~Monday Night Raw~
April 16th, 2007
"It’s not just these people that are countin’ on you tonight… I’m countin’ on you too."
We start with a recap video of last week’s main points of interest, starting with some brief highlights of John Cena putting away Kenny Dykstra, then we hear a few sound bites that confirm the No Holds Barred Match at Backlash between Triple H and Shawn Michaels, then we see highlights from the main event where Rob Van Dam sees off Randy Orton, only for Mr. McMahon to appear, poised to announce Bobby Lashley as Van Dam’s next opponent… only for Linda McMahon to appear, announcing that a new Number One Contender will be crowned when Lashley meets John Cena in a WrestleMania rematch.
After the usual Raw opening video, we head into the arena for an impressive pyro display, before we scan the crowd, taking in some of the more creative signs from the raucous Louisiana crowd, before we hear from tonight’s announce team…
The Cajundome is rockin’ tonight as Monday Night Raw brings you one of the most anticipated WrestleMania rematches in WWE history! Hello folks, welcome to Raw, I’m ‘Good ‘Ol J.R.’, Jim Ross, alongside me as always, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Joey Styles, and fellas, what a night this promises to be. Just three weeks after their titanic battle in Detroit, John Cena and Bobby Lashley are set to face off one more time, the winner goin’ to Backlash to face Rob Van Dam for the WWE Championship!
There is tension in the air for what could wind up goin’ down as one of the biggest nights in WWE history! Not only will John Cena and Bobby Lashley do battle, but let’s not forget tonight’s showdown in the boardroom. Both Vince and Linda McMahon will state their cases to the WWE Board of Directors in an emergency meeting, where the board will decide just who will gain control of Monday Night Raw.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got some other great matches lined up too. Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy are gonna go at it, the new Number One Contenders to the World Tag Team Championships, The Straight Edge Saints, take on The Redneck Wrecking Crew, and Carlito has called in a favour from Mickie James as they take on Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson in an Intergender Tag Team Match!
And not only that, earlier in the week, I conducted a sit-down interview with the man who will face Shawn Michaels in a No Holds Barred Match at Backlash, ‘The Game’, Triple H. It was a fascinating conversation I had with ‘The Cerebral Assassin’, one you won’t wanna miss. It’s gonna be a huge night folks, so much is in store…
*MY TIME IS NOW…*
A loud, boisterous, yet mixed response welcomes the arrival of the always controversial John Cena
into the arena. Cena pauses at the top of the ramp, looking out into the crowd, almost blown away by the volume of his welcome, before he offers up a salute then races down the ramp to slide into the ring…
And it appears we’re gonna kick things off with John Cena! What a night this could be for Cena, a huge challenge ahead of him as he takes on Bobby Lashley. Cena beat Lashley at WrestleMania, can he do it again tonight on Raw?
Well with all that’s goin’ on right now, from the challenge Cena laid down to Rob Van Dam, to the bombshell Linda McMahon dropped on us all last week, you gotta wonder if Cena’s mind is gonna be focused enough to beat Lashley tonight.
If there’s one thing John Cena is, it’s focused. The only worry I have is that after getting somewhat of an assist from ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin at WrestleMania, when it comes down to Lashley and Cena one on one with no such interference, will the outcome be the same? If Cena can deliver another performance like he did at WrestleMania, I’m sure it’ll be enough to send him to Backlash.
In the ring, Cena calls for an receives a microphone, smiling at the loudness of the fans, with Cena almost taken aback by it all. Cena waits for his music, and then for the crowd to die down, before he finally speaks…
Wow. Looks like we’ve got a loud bunch in here tonight.
Cena laughs as he scans the crowd…
And I guess it’s pretty easy to understand why. John Cena, Bobby Lashley, one o’ the biggest WrestleMania rematches in WWE history, and it’s goin’ down tonight
, right here in Cajun Country!
But not only is tonight the night me and Lashley meet in a rematch… but backstage right now, the real movers and shakers are gearin’ up for one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make.
Cena walks towards the ropes at the foot of the ramp, pointing towards the back…
Backstage, there’s a whole lotta lobbyin’ goin’ on, there’s deals bein’ made, votes are tryin’ to be bought, and you can beat your last dime there’s one man sweatin’ like crazy right now. I am of course referring to a certain Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon. A man who loves nothin’ more than to brag about the size of his grapefruits, but I promise you folks, right now, those grapefruits ain’t as big as they usually are.
Cena sarcastically winces…
‘Cause Vince McMahon knows that tonight, in this very arena, his empire could crumble right before his very eyes. After all the years of Vince runnin’ things his way, givin’ title shots to his favourites, holdin’ people down, it could all come back and bite ‘im in the ass tonight! Linda McMahon is takin’ Vince into the boardroom, and they’re gonna air it all out. And that’s why tonight could go down as one of the biggest nights in the history of Monday Night Raw. ‘Cause tonight could be all about… redemption
The crowd cheers as Cena raises a finger…
Redemption for all the lies, all the cheatin’, all the back stabbin’, it all gets aired out tonight! Now I know that since Vince is ‘The Boss’, he’s gonna have his guys on the Board of Directors. I know he’s got a great business mind, he’s made a lotta people in this company very, very rich.
Cena paces to the centre of the ring, a determined look on his face…
But there’s one thing Vince forgot about you… and that’s you
Pop as Cena points to various sections of the fans…
You fans, you people, the WWE faithful, the people who spend their hard earned dollars to come see us perform, the fans who watch it all unfold week after week on TV, Vince McMahon day after day, week after week, never gave a damn about what you all wanted.
Cena reluctantly shakes his head…
He made that crystal clear last week. The last two weeks, John Cena, Rob Van Dam, we’ve wanted a match at Backlash for the WWE Championship, and you people made your voices heard, you said it loud, you wanted it too!
You wanna see Van Dam and Cena for the WWE Championship at Backlash! But Vince… he didn’t wanna give it to ya’. He wanted to force a match on ya’ that you made clear you didn’t wanna see. He wanted his boy Bobby Lashley as his Number One Contender.
Heat for the mention of a possible Van Dam/Lashley title match…
And that’s what tonight’s all about… what you people want.
And I just hope that Mrs. McMahon can go into that boardroom tonight and give you people what you want and what you deserve. But sadly, I can’t control that. The boardroom, that ain’t my speciality. But right here, in this ring… this is what I can
Cena nods confidently…
And that’s why I’m gonna let Mrs. McMahon handle the corporate side of things… and I’m gonna focus on Bobby Lashley.
WrestleMania XXIII, Lashley had it all stacked in his favour. He had Vince as the referee, he had Shane in ‘is corner, he had it all goin’ for ‘im… until a certain ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin showed up.
Massive pop for Austin…
And with things evened up, I put Lashley away… and I got my own back at Vince.
Cena laughs as he reminisces…
Now I made it pretty clear that I wanted another shot at the WWE Championship, but to get there… I’m gonna have to beat Lashley one more time. I want Van Dam and the WWE Championship at Backlash, and I know what I gotta do to get it.
Cena ponders, stroking his jaw, before a smile crosses his face…
And y’know somethin’? I really… don’t feel like waitin’ anymore. I say we have our main event right here, right now!
Huge pop, with Cena becoming more animated…
I say you and me Lashley, we kick this show off, and we kick it off right!
I say we put Cena and Van Dam at Backlash in the books, and let the legal side o’ things take care of itself. So Lashley… lemme hear it man.
Cena again approaches the ropes, almost willing Lashley to come down to the ring…
Leave Vinny Mac backstage, let ‘im handle his business, but you finally show you can stand alone, you can be your own man, and you get out here right now and let’s settle this! So, c’mon Lashley! Let’s do this right-
*ONE OF A KIND…*
It’s not Lashley, as instead Cena’s call is answered by none other than the WWE Champion Rob Van Dam
. It’s a fantastic response that greets ‘RVD’ into the arena, with Van Dam pausing on the stage, leading the crowd through a cry of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” before he heads down the ramp. When he hits the ring, Van Dam and Cena exchange a nod and a smile with each other, before Van Dam heads for the corner, grabbing a mic…
Rob Van Dam:
John, John… I, uh… I hate to interrupt, bro. But I gotta a few things I wanna get off my chest. Y’see, when I won the WWE Championship, I said that I wasn’t gonna come out here week after week and deliver some openin’ monologue. But…
Van Dam shrugs his shoulders almost apologetic…
Rob Van Dam:
It seems to me that lately, a lotta people are doin’ a lotta talkin’ about the WWE Championship… and it ain’t me. And to be honest with ya’ dude… I’m startin’ to think guys like you and Lashley are lookin’ past me a little bit.
Cena raises his eyebrows at the comment, with ‘RVD’ motioning for Cena to hear him out…
Rob Van Dam:
I mean hey, don’t get me wrong dude… you, me, Backlash, the WWE Championship… it’s what I want, it’s what you want, it’s what the fans want, and that’s cool and everythin’. I’m totally on-board with that. But if you’re gonna make that happen dude… I gotta know if you’ve got your priorities straight.
Cena looks disappointed in the question, but Van Dam looks determined to press on…
Rob Van Dam:
I mean, last week, you bring in Linda McMahon, you set up this match with Lashley, you’ve got a power struggle goin’ on… where’s your head at, bro? I wanna make sure you remember somethin’ man. It’s not just these people that are countin’ on you tonight… I’m countin’ on you too.
Van Dam stares at Cena for a few seconds, trying to gauge his response, before he continues…
Rob Van Dam:
I made these people a vow that I’d be a fightin’ champion. I said I’d take on anybody, I’d put this title up against anybody that challenged me. First night as champion, you challenged me and I agreed… but this ain’t goin’ quite how I imagined it. So if I’m gonna keep my word to all these people, I need you to make sure you get the job done tonight, I need to face you at Backlash, and then…
And now Van Dam steps forward, making sure Cena knows how serious he is…
Rob Van Dam:
I gotta beat you, dude.
Strong pop from the crowd, with both men looking into each other’s eyes, neither man backing down, until eventually Van Dam steps back to speak again…
Rob Van Dam:
I’m not stupid, bro. I know how it is. You’re the poster boy. You’re the guy. And at WrestleMania, you backed it up. So if I’m gonna prove myself as champion, I gotta start knockin’ off names like you.
Cena turns away, pursing his lips, deep in thought over what Van Dam is saying to him…
Rob Van Dam:
So lemme give ya’ a little pep talk here, dude. Forgot about Linda McMahon, forget about Vince, forget about what’s goin’ on in the boardroom… and focus on Lashley… and then you can start focusin’ on me. Just make sure… you get the job done.
Van Dam points at Cena add emphasis, before he turns and heads towards the ropes…
Whoa, whoa… what, you’re leavin’?
Van Dam puts on the breaks, looking over his shoulder at Cena…
You’re gonna come out here and say all that, then just up and leave? You’re gonna question my focus, my commitment? Did you question my focus last week when I ran down to the ring to save you from a Bobby Lashley attack? You and me at Backlash, it’s what we both want, it’s what these people want, and I’m damn sure gonna make it happen!
But Rob, believe me, the last thing I need is-
*HERE COMES THE MONEY…*
And it’s another interruption as this time Shane McMahon
shuffles his way out onto the stage, and he’s quickly followed by the hulking image of Bobby Lashley
, both men dressed in sharp suits. After a few seconds of posturing, Cena and Van Dam step away from each other, then turn to look up the ramp at Shane, a cocky grin on the younger McMahon’s face…
My, my, my… isn’t this interesting?
Shane starts to pace back and forth on the stage, with Lashley standing firm…
It’s a big night, one of the most important in the history of Raw… and you two are startin’ to get at each other.
Cena and Van Dam turn to look at each other, neither looking particularly happy right now…
Is it maybe… that the tension… is startin’ to get to you two?
Cena and Van Dam cautiously look at each other, almost sizing each other up, before Cena breaks the stare by turning to face Shane…
I mean, these last two weeks, you two have been pretty tight. Cena makes a challenge, Van Dam accepts, you both want rid of my Father, it was all great between you two.
Shane smiles as he wags a finger…
… it’s all changed, hasn’t it? We’ve got Cena worryin’ about what’s goin’ on in the boardroom, we’ve got Van Dam worryin’ about what Cena’s doin’, we’ve got pep talks and threats, and I gotta be honest with you, I am absolutely lovin’ watchin’ it all! But havin’ listened to the two of ya’ say your piece right here, there’s one thing I noticed. One thing both of ya’ seem to have forgotten.
McMahon looks down at the ring, shaking his head with a smirk…
You two shouldn’t be worryin’ about each other… you should be worryin’ about this man
Shane turns and points at Lashley, with ‘The Dominator’ cracking his knuckles as Shane does so…
‘Cause despite what you two might want, and despite what these people want, there is absolutely no chance in hell of you ‘RVD’ puttin’ that WWE Championship on the line at Backlash against your buddy, John Cena.
John, WrestleMania XXIII… that was an anomaly. A mistake. And it was caused by one man. And believe me Cena, that one man, it wasn’t you.
Shane shakes his head ruefully…
It was ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
Another big pop for the mention of Austin, which causes both McMahon and Lashley to snarl at the crowd…
But tonight, there is no Austin. There is no Special Guest Referee to save you. And even though my father is currently preparing a presentation to show he’s clearly the right choice to lead Raw and the WWE forward… he’s always thinkin’ about business… and he’s still the law around here.
McMahon pauses, smirking, nodding his head in anticipation of what he’s about to say…
And that’s why my Father has decided… that you
, ‘RVD’… are BANNED from ringside tonight!
Van Dam rolls his eyes and shakes his head, while an irritated Cena removes his hat to scratch his head…
And just to make sure there's no outside interference, I personally will be in Lashley's corner, just to keep an eye on things.
Cena leans against the ropes, laughing and shaking his head, while behind him, Van Dam rolls his eyes once more…
So yes, tonight will indeed by a historic episode of Monday Night Raw. A huge night that could shake the WWE to it's very foundations. But John, 'RVD' has it right. You shouldn't be worrying about what takes place in the boardroom... you need to worry about what's gonna happen to you tonight in that very ring.
A more serious look crosses Cena’s face as Shane points down at him with determination…
At WrestleMania XXIII, you and 'Stone Cold' worked together to screw me, to screw my family... and to screw Lashley. And we're not gonna let it happen again.
Shane now stands next to Lashley, pointing down at the ring once more…
So tonight John, and then in thirteen days Rob, you two simply put, are gonna feel... the backlash
*HERE COMES THE MONEY...*
And with one final smirk, Shane looks down at the ring before he turns and heads backstage, leaving Lashley on the stage for a few seconds, a fire and passion to inflict pain in his eyes as he burns a whole through Cena, before he too disappears behind the curtain. In the ring, Cena and Van Dam turn back to each other, neither man particularly pleased with what has been said so far. Cena steps away from the ropes, turning and saying a few words to Van Dam, who answers back with a few of his own, the two coming closer together, strong words being exchanged in a tense situation…
Well, I… gosh, you hate to see that. These two have been campaigning to have a match with each other, and I’m sure it’ll be one heck of a show if it ever happens. But you look at ‘em right now, Cena and Van Dam, they look like the understanding they once had is startin’ to fall apart.
And I hate to say it, but you’ve gotta hand it to the McMahons… they’ve played Cena and ‘RVD’ off against each other, and it’s only given John Cena more to worry about ahead of his match with Lashley tonight.
And that can only be bad news for John…
The words continue to be heated between Cena and ‘RVD’, with Van Dam eventually giving up on the argument, the camera close enough to hear Cena shout “I’ll get it done!”, to which Van Dam stops halfway through the ropes, turning back to look at Cena and say “You better.”, before he drops down and starts to head up the ramp, the camera switching between the two as we head to a commercial.
We return to boos, as the image of a slightly concerned looking Mr. McMahon
walking along a backstage corridor fills the screen, his assistant Brooke Adams
walking behind him, a stack of papers and folders in her arms. McMahon cuts a fierce pace, not even bothering with the passersby who stare at him. McMahon begins to slow as he approaches a door, the camera panning to show us a sign on the door that reads “WWE Board of Directors” on it. Vince stops, a sneer of disgust on his face as he looks at the sign, before he breaths deeply through his nose…
Alright, let's do this...
Vince quickly snaps his game face on, adjusting his tie and collar before he holds out a hand towards Brooke...
Good luck, sir.
Brooke places a folder of papers in Vince's hand...
Luck? I don't need luck. I'm Vince McMahon, dammit! And I...
Vince puts on the breaks as the sound of approaching footsteps is heard... and then Linda McMahon enters the frame. Vinc sneers at his wife with contempt, while Linda simply flashes Vince a smile...
Vince... are we ready?
Vince nods his head angrily, taking a few steps forward to square up to his wife...
Just you wait and see, Linda. I'm gonna wipe the floor with you in there!
Linda has a quick laugh to herself, before she holds open the door...
Somehow, Vince... I don't think so. After you...
A few words are muttered under Vince's breath before he accepts the invitation and walks through the door, followed by Linda. As the door closes behind them, the camera turns back to a nervous looking Brooke, who bits on a nail, obviously concerned that tonight could see the end of Vince McMahon's reign of power.
And now we cut back into the arena to hear...
”I SPIT IN DA' FACE... OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE COOL...”
A warm reception for the always popular Carlito
, who steps into the arena with a certain look of fire and determination on his face. 'Lito casually tosses his apple up and catches it, before he slides into the ring and salutes the crowd to another pop...
We're gonna return to the boardroom as the night progresses, we'll try to keep you up date on what's goin' on back there. But right now, we're gonna kick off the in-ring action with a Mixed Tag Team Match, and this is a chance for Carlito to extract a little revenge on Kenny Dykstra after Dykstra jumped him backstage last week.
Yeah, and you look at Carlito, he's not his usual self right now. Usually Carlito's all happy, smiling, talkin' to the fans, but he looks all business right now.
I'm sure Carlito knows what an opportunity this match could turn out to be. If he can lead his team to victory tonight, that rematch he wants for the Intercontinental Championship could be a lot more closer to happening.
A pretty solid cheer welcomes Mickie James
into the arena, the Women's Champion bouncing her way out onto the stage and then down to the ring. After sliding under the ropes, Mickie heads for the corner to raise her title to the fans, before she drops down and she and Carlito share a friendly hug...
It was Carlito who challenged Dykstra and Torrie to this match up, but of course, 'Lito needed to find himself a partner. And who better than the Woman's Champion, Mickie James!
And I'm sure tonight is gonna prove to be a welcome distraction for Mickie, given all she's gone through with Beth Phoenix and Victoria in recent weeks.
Yeah and it was announced earlier today on wwe.com that at Backlash, Mickie's gonna defend that Women's Championship against both
Beth Phoenix and Victoria in a Triple Threat Match. I dunno about you two, but I don't like Mickie's odds in that one...
*IN THE MIDDLE OF IT NOW...*
A strong level of boos as the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra
and Torrie Wilson
step out arm in arm. Looking as cocky and confident as ever, Dykstra flaunts the title belt wrapped around his waist, before he rips off his sunglasses and glares at ‘Lito as he and Torrie enter the ring...
They referred to themselves as the new power couple here on Raw. Dykstra has always been cocky, he’s always been arrogant, he’s always been conceited, but ya’ gotta hand it to the kid, he’s always been impressive too.
And perhaps no more so than last week when he ran John Cena all the way. It might have been a defeat for Dykstra, but he’s really startin’ to make people sit up and pay attention to ‘im.
But for every great performance he delivers in the ring, Dykstra’s true colours shine through when he jumps people backstage. Last week, Torrie and Kenny set Carlito up once again, and I think it might come back to haunt Dykstra right here...
Match 1: Mixed Tag Team Match
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson vs. Carlito and Women’s Champion Mickie James
As the bell rings, ‘Lito and Kenny snap into an aggressive tie up, the two jockeying for position before Carlito works into a waistlock, only for Dykstra to quickly rattle him with an elbow to the face, then land a pair of right hands. Kenny goes for a third right, only for ‘Lito to block it… then snap off a big right of his own! Another two rights land to the head, before Carlito goes for the Irish whip… then sends Dykstra flying with a back body drop! Early cover… only a two count. ‘Lito stays on the attack with right hands that drive Dykstra to a neutral corner, but Dykstra dips his heads through the ropes, causing the ref to step in and call for a break. ‘Lito backs off, but when he moves back in, Dykstra strikes with a boot to the midsection. A clothesline knocks ‘Lito down, and this allows him to lay into Carlito with a flurry of boots to the chest, then Kenny drops down to grab a handful of hair and land well placed shots to the forehead. Dykstra drags ‘Lito up then smashes him face first off the top turnbuckle, Torrie shouting encouragement as Dykstra pummels ‘Lito against the corner with boots to the midsection. Dykstra looks to stay in control as he goes for an Irish whip to the corner, then follows in… but ‘Lito gets a boot up to the face! Kenny stumbles back, allowing Carlito to jump onto the second rope… springboard back elbow!
Both men are down, crawling for their corners… and Mickie and Torrie get the tags! Both women storm into the ring, but Mickie has more momentum… and she flies with the Lou Thesz press! Mickie grabs Torrie by the hair, smacking her head off the canvas, before she gets back to her feet, waiting for Torrie to rise. Mickie goes for an Irish whip, but Wilson reverses… Mickie avoids a clothesline with a baseball slide… then hits a jumping clothesline of her own! Both are back up… another jumping clothesline! Forearms now land to Torrie’s face, allowing Mickie to go for another Irish whip… but again Torrie reverses… only this time Mickie hangs on… armtrap neckbreaker! Mickie crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Dykstra steps in to drag Mickie off of Torrie! ‘Lito storms the ring, distracting the referee, with Dykstra looking to take advantage as he drags Torrie towards the corner, then slaps his hands together, giving the ref the impression that he’s just heard a tag… and now Dykstra barges past the ref… and hammers ‘Lito with a clothesline! The ref questions the legality of the attack, but Dykstra motions that Torrie made the tag, and with the ref convinced, he goes back to work, laying in with more stomps to the chest. Dykstra yanks ‘Lito up and looks for an Irish whip… but Carlito reverses… but then lowers his head… snap swinging neckbreaker! Dykstra rolls ‘Lito over for the cover… 1… 2… Carlito rolls a shoulder!
Dykstra glares angrily at the ref, but he soon has ‘Lito back on his feet, landing uppercuts against the ropes, before he looks to fire Carlito across… but ‘Lito ducks underneath a clothesline… then takes Dykstra down with a hurricanrana! ‘Lito sits in for the pinfall… 1… 2… Dykstra kicks out… but the force of the kick sends ‘Lito towards the corner… where he tags in Mickie! Mickie races into the ring, but Dykstra tries to stop her… but Mickie runs right under his clothesline… and takes out Torrie with a clothesline of her own! Torrie is back up, but now Mickie rocks her with forearms, then goes for the Irish whip to the corner… but Torrie reverses then follows in… Mickie uses the ropes to elevate herself, wrapping her legs around Torrie’s head… MICK-A-RANA! Torrie is sent flying, but across the ring, ‘Lito charges at Kenny… only for Dykstra to elevate ‘Lito over the top rope to the floor! Carlito is down on the outside, Torrie is down in the ring, and now Mickie turns towards Kenny… Dykstra flattens her with a clothesline! The crowd boo loudly, the ref admonishing Dykstra, but now Kenny heads for the corner, telling Torrie to tag him in. Torrie obliges, with Dykstra now dragging Mickie up… and he holds her in place to allow Torrie to slap her! Torrie smiles, looking like she’s going to enjoy this as she lines up… but Mickie drills her with a kick to the midsection, then a kick to the face… that knocks Torrie under the bottom rope to the floor! Mickie tries to break free of Kenny, but Dykstra grabs her by the hair… but this means he doesn’t see ‘Lito sneaking back into the ring from behind… BACKSTABBER! Carlito catches Dykstra unaware, hits his finishing move, then hooks the leg to get the 1… 2… 3!
Winners: Carlito and Mickie James @ 06.25
What a win for Carlito as he manages to put Dykstra away, finally getting one over on the young champion. Carlito pushes off of Dykstra and gets back to his feet, he and Mickie again sharing a hug, this time in celebration of their victory. The referee raises both their hands, before ‘Lito offers Mickie a respectful round of applause. Dykstra rolls to the outside, grabbing his neck and back in pain, Torrie struggling to keep him on his feet, the power couple slowly backing their way up the ramp, with Dykstra looking disgusted as Carlito taunts him from the ring as we head to a commercial.
We open to the cold, dark eyes of Shawn Michaels, staring blankly into the camera, his face the only light on the screen beneath the black cowboy hat that is pulled down low over his brow, the frame slowly moving from one side of his face across to the other...
Triple H: I... have been wronged...
We cut to the footage of Michaels cracking 'The Game' with a steel chair, a dramatic boom ringing out as the chair makes contact..
John Cena: Had sins committed against me...
A dark red glow engulfs the screen as we see footage of Shane McMahon smack a chair of Cena's head, another boom on impact...
Rob Van Dam: Witnessed travesties of justice.
Van Dam is struck with the sweet chin music...
Randy Orton: I fought without fear of consequence...
Orton drops Ric Flair with the RKO...
Bobby Lashley: I caused immense pain and suffering...
Lashley runs through Cena with a massive spear inside the steel cage at Saturday Night's Main Event...
Kenny Dykstra: And on this night...
Dykstra brings a chair down on the skull of Jeff Hardy for a sickening one man con-chair-to...
Carlito: On 'dis night...
Dykstra flies through the air to land the sky high legdrop on 'Lito...
Shawn Michaels: But on this night...
And we end once again on the cold glare of Michaels, staying on his face as he utters the words....
”Thy Backlash shall be felt...”
"WWE BACKLASH – APRIL 29TH - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"
*End Video Package*
We return to see Todd Grisham standing by...
That’s right folks, Backlash is just thirteen days away, Raw’s first single brand pay-per-view of the year. And right now, please welcome my guest at this time, the man who will be defending his Money in the Bank briefcase at Backlash... Randy Orton.
The camera pans to reveal Randy Orton standing nearby, arms folded across his chest, briefcase clutched in his right hand, with a furious scowl on his face. Orton barely acknowledges Grisham or the boos from the crowd, ‘The Legend Killer’ looking off camera with his a look of disdain on his face...
And Randy, after your defeat last week to Rob Van Dam, it was made official, you will
defend your Money in the Bank privileges at Backlash against Jeff Hardy. Your thoughts at this time?
Orton now turns towards Grisham, that same look of disdain still on his face...
My thoughts? My thoughts are that the fact that I have to defend my Money in the Bank contract is as corrupt a decision as what’s going on in that farce of a boardroom right now.
Orton shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head, showing his displeasure…
Why should I defend my contract against Jeff Hardy, a guy who had the exact same chance I had to win at WrestleMania... but couldn’t get the job done?
Orton stares at Grisham for a few seconds, receiving no answer to his question, so he carries on…
I proved myself at WrestleMania, I earned
this briefcase, and now thanks to Linda McMahon, I have to defend it at Backlash, when I should be preparing for the moment I cash this contract in.
Orton stops, taking a breath, composing himself…
I decide that after I beat Jeff Hardy at Backlash, I want to cash in my Money in the Bank contract… then I’ll be ready.
Orton smirks and turns away, with Grisham pulling the mic away to ask a follow up question…
Well, Randy, you mentioned the decisions that are being made in the boardroom tonight. It could prove to be one of the most historic episodes in the history of Monday Night Raw, with both Mr. McMahon and Linda McMahon making their case for control of the WWE and Raw. Randy, do you have any thoughts on who you’d rather see in control here on Raw?
Orton uses his free hand to purse his lips, pondering a response…
To be honest Todd, I don’t really care either way. My only focus right now is hanging onto this briefcase, and picking my moment to become WWE Champion.
Orton now rubs his jaw, thinking again…
But… if I had to choose one way or the other… I hope the WWE Board of Directors see sense and vote in Mr. McMahon’s favour.
Heat from inside the arena…
‘Cause after the stipulation she placed on me last week, saying I couldn’t use this briefcase as a weapon, in my opinion Linda McMahon…
Orton leans in, speaking softly…
Is just not fit for office.
And with one final smirk, Orton turns on his heels and heads off camera, leaving Grisham behind to watch Orton go, a worried look on the interviewer’s face as we head back into the arena.
And after a few seconds of silence…
The crowd is on their feet for the sound of that familiar guitar rift as The Hart Legacy
make their entrance. As it’s she who is set to compete, Natalya Niedhart
leads the way down the ramp, while Harry Smith
and Tyson Kidd
slap hands with as many ringside fans as they can…
Certainly some rather cold words from Randy Orton, but that match was indeed made official last week, it will be Orton and Hardy at Backlash for the Money in the Bank briefcase. And speaking of last week, during a match to determine the new Number One Contenders to face The World’s Greatest Tag Team, The Hart Legacy got involved in an altercation with Nitro and Masters, one that even saw Natalya and Melina brawlin’ at ringside!
And that’s led to this matchup here, as Natalya and Melina are set to square off in what is going to be Natalya Niedhart’s official in-ring debut here on Monday Night Raw.
Well given that Natalya managed to survive the Hart dungeon, and the time she’s spent competin’ in Japan, I’m sure Natalya’s ready to compete on a stage like this.
The red carpet is rolled out and the photographers snap away as Melina
steps out arm in arm between Johnny Nitro
and Chris Masters
. Masters is again adorning a ridiculous fur coat, one he doesn’t look particularly happy to be wearing, although the camera is close enough to hear Melina say “You look fabulous!” before the trio enter the ring…
[B]Jim Ross:[/] Melina has tried numerous ways to get this team of Nitro and Masters to finally pick up a win, but last week, once again Nitro and Masters were unsuccessful. You have to wonder if the pressure of tryin’ to get the monkey off their backs is startin’ to tell for these three?
I think it definitely is. Melina was furious last week after Nitro and Masters brawled their way out of contention for the victory. I’m sure she had some strong words for her team after their match last week.
And who knows, Melina might even show Nitro and Masters how it’s done by pickin’ up a win here tonight. Unless of course the negativity of all these defeats has spread to her too…
Melina w/ Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters vs. Natalya Niedhart w/ Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd
As both ladies circle the ring, the jawing starts from the men at ringside, with all four shouting words at each other from across the ring. In the ring, Melina and Natalya come together for a tie up, with Niedhart working it into a standing side headlock, then a headlock takedown. Melina wraps her legs around Natalya's head, allowing her to take control, but Natalya quickly flips over into a pinning predicament... but at 2, Melina bridges up, both ladies on their feet.. only for Natlaya to counter with a backslide... 1... 2... Melina kicks out, and she let's out a scream of frustration as she kneels in the corner. Natalya waves Melina forward, but this only serves as a cue for Masters to jump up onto the apron, momentarily distracting Niedhart, and here comes Melina... but Nattie sidesteps her... and Melina crashes into the corner! Natalya now moves in, scoring forearms to the head, before she goes for the Irish whip across... but Melina reverses and follows in... right into a boot to the face! Melina staggers back... then gets rocked with a big clothesline! Melina is quickly back up... another clothesline knocks her down. Again Melina stumbles up... scoop slam plants her to the canvas! Natalya now looks to charge off the ropes... but Nitro reaches in under the ropes... and trips Natalya up! Niedhart's face smacks off the mat, but the ref somehow missed it, allowing the action to continue. Smith and Kidd race around the ring, but the ref dips his head through the ropes, order them back to their corner.
Melina now looks to take control, stomping Natalya with vicious boots, before she drops down and grabs two handfuls of hair, repeatedly smashing the back of Niedhart's head off the canvas. Natalya tries to crawl for the safety of the corner, but Melina stays on her, jamming her foot against Natalya's throat, finally releasing when the ref's count reaches five. Melina yanks Natalya by the hair to the centre of the ring, then shows impressive power to take her up and down with a suplex, gaining Melina a near fall. More stomps to the body land, then Melina grabs a handful of hair, allowing her to hammer Natalya with forearms to the head. Looking to wear her opponent down, Melina goes for a bodyscissors, using her legs to try squeeze the life out of Natalya. Niedhart cries out on pain, but refuses to submit, and with the backing of Smith and Kidd, she tries to pry open Melina's legs... but Melina's grip is too tight. Again Natalya tries to break free, this time swinging elbows to the face, a flurry of blows that finally breaks the hold. Both girls scramble to their feet, with Natalya striking first, catching Melina with a trio of forearms, backing Melina to the ropes. Niedhart goes for the Irish whip... kick to the midsection stops Melina in her tracks... then Natalya takes her up and down with a double underhook suplex! Natalya crawls into the cover... 1... 2... Melina rolls a shoulder! Sensing victory is near, Natalya drags Melina to her feet, then hooks her up... for a big time vertical suplex! Melina looks down and out, and now Natalya grabs her by the legs, steps, twists and turns... looking for the SHARPSHOOTER... but Johnny Nitro jumps up on the apron! The ref calls for Nitro to stand down, and that means he doesn't see Natalya coming... big forearm sends Nitro flying! And now here comes Smith and Kidd... taking the fight to Masters and Nitro! Just like last week, these four are brawling all over ringside once again, but in the ring, as Natalya watches it all unfold, Melina sneaks up from behind... and takes Niedhart down with a rollup... 1... 2... 3!
Winner: Melina @ 04.28
Melina steals one, grabbing a victory that could provide much needed confidence to Nitro and Masters. At first Smith and Kidd don’t even realise that the match is over, but when they do, the pair quickly slide back into the ring to console Natalya, while Melina slips outside and gathers Nitro and Masters, the three celebrating the win. Natalya kneels on the canvas, hands on her hips, trying to figure out where it all went wrong, while Melina, Nitro and Masters smile as the back their way up the ramp, a few words of trash being thrown back at the ring, the camera switching between the angry Natalya and the smug Melina as we head off for another commercial.
The video opens to a rather expensive looking tailors, where an elderly man pulls a measuring tape from his pocket, pushes his glasses down his nose, then goes to work, running his hand across a broad shoulder. The camera follows the tailor’s hand, revealing the face of Claudio Cesaro, the man we’ve seen in recent weeks, who apparently is being fitted for a new suit...
Claudio Cesaro: My name… is Claudio Cesaro. Y’know, there are many benefits that come with being part of such an elite social circle. Fine dining, a keen taste of the arts, and of course, the finest fashion money can buy.
The tailor dips out of the shot to continue his measurements, with Cesaro being handed a glass of champagne by a stunning blonde...
Claudio Cesaro: For me and the Cesaro family, we expect nothing less. Anything less than the highest standards will not be tolerated. But of course, high standards are something you Americans would know nothing about.
Cesaro takes a sip, handing the glass back over, before the tailor now begins to measure across his chest...
Claudio Cesaro: You buy your cheap suits and cram your fat bodies into your SUVs and think you are living the American dream. But you lack class, you lack dignity, you lack…
We now cut to see Cesaro stood infront of a mirror, wearing his new custom made suit, adjusting the cuffs before he looks into the mirror and smiles…
Claudio Cesaro: Style. And that comes from poor upbringing and education. But don’t worry. Soon, Claudio will be arriving in your land, and I will educate you all. I… will better you.
Pleased with his new look, Cesaro walks off camera, and we again cut ahead in time, this time to the outside of an old, beautiful theatre, with Cesaro and a stunning brunette entering through the old oak doors…
Claudio Cesaro: But you people will only be bettered if you open your ignorant minds. I can teach you about decorum, style, dignity, but class… that cannot be taught. And that is why I, will always, be better than you
An orchestra being to play a stirring rendition of some classical music, with the audience rising to their feet to applaud the conclusion of the music...
Claudio Cesaro: And this is why I am coming to Monday Night Raw. I know there is nobody in the world who can compete with me inside the ring, and I intend on proving that.
Cesaro also stands, joining the applause, but he smirks at the camera as he speaks over the cheers...
Claudio Cesaro: So to all the WWE wrestlers, enjoy your last few weeks of ignorant bliss. For when I arrive on Raw, I will gain control… and I will crush anybody who stands in my way.
Cesaro stops applauding, holding a hand high in the air in a uppercut position as he says…
Claudio Cesaro: For I am Claudio Cesaro, and I… am very… European.
"CLAUDIO CESARO - COMING SOON TO MONDAY NIGHT RAW!"
*End Video Package*
After the video, we cut to see the smiling Maria standing by…
Hi! I’m Maria! And please welcome my guests at this time, the World Tag Team Champions, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, The World’s Greatest Tag Team.
Boos break out from inside the arena as The World’s Greatest Tag Team enter from either side of the frame, both Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin wearing white tracksuits with their title belts slung over their shoulders…
Charlie, Shelton, now we know that at Backlash, you two will defend your titles against The Straight Edge Saints. After all your talk about a lack of competition in the tag team division, just how big a threat do you think Punk and Dinsmore are going to be to your titles?
Benjamin looks to the ceiling, laughing, while Haas lowers his head and has a chuckle to himself…
Lemme explain this for ya’ girl. Last week, Punk and Dinsmore, they proved they were best of the competition. I mean, we’ll give it to ‘em, they earned the chance to face us for these titles.
Haas reaches across, pulling the mic towards him…
And credit where credit’s due, they beat three other teams, and we were right there to see it happen. And to be honest… it was impressive. They earned their shot last week, and they fully deserved that round of applause we gave ‘em. But just ‘cause they showed they were the best of a bad bunch… doesn’t make ‘em threats to us.
Benjamin nods in agreement…
Exactly. The Hart Leagcy? The Redneck Wreckin’ Crew? Nitro and Masters? They ain’t nothin’ compared to us. Put us in that ring last week, and it’s a whole different story.
Benjamin lets out an over the top wince, shaking his head in fake sympathy…
And that’s the problem we’ve got right now. If Punk and Dinsmore think that just ‘cause they won last week, just ‘cause they knocked off those four other teams, that they’ve got a shot at takin’ these titles away at Backlash… then we’re just gonna have to disappoint ‘em. ‘Cause at Backlash, the competition steps up a notch. It ain’t pretty boys, dungeon survivors or drunk rednecks anymore… at Backlash, they steppin’ into the ring with the best. The greatest.
Haas smirks as he hears heat from inside the arena…
Like we keep sayin’, it ain’t just a name… it’s a fact.
More heat, with Haas and Benjamin looking extremely smug with each other…
We are the World’s Greatest Tag Team, and at Backlash… we’re gonna prove it again. At Backlash, CM Punk and Nick Dinsmore are gonna find out first hand why we really are… the greatest.
Benjamin nods at Haas, who finishes things off with…
And when we’re done with Punk and Dinsmore… they’re gonna need somethin’ a lot stronger than booze to take away the pain.
The champions laugh, both men walking off the screen from the side they entered, leaving an angry looking Maria behind, the announcer simmering at the lack of class shown at the end of the promo, the camera staying focused on her as we head back into the arena.
The arena is on their feet as Jeff Hardy
bursts onto the stage, his body gyrating back and forth to the music before he races down to the ring. Hardy slides under the bottom rope then springs up to the corner, posing for the crowd who show they’re clearly in Hardy’s corner…
I don’t think that last comment was all that necessary from Haas and Benjamin, but be that as it may, they will indeed face The Straight Edge Saints at Backlash for the World Tag Team Championships. But right now, two men who are also on their way to Backlash square off, with Jeff Hardy set to meet Shawn Michaels.
And of course, Jeff has a huge
opportunity at Backlash when he takes on Randy Orton for Orton’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Jeff gave a great performance at WrestleMania, he came close to grabbin’ that briefcase a couple o’ times, and I think he’s finally gonna do it at Backlash.
But what about the opportunity he’s got tonight? I mean, imagine what a win here tonight over Shawn Michaels would do for Jeff’s career. Jeff might go into this one as a bit of an underdog, but he’s more than capable of pulling out a big performance here to grab a huge victory.
A loud level of heat as the cold, robotic like figure of Shawn Michaels
slowly emerges from the back. Dressed all in black with that black cowboy hat pulled down low over his eyes, Michaels drops down to his knees, his arms open wide as he turns his head up to the heavens, silent in prayer, before he stands up and heads for the ring…
Last week, Shawn Michaels had a very simple message for Triple H. He told ‘The Game’ in no uncertain terms to listen to his wife, after Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley pleaded with her husband not to step into the ring with Michaels at Backlash.
If ya’ asked me, Michaels went too far last week. Some of the things he had to say, some of the comments regarding crippling ‘The Game’, about making Triple H suffer pain doin’ simple tasks like picking up his children, it was just a step too far for me.
Well, maybe Michaels was sayin’ all those things because deep down inside, he really doesn’t want any part of this No Holds Barred Match. Maybe there is doubt in Michaels’ mind, maybe ‘The Game’ has gotten to him, and he’s tryin’ to scare Triple H away from the match. Either way, I think all Michaels did last week was anger Triple H, and that’s not gonna do ‘im any favours at Backlash.
Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Hardy
As the bell rings, there’s very little movement from Michaels, the cold, lifeless stare of his piercing through Hardy from across the ring. Jeff is almost taken aback, unsure of how to approach things, but eventually both men start to inch towards each other, and then go for a tie up. Jeff gains the upperhand as he takes Michaels down, but Michaels quickly wraps his legs around Jeff’s head, causing the two to break and return to their feet… Michaels swings a right hand… Jeff ducks underneath… then takes Michaels down with a backslide! 1… 2… Michaels kicks out, both men charge at each other… and again Hardy uses the headlock takedown! Once again Michaels uses his legs to break free, both men back on their feet… and Michaels delivers a stiff slap to the face! The first sign of emotion from Michaels as he aggressively slaps Jeff across the face, but this only stings Hardy into action... as he delivers a slap of his own! Michaels staggers back to the ropes, and here comes Jeff… clothesline puts Michaels over the top rope to the floor! Michaels flops to the outside, but when he picks himself back up, Jeff is ready… plancha takes Michaels down again! The crowd cheer as Jeff takes the fight to ‘HBK’, tossing Michaels back into the ring to stay on the attack. Michaels stumbles to the corner, with Jeff following in, climbing to the second rope… to then hammer down with right hands! The crowd chant all the way along, with Jeff pausing… then delivering a big right for ten in a row! Hardy steps down, with Michaels then flopping down to the mat, his head against the middle turnbuckle, which prompts Jeff to race in… Hardyac Arrest!
Jeff drags Shawn to the middle of the ring, hooks the leg… 1… 2… Michaels kicks out. Jeff is in control, and he looks to keep it that way as he fires Michaels to the corner and follows in… right into a back elbow! ‘HBK’ now aggressively yanks Jeff against the turnbuckle… and lights him up with a stinging chop to the chest! Another two chops land to the chest, before Michaels looks for the Irish whip across… Jeff reverses… and sends Michaels upside down into the corner! Michaels lands on his feet, stumble towards Jeff… sitout jawbreaker! Michaels staggers back into the corner, where Jeff returns the favour, delivering a trio of chops of his own, before he looks to send Shawn to the opposite corner… but Shawn reverses… only for Hardy to run up the corner… then fly with the whisper in the wind! Jeff crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Michaels kicks out. Both men once again stumble back up, with Jeff going back to the standing side headlock, only for Michaels to shove him off the ropes… Hardy bowls him over with a shoulderblock! Hardy runs the ropes… another shoulderblock! Jeff looks for a third shoulderblock… but this time Michaels side steps him… and launches Jeff over the top rope… no! Hardy hangs on… then skins the cat… but when he turns… Michaels takes his head off with a clothesline! Hardy is down, with Michaels looking to shake off the cobwebs, the former WWE Champion back to his feet first, looking like he could take control as we head for a commercial.
And when we return, Michaels is indeed in charge, a split screen showing us that during the commercial break, Hardy tried to rally, taking the fight outside where he ran the barricade then launched himself, only for Michaels to counter with a powerslam on the floor. Back to real time, and Michaels is relentless in his attack, targeting the spine, smacking repeated double axe handles to a prone Jeff, before he drops a pair of quick elbows to the lower back. The pace of the match slows right down as Michaels shoves Hardy to the corner, then winds up… and sends him flying across the ring… with Jeff smashing into the opposite turnbuckle, the impact causing Jeff to slump to the canvas. Michaels repeats the trick in the opposite corner, before he starts to lay in with multiple knees to the small of the back, on the final one keeping the knee pressed against the back, pulling on the legs and chin for a bow and arrow stretch. Michaels keeps Jeff grounded in the hold for a fair amount of time, but eventually Jeff is able to break free thanks to a pair of elbows to the head. Michaels stumbles away, but as Jeff makes it back to his knees, ‘HBK’ takes him up and down with a backbreaker for a near fall. Hardy is again shoved into the corner, more chops landing to the chest, before Michaels goes for a scoop slam… but Jeff lands on his feet behind Shawn, then runs him to the ropes… rollup… no! Michaels hangs onto the top ropes, sending Jeff sprawling away. Both men race at each other, with Jeff going for a boot to the gut… which Michaels grabs… Hardy looks for the mule kick… but Michaels ducks underneath, hangs onto the foot… and goes for a single leg Boston crab!
Michaels sits in, applying all kinds of pressure to the small of the back, Hardy writhing and crying out in pain. Once again, Hardy is caught in a painful submission hold, and he desperately scrambles for the ropes, but there’s no luck as Michaels sits in, keeping him firmly in the middle of the ring. Michaels has the hold locked on for what feels like an eternity, with the crowd desperately willing Jeff to reach the ropes. Slowly Hardy crawls towards safety, dragging Michaels with him, and somehow… he makes it close enough to grab the bottom rope! Michaels hangs onto the hold though, taking every second of the ref’s five count before he finally release. Back on a vertical base, Michaels looks down on Hardy with disdain as he helps Jeff up… only for Jeff to nail an elbow to the midsection, then a right hand, before he again tries a boot to the midsection… but once more, Michaels catches it… but this time Jeff nails an enziguiri! Hardy changes up tactics, and it works on the second try, with both men now down on the canvas. Michaels crawls for the corner, using the ropes to pull himself up, but Jeff quickly drills him with a boot to the gut. Another two boots land, before Jeff goes for the Irish whip across… Michaels reverses then follows in… but Jeff sidesteps… and Michaels spears the ringpost! Shawn’s shoulder smacks off the steel, and now Hardy looks to take advantage as he hoists Michaels onto the top turnbuckle and follows up, hooking Michaels up for a SUPERPLEX… NO! Michaels drills shots to the midsection… then a headbutt causes Jeff to fall to the canvas! Michaels now lines Jeff up, the flies… DIVING ELBOW DROP… NO! Hardy rolls to safety, Michaels crashes to the canvas!
Both men take an age to drag themselves up, with Michaels landing a chop to the chest… Jeff strikes with a right hand! Chop to the chest… right to face! Chop… right hand… chop… right hand… and another… and a third right on the trot! Hardy sends Michaels off the ropes… into a kick to the gut… then Hardy takes Michaels up and down with a sitout inverted suplex slam! Hardy rolls Michaels over, hooks the leg… 1… 2… Michaels kicks out. Hardy looks to build momentum, grabbing both of Michaels’ legs… double legdrop to the midsection! Hardy is full of life now, on his feet, waiting for Michaels to rise… clothesline puts him down! Michaels is up again… another clothesline knocks him down! Once again Michaels stumbles up, and Jeff snaps his head back with right hands, backing Michaels to the ropes, before he goes for an Irish whip… Michaels reverses… but Jeff avoids him with a baseball slide… then takes Michaels down with a double leg takedown… into a bridging pin! 1… 2… Michaels kicks out again. Jeff is in control now, and he looks to press that home as he again goes for the Irish whip… but Michaels ducks underneath a clothesline… then connects with the flying forearm smash! Both men are down… until Michaels kips up! The crowd boos mercifully as Michaels arrogantly returns to his feet, and now he stands and waits in the corner, stomping his right foot, readying himself, waiting for Hardy to rise… and here goes Shawn… SWEET CHIN MUSIC… NO!
Hardy catches the foot, spins Michaels around… kick… TWIST OF FATE!
Hardy plants Michaels, and now he heads outside, climbs to the top rope, then flies… SWANTON BOMB… NO!!
Michaels rolls to safety, leaving Jeff to crash painfully to the canvas, and when he stumbles back up, Michaels is waiting… SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!
Shawn takes Jeff’s head off, and he drops down to go for the pinfall… 1… 2… 3.
Winner: Shawn Michaels @ 12.07
Another great display from Hardy, but unfortunately he comes up just short as Michaels gets the win. Stepping back to his feet, Michaels stares down angrily at Hardy, before he has his hand raised by the referee, dropping to his knees once more to say another prayer before Michaels exits the ring and heads backstage, barely even acknowledging the boos of the crowd. In the ring, Hardy manages to pick himself back up, the crowd giving him a good hand for his efforts, with Jeff responding appreciatively… but the cheers soon turn to gasps, as from through the crowd… Randy Orton
has slipped into the ring… and he waits for Hardy to turn… RKO!!
Orton comes out of nowhere to add insult to injury, taking Jeff down with the RKO, the crowd shitting all over Orton’s actions. Orton looks down on Hardy, a sneer on his face, revelling in the jeers of the fans, soaking in all the boos as we head to a commercial.
And we're back, and once again we're in the presence of Todd Grisham, who's ready to conduct another interview...
Ladies and gentlemen, my guests at this time, they are the challengers to the Women's Championship at Backlash... Victoria... and Beth Phoenix.
A pretty decent level of heat as Beth Phoenix and Victoria approach from either side of the camera, the two powerful divas making Grisham feel slightly uncomfortable as he stands between them...
Uh... Victoria, Beth... last week it was announced on wwe.com that the two of you will challenge Mickie James in a Triple Threat Match for the Women's Championship at Backlash. I guess with the odds stacked in your favour, you must be feeling pretty confident that at least one of you is going home with the title that night?
Both divas laugh and nod, with Victoria rubbing her hands as Beth speaks...
Confident? We're more than confident Todd. We know]
that at Backlash, one way or another, Mickie's title reign is coming to an end.
With a smug grin on her face, Victoria takes over, still rubbing her hands together...
Y'see Mickie might've defended the title against both of us in the past... but those matches were nothin' but flukes. And now at Backlash, poor Mickie's gonna have to deal with both of us.
Beth nods in agreement...
Exactly. At WrestleMania, she got lucky. She caught me by surprise, but two weeks ago, we returned the favour. We caught Mickie by surprise, and look what happened... she wound up face first on the canvas... and she looked like exactly what she is, a loser.
Victoria makes a rather sarcastic sad face...
And last week when she brought her little buddy Candice down to the ring with her. How'd that work out for ya' Mickie? Oh wait, that's right... you still lost.
Victoria wipes away an imaginary tear, smiling at Beth as she hands the interview back over...
And that's exactly what's gonna happen at Backlash. When I came back to Raw, I promised myself I would get revenge. And at Backlash, it's finally gonna happen when I become Women's Cham-
Whoa, whoa... wait. You? You're gonna be Women's Champion?
Beth looks surprised, almost offended by the interruption...
Uh, well, yeah. That's what we agreed.
What? I never agreed to that.
And now that look of surprise turns to a look of shock...
Are you tryin' to tell me you're not gonna help me get the title?
Victoria scoffs, crossing her arms defensivly...
Hey, I've said all along that I'd help you punish Mickie and get revenge for what she did to you. And at WrestleMania, I did my best to help you become champion. But now I've got a shot at the title too, I'm not gonna hand you Mickie on a plate. I wanna win too.
Beth drops her hands to her side, shaking her head in disbelief...
I can't believe this! So what are you saying, that you'd stab me in the back for the title?
Sheepishly, Victoria shrugs and turns away...
Well, let's be honest Beth... you'd do exactly the same to me... wouldn't ya'?
Beth stammers, taken aback, before she composes herself, before an argument breaks out between them, the pair talking over each other...
How dare you! I can't believe-
You know damn well how much I-
Excuse me, ladies?
And now suddenly both snap at Grisham...
Grisham cowers for a few seconds, then finally finds the courage to speak...
Uh, I was just gonna say, we can wrap this up here if you want?
Both women step back, taking a deep breath, with Victoria running a hand through her hair...
Y'know somethin', Todd? I'll give you one last comment. I'm know for a fact that the Women's Championship is goin' home with either me or
Victoria. Who that's gonna be? We'll decide on the night. But one thing I know we both agree on is that we're gonna do everythin' it takes... to make Mickie suffer... and then we'll make her suffer some more. Right, Victoria?
Victoria nods in agreement, still not happy, but at least back on the same page...
So Mickie, enjoy the last few weeks of bein' champion. 'Cause at Backlash, we're takin' that title away from you... I guarantee it.
Now both divas sneer at the camera, before Beth is first to turn and leave the area. Victoria takes a lingering look at her friend, a clear sign of distrust shown towards Beth, before she shakes her head and exits at the other side, leaving a relieved looking Todd behind, who puffs out his cheeks and wipes the sweat from his brow as we cut elsewhere.
And it's to the boardroom we go to see Mr. McMahon standing up out of his chair alongside a long table, a host of suits and important figures in the WWE hierachy sat around the table, listening on intently as Vince finishes off his presentation. Also sat at the table is Linda McMahon, who looks unimpressed with that Vince is currently saying...
... and that's why I know when you esteemed members of the board come to make your votes, your do the right thing for business... and choose the right McMahon.
Annoyed by that last remark, Linda rolls her eyes and shakes her head...
And just remember, it was under my stewardship that Raw saw it's highest ratings, the WWE made record profits, and of course, this company reached levels of greatness like no other.
As Vince speaks, the camera pans around the table, showing us the various members of the board, with the figure of Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley being one that stands out...
I can deliver that and so much more again, if you all just agree to vote out this stupid takeover attempt by my wife Linda, and let me get on with the job of doing what's important... making us all boatloads of money.
The Vince supporters in the room are easily identified as they laugh and nod in agreement at that last comment...
Thank you very much.
Vince respectfully takes his seat once again, the camera now turning to a man sat at the head of the table, who we assume is the man chairing this meeting...
Well, thank you Mr. McMahon for your presentation. Both you and Mrs. McMahon have certainly given this board a lot of food for thought. I guess we'll throw it open to the floor. Are there any further questions for Mr. McMahon?
A few murmurs are heard as heads turn from side to side, but nobody actually offers up a question, until Stephanie finally speaks...
I have a question. I think it's safe to say that for years now, Dad, you've abused your power here on Raw. Mom made the point that Monday Night Raw should be about giving the fans what they want, not what you want. How do you propose to make sure that happens?
Vince takes a quick sip of water, a smirk crossing his face as he ponders his answer...
Well, with all due respect, Stephanie, it wasn't those fans who turned this company into one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates in the world. It wasn't those fans who knew how to market and launch some of the biggest names the world of sports entertainment has ever seen. And it wasn't those fans who knew how to generate the profit that's been lining your pockets through your share options for all these years either. That was me
. So how about we worry a little less about what the fans want... and worry more about what I think is best. Huh?
Vince reclines in his seat, a rather smug look on his face, convinced he’s handled that question well...
Uh, yes, well... we of course will take the fans into our final consideration. I suppose if there's no other questions then-
I have a question, actually.
Vince glares at his wife, the two sat across from each other, the camera cutting between the two...
I'd like to ask a question that was actually raised last Friday night on SmackDown by the returning General Manager, Teddy Long. Now Vince, for weeks Teddy was medically cleared to resume his duties, a fact you and your former Executive Assistant Jonathan Coachman knew about... yet not I, nor anybody else sat at this table, knew about it. Why was that, Vince?
Vince fumbles through his papers, taken aback, almost searching for an answer, but his facial expression suggests he knows he’s been caught out here...
There's actually a perfectly good explanation for that. Uh... having read Mr. Long's medical report personally, I felt that he was in no fit condition to return, and could have used another month or two at home to recover. I mean, what do these doctors know anyway, huh? Am I right? Huh?
Vince lets out a very nervous rendition of that big old chuckle of his, looking around the boardroom for a positive response, but he finds none forthcoming...
Is that your response, Mr. McMahon?
Yeah, yeah. That's all I got.
Vince rubs his brow in frustration, clearly angry and almost afraid after how badly that last question went for him...
Alright. Well, Mr. and Mrs. McMahon, thank you for your time. If you could both please wait outside while we try and reach a decision. We'll call you when we're ready.
The meetings breaks up as everybody pushes back their chairs and rise to their feet, with a confident smile adorning Linda's face as she shakes a few nearby well wishers, while across the table, a dejected looking Vince has his head in his hands, realising his time in charge appears to be quickly running out as we head into another video.
Our video opens at the King of the Ring ’96, where ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin stands victorious, delivering the interview that launched his main event career…
Narrator: It’s a night where future legends make their mark...
“AUSTIN 3:16 SAYS I JUST WHIPPED YOUR ASS!”
We now head back to King of the Ring ’93, where Bret Hart puts Bam Bam Bigelow away with the winning victory roll...
Narrator: A night where icons are created…
“I’M THE BEST THERE IS, THE BEST THERE WAS, AND THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE!”
King of the Ring ’01, where Edge puts Kurt Angle down with the Edgecution then crawls into the pin to get an emotional victory…
Narrator: A night when the stars of tomorrow shine bright...
“WELCOME TO THE ERA OF AWESOMENESS!”
And we now go to last year’s tournament final, where Booker T grabs the win over Bobby Lashley…
Narrator: A night to crown… a new king.
“BOW DOWN BEFORE YOUR KING!”
We now see flashing images of some of this year’s contenders, starting with Jeff Hardy, Montel Vontavious Porter, CM Punk and Matt Hardy…
Narrator: And this year, live on NBC, the WWE King of the Ring returns! It’s the one night Saturday Night’s Main Event spectacular where one man’s career is set to skyrocket!
More flashing images, this time it’s Bryan Danielson, Kenny Dykstra, Johnny Nitro and Mr. Kennedy…
Narrator: Eight men will battle to join the most exclusive of WWE clubs. Who will take King Booker’s crown and become the 2007 King of the Ring!?
Another round of flashing images, this time of former winners such as Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Edge, Bret Hart and King Booker…
Narrator: The King is dead…
More clips from last year, this time from Booker’s coronation ceremony, then a quick shot of him close to tears after his victory to clinch the World Heavyweight Championship…
“ALL HAIL KING BOO-KAH!”
”Long live… the King.”
"SATURDAY NIGHT’S MAIN EVENT – THREE HOUR KING OF THE RING SPECIAL – JUNE 2ND - LIVE ON NBC!"
*End Video Package*
And from the video, we head to the announce desk, where our announce team are ready to speak to the camera…
It’s certainly all goin’ on in that boardroom right now. Who knows what kind of decision the WWE Board of Directors are going to take when they have their vote. But as you just saw folks, the King of the Ring is on its way back to our screens as part of a special three hour edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. A 32 man tournament, and it all kicks off the night after Backlash.
Last week we found out the first four entrants from Monday Night Raw. They of course were CM Punk, Hardcore Holly, Jeff Hardy and the Intercontinental Champion, Kenny Dykstra. But ‘King’, I understand you’re about to give us the next six names representin’ Monday Night Raw in the tournament.
Oh boy, you’re absolutely right, Joey! Alright, here we go. The next six Raw participants in the 2007 King of the Ring tournament, are… Nick Dinsmore, Chris Masters, Mike Knox, both Tyson Kidd and Harry Smith, and get this, the sixth man announced tonight is… wait for it… it’s ME! Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler!
What!? How on earth did you manage to weasel your way into this one?
Hey, you know what they say… “It takes a King, to know a King!”… and who better than to become the 2007 King of the Ring than me!?
Well, best o’ luck to ya’, Jerry! I’m sure you’ll do great!
Oh absolutely. I think it’s safe to say who the announce team is gonna be rootin’ for when this thing gets underway. And folks, we’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you all that next week, Raw emanates from the United Kingdom!
That’s right, Monday Night Raw next week comes to you from the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England. And I know you’re lookin’ forward to bein’ back in the U.K., ‘King’.
Oh I can’t wait! Y’know, I’m always made very welcome by the Queen when we go over there. Us royal types, we’ve gotta stick together. It’s gonna be great for the WWE to be back in England!
We’re all certainly lookin’ forward to takin’ the trip across the big pond. But folks, I wanna take you back to late last week, where up in WWE Studios in Stamford, Connecticut, I conducted a sit-down interview with ‘The Game’, Triple H. We spoke at length about his history with Shawn Michaels, the breakdown of their friendship, and of course, their upcoming ‘Final Battle’ at Backlash. Let’s take a look at it…
We cut to the previously mentioned WWE studios where sat opposite each other in nearby chairs are Jim Ross and Triple H. ‘The Game’ looks tense, a fierce look of determination on his face, while Ross has his head looking down on a clipboard, going over the questions he wants to ask. Eventually Ross brings his head up, and after Trips takes a swig of water from his water bottle, Ross begins…
Jim Ross: Thank you for joining us folks. I am of course sat her alongside the man who in just thirteen days will take on his former best friend, Shawn Michaels, in a No Holds Barred Match that both men have called their ‘Final Battle’. I am of course referring to, Triple H. Hunter, I want to thank you for joining me here this evening.
Triple H: No problem. Glad to be here.
Ross takes a look down at his clipboard, then he motions to ask his first question...
Jim Ross: Hunter, as I alluded to, Backlash is just thirteen days away. Thirteen days until you and your former best friend, Shawn Michaels, step into the ring for a No Holds Barred Match. ‘The Final Battle’, if you will. One last battle to settle a rivalry that has been on and off for close to a decade now. But Hunter, go back just four months ago, and you and Shawn… you were still best friends. You were still a united D-Generation X. Where did it all go wrong?
Triple H has a little laugh to himself, looking up into the ceiling as he composes himself to answer...
Triple H: Where did it all go wrong this time, huh? I guess it all went wrong when I made an error in judgment. I’m not afraid to admit it, but those few short months ago, I honestly believed 100% in DX… and I thought Shawn was too. I thought he wanted the same as me, I thought he wanted those tag team titles away from Edge and Randy Orton. I guess not.
Jim Ross: You mentioned there Edge and Randy Orton, Rated-RKO as they were known, and at the time things started to fall apart for DX, Edge and Orton were the World Tag Team Champions. To earn an opportunity at their titles, you agreed to the stipulation that if DX lost… they would disband… forever. However, it was a stipulation that Shawn Michaels… didn’t agree with.
‘The Game’ screws up his face and shakes his head, clearly still not happy with how things went down back then…
Triple H: That sounds about right. Listen, like I said, I believed in DX. I believed in me and Shawn as a unit. I was willin’ to risk DX to become champions ‘cause I knew we could get it done. But then… then Shawn had other ideas I guess. He started havin’ doubts, he started doubtin’ our team… and that’s what killed us. We went into that match hearin’ all the whisper and the talkin’ behind our backs… and it got to Shawn. It got to him mentally, his head wasn’t focused, and then he made a… well, he calls it a mistake… but either way, he hit me with a steel chair… and it cost us the match, it cost us the titles… and it cost us DX… forever.
Ross nods reluctantly, while Trips takes another swig from his water bottle...
Jim Ross: You touched on the first chair shot, the accident as Shawn Michaels said it was. It was the shot that brought DX to a premature end. A sickening chair shot that put you down, and allowed Edge and Orton to retain their titles. But let me take you forward from that to Raw: Night of Champions. A three hour special show that saw both you and Shawn as challengers to John Cena and the WWE Championship. During the match, an assault led by The McMahon’s took Cena out of the equation. You and Shawn fought off The McMahon’s and their security team… only for Shawn to turn on you and strike with another chair shot. And this time… it was no accident.
A look of anger crosses the face of ‘The Game’ as he takes a deep breath, composing himself before he answers…
Triple H: You’re damn right it was no accident. Shawn saw a chance to grab the WWE Championship, he knew he had it if he just swung that chair and took my head off. And hey, credit to ‘im, he took it. He was ruthless. A few years earlier, I’d have done exactly the same. And maybe that was my problem. Bein’ part of DX, teamin’ with my best friend… maybe all that made me soft. Maybe I wasn’t as ruthless as I used to be. Maybe… I lost my edge. But if that’s what Shawn wanted, if that’s the price he was willing to pay, if he wanted to give me back my edge and really piss me off, if that was worth it to be WWE Champion again… and for him to find his smile once more… then I guess he did the right thing. But I want Shawn to think about one thing. When he struck me with that chair, when he found his smile, when he became WWE Champion again… was he ready… for the backlash?
Triple H gives the answers, shaking his head as he leans forward in his chair…
Triple H: If ya’ ask me, he’s never gonna be ready for what I’m gonna throw at ‘im this Sunday. Shawn mighta ended DX… and ended our friendship… but this Sunday… I’m gonna end him.
Jim Ross: Well, based on that last statement, I wanna take you back to somethin’ you said two weeks ago on Raw. You talked about your previous altercations in the ring with Michaels, and you stated that in hindsight, you should’ve finished off Michaels when you had the chance. I take it that’s something you still believe, very strongly.
‘The Game’ sits back, pursing his lips, considering his answer…
Triple H: Like I said before, we've had a lot of matches in the past. Cage Matches, Street Fights, Ladder Matches, even... Hell in a Cell. People call me a sadistic sunnova bitch, and that's exactly what I am. But I look back and I think... I ended Mick Foley's career... why didn't I do the same to Shawn? I dunno what ya’ wanna call it. Compassion? Sympathy? I dunno. But somethin’ always held me back from finishin’ the job... but not this time.
Jim Ross: Lemme ask you about the history between you two. It all started back in 1997 with the formation of DX. I think it’s safe to say that back in those days, Michaels, as the WWE Champion at the time, was very much the leader.
‘The Game’ rubs his jaw, clearly stung by the truthfulness from Ross...
Triple H: At the time it was two buddies havin’ fun, sticking it straight up the establishment’s ass, and winnin’ titles in the process. But y’know, lookin’ back at it... DX was never about me. It was all about Shawn. It was all about makin’ sure he stayed champion. I lost count of the number of times I had to interfere in his matches, but did ya’ ever see him return the favour for me?
Triple H shrugs his shoulders, knowing the answer, while Ross shakes his head ever so slightly...
Jim Ross: Let’s fast forward a few months to WrestleMania XIV. Shawn defended the WWE Championship against ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, already suffering from a debilitating back injury. Michaels lost the match, and the title, and then he retired from action for four years. When he finally returned in 2002, you were there to greet him... but it wasn’t an peaceful reunion.
Triple H: Well, you were there Jim, you remember what happened while Shawn was away. I went from bein’ the guy Shawn tossed the European Championship to when he couldn’t be bothered defendin’ it anymore... to the number one guy in this industry. I made it to the top, I became WWE Champion, and here comes Shawn back, lookin’ to rekindle our friendship. I knew DX was about him in the past, and now that I’d made a name for myself, I wasn’t gonna carry him anymore.
J.R. pauses, then looks to press on...
Jim Ross: And so it started, a series of hellacious matches, battles that raged over a number of years, until it finally ended in Hell in a Cell. But then last year... there was reconciliation. There was a common enemy. You and Shawn reunited, DX was back together... and you seemed to be enjoying it.
Triple H: Yeah, I can’t argue with that. This time around it was different. Shawn knew I’d become a much bigger deal than the first time around, and he respected that. We were partners. We were equals. Vince McMahon tried to break us... but he couldn’t do it. We fought off everybody he threw at us, ‘cause we were a unit. A real team. There was no animosity, the past was in the past, and we were focused on becomin’ champions again.
Jim Ross: But that of course, has lead us to this. Thirteen days, Backlash, No Holds Barred. It’s quite the turnaround from just three months ago. I know I’ve seen firsthand the bizarre transformation Michaels has underwent. As the man who knows him best in this business, what’s it been like for you to see Michaels become the man he is today.
Taking another sip of water, Triple H thinks long and hard...
Triple H: Honestly? It makes me sick to my stomach. I’m not a particularly religious person. A guy can believe anythin’ he wants, doesn’t bother me. But for Shawn to claim he’s got somebody watchin’ his back for ‘im, that this is all part of a bigger plan, that it’s his destiny to end my career at Backlash... that’s a crock.
Becoming more animated, Triple H starts to raise his voice...
Triple H: It’s all nothin’ but a sham for Shawn to hide behind and justify his actions. I don’t need to hide behind anything. I’m ruthless, I’m selfish, I’ll do whatever it takes to win... and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I don’t need religion to hide behind. I’ll tell it to ya’ straight, but I might stab ya’ in the back afterwards, but I’m not gonna make excuses about it. It’s not about destiny, it’s not about faith, it’s about whose got that killer instinct. Two weeks ago, I stood in the ring on Raw, I came out to answer Shawn’s words, and I made him a challenge. And when I did... I looked him dead in the eye. And I saw nothin’ but a cold, empty, emotionless guy. There’s no fire in his eyes anymore... and there damn sure ain’t no killer instinct. But these last few months, after evrythin’ I’ve been through with Shawn and ‘RVD’... I got my fire back. The laughs and the jokes of DX are a thing of the past... and now Shawn’s gonna suffer the consequences.
‘The Game’ looks down at his hands, cracking his knuckles...
Triple H: Backlash... ‘The Final Battle’... I’m gonna end him.
‘The Game’ pauses again, allowing us to linger on the seriousness of that statement...
Jim Ross: Well, we all know how huge a matchup it’s gonna be at Backlash. I think it could be a real match for the ages. But Hunter, I have to ask you... what about what your wife Stephanie said last week? Stephanie pleaded with you not to go through with this, not to face Shawn... because she was scared of what he’d become. It was a cry that Michaels encouraged you to agree with. Yet here we are, the match has been signed... are there any worries? Any fears? Or even any... regrets?
Triple H: Worries? Fears? Listen, what Stephanie said to me last Monday... that was unfortunate. It’s not somethin’ any husband wants to hear. But as if that wasn’t enough, Shawn walks out to there and says he’s gonna cripple me, make me life out my life a suit chained to a desk. He says he’s gonna make it so each and every time I bend down to pick up my daughter... I’m in pain. When Shawn started talkin’ about my family, it didn’t make me scared... it didn’t make me reconsider... it just made me more determined to cave his skull in with a sledgehammer.
Once more Triple H sits forward, his fire and determination clear for all to see...
Triple H: That sunnova bitch brought my family into this! He started talkin’ about my wife and my kids! If it wasn’t personal before, it damn sure is now! I’m shown Shawn mercy in the past, but I’m not gonna make that mistake again. At Backlash, there’s no regrets... no mercy... no remorse... NO – HOLDS – BARRED! This interview’s over...
Sitting back in his chair, ‘The Game’ takes one last swig of water before he starts to rip off his microphone, before he stands up and leaves the interview set, leaving J.R. to wrap things up...
Jim Ross: Uh... well, thank you for your time, Hunter.
Ross can only look on and watch with awe ‘The Game’ disappears from sight, with J.R. now gathering his notes together as the video comes to an end.
*End Video Package*
And as we exit the video, the shot is off a monitor backstage, the camera looking at the screen which clearly shows that the Triple H interview has been playing on it. Slowly the camera zooms away from the monitor, and somebody is seen to be staring at the screen... it's Shawn Michaels! A ton of heat breaks out from inside the arena for the reveal of 'HBK', with Michaels clearly having heard every word 'The Game' had to say. Michaels is as cold as ever, his eyes piercing the screen from under his cowboy hat, not a hint of emotion of his face, until when the screen fades to black, the video at an end, and Michaels' eyes drop to the floor every so slightly. Pondering, Michaels brings his eyes back up, then quickly glances up to the heavens, before he turns and slowly walks off camera, leaving us looking at the static of the monitor before we fade into a commercial.
Straight back into the arena for...
*THIS FIRE BURNS...*
A much loudly pop for the team who could be named tag team champions at Backlash, The Straight Edge Saints
. CM Punk
steps out hand in hand with Kelly Kelly
, with Nick Dinsmore
by their side, tryin' to fire up the fans. Punk drops down to a knee, taps the imaginary watch on his wrist, holds it up against Kelly's ear, then encourages her to yell out “It's clobberin' time!” before the trip head for the ring...
One of the most exciting and dynamic young teams in the WWE, The Straight Edge Saints, set for tag team action against the team they ultimately put away last week to earn their shot at Haas and Benjamin, The Redneck Wrecking Crew.
Punk and Dinsmore have been on a real roll as of late, and it continued last week when they won the Fatal Four Way to earn the right to go to Backlash, with Punk puttin' Lance Cade away, which has led to this rematch of sorts tonight.
I gotta admit, I love these two as a team. I think ever since CM Punk brought Nick Dinsmore back to Raw as a rejuvenated man, they've been impressin' a lotta people. I can't wait for Backlash, I think they're match up with The World's Greatest Tag Team has a real shot at stealin' the show that night.
*SWEET 'N' SOUR...*
Some decent heat as The Redneck Wrecking Crew
stomp their way out into the arena, wasting no time in heading down the ramp. Trevor Murdoch
leads the way, looking especially angry, even going so far as to throw his trucker hat at a ringside fan, while Lance Cade
brings up the rear, his eyes more focused on the team already in the ring...
Two big ol' angry rednecks, and two guys who sure know how to fight. Cade and Murdoch will certainly have the power advantage in this one, and they're gonna be a big test for Punk and Dinsmore ahead of Backlash.
The Straight Edge Saints have gotta fight a clever fight here. They've got the quickness and the technical advantage, and they're gonna have to use it, otherwise they might wind up in a world of pain thanks to these two.
What is you call it J.R., bowling shoe ugly? I'm tellin' ya', that doesn't even come close to describin' how hard and how violent these two can hit ya', especially with the mood they're in given what happened to 'em last week.
The Redneck Wrecking Crew vs. The Straight Edge Saints w/ Kelly Kelly
Cade and Dinsmore are the two men kicking off the match, the pair snapping into a collar and elbow tie up which sees Cade use his strength advantage to back Dinsmore into the corner. The ref steps in and calls for the break, which Cade initially provides… only to then move back in with a stiff elbow to the head. Right hands land to the face and midsection, before forearms smack down on the back of Dinsmore’s head. Cade drags Dinsmore from the corner, then looks to fire him off the ropes… but Dinsmore reverses… and takes Cade down with an armdrag! Both men are back up… another armdrag puts Cade down… and a third, this time Dinsmore hanging on for an armbar. Cade slaps his hand of the canvas in frustration, before he forces himself back to his feet, then twists the armbar into a hammerlock… only for Dinsmore to counter this into a hammerlock of his own, then grab a standing side headlock. Cade backs both men to the ropes, then shoves Dinsmore off the opposite side… and takes him down with a hiptoss! Early cover, 1… 2… Dinsmore kicks out. Cade now wrings on the arm and drags Dinsmore to his corner, tagging in Murdoch, holding Dinsmore open so Murdoch can deliver a kick to the midsection. Murdoch looks to wring on the arm again, but Dinsmore snaps off a pair of right hands, then goes for an Irish whip off the ropes… back elbow puts Murdoch down… and then an elbow drop connects! Dinsmore crawls to the corner… and tags in Punk! Punk waits for Cade to rise before he slings to the top rope… springboard clothesline! Punk hooks the leg… 1… 2… Murdoch kicks out.
Looking to gain control for his team, Punk smacks a series of kicks to the thighs and chest, before a big roundhouse to the side of the head sends Murdoch stumbling back into the corner. Punk goes for the Irish whip across… then follows in… step up knee to the face! Punk hangs on and looks for the bulldog… but Murdoch shoves him away down the ring of the ring… right into a massive lariat from Cade! Cade strikes from the apron, nearly taking Punk’s head off, and once Murdoch shakes off the cobwebs, he tags Cade in, who instantly goes for the cover… 1… 2… Punk kicks out. Cade now hammers Punk with stomps to the chest, then he drops repeated elbows, before he waits for Punk to rise… textbook standing dropkick! Here’s a cover… 1… 2… Punk rolls a shoulder. Punk now becomes isolated from his corner as Cade and Murdoch look to wear him down, making quick tags and using plenty of high impact moves as Murdoch does damage with a big vertical suplex, while Murdoch gets a near fall from a full nelson slam. The Redneck Wrecking Crew also make use of a number of double team moves, with Murdoch hitting a jawbreaker followed by Cade landing a falling neckbreaker, and then coming close to victory after Murdoch hoists Cade into the air for an elevated legdrop. Punk is in bad shape as another quick tag brings Murdoch back in, more stomps landing to the chest, before Murdoch takes Punk up… scoop slam puts him down. Murdoch now climbs to the second rope, looking for a fist drop… but Punk gets a boot up to the face! Both men are down, slowly crawling to their corners… here comes Cade… and here comes Dinsmore!
Dinsmore sees Cade coming, dipping his head between the second rope to catch Cade with a shoulder thrust, before he enters the ring and runs through Cade with a clothesline. Murdoch now charges… right into a back body drop… on top of Cade! Both Cade and Murdoch stumble to their feet in pain, Murdoch against the ropes… clothesline puts him over the top rope to the floor! Dinsmore now turns back to Cade, rocking him with right hands to the face, before he fires Cade off the ropes… snap overhead belly to belly suplex! Dinsmore crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Cade kicks out. Dinsmore has all the momentum, and he stays on the attack as he yanks Cade up, he looks for the Irish whip to the corner… but Cade reverses and follows in… right into a boot to the face! Cade stumbles back, and Dinsmore charges from the corner… double leg takedown… and now Dinsmore twists and steps in… TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Dinsmore locks on his submission move… but Murdoch clobbers him from behind! Murdoch now quickly lays in with boots to the body, but here comes Punk… STEP UP ENZUIGIRI! Murdoch slumps to the mat then rolls under the bottom rope, with Punk heading back to the corner, where he gets the tag from Dinsmore. Punk now climbs upstairs, while Dinsmore stays in the ring, yanking Cade up, then taking him high into the air on his shoulders… as Punk flies… DOOMSDAY DROPKICK! Punk takes Cade’s head off, sending him crashing to the canvas, and all that’s left to do is for Punk to roll Cade over for the 1… 2… 3!
Winners: The Straight Edge Saints @ 05.39
Another confident victory for The Saints as they continue to build momentum towards Backlash. Punk and Dinsmore help each other back to their feet, the pair hugging with Kelly in celebration before Kelly raises their hands in the air. Cade rolls to the outside, where Murdoch helps him back to his feet, the pair looking furious at the defeat as they slowly back up the ramp, while we cut elsewhere.
And it's back to the boardroom, and we join it just in time as the WWE Board of Directors welcome Mr. McMahon and Linda McMahon back into the room. Both Vince and Linda re-take the seats they were in earlier, with Vince looking particularly worried at what the outcome might be...
Mr. and Mrs. McMahon, we want to thank you for your patience, we apologise for keeping you waiting. Well, unfortunately, after much deliberation... we were unable, as a board, to come to a conclusion.
Both Linda and Vince look confused, although the worry of Vince's expression slowly starts to fade...
We obviously considered what was said by both of you, but there was a motion tabled from the Vice President of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis, for a postponement.
A beaming grin of shock says it all as far as Vince is concerned, with the camera now turning towards the man identified as John Laurinaitis, who gives his boss a knowing wink...
Mr. Laurinaitis felt that he had insufficient evidence to make a decision tonight, and he motioned for a further two weeks to consider the testimonies put before us. The motion was seconded then carried, so I'm afraid we have no other choice but to reconvene two weeks from tonight. I apologise for the inconvenience.
Linda turns to her daughter Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, shaking her head in disbelief, with Stephanie unable to look her in the eye, clearly angry with the decision. Vince meanwhile is delighted, but he fakes a sense of sympathy with the board...
Hey, c'mon now, I know how difficult a decision this all must be for you. If Mr. Laurinaitis feels he needs more time to come to a decision, then I think we should grant him that. Let's give everybody a chance to go away, think about things, then we'll meet after Backlash when everybody can make their decision with a clear head. How's that sound?
Half the table nods their heads in agreement, but it's Stephanie who speaks out...
I think it sounds like a sham...
Vince shakes his head in annoyance...
Hey, Stephanie, there's no need for that. Besides, don't you have more important things on your mind with regards to Backlash? Shouldn't you be more concerned with what kinda state your husband is gonna be in two weeks from now?
Stephanie breaks the eye contact with her father, turning her head away, rather solemn look on her face...
I thought so. Well, I guess all that's left to say is meeting adjourned!
Vince pushes back his chair and stands up, a few of his supporters on the board doing likewise, with McMahon seeking out Laurinaitis to give him a handshake...
Uh, I say that... meeting adjourned.
And now the rest of the table pack up their notes and stand up to leave, with Linda now rubbing her forehead in disappointment, the contrast in emotions from the start of the night clear for all to see...
Don't worry Mom... it'll all work out.
Stephanie reassuringly places a hand on Linda's shoulder, before she too stands up and leaves. In the background we hear Vince and his cohorts sharing a few laughs, while the camera stays on Linda, who shakes her head once more, seemingly all out of ideas of how to end her husband's reign of terror over Monday Night Raw.
We now cut away from the boardroom to the backstage area where the sight of John Cena walking, ready for action, brings a big pop from the fans inside the arena. Clearly unaware of the outcome of the board meeting, Cena looks calm and focused on his upcoming match with Bobby Lahsley...
Well there ya' have it, there will be no decision tonight from the WWE Board of Directors on the future of Mr. McMahon and his running of Monday Night Raw. But there you see the man who in just a few short moments is set for a WrestleMania rematch of epic proportions. It's Cena and Lashley when we return to Mon-
Suddenly Cena puts on the breaks, and an even louder pop is heard as he's ran into the WWE Champion Rob Van Dam! Clearly the tension between the two still exists as both men glare at each other, with Van Dam standing in Cena's path, arms folded across his chest. Van Dam eyes Cena up and down, and then he nods his head and stands aside, indicating that he's allowing Cena to carry on towards the ring. Cena slowly steps forward, his eyes locking in on Van Dam's, before he continues on his way, not a single word exchanged between the two, but the message from Van Dam to Cena is clear, another reminded from the WWE Champion as to how important the upcoming match is...
God, what an explosive situation this could be! It's Cena and Lashley, and it's next!
The camera lingers on Van Dam, his eyes fixed on Cena off camera, a tense, almost nervous look on the face of champion as we head for a commercial.
We're back into the arena for...
*MY TIME IS NOW...*
As always it's a very loud, mixed response for John Cena
, who quickly marches our onto the stage. Cena has his hands on his hips as he scans the crowd, before he offers up a salute and then races down to the ring, a very stern, serious look of determination in his eyes...
One thing that can never be denied about John Cena is the level of intensity he brings to a WWE ring. But earlier tonight, Rob Van Dam questioned, almost challenged Cena's level of focus tonight. Can Cena prove he's got his head in the game here, or will everything that has surrounded him tonight prove to be his downfall?
He better make sure he’s got his head in the game, or this could wind up real ugly. Lashley’s too dangerous a competitor to not focus 100% on.
I’m sure Cena doesn’t need any reminder as to how important this match is, especially not after what Rob Van Dam said to him at the top of the broadcast. I think Cena’s gonna have his head on straight, and after all that went down with regards to referees at WrestleMania, this one’s gonna put to rest any doubts about who’s the better man.
*HELL WILL BE CALLIN' YOUR NAME...*
Heat quickly breaks out as the always intimidating Bobby Lashley
menacingly steps out onto the stage, with Shane McMahon
shuffling his way out behind him. Shane applauds Lashley as he heads for the ring, 'The Dominator' looking determined to gain a measure of revenge this evening...
What an absolute freak of nature this man is. A incredible athlete, a real powerhouse, with unlimited amateur wrestling ability. I've always questioned Lashley sellin' 'imself out to the McMahon's, but I can never question his skills within the square circle.
Absolutely not. And ya' have to wonder, if there was no shenaOxiOxiOxiOxins, if there was no Mr. McMahon or 'Stone Cold' as duelling referees, just what would've happened at WrestleMania? Tonight we're gonna find out, and I'm sure Lashley's out to set a few people straight.
And don't forget he's got Shane O'mac in his corner, and Rob Van Dam is banned
from ringside. I think everythin' goin' into this one is in Lashley's favour, but I said that at WrestleMania too, and we all know how that turned out...
Main Event: WWE Championship Number One Contenders Match
Bobby Lashley w/ Shane McMahon vs. John Cena
The crowd is buzzing as the two powerhouses stand across the ring from each other, before the bell rings and the two come together in the centre of the ring for a staredown. Both men snarl at each other, before the trash talking starts to flow, both men trading words back and forth... until Lashley swings a right... Cena blocks it... then scores a right of his own! Cena lands right after right, backing Lashley to the ropes, before he goes for an Irish whip... Lashley reverses... Cena runs through him with a shoulderblock! Instead of pressing home the advantage, Cena stands in a fighting stance in the middle of the ring as Lashley pushes himself across the canvas to the corner, both men wary of each other. Cena keeps his guard but allows Lashley to drag himself up, 'The Dominator' now stepping forward, hands out infront of him as he challenges Cena to a test of strength. Again Cena is wary, but he agrees, offering his own hands up as the two lock fingers, straining and struggling to gain the upperhand... Lashley drills Cena with a knee to the midsection! Lashley now goes to work, hammering Cena with forearms to the back of the neck, before he uses his shoulder to drive Cena to the corner. There Lashley lays in with a series of shoulder thrusts, before he sends Cena for the ride across... then follows in... Cena sidesteps... and Lashley runs into the turnbuckle! Lashley stumbles out, but Cena is already coming off the ropes... one handed bulldog! Cena rolls Lashley over, hooks the leg... 1... 2... Lashley powers out.
Cena now looks to take control of the match as a worried looking Shane watches on, with Cena grabbing Lashley and smashing him face first off the top turnbcukle. Rights and lefts land to the body, before Cena goes for the Irish whip across... then follows in... Lashley gets up a boot to the face! Cena stumbles backwards... and Lashley smacks him with a clothesline! Now it's Lashley who looks to take control, hammering Cena with boots to the chest, then he drops knees to the midsection, before shoving Cena up against the ropes. With Cena draped over the middle rope, Lashley applies all his weight to the back of Cena's neck, choking Cena, the ref admonishing Lashley as he finally relents after a five count. Clubbing forearms land to Cena's spine, before Lashley hooks him up for an overhead belly to belly suplex... but Cena blocks it... and hits a twisting belly to belly of his own! Both men struggle back to their feet, with Lashley swinging a big right hand... Cena ducks underneath and comes off the ropes... flying shoulderblock! Cena springs back up, comes off the ropes again... another flying shoulderblock! Both men are back up... Cena hits the protobomb! Lashley is down in the centre of the ring, the crowd on their feet as Cena peers down at him... “You can't see me!”... and then he comes off the ropes... but before he can hit the five knuckle shuffle, Shane reaches in... and trips Cena up! Cena stumbles but stays on his feet, looking furiously at Shane... and now Cena slides under the bottom rope... and chases after Shane! McMahon takes off, running around the ring, but Cena follows him... meaning he doesn't see Lashley slip under the bottom rope... to nearly take Cena's head off with a massive lariat! Cena's head smacks off the floor, a sickening thud, and as we head to final commercial of the night, it's Lashley who looks more likely to go to Backlash.
We return from commercial to hear that during the break, Lashley has been targeting Cena's spine, and we see highlights off Lashley scooping Cena up with ease for a backbreaker that gets a near fall. The live action shows Cena trapped in an abdominal stretch, with Lashley reaching out to grab the top rope for extra leverage, letting go before the referee catches him. Lashley lays in with elbows to the ribs, and he wrenches on the hold, with Cena slowly beginning to fade... until he has a burst of energy, shows some life, tries to break free... and finally does so with a hiptoss! Now Cena goes on the attack, landing more rights and lefts, before he turns and comes off the ropes... crossbody... no! Lashley catches Cena... then launches him with a fallaway slam! Lashley crawls across the ring for the cover... 1... 2... Cena kicks out. Lashley now enjoys a period of dominance as he continues to target the spine, hitting another backbreaker, then a side suplex, then a long, delayed vertical suplex for a near fall. Lashley continues to pile on the punishment to the spine as he drives elbows and shoulders to the upper back, then shoves Cena chest first into the corner, allowing him to aim shoulder thrusts to the lower back. Lashley then walks Cena backwards from the corner... and drops him with a falling neckbreaker! Here's a cover... 1... 2... Cena rolls a shoulder, much to Shane's annoyance. Lashley looks to continue to work on the lower back as he sends Cena crashing into the corner with a hard Irish whip, then races in... Cena gets up a boot to the face! Lashley stumbles backwards, and now Cena comes fighting out of the corner, landing right hands to the face, before he turns and races off the ropes... right into a bearhug! Lashley traps Cena in the painful submission hold, squeezing and wrenching on Cena's body, 'The Dominator' locking the hold on tight in the centre of the ring.
Slowly but surely, Cena appears to be fading, with Lashley upping the pressure as he violently swings Cena's body from side to side. The referee now steps in, and a bit of prompting from Shane, he raises Cena's hand... and it drops. The arm goes up again... for the second time it drops. The hand goes up a third time... but as it drops... Cena catches it! The crowd cheer loudly as Cena stays alive, and now he desperately tries to break free as he strikes with elbows to the side of the head. Eventually Cena breaks the grip, only for Lashley to shove him to the corner and follow in... into a back elbow! Now Cena goes on the attack, landing rights and lefts that drive Lashley across the ring to the opposite corner, where Cena goes for the Irish whip across... Lashley hits the turnbuckle hard... then stumbles out into a sitout hiptoss! Cena bursts back to his feet, looking to build momentum, drilling a boot to the gut... and then the fisherman suplex! Instead of going for the cover, Cena heads to the corner and climbs to the second rope, waiting for Lashley to rise... legdrop bulldog! Cena goes for a cover... 1... 2... Lashley kicks out! Cena has all the momentum now, and he bursts to his feet, waiting for Lashley to get back up... throwback! Cena plants Lashley once more, and now he stands tall, waves a hand over Lashley's face... “You can't see me!”... before he comes off the ropes... and connects with the FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE! Cena roars to his feet, only for Shane to jump up onto the apron... right hand sends Shane flying! But here comes Lashley from behind... Cena sidesteps him at the last moment... Lashley crashes into the turnbuckle! And when he stumbles out, Cena is ready and waiting... to lift Lashley up onto his shoulders... FU... NO!
Lashley pushes free, landing on his feet, then shoves Cena into the ropes... and Cena rebounds right into... SPEAR!!
Lashley cuts Cena in half with the spear, and now he hooks the leg... 1... 2... 3... NO! Cena got the shoulder up! Lashley can't believe it, sure he had the match won, storming to his feet to confront the ref, only to be told it was only a two count. Seeking a way to end things once and for all, Lashley drags Cena to a vertical base... then hoists him up on his shoulders... and races from the corner... DOMINATOR... NO!!
Cena drops down behind... traps the leg... takes Lashley down... reaches forward... STFU!!!
Cena has it locked on in the centre of the ring! The Cajundome is going wild as Cena desperately wrenches on the neck, trying to make Lashley submit, but Lashley fights it... and tries to reach the ropes... but he can't get there... and Lashley taps! Lashley taps out!
Winner: Via Submission, John Cena @ 12.08
Cena has done it, he’s going to Backlash! A great effort from Cena as he overcomes the attentions of Shane to book his place in the WWE Championship Match against Rob Van Dam. Exhausted, Cena rolls free of Lashley and manages to sit up, wincing as he grabs his ribs and neck, selling the effects of the match. Cena then uses the ropes to haul himself up, his hand raised high in the air by the referee, the crowd showing their appreciation for the victory...
It's Cena! Cena has done it! It's Cena and Van Dam at Backlash for the WWE Title!
God, what a match, what an effort from John Cena! He finally managed to take Shane O'Mac outta things, and then he put Lashley away once and for all.
On the outside, Lashley has rolled under the bottom ropes, and he assists Shane in getting back to his feet, McMahon looking dazed and confused as he holds his jaw in pain. Lashley yanks Shane up and supports him as the two turn to walk backstage, only for the crowd to raise the volume further... as Rob Van Dam has stepped out onto the stage! Van Dam looks down at the ring, nodding his head towards Cena, before he takes the WWE Championship from off his shoulder and hoists it high in the air...
It's official now folks! Thirteen days time, Backlash, Van Dam and Cena for the richest prize in all of sports entertainment.. but will either man survive the backlash of Mr. McMahon? Join us next week in the United Kingdom to find out. Goodnight!
Lashley now finds himself between Cena and Van Dam, a snarl on the face of 'The Dominator', while all eyes are on the staredown between Van Dam and Cena, the WWE Champion standing tall on the stage, while in the ring, Cena heads for the corner and climbs to the second rope, throwing up a salute towards Van Dam, the crowd going wild as we fade to black.
Current Card for WWE BACKLASH:
Date: April 29th, 2007
Location:FedEx Forum; Memphis, Tennessee
WWE Championship Match:
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena
No Holds Barred Match:
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
World Tag Team Championships Match:
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Straight Edge Saints
Money in the Bank Match:
Mr. Money in the Bank Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match:
Women’s Champion Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Victoria