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Old 01-01-2013, 05:55 PM   #273 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed

Monday Night Raw Presents;
~WWE BACKLASH~
April 29th, 2007
FedEx Forum; Memphis, Tennessee





*Opening Video*

We fade in to see the opening fireworks display from WrestleMania XXIII, the explosions in the sky lighting up the screen in slow motion, while a slow, soft, lonesome violin is heard playing, the volume of the instrument increasing with the light of the image...

Narrator: On that night... they became heroes.

The music picks up as we see a triumphant Rob Van Dam, stood on the second rope in the corner, holding the WWE Championship high in the air to the delight of the Ford Field crowd...

Narrator: On that night... they became legends.

We now see 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin toss a can of beer John Cena's way, the pair sharing a toast in one of the most symbolic moments of the night...

Narrator: On that night... they became immortal. But now...

The image now begins to fade back to black, the violin music becoming louder and more dramatic as we cut to grainy black and footage from WrestleMania XXIII, starting with Randy Orton collapsed on the canvas, holding the Money in the Bank briefcase tightly against his torso...

Narrator: Heroic acts mean nothing.

We see Carlito in the ring, dejected look on his face as we then cut to see a jubilant Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson mocking ‘Lito from the entrance way...

Narrator: Legendary moments begin to fade.

An emotional Ric Flair, tears streaming down his face, blows a kiss good bye to the fans before he heads backstage...

Narrator: And the immortal look human once again.

The screen again fades to black, then we cut 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...

Narrator: WrestleMania is in the past... and now we all face...

Michaels closes his eyes, then opens them at the exact moment we hear the words...

Narrator: The Backlash!

Suddenly the official theme tune of tonight's event, 'There and Back Again' by Daughtry kicks in, with rapid fire images from the last few weeks of Raw, starting with the tense staredown between Cena and ‘RVD’ that nearly led to blows last Monday...

”TAKE, TAKE YOUR TIME. SMELL THE ROSES, BUT STEAL THE VINES.”

John Cena: You got to go to WrestleMania and challenge for the WWE Championship. You... got my rematch, Rob.

Rob Van Dam: Monday Night Raw... this is my show now. This is my house. And I'll take on any challenge.

Triple H stands tall in the ring, an intense look in his eyes as he raises his sledgehammer high in the air then brings it crashing down on Lance Cade’s skull, the shot then changing to see the cold, soulless eyes of Shawn Michaels watching it all unfold…

”DON’T WAIT FOR THE HANDS OF TIME... TO SECOND GUESS AND CHANGE YOUR MIND.”

Shawn Michaels: YOU... Triple H... must suffer MY... backlash.

Triple H: One final battle, huh Shawn? That’s what you want? YOU’RE ON!

The night after WrestleMania, where Randy Orton smashes his Money in the Bank briefcase off Jeff Hardy’s skull then slides into last Monday where Orton has a defenceless Doug Williams lined up, only for Hardy to make the save…

”AND SHINE. HERE’S YOUR MOMENT TO SHINE. SHINE...”

Jeff Hardy: You might not think there’s a lawyer or court that can take that briefcase away from you… but I’m pretty sure you put it on the line… I’ll take it away from you.

Randy Orton: If 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.

The great match between Shelton Benjamin and CM Punk comes to a conclusion as Punk takes Benjamin up onto his shoulders and hammers him with the GTS…

”LAY DOWN, MY FRIEND. CLOTHES YOUR EYES, BREATHE IN...”

CM Punk: It’s clobberin’ time!

Charlie Haas: And when we’re done with Punk and Dinsmore… they’re gonna need somethin’ a lot stronger than booze to take away the pain.

Carlito recovers from a cheap shot from Kenny Dykstra during an e[isode of Carlito’s Cabanna, prompting ‘Lito to take a bite of his apple and spit it in Dykstra’s direction, only for Kenny to pull Torrie Wilson into the line of fire…

”AND I’LL TAKE YOU THERE AND BACK AGAIN.”

Kenny Dykstra: Total... domination... at the hands of 'The Future Hall of Famer'... Kenny Dykstra.

Carlito: 'Dis Sunday... Carlito won't miss... and 'dis Intercontinental Championship is mine. Now 'dat's cool!

We now see footage of the brawls Bobby Lashley has had with Cena and Van Dam lately, ending with Cena forcing Lashley to tap out to the STFU…

”NO MORE QUESTIONS WHY. I’M NOT SO SURPRISED.”

John Cena: 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!

Rob Van Dam: 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.

Mr. McMahon: Quite frankly, the only thing I can think of right now that's worse than Rob Van Dam as WWE Champion... is John Cena as WWE Champion.

And our video comes to an end on the image of Michaels and ‘The Game’ stood face to face, with Michaels simply tipping his cowboy hat in Triple H’s direction before he turns and leaves…

”WHY YOU HAVE BEEN THERE AND BACK AGAIN!”

Triple H: This Sunday, Backlash... your ass is mine!

Shawn Michaels: Thy Backlash shall be felt…

The music comes to a stop, and just like we’ve seen in recent weeks, the lasting image is that of the cold eyes of Michaels, piercing the screen, before he slowly closes them and the screen fades to black.

Narrator: And now, Monday Night Raw presents... WWE BACKLASH!!


We then head into the arena to be greeted by a very impressive fireworks display, the raucous crowd on their feet making a ton of noise, adding to the big time atmosphere in the building. After the camera buzzes around the arena, taking in some of the more colourful signs the fans have brought with them, we quickly zoom over to the announce desk to be welcome by tonight’s commentary team, Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and ‘The Voice of Extreme’, Joey Styles…

Jim Ross: WrestleMania XXIII is firmly in the rearview mirror. The lights, the glamour, the pomp and pageantry, it’s all a distant memory, as tonight, live from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, we all will feel… the backlash! Hello everyone, I’m ‘Good ‘Ol J.R.’, Jim Ross, alongside me as always are Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Joey Styles, welcoming you to Monday Night Raw’s first pay per view of 2007, WWE Backlash!

Joey Styles: And what a night it’s gonna be. A huge card lined up tonight, featuring two incredible main events, and four championships up for grabs. And it’s all takin’ place in Lawler Country!

Jerry Lawler: Well I gotta admit, I love bein’ back here in Memphis, Tennessee, my hometown! And I can’t imagine any town better suited to host such a huge night, especially considerin’ the two main events we’ve got lined up. I just can’t decide what match I’m more excited to see!

Joey Styles: Well all eyes will of course be on the WWE Championship Match. Rob Van Dam, the man crowned champion at WrestleMania, a champion seeking to prove he belongs in the conversation when the big hitters of Raw are being discussed, takes on John Cena.

Jim Ross: Van Dam was looking for a big name challenge to get his title reign off an runnin', and they don't come any bigger than John Cena, especially not with the WWE Championship at stake. But what about our second main event tonight? The most personal, hate fuelled rivalry in WWE history. Triple H and Shawn Michaels, No Holds Barred, in a match being dubbed 'The Final Battle'.

Jerry Lawler: Triple H and Shawn Michaels have had some brutal matches over the years, but I don't think anythin' we've seen in the past is gonna come close to what we're gonna see tonight. It's gonna be an absolute war, with neither guy holdin' anythin' back.

Joey Styles: Well not only do we have our two main events, but there's three other titles on the line as the Intercontinental, Tag Team and Women's Championships all being defended, and let's not forgot, the Money in the Bank briefcase is up for grabs too. And of course, we're joined by our Spanish broadcast colleagues, Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. Take it away, guys!

We now cut to the Spanish broadcast desk where an animated and excited Hugo and Carlos welcome their viewers to the show. Once they've had their say, we have a few seconds of silence, until we cut to the ring to see Lillian Garcia is ready and waiting to get things going...

*Bell Rings*


Lillian Garcia: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and it is for the WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

”I SPIT IN 'DA FACE... OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE COOL...”

*COOL...*


The first entrance of the evening draws a massive cheer for the always popular Carlito, who steps out wearing a blue t-shirt and orange trunks. The usual jovial look on Carlito’s face is instead replaced with a stern look of focus and determination, although of course ‘Lito still has his trusty apple in his hand, tossing it up in the air and catching it a few times as he heads down the aisle...

Lillian Garcia: Introducing first, he is the challenger. From San Juan, Puerto Rico, weighing in at 220lbs... CARRRRLLLLLIIITTTTOOOOOOOO!

'Lito nips up the steel steps and enters the ring, heading to the far away corner where he climbs up to the second rope to give a few words to the fans. Hoping back down, Carlito carefully places his apple under the turnbuckle, before he snatches off his t-shirt and starts to pace the ring...

Joey Styles: What a way to kick things off, a rematch from WrestleMania XXIII with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. Carlito went into Ford Field a hungry, determined challenger, seeking to avenge the insults of Kenny Dykstra directed at Carlito's then girlfriend, Torrie Wilson.

Jim Ross: And what a jezebel she turned out to be! Torrie turned her back on poor 'Lito, she double crossed him by spittin' the apple in the eye, and Dykstra took advantage to retain the gold.

Jerry Lawler: Well I know how disappointed and devastated Carlito was with what happened at WrestleMania. Not only did he lose the match, he lost his girl too. But I'm sure he's gonna use that hurt and that pain as a lil' extra motivation here tonight. I think young Kenny could be in for a rude awakening right here.

*IN THE MIDDLE OF IT NOW...*

And with the crowd still pumped up, it's a loud chorus of boos that welcome Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson into the arena. The two walk arm in arm, with Dykstra looking as smug as always with his “Future. Now.” t-shirt on, sunglasses over his eyes, and of course the Intercontinental Championship glimmering around his waist, while Torrie looks sultry in all black attire...


Lillian Garcia: And introducing his opponent. Being accompanied down the aisle by Torrie Wilson. From Worcester, Massachusetts. Weighing in at 230 pounds, he is the WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION... KENNY DYYYKKKSSSSTTRRAAAAAAA!

Dykstra and Wilson pose at the entrance way, before Torrie plants a quick kiss on Dykstra's cheek and the pair slowly head down the aisle. Cocky as ever, Dykstra pauses every now and then to point to a fan member, throwing some trash talk at them...

Joey Styles: He calls himself 'The Future Hall of Famer'. We know how cocky and how arrogant he is, but ya' gotta hand it to him, for someone so young, Dykstra certainly has an impressive list of accolades. He's a former World Tag Team Champion, and he's the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history.

Jerry Lawler: And let’s not forget, he beat the WWE Champion Rob Van Dam last Monday night on Raw. I don't think anybody is ever gonna question this kid's abilities in the ring. But the fact of the matter is, the guy's attitude absolutely stinks. I really hope Carlito kicks this kid's teeth right down-

Jim Ross: Hey! Wait! Here comes Carlito!

The crowd is electric as Carlito dives through the ropes and storms up the aisle, with Torrie franticly trying to stop Dykstra smack-talking the fans and pay attention, but by the time he turns... Carlito tackles Dykstra to the concrete! The fight is on! Torrie can only look on in horror as ‘Lito mounts Kenny and starts raining down on him with wild rights and lefts, Dykstra desperately trying to cover up, until finally Carlito pushes off him and gets back up. After turning to scowl at Torrie, ‘Lito drags Dykstra up... and drives him spine first into the barricade! Referee Jack Doan pleads with Carlito to take the action into the ring to get the match started proper, and finally ‘Lito obliges as he grabs Dykstra, runs him down the aisle, then launches him under the bottom rope. The match is underway!






Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Carlito

And as the bell rings, ‘Lito slides under the bottom rope, giving chase as Dykstra tries to scurry away to the opposite side of the ring… but Carlito grabs him by the foot… and drags Dykstra to his feet in the centre of the ring! Holding Dykstra foot in his hand, ‘Lito smiles, turning to the fans, almost seeking their approval to strike as Dykstra pleads for mercy… and ‘Lito obliges the fans as he hammers Dykstra with a CLOTHESLINE! The crowd let out a loud cheer as Dykstra crawls to the corner, but Carlito is right back on him, dragging Dykstra out, then he smashes Dykstra face first off the top turnbuckle! And again… and again… and the crowd count along… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9… 10! Dykstra is on Dream Street as he staggers from the corner, and then turns back around… as ‘Lito jumps to the second rope… SPRINGBOARD BACK ELBOW! It’s all ‘Lito early on, and it only gets worse for Kenny as he’s dragged back up… then LAUNCHED OVER THE TOP ROPE!

A painful landing as Dykstra splats to the floor, with ‘Lito wasting no time in following outside, again grabbing Dykstra by the hair… and this time SMASHING HIM FACE FIRST OFF THE CANVAS! Torrie has her face in her hands as she watches Dykstra taking a beating… and it only gets worse… as CARLITO LAUNCHES DYKSTRA ACROSS THE SPANNISH ANNOUNCE DESK!!! Savinovich and Cabrera are sent sprawling from their chairs as ‘Lito dives after Kenny, hammering him with a flurry of right hands, all the frustrations of WrestleMania being taken out right here. Doan pleads with ‘Lito to take the action back into the ring, and after getting back on his feet and soaking in the cheers of the fans, ‘Lito finally does so, rolling Kenny back in. Carlito now stands over Dykstra who looks a broken man, on his hands and knees, pleading, begging for mercy… and again Carlito turns towards the fans, who bay for blood, urging Carlito to go in for the kill… only for Torrie to jump up onto the apron! Wilson pleads with her ex-boyfriend to show mercy, but all this does is distract ‘Lito… and that’s enough for Dykstra to clobber him from behind! The distraction pays off as Dykstra mounts Carlito, hammering him with right hands, then he blatantly chokes ‘Lito, the ref’s count the only thing that causes Dykstra to relent.

Feeling he now has an opening in the match, Dykstra tries to shake away the cobwebs, then he goes back to work with stomps to Carlito’s chest. Yanking ‘Lito up, Dykstra goes for an Irish whip to the corner, then races in… right into a boot to the face! ‘Lito explodes from the corner… and HITS A MASSIVE CLOTHESLINE! Dykstra stumbles back up... another clothesline knocks him down! Again Dykstra staggers back up, with 'Lito drilling him with kicks to the midsection, then a pair of big right hands that knock the champion into the corner. 'Lito now drives his shoulder into the midsection, before he goes for the Irish whip across... Dykstra hits the turnbuckle hard... and stumbles forward into a HUGE BACK BODY DROP! As soon as he lands, Dykstra rolls under the bottom rope and flops to the floor, Torrie quickly over to check on him, the champion clearly in a bad state... so much so that Dykstra starts crawling up towards the aisle, clearly rattled by the onslaught he's suffered. Carlito though has no interest in a countout win, heading after Dykstra, grabbing him by the tights and yanking Dykstra back to his feet. Quickly 'Lito hooks Dykstra up... then takes him up and down... for a SUPLEX ON THE CONCRETE!! Dykstra cries out in agony, Torrie can barely look, and the fans are loving it, roaring their approval as 'Lito gingerly gets back to his feet. Once again the referee pleads for the action to head back inside, and Carlito obliges as he drags Dykstra up... but before he can roll Dykstra back into the ring, Dykstra shoves 'Lito... KNEE FIRST INTO THE STEEL STEPS! A painful collision for 'Lito as he goes flies over the steps, both men down now on the outside.

After a few deep breaths, Dykstra is first back up, grabbing a handful of hair, allowing him to smash 'Lito face first off the canvas, before he rolls the challenger back into the ring. Dykstra gingerly follows, seeing 'Lito favour his left knee, and the young champion wastes no time in targeting it, aiming a few stomps right to the knee. Placing Carlito's left foot on the bottom rope, Kenny bounces up... and DROPS HIS WEIGHT ACROSS THE KNEE! Carlito groans in pain, but Dykstra isn't finished there... again BOUNCING UP THEN DOWN ACROSS THE KNEE! Feeling much more confident now, Dykstra allows himself a few seconds to soak in the boos of the fans, before he yanks 'Lito up, lands a pair of uppercuts that back the challenger to the ropes, then grabs Carlito by the wrist... short-arm clothesline... but Dykstra hangs on and rolls through... another short-arm clothesline... again the roll through... for a third short-arm clothesline... no! 'Lito ducks underneath the third... then unloads with a STINGING CHOP TO THE CHEST! A “Wooooo!” breaks out from the fans, and is repeated as 'Lito strikes with another three chops, before he goes for the Irish whip... and looks for a clothesline... but Dykstra ducks underneath... FALLING NECKBREAKER! Here's the first cover of the match...

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CARLITO KICKS OUT!

Looking to fully take control, Dykstra goes right back to work on the knee, aiming more stomps, then repeatedly driving his own knee into Carlito's. 'Lito is then shoved into the corner, where Dykstra lands a few shots to the midsection to keep 'Lito in check, before he hooks the left leg across the middle rope... and aims a painful kick to the back of the knee! Dykstra rears back... a second kick to the knee... causes 'Lito to collapse to the mat in pain! Sitting against the turnbuckle, Carlito grabs his knee in agony, but the sick smile on Dykstra's face shows he isn't done yet as he backs away... lines up... then charges in... FACEWASH... NO! Carlito rolls outside... and Dykstra kicks the ropes! Now it's Dykstra who suffers pain in his knee as he tries to shake the feeling back into his leg... while Carlito is back on the apron... slingshots to the top rope... SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY... but Dykstra rolls through... and into the pinfall!

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'LITO BARELY KICKS OUT!

And Dykstra jumps right on him, a flurry of left and right forearms keeping Carlito grounded and Dykstra in the ascendency. Dykstra returns to his feet for more stomps to the knee, then he yanks Carlito up... for a textbook SHINBREAKER! The young champion is very much in control now, again revelling in the boos of the fans, before he grabs the challenger by the foot and drags him towards the corner. As Dykstra slides under the bottom rope, 'Lito sense what could be coming, and he tries desperately to fight it... but it's no use as Dykstra rears back... and SMASHES CARLITO'S KNEE OFF THE RING POST! Carlito groans in agony, but Dykstra hangs on... and AGAIN SMASHES THE KNEE OFF THE STEEL! 'Lito crawls away, grimacing in agony, while on the outside, the always cocky Dykstra has time to receive another kiss on the cheek from Torrie before he heads back in. Toying with his opponent, Dykstra shows disrespect as he slaps Carlito's head a few times, but when he drags 'Lito up, this sparks life into the challenger, with 'Lito unloading with shots to the midsection, then a big uppercut to the face, the crowd on their feet for the comeback, with 'Lito now looking for an Irish whip to the corner... but Dykstra reverses... and Carlito smacks chest first off the turnbuckle... and staggers backwards into a BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX!

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CARLITO STAYS ALIVE!

Frustration is starting to set in for the young champion, but in an attempt to wear 'Lito down, Dykstra grabs the left foot, turns 'Lito over, then sits in... for a SINGLE LEG BOSTON CRAB! Dykstra wrenches back on the knee, applying all kinds of pressure, causing Carlito to groan in agony. 'Lito reaches out, straining and stretching for the ropes, but it's no good as Dykstra has the hold locked in smack in the centre of the ring. Dykstra strains as he leans back, upping the torque, screaming “Tap! Tap!” at 'Lito, but the defiance of the man from the Caribbean is clear for all to see as slowly but surely, he starts to force himself towards the ropes. The crowd clap their hands and stomp their feet, willing Carlito on, and somehow, 'Lito reaches out... and grabs the bottom rope... only for Dykstra to drag him back to the centre of the ring! But 'Lito manages to shift his weight, now upright, hoping on one foot as Kenny holds the other... ENZIGUIRI! Out of desperation, 'Lito cracks his foot off Dykstra's skull, both men down for a few seconds until the challenger manages to limp back up. Calling for Dykstra to rise, 'Lito is ready and waiting... INVERTED ATOMIC DROP... AND THEN A HURRICANRANA! 'Lito sits in and hooks the legs...

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DYKSTRA KICKS OUT!

Looking to build some momentum, 'Lito is back on his feet first, teeing off with shots to the face, then a boot to the midsection doubles the champion over. 'Lito comes off the ropes... running knee to the face snaps Dykstra up and Carlito keeps on running... RUNNING CLOTHESLINE! Dykstra scrambles to the corner, trying to recover, but 'Lito is right on him, drilling boots to the gut, then he goes for an Irish whip across... but Dykstra reverses... and 'Lito hits the turnbuckle hard. Here comes Dykstra... but 'Lito steps aside... and Dykstra's shoulder charge... sees him go through the ropes and SMACK OFF THE STEEL! Dykstra grabs his left arm as he stumbles backwards and turns... RIGHT INTO A DDT!! Carlito crawls into the cover...

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DYKSTRA BARELY ROLLS A SHOULDER!

Carlito has his head in his hands, disbelief that he hasn't got the match won yet. Seeking a way to end things, 'Lito yanks Dykstra up and fires him off the ropes... only for Kenny to reverse it... TORRIE GRABS CARLITO BY THE FOOT! Carlito puts on the breaks and angrily shouts at Torrie... but that means he doesn't see Dykstra come from behind... JUMPING STO... NO! CARLITO GRABBED THE TOP ROPE TO SAVE HIMSELF! Not falling for the same trick that cost him at WrestleMania, Carlito sees Dykstra's head smack off the canvas, but when he stumbles back up, 'Lito ready to strike... BACKSTABBER!! Carlito gets all of it, and he hooks the near leg...

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TORRIE PLACES DYKSTRA'S FOOT ON THE ROPES!!!

Carlito thinks he's got it won, but at the last split second, the referee spots the foot on the rope and stops counting, tapping 'Lito on the shoulder and pointing to the ropes, the anguish written on the face of the challenger once he realises what's happened... and then he spots Torrie nearby... and suddenly, it all makes sense. Rolling outside, Carlito confronts Torrie, knowing it was her who put Dykstra's foot on the ropes, the crowd cheering him on, urging him to go for revenge. Torrie pleads and backs away, working her way around the ring, but 'Lito looks like a man possessed... but here comes Dykstra... to clobber 'Lito from behind! Once again Torrie plays her part, allowing Dykstra a chance to recover then strike. Quickly Dykstra rolls 'Lito back into the ring, then he nips up onto the apron and climbs upstairs... looking for the SKY HIGH LEGDROP... no! 'Lito shakes the ropes... and Dykstra has a painful landing on the top turnbuckle! And now Carlito starts to climb to the top rope, steadies himself… then SENDS DYKSTRA FLYING WITH A FRANKENSTEINER!! A breathtaking move from Carlito, and as he crawls over and drapes an arm across Kenny’s chest, it’s gotta be over…

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DYKSTRA SOMEHOW ROLLS A SHOULDER!

The crowd, just like Carlito, can’t believe it as Dykstra hangs in there. Dejected, ‘Lito takes an age to return to his feet, but when he does, the crowd rises once more, as with a look of sheer determination, Carlito waits for Kenny to rise, determined to end things right here… Dykstra staggers back to his feet… and here comes Carlito from behind… BACKSTABBER… NO! Dykstra senses ‘Lito coming, drilling him with a pair of back elbows. Dykstra goes for the Irish whip off the ropes… only for ‘Lito to jump to the second rope… SPRINGBOARD BACK ELBOW… BUT DYKSTRA COUNTERS… MID AIR JUMPING STO!! An incredible counter from Dykstra, and he hooks the leg, sure of victory…

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NO!!
CARLITO ROLLS HIS SHOULDER JUST IN TIME!!

Memphis erupts as Carlito shows an incredible level of guts to stay in the match. Dykstra can’t believe it, looking like he wants to cry, while on the outside, Torrie is furious, screaming and stomping her feet in anger… so much so that she jumps up onto the apron to protest the decision. Of course, this means the referee’s back is turned on the competitors, and Dykstra moves to take advantage of this as he heads to the corner… and UNTIES THE TURNBUCKLE PAD! Carlito is a sitting duck as Dykstra reaches down, drags him up, then runs ‘Lito to the corner… but Carlito puts a foot on the second rope, blocking it… THEN SMASHES KENNY FACE FIRST OFF THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE!! Torrie drops back down, looking distraught, as Dykstra’s legs are like jelly… then ‘Lito catches him from behind… BACKSTABBER! A SECOND BACKSTABBER!! It’s all over as Carlito goes for the cover…

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TORRIE DRAGS THE REFEREE FROM THE RING!!

What the…? Torrie grabs Jack Doan by the foot, drags him under the bottom rope, and once he recovers from the surprise… Doan calls for the bell!

Winner: Via Disqualification, Carlito @ 12.37
Therefore, STILL Intercontinental Champion, Kenny Dykstra


Lillian Garcia: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this contest, by way of disqualification… CARRRRLLLLLIIITTTTOOOOOOOO!

The announcement of ‘Lito as the winner draws a few cheers from the crowd, but of course, Lillian isn’t finished yet…

Lillian Garcia: However, as championships cannot change hands by way of disqualification... STILL, WWE Intercontinental Champion… KENNY DYYYKKKSSSSTTRRAAAAAAA!

And now the boos break out, with ‘Lito on his knees in the ring, head in his hands, realising what’s just happened. Carlito looks up the referee, desperate in despair, a pleading look in his eyes as he asks for another chance, a restart to the match, anything, but Doan remains defiant over throwing the match out, apologizing but confirming that the match is indeed over. Again Carlito’s head rests in his hands, while at the edge of the ring, Dykstra manages to roll outside, dropping down to his knees, but Torrie is right there, Intercontinental Title in one hand, while she tries to help Kenny back to his feet with the other. Dykstra grabs his neck and lower back in pain as he leans against Torrie, but as soon as his eyes see the gold, he quickly snatches it from her and holds it dearly to his chest.

With the help of Torrie, Dykstra is able to stumble his way around the ring, the pair looking head back up the aisle, ignoring the loud jeers from the fans. In the ring, Carlito is still on his knees, but a roar of approval breaks out as the camera focuses on him, and everyone in the arena sees that ‘Lito is shaking with rage, a furious scowl on his face as he watches Kenny and Torrie head for the exit... and the cheers grow louder as Carlito picks himself up, slides under the bottom rope and gives chase! Dykstra doesn’t have a clue what’s coming, until suddenly he’s grabbed from behind... then ‘Lito runs him back down the aisle... and tosses him back into the ring!

Dykstra crawls on his hands and knees, struggling to get back up, but as he heads to the ropes and tries to drag himself back to his feet, Carlito reaches down, scoops up his apple and takes a big bite... then just as Dykstra turns and staggers towards him... CARLITO SPITS APPLE CHUNKS ALL OVER KENNY! Dykstra flails wildly, blinded by the attack, leaving him wide open for... A SECOND BACKSTABBER!! It’s little consolation given the fact ‘Lito was robbed of the title, but the crowd are loving it as Carlito gains a measure of revenge on Dykstra. Looking down on the fallen champion, Carlito shakes his head and kicks the bottom rope in frustration, the crowd rising to give him a warm round of applause, but ‘Lito is still clearly annoyed at the fact that he was so close, only to have it taken away from him in such a cheap fashion.


Backstage we go, and it’s to the luxurious office of Mr. McMahon where we see ‘The Boss’ taking a few steps towards an intense looking Bobby Lashley, who sits on a basic wooden stool, wrapping black tape around his wrists even though he’s not scheduled to compete tonight. Shane McMahon is also in attendance, a concerned look on his face as he chews away at his nails, pacing back and forth in a tense manner...

Mr. McMahon: Shane... relax will ya’? You’ll wear a hole in the floor. Now Bobby, and I don’t wanna make any acquisitions here, but... that attack on John Cena last Monday night on Raw... you didn’t have anythin’ to do with that... did you?

Of course, we all know the answer to that one, and the smirk on Lashley’s face gives away the truth, even though Lashley shakes his head and says...

Bobby Lashley: Nothin’ to do with me, boss.

Returning to taping his wrists, Lashley's eyes lower to the floor, with an equally as big smirk now on Vince's face as he nods, satisfied with the answer...

Mr. McMahon: No. No of course not. I knew you had nothin' to do with it, Bobby. But uh, tonight... now that's a different story. Tonight, we need to make our presence known. Van Dam and Cena want a title match without any controversy? The hell with them. We're gonna be out there tonight, and we're gonna-

The sound of a door opening off-camera is heard, and a flustered looking Brooke Adams rushes in...

Brooke Adams: Mr. McMahon! Sorry to interrupt you, Sir, but uh, we have... visitors.

Mr. McMahon: Visitors?

All eyes and the camera now turn towards the door, and stepping into the room comes Linda McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley to a reasonable cheer from inside the arena. The two McMahon ladies wear sharp business attire, showing this visit isn't of the personal nature, a fact emphasised by the awkward smile shared between Linda and Vince...

Mr. McMahon: Linda, Stephanie... nice to see you.

Linda McMahon: Always a pleasure, Vince.

Uneasy pleasantries out of the way, Vince goes in search of answers...

Mr. McMahon: So, what brings you two here tonight? I mean, given your husband is just a few short hours away from a No Holds Barred Match, I'd have thought you'd be with Hunter right now, Steph. And Linda... there's no boardroom here, there's no meetings scheduled. What business do you have bein' here?

A look of concern for her husband's well-being adorns Stephanie's face as her Father speaks, but Linda remains defiant...

Linda McMahon: Well, to be honest with you Vince, I'm just here to watch the show. And since Hunter asked to prepare for his match alone, I thought I might as well invite Stephanie along to watch it with me. And then, Stephanie had a great idea. Why not you, me, Stephanie and Shane, and of course, Bobby and Brooke, all sit down and watch the show together, right here in your office.

There's another decent enough cheer from the fans, but Vince initially looks confused...

Linda McMahon: That way, I can keep an eye on you four, and I can make sure you don't get involved in any of the action tonight.

But now a look of annoyance and anger crosses Vince's face...

Mr. McMahon: Now wait a damn minute. I'm not-

Linda McMahon: Aw c'mon, Vince. It'll be just like old times. Let's just sit down, relax and watch the show, just like one big happy family.

Disgusted, Vince turns away and rubs his eyes, shaking his head...

Mr. McMahon: Family?

Linda McMahon: That's right. Family. I think we'll take that one over there, huh Stephanie?

And with yet another cheer, Linda and Stephanie head for one of the couches, the one closest to the door, sitting themselves down and getting comfortable. The camera now zooms in on Vince, who looks frustrated at the fact that once again, it appears his wife is about to put a spanner in the works.

But we now cut elsewhere, to see Todd Grisham standing by, ready for an interview...


Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... Jeff Hardy.

The camera pans and a loud pop is heard as the always popular Jeff Hardy steps into the frame, giving a quick nod hello in Grisham's direction...

Todd Grisham: Jeff, you’re issues with Randy Orton have escalated over the last few months, from the Rated-RKO assault of you before the Royal Rumble, to the confrontations you had in the run up to WrestleMania, to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and of course, the night after WrestleMania when Orton smashed the briefcase off your skull during your match together. Jeff, it feels like by hook or by crook, Orton always seems to get the better of you. What can you do differently to change all that tonight, with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line?

Pausing to think, Hardy purses his lips and stares at Grisham for a few seconds before he responds...

Jeff Hardy: Y’know somethin’ Todd? I think you’re givin’ Randy Orton way too much credit. I mean, I’ll give it to ‘im, when it comes to attackin’ guys from behind backstage, or smacking a briefcase of their skull when their back’s turned, he’s probably the best in the world at doin’ that. Orton’s great at takin’ every shortcut he can find. But that ain’t me. And that ain’t gonna happen again tonight. Orton knows there’s too much at stake tonight for him to try somethin’ like that, and that’s gonna work in my favour, and you better believe I’m gonna take advantage of it.

Quick pop from inside the arena, with Hardy again pausing to ponder his words...

Jeff Hardy: But y’know, at WrestleMania, I gave everythin’ I had to grab that briefcase, and Orton... he snuck in at the last split second, and he snatched it away. So maybe tonight... I gotta take a page outta his book. Maybe tonight I gotta use some of his tactics, and do whatever it takes to win. Maybe tonight... I gotta play Randy Orton... at his own game.

Grisham flashes Jeff an inquisitive look, but Hardy presses on...

Jeff Hardy: I know that when there’s a level playin’ field, I can beat Randy Orton fair and square, one on one, in the centre of that ring. But... if Orton ain’t gonna give me a level playin’ field...

Jeff nods confidently...

Jeff Hardy: Then I’m gonna fight fire with fire... and Randy’s gonna get burned. And then that briefcase... it’s comin’ home with me.

A much louder pop breaks out as Jeff allows himself a brief smile, before he turns on his heels and heads off, Grisham watching him go, while we cut away.

Back into the arena for...

*THIS FIRE BURNS...*

A big time pop as The Straight Edge Saints emerge, with Kelly Kelly leading out a confident looking CM Punk and Nick Dinsmore...


Lillian Garcia: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and it is for the WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS! Introducing first, they are the challengers. Being accompanied to the ring by Kelly Kelly, at a combined weight of 445lbs... NICK DINSMORE... CM PUNK... THE STRAIGHT – EDGE – SAINNNTTTSSSSSS!

As Punk drops down to a knee, Dinsmore looks to fire up the crowd, with Punk then tapping the imaginary watch on his wrist, holding it against Kelly's ear, before the pair yell out “It's clobberin' time!” and the trio head down the aisle...

Joey Styles: The tag team division on Raw is really startin' to heat up, and here comes one of the most impressive young teams in recent memory. They've only been together a few months, but CM Punk and Nick Dinsmore have really been turnin' heads, and they fully deserve their first World Tag Team Titles opportunity here tonight.

Jim Ross: This is the pay per view debut for The Straight Edge Saints, but like you said Joey, they've already impressed a lotta people here on Raw.

Jerry Lawler: They've definitely impressed me. I'd even go as far as to say I think we might be lookin' at the next World Tag Team Champions right there.

*WORLD'S GREATEST...*

Some real strong heat as The World’s Greatest Tag Team make their entrance, with Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas decked out in matching blue tracksuits, the champions looking as confident as ever as they slowly make their way down to the ring...


Lillian Garcia: And their opponents... weighing in at a combined weight of 497lbs... they are the World Tag Team Champions... SHELTON BENJAMIN... CHARLIE HAAS... THE WORLD'S - GREATEST - TAG TEAMMMM!

As always, it’s Benjamin who does the trash talking, first with the fans and then he throws some abuse Punk’s way, still clearly smarting from his defeat last Monday on Raw. Haas steps through the ropes, but even he can’t resist the chance to taunt Dinsmore, simply holding his title belt in the face of the challenger...

Jim Ross: Haas and Benjamin have long been sayin’ that their goal, their mission to re-establish tag team wrestlin’ in the WWE, and they did just that when they beat the WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans at WrestleMania. But tonight’s a different story, their titles are on the line, and they’re up against a young team hungry for gold.

Joey Styles: Well certainly Haas and Benjamin represented Raw in winning fashion at WrestleMania. But you have to wonder, coukd the level of arrogance shown by these two to the other teams on Raw be what leads to the end of their title reign? They always say nobody on Raw can compete with them, well we’re about to find out.

Jerry Lawler: I might not necessarily agree with their attitude and their approach to things, but I gotta hand it to ‘em, these two have been the gold standard as far as tag team wrestlin’ goes for a while now. Even when they split up, there weren’t many teams who looked better than The World’s Greatest Tag Team. This is gonna be a huge test for Punk and Dinsmore, but I think they’re gonna do it, and then we’ll see a real surge in tag team action on Raw.






World Tag Team Championships Match:
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Straight Edge Saints

Punk and Benjamin step forward to kick things off, continuing hostilities from last Monday's Raw, the two circling the ring before snapping into a tie up. After a bit of jockeying, Punk wrings on Benjamin's arm, only for Shelton to use an impressive handstand to transition into a hammerlock of his own. Benjamin wrenches on the arm, but Punk strikes with an elbow to the face, then breaks free by rolling forward into a snapmare takeover. With Shelton in a seated position, Punk quickly charges for the ropes... and rebounds with a stiff kick to the spine! Benjamin grimaces, Punk has him back up and goes for the Irish whip... Shelton reverses... then avoids Punk with a leapfrog... but can't avoid Punk as he comes off the ropes with a RUNNING CROSSBODY! Punk stays on for the early cover... 1... 2... Benjamin kicks out.

Looking to quicken the pace, Punk yanks Benjamin up, then he fires him off the ropes... only for Shelton to run Punk down with a shoulderblock! After standing over Punk for a few seconds, Shelton comes off the ropes... put Punk rolls over onto his stomach as Shelton runs over him... then bursts to his feet... and catches Shelton with an armdrag hiptoss! Both men are back up and charge at each other, with Punk going for a headlock... but Shelton slips free... then drops down into a BACKSLIDE! 1... 2... Punk kicks out, both men quickly back on their feet, where Benjamin drills a knee to the midsection, then rattles off a pair of hard right hands, before he goes for another Irish whip... but this time it's Punk who reverses... right into a TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER! Benjamin is down, and Punk hooks the leg...

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BENJAMIN KICKS OUT STRONGLY!

Looking to stay in control, Punk drags Benjamin up and strikes with another two kicks to the thighs, but on the third kick, Benjamin catches the foot, then uses a legsweep to take Punk down. Hanging onto the leg, Benjamin drags Punk towards the heels corner, then drops down with a grapevine to hold Punk in place as he rea for ches out and tags Haas. With Punk a sitting duck, Haas lines him up... and drops a knee right across the throat! Benjamin exits the ring, leaving Punk coughing and spluttering, with Haas dropping another two knees across the chest, before he starts laying in with stomps to the body. Pulling Punk up, Haas shoves him against the ropes, where more knees land to the midsection. A pair of uppercuts land on Punk's jaw, before he's been fired off the opposite side... but Haas swings and misses with a clothesline... and Punk keeps running... to score with a JUMPING LEG LARIAT! Punk is back up quickly, ready and waiting to catch Haas with an armdrag, hanging on for a standing armbar. Punk yanks Haas up, wrenches on the arm, then heads for the corner where he makes the tag to Dinsmore.

As Dinsmore enters, Punk hangs onto the arm, opening Haas up, allowing Dinsmore to drill Haas with a shot to the ribs. A pair of uppercuts causes Haas to stumble to the corner, where another uppercut lands, before Dinsmore goes for an Irish whip across the ring… Haas hits the turnbuckle hard and stumbles forward… right into a big BACK BODY DROP! Dinsmore then quickly turns and comes off the ropes… SNAP LEGDROP connects! Haas sits up, but Dinsmore yanks him back down for the cover… 1… 2… Haas easily kicks out. Dinsmore is up first, and he reaches down to bring Haas back to a vertical base, only for Haas to score with a surprise knee to the midsection. A stiff right hand follows to the face, then an uppercut which knocks Dinsmore down to a knee, allowing Haas to then lift a knee right off the jaw. The impact causes Dinsmore to stumble towards the heels corner, where Haas tags in Benjamin. Before he exits the ring though, Haas yanks Dinsmore up, trapping his arms to hold him open… and Benjamin drills a boot to the gut. With Nick doubled over, Shelton lands a forearm to the back of the head, then he takes Dinsmore towards a neutral corner… and SMASHES HIM FACE FIRST OFF THE TOP TURNBUCKLE! With Dinsmore against the corner, Benjamin winds up for a big right hand… Nick blocks it… and lands a right of his own! Backing Shelton from the corner, Dinsmore lands a trio of rights, before he doubles Benjamin over with a kick to the gut… then scores with a SWINGING NECKBREAKER!

Dinsmore takes a few seconds to recover, before he grabs Shelton and shoves him towards the face corner, where Punk tags back in. Like Haas, Dinsmore lingers, tagging Benjamin with a forearm, spinning him around… right into a ROUNDHOUSE KICK from Punk! The challengers then go for a double Irish whip to the corner, and when Benjamin hits the turnbuckle, Punk races in… KNEE TO THE FACE! And then he fires Shelton from the corner at Nick… into a SPINNING SPINEBUSTER! Dinsmore rolls from the ring, and Punk drops down for the cover, but he has to wait for the ref to usher Dinsmore from the ring before we get the 1… 2… Shelton kicks out. Looking to stay on the attack, Punk nips back up and as Benjamin makes it back to his knees, the champion tastes a stiff kick to the chest… but then darts up… and catches Punk with a JAWBREAKER! Still reeling from the offense he suffered, Benjamin grabs a handful of hair and tosses Punk to the heel corner, where Haas gets the tag and again shows off his aggressive side with more boots to the midsection and forearms to the back of the head. Haas then looks to fire Punk to a neutral corner, but as he races in, Punk uses the ropes to elevate himself… only for Haas to catch Punk on his shoulders… then drop him into a GUTBUSTER! Punk grabs his ribs and kicks his legs in pain, but Haas wastes no time in going for the cover…

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PUNK KICKS OUT!

Sensing he has Punk hurt, Haas now looks to target the midsection as he aims a few stomps into the stomach, then drops a few knees, before Haas positions Punk's head on the bottom rope, grabbing the top rope to add extra leverage as he drives his boot into Punk's throat. After being reprimanded by the ref, Haas grabs both of Punk's feet... then CATAPULTS PUNK THROAT FIRST OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE! Punk coughs and splutters as he writhes on the mat, while Haas gives him no chance to recover as Punk is dragged back towards the champions' corner where Benjamin gets the tag. Before Shelton steps in, Haas goes to throw another right hand... only for Punk to block it... and fire back with a right of his own! Fighting from the corner, Punk drills Shelton with an elbow to the face... then another right for Haas... another elbow to Benjamin... Haas charges back in... but Punk gets a boot up... no! Haas catches the foot, spins him to the side so Punk is sat on the middle rope... which allows Benjamin to TAKE PUNK'S HEAD OFF WITH A KICK TO THE FACE! The impact causes Punk to fall to the canvas, with Shelton now stepping in, dragging Punk to the centre of the ring and then dropping down for the...

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PUNK ROLLS A SHOULDER!

The camera shows a concerned look on the face of Kelly Kelly, but the champions waste no time in pressing home their advantage, as Shelton again lays in with more stomps to the throat and chest. Yanking Punk up, Benjamin is caught by surprise as Punk tags him with a forearm to the face, but as Punk stumbles towards his corner and reaches out for the tag, Shelton grabs him at the last second... and twists into a FALLING NECKBREAKER! With his eyes firmly locked on Dinsmore, Shelton hooks the leg... 1... 2... Punk stays alive! With a glare towards the ref and handful of hair, Shelton has Punk back on his feet, hooking him up for a suplex... but Punk blocks it with his foot. Again Benjamin tries it, this time getting Punk up in the air... but Punk wriggles and kicks free, landing behind Benjamin... kick to the midsection... then Punk goes for a SUNSET FLIP... but Benjamin keeps his balance... and tags Haas! Punk completes the sunset flip, has the pinning predicament... but there's no count as Haas enters from behind... and smacks another stiff kick to the spine! Just like that, the crowd are deflated once more, and Haas goes right back to work as he drops a knee across the throat. Haas yanks Punk up, and casually tosses him through the ropes, Punk smacking off the floor. Haas then grabs the attention of both Dinsmore and the ref as he starts trash talking Dinsmore, with provides the distraction for Benjamin to drop down, scoop Punk up... then DROP HIM THROAT FIRST ACROSS THE BARRICADE! Textbook tag action from the champions, with Benjamin quickly rolling Punk back in then nipping up onto the apron. Haas looks to press the advantage home as he has Punk up, then fires him off the ropes... into a FLAPJACK... DROPPED ACROSS THE TOP ROPE! Looking out of it, Punk's limp body just hangs on the ropes, and the champions work quickly as Haas tags Benjamin, then lifts up Punk's legs, holding him in position as Shelton comes off the ropes... leapfrogs Haas... and brings all his weight CRASHING DOWN ON PUNK! Benjamin hooks the leg, convinced it's over, but he has to wait as Haas is ushered from the ring before we hear...

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PUNK GETS A FOOT ON THE ROPE!

Frustration is now starting to set in for the champion, with Benjamin making a quick tag to Haas, a look of determination on Charlie's face as he looks to end things. Haas yanks Punk up, then delivers a few more forearms to the back of the neck, before he hooks Punk up... and goes for a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX... but Punk counters in mid air... TORNADO DDT! Both men are down and out, neither man showing signs of life, until eventually Punk surfaces, crawling towards his corner. Haas manages to do the same, but the fact that his corner is close means he's able to tag in Benjamin... who races across the ring... and sends Dinsmore flying off with the apron with a forearm to the face! Benjamin quickly turns back to Punk, landing stomp after stomp to the chest, before he shoves Punk to the corner, then lays in with more boots to the midsection. Grabbing the wrist, Shelton goes for an Irish whip across the ring... Punk hits the turnbuckle hard... and Shelton lines him up... SHELTON SPLASH! Benjamin crushes Punk against the corner, then turns and comes off the ropes... as Punk stumbles out... into PAYDIRT... NO! Punk hangs on, and forces Shelton onto his shoulders... GO-TO-SLEEP! Punk levels Benjamin, but he's too exhausted to make the cover, and now both men are down...

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Punk is first to make a move, inching his way towards his corner, the raucous crowd urging him on...

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There's little sign of life from Benjamin, despite Haas pleading with his partner to make the tag...

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Benjamin manages to sit up, looking over his shoulder... but it's too late... as Punk tags in Dinsmore! Nick races into the ring, bowling Shelton over with a shoulderblock, and he keeps on running to knock Haas off the apron! Dinsmore turns back to Shelton, snapping off a pair of rights, before he goes for the Irish whip... right into a POWERSLAM! Haas storms into the ring, but Dinsmore ducks a clothesline attempt... then hooks up Haas from behind... RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX! The force of the move causes Haas to roll under the bottom rope, allowing Dinsmore to turn his attentions back to Benjamin. Right hands back Benjamin to the ropes, then he's fired across... into a SNAP OVERHEAD BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX! The fans are alive as Dinsmore goes for the cover...

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BENJAMIN ROLLS THE SHOULDER!

Sensing the end could be near, Dinsmore storms back to his feet, calling for Benjamin to stumble up so he can go for the Irish whip... but Shelton reverses... and from the outside, Haas grabs Dinsmore by the foot! Putting on the breaks, Dinsmore sees Haas jumping up onto the apron... and sends him flying with a right hand! But when Dinsmore turns, Shelton is ready and waiting... to NAIL THE SUPERKICK... NO! Dinsmore grabs the foot, traps the leg, takes Shelton down, steps, twists and sits... TEXAS CLOVERLEAF!! Dinsmore locks on his submission move! Frantically Shelton scratches and claws for the ropes, but eh titles are in serious jeopardy as Benjamin is trapped in the centre of the ring... but Haas saves the day as he hammers Dinsmore from behind! The crowd jeer as Haas saves his partner, but here comes Punk, striking with elbows to the chest and kicks to the body that back Haas to the ropes. Punk fires Haas across, then charges in... STEP UP KNEE TO THE FACE... and Punk hangs on... BULLDOG! Haas is down and out, and now the challengers turns their attentions back to Benjamin. Dinsmore reaches down, pulls Shelton back up, then as Punk heads outside and climbs to the top rope, Dinsmore takes Shelton up on his shoulders... and the crowd is electric as they all know what's coming next... DOOMSDAY DROPKICK... NO! Before Punk can fly, Haas drops Dinsmore with a CHOP BLOCK! Dinsmore and Benjamin have a nasty landing, and the distraction causes Punk to pause, allowing Haas to nip up to the second rope and land a few rights to the midsection. Haas then heads to the rope, hooks Punk up... SUPERPLEX... NO! Punk desperately fights it, drilling rights to the gut, breaking Haas' grip... then Punk shoves Haas to the canvas! Punk now stands on the top rope, ready to fly, the crowd on their feet... FLYING ELBOW DROP! Punk connects, pushing himself off of Haas, allowing Haas to roll from the bottom rope, but as Punk stands back up... he's levelled with the DRAGON WHIP!

Benjamin strikes out of nowhere, knocking Punk from the ring, and now all that remains is Benjamin and Dinsmore. On the canvas, Nick clutches his knee, clearly suffering from the impact of the chop block, leaving a wide eyed Shelton on his feet, seeing a prime chance to finish things. Slowly Dinsmore starts to rise, and Benjamin makes his move... going for PAYDIRT... NO! Again it's countered, this time with Dinsmore simply shoving Benjamin down to the mat, his head smacking off the canvas... and now Dinsmore grabs the leg, steps, twists and sits one more time... TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! FOR THE SECOND TIME DINSMORE LOCKS IN HIS SUBMISSION HOLD!! Memphis is on it's feet as Dinsmore looks to win it for The Saints... but on the outside, Haas has grabbed one of the World Tag Team Championship belts and is heading for the ring... only for Kelly Kelly to grab it off him! Furious, Haas gets in Kelly's face, screaming at her, and of course this grabs the attention of the referee, who heads to the ropes... meaning he doesn't see BENJAMIN TAPPING OUT! SHELTON TAPS, THE MATCH SHOULD BE OVER! Wondering why there's no bell, Dinsmore heads to the ropes, sees the situation, and shouts down at Haas. Haas jumps up onto the apron and swings a right hand... Dinsmore blocks it... and scores a right of his own, sending Haas down! Nick now turns back to the action... where Benjamin has stumbled back to his feet... and catches Dinsmore unaware... T-BONE SUPLEX!! Benjamin strikes, crawls over to hook the leg...

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PUNK DESPERATELY TRIES TO CRAWL INTO THE RING
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BUT HAAS GRABS HIM BY THE FOOT
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!!!

Winners: And STILL World Tag Team Champions, The World’s Greatest Tag Team @ 13.28

Heartache for The Saints as Benjamin strikes from out of nowhere and grabs the win for the champions. Punk finally slides back into the ring, but it’s too late, as Shelton rolls outside and shares a hug with Haas, leaving a dejected Punk to try and bring Dinsmore back around. On the floor, Haas and Benjamin snatch their titles away from the referee, Haas planting a kiss square on his, while Benjamin turns back to the ring and holds the belt in the air, shouting “We told you. We’re the greatest!”, much to the disgust of Punk. Kelly Kelly helps to bring some life back into Dinsmore, who slowly pushes himself up off the canvas, but as Haas and Benjamin back their way up the aisle, Punk can be seen shaking his head, vowing “This isn’t over!”, before we cut away.

And it’s back to the interview set we go to see Maria standing by...


Maria: Hi! I'm Maria! And ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time, he is the WWE Champion... ROB – VAN – DAM!

The loudest pop of the night so far welcomes the arrival of Rob Van Dam as the champ steps into the frame. Van Dam is not his usual laid back self, the calm demeanour replaced with a much more intense look, no doubt a combination of the importance of the occasion and the fact that ‘RVD’ enters Backlash off the back of a defeat last Monday on Raw...

Maria: Now Rob, ever since you were challenged to a WWE Title Match by John Cena, the two of you have fought to make that match happen. You've said that the perfect way to legitimise your title win is to beat Cena, without any controversy. But after Cena was attacked last Monday on Raw by an unknown assailant, and we've yet to find out if he's 100%... do you think you can still get what you want?

Van Dam shakes his head and lets out a sigh, clearly disappointed and annoyed with what happened last Monday night...

Rob Van Dam: Yeah well, I’m kinda startin’ to see how things are gonna go. I say I wanna face any challenger, John Cena steps up… and Vince McMahon decides I’m gonna have to do it his way against his guy. And then, when I finally do get my match with Cena, and I said I was lookin’ for a match with no controversy, with no excuses… Vince and Lashley decide I’m not getting’ that either. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think I’m gonna get what I want. But that’s somethin’ I’ve gotten pretty used to this last month.

Ruefully, all ‘RVD’ can do is shrug his shoulders and shake his head once more…

Rob Van Dam: But... I’m not gonna sit and whine and complain about it. I know that even if he’s not 100%, John Cena’s still gonna be a helluva challenge. And that’s what ‘RVD’ as WWE Champion is all about. Takin’ on the biggest challengers... and beatin’ ‘em.

A nice pop from the crowd as an intense Van Dam stares intently into the camera...

Rob Van Dam: But I just wanna let Vince, Shane... and most importantly, Lashley know, that if they keep stickin’ their noses in my business... then I’m gonna start makin’ a few challenges of my own.

And another pop, which draws a slight smile to Van Dam’s face...

Rob Van Dam: As far as concerned, Vince and Lashley, they’re nothin’ more than a distraction right now. A distraction I really don’t need, dude. I mean, it’s hard enough tryin’ to be John Cena, without ‘The Boss’ and his hired good tryin’ to get involved. So right now, I’m focusin’ everythin’ I got on John... and then I’ll deal with Lashley down the line.

’RVD’ looks off camera for a second, before he quickly turns his ehad and stares straight down the lens...

Rob Van Dam: All I want is the chance for me and John to go out there, have a great match, and tear the house down. And we’re gonna do that whether Vince likes it or not. Tonight is one night where I’m finally gonna get things my way. And that means me and Cena, one on one... and when it’s all said and done, there’s gonna one guy left standin’ as the WWE Champion...

Van Dam draws his thumbs above his head and says...

Rob Van Dam: ROB – VAN – DAM!

The crowd join in with the chant and then let out another loud cheer as Van Dam wraps things up, offering a simple smile in Maria’s direction before he makes his exit.

And we waste little time in lingering on Maria as the shot quickly cuts away to a split screen that shows us the differing methods of preparation being used by Triple H and Shawn Michaels ahead of their match tonight. On the left, ‘The Game’ finishes taping up his knuckles, then steps up from his chair and heads for the corner of his locker-room where he grabs a bottle of water, takes a sip, then starts to perform a series of squat thrusts. On the right, there’s no emotion from Michaels as he sits in a darkened room, hands clasped infront of him, eyes closed, head lowered, clearly wanting to be along with his thoughts right now...


Jim Ross: There you see ‘em folks. The two men set to compete in tonight’s No Holds Barred Match. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, former best friends, now enemies, engaged in what’s bein’ dubbed ‘The Final Battle’.

Jerry Lawler: They say you can tell a lot about a man by lookin’ into his eyes. And the fact that Shawn Michaels has his eyes closed right now says everythin’ you need to know about that man over these last few months. He’s been cold as ice, he’s given absolutely nothin’ away. Honestly, when I think about the Shawn Michaels I used to know... this Shawn Michaels is just downright scary. Who knows what he’s capable of tonight?

Joey Styles: Yeah but look at the focus and the intensity in the eyes of Triple H. After all Shawn Michaels has done to him, after all that’s been said, after Michaels vowed to end Triple H’s career, after Michaels brought his family into it, that right there is a man determined to extract revenge. I don’t doubt that Shawn Michaels believes some higher power is guidin’ him into battle, but I don’t think that’s gonna be enough given what ‘The Game’ is set to unleash tonight.

Jim Ross: It’s gonna be an absolute war folks. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, a long history together, a great friendship, a storied rivalry, and it all comes to a head, right here at Backlash.

And after a few seconds silence...

*PAPARAZZI...*

The red carpet rolls out and the cameraman scramble for position as Melina walks out arm in arm with Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters, the trio stopping at the start of the carpet to provide a series of poses for the photographers...


Lillian Garcia: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and it is a Six Person Intergender Tag Team Match! Making their way to the ring, weighing in at a combined weight of 605lbs, the team of MELINA, ‘THE MASTERPIECE’ CHRIS MASTERS AND JOHHNNNYYY NITTTRRROOOOO!

With the posing done, the trio make their way down the aisle, looking extremely confident of victory tonight, no doubt due to the win Masters and Melina have picked up in recent weeks...

Jim Ross: Well here come three individuals for whom 2007 has not been a banner year thus far. After a string of defeats, Melina brought Chris Masters and Johnny Nitro together as a team, only for the duo to lose every match they’ve competed in this year. But after Melina’s victory over Natalya two weeks ago, and Masters’ win over Harry Smith last Monday night, perhaps things are finally startin’ to come together for these three.

Joey Styles: I’m sure those wins will have given this team a much needed confidence boost. But those two wins have came in singles competition, and it’s in the tag team division were Nitro and Masters have really struggled. Something just doesn’t seem to be clicking between those two.

Jerry Lawler: If Johnny Nitro beat Tyson Kidd in a singles match tomorrow, nobody would be surprised. But the way they’re goin’ right now, I’d consider Masters and Nitro beatin’ Smith and Kidd a real upset. Maybe the presence of Melina in this match is gonna make all the difference. Maybe she can lead these two to a much needed win.

*HART BEAT...*

Despite still being relative newcomers, it’s a very welcome as The Hart Legacy make their entrance. As always, Natalya Niedhart leads the way, with both Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd bringing up the rear...


Lillian Garcia: And their opponents. From Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Weighing in at a combined weight of 580lbs, NATALYA NIEDHART, TYSON KIDD AND HARRY SMITH, THE HART LEGGGAAACCCYYYY!

As the trio approach the ring, Harry and Tyson push Natalya up onto the apron, and then the trio step through the ropes. After they head for the corners and pose for the fans, the three drop down to the canvas, and of course Melina is right there to taunt and throw some trash talk their way, especially at Natalya...

Joey Styles: This is the first time on pay per view for The Hart Legacy, and while I don’t have any doubts about them rising to the occasion, you have to wonder what kind of effect those defeats to Melina and Masters are gonna have on them.

Jerry Lawler: I know Harry Smith was particularly disappointed at losing in the United Kingdom last Monday night, but I think he’ll use that as motivation right here. The Hart’s have only been in the WWE for a couple of months, but they’ve already picked up some pretty impressive wins, and I think they’ll get another one right here.

Jim Ross: I think there’s gotta be nerves for this young team, especially their first time on pay per view, but given we saw The Straight Edge Saints lose earlier in the broadcast, this could be a real chance for either of these teams to put themselves in line for the next shot at the champions. Which team handles the pressure best is gonna go a long way to gettin’ the win.






Six Person Intergender Tag Team Match:
The Hart Legacy vs. Johnny Nitro, Chris Masters and Melina

The two powerhouses kick things off as Masters and Smith both step forward, the two inching towards each other from their corners, but before they can tie up, Masters calls for a test of strength. Accepting the challenge, Smith offers his hand, and the two lock up... but before the second hand can come together, Masters drills Smith with a boot to the midsection. A pair of forearms to the back of the head follow, before Masters goes for an Irish whip... only for Smith to bowl him over with a big shoulderblock! Smith quickly gets Masters back up, and fires him off the ropes... BIG BOOT to the face! Again Smith works quickly to get Masters back up, grabbing the wrist, wrenching the arm around his head, before tagging in Kidd. With Smith holding Masters in place, Tyson slings to the top rope... then lands a SPRINGBOARD DOUBLE AXE HANDLE across the arm! Masters drops to his knees, and before Kidd can continue the attack, Masters scrambles to his corner to tag in Nitro.

Nitro bursts into the ring and races at Kidd... who rocks Nitro with an armdrag! Both men back up... another armdrag sends Nitro flying, but this time Kidd hangs on for a standing armbar. Nitro forces himself back to his feet, backing the pair to the ropes, before he shoves Kidd off the opposite side and goes for a clothesline... but Kidd avoids the contact with a baseball slide... then smacks Nitro with a ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Nitro is down, but makes it back to a knee as Kidd comes off the ropes... LOW ANGLE DROPKICK! Kidd smacks the side of the head, goes for the cover...

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MASTERS BREAKS THE COUNT!

A stomp to the back of Kidd's head saves Nitro, but this only prompts Smith to storm the ring... and clobber Masters with a forearm! Smith now lays in with right hands against the ropes, before he backs up... and CLOTHESLINES MASTERS OVER THE TOP ROPE! Now Kidd looks for an Irish whip off the ropes on Nitro... but Nitro reverses... Kidd hangs on, and Nitro charges... BACK BODY DROP SENDS NITRO FLYING TO THE FLOOR! Melina screams in horror as her team look in trouble early on, and she drops down and pulls Masters and Nitro together in an attempt to rally the troops. As Melina speaks to her team, they don't see that Tyson Kidd has climbed to the top rope... Melina screams and runs to safety... as KIDD TAKES OUT BOTH MASTERS AND NITRO WITH A MOONSAULT!! The crowd pop for the high flying antics of Kidd, who's quickly back on his feet and rolling Nitro into the ring, crawling in to hook the leg...

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NITRO KICKS OUT!

Looking to press home the advantage, Kidd yanks Nitro up and starts striking with kicks to the thighs, before he looks to send Nitro off the ropes… but Nitro hangs on near his corner… and tags in… Melina! Suffering from the offence he’s absorbed, Nitro steps through the ropes and ushers Melina in, the diva tentatively stepping through the ropes. Although by the rules of the match he doesn’t have to, Kidd naturally tags Natalya into the match, who races at Melina… DOUBLE LEG TAKEDOWN! Natalya takes Melina down and hammers her with forearms to the face, before Natalya rises and waits for Melina to stumble back up... so she can hook her up for a SUPLEX… but Melina manages to drive Natalya to the heels corner… where Nitro makes a blind tag! Melina quickly lets go as Nitro slips into the ring… leaving Niedhart trapped in the corner! Masters and Melina laugh and smirk as Nitro lines Natalya up… but when he pounces, Natalya rolls past him… then dives to tag Tyson Kidd!

Nitro turns too late, and when he chases after, he runs right into Kidd… RUNNING DROPKICK! Nitro struggles back up against the ropes, where once again Kidd unloads with kicks to the thighs, before he goes for the Irish whip… but Nitro reverses… Masters low bridges the top rope… and KIDD TUMBLES ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR! A hard landing for Kidd as he smacks off the floor, the cheap tactics drawing Smith and Natalya into the ring to protest… which allows Masters to drop down, scoop Kidd up… and DRIVE HIM SPINE FIRST INTO THE RINGPOST! Kidd cries out in pain, but Masters doesn’t let go, holding Kidd up then rolling him back into the ring. With Smith and Niedhart finally departing, Nitro tags in Masters, who looks to do damage to the spine as he takes Kidd up… and down with a BACKBREAKER! Masters arrogantly turns towards Melina and smiles, with Melina loudly clapping, and Masters continues the attack as he drags Kidd up and starts hammering him with forearms to the small of the back, before he hooks Kidd up… and takes him high in the air… and holds him in place… for a long DELAYED VERTICAL SUPLEX! Tyson crashes to the mat, and Masters goes for the cover…

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KIDD KICKS OUT!

From the kickout, Masters drags Kidd towards the heels corner and tags Nitro, who yanks Kidd up then holds him in place... allowing MELINA TO SLAP HIM ACROSS THE FACE! And straight from this, Nitro hits the STO backbreaker... and transitions into a RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP! Another cover... 1... 2... Kidd kicks out again! Nitro quickly tags in Masters, who goes right back to work on the lower back, again landing forearms to the spine, the last one knocking Kidd down so his throat sits upon the bottom rope. Masters then drops his knee on the lower back and shoves Kidd's head forward, applying pressure to the spine and choking Tyson at the same time, until finally Masters is forced to relent. Another tag to Nitro, but Masters hangs around to hit a backbreaker, keeping Kidd across his knee... as Nitro flies over the ropes and nails a SLINGSHOT ELBOWDROP! Kidd is folded up like an accordion, but Nitro rolls him over and goes for the victory...

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KIDD ROLLS A SHOULDER!!

Tyson barely hangs in there, much to Melina's frustration, but Masters wastes no time in calling for the tag and stepping in. Masters pulls Tyson up, and quickly fires him off the ropes... right into a BEARHUG!! Masters traps Kidd, violently swinging him back and forth, arms gripped tight around the waist, trying to squeeze the life out of his opponent. On the apron, worried looks are on the faces of Smith and Natalya as they watch Kidd slowly drifting away. Masters ups the pressure, squeezing tighter and wrenching back and forth once more, looking to make Kidd pass out from the pain. Just as it looks like Kidd is done for, the crowd start to rally, making their voices heard, and with some encouragement from his partners, Kidd starts to stir, bringing his hands up, trying to break the hold with a pair of right hands... no use, Masters hangs in there... so Kidd swings his arms up, wraps them around Masters' head, then kicks his legs... TORNADO DDT! A great counter as Kidd breaks the hold by driving Masters into the canvas, and now slowly both men are crawling towards their corners... Masters tags in Nitro... but here comes Harry Smith!

Smith bounds into the ring... and runs right through Nitro with a BODYBLOCK! Nitro bounces back up... RUNNING CLOTHESLINE puts him down again! Here comes Masters... but Smith catches him... BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! The referee looks to get Masters out of there, but this allows Melina to sneak into the ring, and from behind... LOW BLOW TO SMITH! Harry crumples in pain, but here comes Natalya... TACKLING MELINA TO THE MAT! Niedhart unloads with a flurry of rights and lefts, forcing Melina to roll from the ring to save herself! Back on her feet, Natalya calls for Melina to get back in, but as she looks down on the floor, she doesn't see Masters sneak up from behind... MASTERLOCK!! MASTERLOCK LOCKED IN ON NATALYA! The crowd boo loudly as Masters violently swings Niedhart's body back and forth, but here comes Tyson Kidd... RUNNING ENZUIGIRI! The impact of boot to skull causes Masters to release the hold and stumble towards the ropes... DROPKICK FROM NATALYA SENDS HIM OUTSIDE! But now here comes Nitro, spinning Natalya around... SLAP TO THE FACE! Niedhart slaps the taste right out of Nitro's mouth, spinning him around, right into the grip of Harry Smith... who fires Nitro off the ropes... and takes him up with a bearhug... just as Kidd slingshots onto the top rope then flies... HART ATTACK!! Kidd nails the deadly finishing move, and it's he who hooks Nitro's leg...

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!!!

Winners: The Hart Legacy @ 07.19

A great win for The Harts as Kidd puts Nitro away, quickly pushing off him and getting back to his feet where he, Smith and Niedhart celebrate with a hug, while on the outside, Melina screams and shrieks in fury at another defeat. The trio have their hands raised in victory to a nice cheer from the crowd, before they head for the ropes and make their exit, slapping hands with the fans as they head up the aisle. Back in the ring, Melina and Masters have re-entered the ring, with Melina helping Nitro back to his feet. Masters has a seriously pissed off look on his face as he stands with his hands on his hips, not offering any help. As Nitro shakes away the cobwebs, he sees Masters staring back at him, confusion on Nitro’s face... but the confusion is soon cleared up as Masters shoves Nitro’s chest! Nitro recoils and quickly squares up to Masters, the two arguing with each other, both men shouting and pointing in the other’s face. Melina shouts for calm and tries to separate the two, and she finally manages it as she forces herself between them.

Just as it looks the teammates are about to come to blows, Melina urges them to stop, and it seems to work as although both men are still fuming, they step away, with no punches thrown. Nitro opens his arms and shouts “What’s your problem!?” at Masters, but ‘The Masterpiece’ is clearly too angry to answer as he simply shakes his head... then he turns and starts to walk away. Instinctively, Melina tries to grab Masters by the arm to stop him, but Masters simply shakes her off and heads for the ropes, stepping through them and dropping down to the floor. Melina heads to the ropes, pleading with Masters to return, and Masters stops in his tracks and stares back at her, clearly thinking things over. Wracked with anger and confusion, Masters stops and wipes the sweat from his brow, hands on hips again, clearly thinking things over... and then he nods his head slowly. Melina quickly urges Nitro to follow her outside, the trio now reunited on the floor, where Masters offers Nitro a handshake as a way of apology... and after hesitating for a few seconds, Nitro accepts. The crowd boo, as it seems Melina has managed to avoid the breaking up of the unit, but as the trio begin to head backstage, there is clearly work to be done to ease the tension between Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters.


*Video Package*

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*


Back into the arena to the smiling faces of our announce team...

Jim Ross: Yes folks, the King of the Ring tournament is back, and it all kicks off tomorrow night, live on Raw. 32 men will enter the qualifying round, 16 from Raw, 16 from SmackDown, if ya’ make it to the final eight, you’re guaranteed a trip to Saturday Night’s Main Event on June 2nd in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jerry Lawler: And I can’t wait to get things started tomorrow night! You both remember that I’m in this thing, right? Is my qualifier tomorrow night? I’m itchin’ to get things started!

Joey Styles: Settle down their ‘King’, you’re gonna have to wait to find out when your match is. But as was revealed Friday night on SmackDown, we can show you once again both the Raw and SmackDown brackets. Let’s take a look at some of the potential matches that could get us underway tomorrow night...

Harry Smith vs. Kenny Dykstra
Lance Cade vs. Nick Dinsmore

Chris Masters vs. Jerry Lawler
CM Punk vs. Trevor Murdoch

Carlito vs. Mike Knox
Shelton Benjamin vs. Super Crazy

Hardcore Holly vs. Jeff Hardy
Charlie Haas vs. Tyson Kidd


Joey Styles: So there you have it folks, some very interesting match ups. What do you make of that ‘King’? You and Chris Masters in the qualifying round.

Jerry Lawler: Well, obviously Chris Masters is a great competitor. But he seems to be goin’ through some problems right now with Johnny Nitro, and I’m lookin’ to take advantage of that by beatin’ ‘im and advancing to the next round!

Jim Ross: Some big hitters from Raw, the likes of Jeff Hardy, Carlito, CM Punk and the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra. But there’s another 16 competitors from Friday Night Smackdown, let’s take a look at their half of the draw...

King Booker vs. Tommy Dreamer
Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Mr. Kennedy

Matt Hardy vs. William Regal
Kane vs. Finlay

Gregory Helms vs. Shannon Moore
Brian Kendrick vs. Paul London

Bryan Danielson vs. Santino Marella
Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Sabu


Jerry Lawler: And of course, the big match that stands out from the round, is Kane against Finlay. What a battle that’s gonna be. And let’s not forget, King Booker is entered this year, tryin’ to become the first man ever to retain the King of the Ring crown.

Jim Ross: I like the look of a lotta that young talent on SmackDown. Guys like Gregory Helms, Bryan Danielson, ‘MVP’, Mr. Kennedy, they’re all in it, and they’ve all got a great chance of winnin’ it all.

Joey Styles: Remember folks, it all kicks off tomorrow night with the first batch of qualifiers, live on Monday Night Raw!

A brief moment of silence, and then...

*LOADED...*

The crowd are on their feet once more as the always charismatic Jeff Hardy bursts out from the back, gyrating his head back and forth, setting off a burst of pyro before he makes his way towards the ring...


Lillian Garcia: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and it is the Money in the Bank Match! Introducing first, from Cameron, North Carolina, weighing in at 215lbs... JEFFFF... HHAAARRRRDDDDYYYYY!

In the ring, Jeff climbs to the second rope and receives another loud cheer from the fans, before he drops down and starts to circle the ring, fully aware of the tremendous opportunity ahead of him right now...

Joey Styles: Jeff Hardy gave a great performance during the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXIII, but it was Randy Orton who came outta nowhere to grab himself the briefcase and a guaranteed title shot at any point over the next twelve months. But tonight, Jeff has the opportunity to take that briefcase away, just one month after Orton won it. A huge opportunity for Hardy right here.

Jim Ross: Jeff’s always had the potential to be a main event player here on Raw, a heavyweight champion waitin’ to happen if ya’ ask me. Tonight could be the night Jeff finally grabs his big opportunity, but it’s gonna take a helluva lot to get past Orton.

Jerry Lawler: And we’ve heard Orton say he doesn’t plan on waitin’ too long before cashin’ the briefcase in. How long do you think Jeff would wait if he won right here? We might even see a cash-in right here tonight!

”HEY!”

*BURN IN MY LIGHT...*


Some real strong heat as Randy Orton makes his entrance, a real look of disdain on his face as he takes in his surroundings. Orton clutches the Money in the Bank briefcase in his right hand, shaking his head, clearly not happy about defending his prized possession tonight...


Lillian Garcia: And introducing his opponent. From St. Louis, Missouri, weighing in at 240lbs... he is ‘Mr. Money in the Bank’... RANDY... ORRRTTTOOONNNNN!

As he reaches the foot of the ring, Orton comes to a stop, staring up at Hardy, a real sense of disgust on his face, before he shakes his head and slowly, methodically makes his way around the ring to the steps at the far corner. In the ring, Orton stares at Hardy some more before he climbs to the second rope for his trademark ‘Legend Killer’ pose, before he drops down and hands his briefcase over to the referee...

Jim Ross: You asked how long Hardy would wait, I’ve got to wonder how much longer Orton is gonna hang onto that briefcase. If Orton can survive here, it could give ‘im a real scare, and that could lead to him cashin’ in pretty quickly.

Jerry Lawler: I don’t think Orton’s gonna be panicked into anything. He’s too calculated, too methodical for that. If Orton makes it through this match, I’m sure he’ll wait for the perfect time and then strike.

Joey Styles: And that’s the danger of a competitor like Orton. Everything he does in the ring is so well thought-out, just when it looks like you’ve got ‘im where you want ‘im, Orton can strike with that RKO. Jeff’s gotta really be on the top of his game for that briefcase to change hands...





Money in the Bank Match:

’Mr. Money in the Bank’ Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy

The bell rings, both men stood across the ring in opposite corners, and despite Hardy springing forward, it's a much more calculated Orton as he starts to circle the ring. The two eventually come together for a collar and elbow tie up, the pair jockeying for position, until finally it's Hardy who wins the strength battle as he backs Orton into a corner. The referee steps in and Hardy gives the break, but as he backs away, Orton gives him a stiff shove to the chest. Jeff laughs it off as he retreats to the centre of the ring, waving Orton forward, the two again tieing up, but this time Jeff works into a standing side headlock. Orton tries to pry the grip open, but Jeff hangs on, until Orton shoves him into the ropes... and Jeff rebounds with a shoulderblock! Angrily, Orton storms back to his feet... but runs right into a HEADLOCK TAKEDOWN! Hardy hangs on and wrenches on the hold on the canvas, with Orton showing his frustration as he slaps the mat. Orton forces himself back up, and he breaks the headlock by shoving Hardy off the ropes... and then swinging a clothesline... but Hardy ducks underneath, and waits for Orton to turn... inverted atomic drop... then Hardy uses a double leg takedown... and hits the DOUBLE LEGDROP! The impact causes Orton to sit up, and here comes Hardy off the ropes... LOW ANGLE DROPKICK! Hardy goes for an early cover... 1... 2... Orton kicks out.

Off the kick out, Orton crawls to the ropes, and when Jeff follows in, Orton catches him with an elbow to the midsection, following with a knee to the gut then an uppercut. Orton then shoves Hardy to the corner, ;lays in with more uppercuts, before a clubbing forearm to the back drops Hardy to a knee. Orton's boot is now driven into Hardy's throat against the turnbuckle, Orton taking every second of the five count before he finally relinquishes. Dragging Hardy up by the hair, Orton shoves him against the ropes, then goes for the Irish whip across... Orton lowers his head... and Hardy snaps it back up with a kick! Orton stumbles back to the ropes, and here comes Jeff... CLOTHESLINE OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR! Orton hits the floor with a thud, and he stays down for a few seconds, before returning to his feet and pacing the outside, clearly frustrated with how things have gone so far. The ref backs Jeff off then starts to count, only for Hardy to slide out of the ring, jump up onto the barricade and run along it... and when Orton turns... he's caught with a DIVING CLOTHESLINE FROM THE BARRICADE!

Hardy takes the fight to Orton on the outside, staying on top of him to hammer down with right hands, before he heeds the call of the ref and rolls back into the ring. Orton crawls to the corner, trying to recover, but here comes Jeff... pushing himself up with the ropes... to strike with HARDYAC ARREST! Orton is dazed as he staggers back to his feet, where Hardy is ready and waiting... boot to the midsection... then up and down with a SITOUT INVERTED SUPLEX SLAM! Orton is driven face first into the mat, rolled over, and now Hardy hooks the leg...

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ORTON KICKS OUT!

And straight from the pinfall attempt, Orton decides he's had enough as he rolls under the bottom rope and flops to the floor, down on his hands and knees, breathing heavily, caught completely off guard. Jeff looks to head towards the outside, but this time the ref succeeds in keeping him in the ring, the count starting on Orton. Orton slowly manages to drag himself back to his feet, but instead of returning to the ring, Orton decides he's had enough as he shouts “Screw this!” and waves off the match! Heading towards the timekeeper's desk, Orton snatches his briefcase, then he starts to head towards the exit... but he doesn't see Hardy fly through the air... wiping Orton out with a PLANCHA!! Orton is down again, the briefcase goes flying, and with all the momentum behind him, Jeff tosses Orton back into the ring. Looking to capitalise, Hardy nips up onto the apron, then slings himself onto the rope, looking for a SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE... but out of desperation, Orton counters in mid-air... and HAMMERS HARDY WITH A DROPKICK! Jeff crashes and burns, laid flat out on the canvas, and after taking a few moments to recover, Orton crawls into a lateral press...

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HARDY ROLLS A SHOULDER!

Taking his time and shaking away the cobwebs, Orton slowly drags himself to a vertical base, a sick look in his eyes as he aims a stomp at Hardy's leg, then systematically stomps his way around Jeff's body. A pair of kneedrops to the face follow, before Orton yanks Hardy up then drills him with an uppercut that causes Jeff to fall against the ropes. Another uppercut connects, followed by a right hand to the head, before a boot to the midsection doubles Jeff over, allowing Orton to club him on the back of the neck with a forearm. Orton then goes for an Irish whip off the opposite side… but Hardy reverses… and then catches Orton with a kick to the midsection… before he yanks Orton in, hooks him up… TWIST OF FATE… NO! Hardy spins, but Orton spins right through it, then catches Jeff from behind… INVERTED BACKBREAKER! Orton takes Hardy down, and he drives a forearm into Hardy’s face as he hooks the leg…

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HARDY KICKS OUT!

Orton doesn’t hid his frustration as he glares at the referee, but he’s quickly back on the attack as he drags Jeff up and shoves him into the corner. With a cold look in his eyes, Orton starts laying in with boots to the gut, then a trio of right hands to the face. Orton then rears back, and fires Hardy across the ring… and the vicious impact causes Hardy to crumple to his knees and slump to the canvas. A devilish smirk is on Orton’s face as he slowly strides towards Jeff, looking out into the crowd, soaking in the boos of the fans, before he grabs a handful of hair and pulls Hardy up. In the corner again, Orton looks to repeat the trick as he again rears back and fires Jeff across the ring… but this time Hardy hits the turnbuckle and stays on his feet. Caught off guard, Orton races across the ring… but Hardy gets a boot up to the face! Orton stumbles back, and here comes Hardy fighting out of the corner, striking with right hands, before he looks to send Orton off the ropes… but Orton reverses… then catches Hardy with a POWERSLAM! Orton’s sure he’s got it won as he crawls into the lateral press…

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HARDY BARELY GETS A SHOULDER UP!

This time Orton’s frustration nearly boils over as he burst back to his feet, demanding the three count, but being told it was only two. Regaining his composure, Orton drops down, and he locks on that trademark chinlock of his. Orton locks the hold on tightly, wrenching on the neck, squeezing and applying pressure, trying his best to wear Hardy down. Orton violently wrenches Hardy's head back and forth, and slowly but surely, Hardy begins to show signs of passing out as he slumps towards the canvas. Orton continues to apply pressure, even reaching out with his feet and hooking them on the bottom rope, increasing the tension, causing Jeff to kick and splutter, with Orton bringing his feet away just before he's caught by the referee. Jeff continues to drift away, so much so that Orton smirks once again, confident that he has Hardy exactly where he wants him... until the crowd start to rally, stomping their feet, clapping their hands, willing Hardy back into the match, and with a surge of life, Jeff manages to push himself back to a seated position. Hardy claws at Orton's hands, but the grip remains tight, so Jeff forces himself back to a knee, then back onto his feet, trying to fight free as he drives an elbow to the midsection... and another... and a third... but Orton still hangs on... until a SITOUT JAWBREAKER finally breaks the hold!

The impact causes Orton to stumble back into the corner, and after shaking off the cobwebs, Hardy follows in, scoring with right hands to the face, before he shoves Orton against the ropes and goes for an Irish whip... Orton reverses... but Hardy hangs on and yanks Orton back in... SHORT ARM FALLING CLOTHESLINE! Hardy connects, but Orton is right back up... Jeff scores with a JUMPING FOREARM! Again Orton staggers up, reeling from the attack, and Hardy lands more right hands, backing Orton to the corner. Hardy looks to fire Orton across the ring... but Orton reverses... only for Jeff to run up the corner... and fly with WHISPER IN THE WIND! Hardy gets all of it, and he crawls over to hook the leg...

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ORTON ROLLS A SHOULDER!

So close, but now the momentum has shifted in Hardy's favour, he's wasting no time in getting back to his feet, waiting for Orton to rise... Jeff goes for a boot to the midsection... but Orton catches it... Jeff fires back with a MULE KICK! Orton is down in prime position, and the crowd are on their feet as Hardy heads outside then climbs upstairs, readying himself for the SWANTON BOMB... NO! ORTON ROLS UNDER THE BOTTOM ROPE TO SAFETY! The crowd may boo, but it's great strategy from Orton as he avoids the danger... but wait, Jeff spins on the top rope... then flies... DIVING CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR!! Hardy takes a huge risk, but it pays off big time as he takes Orton down, the crowd marvelling at Hardy's daredevil antics. Both men are down on the outside, laid out on the floor, but somehow after a quick check by the ref, Jeff manages to drag himself up. Reaching down, Hardy pulls Orton up and rolls him under the bottom rope, and then Jeff climbs up and heads for the corner. One more time Hardy climbs upstairs, and once again he's looking for the SWANTON BOMB... BUT THIS TIME ORTON SHOVES THE REFEREE INTO THE ROPES... AND JEFF CROTCHES HIMSELF ON THE TOP TURNBUCKLE... THEN FALLS DOWN TO THE FLOOR! A brutal landing for Hardy, and as he lays on the canvas, it seems Orton has had enough as he shouts for the count to begin, more than happy to take the countout victory.

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There's very little sign of life from Hardy as he lays face down on the floor, while in the ring, Orton sits in the corner, leaning against the bottom turnbuckle, breathing heavily as he tries to recover...

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But now Hardy makes a move, crawling towards the ring, reaching up to grab the apron, somehow managing to pull himself back up onto his knees...

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Hardy manages to make it back up onto the apron, but before he can re-enter the ring, Orton pounces, barging past the referee, grabbing Hardy round the neck, yanking him through the ropes... FOR THE ROPE HUNG DDT!! A sickening sights as Orton plants Hardy into the canvas, and it's all over as far as 'Mr. Money in the Bank' is concerned as he casually drapes an arm across Jeff's chest to get the...

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HARDY SOMEHOW KICKS OUT!

Orton is furious at the kickout, storming back to his feet, getting right in the ref's face, screaming for the three count, only to be reassured that it was only two. Orton is beside himself as he runs his hands across his head, franticly pacing the ring... until just like that, the cold look returns to his eyes as he looks down on Hardy. With malice in mind, Orton heads to the corner, drops down onto all four, pounding his fists off the canvas, readying himself, lying in wait, poised to strike as he waits for Hardy to stir. Slowly Jeff stirs, struggling, but managing to get back to his feet... and here comes Orton... RKO... NO! Hardy shoves Orton into the ropes, and when Orton rebounds, he's meet with a boot to the gut... and then Hardy hooks him up... TWIST OF FATE! HARDY NAILS THE TWIST OF FATE!! Orton is down, and the crowd are on their feet, cheering loudly as Hardy foregoes the pinfall attempt, and instead he's heading for the ropes. Climbing through them, Hardy drags himself to the top turnbuckle, lets out a yell, then he flies... SWANTON BOMB... NO! ORTON ROLLS OUT OF HARM'S WAY!! HARDY CRAHSES AND BURNS! The force and momentum of the missed swanton causes Hardy to stumble back to his feet, grabbing his neck and back in agony, and when he turns around, Orton is ready and waiting... RKO!! A devastating RKO, and this time Orton takes no chances as he hooks both legs tight...

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!!!

Winner: And STILL ‘Mr. Money in the Bank’, Randy Orton @ 11.02

A gutsy performance from Hardy, but Orton grabs the win, retaining his briefcase in the process. Back on his feet in a hurry, Orton snatches his hand away as the ref tries to raise it, then he yanks the briefcase into his possession, holding high above his head in celebration. As Jeff writhes on the mat in pain, Orton takes a quick glance at the briefcase, then looks down at the fallen Hardy, clearly considering going against Linda McMahon’s ruling by using the briefcase as a weapon... but then he stops, thinks again, and with a callous smirk, Orton simply steps over Hardy and heads for the ropes, dropping outside. In the ring, Jeff manages to push himself onto his knees, the disappointment in his eyes clear to see, while the camera focuses on the relieved Money in the Bank holder as we cut backstage.

Where once again Todd Grisham is standing by, ready for another interview...


Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... he is the man who later tonight will challenge Rob Van Dam for the WWE Championship... John Cena!

A very loud, but as always, very mixed response as John Cena steps forward. Cena acknowledges Grisham with a quick nod of the head, but from the stern look on Cena’s face, it’s clear he’s not in his usual jovial mood...

Todd Grisham: John, when you lost the WWE Championship back at Raw: Night of Champions, by order of Mr. McMahon, you never received a rematch or a chance to regain the title. You and Rob Van Dam both campaigned for that match to happen, and now that it’s here, how are you feeling about the upcoming match, and of course, how are you feeling after the attack you suffered last Monday night on Raw?

Pausing, Cena rubs the back of his head and neck, tensing up his jaw, before he finally answers…

John Cena: How am I feelin’? Well, let’s see. My head kinda hurts, my neck hurts, truth be told, I’m feelin’ pretty banged up right now. Now, I didn’t see who it was that attacked me last Monday night. The coward jumped me from behind and left me layin’ there. But… I’m pretty sure we all know who it was and who gave the order to carry it out.

Cena ruefully smiles as he lays the blame firmly on Vince and Lashley…

John Cena: I dunno if Vince and Lashley wanted to take me out, knowing that at such short notice, Lashley would be the only guy left to face ‘RVD’. Well, if that was their plan… it didn’t work one – little – bit.

Pop from inside the arena as Cena speaks with intensity…

John Cena: If anythin’, it’s made me more determined to fight through the pain, to battle on, and give these Rob Van Dam, and more importantly, these fans the fight they deserve tonight. Don’t think ‘cause I’m banged up that I ain’t gonna be givin’ this all I got. Rob… you say you wanted John Cena at 100%, no doubts, no controversy, no questions asked. Well… you got ‘im.

Another pop…

John Cena: I ain’t gonna ask any questions, I ain’t gonna make no excuses, ya’ wanted me at my very best, and that’s exactly what you’re gonna get tonight! You and me Rob, we wanted this fight, and now it’s here, the partnership goes out the window, and I’m comin’ after you and that WWE Championship. Win or lose, you’ll have your answer Rob, you’ll know just exactly what kinda champion you’re gonna be.

Cena stares deep into the camera, a real sense of seriousness to his words…

John Cena: And one last thing. Vince, Lashley… this ain’t your fight. You stay the hell outta this. But if you can’t resist… well, if ya’ want some… come get some.

The fans join in for the end of the catchphrase, with an intense Cena again clenching his jaw, staring into the camera, allowing the look to linger, and it’s on a close up of Cena’s face that we head back into the arena.

Where once again we see our announce team…


Joey Styles: Certainly a very intense John Cena there, and I’m sure that Cena is gonna be a huge challenge for ‘RVD’, regardless of how healthy he’s feelin’. But right now folks, it’s time for one of the most personal rivalries in WWE history to come to a head.

Jerry Lawler: Oh boy, I can’t wait to see this! Shawn Michaels, Triple H, two former members of D-Generation X, and best friends to boot, but at Raw: Night of Champions, it all fell apart, and now they’re set for a No Holds Barred Match.

Jim Ross: Let’s take you back and see how it all escalated. D-X fell apart, and now, Michaels and ‘The Game’ are set to collide… in ‘The Final Battle’.

*Video Package*


Our video opens to dark, overcast footage from the January 15th edition of Raw, where during a tense stand-off between the two, Triple H asks Shawn Michaels the echoing question of...

”I believe in DX Shawn... do you?”

We now cut to later that evening, where during a World Tag Team Championships Match, Shawn Michaels yanks a steel chair from Edge’s hands, and he swings at Edge... only for Edge to duck... MICHAELS ACCIDENTLY NAILS TRIPLE H!! The Game crashes to the mat, with Michaels having a look of sheer disbelief on his face...

Jim Ross: Somehow, someway, Edge and Randy Orton have managed to win this match and keep their titles.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah and in the process, they've just killed off DX forever!

Fast forward to February 5th and Raw: Night of Champions, where during the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match, Shane McMahon and a host of security guards hit the ring to take out John Cena, with Michaels and ‘The Game’ storming the ring, the former DX members working in tandem... steel chair... sledgehammer... another steel chair shot! The security guards are all dispatched, with the crowd in raptures as ‘The Game roars his approval... until...

BANG!!


”OH MY GAAWWD!!”

The crowd is stunned...

”GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY! WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!”

As Shawn Michaels...

”HE DID IT ON PURPOSE THAT TIME!”

HAS JUST NAILED TRIPLE H WITH THE STEEL CHAIR!!!

The Game’ crashes to the mat instantly, with Michaels releasing his grip on the chair... then dropping to both knees... and draping himself over Triple H... just in time for the referee to crawl back into the ring...

1...

2...

3!!!!

Winner: And NEW WWE Champion, Shawn Michaels @ 18.12


Jim Ross: SHAWN MICHAELS IS THE NEW WWE CHAMPION! WHAT THE HELL IS SHAWN MICHAELS THINKIN’!?

The February 12th episode of Raw where Michaels makes his first appearance as WWE Champion and addresses his actions from the previous week...

Shawn Michaels: I am finished with DX... I am finished with Triple H... and I am finished... which EACH - AND EVERY - ONE OF YOU!

Quick fire clips of disappointed fans, booing and shaking their heads dejectedly, which then transitions into the scene from the February 19th Raw where Michaels smacks Jim Ross with some Sweet Chin Music, the impact of the kick bringing in the words...

”I am the WWE Champion... but I am not YOUR WWE Champion.”

And now we see highlights from Saturday Night’s Main Event on March 3rd, where Triple H and Rob Van Dam battle for the right to face Michaels at WrestleMania XXIII for the WWE Championship. Michaels comes down to ringside for a closer view, only for ‘The Game’ to go after him, the pair brawling around the ring as we hear Triple H say...

”ONE MORE WIN... AND I’M COMIN’ FOR YA’!”

After the brawl, Michaels slips into the ring and tries to take Triple H’s head off, but ‘The Game’ ducks... and Michaels nails ‘RVD’ with Sweet Chin Music! Michaels accidently hands the WrestleMania spot to his enemy!

But on the March 5th episode of Raw, Triple H and Van Dam have a rematch, which Van Dam wins, leading to Michaels sliding into the ring...

Van Dam struggles to his feet... and turns...

BANG!

Sweet... chin... music!

In a split second the euphoric feeling of the crowd is drained as Michaels smashes his heel off Van Dam's jaw. Van Dam doesn't look anything like a winner as he plummets to the mat, eyes glazed over from the impact of the kick. The crowd hammers Michaels with boos as he stands over Van Dam, that robotic look in his eyes back again. Michaels quickly turns though, as out of the corner of his eye he sees Triple H back on his feet...

BANG!

'The Game' suffers the same fate as Van Dam as he too tastes sweet chin music! Trips hits the mat with a thud, landing close to Van Dam, the triumphant WWE Champion stood over them both. The crowd continues to shit all over Michaels' actions, but the WWE Champion ignores the boos, his focus solely on Van Dam and 'The Game' as he casually tips his black cowboy hat in both their directions...


Shawn Michaels: So when I walked down to that ring last Saturday night, I had a choice to make. I held the power to control your fates, I was in charge of your destinies, I had your futures in my grasp. You could almost say... that at that very moment, I... was like a God.

More rapid fire shots of the two brawling in the run up to the big show, and then we see WrestleMania XXIII, where a triumphant Van Dam stands on the second rope, holding the WWE Title high in the air as Joey Styles makes the call...

”ROB VAN DAM IS THE NEW WWE CHAMPION!”

And the final images from WrestleMania are that of the despondent Michaels and Triple H, both men clearly angry with defeat. From this, the video takes a rather dramatic twist, the bright lights of WrestleMania replaced by the dark, brooding Michaels from the April 2nd Raw, were Michaels stands in the ring, microphone in hand...

Shawn Michaels: WrestleMania XXIII... for one reason or another... didn’t make me happy.

’The Game’ comes down to the ring, the two squaring off, with the footage switching back and forth between the two as they say...

”TRIPLE H... I... MUST STRIKE THEE DOWN.”

“YOU OUGHTA BE THANKIN’ ‘RVD’ FOR SAVIN’ YOUR ASS!”

“YOU TRIPLE H... MUST SUFFER MY... BACKLASH!”

“THERE’S NOBODY LEFT TO SAVE YOUR ASS... NOT EVEN YOUR BUDDY UPSTAIRS!”

“THAT’S WHY WE’VE GOTTA FINISH THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL.”

“IF WE’RE GONNA END THIS, IT’S GONNA HAVE TO BE NO – HOLDS – BARRED!”


More quick fire clips, this time a rapid representation of their careers together, from the D-X days, to the epic Street Fight and Hell in a Cell they fought against each other, to the D-X reunion, until one final face to face, where Shawn Michaels simply tips his cowboy hat in Triple H’s direction and we hear ‘The Game’ slowly say...

Triple H: Backlash... ‘The Final Battle’... I’m gonna end him.

And one final look into the cold, lifeless eyes of Shawn Michaels, and as ‘HBK’ slowly closes his eyes, the video ever so slowly fades... to... black.

*End Video Package*

Back into the arena, where Lillian Garcia is stood alone in the ring, waiting for the ring of the bell before she speaks...

Lillian Garcia: The following contest is the NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH!! In this match, there are no countouts, no disqualifications, with the only way to win being via pinfall or submission.

After a pop from the fans...

*SEXY BOY...*

The arena erupts with deafening heat as slowly, coldly, Shawn Michaels makes his way into the arena. Dressed in all black as we've become accustomed to in recent months, Michaels has that cowboy hat of his pulled down low over his eyes, meaning we don't get a true look of him until he drops to his knees, holds his arms out wide and lifts his head to the heavens in silent prayer...


Lillian Garcia: Introducing first, from San Antonio, Texas. Weighing in at 225lbs... 'THE HEARTBREAK KID'... SHAAAAAAWWWWNNNNN... MIIICHAELLLLLSSSSSSS!!

Back on his feet, Michaels slowly heads down the aisle, not exchanging any glances or words to the ringside fans who boo him loudly, not a single hint of emotion as he climbs the steps and enters the ring...

Jim Ross: We've talked about plenty in the past, but every time I see this man walk down the aisle, I just stared in disbelief at the change, the metamorphosis of Shawn Michaels. I remember when a time when Shawn would engage these fans, he would do whatever it took to make them happy. It couldn't be further from that for this incarnation of 'The Heartbreak Kid'.

Joey Styles: Shawn Michaels has said it all along. He's selfish, he does what he believe will make him happy, and he does what he believes in right in the eyes of God. But to threaten to end Triple H's career, to cripple him, to bring his family into this, there's not a God in heaven who would want that.

Jerry Lawler: The guy is just deranged. As much as it pains me to say it, I hope somethin' happens to Shawn right here in this match, to finally make him wake up and realise what the hell he's doin'. Maybe a sledgehammer shot to the head would finally knock some sense into 'im.

”BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS...”

*THE GAME...*


Memphis goes wild as 'The Cerebral Assassin' himself Triple H enters the frey, looking more focused and determined than ever before. Stopping just inside the entrance way, 'The Game' soaks in the cheers of the audience, letting them build into a frenzy, before he takes a sip of water, sprays it into the air and then bursts down towards the ring...


Lillian Garcia: Introducing next, his opponent. From Greenwich, Connecticut. Weighing in at 255lbs... 'THE GAME'... TRIPPLLLLLLLEEEE... HHHHHHHHHHH!!

As he approaches the ring, 'The Game' comes to a stop, his eyes locked in on Michaels, but 'HBK' has head lowered, standing firm in the corner. Trips nips up onto the apron, and after taking a quick look over his shoulder, he takes another sip and lets out another bursts of water, posing for the fans...

Jim Ross: If known this man for close to fifteen years now. I can honestly say, I've never seen 'The Game' look so intense, look so focused as he does right now. This isn't gonna be a classic wrestlin' match folks, this is gonna be a fight, and for me, that's right up Triple H's alley.

Jerry Lawler: Certainly you gotta give Triple H the advantage with regards to that, but with the frame of mind Shawn Michaels is in, who knows what he could be capable of. This whole believe in the Lord stuff could push Shawn over the edge.

Joey Styles: I think the very personal nature of this rivalry could do the exact same thing for Triple H. We've seen in the past what he's capable of. We all remember what he's done to Mick Foley, to Chris Jericho, to so many great names in this industry. But could Michaels have driven 'The Game' to a level he never knew existed? If he has... I think it's game over for 'The Heartbreak Kid'.






'The Final Battle'
No Holds Barred Match:

Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H

When the bell rings, despite the outpouring of cheers from the crowd, there’s no immediate urgency from either man, both remaining in their corners, the eyes of ‘The Game’ burning a hole through Michaels, while ‘HBK’ keeps his head bowed low, before he finally locks eyes with his nemesis. Slowly the pair inch towards the centre of the ring, the two pausing, face to face, with Trips having a few words, but only getting silence in return. Still the talk continues, but still there’s no response from Michaels, a fact that almost frustrates ‘The Game’ as he shakes his head and turns ever so slightly away… a chance Michaels takes to throw a right hand… which Triple H blocks… and then rattles off a massive right of his own! The bombs start to fly, backing Michaels to the ropes, where Trips goes for the Irish whip… Michaels reverses… and swings a clothesline… but Triple H ducks underneath and keeps on running… RUNNING KNEE STRIKE! Michaels stumbles back to his feet and into the ropes… only for a big RUNNING CLOTHESLINE to knock him to the floor!

It doesn’t take long for this fight to spill outside, with ‘The Game’ wasting no time in heading for the floor, smacking a stiff right off Michaels’ head that causes him to stagger up the ramp. Trips follows, landing another right that sees Michaels stumble down the gap between the ramp and barricade, into the space at the foot of the stage. WWE personnel duck for cover as the hard rights continue to land, until Trips grabs Michaels by the hair… and LAUNCHES HIM INTO THE CONTROL DESK!! The soundman is sent flying from his chair, with ‘The Game’ pouncing, mounting Michaels to rain down with stiff shots to the face. It’s a relentless assault, and it’s about to get worse as Trips has Michaels by the hair… and SMACKS HIM FACE FIRST OFF A NEARBY CAMERA!! The force of the shot causes Michaels to drop to his knees, but there’s no let up as Trips rolls him onto the ramp. As Trips climbs up, Michaels is able to get back up, catching ‘The Game’ with a chop to chest, finally landing some offence. Another chop causes Trips to stumble up the ramp onto the stage, Michaels buying some space, only he closes in… right into a BACK BODY DROP ONTO THE STAGE!

A loud pop drowns out the groans of pain from Michaels, but still the assault continues as 'HBK' is yanked back up, a big right hand sending him tumbling down the ramp in comical fashion. Triple H follows, then rolls Michaels back into the ring, before 'The Game' starts rummaging under the ring, looking for weapons. A pair of trash cans are launched over the top rope, an oversized stop sign is slid in, a steel chair follows suit. 'The Game' heads back in, seeing a dazed Michaels against the corner... so he lights him up with a KNIFE EDGE CHOP! Another chop, and another, Triple H unloading with stinging shots to the chest, each one followed by a “Wooooo!” from the crowd. Finally relenting, Trips drags Michaels from the corner and fires him off the ropes... into a thunderous RUNNING CLOTHESLINE! 'The Game' drops down for the first cover of the match...

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MICHAELS EASILY KICKS OUT!

From the kickout, Michaels crawls to the corner, trying to recover, but Trips is right on him, landing stiff right hands to the face, before he looks to fire Michaels across the ring... but 'HBK' reverses... Triple H hits the turnbuckle hard... and staggers into a back body drop! Finally Michaels finds a way into the match, wasting no time in picking up one of the trash cans... and CRACKING IT OFF TRIPLE H'S SKULL!! 'The Game' crumples back down to the canvas, and now it's Michaels time to unload, as he repeatedly smacks the trash can off Triple H's shoulder and spine, completely caving the trash can, until it becomes so damaged Michaels has no choice but to toss it away. Frustrated by the flimsiness of the weapon, Michaels goes in search of some stronger hardware, scooping up a steel chair. Despite the searing pain that causes him to tense up his whole body, 'The Game' makes it back to his knees just as Michaels moves in... and before Michaels can swing the chair... Trips burst back to his feet and drives a knee into Michaels' ! Michaels doubles over in agony, dropping the chair, which Tripls quickly grabs... then SMACKS THE CHAIR OFF MICHAELS' SPINE!! The crowd explode for the sickening thud, which causes Michaels to collapse to the mat, and now 'The Game' returns the favour... SMASHING THE CHAIR OFF MICHAELS' SPINE OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! The chair is completely worn out, it too being launched outside, 'The Game' roaring to the crowd who pop to show their approval.

Michaels grimaces in agony, grabbing his lower back, but after taking a few seconds to catch his breath, Trips goes right back to work, yanking Michaels up, then firing him hard to the corner... MICHAELS GOES UPSIDE DOWN INTO THE TURNBUCKLE... and stumbles back out... ANOTHER RUNNING CLOTHESLINE! Michaels is being beaten from pillar to post, crawling to the ropes, using them to somehow drag himself up... and here comes 'The Game'... clothesline over the top rope... no! Michaels LOW BRIDGES... and Triple H goes flying all the way to the floor! A desperate move from Michaels, but one that buys him some time to recover, 'HBK' down in the ring as 'The Game' writhes on the floor. Rolling outside, Michaels now looks to take control, grabbing Triple H by the wrist... for an IRISH WHIP KNEE FIRST INTO THE STEEL STEPS!! The impact causes Trips to go flying over the steps in Undertaker-esque fashion, with it looking like Michaels will finally now build some momentum... but instead he heads towards the Spanish announce desk, ripping off the cover to pull out one of the monitors. Favouring his left knee, it takes an age for Trips to get back on his feet... and when he does... MICHAELS SMACKS THE MONITOR OFF HIS SKULL!!

The eyes of 'The Game' roll to the back of his head as he flops face first onto the floor, Michaels dropping the monitor, pausing for a few seconds, feeling that he has Trips right where he wants him. A few stomps to the injured knee follow, keeping Trips down, and this allows Michaels to hold the monitor in one hand, then grab the cables attached to it with the other... and then rip the cables free! Michaels now looks down on Triple H with cables in his hands, just as 'The Game' makes it back to his knees... Michaels moves in from behind... and WRAPS THE CABLE AROUND TRIPLE H'S THROAT! MICHAELS IS CHOKING 'THE GAME'!! It's a disgusting sound as Triple H coughs and splutters for breath, his face turning blue, desperately trying to escape, but Shawn Michaels is quite literally choking the life out of his former best friend. “Jesus Christ! You're gonna kill 'im!” bellows J.R. in a feeble attempt to reason with Michaels, but even with the referee pleading with him, there's no let up from Michaels as he continues the choke, Triple H's body going almost completely limp, until finally, Michaels releases his grip and allows 'The Game' to collapse back down to the floor. No emotion, no remorse from Michaels, clearly convinced he's caused Triple H to pass out, and it looks like it too as Michaels tries to drag the lifeless body of 'The Game' back up, but Michaels struggles with the dead weight of Triple H's frame. After a struggle, Michaels finally gets Trips back up and rolls him under the bottom rope. Michaels follows in and crawls over to drape an arm across the chest...

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TRIPLE H GETS A SHOULDER UP!

Much to the disbelief of 'HBK', there's still life left in 'The Game'! The length of time it took Michaels to get Triple H back in the ring has cost him, and now Michaels looks like he's seen a ghost, refusing to believe it as he goes for the pinfall again, this time hooking the leg...

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KICK OUT BY 'THE GAME'!!

An incensed Michaels storms back to his feet, staring intently at the referee, but it's no use, it remains a two count. With 'The Game' still down, choking and coughing, grabbing his throat, struggling to breathe, Michaels has plenty of time to head back outside and once again grab the cables that he used moments ago. Sliding back in, the fans fear the worse as 'HBK' stands over 'The Game', but instead of wrapping the cable around Triple H's throat, Michaels instead wraps one of the cables around Trips' left wrist... and then drags Triple H towards the ropes... where he ties the wrist tightly to the top rope! 'The Game' is now starting to come back to his senses, and a sense of panic takes over as he sees Michaels wrap cable around his other wrist, pull the arms apart, opening up Trips' body... and then Michaels ties the other wrist to the top rope! Triple H is trapped against the ropes! “It's almost biblical!” says Styles for the manor in which 'The Game' is held captive, and despite the ref trying to loosen the cable, Triple H can only stand and watch as Michaels drops outside and starts looking under the ring... and after a few seconds... 'HBK' brings out a kendo stick!

The crowd gasp in fear, knowing what's coming up, with Michaels heading back into the ring, an evil smirk on his face as he looks down upon the sitting duck that is Triple H. Michaels grabs the referee by the shirt collar, yanking him down to the mat, stopping his efforts to free Trips. All Triple H can do is try and kick out, but 'HBK' manages to avoid it... then DRILLS THE KENDO STICK INTO THE MIDSECTION!! A vicious shot, and there's no protection for Triple H... as MICHAELS STRIKES AGAIN... AND AGAIN... AND AGAIN... AND ANOTHER SHOT TO THE GUT!! The crowd wince and boo, 'The Game' groans in agony, while Michaels lines him up... holds the stick high in the air... and DRIVES IT DOWN ON TRIPLE H'S SKULL!! A sickening shot right between the eyes, and almost instantly, a trickle of BLOOD starts to pour down Triple H's forehead. That last shot seems to have really taken it out of 'The Game' as he tries to shake the blood away as it pours down his face, but Michaels doesn't care as he now stands to the side... and SMACKS THE CANE OFF OF TRIPLE H'S LEFT KNEE!! The knee injured earlier in the match is subjected to more damage... as MICHAELS LANDS A SECOND SHOT TO THE KNEE... AND THEN A THIRD!!

The third swing causes the knee to buckle, Triple H losing his balance and dropping down onto his knees, completely helpless against the ropes. No remorse from Michaels though, who knows moves in and presses the stick against Triple H's throat, once again choking 'The Game'. The pair are eye to eye, their faces mere inches from each other, the camera right there to hear Michaels say “It didn't have to be like this Hun'er. I tried to help you!”, Michaels finally relenting, stepping back. With a bloodstained face, his arms trapped open, the imagery is clear for all to see, and as he looks down on his friend, Michaels seems ready to end it all as he shakes his head, raises the stick up once again... but before he can bring it crashing down... TRIPLE H SWINGS A BOOT... AND KICKS MICHAELS WITH A LOW BLOW!!

Sheer desperation from 'The Game', the crowd erupting in delight as Michaels drops to the mat in agony, his eyes nearly popping from his skull. Seeing his chance to break free, 'The Game' rips at the cable, showing incredible strength as he slowly loosens the grip... then with one final surge he breaks the bonds! Triple H is free again! Michaels has only made it back to his knees, his knees to 'The Game', not realising that Triple H now has the kendo stick in his hands... and when Michaels turns... TRIPLE H DAMN NEAR TAKES HIS HEAD OFF WITH A SHOT TO THE SKULL!! Memphis goes wild as Triple H returns the favour, deadly accurate as he nails Michaels right across the forehead. Michaels is down and out, spread eagled, but 'The Game' isn't finished yet, waiting for Michaels to get back on all fours... for A SHOT ACROSS THE BACK! AND ANOTHER ONE... AND ANOTHER... ANOTHER... IT'S A RELENTLESS ASSAULT! Triple H doesn't care, landing over a dozen shots to the spine with the kendo stick, until the stick finally gives up and splinters into an explosion of wood! Michaels grimaces in pain on the canvas, and manages to roll under the bottom rope in search of a recovery.

'The Game' isn't interested in giving him that chance though, as he too heads outside, limping heavily, but determined to inflict as much pain as possible. Michaels crawls on his knees to the barricade, using it to hoist himself up, but here comes Triple H from behind... to DRIVE MICHAELS SPINE FIRST INTO THE APRON!! 'The Cerebral Assassin' lives up to his moniker as he targets the lower back, Michaels dropping to his knees in pain. Desperate, Michaels tries to crawl to safety, but Trips is right there, grabbing Michaels by the hair... and DRIVING HIM FACE FIRST OFF THE STEEL STEPS! Michaels does his best Ric Flair flop to the floor, drawing a few ironic cheers from the crowd, but 'The Game' is all business as he grabs a handful of hair, yanks Michaels up and delivers a trio of stiff rights to the face. Michaels staggers back, up against the previously dismantled Spanish announce desk... and one last big right... knocks Michaels onto the table! The crowd rises in anticipation, sensing what could be coming, and as Cabrera and Savinovich head for the hills, Triple H steps up onto the table... and he drags Michaels up too! The FedEx Forum is buzzing in anticipation, as 'The Game' yanks Michaels' head between his legs, hooks up the arms... PEDIGREE... NO! Michaels struggles out of it, and he swings a trio of wild, desperate right hands to the face, then drills a knee to the midsection. Teetering on the table, 'The Game' grabs his ribs in agony due to the kendo stick assault, but now here comes Michaels... SWEET CHIN MUSIC... NO! Triple H grabs the foot! Michaels flails his arms wildly, but he's stuck on the announce desk... Triple H lets go of the foot as he spins 'HBK' around... KICK... UNDERHOOK THE ARMS... PEDIGREE THROUGH THE SPANISH ANNOUNCE TABLE!!!!

“HOLY SHIT!! HOLY SHIT!! HOLY SHIT!!”

The table explodes as Michaels is driven face first through it, both men down and out, sprawled amongst the wreckage of it all. Memphis responds with an incredible cheer, but it's clearly taken it's toll on both men as nobody has budged an inch since the impact. The ref moves in, throwing bits of table aside in an attempt to check on the participants, but there's very little sign of life down there. We see a reply of the move in slow motion, with J.R. screaming “That's one of the most hellacious things I've ever seen!”, and when we cut back to the live action, 'The Game' has managed to pick himself free of the wreckage, crawling towards the ring, using it to haul his body back to a vertical stance. Abandoning Michaels for now, Trips limps his way towards the nearest steel steps, ripping the top half from the bottom, showing impressive strength as he muscles them up and into the ring. Stepping through the wreckage, 'The Game' yanks Michaels up and drags him towards the ring, rolls him back inside, then follows in.

Leaving Michaels to pick himself up, 'The Game' grabs hold of the steps, waits for Michaels to rise... then charges... DRIVING THE STEPS INTO MICHAELS' SKULL!! 'HBK' is being decimated, and Memphis is loving it! With Michaels looking completely down and out, Trips carefully drops the steps, lining them up, getting them in the perfect position. Seeking a way to end things once and for all, Trips helps Michaels back up, then walks him towards the steps, 'The Game' stepping up onto the top... and Memphis knows what's in store as Michaels is again yanked between Triple H's legs... PEDIGREE ON THE STEEL STEPS... NO! Michaels counters... with a HUGE BACK BODY DROP! A desperation move from Michaels leads to a painful landing for Triple H, but 'HBK' is in no position to take advantage as he drops down on all fours, breathing heavily and grabbing his lower spine. Michaels is up first, sliding the steps to the far away corner, then he grabs Trips by the wrist, helps him up, and goes for the Irish whip... but Triple H reverses... Michaels ducks underneath a clothesline and keeps on running... FLYING FOREARM SMASH... FOLLOWED BY A KIP UP! Big time for Michaels, who seems to feed off of the boos, as he picks up a nearby steel chair and calls for Triple H to rise... STEEL CHAIR SHOT TO THE SKULL!

Another vicious blow landed between these two, but Michaels is building momentum now, wasting no time in grabbing 'The Game' by the ankle... then PLACING IT BETWEEN THE STEEL CHAIR! The fans “Ooooh!” in despair, and the fears deepen as Michaels heads outside, then climbs upstairs... steadies himself... and flies... FLYING ELBOWDROP... ONTO THE STEEL CHAIR... ONTO THE ANKLE!! Michaels sacrifices his own body to do damage to 'The Game'! Triple H screams and groans in absolute agony, his ankle no doubt shattered into pieces, writhing in the mat in torture. Michaels pushes himself back to his knees, that cold, blank expression on his face as he simply turns his eyes towards the heavens, looking into the rafters for a few seconds, only God knows what's going through his head right now. With Triple H still rooted to the canvas, Michaels has all day to size him up, toying with his opponent, until he grabs the injured leg... steps... twists and turns... then drops... FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK!! “You evil bastard!” is the cry from the commentary team as Michaels subjects Triple H to insurmountable pain!

'The Game' flails his arms wildly, the pain excruciating, head in his hands, his body broken... and yet somehow... he's not tapping. Indeed, Triple H does his best to fight it, the referee pleading with him to quit for his own good... only for Michaels to grab the ref by the collar, pull him in close and shout “I don't want 'im to quit... I want 'im to suffer!”, much to the disgust of our commentators. Almost on instinct, Triple H reaches for the ropes, but it's no use as under No Holds Barred rules, Michaels wouldn't have to break the hold. The anguish and agony being suffered is incredible, but still 'The Game' tries his best to not pass out from the pain... but it appears like it might be just too much to take as ever so slowly, Triple H's eyes close, his head and body slump to the mat... his shoulders drop... no! A surge of power, and Triple H forces his shoulders off the canvas! Michaels can't believe it as Trips searches for a way to break free... and it looks like he might have found it as he tries... and strains... and twists... until finally TRIPLE H REVERSES THE HOLD! REVERSE FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK ON MICHAELS!! Now it's 'HBK' who screams in pain, but he quickly manages to break the hold, freeing up both men's legs.

Unable to stand, somehow Triple H forces his body towards the ropes, using them to pull himself up, just as Michaels moves back in... right hand from 'The Game'! Michaels is caught off guard, but throws a right of his own... blocked... another right from Triple H! Limping, practically hopping on one leg, Triple H lands right after right to back Michaels across the ring, then goes for the Irish whip... FALLING CLOTHESLINE! Somehow, 'The Game' now looks to build some momentum, trying to shake some life back into his leg as he again goes for the Irish whip... but Michaels reverses, causing Triple H more pain as he slowly stumbles from the ropes... only for Michaels to lower his head... FACEBREAKER KNEE SMASH! On one leg, Trips is taking the fight to 'HBK'... and he could be about to win it... KICK... PEDIGREE... NO! Michaels fires a punch right into the knee, causing 'The Game' to let go and turn away to the ropes for support... and when he turns back around... Michaels strikes... SWEET CHIN MUSIC! A SWEET CHIN MUSIC OUT OF NOWHERE!! An incredibly brave effort from Triple H, but it's all too much as Michaels drops down into the lateral press for the win...

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NO!!!

HE KICKED OUT! TRIPLE H KICKED OUT! AND MICHAELS CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!

'The Heartbreak Kid' is furious, storming back to his feet and grabbing the ref, shoving him against the turnbuckle, screaming “That was three!”, only to be defiantly told it was just a two count. Running his hands through his hair, Michaels seems to be searching for the answer, and as his eyes latch onto the steel steps, it looks like he might have it. Dragging the steps back to the centre of the ring, Michaels lays them just behind 'The Game' and then heads for the corner... where he starts to TUNE UP THE BAND! The crowd boo loudly, but with each boo, Michaels' stomps grow louder and louder, 'The Game' using the steps to push himself back up... and here comes Michaels... SWEET CHIN MUSIC... NO! TRIPLE H COUNTERS... DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER... ONTO THE STEEL STEPS!!!

Memphis goes wild as 'HBK' is driven onto the cold, hard steel, 'The Game' pulling out an incredible counter to stay in the match. Neither man moves much, but eventually Trips crawls to the ropes, using them to pull himself up, and now he waits for Michaels to rise. Rolling from the steel, 'HBK' takes what feels like an eternity, but eventually his rubber legs help him back up... and then he turns... into the the clutches of 'The Game'... PEDIGREE!! MICHAELS IS DRIVEN FACE FIRST INTO THE CANVAS WITH THE PEDIGREE!!! It's all over, as Triple H rolls Michaels over and drapes an arm across his body...

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NO!!!

MICHAELS KICKS OUT OF THE PEDIGREE!!

The FedEx Forum is in shock as Shawn Michaels hows incredible resiliency to hang in there, with Lawler quipping “God only knows how he managed to kick out of that one!”, a sentiment echoed by 'The Game'. Nobody in the arena can quite believe it, and as he sits up, neither can Triple H, who runs a hand through his hair and slaps the canvas. Instead of heading back to his feet, Trips rolls under the bottom rope, still struggling to walk, but somehow he manages to walk around the ring... until he stops, reaches under the ring... and PULLS OUT THE SLEDGEHAMMER!! Memphis pops yet again as Triple H holds his trusty weapon high in the air for all to see, a look of menace in his eyes as he heads back into the ring. Using the sledgehammer almost as a crutch, propping himself upright, while Michaels crawls towards the ropes, needing them to get back up. Back on his feet, 'HBK' stumbles and turns... TRIPLE H DRIVES THE HEAD OF THE SLEDGEHAMMER INTO THE MIDSECTION! Michaels doubles over in pain, grabbing his midsection... ONLY FOR TRIPS TO DRIVE THE HEAD OF THE SLEDGEHAMMER INTO MICHAELS' SPINE!!!

The damage done to Michaels' back causes him to drop to his knees, and despite only having one good leg, Triple H is in prime position to finish things off. Looking down on his helpless former friend, there's almost a hint of compassion, or regret that it had to come to this... but that doesn't stop 'The Game' as he raises the sledgehammer high in the air... and prepares to take one final swing to finish things once and for all... but before he swings... Michaels grabs the referee... and PULLS HIM INTO THE LINE OF FIRE!! Triple H... puts on the breaks, stopping himself just in time... and then Michaels shoves the ref forward... into Triple H... his knee gives way, causing him to fall... and DROP THE SLEDGEHAMMER! The crowd can't believe, Shawn Michaels was willing to sacrifice the referee to save himself! With the sledgehammer up for grabs, Michaels makes his move, picking it up... and then he sees Triple H rise... THE HEAD OF THE SLEDGEHAMMER IS DRIVEN INTO TRIPLE H'S INJURED KNEE!!

Sick, sadistic, a brutal shot from Michaels, one which leaves Triple H writhing on the mat in agony once again. With his leg in bits, there's no chance 'The Game' can make it back to his feet now, barely able to get back to his knees. Michaels grabs a handful of hair, pulling Triple H onto his knees, holding his head in position, before he wipes the blood away from the eyes of 'The Game'. With blood literally on his hands, Michaels shakes his head as he stares down upon his fallen former friend... and he utters the words... “It didn't have to be this way...”, a line which he repeats over and over... until Triple H raises both hands high above his head... and in one last, final act of defiance... GIVES MICHAELS A D-X CHOP!! The crowd roar their approval... but it's all too little too late... as Michaels raises the SLEDGEHAMMER HIGH IN THE AIR... AND THEN BRINGS IT CRASHING DOWN ON TRIPLE H'S SKULL!!

A vile, sickening shot to Triple H's cranium, and as Michaels tosses the sledgehammer aside... a smile finally crosses his face... and he looks like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders as he drops down for the...

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!!!

Winner: Shawn Michaels @ 22.03

Finally, mercifully, it's over, the FedEx Forum in a stunned hush of silence, nobody quite sure of how to react. Neither man has moved an inch, both still down, motionless on the canvas, Michaels' arm still draped across the chest of 'The Game', with referee Mike Chioda franticly waving to the back, calling for help.

There's no announcement from Lillian, too caught up in the brutality of it all, with medics and EMTs rushing stretchers down to the ring, with trainers quickly in to roll Michaels away, and then they move to check on the neck of Triple H. Michaels is also tended to, but he shows signs of life as he arrogantly shoves a doctor aside, pushing himself onto his elbows.

Working quickly, the medical staff strap a neck brace on 'The Game', then gingerly move him onto a stretcher, but before they can wheel him away, a panic stricken Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley races towards them, tears streaming down her face, a frantic and desperate woman as she calls for her husband to respond to her pleas.

As Stephanie continues to yell “Hunter!” in a desperate attempt to garner a response, in the corner, Michaels manages to roll under the bottom rope onto his feet, a referee helping him stay upright. Slowly Michaels walks around the ring and towards the aisle, bringing him right next to where Stephanie and 'The Game' are. Seeing his former best friend lying broken, bloodied battered on the stretcher, Michaels shoves away the referee that props him up, then he yanks an EMT from behind, tossing him down to the concrete.

A few more bodies are shoved aside, until Michaels stands over 'The Game', looking down on him, still no signs of emotion in his eyes. Stephanie screams for Michaels to leave Triple |H along, but 'HBK' barely notices her, shutting her out, simply looking down. The arena braces itself, not sure what Michaels has in mind, until slowly Michaels takes a finger, and taps Triple H on the forehead... and then the middle of his chest... the right of the chest... and then finally the left, finishing the cross.

An eerie boo breaks out in the arena, the fans mostly stunned at what they've just seen, but it's a look of sheer fury on Stephanie's face, and as Michaels moves to walk away... Stephanie SLAPS HIM ACROSS THE FACE! Gasps from the fans, but Michaels barely flinches, until his cold eyes meet Stephanie's the two simply staring at each other. Stephanie looks furious, while Michaels continues to look in a world of his own, but everyone in the arena is on edge, wondering just what 'HBK' might do in response... until he simply nods in Stephanie's direction... then turns... and walks backstage.

Cold blooded, and with no remorse, Michaels turns his back on the stretcher and heads up the aisle. The EMTs and medics move in, returning to the stretcher, realising that time is of the essence if they're to get Triple H to the hospital, and it's on the image of the broken Triple H and his tearful wife disappearing backstage that we fade into a video.


*Video Package*

We open to the sound of waves washing up on the shore, the call of seagulls in the air as we see the sun setting, giving a beautiful orange glow across a picturesque beach, the opening guitar rift of AC/DC’s “Heat Seeker” rising in the background...

Narrator: While for many summer is a time to party...

We see shots of various divas posing in the sea and sand in rather revealing bikinis...

Narrator: For the superstars of the WWE...

Palm trees sway back and forth as several members of the roster casually walk along the beach...

Narrator: The party is over!

The music really kicks in now and we explode into the image of The Undertaker drawing a thumb across his throat...

Narrator: It’s gonna be the hottest night of the year...

John Cena scoops Shane McMahon up onto his shoulders, planting him with the FU...

Narrator: The summer spectacular...

Triple H stands on the apron of the ring, spraying a burst of water into the air and flexing his muscles...

Narrator: Where the sun feels hotter than hell...

Edge runs right through Batista with a thunderous spear...

Narrator: ‘Cause this summer...

And finally Shawn Michaels fires some Sweet Chin Music right down the camera lenses, cracking it and causing a burst of flames to engulf the image...

Narrator: The heat is on!



"WWE SUMMERSLAM - AUGUST 19TH - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"

*End Video Package*


And from the video, we cut straight to the office of Mr. McMahon, who sits on the couch we saw him on earlier, his son Shane McMahon by his side, both men looking concerned, yet at the same time, a nonchalant attitude resonates from them. Off screen, frantic voices are heard, those of Linda McMahon, who desperately tries to get information from Brooke Adams, while in the background, the brooding Bobby Lashley stands ominously against the wall, arms folded across his chest, surveying the scene and taking everything in...

Linda McMahon: ...I need to know how he's doing, what hospital is he going to? Where's Stephanie? Did she go with him? Do we need to find a ride to the hospital to be with him? I need you to find all that out, and I need you to do it in a hurry.

Brooke franticly scribbles what Linda is saying down on her clipboard, and upon finishing says...

Brooke Adams: Yes Mrs. McMahon, I’ll do it right away...

Before she turns and races towards the door to make her exit. Exasperated and racked with worry over the well-being of her son-in-law, Linda rubs a hand across her forehead, before she turns back towards Vince and Shane...

Mr. McMahon: Y'know, she's my Executive Assistant. I don't remember reading any memo that said she worked for you too.

Linda McMahon: How can you sit there and say that at a time like this? You’re son-in-law has just been carried out of that arena on a stretcher with a neck brace and an oxygen mask on, and is probably on his way to the hospital right now... and that’s all you can say?

Standing up from the sofa, McMahon has his hands in his pockets as he offers his wife a simple shrug of the shoulders...

Mr. McMahon: Hunter’s a big boy, he knows the risks that come with this line of work. He wanted that match just as much as Michaels did, and while it’s unfortunate what happened to ‘im... he knew what could happen when he signed up for it.

Almost disgust, Linda shakes her head...

Linda McMahon: I can’t believe you-

Suddenly the door bursts open and in strides a distraught looking Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, panic stricken and shaking with worry. Stephanie immediately heads over to be comforted by her mother, and even Shane stands up and heads over to check on his sister...

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley: Mom, Dad, he-he...

Linda McMahon: Stephanie! Where's Hunter? Is he on his way to the hospital?

Stephanie barely manages to nod her head...

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley: They... they took him in the ambulance. They said I couldn’t go with him. Mom, Dad, I need a ride to the hospital. I need to be with him. I need to know he’s OK.

Snapping to action, Linda nods and places an arm around her daughter, walking the two towards the door as she shouts over her shoulder...

Linda McMahon: Oh, of course. We’ll find somebody to drive us there. Vince, we’ll take your limo. Let’s go.

But instead of following, Vince stands his ground, a stoic look on his face, unmoved and unnerved by all that has happened...

Linda McMahon: Vince?

Linda calls on and motions for her husband to follow, but Vince is steadfast in his refusal to move, looking down at his feet and then slowly shaking his head...

Mr. McMahon: I’m sorry Linda, but uh... well, somebody has to stay behind and make sure the rest of the show goes off without a hitch. And since you and Stephanie are so wrapped up in your personal lives... I guess I’ll have to do it.

Boos from inside the arena, the crowd clearly angry at Vince's refusal to be with his daughter during her time of need...

Linda McMahon: Vince! He’s your son-in-law and he needs us. How can you stand there are say that when your daughter is in a state like this?

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley: Dad... I need you.

It tugs on the heartstrings, but after pausing for a second, Vince shakes his head once more, clearly feeling that the opportunity to gain control of his company for the night is more important than his family's needs...

Mr. McMahon: I’m sorry Steph... but I’m needed here. You two better run along. Me and Shane’ll stay here and take care of things.

both mother and daughter shakes their heads, with Linda then stepping forward to look Vince dead in the eye...

Linda McMahon: You... are an evil, evil man Vince. I won’t forget this.

And after letting the stare linger for a few seconds, Linda turns and ushers Stephanie from the room, the two clearly on their way to be with Triple H. Shane looks uneasy at his father's defiance, clearly second guessing things...

Shane McMahon: Hey, Dad... don’t you think we shoulda went with ‘em? I mean... Hunter’s family.

A smirk crosses Vince's face as he places a reassuring hand on Shane's shoulder...

Mr. McMahon: Don’t worry about him. We’ll get ‘im the best medical care money can buy. But... with your Mom and your sister outta the way... we can get down to business. Ain’t that right, Bobby?

And in the background, the ominous figure of Lashley starts rubbing his knuckles, an eerie smirk on his face, an uneasy jeer from the crowd as it looks like 'The Evil Genius' is going to get his way after all.

But from the sight of Lashley, we head back into the arena to hear...

*GLAMAZON...*

Not much of a response for Beth Phoenix with the crowd clearly still recovering from the brutality of the previous match, and after some brief posing at the entrance way, Phoenix strides down to the ring...


Lillian Garcia: The following contest, scheduled for one fall, is a Triple Threat Match, and it is for the WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP! Introducing first, from Buffalo, New York, she is ‘THE GLAMAZON’... BETH PHOOEEEENNNIIXXXX!

Hitting the ring, Beth jumps up onto the apron and then straddles the top turnbuckle, before she again poses and then backflips into the ring, ‘The Glamazon’ looking confident and smug, convinced victory is hers tonight...

Jim Ross: That is just deplorable from Vince McMahon. I knew he was heartless, I knew he had no soul, but to look his daughter in the eye like that, at a time when she needs her family most, and tell her that the company is more important than the health of Triple H, it just makes me sick.

Joey Styles: I wouldn't have expected anything less from 'im. With Stephanie and Linda now at the hospital to be with Triple H, that leaves Vince and Lashley free to stick their nose in the upcoming WWE Championship Match. But I guess we'll have to deal with that when the time comes, as we've got another title match right now.

Jerry Lawler: And here comes one of the most impressive divas I can ever remember in 'The Glamazon', Beth Phoenix. I really thought she was gonna become champion back at WrestleMania, but it didn't happen that night... but I think tonight could finally be her night.

*I AIN’T A LADY TO MESS WITH...*

And again not a whole lot of heat as the second challenger in the match, Victoria, heads for the ring, throwing a few words of smack at the fans as she does so...


Lillian Garcia: Introducing next, from San Bernardino, California... VICTORRRIIIAAAAAAA!

As Victoria slides under the bottom rope, her eyes lock with those of Phoenix, the two friends clearly still having some bad feeling from their recent problems, although right now the two appear to be on the same page as they share a nod of the head towards each other...

Joey Styles: And of course, the most interesting dynamic with regards to this match, is that after months of being friends and working together, Beth and Victoria have kinda turned on each other n recent weeks, ever since it was announced that this match would be fought under triple threat rules.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah, but that's what worries me and makes me doubt Mickie James' chances. If Beth and Victoria get on the same page, they can just take Mickie outta things and settle it amongst themselves.

Jim Ross: But as we saw last Monday night on Raw, all is not well between Beth and Victoria, and Mickie took advantage to grab the win in the tag team match. Mickie's gotta hope that the same situation arises tonight.

*OBSESSION...*

And a relatively strong pop heralds the arrival of the Women’s Champion Mickie James, who bounds out from the back and thrusts her title into the air, firing up the fans, before she bounces down to the ring...


Lillian Garcia: And the final participant. From Richmond, Virginia, she is the WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPION... MICKIE JAMESSSSS!

Mickie slides under the bottom rope and takes a long look over her shoulder before she heads for the corner, nipping up to the second rope to salute the crowd before she jumps back down, very wary of the two women stood across from her...

Jim Ross: She's been Women's Champion for almost six months, and she’s beaten both her opponents tonight in singles competition. But now Mickie James has to take on both Beth Phoenix and Victoria in a Triple Threat Match, a match that sees her championship runin more jeopardy than it’s ever been in before.

Jerry Lawler: Oh no doubt. Like I said, I thought it was over at WrestleMania, but now here at Backlash... I just can’t see how Mickie can overcome these odds. I just can’t.

Joey Styles: One thing that can never be doubted about Mickie is her spirit and her will to win. You can’t see a way to win ‘King’, and I know I can’t see it, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s the reigning Women’s Champion.






Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match:
Women’s Champion Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Victoria

As the bell rings, an uneasy standoff develops between the three competitors, each Diva inching towards each other, feeling each other out. It doesn’t take long for Beth and Victoria to turn to each other and with a knowing glance, they start to move towards the champion, trying to pin Mickie into the corner. The challengers are closing in… but Mickie uses a forward roll to split the pair and find safety… and then springs back to her feet to rock Victoria with a stiff forearm to the head! Now she tags Phoenix with a pair of forearms, only for Beth to shove Mickie to the far away corner. James puts on the breaks, but here comes Phoenix… right into a back elbow! Phoenix stumbles to a knee against the ropes, but now here comes Victoria… Mickie uses the ropes to elevate herself… then sends Victoria flying with the MICK-A-RANA! Mickie now races at Phoenix… but Beth elevates the champion over the top rope with a back body drop… no! Mickie lands on the apron… but a knee to the midsection sends her flying into the barricade! A hard landing for the champion, with a sick smile crossing the face of Beth as she rubs her chin and looks down on Mickie... only for Victoria to roll her up from behind! 1... 2... Beth kicks out!

From the kickout, both ladies are back on their feet, an angry Beth shoving Victoria on the chest, shouting “What the hell was that!?” at her friend. Victoria shoves Beth back, and then the two start to argue, until there's another shove from Beth... and another in reply from Victoria... which prompts Phoenix to come off the ropes... shoulderblock... but Victoria barely moves! Now it's her turn to come off the ropes... shoulderblock... Beth stands her ground! Neither diva can gain the upperhand, but as they argue again, they don't see that Mickie has climbed to the top rope... FLYING CROSSBODY... TAKES DOWN BOTH CHALLENGERS! Mickie springs back to her feet, dragging Victoria with her, and the champion unloads with more forearms to the head, before she backs up, builds up a head of steam... and another big forearm sends Victoria sprawling through the ropes to the floor! Now Mickie turns back towards Beth, rocking her with a trio of right hands, before the champion goes for an Irish whip... only for Phoenix to reverse it, then line Mickie up for a clothesline... Mickie ducks underneath... and takes Beth down with a FALLING NECKBREAKER! Mickie crawls into the cover...

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BETH KICKS OUT!

Looking to build on this momentum, Mickie steps through the ropes and l0oks to head upstairs once more... only for Victoria to yank her off the apron... FACE FIRST INTO THE CANVAS! Mickie tumbles to the floor, with Victoria quickly laying in with boots to the body as Beth recovers in the ring. Victoria drags Mickie up... then DRIVES HER SPINE FIRST INTO THE RING! The champion slumps to her knees, but Victoria has her right back up again, swinging a right... which Mickie blocks... and then scores a forearm of her own! Another forearm, and another, but as Mickie turns, here comes Beth... BASEBALL SLIDE... SENDS MICKIE CRASHING SPINE FIRST INTO THE BARRICADE! This time the impact makes it mark as Mickie stays down, with Beth now driving knees to the midsection as Mickie leans against the barricade, before both Beth and Victoria roll the champion back into the ring and follow in.

The challengers slide back into the ring, and when both return to their feet, it looks like the pair could come to blows, emphasised by the clenched fist Victoria holds. But Phoenix motions for calm, then points down at Mickie, the two on the same page as they both lay in with boots to Mickie’s spine, then drag Mickie up… DOUBLE HIPTOSS… INTO A DOUBLE BACKBREAKER! Mickie cries out in agony as she grabs her lower spine, and the pace of the match slows right down as Beth and Victoria now look to systematically pick the champion apart. Mickie is again dragged up from the canvas, with Victoria holding her in place as Beth lays in with a pair of forearms to the face, but when she connects with a third, it snaps Mickie to life, as she kicks out and boots Beth in the midsection! Mickie now looks to fight free from Victoria’s grasp, drilling her with a pair of elbows that breaks the grip, and now Mickie drives Victoria to the corner with a series of forearms, before she winds up for one last big forearm that puts Victoria down to the mat! Mickie then turns and charges at Beth… who TAKES MICKIE’S HEAD OFF WITH A BIG CLOTHESLINE! Beth drops down for the cover...

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MICKIE ROLLS A SHOULDER!

With Victoria still down in the corner, Beth looks to take control, dragging Mickie up, landing a few clubbing forearms to the spine, before she goes for an Irish whip off the ropes... but Beth lowers her head... Mickie snaps it up with a kick... then takes her down with a JUMPING CLOTHESLINE! Phoenix crawls towards the corner, but Mickie is right on her, landing more forearms to the face… only for the numbers game to again cost her as Victoria hammers her from behind. Quickly, Victoria fires Mickie off the ropes… right into a POWERSLAM! Victoria stays on for the cover…

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A WORRIED BETH SCRAMBLES OVER
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BUT MICKIE KICKS OUT ANYWAY!

A look of annoyance from Victoria as she spotted Beth heading over, but it’s quickly put aside as Phoenix encourages the two to work together once again, the two landing shots to Mickie’s back before they send her to the corner, then Beth grabs Victoria by the wrist and fires her in… AIDED CORNER CLOTHESLINE! Mickie drops to a knee, but Beth and Victoria both grab a handful of hair and hook Mickie up… DOUBLE RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP! Beth and Victoria get back to their feet, both looking down at Mickie, clearly thinking about going for a cover, but instead, they once again drag Mickie to their feet, synch her in… then take Mickie high into the air… where they hold her… and hold her… until she comes crashing down from A DOUBLE DELAYED VERTICAL SUPLEX!! Again there’s an awkward moment as Victoria and Beth both contemplate going for the cover, but again they stay on the same page as this time Beth yanks Mickie up, hooks up her arms and holds the champion in place, while Victoria backs up, lines Mickie up and makes her move… SUPERKICK… BUT MICKIE DUCKS… AND VICTORIA SMACKS THE KICK SQUARE OFF BETH’S JAW!!

The force of the kick sends Beth sprawling under the bottom rope to the floor, leaving Victoria to look down on her friend in shock. Mickie doesn’t hang around though, spinning Victoria around, landing a pair of forearms before she goes for an Irish whip to the corner… only for Victoria to reverse and follow in… right into a boot to the face! As Victoria stumbles back, Mickie pushes herself up to the second rope… then flies… FLYING THESZ PRESS! Mickie takes Victoria down and hammers her with right hands, before she bursts back to her feet, roars to the crowd and waits for Victoria to rise… and just as Beth steps back onto the apron, Mickie charges, grabbing Victoria by the waist… Victoria crashes into Beth… sending Phoenix flying back down to the floor… while Mickie takes Victoria down with a ROLLUP! 1… 2… Victoria kicks out, but the momentum sends Mickie into the ropes, where she rebounds… and DRILLS VICTORIA WITH A LOW ANGLE DROPKICK! This time Mickie hooks the leg tight…

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VICTORIA BARELY KICKS OUT!!

The crowd sound as dejected as Mickie looks, the champion sure it was over, but now she’s back on her feet, pumping up the crowd, waiting for Victoria to get back to her feet… and Mickie hooks her up… then runs Victoria towards the corner… looking for the MICKIE-DT… BUT AGAIN BETH IS ON THE APRON… DOUBLE BOOTS TO THE FACE SENDS BETH FLYING… BUT IT ALLOWS VICTORIA TO SHOVE MICKIE FREE!! The champion lands on her feet, but here comes Victoria from the corner… RIGHT INTO THE MICK KICK!! Mickie damn near takes Victoria’s head off, the champion has the match won… but here comes Beth from behind, grabbing Mickie… and launching her through the ropes to the floor! Beth then turns, sees Victoria down and out… so BETH DROPS DOWN INTO THE COVER AND HOOKS BOTH LEGS!!

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!!!

Winner: And NEW WWE Women’s Champion, Beth Phoenix @ 07.22

Phoenix has done it, we’ve got a new Women’s Champion! Beth is almost in shock at her victory, but she quickly realises what she’s accomplished and lets out a squeal of delight as she’s handed the title. On the outside, Mickie slowly picks herself up off the floor, and upon hearing the music of the winner, realises that she’s now a former champion. In the ring, Beth holds her title high and jumps up and down, showing little regard for Victoria, but as we cut away, it’s on the sight of a new champion in the form of ‘The Glamazon’.

*Video Package*


We open to a dismal, rainy scene, a solemn church bell ringing loudly in the background. We slowly see peasants trudging through the rain and mud of what appears to be an eighteenth century town, everybody dressed like pilgrims of the time. As the camera pans, we see a rather portly town crier, who rings a handbell to a much faster beat than the previous church bell...

Town Crier: Hear ye! Hear ye! Thy day of reckoning is upon us!

We hear the clang of a nearby blacksmith hammering down on a piece of raw metal, with the close up revealing the blacksmith to be none other than SmackDown’s own Matt Hardy, dressed in the traditional garb...

Town Crier: Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age!

Hardy tosses his hammer aside and slowly trudges off camera, passing the town reverend, who just so happens to be Mr. Kennedy, with Kennedy also dressed in the church fashion of the time...

Town Crier: I tell thee my friends, do not fear thee who kill the body, and after that can do no more!

Kennedy glances down at the bible in his hands, then tosses it down into the mud, before he follows Hardy off camera...

Town Crier: But I will warn you whom to fear! Fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast thee into hell!

A man in a horse slowly approaches, the man being revealed as Batista. ‘The Animal’ quickly drops down off the horse, the buckle on his boots clunking heavily as he lands before he too walks off camera...

Town Crier: I tell thee, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak!

We now see Edge chopping wood, aggressively swinging an axe into a log set up on a stump, but he soon wipes the wet hair from his face, tosses the axe aside and exits the scene...

Town Crier: So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy!

King Booker and Queen Sharmell sit on thrones like a Mayor and Mayorness, with Booker soon standing up out of his chair, leaving Sharmell behind as he heads out of the frame...

Town Crier: For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

The town magistrate is played by Chris Benoit, complete with wig, who suddenly sits upright from behind the bench of his courtroom and storms out of the building mid trial, leaving behind a full courtroom of confused people...

Town Crier: And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them!

We now see practically the entire SmackDown roster, all dressed for the time, stood surrounding the Town Crier, who now has a petrified look on his face…

Town Crier: Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Town Crier is clobbered by Umaga, who is dressed as he normally would be. Umaga now stands with one foot on the chest of the crier, the camera looking down on him in pain, but he manages to get in the last word as he shouts...

”Judgment Day... is upon us!”



"WWE JUDGMENT DAY – MAY 20TH - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"

*End Video Package*


Back into the arena, where the camera pans around the fans while we hear from the commentary team...

Joey Styles: Yes folks, for the superstars of Friday Night SmackDown, Judgment Day is upon them. May 20th is the night that the WWE returns to pay per view, and we hope you'll join Michael Cole and the guys for Judgment Day.

Jim Ross: It's certainly shapin' up to be a helluva show, and of course it's at Judgment Day where we'll see the return of one Rey Mysterio. I know I can't wait to see Rey back in-

Jerry Lawler: Hey, hey J.R., look at this. Look who we have here.

The camera focus on a skybox high above the arena, and slowly the shot zooms in on a well-dressed man enjoying the show... it's Claudio Cesaro! The man who is just 24 hours away from his Raw debut relaxes in a comfy looking leather recliner, a beautiful blonde woman sat nearby, the two sipping champagne and taking in the atmosphere...

Jim Ross: Well folks, if you're not aware who that gentlemen is, that's Raw's newest acquisition, the Swiss aristocrat, Claudio Cesaro. I guess he's here doin' a little scouting on the Raw roster before he makes his debut tomorrow night.

Jerry Lawler: Nice to see a little bit o' class and refinement on the show. I'm sure Claudio's gonna be payin' real close attention to this next match.

Joey Styles: The whole world's gonna be payin' attention to this one 'King'. It's time for the WWE Championship to be defended. Rob Van Dam, the man who went to WrestleMania XXIII and emerged as the new face of Monday Night Raw, defends the gold against none other than John Cena. Let's take you back and see how this match came about...

*Video Package*


The video opens with footage from the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania XXIII, where Rob Van Dam flies through the air and comes crashing down on both Shawn Michaels and Triple H with the Five Star Frog Splash, leading to the three count and for Joey Styles to make the call...

”ROB VAN DAM IS THE NEW WWE CHAMPION!”

And now we go to the following night, the April 2nd episode of Monday Night Raw, Van Dam’s first appearance as champion where after addressing the crowd, Van Dam looks to wrap things up with...

Rob Van Dam: 'Cause there's a new name at the top o' the bill here on Monday nights... and that name's ROB – VAN – D-

*MY TIME IS NOW...*

A gasp of shock quickly descends into a very loud mixed reaction, which only grows louder as John Cena himself steps out onto the ramp. Cut now to Cena in the ring, he and Van Dam sharing a smile and a nod of appreciation...


John Cena: Let me be the first to come out here and publicly say... Rob Van Dam... congratulations.

Cut now to footage from the Royal Rumble, where Cena and Van Dam battle for the WWE Championship, only for Cena to put 'RVD' away with the match winning FU...

John Cena: I defended my title against you at the Royal Rumble, then at Raw: Night of Champions...

We now see action from the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match at Raw: Night of Champions, where Shane McMahon hammers John Cena with a steel chair shot to the skull, taking Cena out of the match...

John Cena: I got screwed outta it by Shane McMahon. And I never got my rematch. I got nothin' but beat on night after night by whoever sold themselves to Vince, while you got to go to WrestleMania and challenge for the WWE Championship. You... got my rematch, Rob.

Back to the night after WrestleMania, and the tense stand off between the two after Cena's words...

Rob Van Dam: If it's a title match you want... then that's what you're gonna get.

The crowd roar their approval, but that's quickly ended when we hear...

*NO CHANCE IN HELL...*

We now see the ring packed as Mr. McMahon, Bobby Lashley and Shane McMahon join Cena and 'RVD'...


Mr. McMahon: The last thing I want to see is you two go at it. Quite frankly, the only thing I can think of right now that's worse than Rob Van Dam as WWE Champion... is John Cena as WWE Champion. And I don't care if these people wanna see it... it's not gonna happen. Not tonight. Not next week. Not at Backlash. Never!

And then the following week, the April 9th Monday Night Raw, where to emphasise that message, McMahon says...

”ROB VAN DAM, JOHN CENA, THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP... THERE IS NO – CHANCE – IN HELL!

We now see a close up of the hulking Lashley, snarling at the camera, with inserts of the power and ferocity he has displayed over the last few months, as Vince says over the top...

Mr. McMahon: Rob Van Dam, you will defend the WWE Championship at Backlash, and you’re gonna defend it against this man… BO-

*MY TIME IS NOW…*

A massively loud, mixed response, although the cheers outweigh the boos as John Cena interrupts, the image changing to that of Cena in the ring with Vince, Lashley and Shane...


John Cena: You wanna name Bobby Lashley the number one contender? Well how ‘bout you have him earn it… against me?

From the dramatic image of Cena and Lashley standing nose to nose, ready to pounce at each other, we cut to the April 16th Raw, where Cena and Lashley battle in the main event, the winner going to Backlash. The action is fierce, the hitting intense, and over the top of the highlights, we hear Rob Van Dam say the following words to Cena...

”IT'S NOT JUST THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE COUNTIN' ON YOU TONIGHT... I'M COUNTIN' ON YOU TOO.”

Back to footage from the Cena/Lashley match, where Lashley has Cena right where he wants in, up on his shoulders, looking to end the match with The Dominator... only for Cena to drop down the back, take Lashley down to the canvas... and apply the STFU! Cena locks it on tight, and despite desperately trying to fight it... Lashley has to tap out! The match at Backlash is on!

But... from the euphoria of Cena's victory, we head to the following week, April 23rd, where Van Dam is being interviewed by Maria...


Rob Van Dam: I’m WWE Champion now, and that’s a whole other level. I’ve been champion before, but this time I’m here to stay. That’s why tonight, and then again this Sunday at Backlash, the guy havin’ his hand raised at the end of the match… is gonna be Rob – Van – Dam!

But as the interview ends, the footage takes a turn for the worse, the images darken, a tense, dramatic music is heard, and we see John Cena laying down and out on the floor backstage, a trickle of blood pouring from his forehead. Maria covers her mouth with her hand in shock, while Van Dam sighs and shakes his head, looking more annoyed than anything else, before he storms off.

And then storms into the office of Mr. McMahon...


Rob Van Dam: I wanna know what the hell's goin' on?

Mr. McMahon: You storm in here and accuse Bobby Lashley of attacking John Cena... but who's to say it wasn't... you... who attacked Cena? Who's to say you didn't assault him when nobody was looking in an attempt to save face ahead of this Sunday?

The anger in Van Dam starts to rise, but as the tension in the music builds, we hear Vince bombard 'RVD' with statements...

”YOU'VE NEVER BEATEN JOHN CENA WITHOUT ANY CONTROVERSY.”

“YOU'RE TRYIN' TO PIN THAT ASSAULT ON LASHLEY SO NOBODY BLAMES YOU IF CENA DOESN'T SHOW UP THIS SUNDAY.”

“MAYBE THE PRESSURE'S STARTIN' TO GET TO YOU.”


And now we cut to the main event from that night, where Van Dam battles Kenny Dykstra, and it does indeed look like the pressure is getting to the WWE Champion as the youngster has the better of the majority of the match. The resiliency of Van Dam shines through though as he mounts a comeback, only to see Bobby Lashley come down to the ring... quickly followed by John Cena! Cena and Lashley brawl on the ramp, but the distraction costs Van Dam as from behind, Dykstra nails the Jumping STO and picks up a huge upset win!

Post match, an apologetic Cena slides into the ring, but now the video kicks into high gear, with Van Dam furious, looking like a champion on edge as he shoves Cena square in the chest! Cena recoils, then he barges back in, and now the two are nose to nose, looking like they're ready to explode! Cena and Van Dam throw a flurry of verbals at each other, but men furious with the other, the arena at fever pitch as it looks like Cena and Van Dam could come to blows at any second...


Jim Ross: What the hell has happened here!? Van Dam, Cena... they're been driven to the brink by Bobby Lashley! These two are ready to explode, and it's gonna happen this Sunday, live on pay per view!

And as the video comes to an end, the final image is that of Cena and Van Dam nose to nose, screaming in each other's faces, neither man backing down, while on the ramp, a smirking Lashley looks delighted with the chaos he's caused as we fade... to... black.

*End Video Package*

Right back into the arena to hear...

*MY TIME IS NOW...*

A truly thunderous, deafening, yet very much mixed response as John Cena bursts into the arena, looking fired up and ready for action...


Jim Ross: Is he 100%? I guess we'll never, truly, know the answer to that one. But John Cena is here to fight, and he's gonna give it everything he has to become WWE Champion once again. Screw Vince McMahon, screw Bobby Lashley, it's Cena and Van Dam, and bah gawd what a match it's gonna be!

Jerry Lawler: I can't wait to for this. And for the sound of these fans, they can wait for it either! It's been a long road for Cena from Raw: Night of Champions to get this opportunity, and now that he's here, he's not gonna want to let it slip away.

Joey Styles: 'RVD' wanted a challenge, he wanted to prove himself as WWE Champion, and he's startin' right at the very top with John Cena. Nobody is more passionate, nobody is more intense than Cena, and nobody could be a bigger threat to Van Dam's title reign than that man right there.

Sliding under the bottom rope and then bursting back to his feet, Cena looks desperate to get the match underway, bouncing around the ring, before he comes off the ropes and sends his hat flying into the crowd, then rips off his t-shirt. As his music dies, Cena heads for the corner, performing a few squats with the ropes, then settles in to await the arrival of the champion...

*ONE OF A KIND...*

And the absolute biggest pop of the night is saved for the WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam. Look calm yet focused, Van Dam strides out from the back, surveying the scene for a few seconds, before he leads the crowd in a rendition of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” and then heads for the ring...


Joey Styles: WrestleMania XXIII saw Rob Van Dam usher in a new era for Monday Night Raw. Van Dam vowed that as champion, the time for talking was over, and now was a time for action. But so far, things haven’t gone to plan, as all the talk has been about whether or not ‘Mr. Monday Night’ can handle the pressure of bein’ WWE Champion.

Jim Ross: And if ever there was a chance to prove the doubters wrong, it’s right here against arguably the biggest star in professional wrestling today. Van Dam will never be flashy, he’ll never be a loudmouth, but bah gawd, he’ll give ya’ all the fight ya’ can handle, especially with the WWE Championship on the line.

Jerry Lawler: Well, we’ve all heard the questions. Is the pressure startin’ to get to ‘RVD’, or is this all a creation of Mr. McMahon? I thought last Monday night and that loss to Kenny Dykstra meant it was all startin’ to get to ‘im, but lookin’ at ‘RVD’ right now, he looks as cool and as focused as I’ve ever seen ‘im. This one could go either way, both men are desperate to win, and both could easily put the other away in a heartbeat.

In the ring, Van Dam walks past Cena as he heads for the corner, the two sharing an awkward stare with each other. In the corner, ‘RVD’ climbs to the second rope and once again leads the fans on a chant of his name, before he drops down to the canvas, both men now stood in opposite corners as we hear the announcement...

Lillian Garcia: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and it is for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP!!

Another big pop from the crowd, the camera focused on Cena who only has eyes for the glistening gold over Van Dam’s shoulder...

Lillian Garcia: Introducing first, from West Newbury, Massachusetts. Weighing in at 251lbs... JOHNNNN CEEENNNNNNAAAAAA!!

Cena now bursts from the corner and throws his hands up into the air with the ‘Word Life’ salute, shaking his arms and legs, trying to stay loose in the powderkeg that is the FedEx Forum...

Lillian Garcia: And introducing his opponent. From Battle Creek, Michigan, Weighing in at 237lbs... he is the WWE Champion... ROB – VAN – DAAAMMMMMM!!

And another great pop as ‘RVD’ thrusts the WWE Championship into the air, feeding off the energy of the crowd, before he gives the title one last kiss and hands it over. After Mike Chioda raises the title into the air, the fans are electric, the arena buzzing in anticipation, as tonight’s main event is underway!






WWE Championship Match:
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena

And from the bell, both men look anxious to get things started as they quickly circle the ring, before they come together and snap into a collar and elbow tie up. Both men struggle and strain to get the upperhand, before finally Cena works into a standing side headlock. Cena wrenches on the hold for a few seconds, before Van Dam back both men to the ropes then shoves Cena across... Cena bowls 'RVD' over with a shoulderblock! After looking down for a moment, Cena quickens the pace as he comes off the ropes... Van Dam avoids him with a leapfrog... then hits an armdrag! But Cena bursts right back up... headlock takedown! A frantic start, but now Cena looks to slow things down as he keeps the action grounded. Van Dam manages to force both men to a vertical base, then he breaks free by shoving Cena off the ropes... into an armdrag takedown! Van Dam answers right back, griping an armbar from his knees, keeping Cena in check. Cena powers back to his feet, searching for a way to break free, and he finds it as he backs both men to the corner, the referee calling for the break... which Cena cleanly provides.

It's a little cagey, but Cena backs away from the corner, inviting 'RVD' out, the two again tying up, this time the champion twisting into a standing waistlock. Cena tries to pry the hands open, but Van Dam hangs on, then takes Cena down face first to the canvas, rides over him and delivers a few slaps to the back of the head, before 'RVD' bounces back to his feet to a decent pop from the fans. Holding his arms out wide, 'RVD' invites Cena on, the challenger pushing himself back up, nodding his head, the tension just starting to simmer. Again the pair lock up, this time Cena working into a hammerlock. Van Dam reaches, but can't grab an escape, prompting him to run towards the corner, jump up... SPLIT LEGGED MOONSAULT... rolled through into an ARMDRAG! An impressive escape from Van Dam, and now the match picks up a gear as the champion strikes with alternating kicks to the thighs, then goes for the Irish whip... Cena runs into a SPINNING WHEEL KICK! Cena stumbles to his feet... right into a scoop slam... leaving him in perfect position... as 'RVD' comes off the ropes... ROLLING THUNDER... NO! Cena rolls under the bottom rope... and Van Dam lands on his feet!

With his hands on his hips, Cena paces the floor, taking a few seconds to recover... but 'RVD' doesn't want to wait as he grabs the top rope and flies... wiping Cena out with a PLANCHA! The crowd cheer again as 'RVD' crashes onto Cena, the two laying on the floor for a few seconds before Van Dam yanks Cena up. The champion hooks up the challenger... then takes him up... before dropping him GUT FIRST ACROSS THE BARRICADE! Van Dam nips up to the apron, stares out into the crowd, leads them through a chant of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” and then he flies... TWISTING LEGDROP ACROSS THE BARRICADE! Both men hit the floor with a thud, 'RVD' selling the effects of the move just as much as Cena as he grabs his lower back. Cena is rolled back into the ring, the champion sliding in after for the first cover of the match... 1... 2... it's far too early as Cena easily kicks out.

Shoving Cena into the corner, 'RVD' looks to stay in control as he drills a shoulder into the midsection... and again... before he backflips out of the corner... but before he can charge back in, Cena explodes from the turnbuckle... and HAMMERS VAN DAM WITH A CLOTHESLINE! Cena yells “Get up!”, and Van Dam obliges... another Cena clothesline! Cena now unloads with right hands, backing 'RVD' to the corner, before he goes for the Irish whip across... but as Cena follows in, Van Dam elevates himself using the ropes... but Cena catches the champion on his shoulder, yanks him away from the ropes... FU... NO! Van Dam wildly throws elbows, allowing him to drop down to the canvas. As Cena stumbles away, 'RVD' moves back in, striking with kicks to the chest that back Cena to the ropes, before the champion fires the challenger off the opposite side... reversal from Cena... Van Dam runs into a kick to the midsection... then the FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Quickly, Cena scoots over and hooks the leg... 1... 2... Van Dam comfortably powers out.

Clearly needing to wear the champion down more, Cena shoves Van Dam against the ropes and goes to work with right hands, before he goes for the Irish whip... reversal from Van Dam... who then avoids Cena with a leapfrog... then catches him with a MONKEY FLIP! Cena crashes near the ropes, stumbles back up... CLOTHESLINE SENDS CENA TUMBLING TO THE FLOOR! Once again the action spills to the floor, but this time there's no aerial attack from 'RVD' as the champion simply steps through the ropes and drops down, dragging Cena back up. Looking to do some damage, Van Dam lines Cena up for an IRISH WHIP INTO THE STEEL STEPS... but Cena counters... only for Van Dam to show great athleticism as he jumps onto the steps... then flies with a TWISTING CROSSBODY... NO! Cena catches him in a bearhug... then uses a double leg takedown... before he CATAPULTS VAN DAM INTO THE RING POST! Van Dam smacks off the steel and slumps down to his knees, a chance now for Cena to do some damage. The challenger grabs a handful of hair, tossing Van Dam against the barricade, before he grabs the wrist... and fires 'RVD' spine first into the side of the ring! The tension that has been building between the two over the last few weeks comes to the fore now as Cena shows a more aggressive side as he rolls 'RVD' back into the ring.

'RVD' stumbles to his feet and then to the corner, looking to recover, but Cena is right on him, smacking a few rights and lefts to the midsection, before he shoves Van Dam against the ropes then goes for the Irish whip... but Cena lowers his head... allowing Van Dam to rolls across his back, land and then come off the ropes... and goes for a CROSSBODY... NO! Cena catches Van Dam, then hoists him up onto his shoulders... but 'RVD' transitions this by rolling through into a SUNSET FLIP... 1... 2... Cena kicks out, but Van Dam bursts to his feet and comes off the ropes... into a MASSIVE FALLING CLOTHESLINE! Big time impact, and now Cena hooks the leg...

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VAN DAM KICKS OUT!

Feeling he's gained a slight upperhand, Cena helps 'RVD' up then lands a few rights to the face, before he fires Van Dam to the corner. Cena races in after... CORNER CLOTHESLINE! More high impact from Cena, who again goes to work with those rights and lefts to the body, before he once more fires Van Dam across the ring and follows in... but this 'RVD' sidesteps... and Cena smacks chest first off the turnbuckle! Stumbling backwards the challenegrs doesn't see the champion approach from behind... pushing himself up onto Cena's shoulders... then rolling forward for a VICTORY ROLL... but sits in and traps the shoulders to the canvas! 1... 2... 'RVD' kicks out! But from the kickout, Cena looks to stay in control, only to be rocked by a JUMPING REVERSE HEEL KICK that catches him squarely on the jaw! Cena drops to a knee, allowing Van Dam to drill more kicks to the head, before the champion heads for the ropes... but runs into a MASSIVE SPINEBUSTER!! From his knees, Cena looks down on 'RVD' pondering the cover, but then deciding it's not quite time. Cena instead heads for the corner, where he pushes himself onto the second rope, waiting for Van Dam to make it back to his knees... which is Cena's cue to fly... DIVING LEGDROP BULLDOG! The challenger gets all of it, and now he does indeed hook the leg...

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VAN DAM ROLLS A SHOULDER!!

A grimace and a shake of the head from the challenger, who looks to press home this advantage by landing a few more rights, then he goes for the Irish whip to the corner. 'RVD' hits the turnbuckle hard, and here comes Cena... running right into a boot to the face! Cena staggers backwards, dropping down to a knee, with Van Dam sensing a chance to mount some offence as he leaves the corner... to drill Cena with a JUMPING HEEL KICK! Cena crawls to the ropes, trying to shake it off, but Van Dam is right on him, landing uppercuts before he fires Cena across... but Cena ducks a Van Dam clothesline and keeps on running... rebounding then nailing a FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK! Cena bursts back up, waiting for Van Dam to rise, before he comes off the ropes again... SECOND FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK... NO! Van Dam drops down... and Cena crashes and burns... the momentum causing him to roll under the bottom rope to the floor! Cena lays on the floor, a ten count being administered, but Van Dam refuses to see the match end that way, as he climbs to the top rope and waits for Cena to stumble up... VAN DAM SOARS WITH A FLYING CROSSBODY! Breathtaking stuff from the champion as he again wipes Cena out on the outside, both men feeling the effects as they lay on the padded flour near the entrance way. Naturally, it's 'RVD' who's back on his feet first, assisting Cena, and then hooking him up... SUPLEX ON THE FLOOR... NO! Cena blocks it with his foot... THEN COUNTERS WITH A SUPLEX ON THE CONCRETE!!

The crowd “Ooooh!” in unison for the painful impact of the move, both men fully feeling the effects as they lay motionless on the cold, hard surface. Slowly Cena crawls to the barricade and uses it to hoist himself up, then he reaches back down to do simillar to 'RVD'. The champion grabs his lower back as he's walked back towards the ring, with Cena rolling him under the bottom rope and following in for the cover...

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VAN DAM GETS A FOOT ON THE ROPE!

Cena groans in frustration, taking a few seconds to catch his breath before he presses on, yanking Van Dam up and then firing him off the ropes... Cena drills a boot to the midsection then comes back off the ropes... to nail the THROWBACK! With Van Dam down in the centre of the ring, the crowd are on their feet with a very loud, mixed reaction, as they all know what's coming next... Cena sprints for the ropes... then looks down... “YOU CAN'T SEE ME!”... but before he can hit the FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE... Van Dam strikes with a kick to the head! The fans cheer as Cena stumbles back into the ropes, but as 'RVD' gets back up, Cena swings a right hand... Van Dam ducks... then takes Cena down with a BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX!

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CENA KICKS OUT!

But sensing he has an opening, Van Dam looks to quicken the pace as he strikes with alternating kicks to the thighs, then a kick to the chest... before he finishes the sequence off with a JUMPING ROUNDHOUSE! Cena is down near the corner, and Van Dam grabs the top rope, hoists himself up... SPLIT LEGGED MOONSAULT! Van Dam gets all of it, and stays on for the cover... 1... 2... Cena powers out again! The champion now starts to build some momentum, tagging Cena with more kicks to the body up against the corner, and then he drives a shoulder to the midsection... and a second... before a backflip from the corner... and this time Van Dam nails the third running turnbuckle thrust! Cena grabs at his ribs, but there's no time to rest as 'RVD' grabs the wrist and fires Cena to the opposite corner... no, Cena reverses... wait, Van Dam reverses the reversal... and it's Cena who smacks sternum first off the turnbuckle from close range! Cena stumbles and turns, but Van Dam has already jumped off the second rope... SPRINGBOARD SUPERKICK! The impact causes Cena to fall backwards to the floor, his head colliding with the bottom turnbuckle. Quick as a flash, Van Dam sprints to the opposite corner, slings himself to the top rope, and the crowd comes alive in anticipation... Van Dam soars... VAN TERMINATOR!! There might not have been a steel chair infront of Cena's face, but he feels the impact all the same! Still grabbing at his lower back, 'RVD' moves as fast as he can to drag Cena away from the corner and hook the leg...

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CENA ROLLS A SHOULDER!!

Van Dam shakes his head in annoyance, a strained look on his face as he holds three fingers up to the referee, only to be told it was only two. Both men struggle back to their feet, but naturally, it's Van Dam who lands the first shot, drilling Cena with a pair of hard right hands to the face. A left boot lands to the chest, then a right, before Van Dam rears back and fires Cena to the corner. Cena hits the turnbuckle at a fierce pace, prompting 'RVD' to charge... right into a BOOT TO THE FACE! The champion stumbles away, grabbing his jaw, his back turned on the challenger... and with a burst of life, Cena attacks from behind... grabs Van Dam by the neck, steps a leg through... and tries for the STFU... NO! 'RVD' desperately tries to fight the grip around his throat, managing to block it... then he spins all the way through, taking him behind Cena... and then into a BACKSLIDE! 1... 2... Cena kicks out, and both men race back to their feet, where Van Dam swings a roundhouse kick... but Cena ducks underneath... then grabs Van Dam from behind, hands clasped around the champion's waist... then Cena runs 'RVD' into the ropes... and takes him down with a ROLLUP... 1... 2... NO! 'RVD' kicks and rolls through... and bridges into a pinfall of his own! 1... 2... Cena kicks out! Neither man can gain the upperhand as both men hit counter after counter on each other, the fast pace of the recent exchange causing them both to lay just a few extra seconds on the canvas before they make it back up.

This time it's Cena who strikes first, landing a hard right to the face, then two rapid fists to the midsection, allowing him to then go for the Irish whip off the ropes... and then Cena catches Van Dam with a boot to the gut... no! The champion grabs the foot... and counters with the STEP OVER SPINNING WHEEL KICK!! Cena goes down, but not wasting anytime, the champion pushes himself back to his feet and comes off the ropes... ROLLING THUNDER... THIS TIME FINDS IT'S MARK! With Cena down and in prime position, the crowd comes alive as Van Dam heads for the corner, slings himself up onto the top rope... then readies himself... for the FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH... NO!! Cena rolls to safety, leaving Van Dam to crash down onto the canvas! Van Dam instantly clutches his ribs and kicks his legs in agony... but there's no time for a recovery as Cena pounces... grabbing the foot, stepping then dropping down... and hooking the arms... STFU!! CENA HAS THE STFU LOCKED IN THE CENTRE OF THE RING!!!

Memphis erupts with a huge mixed response as Cena has the WWE Champion locked in his deadly submission hold smack bang in the middle of the ring! Van Dam grimaces in agony, gritting his teeth, desperately trying to fight the pain and hang onto his title. Cena rears back, roaring to the masses, determined to win back the title that was stolen from him all those months ago. Every time the question is asked... “Do you want to quit?!”... Van Dam shakes his head, but then he lifts his hand off the canvas... raising it in the air... is the champion going to tap?... NO! Van Dam reaches forward with both hands, clawing at the canvas, showing incredible strength as he drags both he and Cena towards the ropes... Van Dam reaches out... so close... CENA DRAGS VAN DAM BACK TO THE CENTRE OF THE RING!! Another cacophony of cheers and boos, but Cena doesn't care, not with the WWE Title at stake. One more time, Van Dam shakes his head in defiance, and he slowly crawls across the canvas, inching his way to freedom... one last effort from Cena as he rears back once again... but it's just no use... as VAN DAM REACHES OUT AND GRABS THE BOTTOM ROPE!!!

Somehow, someway, Van Dam manages to survive, but Cena makes sure he takes full advantage of the five count, waiting until the very last second before he finally releases the hold. Back on his feet with his hands on his hips, Cena ruefully shakes his head, knowing a great chance to become champion just slipped away. 'RVD' uses the ropes to somehow drag himself back up, and upon seeing this, Cena moves back in, only for Van Dam to catch him off guard with a right hand. Van Dam advances from the ropes, landing another right, but when he swings a third, Cena ducks underneath... then takes Van Dam up and down with the PROTOBOMB!! Bursting back to his feet, Cena raises a hand in the air, the crowd again mixed in their response, before the challenger comes off the ropes..”You can't see me!”... FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE!! Cena gets all of it, but the damage has clearly been done to the champion as Van Dam stays down on the canvas, barely able to move. Sensing a chance to land a big move in the hope of putting the champion away, Cena heads for the corner, stepping through the ropes... and then climbs to the top rope! In an unusual move, Cena carefully climbs to the top rope, looking for a high flying attack... but out of nowhere, Van Dam is up and racing to the corner... jumps up to the second rope, swings a leg... STEP UP ENZIGUIRI... CAUSES CENA TO CROTCH HIMSELF ON THE TOP TURNBUCKLE!! An incredibly painful landing for Cena, but it could be about to get a whole lot worse, as after taking a few seconds to catch his breath, Van Dam now starts to climb! Both champion and challenger are teetering on the top rope, with Van Dam hooking Cena up... and then both men fly... SUPERPLEX!! An unbelievable spectacle as both men come crashing down to the canvas, the arena erupting with a massive cheer as Van Dam pulls out an incredible counter. With both men down, there's no option for the referee but for him to start the count...

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Very little movement from either man, both laying on their back, until finally there's a sign of life from Van Dam as he slowly starts towards Cena...

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And then finally the champion is able to drape an arm across the challenger's chest...

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CENA BARELY ROLLS A SHOULDER!!

Somehow, Cena hangs in there, barely surviving and keeping his title hopes alive. 'RVD' is clearly too exhausted to question the decision, instead he simply rolls over onto his back and then tries to sit up. Cena crawls to the ropes as Van Dam pushes himself back up, buying him some time, but 'RVD' lands the first right hand... Cena fires back... but then Van Dam strikes again... and again... a rattle off a third right in a row. 'RVD' goes for the Irish whip off the ropes... but Cena reverses... only for Van Dam to rebound and fly with a RUNNING CROSSBODY! Instead of hanging on for a cover, 'RVD' struggles back to his feet, taking Cena up with him, where the champion rattles of a kick to the body with the right boot... then the left boot... then a big right kick to the side of the head! Cena staggers, legs like rubber, as Van Dam races for the ropes... jumps to the middle rope... for a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT! Van Dam takes Cena down and into a pinning predicament...

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CENA JUST MANAGES TO KICK OUT!!

Van Dam slaps a hand off the mat in frustration, but after taking a few seconds to compose himself, the champion presses on, landing yet more kicks to the legs and body, allowing him to back Cena to the corner. 'RVD' then lands a few forearms to the side of the head, and then another pair of boots to the midsection, before he goes for the Irish whip across the ring... but Cena reverses and follows in... right into a back elbow! Cena stumbles back, but Van Dam yanks him back in for a headlock, then pushes himself onto a seated position on the top rope... TORNADO DDT... NO! Cena pushes Van Dam away, the champion landing on his feet, but here comes the challenger... running right into a STANDING ROUNDHOUSE KICK... NO! Cena ducks underneath and keeps on running, coming off the ropes... FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK! Cena bounds back to his feet, again charges... SECOND FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK! The challenger is back up, waiting for the champion to rise... kick to the body... and then the hook up... RELEASE FISHERMAN SUPLEX! This time Cena takes no chances as he crawls into the lateral press, hooks a leg tight...

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VAN DAM POWERS A SHOULDER OFF THE MAT!!

Clearly dejected at not getting the three count, Cena rubs a hand across his head, but as he returns to his feet, Cena nods to himself, knowing what he has to do. The challenger stands ready, crouching down, hands poised, ready to strike, just waiting for Van Dam to stumble into his path. The fans of champion desperately yell for their hero to stay down, but the fight in 'RVD' sees him stagger to his feet... and right into Cena grasp... as Van Dam is hoisted up for the FU... NO!! Once again Van Dam fights to block it, kicking his legs in mid air, enabling him to twist... then spin... TORNADO DDT!! Cena's head is driven to the canvas with a thunderous effect, and now the arena is on it's feet as the WWE Champion nips up to the top rope... looks down on the challenger in perfect position... before he soars through the air... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH!!! Van Dam gets all of it, grabbing his ribs in pain, but then he dives across the canvas to get the...

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NO!!!

CENA KICKED OUT! Somehow, John Cena manages to stay in this match! The crowd can't believe it, and neither can Van Dam, while on commentary, a rather solemn Jerry Lawler says... “Maybe Mr. McMahon was right. Maybe Rob Van Dam CAN'T beat John Cena?!”... and the look of shock and doubt in the eyes of the champion suggests that's exactly what's running through his mind too. Van Dam props himself up on his elbows, looking all out of ideas... until the sound of boos is heard from the crowd... with Van Dam and every fan in the arena turning their eyes towards the entrance way... “Speak of the devil...” is the call from Jim Ross... as heading down the ramp are Mr. McMahon and Bobby Lashley!! Van Dam quickly gets back on his feet, readying himself for an attack, but referee Mike Chioda heads outside and tries to plead with McMahon to turn around... MCMAHON PLANTS CHIODA WITH A BIG RIGHT HAND! The referee is down! And now nothing stands between Lashley hitting the ring and going toe-to-toe with Van Dam... but the crowd are frantic, desperatly pleading with the champion to turn around... as Shane McMahon has came through the crowd and snuck into the ring... and as Van Dam turns... SHANE CRACKS A STEEL CHAIR OFF HIS SKULL!!

A sickening sneak attack from Shane, damn near taking Van Dam's head off, BUSTING OPEN the champion in the process. With Cena still down from the five star and 'RVD' out cold, Vince points Lashley towards the ring, 'The Dominator' sliding under the bottom rope, ripping off his shirt and then grabbing Cena by the wrist, dragging him towards the ropes at the opposite side. Lashley drops back outside, then he positions Cena at the edge of the ring, before he heads towards the Raw announce desk... and starts rearranging furniture! The cover is ripped off and tossed aside, monitors are flung to the floor, and our commentary team head for safety... as Lashley hoists Cena up onto his shoulders... “No! For the love of God, don't do it!”... DOMINATOR THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE DESK! CENA IS PLANTED THROUGH THE WOOD!!

A “Holy shit! Holy shit!” chant breaks out from the fans as for the second time tonight, an announce team sees their desk decimated. Through the wreckage, a laid out Cena offers no signs of life, out cold as the vengeful Lashley stands over him. Back on the other side of the ring, Vince continues to direct traffic, yelling for Lashley to now turn his sights to 'RVD', with Shane heading for the corner. Van Dam has barely budged an inch since steel met skull, and he looks completely out of it as Lashley grabs him by the hair and pulls his head off the bloodstained canvas. Clearly Shane wants to go Coast-to-Coast, and he motions for Lashley to grab the chair and set Van Dam up... but when Lashley tries to manoeuvre Van Dam towards the corner... he doesn't see 'RVD' grab the steel chair... and swing upwards... SMACKING IT OFF LASHLEY'S SKULL! Memphis erupts with delight as 'RVD' leads the fightback, causing Lashley to drop to a knee, buying himself some time. Sensing the danger, Shane drops down and charges... STEEL CHAIR SHOT TO THE FACE! The younger McMahon tastes the steel, but now Lashley makes another move... but 'RVD' tosses him the chair... VAN DAMINATOR... KNOCKS LASHLEY THROUGH THE ROPES TO THE FLOOR!

As this is going on, a group of referees storm down the ramp, clearly telling Vince to call off the attack and head backstage. In the ring, Van Dam has the steel chair in hand, goading Vince into an attack, but with Shane and Lashley down, Vince thinks better of it and starts to back away... while in the ring... John Cena has staggered back into the match... and he reaches, spins Van Dam around... and hoists him up onto his shoulders... FU!! FU!! AN FU OUT OF NOWHERE!! Cena hooks the leg, but he has to wait for one of the refs on the outside to realise what's going on... the ref slides in... and the FedEx Forum can't believe it, as we've got a new champion...

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NO!!!

HE KICKED OUT!! ROB VAN DAM KICKED OUT!!

It might not have been the cleanest of wins, but with the WWE Championship on the line, nobody could blame Cena for taking that chance. Shaking his head in disbelief, Cena affords himself a smile, not quite able to understand how he didn't finish things right there. On the outside, a pair of paramedics help Shane backstage, while the group of refs have managed to get Vince and Lashley back away, their effect on the match though being fully felt by the carnage they've left behind. In the ring, champion and challenger have to use each other to help themselves back up, neither man looking all that sure on their feet, but the fight and desire to win takes over as Cena throws a right hand... but Van Dam quickly fires back... Cena again, but the crowd “Boo!” their displeasure... and then a “Yay!” for Van Dam... “Boo!”... “Yay!”... “Boo!”... “Yay!”... “Yay!”... “Yay!” they cry as 'RVD' rattles off three in a row, backing Cena to the ropes. Van Dam shoots Cena across the ring... but he lowers his head... and Cena goes for a sunset flip!

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VAN DAM KICKS CENA'S HEAD TO BREAK THE COUNT!!

Cena groans in annoyance, thinking he had caught 'RVD' by surprise. The fans can sense the end may be near as they rise to their feet, and with both men slow to their feet, neither looking like they have any ideas left, it appears they could be right. Cena drills a knee to the midsection, doubling Van Dam over, then he races off the ropes... looking for the THROWBACK... NO! Van Dam sees it coming and swings a STANDING ROUNDHOUSE... NO! Cena ducks underneath... puts on the breaks... and takes 'RVD' up onto his shoulders... FU... NO! Again, somehow Van Dam manages to fight free, dropping down behind Cena... but as he goes for a waistlock, Cena rolls forward, sending Van Dam towards the ropes... the champion jumps to the second rope... SPRINGBOARD ENZIGUIRI!!! Van Dam's boot smacks flush off Cena's skull... and now the challenger is down in the perfect spot, and Van Dam quick as a flash nips up onto the top rope... steadies himself... then he soars through the air... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH!!! Memphis explodes with delight, and after a few seconds of rolling on the mat in pain, Van Dam dives over and hooks both legs tight...

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!!!

Winner: And STILL WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam @ 24.38

The roof nearly blows off the FedEX Forum as Van Dam somehow manages to put Cena away. Neither man moves an inch as they both lay on the canvas, exhausted after an exhilarating contest in which they pushed themselves to the limit...

Joey Styles: VAN DAM! VAN DAM! Rob Van Dam has done it! Van Dam has beaten John Cena! Despite the best efforts of Bobby Lashley and Mr. McMahon, Cena and Van Dam had a helluva match, and it’s ‘Mr. Monday Night’ who has prevailed!

Jerry Lawler: What a match, and what a victory for Rob Van Dam! John Cena, he was desperate to win, he wanted that WWE Title so badly, but it just wasn’t enough to see off ‘RVD’.

Jim Ross: I thought it was all over when Lashley and McMahon hit the ring, I thought they were about to ruin one of the best WWE Title I’ve ever seen. But the fight, the will, the determination in Cena and Van Dam shone through, and they put on an unbelievable match... but it was Van Dam who would prevail on this night.

Clearly disappointed, once he’s able to move, Cena rolls from the ring to the outside, hands clasped behind his head as he slowly walks up the aisle, knowing he was so close yet so far away to becoming champion again. In the ring, ‘RVD’ is back on his feet, the WWE Title in his grasp, firing it high into the air in celebration of his victory.

By the time Cena has reached the entrance way, Van Dam has already climbed to the second rope in the corner, looking out at the fans, thanking them for their support. Cena puts on the breaks, head hung low, shaking it in frustration, until he turns back towards the ring. ‘RVD’ sees him in the distance, and pauses his gesturing to the crowd, while Cena puffs out his cheeks and shakes his head one last time... before he takes his hand to his head... and offers Van Dam a salute! The crowd respond with a great pop, clearly respecting Cena, while Van Dam smiles and nods appreciatively...


Jim Ross: That’s a real class act from Cena! He’s gotta be disappointed, he’s gotta be heartbroken, but that right there shows you what kinda man he is, and the level of respect he’s got for the WWE Champion.

Jerry Lawler: I’m sure one day in the future, Cena’s gonna be WWE Champion again. But tonight, it’s Rob Van Dam’s night, and I’m sure he’s gonna enjoy it!

Jim Ross: What a night it’s been, a night that will live on through the ages! Rob Van Dam, John Cena, and the Monday Night Raw roster have all endured the backlash! Thank you for watchin’ folks, goodnight!

*End Show*
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WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
2007 King of the Ring Has Been Posted!!!



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