Could Eric Bischoff be the next WWE Champion? The General Manger not only contemplated that possibility on RAW, he maximized his odds for the WWE Homecoming match on USA Network next week.
John Cena and Shawn Michaels appeared poised to win the anything goes, Texas Tornado-style, tag team Tables Match against Chris Masters and Carlito. "The Showstopper" was perched on the top turnbuckle — about to hit an elbow smash on Masters through a table. But before he could leap, an interfering Kurt Angle pushed him off and through a table outside the ring to end the match.
Inside the ring, John Cena battled back and hoisted Angle for an FU, but Bischoff caught him squarely with a low blow, setting up an Angle Slam through a table. Cena lay bleeding and wincing — his body contorted from the damage done to his lower back. Bischoff grabbed the WWE Championship belt, stared into it and then held it high above his head. It seemed that Mr. McMahon's message had gotten through: To truly make an impact at WWE Homecoming, it's up to Bischoff to find a way to become champion himself. Bischoff, who ordered the Tables Match, succeeded in substantially softening Cena before their WWE Championship Match next week. But the circumstances also served to do damage to HBK one week before he'll have to go 30 minutes with Kurt Angle in a WWE Iron Man Match.
The tag team Tables Match was unfamiliar territory for all involved, and under the tornado format, all four men battled simultaneously. HBK attempted a superkick on Carlito, but he instead connected with "Sweet Chin Music" on referee Chad Patton, who cracked a table on his way down to the arena floor. Referee Jack Doan relieved the injured Patton, who was helped to the back to receive medical attention.
Meanwhile, Cena found himself caught in Master Lock for the first time, but Michaels was able to break it up. The Tables Match featured a number of near-endings. At one point, HBK was forced to spear his own partner to prevent Cena from being whipped into a potentially match-ending table propped up in one corner. In another memorable moment, Michaels and Cena performed stereo scoop slams and Five-Knuckle Shuffles.
RAW began with Mr. McMahon thanking Spike TV for a good run, saying that WWE and Spike have been "pretty good tag-team partners" over the years. But mid-speech, Kurt Angle interrupted the WWE Chairman and demanded a WWE Championship Match on the heels of WWE Homecoming. HBK took exception, leading to heated words and McMahon's spontaneous resolution of the dispute: a 30-minute WWE Iron Man Match next week with serious implications for the WWE Championship picture.
Mr. McMahon also granted Theodore Long's request to be a part of the three-hour WWE Homecoming spectacular. McMahon will allow Long one SmackDown match during next week's RAW; the match details and participants will be announced this Friday on SmackDown.
In a Women's Championship Match, Trish Stratus seemed on the verge of victory after hitting the Stratusfaction on Victoria. Sensing that danger, Torrie and Candice rushed the ring and caused a disqualification. In response, Trish Chick Kicked Torrie as Ashley stripped Candice down to her bra and panties.
A horrified Candice tried to cover herself up with the help of Victoria and Torrie. Candice then grabbed a microphone and demanded a three-on-two Bra & Panties Match next week to get back at them for the humiliating strip-down.
Edge delivered a message to Matt Hardy from atop a ladder a week before they'll square off in a "Money in the Bank," Loser Leaves RAW Ladder Match. Edge said that each rung on that ladder represented a day left in Matt's career. Lita chimed in, calling Matt a loser who refuses to move on with his life — as evidenced by the brace she must wear as a result of a Hardy Twist of Fate. But Hardy himself emerged from the crowd and toppled Edge, who crashed from the ladder to the ring and then the floor.
Also, World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch had their hands full when they faced the team of Val Venis & Viscera. After a big splash and Money Shot to Murdoch, Venis might have earned a three-count. But Cade grabbed the ref and wouldn't allow him to count three, causing a disqualification for putting his hands on an official.
In a RAW Street Fight, Big Show used everything but the kitchen sink to pummel Snitsky … and then he actually used a kitchen sink to get the win.
In addition, Kerwin White defeated Shelton Benjamin with a little help from caddie Nick Nemeth, and Rob Conway resorted to psychological torture to defeat Eugene. Just when Eugene seemed ready to hit a "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan-style clothesline from out of the three-point stance, Conway grabbed Eugene's plush HBK bear and tore its head off. A distraught Eugene began to cry and was immediately finished with the Ego Trip.
In what became a subplot of the final RAW on Spike TV, Mr. McMahon was censored by Spike TV, which seemed to not want WWE fans to hear anything about RAW's immanent move to the USA Network. Click here to watch McMahon's comments uncensored.
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