving the SD guys outnumbered.

- There was a promo about the Undertaker coming back at the Survivor Series. I hope he takes Batista's spot and kicks Kane's rear.

- Match #5: Candice Michelle defeated Mickie James, thanks to Victoria knocking her out with the wand. This wasn't the story, though, as James was distracted by Trish Stratus getting kidnapped by 2 masked men! They carried her off, with the referee... doing nothing. Nice.

- We're shown Trish tied up in the back, as Melina comes out of the darkness. The 2 masked men are revealed as M-N-M! Smackdown's all over the place here. Melina taunts Trish, pointing out that she had won the Battle Royal last week (about the only reference from last week), and that she wanted a title shot at the PPV. Trish granted it, and Melina had M-N-M subdue her again, before saying "Melina - WWE Women's Champion. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?" She then proceeded to kick Trish in the head as promised. Ouch. They left her there, hidden away in the basement somewhere, tied up and hurting. Jerry "The King" Lawler, from the announce table, got upset and headed off to find her, to the roar of the crowd. Once again, Raw = faces, SD = heels.

- Maria hypes HBK's book in the back, which HBK is happy about, but says it's not the time... although it IS in stores around the country. He calls HBK vs. JBL the "initial" confrontation. Hah. While HBK doesn't care about Bischoff, JBL's on his turf, so it's on. Cool.

- Match #6: The Lumberjack Match between HBK and JBL ended basically in a No-Contest, as the two teams broke down into a brawl. It was a pretty good match until then, but JBL was definitely the heel, as the crowd booed when the SD guys attacked HBK outside the ring, even Mysterio. Near the end, HBK tried to Superkick JBL, but Orton pulled JBL out of the ring. HBK then leaped over the ropes onto both men, taking them out. Later on, though, JBL had control, going for the Clothesline From Hell, but HBK dodged, then got the Sweet Chin Music. Orton quickly came into the ring, though, and hit the RKO on Michaels. He also got the RKO on Carlito, taking both out, but got caught by Masters. Mysterio took out Masters, but then got Chokeslammed by Kane & the Big Show, who also took down Lashley, despite Lashley almost getting the Dominator on the Big Show. Batista, bandages and all, then ran out and attacked with a steel pipe, knocking out Kane and hitting the Big Show with a Spinebuster (I winced for Batista's torn muscle, not the Big Show), before celebrating in the ring, the only man standing, with bodies all around.

Summary: Alright, I'll give them this, it was an ok show. I also have to admit, right off the bat, that I'm biased. I can't help it.

But I was still in a foul mood for most of this show, mainly because the Smackdown guys kept being made to look so bad. The Smackdown Squad lost the brawl in the parking lot, and were made into the heels of the final match; M-N-M's assault on Trish made more Smackdown players look evil; and then, of course, at the end, almost all of the SD guys got beaten by Kane & the Big Show, with an injured Batista only barely able to take them down with lead pipe shots.

As a Smackdown fan, I was a little offended. It reminds me a lot of the Invasion angle, when fans were pushed to cheer the WWE guys and WCW/ECW became the huge heels, even though they were getting cheered in the beginning of the angle. I mean, think about it: thanks to Kane & the Big Show attacking Batista a few weeks ago on SD, the only face left on the Raw Squad should be HBK. They're even led by evil genius Eric Bischoff. Meanwhile, the SD roster has 3 faces in Batista, Mysterio, and Lashley. So who fights on Raw? HBK and JBL. Hmph. And with Batista likely to lose the title to Orton soon and be out, about the only thing SD will have going for it will be the Undertaker's return (and somehow, I can't see him working with Orton).

I've lost a lot of my interest in the Survivor Series, although I'll still watch Smackdown to see if they can get any momentum back. It'll be interesting to see who the fans cheer for on Smackdown, as it will determine if each brand has their own crowd, or if Raw is simply dominating and will soon take down SD, leading to the merge of the groups. For that, I still hate this angle, because Smackdown's always been my go-to show. I'd hate to see it collapse, leading to even more "talking-over-wrestling".

There were a few bright spots, as the JBL/HBK match wasn't bad, and neither was the Flair/Murdoch bout. But that was about it. Most of the rest of the show was talk/talk/talk, although I did love the Cena "investigative reporter" bit, I gotta admit. But the Benjamin/Angle match was hurt badly by angles, the Tajiri/Conway match basically didn't happen, and neither did the Venis/Triple H bout. Even the Candice/Mickie James match only went less than a few minutes, with everyone watching the Trish kid-napping. So, out of 6 matches, only three really did anything... in two hours' worth of time. And I'm being lenient with Angle/Benjamin.

As I've said before, I like the storylines, but I tune in for the wrestling... and I really didn't get my fix tonight. Once again, though, that might be because I'm biased towards Smackdown. I guess we'll just have to see what happens Friday night.

The Accelerator