WWE Monday Night Raw
November 28th, 2005

It's been one night since the slaughter of the Raw superstars by Smackdown at the '05 Survivor Series. Team Raw lost to Team Smackdown. Bischoff lost to Long. Only Trish Stratus came through against Melina. So what will be the reaction tonight from Bischoff and the Raw superstars? Let's get to it.

- Bischoff started the show in the ring, furious about what had happened at the PPV. He talked about how failure is not tolerated, always a bad comment to make when you yourself failed. Bischoff called out the Raw locker room, but no one came out, causing Bischoff to complain about an audio problem. He said he would go to the back and fire the first person he sees, but when Vince McMahon comes out a second later, obviously, Bischoff was mistaken. McMahon introduces himself as the Chairman of the Board and says he doesn't want to be fired, since he loves his job. Hah!

Vince then talks about how Bischoff blew his 3 goals the night before (Team Raw winning, Bischoff winning, and Angle beating Cena). Vince sets an ultimatum: set a goal & succeed at it tonight, or there might be a new GM. When Bischoff said it would be nearly impossible to replace him, Shane McMahon walked out. Didn't we see this last year? Is Bischoff going to hire Steve Austin back to save his job again? Oh, wait, his connection to JR's gone, so I guess that's out. Shane got the mic and said he really didn't like Bischoff, and that Shane was born to do the job. I believe he's done the job on many occasions now, to the Rock, to Kurt Angle, to Kane, to Steve Blackman, but I digress. Bischoff leaves the ring, looking extremely nervous. I would be, too, if the son of my boss was shooting for my job.

- Match #1: Shawn Michaels defeated Carlito. They actually used a lot of psychology in this match. First, Carlito (on an exclusive on WWE.com, except they also showed it on Raw, sigh) was ticked off about the loss to Team Smackdown, and blamed the captain, HBK. So he immediately attacked Michaels and was actually in control with intensity early on. Later in the match, HBK knocked Carlito down and kipped up, but then grabbed his left leg in pain and rolled out of the ring, really selling an injury. He was unable, twice, to get the Sweet Chin Music because of the pain (the announcers sold it as a pulled hamstring). Finally, though, at the end, HBK reversed out of Carlito's finisher and, using the top rope for balance, got the Superkick, winning the match. HBK had to be helped to the back by referees afterwards. Impressive showing by both men, and possibly Carlito's best match I've ever seen. Of course, it WAS against HBK.

- A wild Kurt Angle (w/Daivari) got in Bischoff's face in the back, blaming his loss on the Smackdown referee who made the count in his World Title Match against Cena. Angle knew that Bischoff was having problems, but then he threatened Bischoff with bodily harm anyway, if Bischoff didn't give him what he wanted. Poor Bischoff. Talk about two bad nights in a row.

- After a break, Maria, as a reporter, asked Bischoff if he was going to get fired tonight. Apparently Shane McMahon put her up to it. Bischoff took a second to pull himself together, then told Maria to get out to the ring, as one of his goals was to never hear her stupid questions again. Maria was going to have to wrestle Kurt Angle. Yeouch. I smell sexual harrassment lawsuit.

- Match #2: Kurt Angle and Maria went to a No-Contest. The longer fight here was before the match, as Daivari (Angle's personal ref) got into it with WWE ref Chad Patton. Both wanted to referee the match, for some reason. Maybe Patton has a crush on Maria? Anyway, Patton slugged Daivari and told him to leave, but when he turned his back (don't you watch the product you referee, there, Patton?), Daivari attacked him and beat him down, sending him out. Angle then came out and told Maria to calm down, that all he wanted was a hug. Of course, silly Maria went for it, and Angle took her down with the Angle Slam, as Daivari had the bell rung. Soon after, John Cena ran down for the save (little late there, Cena), getting rid of both Angle & Daivari, only to be taken into Chris Masters' Masterlock from behind!

As the three men beat down Cena, Bischoff came out and announced that his true goal is to see Cena tap out and lose the World Title. He makes a "Triple Threat" Match for Cena's belt between Cena, Angle, and Masters, and makes it a Submission Match, making things even worse for our hero. Bischoff also makes it No Disqualification and No Countout, which always seems to backfire on the heels. Oh well. Angle & Masters seem happy, which is the important thing.

- Shawn Michaels' book gets an advertisement, with the book apparently discussing everything in his career, from "losing his smile" to the Montreal Incident being like a mob hit. Interesting.

- Match #3: Trish Stratus, Mickie James, & Ashley defeated Victoria, Candice Michelle, & a returning Torrie Wilson. I still think it's funny that everyone believed that Wilson had been let go, when she was just on vacation. Sadly, I have to include myself in that, but it's still funny. Ashley played the face-in-peril, then managed to get over to make the tag. Trish was close, but James reached past her to steal the tag, then dominated, with Victoria only able to get in a few shots before James was able to win it with a version of the Stratusfaction. James posed with the Women's Title afterwards, before giving it back to Trish, who gets the win without even getting tagged in.

- Bischoff, back in his office, was on the phone. Shane McMahon then walked in and taunted Bischoff, wondering if he felt like a man by doing what he did to Maria. He also questions Bischoff's goal, saying that Cena wasn't a weak woman. Bischoff responded by saying that Shane was a card-carrying member of the lucky sperm club. Zing! Of course, Shane didn't see it as a good thing, as he slammed Bischoff against the wall, to... a very weak pop, for some reason. Maybe people were shocked? Shane tells Bischoff not to disrespect him, then lets him go, smoothing Bischoff's suit before tapping his watch & telling Bischoff time was running out.

- Angle talks with Daivari in the back, telling Daivari to call for the bell as soon as he gets a hammerlock on Cena. Why didn't they do that yesterday, might I ask? Masters comes in and says that if they screw Cena, they screw him, so he's arranged with Vince McMahon to have an impartial referee for his first WWE title match. Angle's response? "You son of a b#$%h!"

- Clips of the tour in Europe were shown, going to places like England and Ireland. Benjamin commented on how good the fans are, and how he'd love to go there again and again. Hey, if you only can see it live a few times a year, you'd get excited too.

- Match #4: Trevor Murdoch defeated Shelton Benjamin by rolling up with tights. Surprising loss by Shelton. Also a surprise that they already seem to be breaking up Cade & Murdoch, having them wrestle separately without each other. I mean, why couldn't Cade be there to help Murdoch cheat? Oh well, who needs a tag division on Raw anyway?

- Triple H comes to the ring and talks about what he did to Ric Flair the night before, saying that he was a humanitarian by setting Flair up in a nice hospital bed with a plasma television. HHH wanted Flair to not miss a moment of Raw, then told Flair to stay down and not try to come back. As HHH taunted Flair some more, he said that no one alive has the guts to look him in the eyes and tell him how he is to his face. Bad slip of the tongue, Hunter. The Big Show came out and stared down HHH, then called him a piece of *bleep*! He referenced his 'talk with Triple H a few weeks ago, saying that HHH's time is now, and did HHH have the guts to fight him right there? When HHH tried to respond, the Big Show knocked his mic out of his hands. Helmsley then did the 'smart' thing, getting out of the ring and walking to the back.

- Match #5: The Big Show & Kane stayed the Raw Tag Champs, beating Tyson Tomko & Gene Snitsky. The Big Show Chokeslammed Tomko for the win in about 2 minutes, with the announcers saying that they didn't think anyone could beat them for the belts. I see a break-up in the near future.

- Match #6: John Cena retained the Raw Heavyweight Title, winning a "No DQ, No Count-Out, Submission Triple Threat" Match over Kurt Angle and Chris Masters. Not surprisingly, Angle & Masters worked over Cena at the beginning, then Angle turned on Masters to make it a true Triple Threat. Angle got the Ankle Lock on Cena, bending his ankle to the breaking point, until Masters came back to get the Masterlock on Angle! Angle's trapped in the Masterlock for a long while, until Cena finally comes back for the save. But Masters soon got the advantage on Cena as well, eventually getting the Masterlock on him as well! Megapush for Masters! Cena's falling in the Masterlock until Angle makes the save. Angle was able to reverse a Masterlock into the Ankle Lock, hurting Masters, but Cena came off the top rope with an Axe Handle (that Angle HAD to see coming) for the break. All of the sudden, Cena's showing no pain, running all over Angle with his usual finishing sequence. I swear I heard some boos from the crowd, possibly due to the "no-sell" by Cena. Masters broke up the "You Can't See Me" Five-Knuckle Shuffle with a Clothesline, as Angle rolled out and got a chair. He tried to hit Cena, but Cena blocked it back into Angle's head, taking him down. Cena then stunned Masters and got the chair, taking out Masters' leg with two huge chairshots before using an STF to get the win. Cena looked intense using the chair.

- A short clip showed Vince & Shane talking about "taking out the trash" next week. Bye, Bischoff.

Summary: I don't say this very often anymore, being a Smackdown mark... but I liked Raw this week. It was a good post-PPV night, with some pretty good matches. We even had two title defenses, while the Women's Champ represented. That only leaves the IC Title, which I kind of wish would just be vacated due to Flair's injuries (sorry, Flair, but I want the belt out there!).

My only issue (I always seem to find an issue to talk about nowdays; guess I'm becoming a cynic in my old age) is with selling. If you watched the HBK/Carlito match, you got to see selling in perfection. HBK's 'knee injury' really gave the match another dimension, leading the fans to think that Carlito could get the win. I love matches like that. HBK's pain in missing the Sweet Chin Music TWICE really made the match, especially since, if you watched, Carlito dodged both times even DESPITE of HBK collapsing. Great match.

On the other side was the main event. I was happy with it, don't get me wrong. I liked Cena's intensity at the end and all. But he's not Hulk Hogan. Cena took, back-to-back, the Ankle Lock and the Masterlock. He was in the Masterlock earlier in the night, then took it again in the match, so he HAD to have been hurting. Yet he came back into the ring by leaping off the turnbuckle, then ran all over the ring attacking Angle and Masters. He didn't even wince from minor back spasms. I personally believe THAT'S why some people were booing in the background; because Cena's performance just wasn't believable compared to everyone else.

That aside, I popped for his intensity when he got the chair, preparing to swing it into Masters' leg. Masters sold like a champ, by the way, and the shocked look on his face from the STF was priceless. He seemed to be saying, "Cena's putting me in this? CENA?" I actually found myself pulling for him a little, hoping he could last, and feeling like he tapped a little too soon. Honestly, after seeing this match, I definitely have to say that Masters is growing on me. I could actually see him now as a main-eventer, if he keeps working on it. Don't pass out, Masters. I know you don't get compliments often. But you did good, man. Congrats.

In fact, a lot of guys whom I haven't exactly been glowing about had good nights. Carlito. Masters. Murdoch. Even Tomko & Snitsky, well, ok, they didn't get to do much against Kane & the Big Show, but they jobbed like champs! A few months ago, I would have laughed about the wrestlers on this card. I mean, look at the list of those who wrestled:

Shawn Michaels / Kane
Carlito / Big Show
Maria / Tyson Tomko
Trish Stratus / Gene Snitsky
Mickie James / John Cena
Ashley / Kurt Angle
Candice / Chris Masters
Victoria / Shelton Benjamin
Torrie Wilson / Trevor Murdoch

Of this list, who would you call top-notch talent? HBK, Angle, and Cena, certainly. Maybe Kane, the Big Show, and Stratus. Anyone else? And yet, I honestly couldn't say any of these guys & gals gave bad showings. Even Maria (her taking the Angle Slam looked pretty professional, gotta admit). So props to the Raw roster. Even with no Flair, Triple H, Edge, and other stars, they really came through to my satisfaction.

One question, though: where the heck is Chavo Guerrero? Is he still in mourning, after wrestling the night of Eddie's death? Because, tragic as it is, it's still Chavo's best chance yet to succeed, and he hasn't been on television since. The fans miss Eddie, and will cheer Chavo in respect. Maybe Chavo just doesn't want that. Maybe he's giving Eddie his own respect. I just don't know.

Anyway, everyone remember, Tuesday night, a live edition of Smackdown! Don't miss it, because they probably will need the ratings.

The Accelerator