WWE Monday Night Raw
September 5th, 2005

Welcome to the long-awaited Raw main event of the Masterlock Challenge. Scary, the way that slides off the tongue, huh?

- Match #1: Kurt Angle forced Eugene to tap out to the Ankle Lock in less than 4 minutes. Eugene barely got in any offense at all, other than a few headbutts on the turnbuckle (and a show of being "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan). Poor Eugene. His heat is gone, he's been consecutively beaten down, and he can't easily change gimmicks now. Angle continued to hold the Ankle Lock after the match, causing John Cena to come make the save. Cena was followed, however, by Tyson Tomko, who kicked the crud out of da champ. Angle then taunted Cena before leaving.

- In the back, Angle & Bischoff celebrated with Tomko, giving him the "gift" of a match with Cena that night. That's a gift? Not to me, it's not.

- Match #2: Val Venis & Viscera defeated the Heartthrobs, with Big Vis getting the Samoan Drop on Romeo for the win. Funny thing, how the only real tag-team specialists left on Raw are jobbed out all the time. Oh well. At least Venis is making a semi-comeback. I always thought he had a lot to offer in the ring, even if he's not much on the mic.

- Linda McMahon asks for people to give aid to Katrina victims. I second that motion. Give all you can.

- Carlito's Cabana had Ashley as its guest, making it the worst Cabana ever. I still don't see potential in Ashley, although her crack about Carlito's hair was timed well. Carlito prepares to spit in Ashley's face, when Ric Flair charges the ring, grabbing Carlito by his, uh, "cabanas" and twisting. Most painful submission move ever. Carlito leaves the ring in pain, as Flair lets him know he'll be winning the IC Title at Unforgiven. Carlito will defend the belt? Woohoo!

- Cade & Murdoch do another bit about winning the Tag Titles. I'm big supporters of them, since I want ANYONE else to be the champs now. BTW, they debut later tonight.

- Matt Hardy meets with Bischoff, who gives Hardy a "Steel Cage" Match against Edge at Unforgiven, to protect the fans (and avoid any lawsuits). As part of Hardy signing the contract, though, Bischoff has the power to put him in a match against Gene Snitsky. And, of course, he does.

- Match #3: Snitsky defeated Hardy, in part due to Hardy being distracted by Edge & Lita at the announcer's table. When Hardy went towards Edge, Snitsky got him from behind, smashed him into the steel, then got him in the ring and got a tilt-a-whirl slam for the win... in about 2:45. Damn. Hardy still can't buy a win. After the match, Snitsky went to beat up Hardy with the ring bell, nailing him once despite the Big Show coming out. Snitsky then fled into the crowd rather than facing TBS.

- Match #4: John Cena defeated Tyson Tomko with the FU. Typical Cena match, as Tomko got in a lot of offense, but Cena had the surge at the end for the win. As Cena celebrated on the ramp, Angle ran out of the back and pulverized him, taking him down with an Angle Slam on the steel! Angle posed with the belt as Cena suffered beneath him.

- In the back, Angle gave an interview about being real, and how he would prove Cena's reign to be a farse. Angle's looking seriously strong right now. Unfortunately, that makes Cena look weaker, but then, that's how he thrives (as the underdog).

- Match #5: Torrie Wilson defeated Ashley with a faceplant, in part due to interference from Candice & Victoria. I guess they're trying to make Ashley look tough, with a 3-on-1 fight, but it isn't working for me... unless, of course, this is a set-up to bring in Trish or someone else to help her out. Then it could be, well, a little more interesting, at least.

- Match #6: Rob Conway defeated Shelton Benjamin with a roll-up, thanks to Kerwin White (at ringside in his golf cart) tripping up Benjamin with a golf club. Conway continues to win, despite all logic, while the apparent feud between Benjamin & White over race continues to grow.

- Mick Foley, at a book signing, talked about getting the itch back. Foley back in WWE? Honestly, that could only be a good thing, my friends.

- Match #7: Cade & Murdoch won a "Non-Title" Match over the Hurricane & Rosey. Murdoch didn't impress me much, but he did get the win after a top-rope bulldog that I didn't think he can pull off, so I'll withhold judgement for now. I need to do some research to see when the Superheros last got a victory, because it's really sad how badly they've done SINCE winning the tag belts. I hope & pray that Cade & Murdoch take this albatross from their necks, if only to restore the Hurricane a little.

- Chris Masters is interviewed, bragging about taking out Ric Flair with the Masterlock. I'll say this for the WWE, at least they're trying to push some new stars. I just don't know if Masters is the right one. Ah well.

- Match #8: Loose definition of match, but anyway, Shawn Michaels' effort in the Masterlock basically went to a No-Contest. After Masters finally applied the Masterlock, Michaels fought to escape, using all of the moves that Val Venis used to no effect (flipping off the turnbuckle, ramming Masters into it, et cetera). It takes forever, really. Finally, Michaels used a low blow to shake Masters up, then seemed to be getting free. Masters threw Michaels to the ground, then smashed HBK with a chair shot. He then applied the Masterlock again, as the bell rang. Masters celebrated over the downed Michaels, and, surprisingly, the whole segment was actually entertaining, and gave both men some heat for their match. This is about the only time during the night I can say that.

Summary: Basically, I really wasn't impressed this week. In fact, considering the blockbuster card that Smackdown has, I'm actually disappointed with Raw. For one thing, I feel that there was possibly a little too much beef this week. You know me, I really love the technical/high-flying matches, and a lot of the guys who competed tonight aren't known for that. I mean, in one show, we had Viscera, Tomko, Snitsky, and Masters in separate matches. Three of those guys (in my opinion at least) won. In fact, if you just listed the winners, you'd get this:

Kurt Angle
Val Venis
Gene Snitsky
John Cena
Torrie Wilson
Rob Conway
Lance Cade
Trevor Murdoch
Chris Masters (sort of)

Take Angle & Cena off that list, and I believe I'm being generous by calling it a list of the mid-carders of the last year (and beyond).

Secondly, there were only a couple of actually competitive matches, and every match was pretty short. The longest match was Cade/Murdoch vs. the Superheroes, a little less than 7 minutes. That is, unless you count all the posing and postering of Masters during the main event, then they have the honors. Four of the eight matches were around 4 minutes or less, which just bores me. I mean, I want time to get into the matches, and there wasn't anything to get into this week.

Third, you've got the title belts. Let's see. Smackdown is planning to have 3 title matches, as well as a "Special Attraction" Match in a Steel Cage between Mysterio & Guerrero. So Raw answers by having, well, no title matches? Oh sure, two of the champs wrestled, but none with the belts on the line (and the tag champs lost regardless). If Raw is trying to be the "flagship" program, shouldn't it have tried to hype itself up, rather than making the Smackdown and Impact ads look so much better in comparison?

I just feel that Raw dropped the ball a little here. I know that they're preparing for Unforgiven, and I know that they're working on creating new stars for themselves. But in the past few weeks, they've at least had one match that was worth talking about afterwards (Benjamin/Angle, Cena/Jericho, Hardy/Edge). This week, I predicted the outcome of every match. It's sad when I have to say that the best moment of the night was the Masterlock Challenge. That's either giving credit to Masters, or bashing the show. You decide which is which.

The Accelerator