Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust
-- THE FOLLOWING IS A MONDAY NIGHT MIZ PRODUCTION --
We fade open to the front of the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, where merchandise stands and stalls selling a variety of artery-clogging American foods are in the background. A swarming crowd of fans in the arena ‘lobby’ cheer wildly at the chance to be on TV, and in the middle of them, with his title belt resting comfortably on his shoulder and a mic in his hand, stands the WWE Champion, The Miz. The Awesome One pouts as he looks around his usual fashion, then raises the mic to his mouth, and smirks; behind him, the fans wave frantically at the camera and make funny faces for the sake of it.
The Miz: Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be in the WWE.
He pauses to let that sink in, as a couple of the fans behind him tell him he sucks.
The Miz: Yup, ever since I was in kindergarten, drawing pictures of myself with the WWE Title – oh, but wait. Stop the record right there.
He holds up his free hand to the camera to stop that train of thought.
The Miz: No, I’m not going to reel off a clichéd... sob story, just so I can endear myself to... these people.
“Miz sucks!” chant the fans behind him, as he directs an arm towards them to show who he means.
The Miz: Quite... the opposite. See, I don’t work in clichés.
He smirks again, as we can hear some boos from the arena over the top.
The Miz: Yet – how can it be, that when I finally stood in front of thousands of fans in the main event of Wrestlemania, I just felt... empty?
The Miz: Why... why is it that when I have all these people surrounding me, the WWE Champion, I don’t get the thrill from it?
Of course, this is all rhetorical, and again, he smirks. He begins to walk towards the camera, away from the plethora of fans, and slowly makes his way through the ‘lobby’.
The Miz: I know the answer. (pause, he admires his title) See, the thing that makes me different from every other guy on Raw is this – I’d... given... up.
He shrugs as he continues through the arena, past more excited fans who wave for their two seconds of screen time; Miz ignores them.
The Miz: Yeah, I’d given up on that dream I had. All the other men in that locker room, they never gave up, but I did. I went to business school, and I thought – I thought that was me done. Then I dropped outta college and went into reality television, and then I thought I’d found my true calling. My niche.
A small boy gets a little too close to him, and he shoots him a glare to stop him in his tracks; probably a plant. Hopefully.
The Miz: But one day, it hit me. An epiphany. I knew I had the natural charisma that reality television just couldn’t handle – it was too small of a battlefield to conquer. I knew I had to be WWE Champion – I knew I had to come here, to the WWE, and make my name.
As if he knows the entire arena’s layout by heart, he takes a turning into a more restricted, almost industrial area, and there stand two security guards by a pair of double doors. There, he turns to face the camera again, with his back to the doors.
The Miz: This was where I was gonna get my thrill.
A sly smile from the Awesome One.
The Miz: So back on a cold day in 2006, I finally made it here. Signed in the WWE after years of trying... and so I stepped through the doors to the place where I... where I am now the staple. Where I am the reigning KING.
Letting that dramatic statement sink in, The Miz turns and shoots the guards a look; they blankly turn to open the doors for him, and he strides through, with the camera following him. He continues to talk, with the camera now following him side on as he wanders through Raw’s backstage corridors slowly.
The Miz: Sure, I’d been here on Tough Enough, I’d had a taste. But it wasn’t ‘til then that I finally got to call this place my HOME. And what a place it is, huh?
He gestures around with a sweeping arm, still wearing that shit-eating grin.
The Miz: Even now, I still remember how much of that thrill I got when I walked in. I thought for sure, for sure, that this was gonna be the place where I’d get the biggest adrenaline rush, the biggest THRILL of my life.
His smile disappears.
The Miz: But I was so, so wrong. I was spurned by these people. Not just the people in the crowd, but everyone back here, too. I was labelled as “that guy” from reality TV, and suddenly I was everybody’s entrance mat to go wipin’ their feet on. And it made me sick.
He snarls in his usual fashion, right into the camera.
The Miz: Thing is, I still harboured that dream down inside me. I thought for sure that someday, I’d get my kicks, I’d get that thrill. So by the time I made it here, to the top –
With an evil smirk, he raises the WWE Title to the forefront of the image.
The Miz: – I decided to treat each member of this here show exactly how they’d treated me... with complete, and utter CONTEMPT.
Boos from the fans in the arena. A couple of workers can be seen here and there as The Miz begins to wander into a more busy area.
The Miz: I don’t have to care about any of them, because I know how far I am above them all now – they’ve all been treading water for five years, but I’ve risen above and beyond. Tag Team Titles, United States Titles, Money In The Bank – WWE Champion.
Again, heat can be heard for The Miz as he continues to walk.
The Miz: Yet, I hadn’t found the thrill, the excitement I thought I’d get. Maybe it’d been sucked outta me, I thought. Maybe I just hadn’t had my defining moment yet. And I sat down after last week’s show and you know what I thought to myself? I’m at the very top of the pile, and I still somehow despise everything around me.
Heat – The Miz scowls.
The Miz: The fans, they cheer for men like John Cena, like Triple H – but in the end, I know there’s only man... making the headlines.
In the background, some workers carry a heavy load together; the show is still being set up.
The Miz: Sure, the tin reads ‘Monday Night Raw’, but if you get a can opener and bust this sucker wide open, all you get is me. I am the headliner.
More boos as The Miz heads through the cargo area now, past several chain link containers and the occasional worker having a chat with his colleague.
The Miz: Like, this Sunday. Extreme... Rules. Does Triple H think that because he got a helpin’ hand from the referee last week that HE’S the next WWE Champion? Does John Cena think that ‘cause he was standin’ tall at the end of the show that it’s gonna be him winnin’ on Sunday?
The crowd cheers that concept, but the WWE Champion scoffs.
The Miz: Well, tough. ‘Cause they should know better than anyone – in this industry, there comes a time when a champion hits his peak. Becomes untouchable. Bruno Sammartino, for instance.
Small nostalgic pop for the longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time.
The Miz: Bret Hart.
Pop for the Hitman.
The Miz: Hulk Hogan.
VERY mixed reaction there, as the Awesome One continues to walk.
The Miz: Hell, even Cena and Triple H have been there at one point or another.
A sly shake of the head as he comes out of the cargo area into a long white corridor yet again. A few workers with clipboards and headsets hurry past.
The Miz: I’m never letting go of this belt, because if I don’t get a thrill – this is the closest thing I have to one. But notice how it’s not the boyhood dream I care about... I don’t.
He almost spits that out.
The Miz: Sure, the circle is complete. From the little guy starin’ at a fuzzy television to the grown man standin’ here with the WWE Title on his shoulder. But I’m not like all these other men, oh no.
He puts on a wide-eyed expression.
The Miz: I refuse to bend to clichés. And just like that, I’m not gonna allow a clichéd ending this Sunday. Everyone knows that in the movies, either John Cena or Triple H would get the famous win and live happily ever after... but things don’t always work out the way you want them to. (eerily) I learned that before.
Frowning, he continues to walk until he comes to a door – across it reads “WWE Champion – Locker Room”. He turns to face the camera again.
The Miz: I don’t get a rush because everything I ever dreamed this would be... is a LIE. The WWE is nothing like what I imagined... it’s a miserable, cold-hearted, fickle place.
Boos as The Miz brings us all down early on in the show.
The Miz: But some day, I’ll get that thrill – somehow, I’ll do it, I... swear... it.
He snarls with bared teeth for a moment, then composes himself.
The Miz: And as for tonight... and every other night, until the night I retire, I will continue to smash boundaries, break clichés, make this show watchable – as the most must-see WWE Champion OF – ALL – TIME.
Big heat from the arena crowd as The Miz walks towards his locker room door, then turns as he reaches it.
The Miz: Because I’m The Miz... AND I’M...
The crowd chants “AWFUL!” back at him in their juvenile manner, but he says nothing. Instead, he moves the microphone towards the camera, showing the upside WWE logo which forms the classic ‘M’, then wears a blank expression as he brings it back to his mouth.
The Miz: ...AWESOME.
With a cold, bleak look into the camera, he turns, and enters his locker room. We hear Alex Riley saying “Hey man” in the background, as the door SLAMS shut...
Monday Night Raw
RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina | 25th April 2011
...and now we head into the Raw opening video package. The ending shot of John Cena giving the salute leads us to the RBC Center, where a massive explosion of pyro lights up the stage! Following that, we sweep over the cheering fans, holding up a variety of signs, and then we go to ringside, where Josh Matthews and Michael Cole are awaiting us.
Josh Matthews: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome – this is Monday Night Raw, LIVE in North Carolina! Raw emanates from the RBC Center in Raleigh tonight, and with Extreme Rules this Sunday, get ready for a big night! I’m Josh Matthews, with Michael Cole here at ringside – are you excited, Cole?
Michael Cole: Excited? Are ya kiddin’, Josh? It’s only six days ‘til The Miz finally gets Triple H and John Cena off his back FOR GOOD – and did ya hear him pourin’ out his heart on live TV just now? What a guy!
Josh Matthews: Indeed a powerful message from The Miz to the rest of the WWE that we just saw, but don’t forget what we’ve got later tonight, because folks, this is HUGE news –
A graphic appears via rushing through the classic Raw city, and settling on two men displayed on the skyscraper; the caption reads “JOHN CENA VS. TRIPLE H – TONIGHT”, and the crowd goes WILD!!!
Josh Matthews: Yup, it’s gonna be an almighty clash of two long-time allies, long-time enemies, but undoubtedly two of the biggest names in the WWE today... Cena versus the Game is our main event!
Michael Cole: Yeah, let’s hope they beat the hell outta each other and then The Miz can just clear up on Sunday, Josh! And ya forgot to mention – The Miz and Alex Riley are gonna be joinin’ us on commentary! I can hardly wait, that’s gonna be somethin’ else!
Another graphic pops up to show John Morrison standing alongside William Regal.
Josh Matthews: And at the risk of talking about anyone other than our WWE Champion for a moment, feast your eyes on this match – the Shaman of Sexy, John Morrison, desperately trying to prove his mettle so that he can get a United States Title shot, takes on the fearsome veteran, the Blackpool Brawler, William Regal.
Michael Cole: Let’s be honest, Josh, John Morrison had his chance, and he blew it – when William Regal wins tonight, maybe he’ll be in line for a title shot instead!
Josh Matthews: Certainly a possibility, Cole, and of course, with Extreme Rules so close, that match could have some real consequences regarding the United States Title picture.
“I AM PERFECTIOOOOOOOON!”
Loud boos ring around the arena as Dolph Ziggler arrives on the scene, flicking water from his drenched hair, with Vickie Guerrero stomping out behind him with a disapproving look at the crowd. The bell chimes, and Ziggler roars out with adrenaline at the fans on his way to the ring.
Justin Roberts: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero, from Hollywood, California, weighing in at two hundred and fourteen pounds... DOLPH – ZIGGLER!
Josh Matthews: And speaking of this Sunday, a mouth-watering match in prospect – that man, the arrogant but talented youngster Dolph Ziggler, against one of the best in-ring competitors Monday nights has to offer, Daniel Bryan, in a Ladder Match to decide the next Number One Contender to the WWE Title.
Michael Cole: Well, Daniel Bryan ain’t much to write home about, Josh, but I’ll tell ya who is!
Josh Matthews: Is it Dolph Zig –
Michael Cole: (cutting him off) It’s Dolph Ziggler! He and I have so much in common, too! Both tremendous athletes – don’t you roll your eyes at me, Matthews – both admire the wonderful work of Vickie Guerrero, both vastly, vastly disappointed in the so-called “management” of one Jerry Lawler... we’re practically twins!
Ziggler charges up to the apron, then steps inside the ropes – only to, of course, turn back out and stare into the lens of the hard camera with a no-nonsense expression. Vickie Guerrero applauds him lavishly at ringside, as the Perfection Artiste, as I like to call him, steps inside finally and tests the ropes. After a moment or two, Ziggler’s music dies down, and is replaced by...
...the generic rock music of David Hart Smith, who gets a relatively-nothing pop from the crowd as he arrives on the stage, raising an arm to the arena. In the ring, Ziggler scoffs and runs a hand through his hair.
Justin Roberts: And his opponent... from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing in at two hundred and fifty pounds... DAVID – HART – SMITH!
Josh Matthews: Dolph Ziggler faces a bigger man in David Hart Smith here tonight, and arguably it’s exactly the kind of challenge he needs – Daniel Bryan accused him of being scared last week, Cole.
Michael Cole: Not sure where that NERD’S gettin’ his info from, Josh, but he’s way off! Dolph Ziggler’s one of the bravest guys on this whole show, and that’s what he’s gonna show the world tonight! Bryan said he wanted to see who Ziggler is? Well maybe he missed the introductions, Josh, ‘cause I think we all know who he is – the next Number One Contender, that’s who!
Smith marches purposefully down to the ramp, eyes locked on his opponent; Ziggler paces about the ring, paying him little attention in contrast. As Smith gets into the squared circle, his music subsides, and now there is nothing but a scattered host of “Daniel Bryan!” chants that float around the arena. Smith and Ziggler begin to circle, and the referee calls for the bell to start Raw’s opening contest.
Match One – Singles Contest
Dolph Ziggler vs David Hart Smith
Ziggler and Smith have a quick exchange in the early going; they both manage to get in some basic strikes and even a Scoop Slam from the Canadian. Ziggler looks like taking charge, however, as he fights back with a few amateur wrestling holds to earn himself a breather – Smith retaliates by escaping, then flinging his opponent under the bottom rope to send him tumbling the outside. With Vickie’s encouragement, Ziggler makes the decision to stay on the outside to take another brief break, as Raw does the same.
As the clock ticks over four minutes, we join the bout with David Hart Smith trying to take control; he has Ziggler reeling after a couple of big clotheslines, and now he pulls him back up, before lifting him sky high with the Vertical Suplex Lift... and just holding him there, showing some unbelievable strength to keep him upright! At ringside, Vickie Guerrero screams for Dolph to “DO SOMETHING!” but he’s in no position to do anything except fall as Smith directs him down to the mat – Vertical Suplex connects! Smith makes the cover over the dazzled Perfection Artiste now, hoping to put this away... 1... 2... but Ziggler kicks out! The bleach-blond youngster leaps back to his feet as he breaks free of the cover, and when Smith rashly darts in again, he ducks the bigger man’s clothesline. Smith spins round in surprise, only to be met with a sweetly-executed Dropkick from Ziggler – he forces his large frame back up, but Ziggler strikes again! Once more, both men get to their feet, and Smith falls slightly, clutching his chest... so Ziggler charges in and scores with the Fame Asser! “OHHH!” cries the crowd as Smith’s face gets driven into the mat, and Ziggler immediately turns him onto his back in one smooth motion... 1... 2... 3-NO! Smith shoves Ziggler off, and the Perfection Artiste goes scrambling across the ring, then runs a hand through his hair in shock!
Smith crawls over to the ropes, and begins to pull himself up; across the ring, Vickie lambasts Ziggler to get involved again, so he bares his teeth and stands. Shaking out his arms, he begins to stalk Smith, whose eyes look a little unfocused as he, too, gets back to a vertical base. As soon as turns, Ziggler tries to whip him across the ring... but he manages to set his feet and send the Perfection Artiste to the corner instead. Ziggler hits the buckle hard, and he looks like a sitting duck as Smith charges in – NO! He spins away from the danger, leaving Smith to CRASH into the buckle, and then stumble back into Ziggler’s range – SO THE PERFECTION ARTISTE LEVELS HIM WITH A STINGING SUPERKICK TO THE JAW!!! The crowd groans in awe as Smith sells it like he’s been shot, and goes down, leaving us with just the sight of Ziggler standing above him, breathing a little heavily, but wearing a confident smirk. He runs a hand through his still-wet hair, then flicks some of it down on his opponent, and takes a slow, focused walk about the ring, before he tells Smith to get up again. Now completely dazed, Smith struggles back up again, wincing as he holds his jaw... the crowd tries to warn him frantically, but it’s no use, as Ziggler sprints in – AND DELIVERS THE ZIG-ZAG TO DRIVE SMITH’S HEAD INTO THE CANVAS!!! A groan goes up as Smith lies still, all hope lost for him in this contest, and Ziggler puts the finishing touch on by shooting the half with a quick glance to the referee... 1... 2... 3!!!
Result: Dolph Ziggler bts. David Hart Smith via pinfall at 6:30
Justin Roberts: Here is your winner... DOLPH – ZIGGLER!
The crowd boos as Ziggler gets to his feet, and has his arm raised by the official; he can’t help but smirk, having given a strong display here tonight. He is quickly smothered by Vickie Guerrero, who shoos the referee away, then hugs him affectionately again.
Josh Matthews: Dolph Ziggler in good form here tonight, Cole, and the aforementioned size difference didn’t seem to hinder him, either; looking strong for this Sunday.
Michael Cole: We all knew what this result was gonna be from the openin’ bell, Josh – just look at the grin on that man’s face! I can’t tell if he’s happier about that win or the love he’s gettin’ from Vickie, the lucky devil!
Josh Matthews: Well, I’m not sure about... oh, what’s she doing now...
In the ring, Guerrero is motioning to ringside, asking for two mics; the crowd begins to boo as she gets handed them, and Ziggler’s music dies out. Calmer than the immediate post-match adrenaline frenzy that fuelled him just moments ago, Ziggler stands with his arms folded next to Vickie now as she gears up to talk. Matthews mutters “Oh no” as she hands one mic to her boyfriend, then raises the other to her mouth; in the background, Smith trudges up the ramp.
Vickie Guerrero: Excuse me!
Immediate, big heat. She scoffs.
Vickie Guerrero: Excuse me!
Again, boos rain down from the crowd. Ziggler’s eyes flicker about the arena.
Vickie Guerrero: I said... EXCUSE ME!
Another huge chorus of boos. Not satisfied, Vickie puts her free hand on her hip.
Vickie Guerrero: My boyfriend, Dolph Ziggler... (gesturing) has something to SAY!
Boos from the disapproving crowd. She passes over to him, and slowly, he wanders forward. He takes a long, long look around the arena, with the fans chanting “YOU SUCK!” at him, then runs his free hand through his wet hair once again. He turns to shrug at Vickie, sharing her disgust with the fans, then spins back to the hard camera with his classic opening line.
Dolph Ziggler: Follow – THAT!
Heat from the RBC Center. Smirking at his own prowess, Ziggler continues.
Dolph Ziggler: Somebody’s gonna have to come out here and perform after this – but it’s gonna be a pretty poor showin’ after what you people just saw.
Dolph Ziggler: I mean, look at what I just did. I showed you why I – AM – PERFECTION.
This time, Ziggler runs both hands over his hair, smirking as the heat rolls in.
Dolph Ziggler: And I love every second of it. I love being... perfect.
He begins to take a slow walk, from side to side, with Vickie smirking in the background.
Dolph Ziggler: Now, I know you people will never understand where I’m comin’ from, but lemme just explain. I epitomise...
Dolph pauses. He goes to continue, then frowns at someone in the front row who attempted a “WHAT?” chant.
Dolph Ziggler: (with disgust) Get a dictionary.
He gets a response, then just uses his free hand to make an ‘all-talk’ motion back at him. A few boos from the people who get it.
Dolph Ziggler: Where was I – ah, I epitomise, what it’s like to be... golden. To have zero flaws – whatsoever.
Big heat for Ziggler’s unbelievable arrogance.
Dolph Ziggler: And hey, maybe all of you don’t get it, maybe the General Manager doesn’t get it, but this Sunday, I’ll show all of you exactly what I’m talkin’ about.
He nods with a smirk – then has a light bulb moment. He turns to Vickie, and hands her the mic, then rolls from the ring. Taking a quick stroll around ringside, the Perfection Artiste flips the apron skirt up, then reaches underneath... to pull out, of course, a LADDER. A mixed reaction goes up as Ziggler picks the steel frame up, and slides it under the bottom rope. Ziggler rolls back into the ring, then sets the ladder up and takes his mic back... before he begins to climb?
Josh Matthews: H-he knows there’s nothing up there, right?
Michael Cole: It’s symbolism, Matthews! Open your mind!
Once at the top, Ziggler puts a leg on either side, and sits with a sly smile. Below him, Vickie applauds.
Dolph Ziggler: This little visual demonstration is for those of you who lack imagination, like Daniel Bryan. ‘Cause last week, he asked me... if I was scared.
Dolph Ziggler: Scared? Do I look like a guy who’s scared? No – I’m not running from anythin’, I’m right here! You wanna talk about what I’m gonna do to you, Daniel, let’s talk about it – I just said, I’m right HERE!
He spreads his arms wide atop the ladder, beckoning a Bryan appearance. When no-one arrives straight away, he folds his arms with a small chuckle.
*RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES*
A loud cheer goes up as Daniel Bryan strides purposefully on to the stage, flanked by Gail Kim; Ziggler smirks, and scales back down the ladder to stand by his own girlfriend. Bryan, still sporting a slight beard, points down at Ziggler briefly, then slaps a few fans’ hands on his way down the ramp.
Michael Cole: Ugh.
Josh Matthews: Well, we talked about how good Dolph Ziggler looked after his win tonight – Daniel Bryan overcame William Regal in a lengthy bout in Manchester last week, and I’d say he’s more than a match for Ziggler come this Sunday, Cole.
Michael Cole: Of course you’d say that, Josh, you just ignore all his glaring hypocrisies and idiotic comments! You think he’s God’s gift to the ring! You think –
Josh Matthews: How much time do you spend inside my brain, exactly?
Michael Cole: Long enough, Josh, long enough!
Bryan wanders up the steps to the apron, then helps Gail inside. The pair face up to Ziggler and Guerrero with hardened expressions, and Gail eventually collects a mic for her boyfriend. As Bryan’s music slowly subsides, a few “DANIEL BRYAN!” chants can be heard, and the American Dragon cracks a grin momentarily.
Daniel Bryan: Hey, Dolph – you remember when I made you tap out two weeks ago?
Pop from the fans as Ziggler scowls.
Daniel Bryan: You remember watchin’ me last week when I... won my match?
Again, a cheer or two.
Daniel Bryan: That’s my ‘demonstration’ for you, Dolph. I’m so ready for this Sunday. I’m ready to go out there in Tampa and take everything I’ve ever deserved when I climb that ladder – my shot at the WWE Title.
Another pop as Bryan runs a hand along the steel next to him... then points to Ziggler.
Daniel Bryan: You, on the other hand – I don’t think you’re ready.
Small cheer as Ziggler scoffs and waves that away.
Daniel Bryan: Nah, I’m serious. I saw you win... but you weren’t even trying, man. Then you start flapping your gums sayin’ you’re perfect? Really?
Daniel Bryan: You’re far from perfect, Dolph. Wanna know what your main flaw is?
Ziggler mouths “Lay it on me” with an unimpressed look.
Daniel Bryan: Overconfidence.
Pop as Bryan smiles; in contrast, Ziggler continues to look upon his opponent with disdain.
Daniel Bryan: And hell, I’m not even countin’ your vanity, your... selfishness, and that weird thing you’ve got goin’ on with your hair... w-what is that, anyway?
Cheers from the crowd as Ziggler gingerly touches his hair with his free hand.
Daniel Bryan: (shaking his head and getting back to topic) Never mind. Point is, Dolph, you talk a big game... but I think – (innocently) and that’s just me – that you’re nothing special.
Slight groan of “Ooooh!” from certain members of the audience, as Ziggler looks to the side with a frown. Gail links arms with Bryan, who gestures to give the floor to the Perfection Artiste, who shrugs.
Dolph Ziggler: You wanna get into that kind of firefight, Daniel? Huh? Well, that’s just fine and dandy for me – hey, let me tell you all (addressing the crowd) about the exciting, or not-so-exciting, world of Daniel Bryan... the original vanilla midget.
Heavy boos as Bryan chuckles, shrugging that off as Ziggler did to him.
Dolph Ziggler: I mean, hey, if you’re looking for entertainment, look no further, am I right? Daniel here might just stop holding his opponent down on the mat for five minutes with some fancy headlock and actually... do something! Or is that outside your range?
More heat as Vickie Guerrero laughs out loud.
Dolph Ziggler: And I’d spare you the whole NXT debacle, but what the hell, right? Zero wins in the entire first season... kicked out by WWE management...
Again, Vickie laughs, and Ziggler even chuckles a little himself.
Dolph Ziggler: Then there’s the issue with your taste in women...
“OHHH!” cries the crowd; Gail Kim looks appalled, but Guerrero, safe behind Ziggler, nods furiously.
Dolph Ziggler: And is it true you don’t even own a television? I mean, seriously?
Bryan raises his eyebrows.
Dolph Ziggler: Face it, you might just be the most boring guy I’ve ever met. And you think this Sunday’s gonna be your big coming-out moment, but the problem is – you’re facing perfection ITSELF.
Massive heat as Ziggler spreads his arms wide arrogantly.
Dolph Ziggler: This Sunday is my moment – I get to start on that path to my SECOND World Title...
Daniel Bryan: Oh, c’mon!
Pop as Ziggler gets cut off, and he shoots a glare at his future opponent.
Daniel Bryan: You held the World Title for what, ten minutes?
Ziggler has nothing to say to that.
Daniel Bryan: I just bet if you won that title shot this Sunday, your head would just keep gettin’ bigger and bigger, Dolph. But see, you’ve got a problem there.
Bryan steps forward menacingly, staring Ziggler in the eyes.
Daniel Bryan: It’s hard for your head to get bigger – if I’ve just kicked... it... IN.
Big, big cheer for that, and Ziggler narrows his eyes. After a long pause in which the crowd chants Bryan’s name several times, Bryan brings the mic up again.
Daniel Bryan: Makin’ you tap won’t do anything this Sunday, man, but beating you? It’ll still have the same effect – a win’s a win. And after I’ve got that contract, not only am I finally gettin’ that shot... but you won’t be thinkin’ you’re so perfect... anymore.
With that, the pair go nose-to-nose; Ziggler hisses some trash talk, and Bryan clenches his fists, as if preparing to fight. He brings one of those fists slowly up to his jaw, sending a message, but so does Ziggler. The “DANIEL BRYAN!” chants kick off in full force again, and Ziggler frowns... before he backs away, and steps out of the ring. The crowd boos wildly as the Perfection Artiste drops to the outside floor, beckoning for Vickie to join him, and she does, scurrying after him with one last glare at Gail in the ring. Bryan keeps his eyes locked on Ziggler as he leads Vickie around ringside towards the ramp, and they begin to backtrack up the ramp; the bleach-blond youngster says “You’ve got nothin’ on me”, as Bryan just raises his fists to send back a fighting message. With a smirk, he turns to look up the ladder... and of course, begins to climb, just as Ziggler did before, until he reaches the top, and saddles the ladder, pointing to Ziggler to a big cheer from the fans!
*RIDE OF THE VALKRIES*
Josh Matthews: These two men know only one of them can be the next challenger to the WWE Title; they’ve said their piece tonight, but the question remains, Cole – is Dolph Ziggler going to get his “head kicked in”, to quote Daniel Bryan, or will he climb the ladder and prove that he is, indeed, “perfect”?
Michael Cole: Like Daniel Bryan’s got half a chance against Dolph Ziggler, Josh! Dolph explained exactly why Daniel Bryan doesn’t deserve to be on the WWE’s flagship show, and this Sunday, he’s gonna send him back to the bottom of the pile, where he belongs! I can’t wait!
As Bryan, atop the ladder, stares down the frowning Ziggler, who stands on the ramp with Vickie, Raw heads to a break.
When Raw returns, we’re backstage, where the United States Champion, Sheamus, is walking. He gets a heap of boos from the Raleigh fans, though he pays them no attention, striding through the backstage corridors with a very ‘haters gonna hate’-style walk. He stops, however, as Tyler Black and Mark Henry appear in the shot, both suited up with shades over their eyes. The ‘FBI Agents’ get a strong pop from the fans, though Sheamus can’t help but chuckle at the sight of them.
He goes to walk on, but Black holds out an arm; Sheamus scowls at him as if wondering who he thinks he is.
Tyler Black: Sheamus, is it?
The United States Champion refuses to indulge him. Black continues.
Tyler Black: So what is it that makes you think you can just... attack other guys, huh?
Sheamus raises an eyebrow.
Sheamus: Refresh me memory.
Tyler Black: Last week – what you did to John Morrison. Why d’ya think you can get away with it?
The Celtic Warrior scowls.
Sheamus: None of yer business, fella.
With that, he goes to walk away, but this time, it’s the World’s Strongest Man who gets in the way.
Mark Henry: The man asked you a question.
Sheamus isn’t intimidated.
Sheamus: And I gave him an answer.
He looks between the two agents with that same frown.
Sheamus: Ya can both go stuff yerselves.
This time, he SHOVES Black out of the way, then walks out of the shot. Black dusts himself off, then whips off his shades to watch him leave. Henry shrugs, and Black looks perplexed, as we fade to the arena...
...and the bell chimes.
Justin Roberts: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall! The winners of this match will face the WWE Tag Team Champions, next week on Raw!
Mild pop for that.
Decent boos (with an undertone of cheers from some men in the arena) can be heard as the stage turns purple, and the cocky figures of DZP, comprised of Zack Ryder and Primo, strut out for this big match-up.
Justin Roberts: Introducing first – at a combined weight of four hundred and twenty-nine pounds... Down With Zack and Primo... D – Z – P!!!
Michael Cole: I’m excited for this – are you excited, Josh? It’s finally time for DZP to get their shot at the WWE Tag Team Titles, and there ain’t a team in the WWE that deserves it more!
Josh Matthews: I’d have to contest that, Cole, considering Johnny Curtis was declared the winner of WWE NXT’s fourth season, entitling him to a shot at those titles alongside his Pro, R-Truth – they’ve been plagued for weeks by this tandem of Zack Ryder and Primo to put that shot on the line.
Michael Cole: Cut these guys some slack, Josh! You’re lookin’ at two of the coolest – er, broskis, in the WWE! They’d be way better champs than R-Truth and Johnny whats-his-face... hey, do you think R-Truth remembered to come to Raleigh? Maybe he thought Raw was still in England, he’s always gettin’ places wrong!
“Once, Cole, once” says Matthews, as we watch DZP strolling down the ramp; Ryder is wearing his usual headband and shades, while Primo bounces up and down on his way to the ring. The pair get in the squared circle, then head to the turnbuckles – Ryder leads a smattering of fans in a fist pump, then holds up the ‘Long Island’ sign, while Primo just raises his arms and nods to the beat of Ryder’ s music. Both men hop down as the music fades out, and as Ryder removes his headband and glasses, we turn back to the stage.
A mild pop goes up, mainly from the children in attendance, as R-Truth, mic in hand, dances into view, with Johnny Curtis pumping himself up behind him. Truth raps his way down the ramp, while Curtis slaps the hands of a few fans here and there, and we see the unimpressed expressions of DZP watching them all the while in the ring.
Justin Roberts: And their opponents – at a combined weight of four hundred and sixty-four pounds... the team of R-Truth, and Johnny – CURTIS!
Josh Matthews: Johnny Curtis is looking to be a great prospective talent, Michael. He’s picked up several wins on both Raw and Superstars in recent weeks – he could be going places, starting with the Tag Team Title shot in his possession.
Michael Cole: Don’t hold your breath, Josh, he’s still inexperienced... bit like you! The question is, d’ya really think he’s ready to take on two ring-savvy guys like Zack Ryder and Primo? What about the Tag Team Champions, Gabriel and Slater, huh?
Josh Matthews: Of course, folks, it’s worth mentioning – the Tag Titles will be on the line this Sunday when Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater defend their belts in a Tables Match against Kane and the Big Show, and the winner of that match will face the winner of this one, next Monday night. And the argument’s there that the champions might be weakened, Cole.
Michael Cole: Might be? It’s a freakin’ Tables Match, Josh! But what if Big Show and Kane win, huh? You really think Johnny Curtis can overcome those two? I don’t think so!
By the time the commentators have got through all this, Truth and Curtis are in the ring, with the former having a mic in his hand. Truth waits for the music to subside, pacing about the ring, then brings the mic up.
R-Truth: RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA!
Big, cheap pop here.
R-Truth: WHAT’S UP?
“WHAT’S UP?” comes the reply from the eager crowd, and now Truth tosses the mic to ringside. Ryder applauds Truth’s announcement sarcastically; he then steps out to the apron to allow Primo to start, as the Puerto Rican insists. Across the ring, R-Truth volunteers to start, so Curtis shrugs and heads to the outside. As Truth and Primo begin to circle, the referee calls for the bell.
Match Two – Tag Team Contest – WWE Tag Team Title Shot
DZP vs R-Truth and Johnny Curtis
After about five minutes, we join the action; after a bright start, Curtis finds himself in an awkward spot, being isolated by the efficient pairing of Ryder and Primo. Though they’re quick to run their mouths outside the ring, DZP seem focused on the task at hand here, as is shown by Ryder holding Curtis in a front facelock and pulling him to the corner – Primo tags in, and lays into Johnny with a boot to the gut. Ryder steps to the apron, while Primo clubs Curtis in the back, then again, forcing him down to a knee. Across the ring, Truth shouts some encouragement, and it seems to liven Curtis a little, because as Primo whips him across the ring, the NXT Season Four winner hits the ropes with purpose, then ducks the incoming clothesline from his opponent. Again, he heads for the ropes, and tries for a Big Boot – but it’s Primo who ducks now, so both men hit the ropes once more... but Ryder stretches out an arm and pulls Curtis back! The crowd boos wildly as Curtis turns to confront him, but Long Island Iced-Z holds up his arms innocently... SO PRIMO CLATTERS INTO CURTIS WITH A FORCEFUL DROPKICK, SENDING HIM TUMBLING THROUGH THE ROPES TO THE OUTSIDE!
Curtis hits the outside floor with an uncomfortable ‘thud’, and clutches at his shoulder in clear pain; Primo doesn’t seem to care, though, exchanging a smirk with Ryder. Curtis, still wincing in pain, struggles back to his feet, placing a hand on the announce table to steady himself – he stumbles back towards the ring... but Primo charges, and sends him reeling with a Baseball Slide, leaving him to hammer back-first into the announce table! The crowd groans with sympathy as Curtis collapses again, and Primo spreads his arms wide with a cocky stance, before he grabs his opponent by the hair, and forces him back up. R-Truth hops off the apron to stop a double team, but before he can get there, Ryder helps Primo to roll Curtis back into the ring. Primo follows Johnny back in, and makes the cover, as Ryder shrugs at Truth on the outside... 1... 2... but Curtis kicks out! A pop goes up as Curtis keeps this bout alive, and now a frustrated Primo gets up, frowning. He heads to one of the neutral turnbuckles, and clambers to the second rope, waiting for Curtis to get up – finally, he does, still selling the beating he’s endured so far, so Primo leaps off for the Hurricanrana... NO! Curtis musters all his strength to hold the Puerto Rican upright...
...THEN DRILLS HIM INTO THE NEAREST TURNBUCKLE WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY POWERBOMB!!! “OHHHH!” cries the crowd in awe, as Primo spasms on the mat, and Curtis collapses too, hair straggled across his face as he tries to shake off the pain running through him. If there’s going to be a hot tag, it has to be now, it seems, with Truth desperately reaching over the top rope, and with Ryder yelling “Come on, bro!” frantically at his partner! The crowd eggs Curtis on as he struggles towards his corner, pulling himself across the canvas – Primo manages to get the tag to Ryder... AND CURTIS LEAPS FOR THE HOT TAG TO R-TRUTH! The crowd goes wild as Truth springs into the ring, immediately doing the SPLITS to duck a Ryder clothesline, before he comes back with a stinging one of his own to knock Long Island Iced-Z to the floor! The RBC Center is excited, and now Truth summons Ryder up again – they face up, and Truth lines him up with a Suplex – scratch that, Vertical Suplex... WHICH HE DROPS INTO THE STUNNER, AKA’ED AS THE TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES!!! The crowd loves that, and now Truth hooks a leg, grinning with the thrill of competition – 1... 2... 3-NO – PRIMO BOOTS TRUTH IN THE HEAD OUTTA NOWHERE!!!
A hefty groan of disappointment goes up as Primo makes his presence known with that buzzkill, and now he refuses to relent, stomping all over Truth in a furious attempt to wear him down! The referee tries to calm him down, but he’s clearly infuriated – but things just get worse now, because from across the ring comes Johnny Curtis, who sends the Puerto Rican tumbling over the top rope with a clothesline! Primo clatters to the outside just as Curtis did earlier, and the NXT Season Four winner cracks a grin before he turns round – INTO THE ROUGH RYDER FROM ZACK... NOOOO!!! Curtis ducks underneath it, leaving Long Island Iced-Z to soar throat-first on to the top rope! The crowd groans as Ryder cannons off, gasping for air and clutching at his gullet in agony, then stumbles right into the path of R-Truth – WHO CONNECTS WITH THE LIE DETECTOR!!! A big resounding cheer goes up as Ryder gets flattened (though some of the men in attendance jeer it), but instead of covering, Truth points to Curtis, who heads out to the apron to receive the tag – he gets it, then clambers up immediately to the top rope, adjacent to Ryder’s unmoving body... the crowd buzzes, and Curtis lines up his shot before he soars majestically off – AND DELIVERS THE DIVING LEG DROP, RIGHT TO RYDER’S THROAT!!! Again, the cheers drown out the almost-inaudible boos, and with R-Truth punching the air with triumph, Curtis makes the cover... 1... 2... 3!!! Truth and Curtis keep their title shot!!!
Result: R-Truth and Johnny Curtis bt. DZP via pinfall at 9:13
Justin Roberts: Here are your winners – the team of R-Truth... and Johnny – CURTIS!
The Raleigh crowd gives a pretty good ovation for the over pairing of R-Truth (mostly because of him) and Curtis, who have their arms raised by the official with similar grins on their faces. As the referee leaves, Truth hits his partner reassuringly across the back, unable to wipe that smile away. Curtis looks incredibly satisfied with his work here tonight, and they decide to play to the cheering fans, as DZP regroup on the outside, looking increasingly frustrated.
Josh Matthews: There you have it, folks – next week, Johnny Curtis and R-Truth will face the WWE Tag Team Champions for the titles, and no-one can deny them now... especially not DZP!
Michael Cole: Look, Josh, ya haven’t heard the last of Zack and Primo, alright? These guys are future Tag Team Champs, mark my words; it’s gonna take a lot more than one loss to shake ‘em!
We sweep away from Truth and Curtis’ celebrations to head backstage, where Melina is standing with her phone in hand, texting. She gets some decent boos from the fans, as Michael Tarver strolls into view behind her – and frowns, before he checks his own phone... is she texting him? Apparently not, and he doesn’t look happy about it. Regardless, he stands there, staring at her, as John Morrison appears into the shot, wearing his fur coat! The crowd cheers for the Shaman of Sexy, and Melina looks up at him with a sudden scowl; an icy silence engulfs the scene. From behind his shades, Morrison cracks a little smile and shrugs.
John Morrison: Hope you’re ready for a show.
Melina says nothing to that, just glaring at him, before she leaves the shot, heading past the camera. In the background, Tarver goes back to texting George Clooney, as Morrison watches Melina leave, and we hear Josh Matthews over the top:
Josh Matthews: John Morrison has a message to send tonight to Melina, who’s going to join us at ringside on commentary ahead of his match with William Regal – we’ll see you in a few moments!
Michael Cole: Melina AND The Miz at the desk tonight? This is gonna be a great night, I’m tellin’ ya!
We fade away from Morrison’s blank stare.
Some boos can be heard as Melina appears again, still in her ring gear, though minus the usual cameraman who take her picture. With little in the way of fanfare, for a change, the Red Carpet Diva just shoots a few menacing looks at members of the audience, then walks past the ring towards the announce desk.
Michael Cole: Now here’s one hell of a woman, Josh! Melina! Melina – great to see ya!
Melina barely acknowledges Cole at first, then looks at his outstretched hand with contempt, before she lightly shakes it, and sits down, putting a headset on.
Michael Cole: Melina, it’s such a pleasure to have ya here at ringside for this match.
Melina: Yeah, a pleasure for you.
Cole smiles, then frowns as he gets that; Matthews, out of politeness, offers a handshake to Melina, but she ignores him, and he withdraws it.
*AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*
A good pop goes up for the arrival of John Morrison to the stage, dressed in his fur coat as before, and he does his classic slow-motion pose – and the commentators quickly run through the sponsors.
Justin Roberts: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, from Los Angeles, California, weighing in at two hundred and fifteen pounds... JOHN – MORRISON!
Josh Matthews: Well Melina, John Morrison’s been appealing for a United States Title shot for a while now, but clearly you don’t agree that he deserves one.
Melina: Josh, I don’t normally care about John’s business. But if he thinks he can get involved in mine, tell me how I should handle myself, then I’m gonna do the same for him – and no, he doesn’t. Sheamus has already beaten him once, that should be enough for any normal person.
Michael Cole: Exactly! See, Josh – this guy doesn’t deserve squat, yet he keeps goin’ on and on and on about gettin’ a title shot... let’s hope William Regal ties him in KNOTS tonight, right Melina?
Again, Cole’s attempt to bond with Melina is no-sold by the Red Carpet Diva, who doesn’t reply. Morrison, having given his sunglasses to a child in the crowd, springboards into the ring, then removes his coat and passes it to ringside. He looks briefly to Melina sat at the announce desk, then turns away and waits in the corner for his opponent.
A mixed reaction goes up from the crowd here, mostly comprised of boos, as William Regal walks out on to the stage in his usual purple robe, looking disapprovingly out at the arena. Dusting off his sleeves, he begins to make his way down the ramp, composing himself ahead of this contest to come.
Justin Roberts: And his opponent... from Blackpool, England, weighing two hundred and forty-three pounds... WILLIAM – REGAL!
Michael Cole: Now here’s a guy you can get excited about, Josh – great technical ability, great talker, great image... William Regal’s someone who is owed a title shot! Owed!
Josh Matthews: He put in a valiant performance in his home country of England against Daniel Bryan last week, certainly Cole, but John Morrison’s no slouch... Melina, what are your thoughts on –
Melina: Look, how about instead of quizzing me on people I don’t really care about, we talk about Eve.
Josh Matthews: Er... Eve? What – what about her?
Melina: Oh gee, I’m glad you asked, Josh; (cutting the sarcasm) see, while the WWE Universe is happily chatting away about John Morrison and Sheamus, they should be talking about how I don’t have my title shot yet. I’ve embarrassed Eve on more than one occasion, and I don’t even have a match tonight – something’s not right here, and if it’s my problem, it’s Jerry Lawler’s problem.
Michael Cole: I couldn’t agree more, Melina, couldn’t agree more! Jerry Lawler’s runnin’ amok on this show with these crazy decisions – get this woman a title shot, am I right?
He laughs loudly, but still, Melina no-sells him out of annoyance, and keeps her eyes locked on the ring. We cut to the squared circle, where Regal wipes his feet briefly on the apron, then steps inside; he removes his long robe and hands it to a member of the ringside staff. With Morrison watching him intently, Regal rubs his wrists with a pre-match smirk, then faces up to his opponent. The referee checks both men, and as they begin to circle, he calls for the bell.
Match Three – Singles Contest
John Morrison vs William Regal
About eleven minutes in, a back-and-forth match has rendered both men rather tired, but nevertheless, they have a good fighting spirit, as Regal shows by forcing Morrison into the corner with a few well-placed blows. Morrison grimaces with each shot, then manages to dart out of the corner, forcing Regal there instead; he then begins to lay into the Englishman with some big kicks, taking the fight out of the veteran! Hoping he’s got his opponent weakened some more, Morrison wanders away to give himself a run-up, then charges in – BAM! Regal gets a boot up, meaning Morrison runs straight into it... and the Englishman capitalises by sending him reeling across the ring with a stinging European Uppercut! The ‘crack’ leads to Morrison stumbling away, but he determinedly turns around – but Regal hooks him up and nails an EXPLODER SUPLEX, dumping Morrison on to the canvas with a hefty impact! The crowd cries “OHHH!” in awe, and Regal makes the cover, sensing a win... 1... 2... but Morrison kicks out! Both men get up again, with Morrison shooting another glare at the unimpressed Melina at ringside, and the two competitors square up again.
Holding his back, Morrison tries to get some momentum going, bouncing up and down, then starting to circle. Regal is the first to dart in, but Morrison weasels out of the Englishman’s grip, then strikes with a few kicks to the side, before he tries to transition into the Russian Legsweep – but Regal pushes him away! The crowd groans as Morrison has to put both hands on the top rope to stop himself, then turns around into an attempted Double Underhook Suplex... NO! Morrison frees an arm, then spins out of Regal’s grip – the Englishman turns round in surprise; CRACK!!! FLASH KICK SENDS REGAL SPIRALLING TO THE DECK!!! The crowd comes alive as Morrison lets out an adrenaline-fuelled roar, then beckons for Regal to rise again... finally, he does, so he charges in for the MOONLIGHT DRIVE of all moves – NO! Regal jams the move, then gets in behind for the Regal-Plex... but as he gets Morrison airborne, the Shaman of Sexy manages to FLIP over Regal’s head!!! The arena sits in awe as Regal turns around, stunned by the counter... AND THE NOW-STANDING MORRISON DELIVERS THE SPINNING WHEEL KICK, TAKING BOTH MEN DOWN AGAIN!!!
The crowd really lets Morrison know of their approval, and hurriedly, the Prince of Parkour pushes himself up again so he can pull Regal to the corner. Leaving the Englishman’s dead weight in the line of fire, Morrison grabs the top ropes – then pulls himself up, AND SCORES WITH STARSHIP PAIN, RIGHT ON THE BUTTON!!! A big cheer of celebration goes up, and Morrison desperately makes the cover... 1... 2... 3!!!
Result: John Morrison bts. William Regal via pinfall at 13:33
*AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*
Justin Roberts: Here is your winner... JOHN – MORRISON!
A big cheer goes up as Morrison leaps to his feet with a satisfied grin on his face, and jovially has his arm raised by the official; he heads about the turnbuckles, playing to the crowd. As he reaches the final one, however, he notices Melina at ringside, sitting in silence as she watches him.
Josh Matthews: An impressive win for John Morrison over William Regal here on Raw, and finally, it looks like he might be sending the right messages to Sheamus –
Michael Cole: Don’t get ahead of yourself there, Josh! He’s still the same loser he was fifteen minutes ago! I bet Sheamus isn’t even watchin’ this, he’s got better things to – ah, no, what’s he think he’s doin’?
In the ring, Morrison asks for a mic from ringside, eyes still locked on Melina’s; finally, he gets one, and immediately, the music dies down. He points to her as he brings the mic up.
John Morrison: Good enough for you, huh?
The crowd seems to think so. Morrison continues to pant, selling the effects of the match he just endured.
John Morrison: Ah... I might not impress you, Melina, and I might not impress Sheamus, either. But believe me, I want a shot at the United States Title, and I’m not gonna stop campaigning until I – GET – ONE!
Pop for Morrison’s adrenaline rush.
John Morrison: I don’t care what I’ve got to do, whether I have to beat a – a thousand William Regals, a million Sheamus’s – I’m –
“IT’S A SHAME THAT THEY – LOST THEIR HEAD...”
*WRITTEN IN MY FACE*
Boos immediately fill the arena as the no-nonsense expression of the United States Champion, Sheamus, appears, with the belt over his shoulder and a mic in his hand, too. The Celtic Warrior, casting disapproving looks at Morrison from a long way away, begins to march down the ramp to the ring, shaking his head.
Michael Cole: You gotta admire Sheamus for takin’ the time out of his day for this, Josh – look at John Morrison, I bet he’s countin’ his lucky stars he’s gettin’ an audience with the United States Champ!
Josh Matthews: Well, er, Melina, what are your thoughts –
Melina: Just let him talk.
Matthews frowns at Melina’s abruptness tonight; in the ring, Sheamus steps in and stands across from the Shaman of Sexy, who puts a hand on his hip. Finally, the music fades out, and Sheamus has to wait for several “YOU SUCK!” chants to die down before he talks.
Sheamus: I’m gonna tell ya a little story, John.
Sheamus: Back in Ireland, we had a pretty good – community spirit, ya know? Everybody knew each udder. And t’ere was this one guy, ‘bout yay high (indicates), we called him Mickey.
He pauses to adjust his title belt, then paces from side to side a little.
Sheamus: Now, Mickey was, in no uncertain terms, t’e village idiot. And he reminds me a lot of you, fella.
Heat for that remark.
Sheamus: Just like you, he never knew when to give up, John. Always took t’ings a little too far. And we all t’ought he was hilarious. But with you, it’s just sad, fella. It’s pat’etic.
More heat, as Morrison takes a step forward – Sheamus holds up a hand, however.
Sheamus: Nah, hold it t’ere. ‘Cause t’is isn’t t’e bit where ya come roarin’ back and take me toitle; t’is is the bit where ya give up and go HOME, John.
Boos for Sheamus.
Sheamus: Frankly, I’m so sick of havin’ to tell ya “no”. I’ve beaten ya once, laid ya out twice; what more d’ya want, huh? D’ya want me to just end yer career? Is t’at what it’d take ya to get ya off me back?
“Try it”, comes the reply from the put-on hardened expression of Morrison.
Sheamus: Well, tough, lad. We’re done. Ya don’t deserve a toitle shot, and that’s that – this is yer foinal warning. Not a ‘well, keep trying’... the foinal warning.
With that, Sheamus turns and goes to leave; he’s only got one foot on the outside apron, however, before the stage turns a vibrant gold...
*THE GREAT GATE OF KIEV*
...and a pretty loud pop goes up for Raw General Manager, Jerry Lawler, who walks out with a small smile on his face and a mic in his hand. A host of “JERRY! JERRY!” chants ring around the arena as Sheamus begrudgingly steps back inside the ropes, and Lawler heads for the very same ring; at ringside, Melina sits with her arms folded, quietly watching the whole proceedings unfold.
Michael Cole: Can’t this guy go one show without shovin’ himself in the spotlight?
Josh Matthews: There’s something to be settled, so he’s settling it! Give him a break!
Michael Cole: Are ya kiddin’? There’s nothin’ to be settled here! Morrison doesn’t deserve a shot, that’s the end of it – ya just heard it from Sheamus himself! Unless Lawler’s out here to fire Morrison, this entire debate is null and void!
As usual so far, Melina refuses to add anything, eyes locked on Morrison in the ring; Lawler gets inside with the two enemies, and motions for his music to die down. The fans continue to chant “JERRY! JERRY!” at a frenzied pace, until finally, they quieten down enough for him to talk.
Jerry Lawler: Okay, okay. Let’s get down to it – John, Sheamus is right. Between the two of you, he’s had the upper hand, and logic would tell me... well, I just can’t give you a shot.
“He’ll never stick with that, it’s the sensible decision” bemoans Cole. The crowd boos as Morrison looks at the floor, and Sheamus nods tentatively.
Jerry Lawler: Be that as it may... the only other superstar who might have been in line for a shot – was William Regal, and John just beat him.
Pop as Morrison raises his eyebrows. Following the mild see-saw of emotions, Sheamus frowns.
Jerry Lawler: Thing is, Sheamus, with Extreme Rules this Sunday, you need an opponent now, because Raw only has one match slot left to fill, and you’re one – one of my premiere superstars, so I want you in that match.
Sheamus doesn’t take that as a compliment; all he hears from that is the concept of ‘title defence’.
Jerry Lawler: So, with that said, I think the sensible thing to do is to give –
Melina: Are you people serious?
Boos as Lawler stops in his tracks, and looks with surprise to ringside, where Melina has a mic in her hand, presumably from being conveniently placed on the desk beforehand. The Red Carpet Diva removes her headset and stands up, leaving the announce desk and heading for the ring steps.
Michael Cole: (completely genuinely) Always great to have ya here, Melina!
Melina: So, after everything I’ve been doin’ on this show, you’re gonna give a title shot to this guy?
Morrison frowns, and the crowd’s boos support him; Melina steps into the ring, still scowling.
Melina: I’ve beaten Eve Torres, your Diva’s Champion, like a rag doll, twice. And what do I get for it, huh Jerry? Nothing! What the hell is going on here?
Jerry Lawler: Look – Melina, I understand that you’re...
Melina: No, you don’t! You don’t understand a thing about me, or this show! Because anyone with any sense would have given me my Diva’s Title shot two whole weeks ago!
Boos for Melina as she flies off the handle.
Melina: I haven’t even got a sniff of that title, and yet this guy’s gettin’ title shots when he’s been nothin’ but a... but a freakin’ PANSY!
Running a hand through her hair, Melina lets out a furious shriek of anger, scaring everyone in the arena. Sheamus, on the other hand, looks slightly impressed by her tenacity.
Melina: (through clenched teeth) The only one in this ring who should be in a title match this Sunday – is ME.
Heat rains down on Melina, who has hit ‘full screaming bitch’ mode.
Jerry Lawler: Well, I –
*SHE LOOKS GOOD*
A mild pop can be heard as Diva’s Champion, Eve Torres, makes an arrival, similarly frowning. She wastes no time with posing, instead heading straight for the ring, and demanding a mic when she gets there.
Josh Matthews: Well, we’ve heard from John Morrison, Sheamus, Melina – and now the reigning Diva’s Champion, apparently?
Michael Cole: The ring’s getting way too crowded for my likin’, Josh, I’m tellin’ ya! There’s no way Lawler’s gonna be able to handle this – hey, hey, maybe Sheamus’ll kick him right in his face, Josh!
Eve grabs a mic, and immediately turns back to Melina, pointing to her with a furious scowl; her music dies down, and she snarls at her adversary:
Eve Torres: No, no, no! I’m not letting you take the back alley for every confrontation we’ve ever had, then steal a title shot at the last second – no!
Pop for Eve’s similar resilience. Sheamus is now in the corner, resting against the turnbuckle with a pensive look on his face. Melina, however, just paces about like a maniac; like a woman possessed.
Eve Torres: The way I became Diva’s Champion – I did it with some kind of honour, with respect. Giving her a title shot spits on everything the WWE Divas work for –
Melina: You seriously believe that?
She laughs mercilessly.
Melina: Sounds like an excuse.
Furiously, Eve darts forward, trash talking with the unstable Melina, who returns her glare; the pair are only inches away from each other, and a few “Eve! Eve!” chants can be heard from people returning from their toilet break. Finally, it’s Sheamus who breaks the silence.
Sheamus: Ya know what? Foine. Let t’em have t’eir match – I’m done here.
He goes to leave again, but Lawler has his ‘I’m going to say a clichéd, cheesy line’ face on.
Jerry Lawler: Actually, Sheamus, I’ve got a better idea.
The Celtic Warrior turns again, as Morrison’s glare at Melina separates her from the Diva’s Champion, and all four superstars begin to exchange glances.
Jerry Lawler: There’s only one way to settle this between all four of you – this Sunday, at Extreme Rules, it’ll be a Winner Take All Match, one fall to a finish; Sheamus and Melina...
Boos for the heel pairing, who exchange a brief, emotionless glance.
Jerry Lawler: ...against John Morrison, and Eve Torres!
Pop for both Morrison/Eve and the match announcement.
Jerry Lawler: Whichever team wins, will get both titles – how’s that?
Obviously, the reigning champions look less than pleased, but Morrison cracks a small smile; Melina, on the other hand, just seethes, teeth bared as she looks across at Torres. Shrugging, Lawler exits the ring to a host of more “JERRY! JERRY!” chants, and slowly, the two teams this Sunday begin to separate until they stand across from each other. Sheamus and Melina look to each other yet again, as do Eve and Morrison...
...WHEN SUDDENLY, MELINA NAILS TORRES WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE JAW!!!
Josh Matthews: OH!
The crowd explodes with boos as Eve goes down, holding her jaw in agony, and her title belt lands beside her; Melina looks almost-sadistically pleased, while Morrison stares at her in shock. Sheamus stares at her briefly, still emotionless as Morrison looks with concern to his tag team partner this Sunday – then turns back to the Celtic Warrior...
...AND SHEAMUS BLASTS HIM WITH THE BROGUE KICK TO LEAVE HIM LAYING!!!
Once again, ferocious boos ring around the arena as Morrison collapses the floor, barely moving, and Sheamus lets out a deep breath of exasperation. He turns once more to look at Melina, whose eyes haven’t left Eve, and then the heels’ eyes meet... until Sheamus nods at her, and leaves the ring.
*WRITTEN IN MY FACE*
Heat follows Sheamus on his march back up the ramp; the camera zooms in on Morrison’s lifeless face, as Melina crouches beside Eve and holds the Diva’s Title in her hand. Slowly, she gets to her feet, and raises the title into the air, enjoying her moment; but then her smile cuts, and she dumps the title back on the current champion. Sheamus has already gone backstage, and Melina does similarly, leaving the ring and heading up the ramp with a sick look of condescension.
Josh Matthews: That’s a massive announcement right there, folks; this Sunday at Extreme Rules, United States Champion Sheamus and Melina will team up to face John Morrison and the Diva’s Champion Eve... and both titles are up for grabs for the team who scores the winning fall!
Michael Cole: So this means John Morrison’s got a title shot?
Josh Matthews: Yes, but so does Melina –
Michael Cole: Oh, you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me! So Lawler’s forcin’ Sheamus to defend his title against a guy who he’s beaten already? Seriously?
Josh Matthews: Then he shouldn’t have a problem beating him again, Cole.
Michael Cole: Cut that attitude, Josh, it’s not a good style for you.
Josh Matthews: Well, regardless, we know what we’ll be seeing this Sunday – it’s Winner Take All for Sheamus, Melina, Eve and John Morrison, but will this be the scene at the end of their match in Tampa? Michael Cole seems to think so – we’ll see you after the break!
As Morrison’s eyes flicker open and shut, and he frowns, Raw goes to a break.
When we come back, we’re with Scott Stanford backstage.
Scott Stanford: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my current guest... John Cena!
BIG mixed reaction for John Cena as he steps in to the shot, wearing his red t-shirt. He puts on a posed look of mock thought, then turns to look at Stanford as he asks his question.
Scott Stanford: John, last week on Raw, you counted the pinfall as Triple H beat The Miz to be added to the WWE Title match this Sunday at Extreme Rules – now that you know you’ll be facing two men, not one, how are you feeling about your chances?
Again, Cena feigns thought.
John Cena: I – wait, no. Lemme ask you a question, my good friend, Scott Stanford.
Stanford looks surprised.
John Cena: Now tell me, how are you feeling?
Scott Stanford: (shrugging) Er... how am I feeling? Just... generally?
John Cena: Sure.
Scott Stanford:(again, shrugging) Um... I’m good –
John Cena: You’re good, you say? Well, so am I, Scott, so am I, because ya can feel it in the air! Ya can feel how excited everyone in the WWE Universe is, ya can feel the electricity back here in the locker room... there’s just a buzz; can ya feel it, Scott?
Stanford, for the sake of it, nods.
John Cena: O’course ya can! ‘Cause this Sunday, it’s Extreme Rules, baby! First pay-per-view after Wrestlemania! I get to make a fresh start, don’t I? I got a bit of tough luck at the Grandest Stage of ‘Em All, but this Sunday, it’s the rebirth – I get my hands on the WWE Title, and the world is right as rain again!
Pop for Cena’s enthusiasm.
John Cena: As for last week – well, in the end, I realised it’s about my three rules. Hustle, loyalty, respect. And they meant I had to play fair for Triple H’s sake. That’s just plain politeness.
He cracks a big grin.
John Cena: But this Sunday, in that Extreme Rules match – there are no rules. Just... EXTREME!
Another big pop.
John Cena: But just before that, Hunter, it’s you and me tonight! Mano a mano! And hey, you and me, we’ve done it out there in that ring once or twice before – but something feels a little different tonight, man.
He frowns, trying to think of what it is.
John Cena: Maybe I’m just feelin’ a little bit hyped from the AA ya got from me last week. Maybe I’m hyped for the WWE Title match this Sunday.
He shakes out his arms, and grins again.
John Cena: Or maybe I’m just crazy, Hunter. See, ya gotta get in that kinda mindset when you’ve got an Extreme Rules match comin’ up... ya just gotta get a little – CRAZY.
With that, Cena stares blankly into the camera for a second, then salutes and walks out like a weirdo; the camera turns to watch him march down the corridor, wobbling from side to side and telling nearby workers that “I’M JUST TRYIN’ TO GET A BIT CRAZY, GUYS!” and knocking drinks out of people’s hands. We pan back to Scott Stanford, who can’t help but chuckle at Cena’s eccentricity, and now we head back to the arena.
*I COME FROM MONEY*
Justin Roberts: The following bout is set for one fall! In the ring, from West Palm Beach, Florida, weighing in at two hundred and thirty-five pounds... TED – DIBIASE!
Indeed, we fade back to the ring, where Ted DiBiase is psyching himself up for the contest still to come. At ringside, Matthews is laughing a little at Cena.
Josh Matthews: Well, John Cena’s got his own ways of preparing for high-profile match-ups, and one has to hope Ted DiBiase has some kind of secret weapon, too, Cole, ‘cause he’s having a bad run of form.
Michael Cole: Someone of Ted DiBiase’s class and... well, social status, can only stay in the dumpster for so long, Matthews, before they come roarin’ back and show everyone what they’re made of; hell, I bet Ted’s gonna turn it around, starting right –
“I HEAR VOICES IN MY HEAD...”
Michael Cole: - now. Oh.
THE RBC CENTER GOES NUTS!!! One of the biggest pops of the night goes up as Randy Orton walks menacingly out on to the stage, and in the ring, DiBiase wears a hardened scowl.
Justin Roberts: And his opponent, from St. Louis, Missouri, weighing in at two hundred and forty-five pounds... the Viper... RAAAAAANDY – ORTOOOOOON!!!
Josh Matthews: Randy Orton’s not a man to mess with right now, folks; after enduring the taunting, the mind games of the sadistic CM Punk in recent weeks, the pair will finally face off this Sunday in a Last Man Standing Match, where only one of them is going to leave under their own power.
Michael Cole: And finally, finally, CM Punk will have retribution for what Orton did to him three years ago, Josh! It’s gonna be a beautiful moment, a moment for the ages!
Josh Matthews: I think Randy Orton might have a thing or two to say about that, Cole.
Orton begins to slowly pace down the ramp, eyes flickering slowly about the arena; he wanders up the steps and enters the ring to stare at DiBiase, his old protégé, coldly. The Fortunate Son, who isn’t looking so fortunate at the moment, watches him slightly-nervously as the Viper goes to the usual turnbuckle and stands atop it for the classic Legend Killer pose. This gets him a mighty pop from the crowd, as well as a series of fans who replicate the pose, or at least throw their arms into the air; Orton soon steps down, then stands across from DiBiase, as the referee looks between them. Finally, the Viper’s music dies down, and the official calls for the bell in this contest between two old adversaries.
Match Four – Singles Contest
Ted DiBiase vs Randy Orton
Though Orton comes out of the blocks like a house on fire (or a metaphor that works; you get the gist), DiBiase manages to telegraph a couple of moves that Orton attempts within the first few minutes, possibly because of their past relationship, as Matthews muses at ringside. As a result, DiBiase manages to get in some decent offence, and when we join the contest, he has Orton down in a side headlock, being relatively “Boring!” as a few fans try to point out, but the chant doesn’t catch, with the majority of the crowd favouring a “LET’S GO ORTON!” chant to egg the Viper back to his feet instead. Spurred on, Orton begins to push himself up, then gets them both to the ropes; they rebound together, then Orton uses the momentum to shove DiBiase to the other side. The Fortunate Son comes back with a clothesline, but Orton ducks it – INVERTED HEADLOCK BACKBREAKER! Out of nowhere comes that move from the Viper, and as DiBiase goes down, the St. Louis native hooks a leg, baring his teeth as he senses the win... 1... 2... but DiBiase kicks out!
The crowd groans as DiBiase keeps this bout alive, and slowly gets to his feet. Orton does likewise, striking with a stiff European Uppercut; DiBiase comes back with a right hand, a favour which Orton returns. Soon, the pair begin to trade blows, with Orton throwing in a European Uppercut every so often – eventually, it’s Orton who gets the upper hand, forcing his former ally back to the ropes. He presses him into them, then sends him across the ring; Orton bends down, but DiBiase cracks him between the eyes with a stinging kick, before he scoops him up – dead on with the Scoop Slam! Orton gasps for breath on the canvas, and DiBiase suddenly begins to lay into him with stomps, before he fires an Elbow Drop, and shoots the half on the landing... 1... 2... but Orton gets a shoulder up, and both men roll back to their feet – DiBiase whips the Viper to the ropes, then follows him in; Orton rebounds, and turns round – CLOTHESLINE? NO, POWERSLAM FROM ORTON!!!
A big cheer resounds throughout the arena as Orton counters DiBiase’s signature clothesline... and now, Orton drops to all fours; IT’S TIME TO GET FIRED UP!!! The crowd begins to get excited as the Viper pounds the mat, seething, baring his teeth and desperate for his old adversary to get up so he can meet his demise... eventually, DiBiase struggles back up, so Orton strikes with the R – K – O... BUT NO!!! DiBiase JAMS the move – then suddenly applies the COBRA CLUTCH with a stunning counter, thinking DREAM STREET... NOOOOO!!! Orton sends him spiralling across the ring with a Snapmare reversal, and when DiBiase scrambles back up, the Viper instinctively sends him overhead – AND DELIVERS THE OLYMPIC SLAM!!! The fans go wild as DiBiase gets laid out with that move, only to roll out to the apron with the impact; at first, a groan goes up as Orton realises he can’t cover... but he can do something much more devilish, as he proves by darting over to DiBiase to pull him up, and drape him over the second rope in the front facelock! The crowd begins to buzz as the referee tells Orton to break the hold, and reaches “FOUR!” – SO ORTON DRILLS HIS FORMER TUTEE WITH THE ROPE-HUNG DDT!!!
Once again, DiBiase lies flat. This time, the crowd knows he stands little chance, and loud “RKO! RKO!” chants begin to ring around the RBC Center; smirking evilly again, Orton nods his head at the chanting fans... then drops to all fours again, beating the canvas and hissing “C’MON! GET UP!” to DiBiase, who finally finds his feet, though he wobbles after the shots he’s taken. The Fortunate Son, looking incredibly weak and beaten, stumbles towards Orton, and there is a momentary silence – AS ORTON STRIKES WITH THE RKO!!! DiBiase collapses in a heap on the canvas, and now Orton throws himself about the ring, fired up, almost frothing from the mouth, before he throws his frame across DiBiase’s body for the cover... 1... 2... 3!!!
Result: Randy Orton bts. Ted DiBiase via pinfall at 5:39
Justin Roberts: Here is your winner... RAAAAAAANDY – ORTOOOOON!!!
Triumphant, Orton gets to his feet, and has his arm momentarily raised by the official before he heads for the turnbuckle, throwing up the Legend Killer pose in more of an adrenaline-filled frenzy than any kind of celebration.
Michael Cole: That was – that was ruthless! That was dangerous!
Josh Matthews: One might argue, exactly the mindset he’ll need to beat CM Punk this Sunday, Cole.
Michael Cole: Ted – Ted DiBiase could be seriously hurt, Josh! Does Randy Orton have no conscience? No integrity? No compassion?
Josh Matthews: Do – do you ever watch Raw?
Michael Cole: That’s not what I mean, Josh! I’m talkin’ about the basic respect you’re supposed to have for your fellow competitor – Randy Orton doesn’t have a respectful bone in his whole body! He’s just runnin’ around doin’ what the hell he likes, and Jerry Lawler hasn’t got the spine to stop ‘im!
As Orton continues to celebrate, the crowd begins to scream and boo, however...
...BECAUSE CM PUNK IS IN THE RING – AND HE BLASTS ORTON DOWN FROM BEHIND WITH A KICK TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!!!
Josh Matthews: H-hey! Punk! CM Punk!
The crowd EXPLODES with boos for Punk as he throws himself on top of Orton’s fallen body, flailing away with crazed punches! He detaches himself briefly, then starts dropping knees to the Viper’s chest, furiously trying to wear him down; he yanks him back up, then tosses him to the corner, before he charges in for the SHINING WIZARD – BUT NOBODY’S HOME!!! Orton darts out the way suddenly, leaving Punk to crash into the turnbuckle, then stagger towards the Viper – RKO – NOOOOOO!!! Punk shoves Orton away, then hoists him up for the GO TO SLEEP... BUT THIS TIME, ORTON ESCAPES!!! The Viper flings a right hand, but suddenly, the Second City Saint hits the deck, and rolls from the ring! The crowd boos ferociously for Punk’s cowardice, and he begins to back up the ramp, saying “This Sunday, Randall – it all comes crashing down for you”.
Orton, meanwhile, is pressed up against the ramp-side ropes, restraining himself from going after Punk, just like he did last week – scowling, he turns around... and sees Ted DiBiase struggling for air still on the canvas! The crowd cheers as Orton turns devilishly back to look at Punk, who stares at him wide-eyed from the ramp; like the fiendish anti-hero he is, the Viper immediately grabs DiBiase off the mat, and holds his chin against his shoulder briefly, pointing his free arm towards Punk, watching in disgust... AS ORTON DRIVES DIBIASE INTO THE CANVAS YET AGAIN WITH THE RKO!!! The crowd goes NUTS yet again as Orton gets to his feet, still fired up, then stands above DiBiase’s unmoving body, snarling with a deathly confidence up at Punk, who shakes his head from the stage. Orton, shivering from adrenaline, brings his hands into the air – and begins to count to ten, with the crowd chanting along in the background.
Josh Matthews: These two men may never stop going for each other’s throats until the moment one of them is left laying this Sunday – Cole, I shudder to think what they’ll have to go through to get to that point.
Michael Cole: I’ve got your answer in three simple words, Josh – hell... and... back. When Punk’s done with Orton this Sunday, he’s gonna be lookin’ in a lot worse shape than Ted DiBiase there, I’m tellin’ ya!
Josh Matthews: Folks, Randy Orton and CM Punk have business still to finish, and that’s exactly what they’ll do in just six days’ time in Tampa – but speaking of unfinished business, John Cena and Triple H go head-to-head in our main event... that’s still yet to come, don’t go away!
As the crowd’s count, along with Orton’s, reaches ten, Punk says “There will – be BLOOD”, and spreads his arms wide in a similar fashion to his 2009 full-bearded persona, before he slowly backtracks behind the curtain, and we’re left with just Orton’s wretched smirk as Raw fades to another break.
There is a lot the human body can endure.
We see nothing but a black screen, coupled with the sound of a man breathing heavily.
A human can survive a heart attack.
A lightning-quick flashing shot of a man clutching his chest, then back to black.
A human can survive a huge fall.
The darkness is punctuated by the image of someone falling off a ledge, then it returns.
A human can survive an attack from an animal.
A man falls backwards as a dog leaps at him, then the black cuts it off again.
A human can even survive a gunshot.
Two silhouettes across from each other, as one lifts up a gun, and the blackness cuts in as the gunshot rings out. The shot suddenly turns to the image of John Cena screaming in pain in a submission hold, then Edge lying against the turnbuckle, baring his teeth as he suffers.
But with survival... comes pain.
And now Randy Orton, clutching his injured knee on the canvas.
How much pain is a man willing to go through?
Rey Mysterio slumped against the mat, eyes unfocused.
What barriers will a man break to achieve glory?
The Miz gasps for air as he raises his WWE Title above his head.
Which man will be able to survive?
Alberto Del Rio winks to the camera, then The Corre raise their arms in the air.
Which man will truly experience...
Christian looks to the sky in frustration, and Cena roars to the crowd.
CM Punk grins devilishly at the camera, before the ‘EXTREME RULES’ graphic appears, and the video package fades to a close...
Raw returns to ringside, where Michael Cole and Josh Matthews are sat, again with opposing expressions; Matthews has a polite smile, while Cole actually disapproves of YOU, the reader.
Josh Matthews: Folks, it’s gonna be huge – this Sunday, live in Tampa, Florida, is Extreme Rules 2011, in front of a ten thousand-strong capacity crowd; what a way to kick off the new WWE calendar, Cole.
Michael Cole: I can’t argue with ya, Josh, it’s lookin’ like a tremendous night of action, ain’t it, huh? There’s no more fitting event to be called by the most must-hear WWE sports journalist of all-time!
Josh Matthews: Michael Cole’s self-praise aside, Extreme Rules is sure to a night that’ll live long in the memory, and just take a look at a few of these matches; for instance – you just saw them continue the long stream of mind games and almost-confrontations – CM Punk and Randy Orton face off in a Last Man Standing Match.
Michael Cole: Everythin’ that CM Punk’s said up until this point’s gonna ring true, Josh – him beatin’ Randy Orton’s gonna linger in the Viper’s mind for so long it’s gonna wreck his whole career! It’s gonna haunt him every second of every day, until he realises that what he did three years ago was a horrible mistake, and frankly Josh, he deserves nothing less! It’s JUSTICE this Sunday!
Josh Matthews: Well, speaking of justice, we may as well take the time to thank Rev Theory for the official theme song of Extreme Rules, ‘Justice’, which I’m fairly sure gets better and better every time I hear it, Cole.
Michael Cole: Yeah, yeah, it’s a real tune; when are we gonna talk about The Miz exactly?
Josh Matthews: (sighing) Let’s get that out of the way; it’s the very namesake of the event, ladies and gentlemen – an Extreme Rules match between two icons of this business, John Cena and Triple H, and a man who claims he’ll soon be an icon, The Miz – oh, what now?
Michael Cole: Soon? SOON? He already IS, Josh, that’s the point! Didn’t ya hear him earlier? He’s breakin’ boundaries, stoppin’ clichés! The Miz is the most dominant WWE Champion we’ve seen in years, and this Sunday, he’s gonna show us all exactly what kinda guy he is! He’s gonna keep fightin’ ‘til he gets the rush he’s been waitin’ his whole life for, and that makes him a stand-up champion, Matthews!
Josh Matthews: And to turn our attention gratefully to SmackDown, it’s the World Heavyweight Champion, Edge, defending his pride and joy against Alberto Del Rio in a Steel Cage Match, where thankfully, the ever-expanding Alberto Administration can’t sway the contest.
Michael Cole: Hey, Alberto doesn’t need those guys to beat Edge! He’s already good enough to be the World Champion, whether he’s got the Administration with him or not; I’m thinking it’s time for his destiny to come true this Sunday, baby!
Josh Matthews: We’ll see, Cole – certainly, Del Rio’s been looking in good shape recently, especially when he, Brodus Clay and Chavo Guerrero left Edge lying in the middle of the ring to finish SmackDown last week. Morally ambiguous or not, he gets the job done.
Michael Cole: In this business, Josh, sometimes that’s all that matters – job done! Alberto’s got a killer instinct, and that could just make him a huge presence on SmackDown for years to come! I’m talkin’ YEARS!
Josh Matthews: And well, speaking of rivalries years in the making, look no further than two former ECW Champions, now on SmackDown, both believing they deserve to be World Heavyweight Champion. It’s an I Quit Match between two old enemies – Christian versus Jack Swagger this Sunday, Cole, and I’m sure you have an opinion or two on this subject, given your, er, relationship, with the All-American American.
Michael Cole: What, just ‘cause I’m workin’ with the guy ya think I’m gonna give a biased opinion? Huh? Well, gimme some credit, Josh! I don’t need to tell ya the dominance Jack Swagger’s gonna display this Sunday, ‘cause everybody can figure it out for themselves! Christian screwed him over two years ago, now it’s time for payback, courtesy of the Phenomenal Athlete himself!
Josh Matthews: Indeed, it’s sure to be a heated contest between these two, seeing as they both have something to prove, and seeing as they both have an agenda to get themselves in World Title contention at the other’s expense; this rings true of the match between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler too, Cole.
Michael Cole: It’s the “original vanilla midget” versus the brightest young star on Raw, Josh – it’s finally time for Dolph Ziggler to break out, and then we can all look forward to Ziggler versus Miz for the title at Over The Limit! That nerd’s gonna have to go sit at the back of the line where he belongs when he’s done in that Ladder Match; hell, maybe he’ll even go home and stop botherin’ us!
Josh Matthews: Bryan seemed pretty fired up earlier on, Cole, but it truly could go either way, especially considering how unpredictable Ladder Matches can be.
Michael Cole: Are ya kiddin’ me? It’s NOT gonna be close! It’s gonna be domination from my man Dolph! It’s gonna be a master class of pure perfection! And no-one knows how to be perfect like DOLPH – ZIGGLER!
Josh Matthews: It’ll be a deserved winner when the final bell rings in that match – at least that we can agree on. (pause as the next graphic appears) And on SmackDown, here’s an exciting match to look forward to; six men, one Intercontinental Title, five falls and a whole load of weapons – Wade Barrett puts his championship on the line against Mysterio, Barreta, McIntyre, Kingston and Rhodes this Sunday.
Michael Cole: It’s gonna be chaos this Friday when they go at it in a six-man tag team match, Josh, but this Sunday; it’s anything goes! You want that title, ya just gotta fight tooth and nail, hammers and tongs, ‘til you smash and grab your way to gettin’ that belt around your waist! I just can’t call it!
Josh Matthews: Each of those six men has been clamouring to take the title for weeks on end, and like you said, Cole – it’s a hostile environment, and the phrase ‘anything can happen’ may never have rung as true as the bout we’ll be witnessing in Tampa in six nights’ time.
Michael Cole: And ya heard it announced earlier by the imposter, Jerry Lawler – Sheamus and Melina teamin’ up against... ugh... John Morrison and Eve Torres with both the United States and Diva’s Titles on the line, meanin’ if Eve steals a win on Melina, Sheamus loses his title, too! What a sickening decision, Josh!
Josh Matthews: In hindsight, Jerry was in a difficult position, Michael, so I’d say he made a good call; as you heard, folks, it’ll be a Winner Take All Match this Sunday, where two of Raw’s premiere rivalries will come to a conclusion in a match where the first fall takes all the glory, and those who hold back – they’ll be left out in the cold, Cole.
Michael Cole: I assume you’re talking about Morrison, Josh.
Josh Matthews: In your eyes, I probably am. And finally – and this one’s gonna be huge – it’s Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, your current WWE Tag Team Champions, taking on the colossal duo of the Big Show and Kane, in a Tables Match, where both members of a team have to be put through a table for the victory.
Michael Cole: You gotta ask yourself, Josh – how the hell d’ya put Kane and Big Show through a table, anyway? Huh? Those guys are absolutely huge!
Josh Matthews: It looks like a tall order, no pun intended, for the young members of the Corre, but remember, at Extreme Rules – anything goes, and that means they can go to any lengths necessary to get the win on Sunday.
We cut away from the match graphics, back to the ring, where Justin Roberts and a referee are standing.
*LA VITTORIA E MIA*
A decent pop goes up as the Italian theme of Santino Marella signals his entrance, flanked by Tamina, and the bell chimes. Santino acknowledges a gigantic ovation that doesn’t exist, thanking the fans as he leads Tamina towards the ring.
Justin Roberts: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Tamina... from Calabria, Italy, weighing in at two hundred and thirty-three pounds... SANTINO – MARELLA!
Josh Matthews: Well, Extreme Rules looks like an explosive night, Cole, and there’s still more to come from Monday Night Raw here tonight – Cena versus Triple H is our main event, as well as this match right now!
Michael Cole: You’re forgettin’ all about The Miz on commentary, Josh!
Josh Matthews: Oh, I’m not forgetting, Cole. You won’t let me forget.
Santino gets into the ring, doing some comical warm-ups to prepare himself, as his music dies down, and Tamina takes her place at ringside to support her boyfriend.
*BED OF NAILS*
There’s a few boos, but very, very little else for the rarely-seen-on-Raw Tyson Kidd, as he struts out on the stage with his hair looking as stupid as ever, but with a unique fire in his eyes tonight. He spreads his arms wide, taking swaggering steps down the ramp, and Santino is seen narrowing his eyes in preparation in the ring.
Justin Roberts: And his opponent – from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weighing in at one hundred and ninety-nine pounds... TYSOOOOON – KIDD!
Josh Matthews: To take the focus off this Sunday for just a moment, Michael, a man who deserves credit is none other than Tyson Kidd – he’s been red hot on Superstars recently, including wins over the hulking Chris Masters, the lightning-quick Evan Bourne and the veteran Goldust; he’s really making everyone sit up and, well, take notice.
Michael Cole: I got a lotta respect for Tyson Kidd, Josh – he’s just like me! We’re both winners!
Josh Matthews: Is there anyone on this show who finds success that you don’t compare yourself to?
Michael Cole: I think Daniel Bryan won a match once, right? But look, stop divertin’ attention away from Tyson Kidd, alright? He’s a talented guy, and we should focusin’ on him – this is his moment to get a bit of respect from these fans here on Raw!
Contrary to Cole’s remarks, Kidd’s taunting from the turnbuckles earns him no respect at all from the fans, as we see a small boy giving the Canadian a thumbs-down. Kidd, wearing a sly smile, points to himself cockily, then hops down and shakes out his arms as Santino marches dramatically across to face him. The referee separates them, waiting for Kidd’s music to die out, and when it does, he calls for the bell.
Match Five – Singles Contest
Santino Marella vs Tyson Kidd
Before the bell has even finished ringing, Kidd immediately goes behind Santino with a waist lock; Marella looks confused, and tries to break his grip on him, but suddenly finds himself in a side headlock. Kidd frees him, then fires a kick to the back of the Italian’s knee – and another – before he shoves him to the ropes, and leaps to take him down with a Dropkick early on. Comically brushing off his face, Santino gets back to his feet and tells Kidd to “Bring it on!” so the Canadian immediately obliges with a lock-up. Despite Santino’s considerable weight advantage, Kidd forces him back to the corner, and gets in a few stiff shots with his right hand before the referee tells him to move back. Frowning now, Kidd looks to inflict some damage by charging in – but his Running Shoulder Block attempt goes straight into the turnbuckle! The crowd groans as Kidd grimaces and turns round, throwing a rash clothesline, which Santino ducks – WITH THE SPLITS, I might add – before he sends the Canadian tumbling to the deck with a Hip Toss!
The crowd cheers as Santino gets to his feet now, and makes the ‘raise the roof’ gesture to get them fired up... BEFORE HE BEGINS TO SET UP THE COBRA! The fans seem to be enjoying themselves, chanting “SANTINO! SANTINO!” as the jolly Italian creates his deadly finishing move, and begins to hiss at Kidd to rise... he does, so Santino STRIKES – just kidding, you didn’t think I’d bury Kidd like this, did you? Nah, Kidd ducks right under the Cobra, eliciting a moan of disappointment from the crowd... AND THEN HE TAKES SANTINO’S HEAD OFF WITH A MINDBLOWING SUPERKICK TO THE SKULL!!! The hideous ‘crack’ echoes around the arena as Marella goes down in a crumpled heap, eyes unfocused, and Kidd shakes out his arms again... before he tugs Santino into the middle of the ring, steps in – AND APPLIES THE SHARPSHOOTER!!! Santino, previously quiet after the Superkick, comes alive again here, screaming “OH-A MY GOD!” amongst other dramatic phrases, until he finally yells out in pain – AND TAPS OUT! Kidd destroys Santino!
Result: Tyson Kidd bts. Santino Marella via submission at 1:47
*BED OF NAILS*
Justin Roberts: Here is your winner as the result of a submission... TYSOOOON – KIDD!
As if it’s what he does every day of the week, Kidd lets Marella out of the Sharpshooter with a casual throwing to the floor, and spreads his arms wide with a shit-eating grin; he knows how easy that came across.
Michael Cole: Tyson Kidd! Tyson Kidd, huh? What a dominating performance from that guy right there – that was somethin’ impressive if I ever saw it, Josh!
Josh Matthews: Indeed impressive from the up-and-coming Tyson Kidd, but still to come, our main event – WWE Champion The Miz and his protégé Alex Riley join us at ringside as Triple H takes on John Cena!
We head backstage from Kidd’s grin to see Scott Stanford.
Scott Stanford: Ladies and gentlemen, you heard from John Cena earlier tonight, and now you’ll hear from the other competitor in our main event just around the corner – my guest, Triple H!
HUGE pop for the Game, Triple H, as he walks into the shot in his ring gear, looking deathly focused.
Scott Stanford: Triple H, last week you secured yourself a WWE Title shot when you pinned the WWE Champion himself, The Miz, but after the match you were controversially AA’ed by your opponent in just a few moments, John Cena. Can I get a few last-minute thoughts before your bout tonight, and ahead of this Sunday?
The Game remains focused as the mic comes his way.
Triple H: Y’know... I should be angry, at John Cena, for what he did last week.
He rubs his jaw.
Triple H: But I’m not.
Mixed reaction from the crowd.
Triple H: See, if he was right about one thing, it’s that this Sunday, things have gotta get a little crazy before all’s said and done. When the dust finally clears, I plan to be standin’ there as WWE Champion... and sometimes you gotta throw the rulebook out the window before you can really understand the game you’re normally playin’.
Small pop for that.
Triple H: John, you made one smart choice last week, and one bad one. The smart one was countin’ that pinfall – ‘cause if you hadn’t, nothin’ would’ve stopped me from comin’ after you and beating the livin’ hell outta you.
Big pop from the Cena haters, some boos from the younger members of the audience.
Triple H: The bad one – was giving me that Attitude Adjustment after the match. ‘Cause believe me, I said I’m not angry at you. But you made me realise; I’ve gotta turn it up a notch.
He finally shows a small smile.
Triple H: I lost to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, but if I’d given it maybe that little more somehow, it’d be a whole different story. And last week, John, you made me realise what I need – to – do... to bring that belt back home to me. The man who wears that belt more proudly than anyone who’s ever set foot in that damn ring.
Really loud pop for Triple H’s general legacy.
Triple H: I’ve gotta go even more than one hundred percent. I’ve gotta throw that rulebook out the window and show you, and The Miz, exactly what I’m capable of when I reach my pinnacle.
Another cheer goes up as the Game nods.
Triple H: So I’m gonna go ahead and thank ya for what you did last week, John...
He grins, then slowly lets it fade until he stares coldly into the camera.
Triple H: ...and now I’m gonna punish you for it.
Big pop from the Raleigh crowd.
Triple H: And Miz, seeing as you’ll have the best seat in the house – you make sure you feast your eyes on what I do to John Cena... because this Sunday, just like last week, and just like Cena’s gonna do tonight... you’ll play the Game... AND YOU’LL LOSE.
MASSIVE pop for that, and Triple H leaves the shot, as ‘UP NEXT’ fades into view, and Raw goes to a break.
And now, WWE Mobile presents... SMACKDOWN REBOUND!!!
SmackDown Rebound this week features Alberto Del Rio declaring that it will be his great adaptability that will prove the difference against Edge at Extreme Rules, especially as he’s not scared to step inside a Steel Cage; he shows this immediately afterwards, bringing the cage down, and putting his title shot on the line against anyone in the SmackDown locker room who wants to face him. Out comes the awe-inspiring Sin Cara to take the challenge, but the high-flyer succumbs to the Cross-Arm Breaker after taking a Powerbomb into the Steel Cage wall. Del Rio stands tall as the Administration applaud him...
...and we cut to SmackDown’s lengthy main event, in which Edge takes on WWE Tag Team Champion Justin Gabriel; though the South African proves to be more than a match for the World Heavyweight Champion, the Canadian manages to get his knees up as Gabriel goes for the 450 Splash. This leaves Gabriel in an injured state, allowing Edge to deliver the Spear to score a hard-fought victory. After the match, Gabriel slaps away Edge’s offered handshake, and things get worse for the Rated R Superstar as none other than CHAVO GUERRERO makes a surprise appearance, distracting him so Brodus Clay and the aforementioned Del Rio can attack him from behind. Chavo gets in the ring to shake hands with ‘Destiny’s Darling’, who again calls for the cage to be lowered, before the three men brutalise the World Champion, with the exclamation point being provided by Del Rio applying the Cross-Arm Breaker. SmackDown’s final image is that of Del Rio with the World Title around his waist, as the Administration stands victorious.
When Raw returns, it’s MAIN EVENT TIME...
*I CAME TO PLAY*
Immediate, loud boos ring around the RBC Center as the WWE Champion, The Miz makes his second appearance of the evening, following the long promo he cut at the beginning of the show. Naturally, a smirking Alex Riley appears alongside him, wearing his varsity jacket over his ring gear, and the Varsity Villain nods with approval as The Miz raises his title arrogantly into the air with two hands.
Michael Cole: Oh boy, Josh, are ya ready for this?
Josh Matthews: I – I really don’t think so.
Michael Cole: Look at that man right there, Josh! Look at ‘im! He’s the most must-see WWE Champion of all time, and he’s gonna come give his personal insights on this match for us! We’re privileged! We should be thankin’ him with all our hearts!
Matthews decides to stay silent rather than argue, as The Miz and Riley make their way around ringside, and both shake hands with Cole as they sit in the two empty seats beside him. Both men put on their headsets, with The Miz smirking casually as he leans back in the chair, and Cole, of course, can’t wipe a grin off his face.
Michael Cole: A very good evenin’ to both you guys, Miz, Alex – I tell ya, this main event’s gonna be a whole lot more watchable now I’ve got a couple of real talkers to help me call this bad boy!
The Miz: Y’know Michael, I’m always happy to help out, it’s one of several things I do very, very well.
Alex Riley: Hey, how’s it goin’ down that end, Josh?
Matthews raises an eyebrow to that, and Riley laughs callously. A few “MIZ SUCKS!” chants can be heard from the crowd, but the arena soon begins to buzz as the Awesome One’s music fades out...
“BEHOLD THE KING...”
*THE KING OF KINGS*
Like peasants roaring for the monarch himself, THE RBC CENTER LOSES IT!!! The usual green and red lights go into overdrive, as the crowd rocks to the Motorhead theme that rips straight through the arena... AND THEY JUST GET LOUDER AS TRIPLE H STORMS OUT INTO VIEW!!!
Josh Matthews: Th- the ovation!
The Miz is seen sitting with a pensive two fingers against his cheek, as the Game stands still as a stone for a moment, drenched in water – until the music dies out for barely a millisecond...
“IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME...”
And again, a roaring cheer goes up for the Cerebral Assassin, who spits his water out furiously, and begins to march down the ramp, taking another swig of his bottle before he throws it casually into the crowd. He heads up to the apron on the hard camera-side, then leans back against the ropes to spray his water out above his head, before he ROARS to the RBC Center under the sheer white light that illuminates him! The fans are going absolutely wild for the Game, who turns to step inside the squared circle, then heads to the turnbuckle to taunt to the crowd – but he directs his classic pose to The Miz, who shakes his head at him despite the crowd’s pop of approval! Tripper steps down, setting up shop in the corner as he prepares for his opponent.
Justin Roberts: This bout is set for one fall! Introducing first, from Greenwich, Connecticut, weighing in at two hundred and sixty pounds... THE GAME... TRIPLE ‘AIIIIIIIIIITCHHH!!!
Josh Matthews: Folks, you’re witnessing a true icon – this Sunday, Triple H competes for his fourteenth World Title in the Extreme Rules match against John Cena and the current champion, sitting at this very announce desk... well, you can’t deny his popularity, Cole!
Michael Cole: And ya can’t deny his hypocrisy either, Josh, but I don’t see ya bringin’ it up! Triple H acts like he’s some kind of liberator or hero, but he LOST at Wrestlemania, just like Cena, and now he’s gettin’ a shot at the title? It’s like a big joke’s bein’ played on The Miz here!
The Miz: You could not be more correct, Michael; Alex and I were talking earlier about it – who do these guys think they are? There’s only one WWE Champion around here, and I don’t get the respect I deserve from Jerry Lawler; he just coops me up with whichever losers are first to put their hands in the air. (mocking voice) “I want a shot, I wanna shot!”
Again, Riley cackles at that, as in the ring, Triple H’s gaze remains locked on the stage, and the arena buzzes once more...
*MY TIME IS NOW*
AND AN ALMIGHTY ROAR RIPS THROUGH THE ENTIRE RBC CENTER!!! That roar is made up of a mixture of high-pitched pops from the women and children, matched with the ferocious boos from a large section of the male fans, and the noise just gets louder as JOHN CENA charges out into view, grinning at the reaction! Again, we see a thoughtful Miz at the announce desk watching Cena with an emotionless stare, before we cut back to the ex-“Champ” as he tells the camera “Just six days, if ya can wait that long!”... before he throws up the salute to the fans, and begins to charge down the ramp to the ring!
Justin Roberts: And his opponent, from West Newbury, Massachusetts, weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds... JOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHNNNN – CEEEEEEEEENNNNAAAAAA!!!
Michael Cole: Now Miz, tell me – it must have felt great to pin John Cena at Wrestlemania, but I bet it’s gonna be even better when ya pin ‘im this Sunday, am I right?
The Miz: Honestly, Cole, it didn’t feel great – like I said earlier tonight, I didn’t get the thrill I was looking for. But if nothing else, beating Cena and Triple H this Sunday will keep this WWE Title in my grasp, and remaining the most must-see WWE Champion of all time is the first step to finally getting the kicks out of this business that I always wanted.
Josh Matthews: Er, John Cena said earlier tonight that he was gonna get a bit “crazy” in order to pry that title out of your hands, Miz – what’s your response to that?
The Miz: (frowning) I think what everyone’s forgetting here is – John Cena’s already crazy enough for thinking he has a legitimate chance of taking my title. He’s already a walking, talking pile of corny jokes and bad slogans, and nothing he can do this Sunday will change that, Josh! End of story.
In the ring, Cena rebounds off both sets of ropes, before he throws his cap into the crowd. He then throws up the ‘Word Life’ sign in time with the chorus of his theme song as usual, before his music subsides, and amidst a series of duelling “LET’S GO CENA!” “CENA SUCKS!” chants, he whips off his shirt and flings it into the crowd. A few fans near the hard camera microphone chant “Throw it back!” but the person who caught it is part of the 50% of the crowd cheering Cena on, so they keep it. Now, the referee steps into the middle to have a word with both competitors, as Justin Roberts takes his seat at ringside, and Cena and the Game exchange deathly glares; these two have fought before, Matthews reminds us, including at Wrestlemania 22, and yet tonight, it’s all about scores to be settled, and momentum to be gained. The crowd buzzes, with a series of duelling chants for both men springing up, and the referee calls for the bell in this monumental main event contest.
Main Event – Singles Contest
Triple H vs John Cena
As is to be expected in any contest between two huge names, this one gets some length given to it, and following that trend, we join the bout after a series of near-falls and back-and-forth action, fourteen minutes in. With both the Game and the ex-“Champ” looking rather fatigued, they square up once again following a kickout from Triple H; Cena tries to take charge, dodging under a right hand to take the Cerebral Assassin around the gut and drive him into the corner. Tripper groans upon impact, and now Cena careers back towards the middle of the ring, measuring his target before he charges in for the Corner Clothesline – NO! Triple H grabs the nearby rope to tug himself out of harm’s way, leaving Cena to crunch into the turnbuckle; as the West Newbury native staggers back towards him, Hunter lurches forward, taking both men down with a HUGE clothesline of his own! The crowd groans with the impact of the Game’s desperate but powerful hit, and with the look of someone dying to grab the win, Tripper gets back to his feet, and breathes heavily as he tells Cena to get up. Slowly, the ex-“Champ” finds his feet, clearly dazed after the moves he’s suffered throughout the last quarter of an hour, and now Triple H tries to whip him to the ropes... but Cena sets his feet and sends the Game instead, before he bends down – BUT HUNTER COUNTERS WITH THE FACEBREAKER KNEE SMASH!!! The crowd erupts with a mixture of cheers, boos and groans as Cena reels off Hunter’s knee, eyes unfocused, before the Game puts his weight behind a shove, sending Cena to the ropes this time... AND LETTING HIM RUN STRAIGHT INTO THE HIGH KNEE!!! Again, a mixed reaction meets the crunching impact as Cena gets flattened, and now Triple H falls clumsily into the cover, surely sensing victory... 1... 2... 3-NO! KICKOUT!!!
Triple H’s stunned expression at the official tells half the story, with the crowd’s mixture of relieved cheers and dissatisfied boos telling the other half. The Game runs a hand through his sweat-drenched, straggled hair in disbelief, then takes his old adversary by the head, and guides him back to his feet, baring his teeth to give himself strength before he winds back – and delivers a stinging Knife Edge Chop across Cena’s chest, eliciting a unanimous scream of “WOOOO!” from the fans! Cena grimaces, staggering backwards briefly before he comes back – into another chop, and another cry of “WOOOO!” around the RBC Center. This time, Cena stumbles into the ropes as he sells the shot, loosely draping his arm over the top one, before he clenches a fist, and throws it at the Cerebral Assassin... but he telegraphs it, and sends Cena to the ropes with a momentum-aided Irish whip! The ex-“Champ” hits the ropes speedily for the rebound, so Triple H thinks DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER... BUT CENA JAMS THE MOVE! A sigh of relief echoes from the Cena fans, as their hero takes a step back, only to fire a lethal right-handed blow – ducked! Triple H instinctively dodges the blow, then turns round to see Cena hitting the ropes for momentum... FLYING SHOULDER BLOCK FROM CENA!!!
Down goes the Game here, and at ringside, The Miz mutters “Here we go...” as both men get up again, and of course, Cena leaps forward with another Flying Shoulder Block; Triple H stumbles up once more, throwing a foolish clothesline, which Cena sees coming and ducks, before he lifts the Game up, and drills him into the canvas with the SPIN-OUT POWERBOMB!!! Upon impact, Cena is immediately to his feet, arm in the air with an enlightened expression on his face, and the noise level in the arena inevitably rises, with the Cena fans egging him on, and the haters jeering him in equal number. Regardless of the abuse from half the crowd, Cena rises above the hate, turning to ringside to tell The Miz that “YOU CAN’T SEE ME!” before he heads to the ropes... AND BRINGS THE FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE DOWN ON THE GAME’S FACE!!! Once more, the RBC Center comes alive, and now Cena, apparently recovered somewhat from Hunter’s offence, takes to the corner of the squared circle, crouching slightly to stare down his reeling opponent. Finally, Triple H shakes out the cobwebs, and gets to his feet, wandering straight into the path of the rolling John Cena... who scoops him up, thinking ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, and the Cena haters roar in protest – BUT HUNTER ESCAPES... AND IMMEDIATELY TAKES CENA DOWN WITH A DOUBLE LEG TAKEDOWN, SPLITTING THE ARENA IN HALF YET AGAIN!!!
As Cena desperately tries to cover himself, Triple H leaps atop him, and starts BLASTING him with right hands, letting his classic adrenaline rush take over, and he gives his old rival a thorough pounding, much to the chagrin of the women and children! After a moment, the Game relents at a count of four, and with Cena still grounded, he wastes little time thinking up his next plan of action, because he grabs the West Newbury native by the leg – then steps in, twists round, AND APPLIES THE FIGURE FOUR LEG LOCK!!! The majority of the arena screams “WOOOO!” repeatedly yet again, as The Miz watches with a scowl at ringside, clearly a little unnerved by the wide arsenal Triple H can utilise, but we quickly cut back to Cena, who is in AGONY! His eyes are wide as he struggles, pain shooting through his legs, and he immediately, instinctively, reaches out with a hand for any sign of the ropes; but there’s none to be found, and as such, he slumps to a lying position, baring his teeth in pain yet again. Triple H, on the other hand, relishes every second, especially after Cena’s post-match present to him last week, and it’s not long before the Game begins to bellow “TAP! TAAAAP!” at his opponent, who, true to his moniker, WILL – NOT – QUIT. The Cena fans chant his name, trying to get some kind of response out of him, and finally, we have lift off, as the man himself turns his eyes to the nearest ropes, and begins to edge towards them, with Triple H snarling as Cena shows signs of life. However, Cena stops himself as he gets closer to the ropes, and grimaces yet again; it even looks like he might tap, as he raises a hand into the air, and the Raleigh fans scream a variety of things... BUT THAT HAND COMES GRATEFULLY DOWN ON THE BOTTOM ROPE!!!
The referee immediately rushes on to Triple H, telling him to break the hold, and to the joy of the CeNation, he finally does, baring his teeth in frustration. Breathing heavily now, the Game finds the adjacent ropes, and places his forehead against the top one, taking a breather as he tries to recover his game plan. Turning, he sees Cena attempting to get up, fingertips slipping off the ropes as he looks to find his feet. Hunter, however, prepares to give him a deadly punishment should he turn around, spreading his arms high and wide to fire up the crowd... finally, Cena struggles up with the ropes’ aid, then spins slowly to walk towards his opponent – WHO KICKS HIM IN THE GUT, AND HOOKS THE ARMS... BUT NOOOOOO!!! Cena frees an arm, then spins out of the hold, surprising the Game by pulling his legs out from under him... BEFORE HE PULLS THE STFU OUT OF NOWHERE, SENDING THE CENATION INTO A FRENZY!!! Triple H roars in agony immediately, while Cena’s yells are nothing but pure adrenaline, with the Game’s hands searching desperately across the mat to find some kind of refuge from this torturous submission hold! The fans are, again, split 50/50; half urging him to find the ropes as Cena did moments ago, half urging him to tap out to hand the match Cena’s way! Once more, The Miz is seen watching with a discontented look at the announce desk, refusing to comment as Matthews and Cole sell the hold’s effectiveness to the extreme... but is there life in the Game? Back in the ring, Hunter refuses to give in, shaking his head furiously every time the referee asks the question, and slowly, he begins to crawl his way towards the ropes, each inch a lifetime away... Cena cranks up the pressure desperately – ONLY FOR HUNTER TO ROAR, AND WITH ONE LAST GASP, HE FINDS THE ROPE, JUST LIKE CENA DID!!! The RBC Center explodes with another typically mixed reaction, and wearing a tired expression of defeat, Cena rolls off of Hunter, though he has to use the ropes to keep him upright; the entire scene is almost a parallel to Triple H after Cena escaped the Figure Four, except this time – Cena’s got something else in mind.
With the Game slowly crawling on all fours away from the ropes, Cena lugs his tired frame out to the apron, and heads for the turnbuckle. The ex-“Champ” looks incredibly weary, clambering sluggishly up to the top rope, and when there, he has to secure himself with a hand on the rope either side of him. Below him, Triple H begins to pull himself up, but he keels over in exhaustion, holding an arm over his stomach to sell it. Cena, digging deep, manages to stand up fully... THEN LAUNCHES OFF TO DRILL HUNTER INTO THE CANVAS WITH THE DIVING LEG DROP BULLDOG!!! Once again, the crowd comes unglued with a variety of loud reactions, boo and cheers alike, and Matthews screams “THAT’S GOTTA BE IT!” as Cena turns the Game into the cover... 1... 2... 3-NO!!! TRIPLE H KICKS OUT!!! The majority of the male voices in the RBC Center give a low-pitched but hearty cheer as the Cerebral Assassin keeps himself alive in this bout, though the higher-pitched voices groan in disappointment! Cena, meanwhile, pushes himself to his feet, panting after a long stint here, and finally, he decides there’s only one thing to be done; it needs to be an Attitude Adjustment. Following that train of thought, he tries to haul Hunter’s two-hundred-sixty-pound frame up, though it’s a struggle even for him. Baring his teeth to dig even deeper than before, he tries to lift the Game on to his shoulders – but the King of Kings comes back with a clubbing blow to the back, forcing Cena to drop his opponent, and stagger away a little, before he turns back to try again... SPINEBUSTER!!! TRIPLE H NAILS CENA WITH THE DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER, SENDING THE CROWD INTO A MASS OF NOISE AGAIN!!! Amidst the crowd’s chanting, the Game wastes no time, draping himself over Cena with a hook of the leg to put this away... 1... 2... 3-NO!!! IT’S NO GOOD!!!
“Whadda I have to do?” moans the exhausted Triple H, staring bewitched at the official’s two fingers for a moment... and then falling backwards to the canvas, blinking in disbelief. Likewise, just inches away, Cena lays with his eyes locked on the ceiling, barely able to believe he kicked out, and in the lull, a series of “LET’S GO CENA!” “CENA SUCKS!” begin to duel again, as we watch the motionless bodies of these two opponents this Sunday. However, as the referee starts his Double KO count, we cut to the other man in that match, as The Miz and Alex Riley exchange a glance... then drop their headsets to the desk!? Cole frowns, saying “Guys, the match is still goin’...” but The Miz doesn’t reply, instead walking over to the ringside area – AND GRABBING TWO STEEL CHAIRS!!! The TitanTron shows the actions of the despicable WWE Champion, who gives a chair to Riley, and tells him “Let’s light this up” before they slide into the ring in unison! The referee looks at them with a confused look, stopping his count of seven, which would have trailed off anyway as Cena and Hunter begin to find their feet on opposite sides of the ring. Nervously, the official tells them not to get involved, but The Miz ignores him, and directs Riley to Cena, before he puts the Game in his sights – AND THE DUO LASH THE CHAIRS OFF CENA AND HUNTER’S BACKS IN STEREO, BRINGING THEM BOTH COLLAPSING TO THE MAT AGAIN!!! The referee looks at them both in horror, and naturally has no choice but to call for the bell!!!
Result: Triple H vs John Cena ends in a No Contest at 20:04
As you’d expect, there’s no music as the bell chimes; just boos, and immensely loud boos at that, as The Miz and Alex Riley stand above the WWE Championship contenders this Sunday. Riley drives the chair into Cena’s back again for good measure, as The Miz just stares coldly down at the Game; in the background, we can see the referee again trying to get them to leave, but Riley threatens him with the chair and he hurriedly exits the ring instead.
Josh Matthews: How – how can you justify this, Michael? The Miz just ended our main event in the most abrupt way possible, just to get one over on his challengers!
Michael Cole: I don’t have to justify squat, Josh! That right there is nothin’ but a pure smart attitude! This guys don’t deserve anythin’ from The Miz, and he’s just showin’ them that; this is exactly what’s gonna happen Sunday, too, so get used to that sight!
With a dizzy Hunter secured in the corner by Miz’s boot on his chest, Riley prepares for a big shot on Cena; the crowd buzzes as the Varsity Villain allows Cena back to his feet, setting up like a baseball player about to slog it out there for a homer. As soon as the ex-“Champ” gets up, staggering about with a grimace, Riley steps forward with a big CHAIRSHOT – NOOOO!!! Cena somehow ducks it, then snarls with adrenaline as the Miz’s young apprentice turns round – AND CENA HAMMERS HIM WITH A CLOTHESLINE! The crowd almost-unanimously comes alive with cheers as Riley gets flattened, and now Cena grabs the chair from the mat, eyes on fire as Riley rolls desperately from the ring... BUT CENA IS HOT ON HIS HEELS!!! Once again, the fans go crazy as Cena slides from the squared circle, chair in hand, and goes sprinting after the Varsity Villain, who hurdles the barricade and charges out into the crowd, with Cena following him all the way!
Josh Matthews: C-Cena’s goin’ right after Riley! Over the barricade – they’re in the crowd!
In the ring, The Miz has long since moved away from Triple H, shouting inaudible commands to Riley, who scarpers up one of the long crowd staircases and escapes through a pair of double doors. Reaching the top of the stairs, Cena loses sight of the WWE Champion’s young protégé, and puts his free hand on his hip, shaking his head. We cut back to the squared circle, where The Miz is FURIOUS about Riley’s failure, but things are about to get worse, because behind him stands, of course, TRIPLE H, and he’s absolutely RAGING himself! The crowd begins to cheer, as The Miz turns round to return to his prey – who is prey no more, because he charges across the ring to attack him... BUT THE MIZ ROLLS FROM THE RING AT THE LAST SECOND!!! A ferocious chorus of boos surrounds The Miz from the angered fans, while Triple H careers into the ropes, snarling abuse down at the Awesome One; the champion darts to ringside, grabbing his title belt and throwing the chair to the side, before he heads around the ring and up the ramp, scowling.
Josh Matthews: Well, The Miz’s plan to put down his title contenders tonight didn’t go as he expected, and Cole, this Sunday – it might be a case of what goes around, comes around!
Michael Cole: You’re not tellin’ me ya believe that, are ya Josh? Triple H and John Cena should consider themselves lucky that they escaped a real good beatin’ tonight, that’s for sure, but at Extreme Rules, they won’t be goin’ anywhere except the hospital, baby!
We cut up to Cena, who roars through his fatigue, letting the adrenaline consume him as he raises the steel chair into the air. All around him, several fans chant “CENA! CENA!” to support him, while The Miz, pouting furiously, clutches his title belt to his chest at the top of the ramp. Triple H, however, steps briefly out of the ring to look underneath the apron – AND TO THE CROWD’S DELIGHT, FINDS THE CONVENIENTLY-PLACED SLEDGEHAMMER!!! The Game rolls back into the ring now, lifting the weapon up high with a deadly look of menace ahead of this Sunday; we then look at Cena, firing up the masses that surround him in the heights of the RBC Center; and then finally, we look to The Miz, plans backfiring tonight, but still with that gorgeous belt in his hands... for now. As the camera switches between the three men in different areas of the widespread arena, the commentators sign off.
Josh Matthews: Triple H has his sledgehammer in hand. Cena’s got the adrenaline pumping. The Miz has got the title. It’s three men, just these three, this Sunday in Tampa, in an Extreme Rules match to decide the WWE Champion once and for all; each man says they deserve to be the top dog on Raw, but in six nights’ time we find out who can truly back up those claims!
Michael Cole: For the last few months, Monday Night Raw has been all about The Miz, Josh; MONDAY – NIGHT – MIZ. You tune in this Sunday for somethin’ special, folks; The Miz goes above and beyond yet again in Tampa – we’re gonna see the most must-see WWE Champion get his thrill, and it’s gonna be a glorious moment!
Josh Matthews: Ladies and gentlemen, regardless of Michael Cole’s opinion, this match could just about go any way possible – it’s unpredictable, it’s crazy, it’s EXTREME – we’ll see you this Sunday! Goodnight!
Our final image is The Miz, staring fiery-eyed down at his opponents this Sunday...
...and we fade to black.
END OF SHOW
Dolph Ziggler bts. David Hart Smith
R-Truth and Johnny Curtis bt. DZP
John Morrison bts. William Regal
Randy Orton bts. Ted DiBiase
Tyson Kidd bts. Santino Marella
Triple H vs John Cena ends in a No Contest
WWE Championship – Extreme Rules Match
The Miz (c) vs John Cena vs Triple H
World Heavyweight Championship – Steel Cage Match
Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio
Last Man Standing Match
CM Punk vs Randy Orton
I Quit Match
Christian vs Jack Swagger
No. 1 Contender To The WWE Title – Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler vs Daniel Bryan
Intercontinental Championship – Six-Pack Hardcore Elimination Challenge
Wade Barrett (c) vs Kofi Kingston vs Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio vs Drew McIntyre vs Trent Barreta
United States and Diva’s Championships – Winner Take All Match
Sheamus (c) and Melina vs John Morrison and Eve Torres (c)
WWE Tag Team Championships – Tag Team Tables Match
Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (c) vs Big Show and Kane
*CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE*