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Old 08-30-2011, 11:18 AM   #167 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed

Hmm, another double post. Interest seems to have dropped way off lately. Maybe time to take a break and hope things pick up in a few months or so. Anyway, Raw...

~Monday Night Raw~
March 12th, 2007
Washington, DC



”...you chased the damn dollar!"




We start with a brief highlights video from last week, highlighting the two main feuds on the show, as we start with rapid-fire clips of the tense match up between Rob Van Dam and Triple H, the two battling for more than just a spot in the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania. Sliced in-between the action is clips of Vince McMahon and Bobby Lashley in the ring last week, with the conformation that at Wrestlemania it will be Lashley one on one with John Cena. We continue to see Van Dam and ‘The Game’ battle… then we see Lashley hold the ECW Championship over a burning trash can… pedigree connects… Joey Styles is dragged into the ring by Lashley… five star frog splash… Styles is held in position… Van Dam counters a second pedigree into a bridging pin… Lashley releases his grip on the title… the referee counts 1… the title slowly floats through the air… 2… Styles turns his head away, unable to watch… 3… the title disappears into the flames. The music accompanying the video screeches to a halt as it goes from agony to despair for the ECW alumni, a lonely heartbeat all we hear. The heartbeat builds as we see Shawn Michaels tune up the band… the rage in Joey Styles builds… Michaels cracks Van Dam with the sweet chin music… Styles is taunted into slapping Vince McMahon… Triple H suffers the same fate… Styles is grabbed by Lashley… the WWE Champion stands over his two fallen opponents… Styles is about to destroyed… but the music soon kicks back in as John Cena storms the ring to make the save. The heartbeat builds, working to a crescendo as Cena swings for Lashley, but Lashley, Vince and Shane manage to escape, Cena desperate, bursting at the skin to get his hands on Lashley… until our heartbeat flatlines, switching between the tense looks on Lashley’s and Cena’s faces before we fade to black.

It’s now the usual Raw opening video, and then into the arena for a massive pyro display, before a quick scan of the crowd with the words of the Raw announce team welcoming us to the show…


Jim Ross: Welcome everyone to our nations capital! And welcome to Monday Night Raw! Hello folks, I’m Jim Ross, alongside me is Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, we are live and we are sold out in Washington, DC! But ‘King’, conspicuous by his absence, is our broadcast colleague, Joey Styles.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah I mean, none of us know where Joey is right now. I haven’t seen him all day, I don’t think he’s in the arena, so I really don’t have any clue where Joey is.

Jim Ross: It’s certainly a mystery folks. But nonetheless, we need to press on with the show. We’ve got a huge night in store, with a huge main event. The WWE Champion Shawn Michaels teams up with Bobby Lashley to take on both of Michaels’ Wrestlemania opponents, Rob Van Dam and Triple H.

Jerry Lawler: And from what we understand, it was Mr. McMahon personally who signed off on that match. After the bad blood between Van Dam and Triple H over the last week or so, I can’t see them workin’ together for all that long.

Jim Ross: The evil mind of Mr. McMahon at work once again. Also tonight, we’ve got THREE qualifying matches for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Three men tonight are gonna grab their spot at Wrestlemania, and we’ve got The Hart Legacy in action once again as they take on Cade and Murdoch, the Redneck Wrecking Crew.

*MY TIME IS NOW…*


Ross is interrupted as a massive response breaks out for the arrival of John Cena to the arena. Cena strides out onto the stage, offering a strong salute to the masses before he races down the ramp and slides into the ring…


Jim Ross: Listen to this response for John Cena! After being banned from the arena last week, Cena is back, and I’m sure he’s desperate to get his hands on Bobby Lashley!

Jerry Lawler: I can barely here you J.R.! But you’re right, Cena was banned from the arena last week by Mr. McMahon, but he showed up anyway, and thank God he did. Who knows what could’ve happened to Joey Styles if Cena hasn’t made the save.

Jim Ross: You have to wonder if that has somethin’ to do with why Joey isn’t here tonight.

Jerry Lawler: I think it’s a distinct possibility, don’t you?

Now in the ring, Cena nods appreciatively to the crowd, not breaking into a smile. Instead, Cena is all business as he’s reaches through the ropes for a microphone, positioning himself in the middle of the ring as he waits for the crowd to die down…

John Cena: I uh… I’m not out here to run my mouth, I’m not out here to call anybody out, I’m not out here lookin’ for a fight. I’ve got one helluva fight lined up in three weeks time at Wrestlemania. I’m not out here for that right now. But what I am out here for is to ask one simple question…

Cena stares into a nearby camera...

John Cena: What the hell is goin’ on in this company right now?

Cena throws his arms up in the air, pacing the ring...

John Cena: Y’know this last month or so since I lost the WWE Championship had been one of, if not the most challengin’ times in my career. And why? ‘Cause we’ve got this power crazed dictator, runnin’ the show how he sees fit, makin’ whatever match he feels like, beatin’ up announcers, and doin’ his best to make sure I get my ass kicked week after week. Hell Vinny, you banned me from the arena last week, you did me a favour! I didn’t get attacked by one o’ your hired guns for a change.

Cena has a quick laugh to himself, removing his cap to scratch his head...

John Cena: Y’know somethin’ Vince, I didn’t pick a fight wit’ you. I didn’t start a war wit’ you, I simply did what I always do, and that’s do what I think is right.

Pop...

John Cena: And hey, maybe that’s what’s cost me. I did the right thing before the Rumble, I gave Rob Van Dam, the man who the whole world knew was the rightful Number One Contender for the WWE Championship, I gave ‘im the match the world wanted to see. And ‘cause I went against your wishes, ‘cause I did the right thing, you been tryin’ to make my life hell ever since. And I gotta admit… you got me Vinny.

Cena shakes his head in annoyance...

John Cena: You and Shane, ya’ got me at Raw: Night Of Champions, you got me again at Saturday Night’s Main Event… but you ain’t gonna get me no more.

Another pop...

John Cena: I’m tired o’ playin’ your games Vince, and I’m tired o’ gettin’ beat. A guy like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, I dunno how he did it all those years.

Big pop for the random mention of Austin…


John Cena: He got his ass kicked by somebody workin’ for the McMahon’s time and time again, but he never quit, he never gave up. He worked hard, he fought every night, hell, in his own way, he showed a helluva lotta hustle, loyalty and respect!

The crowd cheers as Cena becomes animated...


John Cena: Now I ain’t Steve Austin, and I never will be, but I promise you this, I’m gonna bring the fight every night, I’m gonna give it everythin’ I got, hell, I might even drink some beer while I’m doin’ it! And that means when I step in that ring with you at Wrestlemania XXIII Lashley, nothin’ is gonna get in my way o’ me kickin’ your ass all over Detroit City!

Pop...

John Cena: And lemme tell ya’ somethin’ Bobby. I hope however much Vince is payin’ ya’ was worth it. You sold out Bobby. You sold out, as the future hall of famer Jim Ross called it, you sold your soul to the devil himself!

The camera cuts to J.R., who nods his head in agreement…

John Cena: Dammit Lashley, you chased the damn dollar! You gave up everythin’ you had, everythin’ you believed in, to line your pockets and get tight with the McMahons. You lost your ECW Title, hell I lost my title, but I didn’t turn my back on my beliefs or these people because of it. I mean dammit Bobby, what the hell are you thinkin’?

Cena scrunches up his face, shaking it angrily...

John Cena: Last week, you threw the ECW Championship into a burnin’ trash can? You were about to beat up Joey Styles? A title that at one point, you fought for and defended with pride? And guy who did nothin’ but try and sell you to these people each and every week? And you throw it all away just ‘cause you lost a few matches and you let Vince McMahon get in your head.

Cena shakes his head in disappointment…

John Cena: Well maybe at Wrestlemania… I’ll be the guy to slap some sense into ya’.

Pop...

John Cena: It ain’t gonna be a classic wrestlin’ match. It’s gonna be a fight, plain and simple. Vince wanted to go to war with me, and you’re the puppet he’s chosen Lashley. Ya’ might think this is a big chance for your career, but you have no idea how far you just set yourself back. I promise ya’ Bobby, there is no chance that I’m leavin’ Detroit on the losing side. No chance! There ain’t nothin’ I won’t do to make sure I beat you in Detroit, nothin’!

Another pop...

John Cena: Since the second you ran through me in that steel cage, I’ve thought of nothin’ but getting’ my hands on you. And now it’s official. John Cena and Bobby Lashley, one on one at Wrestlemania XXIII.

Cena looks deep into the hard camera...

John Cena: Vince, Shane and Bobby might see this as a chance to kick the hell outta me. They might even see it as a chance to end my career. But it ain’t gonna go down the way you want it to Vinny. ‘Cause I am work harder, I’m gonna train longer, I’m gonna lift more than ever, I’m gonna run faster than ever, I’m gonna do everythin’ I can to make sure that by the time we make it to Detroit, I’m more than I’ve ever been for a match!

Pop...

John Cena: It might not be pretty, but once we step in that ring, it’s gonna be a war, and people are gonna be talkin’ about this match for a real long time! So Vince, Shane… you better get your boy ready.

Now Cena paces the ring, stopping to look again at the hard camera...

John Cena: I’m right here Bobby! Anytime and anyplace, if ya’ want some… COME GET SOME!

Cena roars into the hard camera, before he slams his mic down to the mat and heads for the ropes, only for him to hear…

*YEAH BABY...*


Initially the crowd is confused, not sure who the music belongs to, but all soon becomes clear as Brooke Adams steps out. Much like last week, Brooke wears a smart business like jacket with an incredibly short skirt that shows off her best assets, Adams carries a clipboard in one hand and a microphone in the other…


Brooke Adams: Nice speech John, really nice. Very inspirational. But I just came from Mr. McMahon’s office, and quite frankly… he’s bored of hearing you talk.

Cena laughs as he leans against the ropes...

Brooke Adams: That’s why Mr. McMahon has sent me out here to give you a little message. See, instead of listening to you talk, he’d rather see you in action. And since you’re already in the ring, he’d like to see it happen right now.

Cena instantly tosses his cap into the crowd and snaps his t-shirt over his head, tossing that aside too as he listens eagerly as to who his opponent could be...


Brooke Adams: So John, here are your… opponents

*WORLD’S GREATEST…*


The crowd groan in sympathy as the World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team emerge. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin both stop at the top of the ramp to briefly nod in Brooke’s direction, before they start the walk down the ramp, with Brooke turning and heading backstage…


Jim Ross: Gawd, this ain’t right! John Cena is gonna take on the World Tag Team Champions! Cena in a handicap match when we return, live to Monday Night Raw!

*Commercial*


Match 1: Handicap Match
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. John Cena

And we return to hear the bell ring, Cena puffing out his cheeks as he realises the task ahead of him. Benjamin starts the match for the champs, but as the two tie up, it’s Cena who surprises everyone by managing to out-wrestle Shelton, as Cena works into a waistlock, then the takedown, and then he snatches Benjamin into an armbar. Shelton forces himself back up, but when he tries to twist free, Cena twists again, taking him down with an armdrag that sends Benjamin rolling into the ropes. The two tie up again, with this time Cena taking Shelton down with a snapmare and going for a chinlock. Shelton manages to twist his way free, but he scrambles across the mat to his corner, tagging in Haas. Haas is weary as he steps through the ropes, but he manages to get the upperhand on Cena, twisting him into a standing armbar. Cena twists into a standing side headlock, only for Haas to fire him of the ropes... shoulderblock puts Haas down. Cena charges off the ropes... Haas avoids him with a leapfrog... but Cena puts on the breaks... and takes Haas down with a hiptoss. Haas is back up... but a dropkick knocks him down, rolling under the bottom rope.

Haas slaps his hand off the announce desk in frustration, with Benjamin soon over to speak with his partner. Haas gets back into the ring, and again he and Cena tie up, this time Haas working into a standing side headlock... but Cena turns it into a side suplex. Both men spring back to their feet, with Haas swinging a right hand... Cena ducks... Protoplex finds the mark! 1... 2... Haas kicks out. Haas crawls towards the ropes, holding a hand out at Cena, almost begging for mercy, but a quick glance to the crowd shows Cena is not in a giving mood. Shelton meanwhile starts calling out at Cena, shouting abuse at him... and this split-second distraction is enough as Haas grabs Cena’s waistline, yanks him forward... through the ropes to the outside! The ref berates Haas, but he argues back, and with the referee not looking, Benjamin drops off the apron and grabs Cena... driving him into the barricade! Shelton grabs Cena again... and yanks him shoulder first into the steel steps! Cena cries out in pain, and Benjamin quickly gets him back in the ring, where Haas hooks the leg for a near fall.

The champs now look to punish Cena, and they spend a good portion of the match with Cena trapped in their corner, with Haas drilling Cena with boots that cause him to slump down to the canvas. Quick tags between the champs follow, with Benjamin snapping off a German suplex while Haas connects on a overhead belly to belly, both men gaining near falls. Haas and Benjamin then start a series of double team moves, including firing Cena off the ropes and into a double hiptoss... to land on a double backbreaker! After yet another 2 count, frustration starts to grow for the champions, with Haas snapping a stiff shoot kick to the base of Cena’s spine. Haas drags Cena to the champions corner and tags in Shelton, who hammers Cena with boots to the chest and then backs away to the opposite corner. Shelton lines him up... and charges in... SHELTON SPLASH... NO! Cena gets a boot up, and quickly drills Haas with an elbow to the head. Cena then props himself onto the top rope, looking for the legdrop to the back of the head... but Haas jumps back on the apron, grabbing his foot. Cena manages to kick Haas away... but Shelton shows amazing athleticism to leap onto the top rope... TOP ROPE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! Cena has a brutal landing, and Shelton crawls into the cover... 1... 2... Cena rolls a shoulder!

Benjamin quickly snatches Cena in a seated chinlock, wrenching on the neck, but it doesn’t take long for Cena to fight back to his feet... elbow to the midsection... and another... and finally Cena is able to force Shelton off the ropes... but Benjamin ducks the clothesline, and Cena turns... into a Samoan drop! Shelton hooks the leg... 1... 2... again Cena rolls a shoulder! Benjamin shouts at the ref, demanding the 3 count, but when he doesn’t get it he drags Cena to his corner and tags in Haas. A few boots to the chest land, before Haas muscles Cena up and angrily fires him to the opposite corner. Cena crashes to the mat, and after Haas drags him to the centre of the ring for a near fall, he locks Cena into a camel clutch. Haas cranks up the pressure, and he has Cena in the hold for a good while, but as the crowd cheer Cena begins to rise, working back to his knees... and then onto his feet... with Haas still on his back... so he reaches up and pulls Haas down... into a powerslam! Haas hits the mat hard, but he manages to crawl to his corner to tag in Benjamin, who slingshots into the ring... but Cena springs from a tackle position with a flying shoulderblock!

Building some momentum, Cena comes off the ropes... another flying shoulderblock! Shelton is back on his feet... but he swings and misses with a right hand... and Cena hits the protoplex! Bursting back to his feet, Cena looks down on Shelton... “You can’t see me!”... and then comes off the ropes... FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE! Cena is back up, waiting for Shelton rise... so he can scoop Benjamin onto his shoulders... FU... NO! Haas pulls Benjamin to safety, and then he takes u and down with an inverted atomic drop... and then Benjamin takes Cena’s head off with the superkick! Benjamin quickly goes for the cover... 1... 2... NO! Shelton can’t believe it as Cena rolls his shoulder! Again Shelton reacts angrily, but once he calms down, he drags Cena to the corner and once more muscles him onto the top rope. Shelton climbs up, and it looks like he’s going for the overhead belly to belly once again... but this time Cena rocks him a trio of right hands... before a big fourth puts Benjamin down! Haas races down the apron, only for Cena to drill him with a boot to the face that knocks him off the apron. Cena stands on the top rope, waiting for Shelton to rise... DIVING LEGDROP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!

Cena gets all of it, and he races to grab Shelton’s leg... STFU!! Cena locks on the submission hold... but Charlie Haas makes the save, clubbing Cena from behind! The crowd is deflated as the champions use the numbers to their advantage, as Haas hammers Cena into the corner with boots and punches, despite the referee’s pleas for Haas to leave the ring. The champions now both hammer Cena in the corner, but soon they drag him against the ropes and go for the double Irish whip... but Cena avoids the double clothesline... kick to the midsection of Benjamin... and then he hoists Haas up onto his shoulders... and then Benjamin is taken up too... DOUBLE FU!!! Cena shows incredible strength as he plants both Haas and Benjamin... but instead of hearing cheers, the arena responds with boos... as Bobby Lashley has stepped out onto the stage! The jeers of the crowd alert Cena, and he turns and looks up the ramp. Cena and Lashley lock eyes, the tension between the two causing the arena to burst into a pop... which only gets louder as Cena dives through the ropes and races up the ramp to get his hands on Lashley!! Lashley sees Cena coming, and a broad smile crosses his face as he taunts Cena, waving Cena on as he heads backstage. Cena races up the ramp and then disappears from sight, but as this is going on, the referee has been counting... 6... 7... 8... Benjamin finally shows some signs of life... 9... and now so does Haas... 10!

Winners: Via Countout, The World’s Greatest Tag Team @ 09.47

Haas and Benjamin get the win, but they don’t look like winners as they pick themselves up off the canvas. Cena is long gone, having chased Lashley all the way backstage. Lashley has handed Haas and Benjamin the win, with the champs pulling themselves back to their feet, hugging each other in celebration as we head off for a commercial.

*Commercial*


*Video Package*

WRESTLEMANIA RECALL!

APRIL 5TH, 1992
WRESTLEMANIA IIX


A true match between old and new as ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart meet for the prestigious Intercontinental Championship. Having lost the Intercontinental Championship three months earlier to The Mountie due to competing under a debilitating illness, Hart was still on the way to recovery when Piper beat The Moutie to become champion, winning his first WWF championship of any kind in the process. It was the true fairytale story for Piper, having returned from retirement to finally win WWF gold. Hart however was now the natural choice to be Piper’s opponent at Wrestlemania IIX, given that he never did receive the rematch he was entitled to. Going into the match, both men showed each other a lot of respect, but the gloves were off once the bell rang as neither man held back in this hard hitting face-versus-face encounter. Despite the level of respect between the two, the action was intense as they hammered each other all over the ringside area, including one moment when Piper sent Hart crashing into the timekeeper’s desk. Once the bodies and debris cleared, Piper dragged Hart back to his feet to reveal ‘The Hitman’ had been busted wide open. The appearance of blood only served to heighten the level of anticipation in the crowd, but Piper was firmly in control as Hart suffered the effects of the match. Piper at one point even toyed with Hart, slapping him as the two stood toe-to-toe. Hart mounted a comeback, only for Piper to lock on his trademark sleeper hold. With the world expecting Hart to quickly fade away, ‘The Hitman’ showed incredible ingenuity as he managed to kick himself off the corner, rolling into a pinning predicament to get the 3 count in a result that stunned the audience watching. After the match, the two hugged and Piper raised Bret’s arm in the air in triumph, yet another show of respect between the two that capped off the Wrestlemania classic they had just produced.

WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - 20 DAYS AND COUNTING


*End Video Package*


We now head to a darkened backstage area, where we see The World’s Greatest Tag Team standing by. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are both still breathing heavily, both still grabbing various parts of their bodies as they sell the effects of their match with John Cena, but both smirking after their victory…

Shelton Benjamin: You see that? Huh? We just beat John Cena. We… just beat Superman!

Benjamin and Haas smirk at each other...

Shelton Benjamin: When we talk about the other tag teams doin’ somethin’ impressive… that’s exactly the kinda thing we lookin’ for. It don’t get anymore impressive than that.

Charlie Haas: The only thing more impressive than beatin’ John Cena… is becomin’ the World Tag Team Champions. And we all know, there’s not a team out there that can beat us for these titles.

Haas holds his title belt infront of him...

Shelton Benjamin: Like we said, we gonna put tag team wrestlin’ back on the map in this company. And if we need to, we gonna drag the rest of the division kickin’ and screamin’ with us for the ride.

Charlie Haas: And remember guys, we’re lookin’ for an opponent for Wrestlemania. If you want it to be you… you better start impressin’ us.

Benjamin nods in agreement...

Shelton Benjamin: We just beat John Cena. Why don’t you try and match that?

And with one final nod to each other, the champs walk off, the camera lingering on them leaving for a brief second before we cut elsewhere…

To see Todd Grisham standing by, looking rather nervous ahead of this interview…


Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time… ‘The Chairman of the Board’… Mr. McMahon.

A ton of heat from inside the arena as Mr. McMahon steps into the frame. ‘The Boss’ has a devilish grin on his face as he stands next to Grisham, hands in his pockets, looking very relaxed and pleased with how the night has gone so far…

Todd Grisham: Mr. McMahon, you requested this interview time, as you wished to address certain rumours flying around tonight?

Mr. McMahon: That’s right Todd. With regards to John Cena’s comments earlier in the broadcast, I’ll get to those in a second. But I’d like to start by filling you all in on the situation regarding a certain Mr. Joey Styles.

Vince smirks as he ponders what he is about to say...

Mr. McMahon: Y’see, last week Joey Styles put his hands on me. He assaulted me. Quite frankly, I should’ve called the police and handed him over to the proper authorities. But since I’m such a nice guy, I figured I’d just take care of it myself.

Vince gives a fake laugh, at which Grisham uncomfortably giggles...

Mr. McMahon: Now, as I understand the WWE Board of Directors have laid out an edict stating that anybody who interefered in the match last week between Rob Van Dam and Triple H would be suspended for 30 days without pay, rulling them out of appearing at Wrestlemania. Well, when Joey Styles arrived at the arena earlier today, I had a security team escort him off the premises.

Grisham flashes Vince a look of confusion…


Mr. McMahon: Don’t look so confused Todd. Y’see, seeing as Joey Styles interfered in my little victory celebration last week, I decided that effective as of this afternoon, Joey Styles has been suspended for 30 days without pay.

Heat...


Mr. McMahon: And I guess that means Joey… you won’t be able to commentate on your buddy ‘RVD’ during the WWE Championship Match. Ain’t that a shame Todd?

Reluctantly, Grisham nods…

Mr. McMahon: As for John Cena, I only have this to say to you John.

Vince pauses, breathing deeply...

Mr. McMahon: If you think that what I’ve put you through this last months or so has been hell… then just you wait and see what I’ve got lined up for you at Wrestlemania. John, I guarantee you… there is no chance in hell of you survivin’ Wrestlemania XXIII.

Heat...

Mr. McMahon: I created you John. And with the help of Bobby Lashley… I’m gonna destroy you!

With a cold-hearted look in his eyes, Vince snarls at the camera, and then at Grisham, before he makes his exit, leaving behind a rather perplexed looking interviewer as we head back into the arena.

To hear…

*THIS FIRE BURNS…*


The crowd gives a warm welcome for CM Punk, the youngster appearing to a big round of applause, with the odd wolf whistle for Kelly Kelly by his side. Punk drops down to a knee, taps the tape around his wrist, holds it to his ear, then holds it against Kelly’s ear, before yelling out “It’s clobberin’ time!” as he bounces to his feet and heads for the ring…


Jim Ross: It time for the first of three Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifiers, and here comes a young man who has made quite the impact since arriving here on Monday Night Raw.

Jerry Lawler: And perhaps the biggest impact he’s made is on the life and health of Nick Dinsmore. We found out last week that Dinsmore for years was portraying a character in Eugene, but was doin’ so under the influence of a pretty toxic mix of prescription drugs. Punk managed to help get Dinsmore back on the straight and narrow, and he’ll be in action later tonight!

Jim Ross: But up first, it’s CM Punk’s turn. After a big win over Mike Knox at Saturday Night’s Main Event, Punk has a lotta momentum right now. Can he ride that wave all the way to Wrestlemania?

*MASTERPIECE…*


From behind the shower of golden sparkles, Chris Masters enters to a chorus of boos, the heat intensifying as he tosses his robe aside, poses and flexes his muscles before he finally gets down to business and heads down the ramp…


Jim Ross; Certainly an impressive physique, nobody can doubt that. But as of late, Chris Masters, and his tag team partner Johnny Nitro for that matter, haven’t exactly been doin’ a lot of winnin’.

Jerry Lawler: Well certainly they both look great, but Nitro and Masters haven’t exactly been settin’ the ring on fire. Maybe a return to the singles ranks is what Masters needs to get things back on track. Remember, he’s just one win away from a spot at Wrestlemania.

Match 2: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Chris Masters
vs. CM Punk w/ Kelly Kelly

As the bell rings, Punk seems eager to get on with things, while Masters would rather pose and flex in Kelly’s direction, much to Kelly’s disgust, in an attempt to get under Punk’s skin. Punk simply laughs it off, and the two tie up, with Masters using his power to simply shove Punk to the deck. Again Masters poses and flexes, with Punk back on his feet for another tie up. This time Punk works into a standing waistlock, then uses this to take Masters down, twisting into a grounded headlock. Masters slaps the mat in frustration, but he eventually works back to his feet, breaking the headlock as he sends Punk off the ropes… and then knocks Punk down with a shoulderblock. Now it’s Masters who runs the ropes, but Punk avoids him with a leapfrog… and then catches Masters with a leg lariat as he comes back across. Punk now goes work with the boots, aiming kicks to the thighs, chest and head, before a big roundhouse kick puts Masters down for a 2 count.

Masters angrily gets back to his feet, charging at Punk, but running straight into an armdrag. Another armdrag puts Masters down again, with Punk then working into a hammerlock, trying to wrench on Masters’ arm. Again Masters is able to struggle back to his feet, with a handful of hair enabling him to back Punk into the corner. The referee steps in for the break, with Punk releasing his grip… only for Masters to sucker punk him with an elbow to the side of the head. Masters then lands a pair of right hand, before he sends Punk to the opposite corner… but Punk reverses and follows in… Masters elevated Punk over the top rope… but he lands on the apron! Masters turns, swinging a right hand to knock Punk down, but Punk ducks, driving his shoulder through the ropes to Masters’ midsection, then rocking him with a kick to the skull. Masters stumbles away, allowing Punk to slingshot to the top rope… springboard crossbody… no! Masters counters… into a big time powerslam! Masters hammers Punk to the mat, and he stays on top for the cover… 1… 2… Punk rolls his shoulder.

Masters now looks to use his power advantage to hurt Punk, starting with forearms to the back of the head, and then to the small of the back, before he takes Punk up and down with a backbreaker for another near fall. Masters then breaks out the power moves, hitting a sidewalk slam, a sitout spinebuster and then a long, delayed vertical suplex, each move causing Punk to take longer to kick out. Masters continues to attack the back with a series of double axe handles, before he aggressively fires Punk to the corner… and follows in… into a boot to the face! Masters staggers back, but then charges again… another boot to the face! Punk quickly pushes himself onto the second rope, then flies… diving clothesline… but Masters catches him… fallaway slam! Masters punishes the back again, and he crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Punk kicks out!

Frustrated, Masters clambers back to his feet, giving the referee a long glare before he stands with arms open wide, waiting for Punk to rise. Punk drags himself up, and Masters is waiting, ready to pounce… Masterlock… no! Punk senses Masters coming, grabs the left hand and twists underneath, escaping the hold. Punk briefly has Masters in a hammerlock, but Masters is able to back him into the corner, landing elbows to the side of the head and then forearms to the back of the head. Masters goes for the Irish whip… but Punk reverses… and follows in with a knee to the face… and then comes out of the corner with a bulldog! Punk rolls Masters over… 1… 2… Masters kick out!

Punk now has the upperhand, and he looks to stay on the attack by once again striking wit those educated feet of his, before he looks for the Irish whip… but Masters reverses… only to lower his head… swinging neckbreaker! Angry, Masters quickly rolls to the outside to try recover, but Punk gives him no time to rest… as he takes Masters down with a suicide dive! The crowd pops as Punk lands on Masters and then drills him with right hands to the forehead, before he rolls Masters back into the ring. Masters in on his hands and knees, struggling back to his feet, while Punk is already on the apron… to slingshot onto the top rope… springboard clothesline! Masters is down again, Punk goes for the cover… 1… 2… Masters rolls a shoulder!

Sensing Masters is there for the taking, Punk drags Masters up… and then hoists Masters up onto his shoulders… GO TO SLEEP… NO! Masters strikes with elbows to the side of the head, allowing him to drop to his feet behind Punk… where he hooks one arm under… and then the other… MASTERLOCK… NO! Punk desperately fights it, somehow managing to stop Masters’ hands from clasping together… and then he twists one arm free, grabbing Masters by the wrist… twisting, turning, taking both men down to the mat… ANNACONDA VICE!! Punk counters with a submission of his own, locking it in tight! Masters tries to fight it, trying desperately to kick out and reach the ropes… but he’s down in the middle of the ring… and has no choice but to tap out!

Winner: CM Punk @ 06.39

It’s yet more misery for Masters as CM Punk advances, booking his spot at his first Wrestlemania. Punk is helped back to his feet by Kelly, the two sharing a brief hug before Punk has his hand raised high in the air. Punk then turns and points to the Wrestlemania banner hanging from the rafters, audibly shouting “I’m goin’ to the show!” as we head off for a commercial.

*Commercial*


And when we return, the always chirpy Maria is standing by…


Maria: Hi! I’m Maria! And please welcome, the WWE Champion… Shawn Michaels!

Deafening heat as Shawn Michaels steps infront of the camera, the WWE Title strapped around his shoulder. Michaels, as always nowadays, is dressed head to toe in black, the black cowboy hat on his head pulled down low over his face…

Maria: And Shawn, last week we found out that at Wrestlemania it’s goin’ to be you defending your WWE Title against Rob Van Dam and Triple H in a Triple Threat Match. Shawn, what are your thoughts now you know what you’ll be up against come Wrestlemania?

Michaels ponders, thinking long and hard about his answer…

Shawn Michaels: My thoughts? My thoughts are the same as they’ve always been. I’m still the WWE Champion, and that’s the way it’s gonna stay after Wrestlemania. It really doesn’t matter whether it was Triple H or Rob Van Dam or even both of them. It’s not about them, and it never was. It’s about me… and the man upstairs.

Michaels takes a quick glance to the heavens, the first time thus far he’s lifted his head…

Shawn Michaels: Y’see, I’m the WWE Champion for a reason. It’s not just about God given talent or ability. It’s about faith. It’s about believin’ in a higher power, a higher power that can deliver you to greatness.

Michaels turns, his cold eyes now trained on Maria...


Shawn Michaels: The big guy’s seen me through plenty of Wrestlemania’s in the past. Some I’ve won, some I’ve lost. But each and ev’ry time I’ve stepped out on the grandest stage of ‘em all, I have delivered greatness. I used to think the outcome of those matches mattered. I’d get all worked up after a defeat at Wrestlemania. But now I realise, I shouldn’t have worried.

It's which robotic-like precision that Michaels delviers his words...


Shawn Michaels: It was all part of a plan to bring me to the WWE Championship. And now I’m here, I know there’s no chance this title will be taken away from me. I believe that to be true… ‘cause I have faith.

Michaels stops, letting us linger on that last line before he tips his hat at Maria and calmly, coldly walks off. The camera turns to Maria, who somehow manages to look even more confused that she usually does, before we cut back to the arena…

*HART BEAT…*


That old guitar rift draws a great pop, which soon settles into a good amount of cheers as The Hart Legacy make their second appearance on Raw. Natalya Niedhart leads the way, with Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd making sure to slap as many hands as they can…


Jim Ross: It was certainly an impressive debut last week from Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd. The Hart Legacy picked up the win over The Highlanders, and Smith and Kidd really looked like they belong here on Raw.

Jerry Lawler: Very impressive. These guys have obviously been together a long time, they were just so crisp, so smooth in everythin’ they did last week. But tonight’s gonna be another step up for ‘em again Cade ‘n’ Murdoch.

*SWEET ‘N’ SOUR…*


Not much of a response for The Redneck Wrecking Crew, as the seldom seen Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch stride down to the ring. Murdoch snarls at the ring, a look of disgust on his face, while Cade is more reserved…


Jerry Lawler: And the reason these two are step up in competition is ‘cause when they’re angry, they’re as mean and tough as you’re gonna find. Just plain nasty guys when they’re in the mood for it.

Jim Ross: That Trevor Murdoch, he’s tougher than a two dollar steak. But we haven’t seen a whole lot of these guys lately, but tonight could be the night they get things back on track. A victory over the newcomers would certainly put them back in the hunt for tag team gold.

Jerry Lawler: And I’m sure the champions, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are watchin’ this. They wanna be impressed by somethin’, I’m sure they’ll be impressed by this.

Match 3: Tag Team Match
The Redneck Wrecking Crew
vs. The Hart Legacy w/ Natalya Niedhart

Smith and Murdoch step forward to start the match, the two powerhouses locking up hard. Both men jockey for position, trying to drive the other to their corner. It’s Murdoch who manages to force Smith backwards, but when the referee orders the break, Smith unloads with an elbow to Cade and a right to Murdoch. Smith repeats the combination until Cade drops from the apron, allowing Smith to tee off on Murdoch and then send him off the ropes… straight into a powerslam! 1... 2... Murdoch kicks out, but Smith drills an elbow to the back of the head then tags in Kidd. But before Smith leaves the ring, he fires Murdoch across... drop toe hold, and Kidd is coming off the ropes...dropkick to the side of the head! Smith and Kidd pull off the nice double team move, but before Kidd can go for the cover, Murdoch scrambles to his corner and tags in Cade. Cade takes his time entering the ring, but eventually the two tie up, with Kidd twisting the left arm, wrenching into a hammerlock. Cade though manages to drill an elbow to the midsection, then he snapmares Kidd to the mat and delivers a stiff kick to the spine.

Cade pulls Kidd back up, and after a few right hands he goes for a suplex... but Kidd lands on his feet behind Cade...and runs Cade into the ropes for a rollup... 1... 2... Cade kicks out, but Kidd bounces back off the ropes... low-angle dropkick to the face! Cade goes down, but Kidd jumps through the ropes and waits on the apron... springboard elbow drop! Kidd hooks the leg... 1... 2... Cade rolls the shoulder. Smith is tagged back in, and he and Kidd once again combine as they take Cade up with a double suplex... drop him down to bounce off the top rope... and then down to the mat! Smith goes for the cover, getting another near fall, before he drags Cade up... then takes him up in the air... for a long vertical suplex. Again Smith goes for the cover... 1... 2... Murdoch drags Smith off the pinfall. Smith gets to his feet and angrily gets in Murdoch’s face, but Murdoch scurries from the ring, not wanting to get involved. This distraction is enough for Cade to get back on his feet though, and he clubs Smith from behind, knocking him into the redneck corner. Murdoch gets the tag, and now the experience of ‘The Crew’ shows, as after snapping off a few right hands, Murdoch backs away, drawing the attention of the referee, allowing Cade to choke Smith behind the ref’s back with the tag rope.

Cade and Murdoch now look to work together to target Smith’s left arm, aiming elbows, knees and kicks to the shoulder. ‘The Crew’ also make use of the ropes, repeatedly wrapping Smith’s arm around it, and dropping the arm across the top rope. Murdoch shows great strength in connecting on a shoulderbreaker, before the pair combine as Murdoch hits a jawbreaker and Cade drops Smith with a neckbreaker for a near fall. More double team work from Cade and Murdoch, as they get Smith down, hold his arm to the side, allowing Murdoch to lift Cade into the air for an elevated legdrop across the arm. Smith cries in pain with every blow that lands, but the punishment keeps on coming as Murdoch aims multiple kicks to the shoulder as Smith slumps into the corner. It’s just straight brute strength as Smith is yanked shoulder first into the ringpost, and the pain continues as Murdoch smacks him with a short-arm clothesline then drops his elbow across Smith’s arm. Murdoch remains on the deck, working the arm into an armscissors, with Murdoch managing to drive the odd elbow into Smith’s face too.

Smith tries to break the hold, but Murdoch has it locked on tight... until Smith manages to roll Murdoch onto his shoulders... 1... 2.. Murdoch kicks out, releasing the hold. Both men are back on their feet, with Murdoch swinging a right hand... Smith ducks... and takes Murdoch up and down with a side suplex! Both men are down, crawling for their corners... here comes Cade... but here comes Kidd! Tyson slings himself onto the top rope... then connects with a springboard clothesline to the onrushing Cade. Murdoch now charges, but he runs straight into a spinning heel kick, knocking him through the ropes. Kidd jumps to the second rope... elbow drop connects! 1... 2.. Murdoch dives back in to make the save, before he quickly jumps back on the apron and accepts a tag from Cade. With Kidd clutching the back of his head, Murdoch and Cade line him up... and come off opposite ropes... Sweet and Sour... no! Smith reaches up, low-bridging the top rope, which sees Cade crash to the floor! Murdoch keeps on running.... but Kidd avoids him with a leapfrog... and Smith hammers him with a big boot to the face! With Cade down on the outside, Kidd and Smith move quickly... as Smith picks Murdoch up... and here comes Kidd... HART ATTACK! Kidd gets all of it, hooking Murdoch’s leg... 1... 2... 3!

Winners: The Hart Legacy @ 05.18

For the second week in a row, Smith and Kidd grab an impressive victory. Natalya slides into the ring to help Tyson back to his feet, while Smith is able to drag himself up… only for Cade to level Tyson with a massive boot to the face! The crowd boo as Cade decides he isn’t finished yet, smacking Kidd square in the face, but Smith now springs back to life, hammering Cade with a string of rights and lefts… until Murdoch takes him down from behind with a chop block! Smith crumples in pain as Murdoch drills his knee, with the two angry rednecks now picking apart each of their opponents. Natalya heads back outside for her own safety, helpless as Cade and Murdoch drag Smith to his feet… and then spring off opposite ropes... Sweet and Sour! The combination move puts Harry down, with Cade and Murdoch both quickly back on their feet. Despite losing this match, they look more like winners right now as we head off into a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we're back, looking at John Cena storming through the backstage area, on the hunt for someone or something, presumably Bobby Lashley. Cena ducks his head in and out of doorways and corridors, but it's clear that he still hasn't found what he's looking for...


John Cena: Where is he?! Huh?

Several random backstage workers scurry past Cena, until he stops one...


John Cena: Bobby Lashley, you seen 'im?!

The random worker shakes his head in fear, with Cena releasing the grip on the poor guy's shirt as he runs away. Cena carries on, continuing to search, until he approaches a pair of people with their backs to him. Cena walks towards them with a purpose, hoping for answers...

John Cena: Hey! You guys seen-

Cena stops in his tracks, as when the two people turn around, one of them is just another random backstage worker... while the other is Linda McMahon! The C.E.O. of the WWE turns and smiles at Cena, who looks apologetic over the manner at which he approached her...

Linda McMahon: Hi John. How are you?

Cena rubs the back of his neck nervously...


John Cena: I'm good Mrs. McMahon. How are you?

Linda McMahon: I'm fine thank you. One second...

Linda turns to the random worker she was talking to, simply telling her "That'll be great. Thanks.", to which the worker nods and exits the scene, prompting Linda to turn back to Cena...

Linda McMahon: So John, you sounded like you were looking for someone.

John Cena: Yeah, uh... Bobby Lashley. The guy kinda got in my face and cost me my match earlier. He wants a fight a few weeks early, I'm gonna give it to 'im. If... I can find 'im, that is.

Cena turns his head from side to side, still searching for Lashley...

Linda McMahon: Well, I'm sorry John but I haven't seen him. But if I do, I'll let him know you're looking for him.

John Cena: Yeah you do that. You tell that husband o' yours I'll be lookin' for him too. Infact, Mrs. McMahon... what's the deal with Joey Styles bein' suspended? Just for standin' up for the company he loved, he's out for thirty days without pay? That ain't right.

Linda looks slightly perplexed...

Linda McMahon: Well, I... I had no idea Joey had been suspended. Must be another one of those spur of the moment things Vince likes to pull. But thank you for letting me know. I'll look into it.

Cena nods his head and makes to leave...


Linda McMahon: Oh and John, before you go... I was wondering if perhaps you had time for a little chat. Perhaps we can discuss you're match with Bobby Lashley at Wrestlemania?

Cena looks intrigued...

John Cena: Well, what did ya' have in mind?

Linda McMahon: I'm assuming that Bobby will have my husband and my son in his corner for the match. But this is Wrestlemania John, and the fans deserve to see you two go at one on one, with no interruptions. So perhaps, there could be something that you and I could put together to maybe... even up the score, shall we say? In the interests of fairness, of course?

Despite the offer, Cena remains cagey...


John Cena: In the interests of fairness? I didn't even know that word existed in the McMahon vocabulary?

Linda McMahon: I married into that family John, I'm a little bit different than Vince.

Eventually Cena comes around to the idea, nodding in agreement...

John Cena: Yeah, alright. I got time to talk.

Linda McMahon: Great. Why don't we go into my office?

Linda motions for Cena to lead the way, and after a quick look at McMahon to convince himself she's legit, Cena walks on, the C.E.O. of the company following, the pair leaving the scene as we cut elsewhere.

To see Randy Orton and the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra stood in a dressing room. The pair both wear tense looks on their faces, with it clear that we've joined them in mid-conversation...


Randy Orton: We make no mistakes tonight, understand? We get the job done, we get Jeff Hardy tonight. I am gonna be the one to grab that briefcase at Wrestlemania, and I’m not havin’ him, or anybody else get in my way.

Dykstra has a stern look on his head as he nods in agreement…

Randy Orton: He embarrassed me… excuse me, us last week, and tonight he pays the price.

Kenny Dykstra: Yeah. Yeah, and if we get a chance, we take out Carlito too.

Frustrated, Orton cracks his neck as he looks away slowly…

Randy Orton: Look Kenny, no offence, but your little problem with Carlito is none of my concern. When I was the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, I didn’t need any help dealin’ with guys like Carlito. I took care of these kinda things by myself.

Kenny Dykstra: What about the rest of the guys in Evolution? They always had your back. Helped you win plenty of matches.

Orton sighs and shakes his head…

Randy Orton: I know I’ve not taught you everything yet, but one thing you’re gonna learn real quick is that you don’t contradict me. Understand?

Dykstra sheepishly nods…

Randy Orton: Get your head off Carlito, and start focusin’ on the bigger picture. I’m sure I’ve taught you enough to handle Carlito, but we’ve got some work to do with regards to Jeff Hardy. I don’t wanna see him anywhere near the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

And just for a second, Orton softens his demeanour…

Randy Orton: I tell you what. If you do well tonight and everythin’ goes to plan, then maybe after we take care of Jeff Hardy, we’ll take care of Carlito. How’s that sound?

Kenny Dykstra: Yeah alright. And along the way I’ll prove to Torrie Wilson I’m way more-

SLAP!

Furiously Orton cracks Kenny across the check with a stiff slap, the smack of flesh on flesh echoing around the two…


Randy Orton: Dammit Kenny! Get your head off of Torrie Wilson and start focusin’ here! You don’t need to be worryin’ about her. Women in your corner make you weak. Carlito is weak ‘cause he listens to her more than what his head is tellin’ him to do. How many time has he wanted to smash your head in, but stopped ‘cause she told him not to? Huh?

Kenny doesn’t answer as he rubs his face in pain…

Randy Orton: If you wanna keep that Intercontinental Title, you better start listenin’ to me, and forget about Torrie Wilson. Do you understand?

Still rubbing his face, but now with an angry look on it, Kenny nods, clearly not happy…

Randy Orton: Good. Tonight we deal with Jeff… then we’ll deal with Carlito. I’ll leave you to get ready.

Orton takes one last lingering stare at his protégé before he coldly walks off, leaving a simmering Dykstra behind, still rubbing his jaw as we go back into the arena...

*PAPARAZZI…*


The red carpet rolls out and the cameras start flashing as Johnny Nitro heads for the ring, as always arm in arm with Melina, the two looking as glamorous as ever…


Jim Ross: I wouldn’t want to be in Jeff Hardy’s shoes later tonight after hearing that. But right now it’s time for our second Money in the Bank Qualifying Match, and here comes Johnny Nitro, a man who has yet to record a win in 2007.

Jerry Lawler: And it’s not just Johnny. His teammate Chris Masters kept up his losin’ streak earlier tonight against CM Punk. The two of ‘em just can’t buy a win right now. And after how insulting Nitro and Melina were to Nick Dinsmore last week, I dunno if Nitro’s gonna like what he sees standin’ across the ring from ‘im.

*THIS FIRE BURNS…*


A good reception for Nick Dinsmore, the newcomer of sorts making his first appearance since cleaning up his act and converting to a straight edge lifestyle. Wearing one of CM Punk’s t-shirts, Dinsmore looks calm and confident as he slowly heads down the ramp…


Jerry Lawler: I’m excited to see this young man in action tonight. For all those years, I thought he was just a goof, just a kinda warm-natured idiot. I had no idea he had addiction problems that kinda confused him and allowed people to manipulate him. But not he’s healthy, I’m sure he’ll be determined to show us all what he can do in the ring.

Jim Ross: Certainly would be the fairytale story if Dinsmore could beat Nitro right here and grab a spot at Wrestlemania. What a way to prove you’ve conquered your demons that would be.

Match 4: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Johnny Nitro
w/ Melina vs. Nick Dinsmore

As the bell rings, Nitro is unsure of how to go about things, initially laughing at Dinsmore with a confused look on his face. Dinsmore waves Nitro in, encouraging a tie up between the two, but all Nitro seems interested in is laughing at Nick… so Dinsmore slaps him hard across the face! Nitro grabs his face and rubs his cheek, but the slap snaps him into action as he swings a right hand, only for Dinsmore to duck underneath and rock Nitro with a trio of rights of his own, backing Nitro to the ropes. An Irish whip sends Nitro across… into a big back body drop! Nitro is taken aback, stumbling to the corner, where Dinsmore starts unloading with right hands to the face, before he fires Nitro across… and follows in with a clothesline! Nitro staggers from the corner… and then gets dropped by a belly-to-belly suplex for a near fall.

Nitro is reeling, so he rolls to the outside to try and regroup with Melina, but Dinsmore doesn’t waste any time… as he flies through the air with a plancha! Dinsmore flattens Nitro, hammering him with right hands, before he yanks Nitro up and smashes him face first off the barricade. Nitro stumbles around the ring area, leading to him being smashed off the announce desk too, before Dinsmore tosses him back under the bottom rope. Nick then climbs up onto the apron, but before he can step through the ropes, Melina grabs him by the ankle. Dinsmore manages to shake himself free, but the distraction allows Nitro to charge… and bodycheck Dinsmore off the apron… crashing into the announce desk! Dinsmore’s ribs and gut take the brunt of the impact, with Nitro heading outside to go on the attack, driving Nick ribs first into the side of the ring before Nitro tosses him back into the ring. Dinsmore lies flat on the mat, with Nitro on the apron… who then slingshots onto the top rope… springboard elbow finds it’s mark, getting Nitro a 2 count.

A few vicious kicks and stomps land to the midsection, before Nitro drags Dinsmore up… STO backbreaker… into a falling neckbreaker, gaining another near fall. Uppercuts lead to a Russian legsweep, with Nitro firmly in control as he gets another 2 count. Nitro continues to attack the ribs, as when Dinsmore sits up Nitro lays in with stiff kicks, before he charges off the ropes and drills Nick with a vicious knee to the face, but still he only gets a 2 count. Looking for a way to wear Dinsmore down, Nitro drags him to his feet and locks on an abdominal stretch, causing Dinsmore to cry out in pain. Adding to the pressure, every now and then Nitro reaches out and grabs the top rope, upping the tension on the hold, but quickly releasing every time it looks as if the referee might catch him. Elbows also land on the ribs, and once more Nitro reaches for the top rope… but this time he gets caught! The referee spots it, causing Nitro to lose focus… and Dinsmore breaks free with a hiptoss! Nick drops to a knee to try and recover, but he’s soon back up, rocking Nitro with right hands that back him to the ropes before going for an Irish whip… but Dinsmore bounces off the ropes too… and catches Nitro with a running dropkick! Nitro is down, and here comes Dinsmore again… running senton! 1… 2... Nitro kicks out!

Looking to build momentum, Dinsmore tags Nitro with right hands before he goes for the Irish whip to the corner… which Nitro reverses… but he runs into a boot to the face. Dinsmore pushes himself onto the top rope… flying shoulderblock! 1… 2… Nitro rolls a shoulder! Nitro’s legs are like rubber as he stumbles back to his feet, with Dinsmore snapping off three shots to the face… Nitro swings and misses… and then gets caught with a bridging German suplex! 1… 2… Nitro kicks out again! The crowd is rooting for a Dinsmore win, and it looks like it could come as Dinsmore stands, waiting for Nitro to rise, poised, ready to strike… only for Melina to jump on the apron? Dinsmore walks over and barks at Melina, telling her to get back down… only for Melina to plant a kiss on his lips! Melina locks lips with Nick for quite a while, before finally letting him come up for air. Dinsmore stumbles away, but there’s something different about him now, as he sticks his tongue out and claps his hands… just like Eugene used to do! Melina finally decides to drop down, as Nitro is now back on his feet… NITRO BLAST! The distraction costs Dinsmore as Nitro smacks him with the kick, and quickly goes for the cover… 1… 2… 3!

Winner: Johnny Nitro @ 05.38

Nitro manages to pull off the sneak victory, catching Dinsmore by surprise with the rollup. Nitro quickly scrambles from the ring and embraces Melina, who squeals with delight and jumps into Nitro’s arms, wrapping her legs around his waist as the two celebrate Nitro’s first win of 2007. Dinsmore angrily slaps his hand off the mat, annoyed that he was distracted in such a way, but the commentators question what happened when Melina caused the distraction as Nick was acting in a very Eugene-like way…

*Commercial*


It’s to a dark corridor that we return to, to see Rob Van Dam performing some of those trademark stretches of his. Van Dam dips his head, adding pressure to the stretch, but this means he’s starring down at the ground… meaning he doesn’t see the shadow being cast over him. Van Dam lifts his head up, initially taken aback by who he sees, but he quickly swings a leg around to push himself back to his feet… nose to nose with Triple H! A big pop echoes throughout the arena as the two Wrestlemania opponents now stand face to face with each other…


Triple H: I just wanna say one thing to you. I really don’t like the way you’ve handled your business lately. I know you don’t like how it happened, but I beat you at Saturday Night’s Main Event. I got what I wanted, I had Shawn Michaels and I had the main event. But after the way you’ve been actin’-

Rob Van Dam: The way I’ve been actin’? Dude, I’m not the one who took the cheap way out.

‘The Game’ scowls at those words…

Triple H: Well I’m not the one who whined like a little bitch on some video on wwe.com until I got a rematch.

Van Dam laughs to himself, shaking off the comment…

Rob Van Dam: I didn’t bitch to anybody bro’. I just said it like it was and the dudes in charge saw it my way. I can’t help it if you can’t handle that.

The two breathe hard, getting right in each other’s face…

Triple H: Let’s just get through tonight. Tonight’s a chance to get my hands on Shawn Michaels, and I’m not gonna screw that up. And I guess that’s one thing we can agree on.

Van Dam nods…

Triple H: But after tonight, I’m treatin’ you the exact same way I would Shawn. I might’ve said in the past that it wasn’t personal between me and you, just business. Well it’s damn personal now Rob.

A big mixed reaction rings out, some fans enamoured with the tough attitude of ‘The Game’, while others not happy with the way he’s speaking to fan favourite Van Dam…

Triple H: And at Wrestlemania… I’m takin’ you out.

Rob Van Dam: Alright. We make it through this match tonight… and then it’s on dude.

The two stare each other down, neither man flinching, until eventually Trips turns and leaves, the camera staying focused on Van Dam as he returns to his stretches and we fade into a video.

*Video Package*

We open to a pitch black screen, with the faint sound of a revving motor engine slowly but surely getting louder...

Narrator: The road may be long...

Slowly on the horizon we see a red convertible driving over a hill, heading towards a sunset which lights the screen...

Narrator: The journey may be treacherous...

The revs of the engine increase and get louder, with the camera closing in on shots of the side of the car...

Narrator: But you'll love every second of it!

We now skim along the rear of the car, the sun glistening on the chrome duel exhaust...

Narrator: So strap yourself in...

The car now speeds past a road sign that reads "8 MILE ROAD"...

Narrator: And get ready!

From behind we see an image of the Detroit skyline, with our car heading down a straight road towards it...

Narrator: 20 years on, Wrestlemania returns to Detroit, Michigan!

More fast paced shots of the car racing through the streets of Detroit...

Narrator: And it's going to be...

The car suddenly crashes into the screen, with the grill of the car having the official Wrestlemania 23 logo and tagline printed on it...

Narrator: The ride of your life!



"WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - APRIL 1ST - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"

*End Video Package*


Back into the arena…

*LOADED…*


The always energetic Jeff Hardy bounces out from the back, bopping his head and shaking his hands to set off a burst of pyro before he bounds down the ramp…


Jim Ross: That’s right folks, Wrestlemania less than three weeks away! So many big matches, so many highlights are about to be made in Detroit City! And right now, we’re about to find out who the fourth and final member of the Raw roster in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match will be.

Jerry Lawler: And since returning from injury two weeks ago, Jeff Hardy has been after Kenny Dykstra and Randy Orton. And we heard earlier that Orton and Dykstra have somethin’ instore for Jeff tonight.

Jim Ross: Jeff’s gonna have to keep his head on a swivel if he wants to survive tonight. Orton and Dykstra came very close to puttin’ Jeff back on the shelf last week, and that could’ve easily happened had it not been for Carlito makin’ the save.

*DEATH GRIP…*


A good level of heat as Mike Knox makes his entrance, looking as dangerous and as menacing as ever. This is the first appearance from Knox without Kelly Kelly by his side, and as he cuts a fierce pace down the ramp now he’s not dragging her behind him…


Jim Ross: Well not only does Jeff have to worry about Orton and Dykstra, he’s also got to contend with this man, Mike Knox. As about as scary and deranged as they come, with a lot of power and a real mean streak to back it up,

Jerry Lawler: Can you imagine the damage this guy could do with a ladder in his hand? He could turn Wrestlemania into a bloodbath in a heartbeat! Jeff better not worry about Orton or Dykstra right now, he better worry about the man standin’ opposite him in the ring.

Match 5: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Jeff Hardy
vs. Mike Knox

Off the first collar and elbow tie up, Knox use his strength to wrench Jeff into a standing side headlock, only for Jeff to force Knox off the ropes… and he runs Hardy down with a shoulder block. Knox doesn’t waste any time in taking advantage, as he literally launches Hardy into the corner, following in to drop big elbows to the side of the head. A hard Irish whip sends Jeff across, but when Knox charges for a splash against the turnbuckle, Jeff is able to dive to safety. Knox stumbles from the corner, with Jeff tagging him with right hands before he comes off the ropes… clothesline only staggers the big guy, so Jeff comes off the ropes again… and ducks underneath a Knox right hand… flying clothesline finally knocks Knox down.

Knox is down near the ropes, but before he can pick himself up, Hardy races across the ring and then hits a baseball slide that sends Knox tumbling under the ropes to the floor. Knox reaches up to grab the apron in an attempt to pull himself back up, but Hardy is already on the move… for a mid-rope baseball slide… that sends Knox crashing into the barricade! Hardy lands on his feet, and he starts drilling Knox with right hands, before he smashes his face off the steel steps. Hardy abandons Knox as he returns to his feet, but that’s only so he can climb onto the barricade… diving clothesline! Hardy puts Knox down again, but it takes and age for him to get Knox back in the ring for the cover, meaning it’s only a 2 count. Knox crawls to the corner to try and regroup, but Hardy stays on him, rocking him with rights and lefts before he goes for the Irish whip to the opposite corner… but Knox reverses… only for Hardy to run to the top rope and go for whisper in the wind… no! Knox runs straight through, avoiding the contact, although Hardy is able to land on his feet… only for Knox to damn near take his head off with the bicycle kick! Hardy crashes to the mat, looking out cold as Knox slumps into the cover… 1… 2… somehow Hardy kicks out!

Given Hardy’s recent issues with concussion, it’s no surprise to see Knox start to target the head of Jeff, landing clubbing forearms and big elbows to the side of the head, before he drags Jeff from the corner for a scoop slam, following this with an elbow drop for a near fall. A string of headbutts land, before Hardy is fired hard to the corner, and this time Knox does connect on the splash against the turnbuckle, causing Jeff to simply crumple from the corner. Knox is toying with Hardy, continuing to lay on the punishment as he hammers Hardy with a vertical suplex and then a flapjack that sees Jeff smack face first off the canvas. Knox lands a few more of the clubbing forearms to the side of the head, before he wrestled Jeff into a sitting rear chinlock, looking to apply pressure to the skull. Jeff tries to fight it, but eventually it looks like Jeff is beginning to fade as he slumps further and further down to the mat. Jeff manages to find some life from somewhere, as he somehow manages to force his way back to his feet… elbow to the midsection, but Knox holds on… another elbow, but still Knox hangs in there… sitout jawbreaker finally sets Jeff free! Knox stumbles backwards from the impact of the move, with Jeff charging off the ropes… and ducks a right hand… but he can’t avoid the FLYING BEAR! Knox connects with the running crossbody, crawls into the lateral press, so sure of victory he doesn’t even bother to hook the leg… 1… 2… NO! Hardy rolls his shoulder!

Frustrated, Knox clambers to his feet and starts shouting at the referee, demanding the 3 count, but being assured it was only 2. Jeff is still down, and Knox waits for him to rise, but as he’s doing this a commotion is heard from the crowd… as Randy Orton and Kenny Dykstra start walking down to the ring! Just they said earlier, they’re here to make sure Jeff doesn’t get anywhere near Wrestlemania… but the boos of the crowd soon turn to cheers… as racing down the ramp is Carlito, steel chair in hand! Orton and Dykstra don’t see ‘Lito or Torrie Wilson coming… meaning ‘Lito is free to smack the chair off of Orton’s back! Kenny turns, but it’s too late… he gets the chair smacked off his skull! Carlito makes the save for Jeff, who has finally dragged himself back to his feet with the help of the ropes… here comes Knox… BICYCLE KICK… NO! Hardy ducks… and Knox winds up crotched on the top rope! In pain, Knox gingerly steps back into the ring, where Jeff is waiting… kick… TWIST OF FATE! Hardy plants Knox, and as Carlito on the outside grabs hold of Kenny, Jeff is on the top rope… SWANTON BOMB!! Jeff gets all of it, hooks the leg… 1… 2… 3!

Winner: Jeff Hardy @ 06.35

Jeff does it, he’s going to Wrestlemania! The crowd is on their feet as Hardy pins Knox, but Carlito is still tearing into Kenny on the outside. Orton scrambles away, seeking the safety of the top of the ramp, but Kenny’s not so lucky as ‘Lito tosses him into the ring. Knox roll s out of the ring and keeps himself out of sight while ‘Lito goes to work, throwing the chair he held over the top rope and then reaching under the ring for another chair that he slides in. Carlito soon follows, positioning one of the chairs on the mat… and then placing Kenny’s head on top of it!

The crowd pops big as they know what’s coming next, but Orton looks on in despair, almost having a fit on the top of the stage. Carlito then reaches through the ropes for a microphone, but he’s still got the second chair in his grasp…


Carlito: Hey! Hey, Orton! Carlito wants to ask ‘ju a question man. See Carlito wants to teach ‘dis punk a lesson for the way he’s been talkin’ trash to Carlito lately. So Carlito thinks… he oughta do to ‘dis punk what he did to Jeff.

A huge pop from the crowd, who are baying for blood, dying to see a con-chair-to…

Carlito: But ‘cause Carlito is cool, Carlito is gonna ‘ju a chance to save your little buddy Orton. Carlito is gonna drop ‘dis chair on one condition… ‘ju speak for ‘jur buddy, and ‘ju agree on his behalf, that at Wrestlemania XXIII, ‘dis punk puts the intercontinental Title on the line against Carlito… Caribbean… Cool!

Another big pop, as Orton has his head in his hands, wondering what to do…


Carlito: What ‘ju say Orton? ‘Ju give Carlito what he wants or ‘jur little friend gets ‘dis chair smacked off his skull!

Orton is beside himself, franticly pacing the ramp, still not knowing what to do…

Carlito: No? ‘Ju dunno, huh? OK… maybe Carlito can help make up ‘jur mind!

Carlito rears back, lifting the chair high in the air, ready to strike…

“YES! Yes, alright! Yes! He’ll give you the match!”

The crowd roars it’s approval as Carlito gets his wish, it’s him and Kenny at Wrestlemania for the Intercontinental Championship! Carlito brings the chair back down, much to Orton’s relief, but the crowd isn’t as pleased, booing in disappointment…


Carlito: Carlito and Kenny for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania! Now ‘dat’s cool!

But this draws a mixed response, the crowd still wanting ‘Lito to drill Kenny with the chair...

Carlito: Wait, wait, wait. Carlito got his match… but ‘ju still think Carlito should smack ‘dis punk with ‘dis chair?

The crowd responds with a resounding cry of “YESSS!!!”, dying to see Carlito hammer Kenny…

Carlito: Y’know… Carlito thinks ‘jure right!

Another roar from the crowd, as ‘Lito draws back, poised to strike… but Jeff taps ‘Lito on the shoulder, trying to encourage ‘Lito not to do it. Knowing better than anyone the damage a con-chair-to can do, Jeff tells ‘Lito it’s not worth it. Carlito thinks for a second, pondering what to do, with Orton still animated on the stage… but much to the crowd’s delight, Carlito shrugs Jeff aside and once again pulls the chair in the air… until Torrie steps infront of him?

An angry, disappointed look on her face, Torrie just shakes her head at ‘Lito, not uttering a word. Carlito looks confused at his girlfriend, telling her to get out of the way…

“What is wrong with you?!”

Torrie looks very disappointed in her man, almost in disbelief that Carlito could do such a thing. Carlito still looks dazed, wondering what on earth Torrie is playing…

“If you do this, you’re no better than them!”

Those words seem to strike a chord with ‘Lito, who ultimately decides to listen to his woman, dropping the chair. Torrie looks dejected, crushed, wondering how her boyfriend could stoop so low. Torrie can only shake her head, and with the crowd booing in the background, she turns and leaves the ring, quickly walking up the ramp. In the ring, Carlito is left with Jeff, steel chair in his hand, but a world of confusion whirling on his face, all Jeff can do is to pat him on the shoulder with a brief moment of consolation as we head into a commercial.

*Commercial*


And when we return, Maria is once again standing by…


Maria: Hi! I’m Maria, and welcome back everybody to Monday Night Raw. Boy,what a night it’s been! And right now, I’d like you to all welcome my guest at this time… ‘The Nature Boy’… Ric… Flair!

A round of “Wooooo” breaks out in the arena as Ric Flair steps into the frame. Dressed in smart-casual clothes, Flair isn’t competing tonight, but as always he looks like he has plenty to say…


Maria: And Ric, last Friday night on Smackdown you issued the challenge to Mr. Kennedy for a match at Wrestlemania XXIII. Kennedy accepted, but later in the night, you delivered the performance of a lifetime against Edge. Ric, how are you fellin’ now given what happened last Friday night?

Flair doesn’t responds, instead he looks Maria dead in the eye…


Ric Flair: WOOOOO!!

”Wooooo!”…

Ric Flair: How do I feel? Lemme tell ya’ Maria, I feel GREAT! ‘The Nature Boy’ and Mr. Kennedy, one on one, on the Grandaddy of ‘em all! Wooooo!

”Wooooo!”…

Ric Flair: Y’know last Friday night, ol’ Naitch proved a few things to a few people. To punks like Kennedy and Edge, they found out that, like I always say… to be the man… you gotta beat the man! Y’know people like to talk a lot about my age, how old I am. They say I’m too old, I’m too slow, that I can’t cut it anymore. Well all I got to say to those people, is that there’s an old sayin’ somebody told me once. “You’re only as old… as the woman you feel”! And Maria, you play your cards right, and tonight could be your lucky night!

Maria gasps and giggles as Flair smiles at here…


Ric Flair: But lemme get serious here for a second. Y’see, Mr. Kennedy likes to say that guys like me, the legends of this ring, the guy that paved the way for a punk like him to make a living in this great industry, he says we stick around too long and hold guys like him down. Now I know over the years, people know me for talkin’. I run my mouth like the best of ‘em, hell, maybe better than anybody ever did! But I stepped through those ropes night after night, and I backed up each and every single word I said.

Pop…

Ric Flair: And that’s what Friday night was for me. I went out to that ring, I took on Edge, and I backed up every single word I said to that lil’ punk at the top of the show. Y’know maybe I have hung around a lil’ bit too long. Maybe. But I do it… the reason I’m still here after all these years… is’ cause I love what I do.

Another pop, as Flair starts to get emotional…

Ric Flair: I love entertain’ the fans! I love the art of wrestlin’! I love steppin’ through those ropes and bein’ ‘The Nature Boy’! And I’m not gonna let some young punk take one second o’ that away from me. Wrestlemania XXIII… Detroit City… it’s just you and me Kennedy! You and me! I gave a great performance against Edge Friday night, and believe me brother, I got another one saved up, just for you!

Flair bites his lip, looking hard down the camera lense…

Ric Flair: I’ll give my blood, I’ll give my sweat, I’ll give my tears, hell, I’ll even give my damn life Kennedy! I’ll do whatever it takes! And win, lose, or draw, you’ll realise one thing… that diamonds are forever… and so is… RIC FLAIR! WOOOOO!!

A final “Wooooo!” from the crowd as Flair leaves the interview set, with Maria left to watch him go, smiling, almost in awe of the great man as we head back to ringside.

And to the announce desk, a proud looking Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler sat looking down the camera…


Jim Ross: Wrestlemania XXIII, less than three weeks away, and that one right there is set to be one of the most personal, hate filled matches I’ve ever seen. Ric Flair and Mr. Kennedy, a rivalry spanning several months, and it all comes to a head, in Detroit.

Jerry Lawler: Oh absolutely. But y’know, Wrestlemania isn’t the only event takin’ place in Detroit that weekend. Saturday night, the night before Wrestlemania, it’s the WWE Hall of Fame! And me and you J.R., we’re gonna be inducted! Can you believe that?

Jim Ross: Certainly a very humbling honour, lemme tell ya’. But right now, we’re gonna announce the latest member of the 2007 Hall of Fame Class, and it’s an inductee into the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah, he was there way back at the first Wrestlemania, infact, he was in the first Wrestlemania main event! And not only that, he came back again the next year for Wrestlemania II! And quite frankly, I pity the fool who doesn’t know who I’m talkin’ about by now!

*Video Package*

We open to the grainy footage of Wrestlemania I, and soon the familiar opening to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ is heard...

Narrator: Wrestlemania was the showcase that brought sports entertainment to a whole new level, and this man was at the very heart of it...

We now see Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka walking the corridors of Madison Square Garden, the trio on their way to the ring for the first ever Wrestlemania main event ...

Narrator: Already a star of the small and big screen, he brought his talents to the wrestling ring...

Hogan reaches out tag in T, who starts unloading with rights and lefts to ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff...

Narrator: And captivated audiences like never before.

Shot from the end of that match, as Hogan and T embrace after their hard fought victory...

Mr. T: On the 31st, don’t look for a lotta sweet moves from me. I only know one thing... pain!

Mr. T and ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper go nose to nose during an edition of Piper’s Pit...

Narrator: Appearing at both Wrestlemania I and II,he helped establish what is now the biggest night of the wrestling year...

We see T unloading on a punching bag in preparation for his boxing match with Piper...

Gene Okerland: Mr. T, please-

Mr. T: Lemme tell ya’ somethin’! This ain’t gonna be no fight. This gonna be a war! I’m a smash the chump! When I finish wit’ ‘im, he gon’ look like you! Now get outta here!

And then we see the first of three main events at Wrestlemania II, with Piper and T trading jabs...

Narrator: And left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.

All hell breaks loose as Piper scoop slams T to the mat...

Narrator: But it was undoubtedly his famous television and movie roles that embedded him into the fabric of Americana.

We now hear the theme from ‘The A-Team’, with various shots of Mr. T portraying the B.A. Baracus character...

Mr. T: I ain’t gettin’ on no plane!

The music continues as we now see T in ‘Rocky III’ as Clubber Lang...

Interviewer: Clubber, what’s your prediction for the fight?

Mr. T: My prediction? I predict pain!

Shot of Hogan and T on the set of Saturday Night Live, the two struggling not to laugh...

Roddy Piper: Lemme tell ya’, when he hit ya’... forget about it! He was one tough S.O.B.!

More shots of the great Piper/T battles...

Narrator: The WWE Hall of Fame Celebrity Wing proudly welcomes...

We see Hogan and T reunited at Halloween Havoc ’94...

Edge: As a kid, I loved the WWE and I loved The A-Team. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever to see Mr. T in the same ring as Hulk Hogan...

And a final shot from Saturday Night’s Main Event, when T knocks Piper off the ring apron then slugs ‘Cowboy’ Boy Orton the top rope with a big left hand...

Narrator: Mr. T!

We now see a picture of Mr. T, stern faced, pointing at us, gold chains around his neck, with the Hall of Fame logo nearby. Also on the screen is the fact that T will be inducted into the Hall of Fame by current Hall of Famer ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper!

*End Video Package*


And it’s back into the arena, where a generous round of applause welcomes the announcement of the newest member of the Hall of Fame. A brief “MIS – TER – TEE! MIS – TER – TEE!” chant breaks out as we once again hear from J.R. and ‘King’…

Jim Ross: Congratulations to Mr. T, a more then worthy addition to the Celebrity Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.

Jerry Lawler: Just think J.R., without guys like Mr. T helpin’ promote the very first Wrestlemania, the WWE would never have grown into the company it is today, and Monday Night Raw would never have existed!

Jim Ross: Certainly a lot to be said for the efforts of all involved with Wrestlemania I. Pioneers of the industry if you will! But right now folks, we’re gonna hear from the Women’s Champion Mickie James. A lotta talk has taken place these last few weeks regarding Mickie and the history she shares with Beth Phoenix. We’ve heard Beth’s side of the story, and now it’s time to hear from the champion.

The shot cuts to the interview area, where standing alone is Mickie James. The champion isn’t her usual cheerful self, instead she looks very determined and reserved. The Woman’s Championship is held across her shoulder, with Mickie not dressed to compete tonight…

Jim Ross: And Mickie, thank you for joinin’ us tonight, we appreciate the opportunity to hear you side of things.

Mickie James: Thanks J.R., I’m glad to be here. I hope to set a few things straight tonight.

Jim Ross: Well, certainly that’s what we’re all hopin’ for too. Mickie, I wanna take you all the way back to 2005. Now from what Beth Phoenix has told us, you and Beth used to be best of friends. You trained together, worked out together, the two of you even had both your first matches against each other. To say the least, you were pretty close.

Mickie nods, a distant look on her face, perhaps reminiscing about those days…

Mickie James: Um… yeah. Yeah, that’s absolutely right.

Jim Ross: You two had both impressed on the independent wrestling scene, you started to make names for yourselves. The call went out for a new Diva to join the Monday Night Raw roster, and you and Beth made it to the final two. A match between the two of you was scheduled to take place, the winner receiving the contract.

Mickie James: Uh huh.

Jim Ross: Unfortunately, Beth suffered a broken hand right before the match was scheduled to take place. Beth was on the shelf injured, the match never took place, and you were awarded the contract. And of course, we all know what happened, you’ve gone on to become a two time Women’s Champion. Now Mickie, Beth made the claim two weeks ago in an interview, that you injured Beth deliberately to get that contract. Now Mickie… I personally find that rather hard to believe… but the question has to be asked. Mickie… did you deliberately injure Beth Phoenix so that you could become a WWE Diva?

Mickie drops her head, shaking it slightly, taking a long time to ponder her answer…

Mickie James: No J.R., I did not deliberately injure Beth. I think you need to hear the real story as to how Beth got injured. It’s true, me and Beth, we were best friends. We trained together, we travelled with each other between shows, we even lived together in a cramped little apartment near our nearest wrestling school. We worked any jobs we could find to raise enough money to train and travel the country, all in an effort to get better. But every Monday night, without fail, we’d sit down and watch Monday Night Raw. Y’see, we were both huge Trish Stratus fans. She was so amazing in the ring. The night we saw Trish in the main event of Raw, we both knew that one day, that’s where we wanted to be.

Mickie can’t help but break into a smile when she thinks of those moments…

Mickie James: When we got the call about the Divas spot on the Raw roster, we both wanted it so bad. We knew it would mean us together in the ring against each other, just like old times. But we both promised that we wouldn’t let it affect our friendship. But y’know, I couldn’t help but laugh at what Beth said two weeks ago. She said I started acting weird in the run up to the match? It was Beth who started actin’ weird. We used to be so close, but as soon as she knew it was me and her for a WWE contract, she became like a recluse. She spent all her time in the gym, she started lifting heavier and heavier weights, she even started missin’ out on watchin’ Raw with me on Monday nights so she could work out more and more. She was my roommate and I never saw her! To be honest J.R., I think she became obsessed with beating me.

Mickie looks down, saddened and concerned with how her friend was acting back then…

Jim Ross: Tell us about the injury Mickie. Tell us about the broken hand.

Mickie James: Like I said, I barely saw Beth anymore. I figured that perhaps one last practice match between the two of us, just as friends, might mean we didn’t worry so much about the big tryout match. So I managed to convince her to go down to the local wrestling school the day before the tryout and do a little practice with me. We always competed and fought hard, even in practice, but that day… I really think Beth was tryin’ to soften me up for the match the next day. I didn’t say anything, I just gave as good as I got… and that’s when it happened. Beth went for some move, I forget what it was now, and when I tried to counter, we landed funny and… that’s when she broke her hand. J.R., you gotta believe me, I was crushed. It was a total accident, I’d never hurt anybody on purpose, never mind my best friend. I even took Beth to the hospital in my car and stayed with her, that’s how bad I felt,

Mickie bites her lip, holding back tears…

Mickie James: The doctor said it was a really bad break, there’d be no way she could compete tomorrow. Beth was… devastated. So was I because I knew, in a way, it was my fault. We called the WWE, explained the situation. We asked If the tryout could be postponed for like a month or somethin’, at least until Beth was healthy again. But the WWE offered me the contract and said it was now or never. I had to accept it J.R., I just had too. It was my dream come true! I said yes and had two days to say my goodbyes and go on the road with the Raw roster. I tied up all my loose ends, except for one… Beth. She just… she just didn’t want to see me.

A single tear drops down Mickie’s cheek…


Mickie James: I tried so hard to make things right. I wrote her so many letters from all the different towns we performed in, I called her so many times, but she... she just didn’t want to know me anymore. Each night, I stepped into the arena and I was bubbly, and bouncy, and happy go lucky Mickie James. But deep down inside… I was hurtin’ ‘cause I lost my best friend.

Mickie catches another tear, wiping it away…

Jerry Lawler: Mickie, I know this is hard for you. But there’s another question I feel has to be asked. Four weeks ago, when Victoria brought Beth back to Monday Night Raw, you sat next to me on commentary and said… you’d forgotten about Beth Phoenix. Mickie, after all we’ve heard from you and Beth… how could you say somethin’ like that?

A few more tears start to fall, Mickie struggling to wipe them off her cheeks…


Mickie James: I dunno ‘King’. I guess after a while, you just have to move on. I mean, I was workin’ all the time for the WWE. I made new friends. Friends like Trish Stratus. Friends like Torrie, or Candice, or Maria. I saw them so much, they became like family to me. Whereas to Beth… I didn’t exist anymore. OK, so I shouldn’t have lied the night she came back. I remembered her. I guess it was just shock or somethin’ that took over. I hoped to have the chance to talk to Beth, to try and make amends… but all that got me was her plantin’ me face first into the mat.

With one final, aggressive swipe, Mickie manages to dry her eyes…

Jim Ross: Well, we thank you for fillin’ us in on your side of the story Mickie. Last week, the match was set, you and Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. I know it’s gonna be an emotional night for you Mickie, but how are you feelin’ now ahead of the match?

Mickie James: Y’know, if you asked me two years ago, I’d never have believed I’d ever be sayin’ this. But Beth Phoenix… I really wanna kick her ass!

The crowd lets out an emphatic pop… but suddenly Mickie is blindsided by Beth Phoenix and Victoria! Beth leads the charge, smashing Mickie with a forearm that sends her crashing into the interview set, with the backdrop and lighting rig tumbling to the floor. The backdrop is yanked aside, allowing Beth to mount Beth to drill her with right hands, while Victoria shouts encouragement to her friend, laying in with the occasional kick. Beth continues to drill Mickie, but finally we get some help as referees and agents race into the scene, trying to separate the pair. Victoria does her best to scare a few refs away, allowing Beth those few extra seconds to lay on the punishment. Finally they manage to drag Beth off of Mickie, with Victoria grabbing her friend, dragging her away from the situation. Beth breathes hard, her hair wild, looking like a woman possessed, but smiling at the fact she’s left the Woman’s Champion down and out, with Mickie coughing and spluttering on the floor as we head for a commercial.

*Commercial*


Straight back into the arena for…

”BEHOLD THE KING… THE KING OF KINGS…”

*THE GAME…*


An incredible cheer as Triple H makes his entrance, ‘The Game’ nearly blowing the roof off the arena when he steps through the curtain. Stopping at the top of the ramp, Trips pauses before he sprays a burst of water into the air before he strides down the ramp…


Jim Ross: Listen to the ovation for ‘The Game’, Triple H! He’s goin’ to Wrestlemania to challenge for the WWE Championship, and a very personal showdown with Shawn Michaels. But lately, ‘The Game’ has had his share of problems with the third man in that match, Rob Van Dam.

Jerry Lawler: And they’re about to be partners tonight! We heard ‘im say it earlier, it wasn’t personal between Triple H and Van Dam before, but it sure as hell is now! Those two guys looked like they wanted to rip each other’s heads off. How in the world are they meant to team together right now?

’The Game’ springs up onto the apron and again sprays water high into the air, before he steps through the ropes and climbs to the second rope, flexing and roaring to the crowd. Eventually Trips drops back down, taking another sip of water before he tosses the bottle aside and waits on his partner…

*ONE OF A KIND…*


And it’s another great pop for Rob Van Dam, the perennial crowd favourite stepping out onto the stage, leading the crowd in a chance of “ROB… VAN… DAM!” before he confidently heads for the ring…


Jim Ross: One interesting fact to remember about Rob Van Dam is that he’s never main evented a Wrestlemania. He’s a onetime WWE Champion, but he’s never been in this kinda position before, with this much pressure.

Jerry Lawler: And this match’ll be a great indication of how Van Dam responds to that pressure. Can he handle the big match tension? Can he deal with the nervousness? We all know he’s cold as ice usually, but this is Wrestlemania season, and the stakes could not be higher.

Van Dam heads for the corner, climbing to the second rope to once again lead a chant of “ROB… VAN… DAM!” before he drops down and comes face to face with Triple H. The crowd cheers as the tension between the two starts to build, a few words of trash talk being exchanged until they hear…

*HELL WILL BE CALLIN’…*


Major heat for Bobby Lashley who is scheduled to wrestle his first match since his shocking heel turn on John Cena at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Lashley doesn’t bother with his old routine of posing at the top of the ramp, instead he’s all business as he snarls his way down the ramp and circles the ring…


Jim Ross: It was one of the most shockin’ things I’ve ever seen. Saturday Night’s Main Event, Bobby Lashley ripped through the canvas and interjected himself in the Steel Cage Match featurin’ John Cena and The McMahons. Lashley decimated Cena, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he did somethin’ similar to either Rob Van Dam or Triple H tonight.

Jerry Lawler: Or maybe even both! This guy has always had power, he’s always been a very impressive individual. But now with Mr. McMahon guidin’ his career, he could be about to skyrocket his way to the top. And that includes destroyin’ John Cena at Wrestlemania.

Lashley remains on the outside, looking extremely confident as he continues to pace the ringside area, waiting for the arrival of his partner…

*SEXY BOY…*


And the biggest level of heat all evening goes to the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels, who emerges once again dressed all in the black. Black wrestling chaps, black boots, black vest, and the black cowboy hat is still adorning his head. Michaels drops to his knees and opens his arms to the heavens, saying a quick prayer before he heads for the ring…


Jim Ross: Love him or hate him, you have to respect him. He’s the WWE Champion, and he believes that God has brought him to the point, and that God will deliver him safely through Wrestlemania, still the WWE Champion.

Jerry Lawler: I find the way this guys been actin’ lately just bizarre. I think he’s gone crazy to be honest with you. I’ve got no problem with bein’ religious, but Michaels is startin’ to take it to a whole new level. And I don’t like it.

Main Event: Tag Team Match
WWE Champion Shawn Michaels and Bobby Lashley vs. Triple H and Rob Van Dam

After their words earlier, it’s no surprise that there’s discontent between Van Dam and Triple H when the bell rings, as neither man wants to stand down to the other. Eventually Van Dam relents, holding his hands and stepping through the ropes, while in the other corner, Michaels has no worries in letting Lashley start for his team. Lashley and ‘The Game’ step forward, the two tying up, with an initial struggle for position between the two. Neither man budges as they match each other’s strength, but Trips eventually manages to back Lashley to the heel corner. The referee calls for the break, which ‘The Game’ provides... so he can slug Michaels with a big right hand! ‘The Game’ knocks Michaels from the apron, but this allows Lashley to gain the upperhand as he drives a trio of knees into Trips’ gut. Lashley rocks Triple H with a right hand, then fires him off the ropes... and bowls ‘The Game’ over with a bodycheck. Lashley brings Michaels into the match, and the WWE Champion starts to light up ‘The Game’ with a series of chops to the chest against the corner. Michaels moves Trips to the ropes, sending him across... but he misses with a clothesline... and ‘The Game’ answers back with the running high knee! Michaels stumbles to the corner, but Trips stays on him, snapping his head back with stiff right hands before going for the Irish whip... Michaels goes upside down into the opposite turnbuckle! Michaels’ legs look like rubber as he staggers from the corner... and ‘The Game’ knocks him down with a clothesline!

‘The Game’ grabs a handful of hair, holding Michaels in position... and then holds out a hand to Van Dam... who rather forcibly makes the tag. Van Dam enters and starts tagging Michaels with right hands that back him to a corner. A pair of turnbuckle thrusts land, then Van Dam does a handspring away from the corner... and charges in for another turnbuckle thrust! Kicks land to the thigs and head, before a jumping roundhouse knocks Michaels down. Van Dam then looks to come off the opposite ropes... for ROLLING THUNDER... but Michaels rolls under the bottom rope to the outside, seeing Van Dam land on his feet instead. Michaels paces that side of the ring, trying to shake it off, put this means he doesn’t see ‘The Game’ coming round the corner... to hammer Michaels with a right hand! Michaels stumbles away, but Lashley sees this and drops down... and now he and Triple H are trading right hands on the outside! The two trade rights and lefts, with Michaels now laning a few shots to ‘The Game’... but here comes Van Dam... ROLLING THUNDER... INTO A SUICIDE SENTON OVER THE TOP ROPE! Van dam flies through the air, taking out all three men, and with bodies strewn across the floor, we fade into our final commercial of the night.

*Commercial*


And we return to Lashley and Van Dam in the ring, with Van Dam having Lashley locked in a standing side headlock… but Lashley pushes Van Dam off the ropes… but misses a right hand… Van Dam goes for a jumping roundhouse… but Lashley catches him… and sends him flying with a fallway slam ! Lashley shows off his power, and he quickly makes the tag to Michaels. The WWE Champion enters the ring, and he mounts Van Dam and starts laying in with right hands. Michaels and Lashley show a good measure of team work as they start making quick tags, with Lashley coming back in to rock ‘RVD’ with a backbreaker… and he keeps Van Dam on his knee, pushing down on his chin and lower body to apply all inds of pressure to the small of the back. Van dam tries to break free, but he can’t break Lashley’s grip, although as the crowd try to make some noise an rally Van Dam into breaking the hold, Lashley simply tosses Van Dam to the mat, silencing the arena. Michaels comes back in, unloading with chops to the chest against the heel corner, and then he gets a near fall after coming off the ropes into a swinging neckbreaker.

Lashley and Michaels continue to punish Van Dam, as Lashley connects on a delayed vertical and then an overhead belly to belly suplex, while Michaels catches him witha back body drop, then gets the longest 2 count fo the match off of an enziguiri. Van Dam is in a world of hurt, but when Lashley sends him to the corner and charges in, Van Dam is able to get a boot up to the face… and then knock Lashley down a rolling wheel kick ! Van Dam then slows starts to crawl towards his corner… but Michaels darts into the ring, drawing the attention of the referee… as ‘RVD’ tags in ‘The Game’ ! Trips bursts into the ring, taggign Lashley with a few rights, but Michaels tels the ref to turn, saying there was no tag. The referee indeed does this, ordering Trips from the ring, while behind his back Michaels drags Van Dam back to the heel corner. Triple H is enraged, protesting that there was a tag, but this just keeps the referee distracted, allowing Michaels and Lashley to drill kicks and boots to th chest of Van Dam in their corner, until finally ‘The Game’ leaves the ring. Michaels heads outside too, the picture of innocence, and after Lashley drags Van Dam to the middle of the ring, he tags in Michaels… who climbs to the top rope… ELBOW DROP ! Michaels conects, and cralws into the lateral press… 1… 2… Triple H makes the save, much to Michaels’ annoyance.

Lashley comes back in, and he looks to really lay on the pain, drilling knees, forearms and even headbutts to the small of the back, before he hooks Van Dam up… for a full nelson slam ! 1… 2… Van Dam rolls his shoulder. Michaels is back in, and he looks for an Irish whip… but ‘RVD’ reverses it… only for Michaels to answer back with a flying forearm… and then a kip up ! The crowd boo the arrogance of Michaels, but he doesn’t care as he simply points at ‘The Game’ and says "This one’s for you.", drawing an angry glare from Triple H. Michaels heads for the corner, waiting for Van Dam to rise… stomping his foot, each stomp drawing more boos from the crowd as Michaels gets ready… and makes his move... SWEET CHIN MUSIC… NO ! Van Dam ducks underneath… spinning cresecent kick ! Van Dam knocks Michaels down, and now both men are crawling for their corners. Michaels tags in Lashley… but here comes ‘The Game’ !

Triple H enters the ring and starts hammering Lashley with right hands, backing him to the ropes, allowing ‘The Game’ to go for an Irish whip… but Lashley reverses… but he lowers his head… facebreaker knee smash ! Lashley stumbles back… and Triple H levels him with a clothesline ! Triple H flexes and roars to the crowd, but here comes Michaels… into a big back body drop ! All hell breaks loose as all four men are in the ring, with Van Dam targetting the still down Lashley… ROLLING THUNDER ! This time Van Dam connects, but when he gets back to his feet, the referee tries to usher him from the ring… which means he isn’t looking… as Michaels drills him with SWEET CHIN MUSIC ! Michaels kicks Van Dam’s head off, causing Van Dam to roll to the outside… but when Michaels gloats and taunts Van Dam, he doesn’t see Triple H charge from behind… clothesline puts Michaels over the top rope to the floor !

Now it’s Lashley and ‘The Game’, the two trading blows, with Trips gaining the upperhand. Triple H goes for the Irish whip… Lashley ducks a clothesline… but can’t avoid a MASSIVE SPINNING SPINEBUSTER ! Once more Triple H roars to the fans, and now he’s waiting for Lashley to rise… kick… PEDIGREE… NO ! Lashley counters with a back body drop, but he has to drop a knee afterwards to try and recover. ‘The Game’ lands near his corner, and he reaches up to tag in the now recovered Van Dam, who slowly climbs to the top rope… DIVING SPINNING HEEL KICK ! Van dam gets all of it, and he hooks the leg… 1… 2… Lashley powers out of the pinfall ! Lashley forcibly kicks out, but Van Dam stays on him as he tags Lashley with kicks to the head… but when he tries to send Lashley off the ropes, Lashley revrses… so Van Dam jumps to the second rope… springboard leg lariat ! Lashley is down, and in perfect position, the crowd going wild as Van Dam drags his body to the top rope… Michaels reaches in drags Triple H from the ring… Van Dam gets ready to fly… SWEET CHIN MUSIC TO TRIPLE H ON THE FLOORFIVE STAR FROG SPLASH… NO ! Lashley rolls to safety, allowing Van Dam to crash to the mat, but he’s quickly back on his feet as Van Dam stumbles up… SPEAR !!! Lashley runs through Van Dam with the spear, and with Triple H down on the outside, there’s nobody to save Van Dam from the 1… 2… 3 !

Winners: Shawn Michaels and Bobby Lashley @ 14.29

Absolutely dominant. Lashley spears the life out of Van Dam, grabbing the win, and in the process perhaps gaining a measure of revenge for the two defeats Van Dam has inflicted on him this year. Lashley gets back to his feet, roaring to the masses, ecstatic over his victory. Michaels meanwhile backs his way up the ramp, obviously delighted that he's laid out Triple H while Lashley has done the same to Van Dam. Michaels slowly backs his way up the ramp, smiling, nodding, happy at what just happened... until a commotion rings out around the arena... John Cena is racing down the ramp! Cena barges Michaels to the steel, running straight through him and sliding into the ring... where he tackles Lashley to the mat!

Just like last week, Cena has stormed the ring and has taken the fight to Lashley! The two brawl all over the ring, rolling on the mat, neither man able to keep the upper hand for very long... and now Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon race out from the back... and are calling a security squad down to the ring! Shawn Michaels has already slipped backstage, but now Vince and Shane are franticly waving security personnel down to the ring. At least ten guards slides under the bottom rope, and with Cena in a mount position, laying into Lashley, he doesn't see the guards grab and tackle him from behind! The crowd boos vociferously, wanting to see the two men go at it, but Cena is quickly dragged away from Lashley, allowing him to recover after his match. The guards manage to subdue Cena, keeping him down on the mat, which allows Vince and Shane to enter the ring. The McMahons initially check on Lashley, with Shane helping Lashley back to his feet while Vince calls for a microphone...


Mr. McMahon: Well, well... just couldn't help yourself could ya' Cena? Ya' just couldn't help yourself! When are you gonna realise John... that the deck is always gonna be stacked against you? Get 'im up!

Vince orders his security guards to yank Cena to his feet...


Mr. McMahon: I always have things in my favour John! You can preach all night long about your hustle, your loyalty, your stinkin' respect, but tonight, just like Wrestlemania, everythin' is in MY favour!

Cena tries valiantly to fight free, but at least eight of the security guards have him firmly in their grasps...


Mr. McMahon: Joey Styles found that out the hard way last week, and at Wrestlemania, that's exactly what you're gonna find out too. I don't play fair Cena, it's never been my way in business or-

*RETRO WRESTLEMANIA...*


At first nobody in the audience knows what's going on, but soon it becomes clear as Linda McMahon steps out onto the stage with a microphone in her hand, to a surprisingly big pop, although fans know that they could be about to hear something rather important...


Linda McMahon: Thank you for your applause Washington. I'll make this brief. Vince, I-

Mr. McMahon: Wait a minute! What the hell's the meanin' of this? What are you doin' Linda?

Linda allows a quick smile to cross her face...

Linda McMahon: Well Vince, it's nice to see you too. As for the reason why I'm here, I was here tonight on official WWE business. However, earlier tonight I ran into John Cena backstage and we had a little business meeting of our own.

Vince turns to Shane, then to Cena, then back to Linda, confusion reigning in the ring...


Linda McMahon: And having heard what John had to say, and after having a review of your recent conduct via conference call with certain members of the WWE Board of Directors, we've come to a decision Vince. And, we've decided... that there is to be a change made to the match you signed off on between John Cena and Bobby Lashley.

Vince now angrily looks at Cena, who doesn't even bother to fight anymore, instead he has a goofy, over the top grin on his face, purely to further anger McMahon...

Linda McMahon: And after that review, I forwarded a motion concerning that match. A motion that was carried unanimously. That's why next week Vince, you, me, Bobby Lashley and John Cena are going to sit down in that ring, and we're going to sign a new contract for the match at Wrestlemania.

Pop...


Linda McMahon: And also at the contract signing... is going to be the man myself and the Board of Directors appointed... as the Special Guest Referee for the match.

And another pop, that further angers Vince...

Mr. McMahon: Wait a minute! Wait a damn minute here! Special - you've appointed a Special Guest Referee?!

Linda McMahon: Oh hell yeah, Vince!

A fucking huge cheer from the crowd as the instantly know who that special guest referee is. Everyone in the ring knows too, as Shane has his head in his hands, Lashley angrily kicks the bottom rope, while the announcement draws that trademark gulp from Vince...

Linda McMahon: But of course, this appointment has been made... purely... in the interests of fairness. Now, I'd very much like to see you and this security team of yours out of the ring please Vince. Or maybe... Hunter and Rob can oblige?

Suddenly, Triple H and 'RVD' burst into the ring... and start laying out the security guards! The guards drop like flies as 'The Game' and Van Dam start drilling them with right hands, allowing Cena to break free... and fly for Lashley once again! Once more Cena and Lashley are brawling all over the ring, while Vince dives from the ring and stars running up the ramp. Linda has already departed for the backstage area, meaning Vince can only watch the mayhem taking place. Shane also heads to the outside, managing to help Lashley escape, while the security team take a pounding, scrambling from the ring. It's mayhem in and out the ring as the guards start running for the hills, with Cena giving chase, following Vince, Shane and Lashley all the way up the ramp and backstage.

The ring is cleared, except for Van Dam, Triple H... and a helpless bastard who was left behind! Trips and 'RVD' both look up the ramp, before they turn and realise they're the only two left in the ring, except for the guard who's slowly managing to get back to his feet. Sensing his predicament, the guard looks like a dear in the headlights as he sees the two men stood either side of him... and 'The Game' drills him with a kick... Pedigree! Triple H plants the poor guy, who happens to roll onto his back, just as 'RVD' springs to the top rope... Five Star Frog Splash! Two thirds of the WWE Championship scenario hit their big moves, with the two back on their feet, standing across the ring from each other, looking like they could tear each other apart at any second...


Jim Ross: Bah Gawd what a night! 'The Game' and Van Dam, what an explosive situation!

Jerry Lawler: And next week we're gonna find out who the Special Guest Referee is for Cena vs. Lashley!

Jim Ross: You won't want to miss it folks! Goodnight!

The two men left standing continue to stare at each other, both men's eyes narrowed, shaking with rage, ready to burst at any moment... but that's for another week as we fade... to... black.

*End Show*




Current Card for WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII:
Date: April 1st 2007

Location: Ford Field; Detroit, Michigan

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match Match:
WWE Champion Shawn Michaels vs. 'The Game' Triple H vs. 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs. 2007 Royal Rumble Winner Edge

The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object:
'The Real Deal' Bobby Lashley vs. John Cena
Special Guest Referee: ???


Streak vs. Streak:
'The Phenom' The Undertaker vs. 'The Samoan Bulldozer' Umaga

Past vs. Future:
'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy

United States Championship Match:
United States Champion Finlay vs. Matt Hardy

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Carlito

Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms vs. Bryan Danielson

Women's Championship Match:
Women's Champion Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix

Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Entrants in Alphabetical Order:

Chris Benoit vs. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Johnny Nitro vs. King Booker vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Randy Orton vs. ???
__________________
WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
2007 King of the Ring Has Been Posted!!!




Last edited by iMac : 10-31-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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