Raw; March 5th; San Antonio:
Jim Ross: Only thirteen days remain until the showcase of the immortals, WrestleMania 23, and we come to you LIVE tonight, deep in the heart of the Texas. I’m Jim Ross, joined at ringside by The Coach, and-
**JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES**
Captain Charisma opens the show as the first of a double main event show is set to get under way to kick the night off. The fans are on their feet, as we kick things off with a huge opener.
You are looking at the man, who in less than two weeks is set for a collision of epic proportions, with the opportunity to become a two time World Heavyweight Champion. Christian is on his way to the main event of WrestleMania twenty three to challenge John Cena, but tonight, we are kicking things off with the winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble match, and he will be taking on the ultra talented former Intercontinental Champion, Shelton Benjamin.
And for once, you hit it right on the money J.R. The ultra talented Black Diamond, and the future Mister Money in the Bank at WrestleMania Shelton Benjamin. And tonight, he has the opportunity The Brotherhood have been looking for - a test against one of the top stars, if not the top star, on Raw.
But Coach, lets not forget what else we have in store tonight, because this is only the first main event of the evening. Still to come, a WrestleMania 22 rematch, a rematch of last years Raw main event at the showcase of the immortals - John Cena and Randy Orton!!!
Unbelievable Jimbo. Smackdown thought they put on a sensational show last Friday, but this one blows Smackdown outta the water!!
Cena and Orton, will meet tonight for the first time, since their epic Hell in a Cell match at Summerslam last year.
**SOMEBODIES GONNA GET IT**
Joined only by Theodore Long, Shelton Benjamin makes his entrance, looking confident and assured, despite the huge spotlight on him in this big match.
And Coach, later on, we’ll be taking at look at the appearance from Stone Cold Steve Austin on Smackdown last week, with a huge bombshell directly affecting the first ever meeting between Triple H and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
I don’t know if I want to see Austin humiliate my boss again J.R. Once was enough last week for me, and it made me sick to my stomach.
Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin w/ Theodore Long
It’s a strong opener, with both men on form, lifting their games for this contest, after it was postponed last week on Raw. Christian has the better of the early exchanges, stuffing an attempt from Theodore Long to get involved, knocking him off the apron, then catching Benjamin with a dropkick as he came bounding in. Throughout the match though, Shelton is allowed to look like an equal to Christian, rather than a tier below, matching the Royal Rumble winner step for step at every turn.
Benjamin has to take the punishment in the early going, but turns the tables as the #1 contender sets himself on the top rope, nipping up, and leaping to the top, throwing Christian off with a superb superplex!!! Shelton scores a close near fall, with Captain Charisma only just getting his arm up in time. Both men are a little sluggish to get back up following the crowd lifting spot, but now, the momentum swings towards the upstart, and the Black Diamond takes over, scoring with his Dragon Whip for another two count, before throwing Christian out of the ring, and distracting the referee to allow Theodore to put some *weak* boots to Christian, as we head off into the first commercial of the evening.
We return with Benjamin in control, hooking Christian in a firm headlock, whilst we quickly see replays of during the commercial, where Benjamin baseball slides Captain Charisma into the barricade, just as Christian was set to get his hands on Long, before he sent Christian into the steps. Back inside, the fans get behind Christian as he begins his fight back, pushing back to his feet, elbowing free of the headlock, and runs off the ropes … BUT GETS CAUGHT WITH A SPIN KICK!!! Benjamin makes the cover, 1...2...KICK OUT!!! Shelton continues to put pressure on Christian, sizing him up as he pulls himself up in the corner, steaming in, and looking for his own Stinger Splash … BUT CHRISTIAN MOVES!!! Captain Charisma wastes no time, delivering a reverse DDT, and hooking the leg, 1...2...KICK OUT!!!
Despite the kick out, the match appears to be turning back in the favour of Christian, as he begins to hit top gear, scoring a couple more near falls, but Benjamin manages to hang on. Christian now decides to climb the ropes, and perches himself on the top rope, waiting for Benjamin to get back up, and looks for a cross body splash … BUT LONG PULLS BENJAMIN OUT OF HARMS WAY … AND CHRISTIAN TAKES OUT THE REFEREE!!!
With that, Theodore Long INSTANTLY signals towards the entrance, and from the back, THE BROTHERHOOD all quickly run (Mark Henry waddles) down the aisle, and jump on Christian in the ring, pounding Captain Charisma down, whilst Benjamin gets himself composed again. Henry, Mack and Jordan all put the boots to Christian, with the referee still incapacitated. Mack and OJ hold Christian up, as Benjamin hooks him up … AND DELIVERS THE T-BONE EXPLODER!!! Now, Jazz brings a steel chair inside, handing it off to Henry … AS SUDDENLY THE FANS POP … WITH JOHN CENA SPRINTING DOWN THE AISLE!!!
Cena runs to ringside, and from the apron, trips Henry, as he runs to the ropes, then slides in, and takes out OJ with a big right hand, then delivers a crunching clothesline to Mack, sending him over the top rope, to the floor below!!! Shelton comes at the champ, looking to hit a Frost Kick … BUT CENA DUCKS … AND BENJAMIN NAILS OJ!!! Jordan falls out of the ring, and Cena knocks Shelton down, then throws Henry out of the ring … AND CATCHES JAZZ AS SHE RUNS AT HIM … AND DELIVERS AN FU TO THE OUTSIDE … RIGHT ONTO MACK, HENRY AND LONG!!!
He turns around … and blocks a chair shot from Benjamin, ripping the chair from his grasp … AND SMASHES HIM WITH IT!!! Benjamin crumbles, as the fans are on their feet, with Cena looking around, and sees Captain Charisma slowly reaching his feet. Momentarily, Cena looks at the chair - then Christian … is he planning to knock him out too??? Cena poises himself, readies himself, with the chair cocked, waiting as Christian pulls himself up … but seems to have second thoughts, and in the end, slams the chair down, and slips out of the ring!!! Cena begins to walk up the ramp, as Christian looks around, surveying the carnage, spotting Cena, and realising he must have came to his aide. Captain Charisma shakes his head, and drags Benjamin up, delivering the Unprettier, and turning him over, with the referee just recovering to make the count … 1...2...3!!!
Winner: Christian @ 11:39
Christian is victorious, but he knows it’s thanks to Cena. As he reaches his feet, he quickly low bridges the ropes, as Mark Henry comes charging towards him, sending The Worlds Strongest Man back outside, before picking up the steel chair, and warning off the rest of The Brotherhood.
Captain Charisma now turns around, and motions for a mic, with Lillian obliging. Christian turns, as his music dies down, and wastes no time getting to the point.
CENA!!! Don’t go anywhere. Don’t go anywhere at all. I want you to bring your ass back to this ring, right now.
Cheers from the fans, as Christian looks towards the entrance, waiting for The Champ to come back down the aisle. Cena stands at the top of the ramp for a moment, looking to the fans, then tilts his head, before throwing the title over his shoulder, and walking back down the aisle!!!
Cena slides into the ring, with Christian not taking his eyes off him at all. The two look straight ahead, face to face, with the fans duelling with chants for both men in the background.
Cena, I didn’t ask for your help. I didn’t want your help … I didn’t NEED your help.
Cena raises his eyebrows, almost as if he was surprised by the comment.
And I sure as hell don’t need a knight in shining armour.
Cena puts his hand over the mic, and yanks it away. The fans seemed split at first, but descend into heat for the champ.
First off … you might not have wanted my help, you didn’t ask for it … but you sure as hell needed it!!
Christian shakes his head, disagreeing.
I aint no knight in shining armour … I did what I did … not just for your benefit … but for mine too.
Now, it’s Christian looking confused.
I don’t want to face you at anything less than a hundred damn per cent at WrestleMania. I don’t want to face you in Nawlins, with you limping down the aisle … or wearing a cast on yo arm.
Cena steps right into Christians face.
… I don’t want you to have ANY excuses when I beat yo ass at WrestleMania.
Whoa. That one gets the fans riled, and certainly divided, with Christian putting his head down, trying to hide a grin. Captain Charisma now reaches out, and takes the mic back, looking up again at Cena.
You sound awful confident John. Too confident if you ask me. No excuses, huh??
Christian smirks, and rubs his stubble, then looks Cena in the eye again.
No excuses … that’s why you came out here to help me?? And, let’s rewind … you want me at a hundred per cent?? … Cena … you are FULL of crap.
Cena looks offended, and gets into Christians face, but Christian stands firm, and puts the mic to his mouth, not moving an inch.
I don’t believe you for a second. Not when you’ve been, (puts index finger and thumb close together, putting them in Cenas face)
this close, to bashing me over the head with a steel chair.
Mixed response again, with the fans heavily divided.
At least admit it Cena … you’d love nothing more … than to crack a steel chair over my head.
Cena looks around, keeping his mouth shut, but screws up his face to show his pent up aggression.
You didn’t come out tonight for me … you came out here tonight to play the hero, like you always love to do … in a pathetic plea to get the fans on your side.
Neither man backs up an inch, with Christian continuing.
The only thing that stopped you tonight John … the only thing that stopped you from bashing me over the head with a steel chair … was the fact that you’re scared stiff of losing all your fans.
Mixed response, with boos and cheers from the fans, unable to decide what to do.
And not because you want to be a good role model … not because you want to be someone that kids look up to … but purely for your own benefit.
Cena locks his jaw, staring right through Christian, ready to explode.
You know … the minute that you show the real John Cena … the game’s up. All the merchandise - GONE!!! All the money - GONE!!! All the DVD’s, all the computer game covers, all the magazines - GONE!!!
Christian is right in Cenas face now, trying to provoke a reaction.
You can only hide your true personality for so long though. Like I said before, these fans … my peeps … are getting wise to your act. They don’t buy it … and one day, you’re gonna snap … and you’re gonna reveal your true colours.
Still, Captain Charisma is right in Cenas face, trying to push The Champ into action.
One day Cena … o-
Cena has heard enough … and RIPS the mic from Christian, provoking a huge response from the fans.
I aint gonna stand here and listen to this crap. Christian, you can say whatever ya want … the facts are simple … I came out here tonight … and I saved yo ass.
Mixed response again from the hot crowd.
And yeah … I was tempted to bash your brains in … but like I said … I want ya at yo very best.
Christian nods, mouthing ‘You’ll get it’
That’s the only reason I came down here.
Cena, getting worked up, now gets in Christians face.
But … I’d advise you stay outta my way, because I know, hell, ya said it yourself, you make no excuses, and you’d gladly bash me over the head with a chair.
Mixed response again from the hot crowd.
So take it as a warnin … you decide to stick your nose into my business … I’ll assume yo comin to throw down.
Christian continues to nod, listening to Cena, accepting the warning, showing a smile. He then takes the mic, with a smirk on his face.
Thanks for the warning … but I’ll tell ya now … you’re right … if I want to crack you with a chair Cena … that’s what I’ll do … I wont try and pull the wool over your eyes.
The grin fades, as he looks in the eye of Cena again.
And you’d better be on your toes too … because I’ll not think twice about it.
Christian pushes the mic into the chest of Cena, then brushes past him, leaving the ring, with Cena turning, and watching Christian leave the arena.
Coach, I cannot believe these two have yet to come to blows. Cena and Christian keep pushing the boundaries, they keep pushing each other … but as yet, neither man has struck a blow.
Just think about it J.R … if this keeps up, can you imagine how these two could explode at WrestleMania. Their anger, frustration is just building, and building … they’re gonna collide at WrestleMania … and I cant wait to see them beat the holy hell outta each other.
And lets not forget, John Cena, later tonight, faces his old foe, Randy Orton, Cena still compete … tonight!!!
Backstage, we see Melina, Nitro and Mercury, along with Santino Marella, and also their partner at WrestleMania, Mister Kennedy. It seems like they are in the middle of a conversation.
We just don’t think it’s fair on us Ken. If we lose at WrestleMania, we ALL lose our titles. The only one of us with anything to gain is you.
Kennedy seems a little pissed by MNM, but Mercury chimes in, looking to rub his ego.
And hey, it’s not like we don’t want to team with you, that’s not the deal at all. We’ve been saying for … the longest time, how much you deserve the Intercontinental Championship. That’s why we’re going to Bischoff.
Kennedy looks around at the group, fixing his elbow pad on, before speaking.
Listen … for what it’s worth, I agree with you guys. You’ve all got far too much to lose. But then again, I care about you guys about as much as you care about me. As long as I get my shot at Mysterio, I’m happy. If you guys think you can talk Bischoff round and change the match at WrestleMania, AND keep my title shot, go ahead. But I’ve got a match with Punk in a minute, so I’ll catch up with ya later.
The group nod, as Kennedy walks off.
They then turn, take a deep breath, and knock on Bischoffs door, stepping inside. As they enter, Bischoff rolls his eyes, but shows a smile too.
I cant wait to hear this…
Melina smiles, and seductively leans over his desk.
Eric, can we discuss the match at WrestleMania … which IS great y’know … but we thought we could make a few suggestions which could make it even better.
Eric smiles, and leans back in his chair.
Really?? So … you’re gonna tell me how to do MY job??
Melina smiles, but Nitro realises the charm isn’t working, and speaks up, looking to put the point across.
This is the facts Eric … we’ve nothing to gain at WrestleMania, and it would be grossly unfair for us to all lose our titles by some fluke. Now, I now you wouldn’t want that, would you??
Bischoff ponders, then responds.
You know what?? You’re right. Johnny, you are completely right. I wouldn’t want to see your match at WrestleMania result in some fluke win … but then again, I don’t like to see my tag team champions using just about every excuse in the book to pull out of defending their titles!!
Nitro nods, realising his approach hasn’t worked either.
So, if all you came for was to try and weasel out of the triple jeopardy match at WrestleMania … I suggest you leave now. The match IS on, and the match WILL go ahead. And just to be clear, I don’t care what the excuse is … I don’t care if Melina’s hair extensions don’t arrive in time, and I don’t care if you Nitro, or you Mercury chip a nail … you WILL defend those titles at WrestleMania.
Bischoff stands up, expecting the group to leave … but as they turn to walk out … Santino steps forward.
Mister Bischoff … if I could have-a jussa one moment of your time.
NO!! No Santino, you cant have a moment of my time. I don’t even know why you keep showing up every week.
Marella steps back, looking offended.
In fact, I’ve had an idea. You seem to like involving yourself in MNM’s business. And I know you’ve been wrestling in some run down gymnasiums … so how about tonight you wrestle for me.
Santino thinks about it for a moment, and nods.
And if you win … you’ll get a contract from me, to become a part of the Raw roster.
Marella seems extremely excited now.
Ahh excellent. Call it, a deal a done.
Marella extends his hand, with Bischoff shaking.
And you’re facing the Intercontinental Champion, Rey Mysterio.
Santinos face drops, as MNM in the background shake their heads.
Now get out of my office … and don’t come back.
Quickly fade to the arena…
CM Punk vs. Mister Kennedy
No ringside presence, and no interference, allowing both men to have a good old fashioned match up. It’s pretty even, despite Punk having mainly competed in tag team matches up to this point, and Kennedy at times over the last year looking to be on the brink of elevation to main event status. Both men come close with near falls in the early going, with Kennedy just avoiding the Punk Card early on, before taking control of proceedings, wearing Punk down.
Not for long though, with little time to spare, as Punk fights back, stirring the fans, and rocking Kennedy, coming close with a tornado DDT. Punk pulls the 2006 King of the Ring back up, and looks for the Punk Card again, but Kennedy slips out, and looks to hit the Mic Check … only for Punk to counter, tripping Kennedy to the mat, and scrambling for the rarely used ANACONDA VICE!!! Mister Kennedy quickly clings to the ropes, avoiding the real agony possible from the submission.
Punk is the aggressor now though, and steams into Kennedy in the corner with a running knee, and follows up with a Bulldog, scoring another close fall, with Kennedy just kicking out. He then looks for the same move again, but this time, Kennedy darts out of the corner, with Punk hitting the turnbuckle. He slumps onto the canvas in the corner, as Kennedy runs in, scoring with his Face Wash!!! He drags Punk out, and scores another two count, with Punk just getting a shoulder up.
Kennedy now looks for the finish, pulling Punk up, and onto his shoulders, setting himself on the turnbuckles … looking for the Green Bay Plunge … BUT PUNK BLOCKS IT …elbows free … BUT THEN GETS DROPPED ONTO THE TOP ROPE!!! Punk staggers for a moment … but is easy prey now for the King of the Ring, as Kennedy delivers the Mic Check, and hooks the leg, 1...2...3!!!
Winner: Mister Kennedy @ 07:25
Victory for Kennedy over the highly impressive CM Punk, and gives his team at WrestleMania a huge momentum boost … for now. Kennedy looks down on Punk as he tries to recover on the mat, then looks to the fans, and wipes his hands, before pointing down at Punk and shaking his head.
Kennedy then exit’s the ring, and as he walks up the ramp, he looks around and signals to the fans that he’ll be wearing championship gold at WrestleMania.
An impressive victory for Mister Kennedy tonight Coach, but a terrific effort from CM Punk.
Well, I knew you’d give your boy credit J.R. You just love Punk, but let’s hand it to Mister Kennedy. He got the job done tonight, just like he will in less than two weeks at WrestleMania.
Well, both men will be a part of that sensational triple jeopardy eight person tag, with three championships - the World Tag Team, Womens and Intercontinental titles, all to be decided under one fall, a first at WrestleMania. If Punk and his team are successful, Punk and Gregory Helms will become the new tag team champions, but should Kennedy be on the winning side, he’ll take Rey Mysterios title.
In the locker room, we see Finlay standing with fellow Money in the Bank competitors, Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin.
Okay, first of all, thanks for agreeing to see me. I’ve not got anything up ma sleeve … In fact, I’ve got a proposal.
Finlay looks to both men, making sure he’s got their attention.
Now listen, it’s simple … the three of us, need to stick together, now hold on, hear me out … we either need to stick together at WrestleMania and take out Umaga … or we need to take him out BEFORE WrestleMania.
Orton scoffs at the idea, and speaks up.
Wait a second. Let me think here, I’m guessing you came up with his idea earlier today when Eric Bischoff told you you’d be facing Umaga … tonight.
Orton smiles, thinking he’s saw through the idea.
You’re just looking for an easy way out, arent ya??
Finlay smiles, then wags his finger at Orton.
Haven’t ya heard Randy?? I love ta fight. The bigger the better I say. But take it from me, our best chance of winning Money in the Bank … is making sure Umaga doesn’t get there in one piece.
Orton holds his hands up, accepting the argument.
Listen, for what it’s worth … I think you make a good point. But I’ve got more important things on my mind tonight. If you survive tonight though … then we’ll talk about it next week.
Orton smirks, and pats Finlay on the shoulder, before leaving the ‘meeting’. Finlay looks a little angered by the cockiness of Orton, then turns his attention to Benjamin.
Well?? What about you?? You up for it?? You’ve got the contacts, we could do this tanight if you wanted.
Benjamin thinks it over, rubbing the back of his head.
I had a match already tonight. I’m feeling kinda sore, and the guys aren’t in the best mood right now. I’m with Orton on this one. Maybe next week.
Benjamin pats the veteran on the shoulder.
But good luck.
Shelton leaves, whilst Finlay shakes his head, turning, and picks up his shillelagh, tapping it off the locker.
Finlay then walks out of camera shot, getting set for his match with Umaga.
Now, a graphic for Cena & Christian @ WrestleMania is shown, with cheers from the fans.
And indeed, we are just thirteen days away Coach, thirteen days until the Collision Course. The World Heavyweight Championship, at WrestleMania, THE main event at WrestleMania 23 - The Champ, John Cena and the Royal Rumble winner, Christian.
The excitement is building J.R. The big one is approaching fast, but you gotta admit, Cena and Christian, at the point they’re at, both ready to explode, both, ready to rip the others head off … it cant be long until they boil over, and I don’t think they can wait until WrestleMania.
Indeed they may not. I thought they were gonna explode tonight, but still both men have kept a lid on their emotions. One thing is for sure though Coach, the journey for both men to WrestleMania, following last years event has been quite a ride…
~JOHN CENA - CHRISTIAN - THE JOURNEY~
The V.P starts with the WrestleMania 22 logo flashing across the screen…
The scene opens up, with Christian, smashing a glass jar over the head of Steve Austin, bloodying the Rattlesnake, then defeating the veteran, clean as a whistle, in the middle of the ring.
On the same night, John Cena defeats Randy Orton in their WrestleMania 21 rematch, retaining the World Heavyweight Title.
John Cena: Validation.
The two men collide at Backlash, in a triple threat match, involving Brock Lesnar, and in the end, Christian takes the title, marking his first championship reign.
Christian holds the title aloft, in jubilation.
Cena, walking up the aisle, head down - with no title.
John Cena: Despair.
Clips of John Cenas battles with Randy Orton in the summer months.
John Cena: The focus shifted.
Shots of Christian defending his title time and time again.
Christian: Status certified.
Cena is beaten at Summerslam, inside Hell in a Cell by Randy Orton.
John Cena: The lowest point.
Christian, at Summerslam, retains the title, overcoming the Iron Man, Brock Lesnar.
Christian: The pinnacle.
Cena snaps, and rediscovers his edge, beating Finlay in a hard hitting hardcore match at Nemesis.
John Cena: Turning point.
Christian is screwed out of the title on the 700th edition of Raw by the McMahon Family Empire.
Christian: Low point.
Christian and Cenas paths meet again at Survivor Series, teaming up on the same side, and both surviving a 10 man tag elimination match, seemingly earning a title shot each…
Both men: Back in contention.
Clips of both men in the ring on Raw the following night, as Eric Bischoff drops the bombshell that only one of them will get a title shot, and not both … resulting in a match between the two the following week … and the loser will NEVER get another shot at the title.
Cena wins the match, defeating Christian, albeit due to an unexpected run in from Triple H, desperate to keep Christian out of the title picture.
Shot of Christian, sat in the ring, coming to terms with the loss.
Cena with his hand raised in victory.
John Cena: Jubilation.
Clips now of Christian being placed in Intercontinental Championship and Tag Team Championship matches.
Triple H, thanks to run ins from the McMahon Family Empire, Finlay and Brock Lesnar, retains the title against Cena on Raw.
John Cena: Anger.
The two men find a common bond, and set up an alliance in order to take down the McMahon Family Empire, winning a 4 on 2 handicap match against the odds, meaning Christian would be part of the 30 man Royal Rumble, and John Cena would get a rematch for the title.
John Cena: One.
Both Men: Chance.
At the Royal Rumble, Cena is once again screwed by the McMahon Family Empire, losing his title match.
John Cena: Screwed.
Christian winning the Rumble match, last eliminating The Iron Man, Brock Lesnar.
Christian announces the night after the Royal Rumble, that he’ll face the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania.
Christian: Destined for WrestleMania.
Cena defeating Brock Lesnar to earn one final shot at the title at SuperBrawl.
John Cena: Driven for glory.
Cena beats Triple H 5-4 to win the title in a 60 Minute Iron Man Match at SuperBrawl.
John Cena: Finally … back on top.
Christian and Cena, face to face, the next night on Raw.
Christian: Ready to go through hell.
The two nearly take each other out in a tag team match a week later, both having the idea to hit the other with a steel chair…
John Cena: Dead set …
Clips of Christian in action, hitting Unprettiers, nailing Frog Splashes.
Christian: Dead set …
Final shot of the two men, last week, coming face to face, as the tension continues to rise.
Both men: … on a collision course.
The video ends, with a flash of the WrestleMania 23 logo.
WRESTLEMANIA COUNTDOWN - 13 DAYS TO GO!!
Now, a graphic for Cena & Christian is shown, as the fans in the arena get rowdy, as the anticipation builds.
Umaga w/ Armando Estrada vs. Finlay
It’s a fairly competitive contest, at least in the early going, with Finlay battling toe to toe with Umaga. The Samoan Bulldozer rebounds from the early setback though, and begins to take over and unleash his dominance over the veteran. The Irishman tries to stay in contention, but as he builds up a comeback, he tries too much, looking for a Celtic Cross on his much bigger opponent … and fails.
From this point, it’s all one way traffic, as Umaga delivers a thunderous Samoan Drop, then follows up with a splash from the middle rope, scoring a two count. Finlay battles on, and pulls himself up in the corner, as Umaga sets himself for the running butt splash … but the Little Bastard appears - and grabs Umagas leg for dear life, looking to save his protector.
Umaga, incensed, grabs the leprechaun, and pulls him up, with the Little Bastard dangling his legs in the air … BUT FINLAY SAVES HIM!!! Finlay comes to the rescue of the leprechaun, attacking The Samoan Bulldozer, as the Little Bastard runs to safety. Finlay tries to force his will on Umaga, but is brushed aside, getting ran down with a big rolling leg kick from the athletic big man!!! This marks the end, and Umaga finishes proceedings … Samoan Spike … 1...2...3!!!
Winner: Umaga @ 04:57
Still undefeated, and still yet to find himself in real danger of succumbing to a defeat, Umaga rolls on, picking up a highly impressive victory against a true veteran, and one of his seven opponents in less than two weeks at WrestleMania. The Samoan Bulldozer is eventually joined in the ring by Estrada, who raises his savages hand, whilst Finlay is still sprawled out on the mat.
Jim Ross: An emphatic win for the Samoan Bulldozer tonight Coach, and he is STILL yet to taste a defeat. Tonight, he just dismantled a veteran, and a well renowned veteran at that.
The Coach: He’s had some impressive wins J.R … he’s already beaten Rey Mysterio and the Showstopper Shawn Michaels, but tonight, he brushed aside the tough Irish Bastard, and for my money, given how impressive the victory was tonight, how dominant the Samoan Bulldozer was … that’s his best performance to date.
Jim Ross: And by the looks of things, he’s peaking at just the right time … or the wrong time if you’re one of his seven opponents at WrestleMania.
1ST TIME WRESTLEMANIA MOMENT - X7 - FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, TEXAS HOSTS WRESTLEMANIA; AND THE ASTRODOME IS THE SITE FOR ARGUABLY THE GREATEST WRESTLEMANIA OF ALL TIME.
**KING OF KINGS**
The McMahon Family Empire, led by Triple H, enter the arena to a massive heel reaction from the fans. The five piece group stand at the top of the apron for a moment, soaking in the response, before continuing down the ramp.
Jim Ross: In thirteen days time, that man right there, The Game, Triple H, faces off against The Iron Man, Brock Lesnar for the first time ever!! And now, after a week of uncertainty, we now know that there will be order on the outside, with Stone Cold Steve Austin the special guest enforcer at WrestleMania.
The Coach: He shouldn’t even be allowed in New Orleans J.R. You don’t put your hands on the boss, and Austin crossed the line last Friday Night. But don’t fear, because Austin WILL NOT be siding with Lesnar at WrestleMania. He hates Lesnar just as much as he does Mister McMahon ad Triple H … if not, even more!!!
Jim Ross: I find that hard to believe Coach. There isn’t a single human being alive that Austin despises more than McMahon himself. But take Austin at his word, he wont be siding with anyone at WrestleMania. He’ll be there to prevent any outside interference. He’ll be in the Big Easy to make sure order is served.
The Coach: He’s just lucky he isn’t here tonight J.R. He’s a big guy when he has Mister McMahon on his own, but he wouldn’t dare cross the entire McMahon Family Empire.
Jim Ross: Well … we are in Texas, Austin wouldn’t be too far away if you want to invite him??
In the ring, the Family Empire stand tall, looking around the arena, taking in the abuse from the fans. Triple H waits, shades on, for the fans to quieten, before speaking.
Triple H: Three letters … D … T … A.
Triple H looks to his left, then back at the camera.
Triple H: Don’t … Trust … Anybody.
The Game smirks, before removing his shades.
Triple H: Brock Lesnar, you need to heed the warning, because there is a man that lives by that motto … and that man is the guy you’re pinning all your hopes on at WrestleMania.
Triple H listens out for any fan response, but gets little to nothing.
Triple H: That man … is Stone Cold Steve Austin.
HUGE pop from the Texan fans.
Triple H: Last week, you came out here and told the world that Austin was gonna back you up, and be in your corner come WrestleMania.
The fans cut in with another cheer.
Triple H: But that couldn’t be farther from the truth, could it??
Triple H smiles, still staring at the camera.
Triple H: Because Austin is about as interested in saving your ass, as he is mine.
Heat from the fans, whilst Triple H refuses to stop smiling.
Triple H: And that doesn’t bode well for ya big guy.
More heat from the fans, cutting Triple H off.
Triple H: And if you don’t believe it … you’d better start listening. Because Austin has just as much hatred for you Brock as he does us.
Triple H points around at the Family Empire.
Triple H: Think back to Corpus Christi, Judgment Day, 2004. You cost Austin his job. Think back to two years ago, WrestleMania 21, you and Austin in Ford Field. Think back to Judgment Day 2005, you and Austin, beating the living hell out of each other.
The Game nods, before turning, and walking around the ring as he continues to speak.
Triple H: As for that Stunner to Vince on Smackdown last week. Don’t get your hopes up kid. That was just Austin being Austin. Come March 18, if he gets even the slightest chance to do the same to you … he’ll not think twice about.
Now, Triple H turns around, and begins to point into the crowd, addressing the fans.
Triple H: So for all of you people out there that didn’t see Smackdown last week … and all expected Stone Cold Steve Austin to be Brock Lesnars saviour … think again.
Heat from the fans.
Triple H: The only thing Austin is interested in … is himself.
Big time heat for the knock on Austin.
Triple H: He’s gonna show up at the SuperDome, and he’s anointed himself as ‘the enforcer’. All he wants to do, is raise hell. He doesn’t care if your Vince McMahon or Brock Lesnar. Any chance he get-
**HERE COMES THE PAIN**
The fans come to their feet, as it appears Brock Lesnar has heard enough!!! The Iron Man steps out onto the stage, with the McMahons looking rather angered by the interruption.
Brock stands at the top of the ramp, waiting as the music dies down. The music dies down, and Lesnar puts the mic to his mouth, addressing the fans.
Brock Lesnar: Right off the bat, I wanna make a few things clear. Last week … hell, last week I was just having a bit of fun.
Small pop for Lesnar, who shows a glimpse of a smile for a second. Then, thankfully, he drops the smile, and develops his scowl.
Brock Lesnar: But that was last week … tonight, I don’t wanna talk, I don’t wanna smile, and I don’t wanna laugh.
Lesnar shakes his head slowly, giving it a moment, before continuing.
Brock Lesnar: I wanna bust you in half.
Big pop from the fans.
Brock Lesnar: As for Austin?? I don’t care what role he has at WrestleMania. All I know, is that he aint gonna stand for any crap.
Small pop from the fans with another mention of Austin.
Brock Lesnar: And I’m not as dumb as you seem to think. I’m well aware of my history with Stone Cold Steve Austin … but I just don’t have enough time to talk about the history every single one of you have with him.
Lesnar continues to exude intensity, nearly booming on the mic.
Brock Lesnar: The fact is this … I couldn’t care less who’s involved at WrestleMania. No matter who is at ringside, no matter what the rules … I WILL SETTLE THE SCORE!!!
More cheers for the Iron Man.
Brock Lesnar: You don’t realise just how much I wish it was WrestleMania tonight … I don’t want to wait for two weeks to get my hands on your scrawny neck … I don’t want to wait another minute Triple H. And I WONT WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE!!!
Lesnar slams his mic down, and points to the ring, pacing quickly down the ramp, as Triple H looks to be getting pumped up, throwing his jacket off, readying himself for Lesnar.
Brock doesn’t think twice, and slides in the ring, AND THE BRAWL IS ON!!!
The Game and Lesnar trade blows, but it’s The Iron Man that gets the better of it, scoring with a combination that send Triple H sprawling to the canvas … but before Brock can capitalise … SHANE JUMPS ON HIS BACK!!! Shane tries to cover the eyes of Lesnar … BUT GETS FLUNG OFF!!!
Lesnar throws Shane off him like a child, then spots Vince coming towards him, knocking him down with a clothesline … THEN DUCKS UNDER A BOOT FROM TOMKO … SCOOPS HIM UP … F5!!!!
Lesnar now sets his sights on Triple H again, with The Game struggling on his feet in the corner … but before he can get to him … STEPHANIE STANDS IN HIS WAY. She yells in Lesnars face, THEN SLAPS HIM with Brock looking around at the fans … THEN SCOOPS HER UP!!! The fans are going buck wild as Brock prepares to F5 the billion dollar princess … BUT TRIPLE SCORES WITH A LOW BLOW TO SAVE HER!!!
The Iron Man drops to his knees, as Triple H barks at his wife to get the sledgehammer. The Game pounds Lesnar in the meantime, softening him up, then drags him up, PEDIGREE CONNECTS!!!
Triple H delivers the Pedigree, as Stephanie pulls the hammer from under the ring, sliding it inside for The Game. Triple H takes a good long look at the weapon, then instructs Shane and Vince to hold Lesnar up, which they do. The Game stands around for a moment, sizing the shot up against the helpless Lesnar … then …
IT’S AUSTIN!!!!!!! J.R goes bananas, as THE TEXAS RATTLESNAKE ENTERS THE ARENA!!! Austin makes his way down the aisle, carrying a steel chair, as the fans go nuts, seeing their Texan hero making a beeline toward the ring, with Shane coming to meet him on the ramp … GETTING A CHAIR SHOT FOR HIS TROUBLES!!!
Suddenly, in the ring, Vince slips out, not wanting to feel the wrath of Austin again so soon after Smackdown, leaving The Game to take on Stone Cold himself (with Stephanie joining her Father, and Tomko still out from the F5). Austin gets into the ring, and swings the chair … BUT TRIPLE H COUNTERS WITH THE HAMMER … KNOCKING THE CHAIR OUT OF AUSTINS HANDS!!!
Triple H swings with the hammer again … but Austin ducks it … KICK TO THE GUT … STUNNER … NO!!! Triple H shoves Austin away … THEN NAILS HIM WITH A CLOTHESLINE!!! The fans rain down with heat for Triple H, as he drags Austin up, looking to hit a Pedigree … BUT LESNAR STOPS HIM NAILING THE GAME WITH A CLOTHESLINE!!!
Lesnar saves Austin, but before he can capitalise on Triple H, Vince and Stephanie pull The Game out of the ring. Lesnar kicks the ropes, leaning over, yelling at The McMahons, telling them they cant run forever. He then turns around … RIGHT INTO A STUNNER FROM AUSTIN!!!
Austin strikes!!! He throws Lesnar a double bird, before doing the same to the McMahon Family Empire, as the music hits again, with Austin calling for beers amidst carnage.
The fans are going absolutely crazy with Austin creating anarchy in Texas. He drinks up his beers, whilst Lesnar lays in the ring, having suffered a Stunner, despite helping Austin avoid the Pedigree!!!
The Coach: Triple H was right J.R … DTA, DTA, DTA!!!!
Jim Ross: The Texas Rattlesnake lives by those three letters, and as it goes, you cannot trust anybody … especially Stone Cold!!! Nobody expected to see Steve Austin show up on Raw tonight, but by Gawd, he has, and by Gawd, he has created bedlam.
Austin finishes up his beer drinking, and leaves the ring, calling for two more beers, which he sinks as he saunters up the ramp. Meanwhile, in the ring, Lesnar is beginning to stir, and watches, as Austin leaves the arena, giving Lesnar affirmation he’ll not be playing favourites come WrestleMania.
Jim Ross: There is pandemonium in San Antonio tonight, all courtesy of the Worlds Toughest Son of a Bitch, and tonight, we got confirmation that Austin sure as hell wont be playing favourites come March 18.
The Coach: And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Brock Lesnar thought he had Austin in his corner, and he couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’ll be a long hard night for the Iron Man at WrestleMania.
Jim Ross: It’ll be a special, special match at WrestleMania, that’s for damn sure. Thirteen days, thirteen days.
We return into the arena with Garrison Cade stood in the ring, waiting for his opponent, as the fans are already chanting his name … H-B-K.
Shawn Michaels enters to a humongous ovation from his adoring hometown fans, as he gets set for one on one action.
Jim Ross: And here he is,
Shawn Michaels vs. Garrison Cade
Given the hometown location, Michaels puts on a stellar performance, with Cade upping his game like he tends to do when up against his former mentor. After a hot opening from Michaels, Cade uses his power advantage to take over, using shortcuts initially, which puts him in charge. Using his power, Cade stays on top, setting up an eventual big comeback for the home town boy. Cade locks in a deep sleeper as he continues to force his authority over HBK, and the fans rally behind Michaels, cheering him to fight out.
Fighting the sleeper, The Showstopper using the fans to build his comeback, breaking out of the sleeper, and connecting with a hat trick of inverted Atomic Drops, then delivers the flying forearm, complete with nip up!!! The fans come to their feet, as HBK climbs the ropes, looking for the Flying Elbow … AND CONNECTS!!! The end is near now as Michaels begins to tune up the band … BUT CADE BLOCKS SWEET CHIN MUSIC … AND TAKES HBK OUT WITH A STUNNING CLOTHESLINE!!!
Cade now picks Michaels up, and after pounding the back, and throwing Shawn into the corner for a few more stiff punches, Cade looks to set him up for the Razors Edge … BUT MICHAELS SLIPS OUT … Cade turns around … SWEET CHIN MUSIC CONNECTS!!! Shawn Michaels hooks the leg, looking to seal a hard earned, home town win, 1...2...3!!!
Winner: Shawn Michaels @ 06:17
Generic match, but the Texas fans made the match, all behind Michaels, who picks up the feel good win, and builds himself more momentum for WrestleMania, less than two weeks away from facing the deranged Mick Foley in the Non-Sanctioned match.
We return backstage, with Todd Grisham standing with Shawn Michaels, just moments after his feel good win. He looks set to interview the smiling Heart Break Kid, when suddenly, he appears to hear something in his earpiece, looking rather confused and startled, as we quickly switch back to ringside.
J.R and Coach are seen discussing something off air, both looking rather concerned, before they turn to the camera.
Jim Ross: Ladies and Gentlemen, we were just about to hear from Shawn Michaels, but before we hear from HBK … over the course of the last commercial break, a video was received in the production truck. Now, The Coach and myself haven’t been told any solid details about it, but what we do know, is that Eric Bischoff wants it to be played immediately, and we have been asked to warn anybody at home that this video is extremely disturbing.
The video opens, in a darkly lit room, as a shadowy figure sits with it’s back to the camera. Immediately though, the voice gives away the identity of the man, despite us not seeing his face.
Mick Foley: Greetings one and all.
Silence. The figure doesn’t move, as the floorboard creaks.
Mick Foley: There appears to be some misconceptions about why exactly I picked Shawn Michaels … why he was chosen.
Silence again. Foley breathes deeply.
Mick Foley: There is no deep seated jealousy. No inferiority complex…
Foley scoffs, moving forward in his chair, keeping his back from the camera, with the floorboards and rickety swivel chair creaking in the silent room.
Mick Foley: What do I have to be jealous about?? Just like you Shawn, I’ve got a beautiful wife … I’ve got adorable children … I’ve had a remarkable career, and I’ve been a World Champion.
Foley shuffles in the chair, still not showing his face, with the light still very dim.
Mick Foley: We’ll both be remembered as WWE icons … and we’ll always be referenced by name in years to come, long after we’ve gone. In ten, twenty, even thirty years time, they’ll still be talking about you and I … commemorative DVD’s, Pay Per View specials, a-
Mick stops himself. Silence again. Slowly, Mick starts again, but speaks slowly, almost too calmly.
Mick Foley: And when … they come to this time of year … the time of year … when the classic … WrestleMania moments are clipped every week …
Foley rocks forward seemingly in the chair, then leans back.
Mick Foley: It’ll be Shawn Michaels jumping off a ladder at WrestleMania 10 … it’ll be Shawn Michaels flying down the rafters at WrestleMania 12 … Shawn Michaels getting his lights punched out by Mike Tyson at WrestleMania 14 … Shawn Michaels face to face with The Rock at WrestleMania 22.
In the shadows, it looks like Mick is holding up one finger.
Mick Foley: That … IS … one thing … that … I do envy.
In the shadows, it appears Mick sits forward, resting his head in his hands, which muffles his next statement.
Mick Foley: Because in amongst those unforgettable moments with Shawn Michaels … there isn’t a single memory that the world will remember when it comes to Mick Foley at WrestleMania.
Suddenly, Foley shifts back in the chair, looking toward the heavens.
Mick Foley: Every highlight of my career … every memorable moment I’ve accomplished … King of the Death match … Hell in the Cell … winning the WWE Championship … they’ve never happened at WrestleMania.
Foley appears to lurch forward in the chair again, slapping his own face.
Mick Foley: That consumes me Shawn … that’s the demon running through my mind … that’s the demon … that possesses Mick Foleys brain.
Rocking back and forth now on the chair, Mick continues.
Mick Foley: So let me reiterate … I’m not targeting you out of a jealous rage Shawn … I hold no grudge … this isn’t personal … at least not between us.
The Hardcore Legend begins to chuckle as he speaks.
Mick Foley: If anything Shawn … I chose you … because … I admire you.
Foley seems unable to control his giggling, still rocking back and forth uncontrollably.
Mick Foley: I admire all your accomplishments … all the glittering moments you’ve created at WrestleMania. After all … YOU ARE WRESTLEMANIA … Mister … WrestleMania.
Mick slows down his rocking, coming to a halt, no longer laughing, but breathing heavily.
Mick Foley: And that’s who I need … that’s who I need to deliver MY WrestleMania moment. That’s why I’ve gone to the lengths I have, that’s why I couldn’t allow you to become World Champion in November … that’s why … I couldn’t allow you to win the Royal Rumble.
Foley extends his arms whilst in the chair, then curls up, almost in a ball, again, muffling his words.
Mick Foley: This ambition has consumed the mind of Mick Foley … this pursuit has all but ravaged Mick Foleys family to shreds.
He pulls himself out of the ball, and gasps heavily, then exhales. Foley lets out a painful moan, before seemingly sobbing over his words.
Mick Foley: That’s why I’m sitting in this run down motel … because Mick Foley has alienated his family on this quest.
Foley stops the sobbing, and all falls quiet again.
Mick Foley: I’ve lost control over everything … my mind, my family … ME!!!
Getting more emotional, Mick begins to yell.
Mick Foley: I LOOK AT MY CHILDREN … AND THEY DON’T SEE DADDY!!! … I TRY TO HOLD MY WIFE … AND SHE REJECTS THE HANDS CLASPED AROUND HER WAIST!!!
Foley takes a few moments to compose himself, with the eerie setting adding to the intensity of the shouting.
Mick Foley: I look in the mirror … and I see someone that scares me. I look into my eyes … and I see an old friend … but I don’t want to see him.
Again, momentary silence.
Mick Foley: I look again … and I see another old face … not the face of a fun loving General Manager … not the face … of a cuddly teddy bear … I look into that mirror … and I’m scared of what I see … I’m scared of what these faces are capable of … I’m scared of what these eyes will do …
Once more, Foley slowly rocks in the rickety chair.
Mick Foley: I’m scared that I may never be the same again … these voices in my head live … these voices are calling the shots now … I look into the mirror … and I’m scared of which one of these men I’ll see.
Still, he rocks, but keeps quiet momentarily.
Mick Foley: Most of all Shawn … I’m scared that if I don’t get the memorable moment these demons crave … I’m scared they’ll haunt me forever.
Foley once again stops rocking. Silence falls once more, before Foley speaks again.
Mick Foley: Help me put these voices to bed Shawn. Help me bury these faces … help me put them to rest once and for all Shawn … because …
Foley spins around in the chair, directly into the light … AND HE’S WEARING THE OLD MANKIND MASK!!! Not only that, but it appears he is also wearing the Cactus Jack ‘DEAD OR ALIVE’ shirt.
Mick Foley: I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE!!!
Foley pants heavily, staring directly at the camera, which gets a long look at the deranged mask, not seen in over seven years.
Suddenly, the feed on the video goes, and the screen goes to black, before we cut back and return to ringside.
And there, we just see J.R and Coach in silence, neither even looking at the camera, both shaking their heads in shock, as we hear the very quiet arena react with shock to the footage seen.
The picture changes quickly, and now, we see Todd Grisham taking up the whole picture, but it eventually pans out to show him standing alongside Shawn Michaels, both looking disturbed by the video.
Todd Grisham: Umm … Shawn Michaels … have you … any response to what we just saw??
Grisham points the mic to HBK, but Michaels has his head down, deep in thought, disturbed by the video he just saw. The Showstopper finally looks up, but cant bring himself to talk. Instead, he slowly shakes his head, before turning around, and walking off, almost in a daze.
The VP then ends with the graphic for WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - MARCH 18TH 2007 - FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN NEW ORLEANS.
- IF SANTINO MARELLA WINS; HE WILL GET WWE CONTRACT:
Rey Mysterio vs. Santino Marella
Marella starts off impressively, scoring a headlock takedown … but that’s about as good as it gets, with Santino taking far too long celebrating his ‘triumph’, allowing Rey to get back up, dropkick him into the ropes, and DELIVER THE 619!!! Rey hops onto the ropes, and DROPS THE DIME!!! He covers, 1...2...MELINA PULLS THE REFEREE OUT OF THE RING!!! Melina, having just sprinted down the aisle, saves Santino, and infuriates Mysterio. Melinas smile is quickly wiped off her face though … AS ALEXIS LAREE CHARGES DOWN THE AISLE … AND TACKLES THE WOMENS CHAMPION DOWN!!!
Laree takes out Melina, as Rey picks up speed, and somersaults out of the ring, CRASHING ONTO SANTINO!!! Now, as we see Laree take Melina into the crowd, Rey throws Santino back inside, then follows in himself, but Santino rolls straight back out, grabbing onto the referee … turning the referees back from the ring … AS MNM COME FROM THE CROWD … AND ATTACK REY IN THE RING!!! Mysterio doesn’t see the run in coming, and succumbs to the SNAPSHOT!!! Just as MNM celebrate together … STRAIGHT EDGE COME TO SAVE REY!!!
Punk and Helms sprint down the aisle, chasing off Nitro and Mercury, who run off like a pair of scalded dogs seeing Straight Edge coming after them. In the ring, Santino is back, and looking to pick off the scraps left by MNM, pointing at the prone Intercontinental Champion, and smiling broadly. But as he bends down to pick up his opponent … with Mysterio CRADLING MARELLA … 1...2...3!!!!!
Winner: Rey Mysterio @ 03:30
Marella instantly bounces up, eyes popping open, shocked that he just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!!! He runs after the referee, out of the ring, and up the ramp, disputing the count, as Mysterio picks himself up in the ring. Rey struggles at the ropes, still selling the effects of the Snapshot moments ago … THEN GETS CLOTHESLINED FROM BEHIND BY KENNEDY!!!
Mister Kennedy, the final piece of the puzzle, the only person yet to make an appearance in this match from the scheduled 8 man tag match at WrestleMania. Despite saving his appearance until last, Kennedy sends the strongest message, grabbing his target, Mysterio, and taking advantage of his weakened condition, delivering THE MIC CHECK!!!
Kennedy gets back to his feet, and stands over the Intercontinental Champion, making the same gesture he did earlier this evening … motioning the title belt around his waist, with a sly smile on his face. Kennedy takes a look around the fans, and makes the gesture again, with a simple nod, as if to confirm it.
Jim Ross: Look into those eyes Coach. Look into the eyes of Mister Kennedy, that man is possessed. He is hell bent on proving his worth, and winning the Intercontinental Championship appears to be the top of his priorities. In thirteen days, if he does what he just did to Mysterio, we will be looking at a new Intercontinental Champion.
The Coach: Nobody on Raw is more driven. Nobody on Raw is more determined to be recognised. Mister Kennedy is a beast J.R.
Jim Ross: He’s made his point tonight Coach … loud and clear.
Eric Bischoff, the Raw General Manager is seen on his cell phone, sitting in his office, ending a call, as Todd Grisham enters the room.
Todd Grisham: Uh, Mister Bischoff?? You wanted to see me??
The General Manager nods, putting the phone in his pocket.
Eric Bischoff: That’s right Todd, I brought you here, because I want to make an announcement. I just got off the phone there with Smackdown General Manager, Arn Anderson … not an experience I’d recommend by the way…
Bischoff rolls his eyes, thinking about his conversation with Double A.
Eric Bischoff: But, it was worthwhile in the end. Because Arn and I actually agreed on something for once … and it is absolutely huge Todd.
Grisham seems impressed, as Bischoff begins to smile.
Eric Bischoff: Next week, as everyone knows, the Road to WrestleMania ends … and to mark the occasion … for one week only … Raw and Smackdown will co-exist.
Bischoff shows a smile, waiting for a fan reaction, but gets very little, having worded his announcement a little confusingly.
Eric Bischoff: In other words, all Smackdown talent will be required to show up on Monday Night Raw … and all of my Raw superstars will be required to show up on Friday Night Smackdown.
Better pop this time, with the two brand joining up for both of next weeks shows in the final push to WrestleMania.
Eric Bischoff: But that’s not all. You see, I’m still calling the shots on Raw next week … and I’ve got a brilliant pair of matches that I’m going to officially announce … now.
Small pop in the background.
Eric Bischoff: The first will see all eight men in the Money in the Bank ladder match in action … eight man, tag team action. And it’ll be the four qualifiers from Raw; Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay AND Umaga … against Charlie Haas, M.V.P, Paul London and Carlito.
Bischoff shows another grin, putting his finger up.
Eric Bischoff: And there’s more. Next weeks main event on Raw … it’ll be another clash of Raw and Smackdown talent … a tag team match … and it’ll feature the three men involved in the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania … with Rob Van Dam, the current WWE Champion, teaming up, with Chris Jericho. And they’ll face Edge … and his tag team partner??
Eric has a sinister smile on his face, despite the next name being fairly obvious.
Eric Bischoff: CHRISTIAN!!!
Bischoff nods, smiling at his own handy work. Grisham nods too, and turns to leave… but there’s more…
Eric Bischoff: Wait. I haven’t told you the best bit yet, have I?? There’ll be a special guest referee for that match too…
Like on reality TV competitions, there is a long pause…
Eric Bischoff: John … Cena.
Now, Bischoff seems content, and sits back down on his chair, leaning back, as we go to ringside…
"Sam’s Town" plays on the PA, with J.R and Coach discussing.
Jim Ross: OH MY LORD!!! Coach, we are in for a huge night next Monday on Raw … the FINAL stop on the Road to WrestleMania, BOTH brands represented, and it looks like we’ll be pulling double duty with Smackdown next Friday night!!!
The Coach: Any excuse to get The Coach to pull in the ratings for Smackdown. But forget that old timer, what a double main event … two weeks straight from The Bisch, double main event next week on Raw.
Jim Ross: I gotta hand it to him Coach, Eric Bischoff has been making some impressive decisions as of late; and he has continued that recent tradition for next Monday Night, eight man tag match featuring the eight men set to compete in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania. But that one is eclipsed by the massive tag team main event - WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam, teams with one of his two challengers, Chris Jericho to take on the other third in the equation, Edge and the 2007 Royal Rumble winner, Christian.
The Coach: Sprinkle in a dash of John Cena as special guest referee … and you got yourself a recipe for disaster.
Jim Ross: It’ll be one hell of a way to wrap up the Road to WrestleMania on Raw … and let’s change gears … WrestleMania, now less than two weeks away Coach, live on Pay Per View, the SuperDome in New Orleans is all sold out, 75,000 tickets have gone, as fans from all around the world will gather in Louisiana for the Showcase of the Immortals.
The Coach: No one is more excited than The Coach, about the Granddaddy of ‘em all, although since you’re going into the Hall of Fame, I guess you might run me pretty close old timer.
Jim Ross: Absolutely Coach. It’ll most certainly be the greatest moment in my career on March 17 at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And it’s a heck of a cast Coach, in the class of 2007; Sherri Martel, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Hulk Hogan, Mike Tyson all to be in attendance, all to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. And the following night, all eyes will be on the squared circle, and there is plenty of excitement heading into the Triple Jeopardy match which will see three championships decided in one fall; Rey Mysterios Intercontinental Title, MNM’s tag team titles, and Melinas womens title. Straight Edge will team with Mysterio and Alexis Laree to face Melina, Nitro, Mercury and of course, Mister Kennedy.
The Coach: Not fair J.R. MNM stand to lose everything!!! They’ve got nothing to gain in this match!!!
Jim Ross: That’s what ya get Coach, that’s what ya get for using every trick in the book, week in, week out. This has been coming to MNM for months!!! And someone else who has tried using every shortcut available, the Cruiserweight champion, Kid Kash. But it’s backfired on him too, because in thirteen days he defends that gold against the hungry Brian Kendrick.
The Coach: I love the cruiserweights J.R. They’re just about the only highlight on Smackdown for me, and I especially love the Notorious K-I-D. He’ll keep that title, no matter what Arn Anderson tries to do to take it from him.
Jim Ross: And from two men making their debuts at WrestleMania, to two teams that have NEVER won at WrestleMania. Americas Most Wanted and The Hardy Boys will do battle on the grandest stage of ‘em all for the WWE Tag Team Titles in one of the most talked about tag team matches in recent memory.
The Coach: The Bulldogs & The Harts, Money Inc & the Mega Maniacs, the TLC classics, think about all those classic tag teams that have done battle at WrestleManias past; add these two to that list. I’m convinced we’ll see a classic tag team war on March 18, when these two teams hook it up.
Jim Ross: Speaking of classics, it promises to be the greatest match that will NEVER happen at WrestleMania; Shawn Michaels and the deranged Mick Foley will meet in a Non-Sanctioned Match. Words actually fail me, when I try to talk about the disturbing behaviour from Mick Foley. His chilling words earlier this evening has me not only worrying for his mental state, but his and Shawn Michaels well being come WrestleMania.
The Coach: Two of the greatest to have ever stepped foot in the WWE, two bona fide legends, two men surely on their way to the Hall of Fame in years to come. HBK always steals the show at WrestleMania, he is MISTER WrestleMania, and Foley wants that big night to steal the show. It’ll be carnage in the Big Easy J.R.
Jim Ross: One match that I am extremely excited to see, Kurt Angle one on one with The Undertaker. The illustrious streak is on the line once more … is The Wrestling Machine the man to end the most talked about win streak in sports entertainment history.
The Coach: Don’t ask Kurt Angle, that’s all I have to say. He doesn’t care about the streak, he doesn’t care about the big occasion. He wants to break an ankle, and he wants to beat The Undertaker into submission.
Jim Ross: Brent Albright, United States Champion for over four months, will face his sternest challenge yet from The Animal, and #1 Contender, Batista. Batista has had his eyes on the title for quite some time, and at WrestleMania, he has a golden opportunity to put the belt around his waist for the first time.
The Coach: Big opportunity for Batista, but this is an even bigger opportunity for the champion to solidify himself. All I ever hear is people writing off Brent Albright, but I promise ya, he’ll shock the world in thirteen days.
Jim Ross: Be that as it may, but there is no match being talked about more than this one … for the first time ever, Brock Lesnar meets Triple H. It’s been five years in the making, and it will culminate on the grandest stage of ‘em all on March 18.
The Coach: Things got real interesting tonight J.R. We found out on Smackdown last week that Stone Cold would be the Enforcer at ringside, and tonight, he proved he wont be playing favourites; nailing Brock Lesnar with a stunner!!!
Jim Ross: Then, eight men, Umaga, Randy Orton, Carlito, M.V.P, Charlie Haas, Finlay, Shelton Benjamin and Paul London will look to climb the ladder of success, and grab the Money in the Bank briefcase, containing one world championship match, at any given time within twelve months. Which of these eight men will earn themselves a shot at championship gold??
The Coach: There’s going to be eight broken bodies, it’ll look like a bad car accident, but for one of those eight, the punishment will all be worth it, all the sacrifice will have a reward. But who will do it??
Jim Ross: And for the first time in WrestleMania history, the WWE Championship is defended in a triple threat match; the champion, Rob Van Dam will face Mister Money in the Bank Edge, and the Highlight of the Night, Chris Jericho!!! It promises to be a classic in the Superdome when these three athletes, right at the top of their game, get it on at WrestleMania!!!
The Coach: Damn right. Three of the premiere superstars in the WWE with the unpredictability of a triple threat match. Potential show stealer if you ask me.
Jim Ross: Then, it’s the main event. The much anticipated, much talked about, World Heavyweight Championship Collision Course IS ON, and it is headed directly to the Superdome. Christian and John Cena, the two biggest stars in the WWE will go head to head, with the title on the line.
The Coach: This is what it’s all about J.R. Cena and Christian, no love lost there. Those two wont pull any punches when it comes to go time.
Jim Ross: It promises to be a night like no other. March 18, mark it on your diary, order it now on Pay Per View. WrestleMania 23 is just thirteen days away, and you don’t want to miss it. And, still to come tonight, a rematch from last years WrestleMania, John Cena, Randy Orton - TONIGHT!!
Hall of Fame Video - Next Inductee into the 2007 Hall of Fame ~ MISTER WONDERFUL, PAUL ORNDORFF!!!
Jim Ross: He was one of the main players in the inaugural WrestleMania, and he was desperately close at one time to becoming WWE Champion. A true legend, and another worthy addition to the illustrious Hall of Fame!!!
The Coach: He was aptly named J.R. Paul Orndorff was wonderful. One of the greats to never be WWE Champion. Big shout out to Paul.
Jim Ross: And he now joins Hulk Hogan, myself, Sensational Sherri, Mike Tyson and the Hitman, Bret Hart in the class of 2007 Hall of Fame!!!
Backstage, Randy Orton is standing with the New Wave, just joined by Garrison Cade, following his loss moments ago.
Randy Orton: Here’s the deal … we saw what went down with Cena and Christian earlier. The way I see it guys … this is OUR opportunity to strike.
Orton looks around at his fellow New Wave members.
Randy Orton: All we have to do, is take out Cena. Think about it. Christian isn’t interested in saving Cena, hell he said it himself. That leaves Cena as a sitting duck.
The group nod, but don’t seem to see the positive.
Randy Orton: If we put Cena on the shelf tonight … I get his main event at WrestleMania, and that way, I don’t need to put my body on the line in a ladder match to win a title shot.
Orton now puts his hand on Doanes shoulder.
Randy Orton: And that means that a spot opens up in the Money in the Bank match for one of you.
The trio look around, and seem to be sold on the idea.
Randy Orton: Now … that sounds like a good idea to me.
Orton looks for some response from his buddies, and all three nod in agreement.
Randy Orton: Just wait for my signal.
The Career Killer pats Dinsmore on the back, then lightly slaps the arm of Cade, as he walks off, heading towards the entrance.
We return with Orton already in the ring, finishing up his entrance, with the music dying down, waiting for The Champ.
**MY TIME IS NOW**
John Cena, vibrant as always, bursts onto the stage, garnering the type of reaction only he seems to get, with the constant mixture of high pitched cheers, and low pitched boos.
Cena casts his eyes down the aisle, and locks his focus on his biggest enemy, Randy Orton, stopping, pointing at the Career Killer … AND SPRINTS DOWN THE AISLE!!!
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Cena and Orton … WASTE NO TIME AT ALL!!! The two men go right for it, picking up from where they last left off at the epic Hell in a Cell last summer. It’s a brawl from the get go, and they take the fight to the outside, bashing each others head off the steel steps, with Cena eventually overpowering Orton, and running him into the ringpost, before taking it back inside. Cena reels off five quick running clotheslines, with Orton continuously coming back for more, until the fifth takes him out of his element. From here, Cena takes the fight to Orton, beating him in the corner, then throwing him off the ropes, and connecting with a reverse elbow for a near fall on the Career Killer.
The Champ looks to keep the pressure on, building off his intensity, but after sending his adversary into the corner, he runs in, getting a boot for his troubles, allowing Orton to take over, connecting with a dropkick for a two count. Cena tries to make a quick fight back, but Orton stuffs it out, dropping Cena into the corner, dazing The Champ, and taking him down with a stiff clothesline, as we head into a commercial … the final one of the evening.
And we return with Orton in full control, punishing Cena with a flurry of stiff forearm shots to the chest of Cena, wearing him down, and turning the chest of the Champ a beet red, taking all the air from him, with heat building for Orton. The Career Killer though, ignores the fans, and slaps on the … CHINLOCK OF DOOM~! The fans die for a few moments as Orton kills the heat with a boring submission, but it all plays into the big comeback for the battling champion, who starts to stir.
Cena now fights back, beating Orton to the punch on each occasion, staggering the Career Killer, then runs off the ropes, delivering a running shoulder tackle … and another … then following up with the spin out power bomb, scoring a close two count on Orton, as the fans begin to pick up with Cena turning the pace up. Orton struggles to his feet, and is easy prey for a big back body drop, allowing Cena to follow up, hitting the crowd pleasing / irritating Five Knuckle Shuffle!!! Orton oversells it, rolling right out of the ring, to the outside, with Cena watching on, and deciding to join his enemy out there!!!
The Champ is the aggressor, but Orton trades blows, then scores with a surprise knee to the gut, stopping Cena in his tracks. The Career Killer looks to deliver a suplex on the steel ramp, but Cena blocks it … AND HITS HIS OWN SUPLEX TO ORTON ON THE RAMP!!! Cena drags his groggy nemesis to his feet, and pulls him to the ring, rolling him inside, and following himself, perching on the top rope, waiting for Orton to get back up … and as he does … Cena looks for the guillotine leg drop … BUT NO ONE IS HOME!!! Cena eats the canvas, as Orton now takes a moment to regroup, and pounces on Cena as he struggles up … hitting his version of a neck & back breaker!!! The leg is hooked, 1...2...NO!!!
Orton cant finish it with that, but now nods, sensing what he CAN finish the match with … THE RKO!!! Orton begins to set it up, slithering on the mat, anxiously watching Cena try to recover … AND GOES FOR IT … BUT CENA DROPS DOWN … AND SCHOOL BOYS HIM … THE EXACT SAME FINISH AS THEY HAD AT WRESTLEMANIA 22!!! … 1...2...THIS TIME ORTON KICKS OUT OF IT!!! The two men reach their feet, with Cena ducking under a clothesline … AND SCOOPS ORTON UP FOR THE FU … BUT ORTON SLIPS OUT … RKO?? NO!!! CENA TRIPS ORTON … STFU!!!
The STFU is applied … BUT THE CAREER KILLER IS TOO CLOSE TO THE ROPES, AND QUICKLY GRABS THEM!!! The hold is forced to be broken, which Cena does … and Orton quickly bails to the outside. Orton tries to take a walk, and regroup, but Cena is having none of it, and comes after him, dropping to the outside himself. Orton though, doesn’t notice, and suddenly, from behind, he is caught by Cena, who slams his head into the steel steps!!! Orton staggers away, falling over the commentary desk, with Cena in pursuit, having to push past the bodies at the time keepers table to get to Orton, and bends down, grabbing his rival … AND GETS CLOCKED WITH A STEEL CHAIR!!! Orton nailed The Champ with the chair, and the referee instantly calls for the bell!!!
Winner: Via DQ - John Cena @ 11:24
The camera closes up on Orton, who, despite being out of sorts and groggy, has a sick smile developing over his face. He slowly pulls himself up, and looks down on Cena who has yet to move, and waves his hand out towards the entrance, all the while looking down on The Champ.
It’s no surprise that we see the New Wave trio of Nick Dinsmore, Ken Doane and indeed Garrison Cade run down the aisle, as the plan begins to unfold before our very eyes. The group surround Cena, as Orton indicates to them to get him inside the ring. The trio oblige, and pull the lifeless Champ to his feet, dragging him back to the ring, rolling him inside, as Orton slowly, eerily, trudges up the steel steps, not taking his eyes off Cena - his ticket to the main event of WrestleMania.
The Career Killer steps inside, and as Charles Robinson approaches him, trying to reason with Orton … HE GETS AN RKO FOR HIS TROUBLES!!! Just like that, without a moments thought, Orton strikes with an RKO to a defenceless referee.
Meanwhile, Cena battles to his feet, trying to fight off the three other members of the New Wave, but is unable to beat all three at once, despite his best efforts, and falls back to his knees after punishing shots, whilst Orton looks to be setting him up for the RKO.
But just as he does … CHRISTIAN APPEARS!!!
Captain Charisma runs halfway down the aisle, wielding a steel chair … THEN STOPS??? Christian stops, and looks around at the fans, who on this occasion mainly boo, as he looks toward the ring, perhaps thinking over what Cena told him earlier. In the ring, The New Wave don’t appear to have noticed Christians presence, as he continues to look conflicted on the ramp, as to whether he should save Cena or not. Eventually, Christian turns … then stops … but then walks on towards the top of the ramp.
Now, as Cena tries to get up … HE GETS PUT BACK DOWN … WITH AN RKO FROM ORTON!!! Orton paces around the ring, head down, deep in thought, thinking about what to do to Cena … how to put him on the shelf … as we see Cade set a chair under the head of Cena, as if to give Orton some ideas, but Orton just shakes his head.
Orton steps backward, into the corner, looking across at the stricken Champion … and then it clicks. Orton takes a brief look from the corner of his eye towards the fans, then back at Cena, with something resembling a grin developing on his face, as he begins to set himself … BUT WHAT FOR??
At the top of the ramp, Captain Charisma still stands, now looking towards the ring, still unable to decide whether to save Cena … or let him drown.
Cade, Dinsmore and Doane all seem to be just as puzzled, as Orton solely focuses on Cena, laid out, not moving, not taking in a single thing around him, as he shapes up to do … something.
BUT HE DOESN’T … AS CHRISTIAN FINALLY MAKES HIS MIND UP … AND SPRINTS DOWN THE AISLE … WIELDING THE CHAIR … SLIDING INTO THE RING … AND NAILS DOANE!!! Meanwhile, Dinsmore and Cade dodge the bullet, and leave the ring, whilst Orton slowly steps between the ropes, and exits, before showing his frustration, banging the apron, as he had Cena right where he wanted him … but took just too long!!!
Now, in the ring, Christian invites the New Wave back, but the foursome shake their heads, rejecting the offer, backing up the ramp, with Orton staring a hole through Captain Charisma.
Christian finally turns his attention from the New Wave, and to the world champion, who is still on the mat, sprawled out. Christian, with the chair in his hand, stands over Cena, in just the right position … for a CON-CHAIR-TO????? Christian breathes deeply, and looks around, with the thought swirling in his mind surely, to bash Cenas head in!!! Captain Charisma now slowly, perhaps still unsure what to do, raises the chair, with Cena his prime target … thinks about it some more …
THEN THROWS THE CHAIR ONTO THE MAT!!!
Indeed, some fans do boo, as Christians conscience wins the day, and he DOESN’T strike Cena with the steel chair.
Finally, Cena begins to stir, and he turns over, as he tries to shake the cobwebs loose. Meanwhile, Christian … PICKS THE CHAIR UP AGAIN!!!
Christian looks at the chair, then peeks around, as a defenceless Cena picks himself up … having to use the ropes … THEN STAGGERS AROUND … INTO THE FACE OF CHRISTIAN!!!
The fans go nuts, as Cena staggers back, shocked by having Captain Charisma right in his face. Christian, looks down at the chair, then shoves it into the chest of Cena, with The Champ stumbling back into the ropes, still looking shocked by what is going on. Cena stays at the ropes, holding onto the chair, as Christian looks over at his adversary, using his index finger and his thumb, holding them up, and putting them barely a centimetre apart, mouthing at Cena …
"I was this close"
Christian then nods, and steps out of the ring, walking right up the ramp, without looking back, even once. In the ring, Cena is beginning to look increasingly frustrated, slamming the steel chair onto the canvas, before walking towards the ropes on the ramp side, watching the #1 Contender leave the arena, as we go off the air.
END OF SHOW
Current Card for WWE Wrestle Mania XXIII:
Date: 18th March 2007
Location: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Event Music: U2 & Green Day; The Saints are Coming & Killers; Sams Town
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena vs.
2007 Royal Rumble Winner, Christian
WWE Championship; Triple Threat Match:
WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam vs.
Mr. Money in the Bank, Edge vs.
‘Highlight of the Night’ Chris Jericho
WWE Tag Team Championships Match;
Americas Most Wanted vs. The Hardy Boys
One Fall; Triple Jeopardy Match:
Intercontinental, World Tag Team & Womens Championships all on the line:
Rey Mysterio, CM Punk. Gregory Helms & Alexis Laree vs. Mr. Kennedy, Mercury, Nitro & Melina
Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Kid Kash vs. Brian Kendrick
United States Championship Match:
Brent Albright vs. Batista
Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
WINNER HAS AUTOMATIC TITLE SHOT ANYTIME IN NEXT 12 MONTHS
M.V.P vs. Umaga vs. Paul London vs. Finlay vs. Carlito vs. Randy Orton vs. Charlie Haas vs. Shelton Benjamin
FIRST TIME EVER:
!!FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING!!
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
With The McMahon Family Empire in the corner of Triple H, and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin as special guest enforcer.
The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object:
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
Non Sanctioned Match:
Mick Foley vs. Shawn Michaels
Hall of Fame Ceremony 2007;
Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Paul Orndorff, Sensational Sherri, Jim Ross, Mike Tyson (Celebrity Wing)
Match banners; Rocker & TKOW
WM Banner; Crazian
MITB Gif; Legends supplier