~Monday Night Raw~
March 5th, 2007
"...you - you look like you wanna hit me?"
We open the show to a video package, with fast-paced, dramatic music playing before the black screen fades into highlights from Saturday Night's Main Event, but two matches in particular, Triple H against Rob Van Dam and John Cena in a steel cage with Mr. and Shane McMahon. We have duelling images from both matches, with the early exchanges of Van Dam and Triple H trading hard right hands paired with Cena racing down the ramp to get the jump on Shane and Vince. We continue to cut back and forth from the two matches, with 'The Game' sending Van Dam flying with a superplex... Cena ragdolls Shane into the side of the cage... Van Dam fires back with rolling thunder... Vince is sent sprawling across the announce desk... Triple H hits the pedigree... Cena hits a fisherman's suplex on Shane from the top rope... Van Dam connects on the five star frog splash... Cena takes Vince up onto his shoulder for the FU... only for the video to come to a screeching halt.
Tense, slow music now is heard. The video moves in slow motion, and the screen darkens... as Shawn Michaels stomps his foot on the mat... and Bobby Lashley rips through the canvas... Michaels makes his move... Lashley rises to his feet... BANG! Michaels' foot connects with Van Dam's chin... BANG! Lashley runs through Cena with a spear... Van Dam's body goes limp as he crumples to the mat... Cena flies through the air in slow motion before he finally hits the mat. We now see the awkward moments between Van Dam and 'The Game' after their match, the pair almost coming to blows, before the final image we see is that of Vince, Shane and Lashley stood over the broken John Cena, arms raised in the air as the video fades to black.
And we fade from that video into the arena to hear...
”BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS..."
The arena goes wild with a massive pop as the Number One Contender to the WWE Championship, Triple H
makes his entrance. Despite the cheers, the camera is able to pick up the odd boo from the crowd, no doubt a reaction to the way Saturday Night's Main Event went off the air. 'The Game' scowls as he heads for the ring, clearly not happy with the situation he finds himself in, but he still goes through his routine of climbing up onto the ring apron to spray water high into the air...
Welcome everybody to Monday Night Raw. We are live and we are sold out tonight in Topeka, Kansas, and you are looking at the Number One Contender to the WWE Championship, 'The Game' Triple H. But after his controversial victory over Rob Van Dam two nights ago in Madison Square Garden, the question is will he be the only
man challenging Shawn Michaels by the time we get to Detroit for Wrestlemania XXIII? Hello everyone, I'm Jim Ross, my colleagues as always are Jerry 'The King' Lawler and Joey Styles, and if you thought Saturday Night's Main Event was full of controversy, just wait 'til ya' see how tonight pans out!
Oh you're not kiddin'! Tonight, due to the controversial nature of the ending to the match between Rob Van Dam and Triple H at Saturday Night's Main Event, the WWE Board of Directors have ordered
a rematch between the two take place. As it stands, Triple H's spot in the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania XXIII is safe, but will Rob Van Dam join Michaels and 'The Game' in a Triple Threat Match?
And certainly by the look on the kisser of 'The Game', he's not happy about that. I might be biased, but in my opinion, Rob Van Dam was screwed
last Saturday night by the WWE Champion.
Now wait a minute Joey. We all saw it, Shawn Michaels was clearly
aiming for Triple H. If Triple H tasted sweet chin music and Rob Van Dam profited from that, would you be as vocal about this as you are right now?
Well 'King', like I said, I'm pretty biased. I wanted to see Rob Van Dam head to his first ever Wrestlemania main event. If the shoe was on the other foot... I honestly don't know how I'd feel.
Well I think it's pretty clear that 'The Game' isn't happy at all right now. Folks, we've got so much to get through tonight. The new
World Tag Team Champions, The World's Greatest Tag Team, have an announcement they want us all to hear, Jeff Hardy makes his return to the ring in non-title action with the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra, we've got the first Raw Money in the Bank Qualifying Match, and of course, we'll be hearing from Mr. McMahon after his victory
over John Cena at Saturday Night's Main Event.
And that had to be one of the most shocking
things I've ever saw. Bobby Lashley ripped through the ring and he just destroyed
John Cena, handing the win to Mr. McMahon and his son Shane.
We all saw a change in Lashley's attitude and demeanour over the last few weeks, but I never
saw anything like that comin'. Bobby Lashley has aligned himself with 'The Evil Genius', but you can guarantee John Cena is gonna have somethin' to say about it tonight.
But before we get to all of that, let's hear from 'The Game', Triple H...
In the ring, Trips already has a mic in hand, taking a sip from his water bottle as he gathers his thoughts. The crowd continues to cheer as the music dies down before the cheers fall silent, although 'The Game' doesn't address them straight away, instead he purses his lips and waits before finally speaking...
Y'know, I should
be out here tonight celebrating the fact that I'm the new Number One Contender to the WWE Championship. I should
be celebrating the fact that in 27 days I'm gonna get my hands on Shawn Michaels, and I'm gonna kick his ass all over Detroit City!
Pop from the crowd as Trips still wears that scowl on his face...
That's what I should
be doin' tonight, but instead, I've heard nothin' but people sayin' they feel sorry for Rob Van Dam.
'The Game' scrunches up his face at the uttering of those words...
Now I know you all saw the video on wwe.com, you all heard what Van Dam had to say. 'RVD' thinks that I need Shawn Michaels' help to beat 'im. He thinks Shawn just handed me the main event at Wrestlemania XXIII. Well lemme tell you
Rob, and lemme remind each and every on of ya'... I
... am 'The Game'!
Triple H: I
... am the best in the world at what I do. I don't need anybody's help to do anything. Rob... you were the unlucky one Saturday night. I'll give it to ya' man, that was a hell of match we had. But Shawn Michaels did NOT hand me any victory. Shawn Michaels only made the inevitable happen sooner.
A few boos are drawn, but 'The Game' can only shrug...
Hey, you might not like it... but that's a fact. And I'm gonna prove it to each and every one of ya' tonight. I'm gonna show you and the whole world that I am that... damn... good!
Pop as Trips ups the intensity...
It ain't personal, it's only business Rob. I said Saturday night that I don't need any help to beat you Rob... and I'm gonna make good on that tonight. You're steppin' into the ring with 'The Cerebral Assassin'. And whether you like or not... you're Wrestlemania dream is in my hands. And tonight...
Trips turns to face the hard camera...
I'm gonna c...h it!
'The Game' snarls into the camera as the crowd gives a mixed response...
And I'm not doin' it 'cause I want to. I'm not doin' it to be a total jackass. I'm doin' it 'cause I wanna stand across the ring from Shawn Michaels and know that nobody is gonna get in the way o' me givin' him the ass kickin' he deserves! I know he kicked your head off and let Vince take your title... but that doesn't compare to what he did to me. Shawn Michaels stabbed me in the back, and as far as I'm concerned... I owe 'im one.
And I hate to say it Rob, but you bein' in the match at Wrestlemania... you're just gonna get in my way. So if I wanna get Shawn Michaels one on one, if I wanna kick his ass for the WWE Championship, if I wanna get my revenge durin' the biggest Wrestlemania in history... if that means I gotta beat you again tonight Rob, with no questions asked, with no second guessin'... then that's exactly what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna leave these people with no doubts that will you are
one hell of a competitor... you're not 'The Game'.
Another pop, but the steely look of determination doesn't waver on Trips's face...
Anytime... anywhere Rob. And tonight, you-
*ONE OF A KIND...*
The crowd goes wild as Rob Van Dam
steps out from the back. Van Dam initially plays up the crowd from the top of the ramp, but his gaze turns from jovial to that of sheer f...tration as he storms down to the ring...
Well here he comes. Rob Van Dam, who had desires of headin' to Wrestlemania to get his hands on Shawn Michaels just as badly as Triple H did, only for Michaels to cost him that chance.
Well tonight Van Dam's drinkin' in the Last Chance Saloon. It was a back and forth match up between Van Dam and 'The Game' last Saturday night, both men came close to victory on several occasions. 'RVD' gets one more chance at the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania tonight. The question is, can he take that opportunity? Can he beat Triple H live tonight on Monday Night Raw?
Well 'The Game' certainly sounds very confident. He feels like he's got a point to prove. But I'm sure Rob Van Dam feels exactly the same way. But we all saw that video on wwe.com from backstage in The Garden. It looked like Van Dam and Triple H were about to explode. And it could happen right here, right now!
Van Dam quickly heads for the corner once he hits the ring, climbing to the second rope to perform his thumbs gesture to the crowd, before he drops down and heads to grab a mic, b...hing past 'The Game' as he does so...
Rob Van Dam:
Hunter... did I hear you right bro'? Did you say you were gonna c...h my Wrestlemania dream?
'The Game' nods, reluctantly...
Rob Van Dam:
Wow man. I mean, I gotta admit... you've done it plenty o' times in the past. Plenty o' times over the years you've played the politics game better than me dude. There's been a lotta times over the years when I've been close to the main event, close to becomin' a champion that you've always been in my way. For me, Saturday Night's Main Event was about more than just goin' to Wrestlemania. It was about me finally gettin' that big win over you Hunter. And Shawn Michaels... he took that away from me man. Not only did I miss out on Wrestlemania... but I missed out on provin' to the world... and especially provin' to you... that I can beat you man.
Van Dam shakes his head as Trips stares on intently...
Rob Van Dam:
Y'see I know I can beat you. I've always known it. I've just never been able to prove it. But Saturday Night's Main Event, that was my chance to finally beat you and get my hands on Shawn Michaels and the main event of Wrestlemania. But just like every other time in the past, somethin' came up during a Rob Van Dam/Triple H match. And just like every other time... I
wound up gettin' screwed.
Van Dam has a little laugh to himself...
Rob Van Dam:
And what do ya' know man? Saturday night, it happens again! And ain't it funny that it's your old buddy Shawn Michaels that cost me this time? Ya' might think that Shawn wanted you to be in the WWE Championship match with 'im. You two always did work well together when it came to holdin' the rest of the boys down didn't ya'?
A few "Oooh's" from the crowd as Van Dam touches close to home...
Rob Van Dam:
Well lemme tell ya' bro'... I ain't gonna let it happen again. If tonight is my last chance at the WWE Championship and Wrestlemania... then I'm gonna do whatever it takes to get there. It just makes me wonder...
Van Dam has a cheeky grin on his face as he continues...
Rob Van Dam:
That for all your talk, for all your big words... can you really get it done without any help? 'Cause from I can see Hunter... you need to win tonight as much as I do.
'The Game' once again scowls as he lets Van Dam's words sink in...
I don't need
to win tonight... I have to. Y'see, I hear what you're sayin' right now... and I heard what ya' said to me Saturday night... and I'm gettin' pretty fed up o' you sayin' Shawn Michaels handed me that win. That I took the easy way out. That I can't beat you. I'm not gonna stand for that Rob. I'm not gonna let that go! I'm not gonna stand by and let you and Shawn Michaels run me down. Lemme ask ya' somethin' Rob. The whole world saw that Shawn was aimin' for me. He was tryin' to kick my head off my shoulders. What if he hit me Rob? Huh? What if he his me with the sweet chin music and I went down? You tryin' to tell me that you wouldn't have done the same thing?
Van Dam doesn't answer, instead he stares straight into the eyes of 'The Game'...
Wrestlemania, Shawn Michaels, the WWE Championship, all on the line, and you see me down and out on the mat with a chance to grab it all... you tellin' me you don't take that chance?
Rob Van Dam:
I don't think I could Hunter.
Triple H shakes his head, annoyed...
Then that's the reason why I've won more championships than you ever will. I'm ruthless, I don't show sympathy, and I don't show any remorse. I get the job done no matter what. I take every chance I get to win, and I don't give a damn who I piss off in the process, 'cause I am 'The Game'!
Again the crowd pop for the intensity of Trips...
But I gotta hand it to ya' Rob. What you said to me Saturday night... it really got under my skin. I'll give it to ya' Rob... you really pissed me off! You said I didn't get anybody's respect on Saturday night. Well if beatin' you's what I gotta do to get that respect...
Trips steps forward, going eye to eye with 'RVD'...
Then I'm gonna do it.
A loud mixed reaction rings out from the crowd...
Rob Van Dam:
Anytime, anywhere huh Hunter?
'The Game' doesn't respond...
Rob Van Dam:
Then why don't you do it... right here... right now!?
A massive pop from the fans, as the level of intensity between Van Dam and Triple H grows. 'The Game' fiercely looks at 'RVD', both men snarling, breathing hard, a reaction between the two just seconds away...
A deafening level of heat breaks out as the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels
emerges from the back. Dressed head to toe in black, including his now trademark black cowboy hat, Michaels slowly steps from behind the curtain, stopping at the top of the ramp. Michaels doesn't head for the ring, instead he blankly stares down at the two men inside the square circle...
Sorry to interrupt fellas, but ol' 'Aitch - Bee - Kay's got a lil' somethin' he wants to get off his chest. Y'see, a lotta people have been askin' me a lotta questions about last Saturday night. A lotta people are askin' me... why
? Why'd I head to ring last Saturday night? They wanna know why'd I try kick your head clean off your shoulders, Hunter?
The camera cuts to 'The Game', who stares intently at Michaels...
They wanna know why I did
head clean off your shoulders, Rob?
And now it cuts to Van Dam, who looks on intrigued...
And not that I owe either of you, or these morons here in Topeka an explanation...
I've decided I'm gonna set the record straight. I'm gonna tell both of ya' a few home truths. 'Cause ya' see, with Saturday Night's Main Event behind us, the next stop is Wrestlemania XXIII. And it's this time o' year that "Mr. Wrestlemania" comes into his own. Each and ev'ry year, Wrestlemania is MY night. For as long as these people can remember, I have stole the show time after time, and this year is gonna be no different fellas.
Despite his arrogance, Michaels has the stone-faced look once again...
And y'see, Saturday Night's Main Event wasn't about which one of you two grabbed a shot at the WWE Championship. It wasn't about which one of ya' got the chance to get their hands on me. It was about which one of ya' would get the honour
of stealin' the show alongside me.
A few boos, but Michaels remained stoic...
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.
The crowd draws to a silence as Michaels glances to the heavens...
And I thought long and hard about what I was gonna do when I got down to that ring. I thought long and hard... about sin
For the first time tonight, Michaels shows a glimmer of emotion as he smiles to himself...
I thought about the sins you two have committed over these last few months. I thought about you Hunter. I thought about you not shakin' my hands after DX came to an end. I thought about you eliminatin' me from the Royal Rumble. And I thought about...
Michaels closes his eyes for a brief second...
I thought about how good it felt the night I smashed that steel chair off your skull.
The camera cuts to 'The Game', a furious scowl on his face as he stares up at the WWE Champion...
And then you Rob. The week after Raw: Night Of Champions, I was happy, I was WWE Champion, I wanted to revel in my victory a lil' bit, and you
of all people come out and question me? You called me weak, you called me self-righteous, you called me Vince McMahon's bitch! You called me out infront o' the world! And then... then I remembered how I kicked your teeth down your stinkin' throat and cost you your precious ECW Title.
Van Dam turns his head away, shaking it as he walks to the far side of the ring...
But when I stood in the middle o' Madison Square Garden, with your fates in my hands, I realised one simple fact. Hunter... I straight up hate your guts!
So I decided I was gonna end your chance at gettin' your hands on me. I decided that I was gonna kick your head off and give Rob Van Dam the chance to go to Wrestlemania. 'Cause after all we've been through Hunter, after all you've done to me... you don't deserve
to main event Wrestlemania with me.
More heat, as Michaels now begins to pace the stage...
As for you Rob... you don't deserve to be in my spotlight either. Heck, there ain't a man alive who does. But the reason I was gonna share my Wrestlemania moment with you, is because as far as I'm concerned, you Rob, are the lesser
... of two evils.
Van Dam angrily shakes his head, but Michaels continues to stare him, the camera catching every inch of the devilish smirk on his face...
And it didn't quite work out that way. Fate, and the big guy upstairs, clearly had other ideas. Hunter profits from my
mistake, and you managed to whine and complain' and get yourself a rematch Rob. You got your second chance. But IF you make it to Wrestlemania... you'll only be joinin' Hunter in my shadow. The place you've belonged in your whole career, huh Hunter?
Michaels chuckles to himself...
So good luck tonight to both o' ya'! I'll be watchin'. But it really doesn't matter if it's one or two. You can give it all the hype, you can do all the trash talkin' you wanna do, but when it's all said and done, the whole world is gonna realise what I've been... preachin'
all these years. That I
Michaels arrogantly raises the WWE Championship in the air...
Am not only the WWE Champion. But I... am Mr. Wrestlemania
. And there ain't a prayer you can say that's gonna help you once we get to Detroit. Now hit... my
And with that, the WWE Champion takes one last look at the ring, pleased at he sees the two seething looks on the faces of Van Dam and 'The Game'...
Wow. I mean that was... that was almost scary! I mean, did you hear Shawn Michaels? Talkin' about sin? Sayin' he was God-like?
I don't understand it. I just don't get it. What in the hell has gotten into that man this last month or so?
Well regardless of what has gotten into 'im, Michaels' message was clear. It's Wrestlemania season, and for Van Dam and Triple H, it doesn't matter if it's only one or two men Michaels faces at Wrestlemania. He's gonna prove to the world why he is 'The Showstopper'.
With Michaels now backstage, the camera snaps back to the ring where 'RVD' and 'The Game' once again square up, the two trading words and pointing fingers at each other as we fade off into commercial in a distinctly sombre mood.
APRIL 1ST, 2001
Two years earlier, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock met at Wrestlemania XV for the WWF Championship, a match that proved to be the embodiment of the Attitude Era. At Wrestlemania XVII, the two would meet again, with the WWF Championship once more on the line. Seconds before the participants were introduced, Howard Finkel made the announcement that the match would be contested as a No Disqualification Match. This controversial announcement would prove to be crucial, as after a hard fought match up, Mr. McMahon would make his presence felt as he headed for the ring. With both Austin and The Rock firm fan favourites, the capacity crowd inside the Astrodome were left wondering just what McMahon was doing interfering in the match. It all became clear though after McMahon assisted Austin in his victory,, ordering Austin to deliver several steel chair shots that would finally keep ‘The Great One’ down for the three count, making Austin the new WWF Champion in the process. With the crowd stunned at what they had just witnessed, the disbelief was only furthered as Austin and McMahon hugged in the middle of the ring, the two bitter enemies now united on the night many consider the end of the Attitude Era.
WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - 26 DAYS AND COUNTING
*End Video Package*
We now cut to an office to see Mr. McMahon and his son Shane McMahon stood proudly infront of a television set, smug smiles on their faces, although both men show the battle scars of their victory on Saturday night. The pair focus on the TV set, with Shane pointing the remote control at it...
Wait a minute, wait a minute, I wanna see that part again... alright here it is, there’s Cena. He’s happy, he’s smillin’, he thinks he has it in the bag... and then I tell ‘im to turn around... BAM! Lashley spears him right outta his boots! I loved it!
The pair laugh heartily to each other...
Wait, wait... go back again. I wanna see that look on Cena’s face when he realizes Lashley’s behind him. Go on, take it back...
Shane once again points the remote at the screen...
Alright, here it is, here it is.
Pause it there.
The cameraman now stands behind the McMahons, the camera peering over their shoulder, giving us the same view they have of the shocked look on John Cena’s face, mere seconds before Lashley runs through him with a spear...
Look at that! Look at that look of fear in Cena’s eyes! That’s the same look of fear John Cena’s gonna have at Wrestlemania XXIII when he steps into the ring with Bobby Lashley!
A pop rings out inside the arena as Vince makes the Cena/Lashley match official...
I wanna see that fear first hand. I wanna stand ringside in Detroit, Michigan and look up at John Cena, cowering at the sight of Bobby Lashley. God I can’t wait. What a sight that’s gonna be!
Vince proudly smiles in anticipation of the big event...
Hey, speakin’ of Bobby... where is the big guy?
Well, me and Bobby had a little talk earlier today. And we agreed that now Bobby is fightin’ for team McMahon, he needs to project a more… corporate
image, shall we say? I mean ya’ look at John Cena, with his stupid shorts, his garish t-shirts, his little hat, that’s not the image I wanna project. And Bobby knows this.
Shane nods his agreement...
Bobby’ll be here shortly. John Cena on the other hand… he’s banned
from the arena this evening.
You, Bobby and I are gonna have ourselves a little celebration later this evening and I don’t want that idiot doin’ anythin’ to screw that up. And speakin’ of our little celebration, my new Executive Assistant oughta be here any minute.
And right on cue, there’s a knock at the door...
Ah, right on time. Come in!
Off camera, the door to the office is heard opening, the sound of footsteps in high heels heard approaching the McMahons. Shane’s jaw starts to drop, while a slightly perverted grin crosses Vince’s face, as the reason for this is soon revealed… as Brooke Adams enters the frame. With her hair pinned up, a pair of spectacles framing her face and wearing a short skirt that shows off those legs and that ass, Brooke looks sexy as ever as she holds a folder in her arms...
I’m ready for my interview now Mr. McMahon.
Vince pauses for a few seconds, take a long look up and down Brooke’s body...
I’ll bet you are...
Vince shake his head, snapping back to the moment...
Right, right. Ms. Adams, welcome. Now, this interview is very much just a formality. However, I do have a little task I’d like you to perform. I want you to take this list...
Vince reaches into his jacket pocket and produces a piece of paper...
And find me everythin’ on it. I don’t care how you do it, just get every item on that list, and the job’s yours,
Vince hands over the paper, with Brooke giving it a look over...
But Mr. McMahon, what do you need a trash can, lighter fluid and-
Ms. Adams, one thing you’ll learn working with me is not
to ask any questions of me. Now… you have one hour. I suggest you get to it.
Brooke nods and leaves, her confusion shared by many inside the arena. The perverted look returns to Vince’s face as he watches Adams leave, before he utters...
Oh yeah. She’ll do just fine.
One last look as Vince, with Shane rolling his eyes in the background before we head back into the arena...
To see that The Highlanders are already in the ring, with Robbie and Rory McAllister tugging at their beards as their music comes to an end. Although fan favourites, there is literally no reaction for the pair after being off screen for so long...
But there's plenty of reaction as that old guitar rif rips through the arena and the much heralded Hart Legacy
make their WWE debuts. The trio from the video package we've seen for the last month or so are all smiles as they head for the ring, the blonde woman leading the way, while the smaller athlete slaps a few hands as the big powerhouse brings up the rear...
What a reception for these three newcomers here to Monday Night Raw! The Hart Legacy, makin' their WWE debuts here tonight!
And let's just fill everybody in on who these three are. There you see leading the way Natalya Niedhart
, daughter of former WWE Tag Team Champion Jim 'The Anvil' Niedhart. A young diva who has honed her craft not only in 'The Dungeon' back in Calgary, but has also competed in Europe and Japan. The smaller man in the middle, that's Tyson Kidd
, a real high flyer and technical expert who has also spent time in Japan. He's got those educated feet you love J.R.! And the man bringing up the rear, the powerhouse of the group, Harry Smith
, son of the late British Bulldog. Much like his father, Harry can really mix it up, a great combination of skill and strength.
I have been lookin' forward to these guys arrivin' here on Raw ever since I first saw that video of 'em workin' out in 'The Dungeon'. They've had great training, they've learned from some of the best up there in Calgary, I predict these guys are gonna make a big impact here on Raw in a hurry.
Match 1: Tag Team Match
The Hart Legacy w/ Natalya Niedhart vs. The Highlanders
It’s Robbie and Tyson who get the match underway, with Robbie quickly swinging and missing with a wild right hand. Kidd instantly fires back with three rights of his own, before a kick to the gut drops Robbie to a knee. Kidd comes off the ropes... and scores with a dropkick to the side of the head! The force of the kick knocks Robbie rolling under the bottom rope, but Tyson looks to quicken the pace as he comes off the opposite side of the ring... suicide dive! Kidd flies through the air to take Robbie down, tossing McAllister back into the ring for a near fall. Smith gets the tag, and the big man starts unloading with more right hands before he bowls Robbie over with a shoulderblock. Rory storms the ring to help his partner, but he runs into a back body drop, before Smith then shows great agility for a man his size by rocking Robbie with a dropkick. Rory is then grabbed and launched over the top rope, before Harry turns back to Robbie... who manages to sneak in a kick to the midsection.
Looking to finally build some offence, The Highlanders exchange tags, with Rory tagging Harry with a pair of right hands before he goes for an Irish whip... that Smith reverses... straight into a side slam! Smith then yanks Rory back to his feet... and takes him up into the air... for a long vertical suplex! Harry goes for the lateral press... 1... 2... Robbie makes the save. Tyson comes back into the match, using a slingshot leg drop to get another 2 count before he looks to fire Rory to the corner... but Rory reverses, prompting Tyson to jump to the second rope... springboard crossbody... no! Rory ducks underneath... but Kidd lands on his feet... only for Robbie to drill him with a clothesline from the apron! Kidd landed close enough to the apron for Robbie to hit the sneak attack, with Rory quickly bringing his partner back into the match.
Before he leaves the ring, Rory scoops Kidd up and slams him to the mat, before he does the same with Robbie, slamming him on top of Tyson, allowing Robbie to hook the leg for a 2count. Robbie then connects with a pair of uppercuts, before a quick tag brings Rory back into the match. The pair go synch Tyson in... then take him up... and bounce him off the ropes for a double slingshot inverted suplex! Rory goes for the cover... 1... 2... Kidd kicks out. Another quick tags brings Robbie back in, but only so he can wrap Rory in a headlock as the pair charge at Kidd for a battering ram... but Kidd jumps, rolling across the back of Rory and then landing on his feet... allowing him to race to the corner to tag in Smith!
Harry enters the ring and runs through both opponents with a double clothesline, before he knocks Rory over the top rope with a big boot to the face. Another clothesline puts Robbie back down, with Smith coming off the ropes... big legdrop! 1... 2... Robbie rolls a shoulder! Robbie hangs on, but he’s in real trouble as Harry tags Tyson and then fires Robbie off the ropes... straight into a bearhug, just as Tyson slingshots onto the top rope... for a springboard lariat... as The Hart Legacy pull off their version of the Hart Attack! Tyson connects, and with Harry drilling Rory with a knee to the side of the head as he tries to re-enter the ring, there’s nobody to stop Kidd hooking the leg for the 1... 2... 3!
Winners: The Hart Legacy @ 05.38
An impressive debut victory for Smith and Kidd, the duo quickly joined in the ring by Natalya as the three celebrate the win. Smith helps Tyson back to his feet, before Natalya steps in-between the pair to raise their hands high to an appreciative pop from the crowd before we head off into a commercial.
And when we return, Todd Grisham
is standing by...
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... CM Punk!
A strong pop welcomes CM Punk into the camera shot, a broad smile etched on Punk's face. Part of the reason for that smile could be the fact that Kelly Kelly is stood alongside Punk, the two holding hands as they approach Grisham...
And Punk, at Saturday Night's Main Event you picked up a victory over Mike Knox, and perhaps you picked up a little bit more than you bargained for in Kelly Kelly here.
Kelly blushes and turns away while Punk plays it cool...
So now after beating Knox, what's next for CM Punk?
Punk laughs, thinking to himself...
I'm glad you asked me that Todd. Right now, things are lookin' pretty good for me. I mean, last Saturday night I won my first ever
match in Madison Square Garden, I got a new girl, and Wrestlemania is right around the corner. And yours truly has his sights firmly set on goin' to Wrestlemania and grabbin' a certain Money in the Bank briefcase.
But it's not just about me and Kelly right now, and it's not just about Wrestlemania either. Y'see, I am the only
Straight Edge Superstar in the WWE. I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't do drugs. I am the only man on the roster who has no weaknesses through addiction. That is... until now.
A confused expression crosses Grisham's face...
Y'see, for the last six weeks or so, I've been doin' a bit of work behind the scenes with another WWE Superstar. This is a guy who for years was a victim of prescription medication. A man who was hooked on pills in an effort to ease the pain he suffered on a daily basis. So much so, that his mental capacities suffered, to the point that he started believing anything people told him. Like when he was told he was special
and was Eric Bischoff's cousin. I'm of course, talkin' about this man...
Into the shot walks a stocky, well built man. It very much looks like Eugene, only now with a shaved head and a fierce look in his eyes...
This is the man you all called Eugene. The man you all pitted, the man you all called special
. Well Eu-... I mean Nick Dinsmore
here, for years suffered with a prescribed medication addiction. For years he pumped his body full of drugs, dulling his senses, messing with his head, and for years people like Eric Bischoff took advantage of him. But not anymore.
Nick nods his head in agreement with Punk’s words...
Just after I arrived here on Raw, I received a phone call from Nick. He had suffered a brutal attack from Umaga, he was carried out of the arena on a stretcher, and once again he was forced to turn to prescription drugs. That was until one day he broke down and realised he had to make a change. He called me up, he explained the situation, and I did my best to help him. To help him convert to a straight edge way of life. It took a lotta hard work, but together we managed to get Nick clean. He's currently free of his addictions, and I'm proud of 'im for makin' it back to the WWE.
A rousing round of applause can be heard inside the arena...
Addiction is a challenge Nick will face every day for the rest of his life. But I know he can beat it. And I'll be there every step of the way to help 'im. And it starts right here on Monday Night Raw. 'Cause you're all lookin' at somethin' we like to call the Straight Edge Saints
. A team united by a desire to have only one addiction in life... competition
Another pop, while Punk smiles and turns to look at Kelly and then back to Nick...
Well, welcome back to Monday Night Raw, Nick. Glad to hear you're health troubles are behind you and...
Grisham stops as entering the screen comes Johnny Nitro, Chris Masters and Melina. The glamorous, good looking trio walk right up to the Saints, with Nitro and Masters arrogantly chuckling to themselves while Melina turns her nose up...
Are you kidding me? I mean, what the hell are you thinkin' Punk? I mean first you hook up with this skank
Kelly angrily shakes her head...
And now you're teamin' with Eugene? A guy who two months ago was nothing more than an embarrassment!
Masters and Nitro turn to each other and laugh...
I mean really Punk. Are you sure you're not high on somethin' right now?
Now Melina arrogantly joins in the laughter... but that soon stops as Nick Dinsmore steps forward...
The only embarrassment around is here is the fact that you two haven't won a match all year. People have been laughin' at me way too long now. I just never realised it before. But now...
Dinsmore steps forward, getting in Nitro's face...
I won't be laughed at again.
The crowd cheers for the ominous threat made by the 'newcomer', with Nitro gulping hard before turning to his partner...
C'mon, let's get outta here. Let's go grab a drink. We'd invite you two but... you'd only cramp our style.
And with one last smirk, Nitro, Masters and Melina turn to leave, with Punk, Dinsmore and Kelly Kelly watching them go, intense looks in the eyes of The Straight Edge Saints as we head back to the arena.
*BURN IN MY LIGHT...*
Some strong heat as Randy Orton
makes his entrance, arrogantly sauntering down to the ring to a good amount of boos...
Well welcome back to the WWE Nick Dinsmore. Great news to hear he's put his issues behind him and is back, ready to compete. But here comes a man who felt like he was robbed last week in the Number One Contender's Tournament Semi Final. Orton seemed to be in control again Rob Van Dam, when Jeff Hardy made his return to action, comin' through the crowd to attack the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra, who was stood at ringside.
Right, and we all remember the interview Orton gave two weeks ago. He said that anybody who got in his way would wind up regrettin' it. And you gotta admit, Jeff Hardy got in Orton's way last week, whether he meant it or not.
It has certainly been a very focused, a very determined attitude we've seen from Orton lately. He was hell-bent on goin' to Wrestlemania to challenge for the WWE Championship, but maybe he can grab himself a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match instead.
Orton cocks his neck as he stands in the ring, anxiously awaiting his opponent...
”I SPIT IN DA’ FACE OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE COOL..."
And it's a strong welcome for Carlito
as the former World Tag Team Champion heads for the ring, as always with Torrie Wilson
by his side. Carlito casually tosses his apple up in the air and catches it, talking to Torrie and gesturing towards Orton as the pair walk down the ramp...
Well Saturday Night's Main Event was not a great night for Carlito. Not only did he and Ric Flair lose the World Tag Team Championships to The World's Greatest Tag Team, Carlito was then insulted backstage by the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra. And to top it off, the tag team of Ric Flair and Carlito is now seemingly at an end as Flair looks to go after Mr. Kennedy.
And of course, don't forget folks, we'll be hearin' from 'The Nature Boy' himself later tonight. But right now, Carlito can try and put that disappointment behind him by bookin' his spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
The man is currently goin' out with Torrie Wilson! What on earth could he have to be disappointed about?! But in all seriousness, I'm sure Carlito will be rootin' for Jeff Hardy tonight in his match with Kenny Dykstra. He'd love nothin' better than to see that punk brought down a peg or two...
Match 2: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Carlito w/ Torrie Wilson vs. Randy Orton
The two start with an aggressive collar and elbow tie up, with both men jockeying for position until Orton is able to force ‘Lito to the corner. The referee steps in for the break, which Orton provides, but he makes sure to shove Carlito in the chest as he steps back... prompting ‘Lito to burst out of the corner and tackle Orton to the mat! Carlito mounts Orton and hammers him with a flurry of right hands, before he gets back to his feet and starts laying in with the boots, prompting Orton to roll under the bottom rope to the outside. Orton paces the ring, trying to shake off the cobwebs, before he angrily slides back under and charges at ‘Lito... but CDarlito ducks an Orton clothesline, running for the ropes... and jumping up for a springboard moonsault... that Orton runs under... but ‘Lito lands on his feet... and catches the turning Orton with a dropkick! Carlito quickly drops into the cover, 1... 2... Orton kicks out.
Carlito yanks Orton back to a vertical base, looking to send Orton off the ropes... kick to the midsection stops Orton in his tracks, and ‘Lito charges off the ropes... right into a dropkick from Orton! Orton returns the favour, and after shaking his head clear he now mounts Carlito and drills him with well placed right hands. Instead of pressing home the advantage, Orton instead gets back on his feet and poses for the crowd, allowing Carlito to crawl to the corner. Slowly Orton walks over, but Carlito strikes with a stiff chop to the chest. Another chop lands, but Orton fires back with a kick to the gut, then goes for an Irish whip... scoop slam... no! Carlito slides down the back... and hits Orton with scoop slam of his own! ‘Lito quickly heads for the ropes... springboard moonsault! 1... 2... Orton kicks out!
Sensing he has the advantage, Carlito stays on the attack with kicks and right hands, before he goes for an Irish whip... but Orton grabs the top rope, stopping himself. Carlito charges... and gets elevated over the top rope... landing on the apron! Carlito swings a right hand, staggering Orton, before he slingshots onto the top rope... only for Orton to hit a dropkick... that sends ‘Lito flying into the barricade! ‘Lito has a brutal landing, with Orton dropping to his knee in the ring, more than happy to take the win on a count-out. Carlito struggles back to his feet, then onto the apron, but when he dips his head through the ropes Orton strikes... rope-hung DDT! Orton plants Carlito, hooks the leg... 1... 2... Carlito kicks out!
Orton now looks to take control, working his way around Carlito’s body with the Orton stomp, before coming off the ropes to drop a knee, gaining a near fall. Orton then wrenches Carlito into one of those long rear chinlocks of his in an attempt to wear ‘Lito down. Carlito is in the hold for a good while, but he manages to work back to a vertical base, delivering a trio of elbows to break Orton’s grip. ‘Lito then comes off the rope... right into a snap powerslam! Orton hooks the leg... 1... 2... again Carlito kicks out! Once more it’s back to the chinlock, this time Orton synching it in deeper and tighter than before. Slowly Carlito fades, his body going limp as his head drops to the mat. Eventually, after no signs of life from ‘Lito, the referee steps in, raising his hand... it drops to the mat. Again the hand goes up... again we watch it drop to the mat. One last time the hand goes up... but this time Carlito keeps the arm in the air! Orton tries to up the pressure on the chinlock, but the crowd ups the volume as ‘Lito struggles back to his feet... elbow after elbow lands, breaking the hold... but then Orton tags a right to the temple. Carlito fires back... and a brief slugfest ensues... until Carlito swings and misses. Orton grabs him from behind and goes for a side suplex... but ‘Lito lands on his feet... and spins Orton around... but Orton hits a kick to the midsection then goes for an Irish whip... Carlito jumps to the second rope... springboard back elbow! ‘Lito crawls into the cover... 1... 2... Orton rolls a shoulder!
Orton stumbles to the corner, but Carlito stays on him, unloading with Flair-esque chops to the chest before he pulls Orton to the side of the ring... Irish whip... but Orton reverses, only to then lower his head... running neckbreaker! 1... 2... no! Again Orton manages to roll a shoulder! Carlito has all the momentum now, and he looks to press it home as he pulls Orton to his feet, slugging a pair of right hands and then sending Orton off the ropes... no! Orton puts on the breaks, twists and turns... and looks for the inverted headlock backbreaker... no! Carlito twists his free of this... but Orton ducks his right hand... RKO... NO! Again Carlito breaks free... to nail the BACKSTABBER!! The series of counters leads to Carlito nailing the backstabber, and he crawls into the lateral press... but there’s no cover! The crowd and Carlito wonder what the hell is going on, but it soon becomes apparent... as Kenny Dykstra is at ringside! The Intercontinental Champion has the referee distracted, as he once again gets in Torrie Wilson’s face! Much like at Saturday Night’s Main Event, Dykstra taunts Torrie, drawing the eye of the referee... and of Carlito, who rolls under the bottom rope! Dykstra sees him coming... and the race is on! Dykstra starts running around the ring, trying to keep away, with Carlito in hot pursuit! The referee checks to see if the visibly shaken Torrie is alright, while Carlito continues to chase as Kenny rolls under the bottom rope... Carlito keeps on chasing, running across the ring... into a RKO!!! Orton pounces, striking out of nowhere, and when Kenny slides back out of the ring, the referee steps back in and sees Orton has the cover... 1... 2... 3!
Winner: Randy Orton @ 09.23
Orton is going to Wrestlemania, thanks to a huge assist from Kenny Dykstra! The Intercontinental Champion races up the ramp, quickly reaching the top of the stage where he stops, turning back to the ring with a big smirk on his face before he disappears behind the curtain. In the ring, Orton pulls himself back to his feet, a scowl on his face despite the fact he's going to Wrestlemania. Orton quickly snatches his hand away as the referee tries to raise it before he heads for the ropes, pointing up at the Wrestlemania banner hanging from the rafters, allowing Torrie in to tend to her man before we head off into another commercial.
We open to a pitch black screen, with the faint sound of a revving motor engine slowly but surely getting louder...
Narrator: The road may be long...
Slowly on the horizon we see a red convertible driving over a hill, heading towards a sunset which lights the screen...
Narrator: The journey may be treacherous...
The revs of the engine increase and get louder, with the camera closing in on shots of the side of the car...
Narrator: But you'll love every second of it!
We now skim along the rear of the car, the sun glistening on the chrome duel exhaust...
Narrator: So strap yourself in...
The car now speeds past a road sign that reads "8 MILE ROAD"...
Narrator: And get ready!
From behind we see an image of the Detroit skyline, with our car heading down a straight road towards it...
Narrator: 20 years on, Wrestlemania returns to Detroit, Michigan!
More fast paced shots of the car racing through the streets of Detroit...
Narrator: And it's going to be...
The car suddenly crashes into the screen, with the grill of the car having the official Wrestlemania 23 logo and tagline printed on it...
Narrator: The ride of your life!
"WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - APRIL 1ST - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"
*End Video Package*
Back into the arena for...
*ONE OF A KIND...*
It's the second massive pop of the night for Rob Van Dam
, but much like earlier tonight, Van Dam is not his usual jovial self, instead he looks focused and determined as he strides down the ramp...
Welcome back folks. It was at Saturday Night's Main Event that Rob Van Dam tasted sweet chin music at the hands of Shawn Michaels. Earlier tonight, the WWE Champion admitted he was aiming for Triple H, only it backfired at Van Dam's expense.
And tonight is the last chance for 'RVD' to put himself in the picture for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. Van Dam has never before competed in a heavyweight championship match on the biggest stage. And after gettin' screwed
in Madison Square Garden, this is an opportunity Van Dam deserves.
Yeah but you heard what Triple H said. He wants Shawn Michaels all to himself, he doesn't want Van Dam involved. And with Triple H in that kinda mood, I just don't know if 'RVD' has it in 'im to get past 'The Game' tonight.
Van Dam bounces to the second rope, leading the crowd in a chant of "ROB - VAN - DAM!" before he drops back down to the mat. Van Dam shakes his arms and legs, trying to ease the tension, but as he paces the ring to silence, the nervousness in the arena builds...
”BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS..."
The roof nearly blows off the arena with a boisterous reaction as Triple H
steps out from the back. 'The Game' pauses at the top of the ramp, before he sprays water into the air and charges towards the ring...
He is 'The Cerebral Assassin'! He takes no prisoners, he shows no mercy, and he has no remorse. But if ya' ask me, he took a cheap route into the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania.
Well I don't know about that Joey. Certainly there was controversy with how it happened, but 'The Game' has never taken the easy way out. And with every WWE contracted employee banned from ringside tonight, I'm sure we'll get a definitive answer right here.
Yeah and it's comments like those Joey that have 'The Game' even more fired up than he normally is! I think Triple H is here to prove once and for all he can beat 'RVD', he wants a win here tonight just as badly as Van Dam does.
Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam
There’s a huge buzz in the air as the two men stand across each other, although the level of distain between the two has reached a higher level than that of their Saturday Night’s Main Event encounter. Both men approach each other, and once again the two trade words, quiet talking… that quickly escalates to a shouting match! The crowd roars both men on, dying to see the first blows land… and it’s ‘The Game’ who lands first, quickly tagging Van Dam with a string of right hands that back him into the ropes. Van Dam tries to fire back, and eventually the two grapple and wrestle each other to the mat, and then to the outside. Both men land with a bump, and the early moments of the match are nothing more than a brawl as the two fire back at each other.
The fight continues on the outside as Van Dam and Trips continue to trade clubbing blows, until ‘The Game’ drills a knee to the midsection. Triple H then drives Van Dam spine first into the barricade, as the first sense of control reaches the match. Triple H steps back, looking to build momentum as he races in… only for Van Dam to elevate Triple H over the barricade! ‘The Game’ crashes to the concrete below, with Van Dam ignoring the call of the referee to climb over the barricade and join Triple H. The fight has quickly broking into the crowd, with Van Dam drilling right hands and kicks to the midsection. Each blow causes ‘The Game’ to stumble away, further into the throng of the masses. Van Dam follows, but Trips strikes back with a kick to the midsection… and then synchs Van Dam in… PEDIGREE ON THE CONCRETE… NO! Van Dam counters… back body drop onto the concrete! For the second time in the match, Triple H crashes down to the cold, hard floor!
The referee once again calls for the match to head back to the ring, but ‘RVD’ and ‘The Game’ seem more interested in keeping the fight outside. Van Dam grabs a handful of hair and takes Trips back towards the barricade, drilling a string of rights and lefts that back Triple H against the barricade. Now it’s Van Dam who charges… but Trips counters with a back body drop… but Van Dam shows incredible athleticism, shifting his weight to land feet first on top of the barricade! Triple H is shocked, but he soon snaps back into things… as he runs through Van Dam with a chop block… that causes Van Dam to land spine first on top of the barricade! Van Dam’s landing gets worse as he falls back to ringside, with ‘The Game’ clambering over the barricade to try and press home this advantage.
With Van Dam grabbing his knee, Triple H lives up to his words from earlier by showing no mercy as he starts going to work, as having tossed Van Dam back into the ring he starts aiming stomps and knees to the injured joint. Van Dam is sent to the corner, his leg placed across the middle rope as Trips cranks on the pressure, twisting the knee for as long as the referee’s five count will allow him too. A hard Irish whip sends Van Dam across, with ‘The Game’ following in for a clothesline… but Van Dam gets a boot into the face! Now Van Dam fights from the corner, using his good leg to drill Triple H’s thigh before he sends ‘The Game’ for the ride… but Van Dam lowers his head… facebreaker knee smash! The impact of the move causes Van Dam to snap his head up… just in time to duck a Triple H clothesline! Van Dam tries for a roundhouse kick… but Trips ducks that… and then goes for a kick of his own… that Van Dam catches… step over spinning wheel kick! Both men are down, breathing hard, the early brawling of the match taking it’s toll as we head off into a commercial.
And when we return, ‘The Game’ is back in control, having locked in a straight forward kneebar. Triple H wrenches on the leg, hyperextending the knee, trying to cause further damage. Van Dam struggles, eventually sitting up , trying to reach out and claw his way free from the hold. Eventually Van Dam is able to force himself up using his free leg, but as both men stand ‘The Game’ stil has the foot in his hand… Van Dam swings an enziguiri… and misses… but lands on his feet… spinning crescent kick ! Van Dma finally breaks free, but due to his knee he can’t take advantage straight away, instead both men stand back up and trade right hands until Van Dam snaps off three in a row… then he fires Trips to the corner and follows in… ‘The Game’ elevates Van Dam over the top rope… but Van Dam lands on the apron… drills a shoulder to the midsection, then a kick to the side of the head that puts ‘The Game’ down. Van Dam grabs the top rope… slingshot legdrop ! Van Dam instantly clutches his knee, but he manages to roll into the cover… 1… 2… Triple H rolls a shoulder !
Selling the effects of the damage done to his knee, Van Dam is slow paced as he socks a few right hands, then lands a few kicks to the thighs. Van Dam looks for an Irish whip, but ‘The Game’ counters… and misses with a clothesline… jumping roundhouse finds the mark ! ‘The Game’ is down and in perfect position as Van Dam comes off the ropes… ROLLING THUNDER ! Van Dam gets all of it, hooking the leg… 1… 2… Trips rolls a shoulder ! Sensing he has the advantage, Van Dam again goes to work with those educated feet, nailing kick after kick before he sends Triple H off the ropes… leapfrog from Van Dam… high knee strike from ‘The Game’ ! Trips drops into the lateral press… 1… 2… no ! Van Dam rolls a shoulder, as neither man can put their opponent away.
Again the big bombs land to the forehead from Triple H, snapping Van Dam back to the corner. Boots to the midsection land, before Trips goes for the Irish whip to the opposite corner and charges in… but again Van Dam gets a boot up to the face. ‘The Game’ staggers back, but Van Dam slings himself onto the top rope… diving heel kick… but Triple H grabs the foot… only to see Van Dam land on his free leg… although he crumples in the pain of the impact shooting through his knee ! This brief pause allows Triple H to sweep the leg… then twist, turn and drop… into a FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK !!
The crowd explodes with a raucous mixed reaction as ‘The Game’ synchs the hold in tight in the centre of the ring ! Van Dam cries in agony, several times his shoulders falling to the mat for near falls as he desperately tries to fight through the pain. Van Dam reaches out, trying to make the ropes… but he falls short. ‘RVD’ then pushes up with his elbow, trying to drag both bodies closer to safety. Again Van Dam reaches… and again he gets nowhere near it. One last burst of effort from Van Dam, inches him ever closer to the ropes… and he manages to reach out and grab the bottom rope !
Triple H takes every second of the five count before he breaks free, but he knows he’s hurt Van Dam as he slowly picks Van Dam to his feet… inside cradle ! 1… 2… no ! Triple H kicks out, and he instantly jumps back on Van Dam, mounting him to lay in with a string of right hands. ‘The Game’ looks to fire Van Dam to the corner, only for ‘RVD’ to reverse and follow in. Van Dam drills two shoulderblocks to the midsection… then a handspring back out… before he rolls back in for a monkey flip ! Trips has a hard landing, and depsite the fact he’s limping Van Dam tries to build some momentum… coming off the ropes for a second ROLLING THUNDER ! Van Dam gets all of it… and with Triple H down in the perfect position, Van Dam slings himself to the top turnbuckle… FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH !!
Van Dam connects… but impact jars his knee off the mat ! ‘RVD’ rolls in agony for a split second, but quickly rolls into the pinfall… 1… 2… NO !
Van Dam has his head in his hands in disbelief, but he also rolls over to clutch his knee, the toll of the two hard fought matches the pair have had taking their toll. Van Dam has to use the ropes to bring himself to his feet, before he slugs ‘The Game’ with a pair of tired right hands. Trips fires back, but Van Dam beats him to the punch, and then goes for an Irish whip… which ‘The Game’ reverses… into an almighty SPINNING SPINEBUSTER ! The crowd pops as ‘The Game’ rattles off the massive move, then burst back to his feet to roar to the masses ! Still looking dazed, Trips helps Van Dam up, rattling him with right after right that backs him to the ropes before he fires Van Dam across… and goes for the high knee strike… but Van Dam avoids it with a baseball slide… then springs back to his feet… jumping roundhouse… no ! ‘The Game’ ducks underneath, then spins Van Dam back around… KICK… PEDIGREE !!
Triple h plants Van Dam with the pedigree, and quickly hooks the leg… 1… 2… 3…. NO ?!!
Somehow, someway, Rob Van Dam managed to roll a shoulder ! The crowd, Joey Styles, Triple H, everyone is stunned as Van Dam stays alive ! After the news finally sinks in, Triple H gets back to his feet, first turning to the ref and demanding th e3 count, and then turning back to Van Dam. ‘RVD’ is still down on the mat, with Trips standing over him and shouting «Why won’ you stay down ? Huh ? Stay down ! » Seeking a way to finally put Van Dam away, Triple H drags his body to a vertical base, then synchs Van Dam between his legs… for a SECOND PEDIGREE… NO !
Van Dam counters, grabbing Triple H’s legs, yanking him down… and then rolling through… in a BRIDGING PINNING POSITION ! 1… 2… 3 !! A 3 count out of nowhere !!!
Winner: Rob Van Dam @ 17.19
Van Dam has done it! Van Dam is going to Wrestlemania! Topeka, Kansas erupts as Van Dam gets the three count, quickly rolling off of 'The Game' to grab his ribs as he lays on the mat. Joey Styles is also on his feet, joining the crowd in their celebration of Van Dam's victory... but suddenly a buzz rings out through the arena... and the crowd gasp...
"Dammit Rob, turn around!"
As Shawn Michaels
is in the ring! Van Dam is unaware that the WWE Champion is stood behind him, poised, ready to strike. Van Dam struggles to his feet... and turns...
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...
'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...
Well folks, it's official. It's gonna be Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Rob Van Dam in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXIII.
And Shawn Michaels has just sent a huge
message to his two opponents. It started with his words at the top of the broadcast, and it's continued to this moment, where Michaels stands over both Triple H and Van Dam.
And what an ominous sight that is. And the worse part of it is that it could oh so easily be repeated at Wrestlemania.
The crowd continue to boo as Michaels makes his exit from the ring, slowly walking back up the ramp, a soulless looking individual, but one who has taken the early advantage over his two Wrestlemania opponents as we head into a commercial.
And when we return, we head straight for a dark backstage area, where stood before us are the new World Tag Team Champions, The World's Greatest Tag Team
. The crowd boos the appearance of the new champs, but Shelton Benjamin
and Charlie Haas
smugly smile through the heat, the title belts strapped across their shoulders glimmering in the darkness of the setting...
Y'know, these was a time when these titles on our shoulders really meant somethin'. There was a time when bein' the tag team champions here in the WWE meant you main evented pay-per-views. But for some reason over the years, this company has done all it can to destroy
tag team wrestlin'.
Shelton angrily shakes his head...
See we don't call ourselves The World's Greatest Tag Team 'cause it sounds good. We call ourselves that 'cause we know it's a fact.
And for years this company did all it could to keep us apart. We were on different shows, hell Charlie even got fired and left the company for a while. The WWE did everythin' it could to hold down The World's Greatest Tag Team, and in the process, hold down the art of tag team wrestlin'.
Shelton adjusts the title on his shoulder, taking a quick glance at it...
But we ain't gonna let it happen anymore. We know we're the very best that tag team wrestlin' has to offer. And that's why right here, right now, we're gonna start puttin' tag team wrestlin' back on the map in this company.
Wrestlemania is right around the corner, and right now, there's not one single team here on Raw worthy of challengin' us for these titles. And while we know nobody can compete at our level, it kinda makes us a lil' bit sad that we might miss out on the biggest show of the year 'cause nobody wants to try and compete with us.
Shelton steps toward the camera, a smug look on his face...
I mean who is there that could hang wit' us right now? Ric Flair and Carlito couldn't do it, and we put an end to their partnership. The Hart Legacy? Those kids could train in that dungeon for the rest o' their lives and they still couldn't touch us.
Nitro and Masters? Those two couldn't even buy a win right now, never mind actually earn one like us.
And don't even get us started on Punk and Eugene
. That's a real special
team they put together right there!
The champs laugh and shake their heads...
They're ain't nobody that can hang in the ring wit' us. Nobody! And we don't care if we gotta drag the whole divison kickin' and screamin', but we WILL put tag team wrestlin' back on the map. No... no, we're gonna do more than that. We're gonna redefine
tag team wrestlin' here in the WWE.
And it's all gonna start at Wrestlemania.
Benjamin confidently nods his head...
Yeah that's right. See we goin' to that show. We gonna be in a tag team match. So we layin' down a challenge right now. If there's a team here on Raw, or Smackdown, or anywhere in the world that feels they can hang wit' us... then now's the time to step up yo' game. Do somethin' to impress us, do somethin' that'll get you noticed. You do that... and we might turn 'round and challenge you to a match a Wrestlemania XXIII.
Haas steps forward, a serious look on his face...
But you better be ready. 'Cause we sure as hell will.
This ain't gonna be no run-o'-the-mill tag team match. This gonna be a showcase o' what tag team wrestlin' is all about. We gonna prove to the world that tag team wrestlin' is still worth a damn in this company. We're the best in the world... so you better be damn good to compete wit' us.
And with one last, long glare into the camera, Haas and Benjamin then turn and leave, leaving the screen to fade into darkness and then back into the arena.
*WITH LEGS LIKE THAT...*
The ever-bubbly Maria
bounces out onto the stage, trying her best to pump up the crowd before she heads down the ramp, slapping hands with the crowd as she goes...
Well that was certainly quite the challenger laid down by Haas and Benjamin. They're determined to go to Wrestlemania and redefine tag team wrestling in the WWE, and they're lookin' for a team that feels like they can match 'em in the ring.
What an opportunity that could be for perhaps The Hart Legacy or maybe even the Straight Edge Saints. But right now, it's divas time, and here comes one of your favourites 'King'!
Oh absolutely. Maria's always so happy, so cheerful.... she might not be so happy once she finds out who her opponent is.
Maria's smile vanishes in an instance as Beth Phoenix
makes her entrance, the powerful-looking blonde posing at the top of the ramp for a few seconds before she and Victoria
make their way towards the ring, Victoria whispering in the ear of the newcomer the whole way...
What an impression this young lady has made in her short time here. Beth Phoenix returned to the WWE after being out with a long-term injury, and set her sights on Women's Champion Mickie James. We thought it was just for the title, but as more was revealed, it quickly became apparent that's it about a lot more than that.
Well there certainly seems to be pretty long, and quite frankly dark
history between the two. I mean, we heard Beth Phoenix describe how she and Mickie James were best friends back when they were just breakin' into the sport, they travelled the road together and were set to have a tryout match together were the winner would receive a WWE contract. And according to Beth, Mickie deliberately
injured her, causing Beth to miss the tryout match. Mickie got the contract, and the rest is history.
That's only one side of the story though. We haven't heard from Mickie James since Beth made those comments. I'm sure one day we'll get Mickie's side of things, and I don't think she'll see it quite the same as Beth does.
Match 4: Divas Match
Maria vs. Beth Phoenix w/ Victoria
As the bell rings, Maria is initially sceptical, not wanting to make the first move, no doubt in fear off the back of the impressive displays Phoenix has delivered so far. Eventually it’s Phoenix who goes first, looking for an aggressive tie up... but Maria ducks underneath and goes for a waistlock... but Beth shows great power as she rips Maria’s grip apart and counters into a waistlock of her own... to then hit a waistlock takedown. Maria grabs her face on impact, with Beth then slowly helping Maria up, only to scoop Maria onto her shoulders and drive her into the corner. A trio of shoulders land into the midsection, before Beth shows off her power, forcing Maria up onto a seated position on the top turnbuckle... and then using this to take Maria into the air... and holds her there for what seems like an eternity... before dropping her for a gorilla press slam!
Victoria acts as head cheerleader, giving Beth a big round of applause as she rolls Maria over and hooks the leg, getting a near fall. Again Maria is helped back up, and she desperately tries to score some offence, swinging a pair of rights to the midsection... but Beth quickly scoops her up... and then down with a painful looking backbreaker! Maria cries out in pain, but instead of slumping to the mat, Beth keeps Maria on her knee and pushes down on Maria’s chin, transitioning into a pendulum backbreaker. Phoenix applies pressure, putting all the force of the move into Maria’s lower back, but Maria reaches up to grab a handful of hair, allowing her to swing her knee into Beht’s head. Again the knee lands, breaking the hold, but before Maria can get any offence in Phoenix once again drives her into the corner.
Beth steps back then charges in, but Maria avoids the contact, letting Beth run herself into the corner. A handful of hair lets Maris smash Beth repeatedly face first into the top turnbuckle, before Maria comes out of the corner with a bulldog, hooking the leg for a near fall. Maria now looks to put together her first string of moves, but her Irish whip off the ropes is reversed... but Beth dips her head, and Maria hits a kick to the chest... then a knee to the midsection... Irish whip to the corner... again Phoenix reverses. Maria jumps to the second rope... and then flies with a springboard crossbody... but Beth catches Maria across her shoulders... and transitions into a Beth Valley Driver!! The crowd gasp in marvel at the sheer power of Phoenix, and she rolls Maria over to hook the leg for the inevitable 1... 2... 3.
Winner: Beth Phoenix @ 04.13
And yet another dominant display as Beth notches up her third win in as many matches, once again overpowering her opponents in convincing fashion. Beth casually tosses Maria aside, before she's joined in the ring by Victoria...
Dominant. Just a tremendous display of the sheer power this woman has to offer.
We've seen her pin Maria, we've seen her pin Candice Michelle, we've even seen her pin Mickie James. Can anybody stop her now she's on the rampage?
Victoria raises her friends arm high in the air to a round of boos, before the pair then set their sights on the prone body of Maria. The referee is in close attendance, trying to bring Maria back around, but he's quickly kicked aside by Victoria. Phoenix then drags Maria back to her feet, with Victoria directing traffic, calling for Phoenix to send a message by punishing Maria...
But before they get the chance to do any damage, the crowd lets out a cheer, as Women's Champion Mickie James is racing towards the ring! Mickie flies under the bottom rope and springs to her feet, ducking underneath a clothesline attempt from Phoenix... and then tackling Victoria to the mat! Mickie quickly gets up and lays in with the boots, kicking Victoria under the bottom rope to the outside. Mickie turns her attentions back to Phoenix, who is charging in... into a boot to the midsection from the champion... who then synchs Phoenix in... and bounces off the corner... Mickie-DT! Mickie James emphatically plants Phoenix to the mat, quickly now moving to check on Maria. Victoria drags her friend from the ring, supporting the groggy Beth as she struggles to stay on her feet. Victoria and Beth head for the ramp, with Victoria throwing some trash talk back at the ring, which prompts Mickie to ask for a mic...
Hey! Hey, Beth! You say you've came back for revenge, huh? As far as I remember, I did nothin' wrong to you. That injury was an accident, and you know it!
Furious, Beth simply scowls while Victoria shouts back at the ring...
But if you really
wanna get your hands on me... then how 'bout we do it for the Women's Championship at Wrestlemania XXIII?!!
A big pop from the crowd for the challenge of the champion. Beth initially looks concerned, but she soon comes round to the idea, nodding her head and shouting "You're on!" back at the champion...
And believe me Beth... I might have said I forgot about you in the past... but you'll never forget what's gonna happen to you in De - troit City!
Another pop from the crowd, with Mickie slamming her mic to the mat and returning to check on Maria. Victoria continues to support Beth, helping her back her way up the ramp, the two with their eyes still fixated on the Women's Champion as we fade into a commercial.
And once again we return to the show to see Todd Grisham
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... he is 'The Nature Boy'... Ric Flair!
A huge "Wooooo!" rings out from inside the arena as Ric Flair, suited and booted enters the frame. Flair has a sombre look on his face, suggesting he means business in this interview tonight...
And Ric, we understand you requested this time to address the on-going situation between yourself and Mr. Kennedy, a situation that escalated once again at Saturday Night's Main Event as Kennedy cost you and Carlito the World Tag Team Championships.
Reluctantly, Flair nods his head in agreement...
Y'know somethin' Todd? I've been in this business over 30 years now. 30 years... and I've never let an opponent get to me the way this punk Kennedy has. THIRTY - YEARS!! And NOBODY has pissed off 'Ol Naitch the way that sunnova bitch has!
A big pop from inside the arena as Flair becomes animated...
Kennedy has kicked my ass, he's busted me open, he's beat up my best friend, and now he's cost me the tag titles! And 'Ol Naitch ain't gonna stand for it, no more! For over 30 years I have earned every ounce of respect I get from this business. I've earned every championship. I mighta stole the odd kiss or two, but I've always earned what I got outta that ring. But this punk Kennedy...
Flair bites his lip hard, composing himself...
He ain't got an ounce of respect in his whole body.
And that's why this Friday night, 'The Nature Boy' is goin' to Friday Night Smackdown, and I'm callin' that sunnova bitch out!
Kennedy! You and me buddy, we're gonna meet in that ring this Friday, and we're gonna settle a few things. And I promise ya' this, if it's the last thing I do, I'm gonna teach you the lesson of a lifetime! That diamonds are forever... and so is Ric Flair. Wooooo!
And after another "Wooooo!" from the crowd, Flair turns to Grisham, a wild look in his eyes before he walks off and we go back into the arena, and more specifically the Raw announce desk...
Wow. I can't wait for that! This Friday night on Smackdown, Ric Flair is gonna be there, and he's gonna call out Mr. Kennedy!
What an explosive situation that could be. Flair and Kennedy, face to face, after all the bad blood that's been spilled between the two over the last few months, it could get out of hands in a hurry!
A few seconds of silence follow, with a certain awkward silence between the commentary team. 'King' and J.R. both look rather confused, but there's a big smile on Joey Styles' face as he removes his head set, rises to his feet and pulls a microphone from his pocket...
Uh, ladies and gentlemen, if I can have your attention for a moment please. Jim, Jerry, you two don't know about this, but as everybody knows, it's Wrestlemania season. And the now annual tradition is that the night before Wrestlemania, the WWE inducts another class into it's Hall of Fame.
A big roar from the crowd as the fans catch on...
And this year is no different. So far, we've had Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Perfect and Owen Hart. Well tonight, we've got two inductees to announce. And ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to announce, that the next two members of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2007... are good 'ol J.R., Jim Ross... and Jerry - 'The King' - Lawler!
We open to the sound of cheerful, triumphant music, with images of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler sat side by side, the pair commentating on a WWE event...
Narrator: They were the voices that lent themselves to some of the greatest moments in WWE history...
We now see the famous moment from King of the Ring 1998, where Mick Foley is sent flying off the top of the Hell in a Cell structure and straight through the announce desk...
Jim Ross: As Gawd is my witness, he is broken in half!
Narrator: There words and passion can bring life to even the most simplistic moments inside a WWE ring...
Lawler is now in the ring, hosting a bikini contest...
Jerry Lawler: Oh my God J.R. look! Puppies!
More footage of the two sat behind the desk, calling matches together...
Narrator: One who many claim was a man born to be an announcer...
We now cut to old school WCW footage, with a much younger Ross welcoming viewers to a show...
Narrator: The other born quite simply to be a champion...
And now even older, grainier footage of Lawler battling with Kerry Von Erich and then Terry Funk...
Narrator: But it’s perhaps together that they’ll both be most fondly remember as the greatest announce team in WWE history.
Once again we see footage of the pair sat behind the desk, this time under the glamour and glitz of a Wrestlemania...
John Cena: I don’t think it gets any better than those two workin’ together...
The triumphant music continues as we now see footage of the infamous Late Night with David Letterman episode, where Lawler sits next to Andy Kaufman...
Jerry Lawler: When he was born, his father wanted a boy, and his mother wanted a girl, and they were both satisfied!
Lawler and Kaufman continue to trade words, until Lawler rises up and slaps Kaufman right out of his chair...
Vince McMahon: He certainly always know how to create controversy for himself, and how to get people to dislike him, and I think that was one of his real strengths as a performer...
We now see Ross walking down the ramp at a WWE event...
Steve Austin: Ev’rybody knows he’s got ‘is list o’ catchphrases...
Shawn Michaels: It’s a slobberknocker!
Chris Benoit: Whipped like a government mule!
Steve Austin: Stomp a mudhole and walk it dry!
And now we see Lawler walk the ramp, crown in hand as he waves to the crowd...
Michael Cole: They play off each other so well, the chemistry between the two is unbelievable.
A classic Raw moment as Steve Austin comes flying off the zamboni and tackles Vince to the mat...
Jim Ross: Aw yeah! Austin’s got McMahon! Stone Cold!
Jerry Lawler: Oh no! Mr McMahon, are – are you alright?!
Still images of the two sat side by side...
Triple H: There’s nobody I’d rather have call one of my matches than those two.
John Cena: You listen to ‘em and you get so caught up in the energy and the emotion they bring to a match.
Another iconic Raw moment as Mr. McMahon rips off the hood, revealing himself as ‘The Higher Power’...
Vince McMahon: It’s me Austin!
Jim Ross: Aw sunnova bitch!
Jerry Lawler: What?!
Narrator: The WWE Hall of Fame is proud to welcome Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler!
We now see a split screen picture of the pair, with the Hall of Fame logo between the two. Also on the screen is the fact that Jerry Lawler will be inducted into the Hall of Fame by David Letterman, while doing the honours for Jim Ross will be ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin!
*End Video Package*
Back into the arena, where we join a massive round of applause for the two newest members of the Hall of Fame. J.R. looks slightly embarrassed and humbled by the honour, while Lawler is all smiles…
What an honour. I can’t believe it!
Congratulations to both o’ ya!
Thank you Joey. You did a helluva job keepin’ that quiet all evenin’!
It certainly wasn’t easy! But again, congratulations guys. Both very worthy inductees.
The roar of the crowd soon quietens as we head backstage…
To the office of The Chairman of the Board, Vince McMahon, who anxiously checks his watch as he paces the room. The sound of a door is heard opening, with Vince turning towards it inquisitively. In walks his son Shane McMahon, all smiles, although his father doesn’t share his feelings…
Hey. What’s the matter?
Where is she, huh? I don’t stand for people bein’ late. I gave her an hour, and her hour’s nearly up! I want everythin’ to be perfect tonight, I need the stuff on that list.
Shane rubs the temple of his forehead…
Dad, will you please stop stressing and relax? She’s not gonna screw up the chance of workin’ for you. She’ll be here.
And just like earlier, the timing is impeccable, as right on cue Brooke Adams enters the room. It’s a more dishevelled looking Ms. Adams than we saw earlier tonight, as hair hangs down over her face, a smudge of dirt adorns her cheek and her glasses lie off balance…
Here you go Mr. McMahon, I got everything you asked for.
Brooke struggles to drag the trash can into the room, but she soon manages to position it at Vince’s feet…
You got… everything
Brooke struggles to catch her breath…
Vince takes a look inside the trash can, then brings his head back up, a devilish grin on his face…
Congratulations Ms. Adams… you got the job!
Too tired from her little escapade, Brooke can only smile and nod her head in agreement, while the camera stays focused on Vince, with everyone wondering just what is going through that evil mind of his as we head back into the arena…
A warm welcome for the returning Jeff Hardy
, who for the first time since the Royal Rumble bursts out onto the stage, juking and jiving on the stage before he races down the ramp…
What a response for the returning Jeff Hardy! Jeff is scheduled to go one on one with the man who put him on the shelf, the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra. It’s Hardy and Dykstra in non-title action, when we return to Monday Night Raw!
And we return to see Jeff stood in the ring, exchanging a few nods with the ringside crowd, before he starts stretching against the ropes, patiently waiting for…
The cocky, brash Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra
makes his second appearance of the broadcast, sauntering down to the ring with his arms spread wide, soaking in every boo the crowd throws at him…
Welcome back folks. He is the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, and quite possibly the most arrogant. Kenny Dykstra has really had it in for Carlito these last few weeks, and he’s also been payin’ a lot of attention to Torrie Wilson.
Right and Kenny seems to think that the best way to get under the skin of Carlito is to insult him infront of his girlfriend. Add to that the fact that Kenny cost Carlito a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match earlier tonight, and you gotta say Kenny has really gotten in Carlitos head as of late.
And before Carlito, it was of course Jeff Hardy who was Dykstra’s target. Dykstra obviously learned well from Edge and Randy Orton, as it was a series of steel chair shots to the skull that put Jeff on the shelf. I’m sure Jeff can’t wait to get this one started…
Match 5: Non Title Match
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Jeff Hardy
Indeed as the bell rings Hardy comes out of the blocks, looking for a quick collar and elbow tie up, only for Dykstra to back away to the ropes, the cocky youngster trying a few mind games early on as he stalls during the early moments. Eventually the pair do tie up, with Dykstra quickly working into a standing side headlock, a arrogant smirk on his face as he thinks he has the better of the first exchange. Hardy quickly shoots him off the ropes, but Dykstra bowls Jeff over, the champion looking impressive early on as he arrogantly backs away, letting Jeff get back to his feet. Hardy does so, and after some posturing the pair tie up once more, with Dykstra once again working into the standing side headlock. Once more Jeff fires Dykstra off the ropes, but this time he avoids the contact with a baseball slide… then drops Kenny with a sitout jawbreaker! Dykstra staggers backwards towards the ropes, and Jeff builds up a head of steam… clothesline over the top rope sends Dykstra to the floor!
Dykstra hits the floor hard, stumbling and staggering back to his feet, but Hardy is already poised… to fly through the air with a plancha! Jeff takes Kenny down and starts hammering the youngster with stiff right hands, the personal nature of the match coming out in the aggression Hardy shows. Dykstra tries to cover up, but Jeff stays on the attack, dragging Dykstra up… to then fire him spine first into the barricade! Kenny cries out in pain as he crumples to the floor, with Jeff casually rolling into the ring and then back out to break the referee’s count. Jeff quickly hops up onto the barricade, waiting for Dykstra to rise… so he can briefly run the length of the barricade… and fly at Dykstra with a clothesline! The crowd pops as Hardy takes to the air once again, before he rolls Dykstra back into the ring for the first near fall of the match.
Dykstra backs away to the corner, pleading with Jeff for a bit of leniency, but Hardy doesn’t drop off, drilling Kenny with a pair of boots to the gut before going for an Irish whip… that Dykstra reverses and follows in… but Jeff elevates himself over the on...hing Kenny, landing behind him… and as Kenny hits the turnbuckle and turns, Jeff rocks him with a dropkick! Kenny hits the corner and drops to a seated position, with Jeff building momentum… Hardyac Arrest! Jeff drives both feet into Dykstra’s chest, pulling him from the corner… 1… 2… Kenny kicks out. Jeff springs back up, looking to stay on the attack, but Dykstra rolls under the bottom rope, waving his hands at the ring… Dykstra’s walking out on the match! Dykstra decides he’s had enough as he starts to walk up the ramp… but he doesn’t get very far as Jeff grabs him from behind, runs him back to the ring and tosses Kenny under the bottom rope!
The crowd cheers loudly as Jeff stands over Dykstra, the Intercontinental Champion playing the chicken-shit heel to perfection as he pleads, almost begs from his knees for Jeff to show mercy. Hardy turns to the crowd… who cheer for Hardy to go for the kill! Jeff hammers Kenny with a kick, then a pair of right hands before he goes for an Irish whip to the corner… that Kenny counters… Jeff looks for whisper in the wind… no! Kenny runs right through, but Jeff lands on his feet… only for Dykstra to hammer him with a falling clothesline! Kenny damn near takes Jeff’s head off, and after sitting on the mat for a few minutes to recover, he starts laying in with vicious stomps and right hands. The youngster then drags Jeff up, drilling knees to the midsection before scooping Jeff up for a painful backbreaker.
Kenny then spends the next few minutes targeting Jeff’s neck and had, the area that was injured and landed Jeff on the shelf for the last month, landing forearms to the back of the neck, before a hard Irish whip sends Jeff crashing into the corner. Jeff slumps to the mat, with Dykstra now in control, showing great strategy by targeting the previously concussed Hardy’s head. More forearms land to the back of the head, and then Hardy is taken down with a snapmare, allowing Kenny to now aim kicks to the neck. After a near fall, Dykstra backs Jeff to the ropes, going for an Irish whip… that Jeff reverses… but he lowers his head… snap swinging neckbreaker! Kenny quickly hooks the leg… 1… 2… Jeff rolls a shoulder!
Dykstra continues his assault, taking Jeff up and down with a cradle suplex for a long 2 count before he takes a page from his mentor Randy Orton’s playbook by working Jeff into a seated reverse chinlock. Dykstra wrenches on the neck, trying to stop the flow of blood to the head, with Jeff clawing an attempt to break Kenny’s grip. Jeff is able to battle back to a vertical base, using elbows to the midsection to break the hold. Jeff manages to break free, and he runs off the ropes to knock Dykstra down with a shoulderblock. Again Jeff comes off the ropes… but this time he runs into a SLEEPER HOLD! The crowd gasps as Dykstra wraps his arms tight around Jeff’s neck… sitout jawbreaker! Dykstra grabs his jaw, but he quickly swings a wild right… that Jeff dodges… sitout inverted suplex slam! Jeff plants Dykstra, hooking the leg… 1… 2… Kenny rolls a shoulder!
Hardy now looks to build offence, tagging Kenny with rights that back him into the corner. Jeff fires Kenny across… reversal… WHISPER IN THE WIND! Jeff gets all of it this time, going for the cover… 1… 2… no! Kenny rolls a shoulder at the last moment! The crowd appear as deflated as Jeff, put they soon perk up as Hardy lands the split-leg double legdrop. Dykstra clutches his groin as he stumbles back up… kick to the midsection… Twist of Fate… NO! Kenny twists out of it, and counters… DDT! Dykstra plants Jeff head first, and hooks the leg, certain of victory… 1… 2… NO! Dykstra can’t believe it as Jeff stays alive, a look of shock adorning the face of the champion. Kenny gets back to his feet and berates the referee, demanding that it was a 3 count. With Jeff still down, Kenny then heads to the corner, climbing to the top rope. Kenny poises himself, then flies… SKY HIGH LEGDROP… NO!! Hardy rolls to safety, letting Kenny connect with the mat!
Dykstra is reeling, but somehow he pulls himself back to his feet… kick… TWIST OF FATE!! Hardy gets all of it, and now it’s his turn to head to the corner. Jeff climbs to the top rope, taking a moment to steady himself… before he flies… SWANTON BOMB!!! Hardy gets all of it, the momentum of the move causing him to roll through back onto his feet… into a RKO??!!!! The crowd is stunned as Randy Orton has slipped into the ring and drilled Jeff with the RKO, causing an immediate disqualification!
Winner : Via Disqualification, Jeff Hardy @ 11.48
Orton jumps back to his feet, standing over Jeff to aggressively shout down at him. Hardy is down and out, lying face down on the mat, with Kenny barely able to pull himself to his feet. Dykstra lays in with a few cheap kicks, until Orton tells Dykstra to go outside. Kenny nods and jumps through the ropes, heading for the timekeepers desk. Lillian Garcia and Mark Yeaton are pushed aside, with Kenny grabbing both steel chairs they’ve left behind. Folding them up, Kenny slides on under the bottom rope that comes to a stop at Orton’s feet, before he too slides into the ring. Orton scoops up the chair and motions and shouts for Jeff to get up. The crowd gasp and boo, knowing full well what Orton and Dykstra have in mind. Orton and Kenny stand either side of Hardy, ready, chairs in the air, with Orton screaming for Jeff to get up. Hardy makes it back to his knees, lifting his head up… as Orton and Kenny rear back…
“I SPIT IN ‘DA FACE OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE COOL…”
The crowd goes nuts as Carlito
sprints down the ramp! Orton and Kenny freeze, both men turning their attentions to the on-...hing Caribbean superstar. Orton shouts “C’mon!”, his steel chair ready as ‘Lito slides under the bottom rope… the force of the slide taking his straight past Orton and Dykstra… allowing him to get back to his feet… and then come off the ropes… FLYING DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! Carlito takes down both Orton and Dykstra, and then he immediately mounts Kenny, hammering the Intercontinental Champions with furious right and left hands! Dykstra covers up and manages to kick his way free, rolling out of the ring to safety, while Orton staggers back to his feet… clothesline for Hardy sends Orton to the floor!
The arena is loving it as ‘Lito and Jeff stand tall, the pair turning and sharing a quick handshake before they turn their attentions back to Orton and Dykstra. Kenny and Orton stumble up the ramp, the pair furious that Carlito foiled their attack, with Orton in particular hurling abuse back at the ring as we fade into our final commercial of the night.
And it’s straight back into the arena to hear…
*NO CHANCE IN HELL…*
A ton of heat as Mr. McMahon
and Shane McMahon
make their way down to the ring. Shane is carrying the infamous trash can from earlier tonight, holding it infront of him with both hands as he slowly walks behind his father, who leads the way with a suspicious looking burlap sack in his hands…
Welcome back everybody to Monday Night Raw. There you see ‘The Chairman of the Board’, Mr. McMahon and his son Shane, the two men who somehow managed to beat John Cena in a Handicap Steel Cage Match at Saturday Night’s Main Event.
Well you say somehow, but we all know how happened. Bobby Lashley ripped through the ring canvas, entered the cage and just destroyed
And speakin’ of Lashley, he’s rather conspicuous by his absence right now.
I’m sure he’ll be along in a moment. God knows what Vince McMahon has in mind right here. And I wonder what’s inside that burlap sack he’s carrying?
Don’t we all. Vince and Shane bring the trash can into the ring with them, setting it up in the middle of the square circle before Vince heads for the corner, grabbing a microphone and then heading back to the trash can, a huge smirk on his face as he addresses the crowd…
Topeka, Kansas, how the hell are ya’?!
A mixed response, mostly boos, but it doesn’t seem like anything could dampen the mood of ‘The Boss’ right now…
Ah who am I kiddin’? I don’t give a damn how you’re doin’! But you wanna know how I’m doin’ right now? I feel GREAT! ‘Cause Saturday night, live on NBC, in the greatest arena in the world, me and my son Shane, we kicked John Cena’s ASS!!
And the reason we kicked John Cena’s ass is ‘cause quite frankly, I’m just a helluva lot smarter than John Cena ever while be. And I’m a helluva lot smarter than any of you idiots ever will be either!
I always stay one step ahead of my opponents. Whether that’s in the business world of in the ring, I always
have a trick up my sleeve. Y’see John Cena tried to pull a fast one on us last Saturday night. He thought he’d try get the jump on us, he thought he’d attack us from behind, and he thought that would be enough for him to win.
Shane knowingly shakes his head...
Well you might’ve had some fun Cena, you might’ve roughed us up a little bit, but you never
, not in a million years did you see comin’ what I had in store for you. Y’see Cena, like I’ve said time and time again, I always
have a plan. I always have an ace in the hole, I always have a way or getting’ the upperhand. I warned you months ago Cena, I warned you not to cross me. You disobeyed me when it came to Rob Van Dam, you had the nerve to FU me through a table…
If ya’ don’t mind. You had the nerve to…
”ASS – HOLE! ASS – HOLE!! ASS – HOLE!!!”…
If you’re quite finished. Cena, you disobeyed me with regards to ‘RVD’, you had the nerve to FU me through a table, then you dared
to challenge me and my son to a Handicap Match. I bet you thought you had it all taken care off, you had it all under control. You’d get us in the ring, you’d have your merry way with us, and you’d be rollin’ into Wrestlemania with a big win under your belt. But you never counted… on what I had in store for you.
Vince and Shane smile smugly to each other…
I don’t know about you Shane, I really wanna see that footage from the end of our match one more time! Let’s see that footage, roll the tape!
…until the mood of the crowd changes in an instant, with gasps and mass confusion ringing out. Cena is still revelling in his glory, staring at Shane on the outside... who has a huge grin on his face? Cena stares at Shane, confused, wondering what the hell Shane has to smile about. Shane is helped back to his feet by Coachman, both men delighted over something... Shane points, motioning for Cena to turn around... which Cena does... to see BOBBY LASHLEY IS IN THE RING!!! For a split second a stunned look crosses Cena’s face... until Lashley runs right through him with a FUCKING HUGE SPEAR!!
Stunned voices all round from the commentary team, with J.R. screaming that Lashley has came up through the bottom of the ring! Cena is down, badly hurt, while the crowd loudly boos Lashley for his actions, a smug smirk crossing his face as he reaches down and helps Vince back to his feet. Once Vince is stable against the side of the cage, he points and orders Lashley to do more damage. Lashley menacingly walks over, picks Cena up, scoops him onto his shoulder... and LAWNDARTS CENA INTO THE SIDE OF THE CAGE!...
… as VINCE SLAPS CENA IN THE FACE! A look of sheer fury is in Vince’s eyes as he screams at Cena “You’ll never beat me Cena! Never!”, while Cena looks out cold, his eyes closed, his head slumping to one side. Vince then looks at Lashley one last time... and says “Finish ‘im!”. Lashley obliges as he reaches down... and yanks the deadweight Cena onto his shoulders... for an almighty DOMINATOR!! Cena is planted square in the middle of the ring, a beaten and bloody mess, and after seeing Lashley consign Cena to the mat, Vince simply steps through the door... and down the steps... to victory.
Winners: Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon @ 12.41
*End Video Package*
Vince and Shane look on at the tron, broad smiles on their faces as the crowd once again loudly boo…
Ladies and gentlemen… ‘The Dominator’… BOBBY … LASHLEY!!!
*HELL WILL BE CALLIN’...*
A ridiculous level of heat breaks out as the hulking Bobby Lashley
slowly yet confidently makes his entrance. Sporting a flash new suit, Lashley looks every bit the corporate powerhouse Vince envisioned him to be. The crowd at the barricade really let Lashley have it, but he just laughs and shakes his head, climbing up the steel steps and onto the apron, where Shane holds the ropes open for him. Lashley steps through the ropes and enters the ring, and quickly he and Vince are shaking hands… until it turns into a massive bearhug between the two! The love-in draws even more heat from the crowd, with Vince finally breaking the hug to present Lashley to the crowd…
The most dominating force in the WWE today! The man who at Wrestlemania XXIII in Detroit, Michigan is gonna tear John Cena limb from limb! The monster… my
monster… Bobby – Lashley!
Shane claps in appreciation, but he can’t drown out the volume of boos directed at Lashley as Vince hands him the mic…
Thank you Vince, thanks Shane. Y’know, you people can boo me all you want. I don’t really care anymore. Infact, I’ve gotten pretty used to it. Ever since I won the Extreme Elimination Chamber at December to Dismember, to become the ECW Champion, you people have done nothing but boo me. I tried to fight it, I tried to put on a brave face. I went out night after night, I get it my all, and I did my best to try please you. I tried my best to get you to cheer me. But no matter what I did, no matter who I faced… you booed me. Maybe not a whole lot at first, but as the weeks wore on… the boos grew louder… and louder.
All I wanted was to make you people cheer me. It wasn’t my fault that ECW ended. It was the fact that I was surrounded by old, fat, out of shape, washed up has-beens who couldn’t keep up with me. I tried my best to carry that brand, and where did it get me? A champion without a show, holding a meaningless belt. And I didn't deserve that. I was the future
of ECW. I was what a champion oughta be. I mean look at me. Six - foot - three. Two hundred seventy three pounds of pure muscle. I walked into ECW and I dominated from Day One! Extreme
Championship Wrestling couldn't handle me. I was too big for that show, and it cost me.
Lashley angrily shakes his head...
So I came to Monday Night Raw, and I looked to prove myself all over again. I got here the same night Rob Van Dam did. And you people welcomed him with open arms. But me? Your ECW Champion? I didn't get quite as warm a reception. My first match on Raw, me and Rob Van Dam. 'RVD' beat me, and you people... you cheered
. It didn't matter that John Cena distracted me, it didn't matter that 'RVD' needed help to beat me... you celebrated my loss, you were happy that I didn't win. When Rob Van Dam beat me for the ECW Championship at Raw: Night Of Champions, you all cheered once again. Infact, Joey Styles...
Lashley walks over to the ropes adjacent to the announce desk, pointing down at Styles...
Joey here, you stood up and applauded, didn't ya'? You gave Rob Van Dam a standin' ovation... at my
expense. Didn't you Joey?
The camera points at Styles, you rather sheepishly shrugs his shoulders and says "Yeah."...
I managed to get things back on track when I beat CM Punk, but you people... you booed me for winning a match. All I did was pin CM Punk fair and square, and you people booed me out the building! All I did was beat CM Punk, and somehow I
was the bad guy?!
The crowd boos as Lashley pauses, with Shane and Vince both throwing words of encouragement Lashley's way...
And then last week, when Triple H beat me... you people cheered again. Once again you celebrated my defeat. Well as far as I'm concerned, you people can go to hell!
I'm sick and tired of tryin' to get you people to like me. Y'see Mr. McMahon here, he made me realise somethin'. He made me realise that I don't need any of you. You people can't get me to the WWE Championship. But Mr. McMahon... he can make that happen for me. And all I have to do... is rip John Cena apart at Wrestlemania. And you all just saw what I did to him at Saturday Night's Main Event. Nobody... nobody
has ever treated John Cena like that. And if John Cena wants to look for somebody to blame for what happened to 'im... then he can look at each and every one of you.
Vince lets out a big, hearty laugh as Lashley snarls at the crowd...
You people turned your backs on me, and now I'm lookin' out for me and me only. And John Cena's gonna pay the price for that!
Lashley had a cold-blooded killer look in his eyes as he turns and hands the microphone back to Vince, 'The Boss' loving what he's just heard from his new charge...
Well... what about that?! He sure told all o' you didn't he?! But before we start our little celebration tonight, we've got a little business to take care of. Shane, if you will...
Shane springs to action as he re-positions the trash can, then he reaches in and pulls out a liquid container of lighter fluid. Shane removes the lid of the container and starts pouring the liquid into the trash can. After emptying it's contents, Shane tosses the container aside and then reaches into his pocket, pulling out a packet of matches. Shane takes one out... strikes it against the packet... and then drops it into the trash can... resulting in a quick flash of fire! The crowd gasp and Shane is taken aback by the flame, but it soon settles down and Vince returns to the mic...
Now, I wanna take you all back to January 1st, 2007. That was the night Bobby here made his first appearance as a member of the Raw roster. And that night, myself and Bobby, we had a little confrontation. A few words were exchanged, nothin' major, but the subject matter was somethin' that I care deeply about. Y'see, Bobby Lashley was wearing a certain championship that night. A certain championship...
Vince reaches down, picking the burlap sack up off the mat...
That came into my possession a few weeks ago.
And then dips his hand in... to pull out the ECW Championship! The crowd is taken aback, as many already know what's coming up...
This... piece of absolute garbage... doesn't belong in a WWE ring. It doesn't belong in a WWE arena. Where it belongs... is at the bottom of a trash can. But I don't wanna just take out the trash... I wanna put an end to the legacy of ECW once and for all.
"Oh my God. No!"
Vince teases dropping the title in the can... but instead pulls it back... and points it in Lashley's direction! Lashley smirks as Vince hands him the gold, with the crowd imploring Lashley not to do it...
Bobby... why don't you do the honours?
All three men in the ring smile as Lashley holds the title high in the air, ready to drop it...
Wait! Wait a second... Joey Styles!
The camera pans to the announce desk to see that Styles is on his feet, looking frantic with worry...
Joey! You're on your feet their son. You look like you've got somethin' to say?
Styles still has his headset on, but he's too caught up in the moment to put together a coherent sentence...
"Please... don't - don't do this! Please..."
What's the matter Styles? You don't wanna see your precious ECW go up in smoke? Bobby... why don't you go out there and bring Mr. Styles into the ring, and let's have him see this happen up close.
Lashley springs into action, handing the title back to Vince before he jumps through the ropes to the outside. Styles begs off, not wanting to get into a confrontation with Lashley, but Lashley doesn't care, grabbing Styles by the suit jacket, yanking him towards the ring and then forcing him under the bottom rope. Styles struggles to get his bearings, adjusting his glasses as he's yanked to his feet by Shane...
Joey! You looked like you had somethin' you wanted to say, son?
Vince sticks the microphone under Styles' nose...
Mr. McMahon, please. You've ruined the legacy of ECW enough this last year, you don't need to do this. Please!
Vince gives Styles the big puppy dog eyes, faking guilt and remorse...
You know what Joey? You're right. You're absolutely right. I could stop all of this. I could save your precious ECW Championship. I could... but I just don't want to!
Heat, as Styles struggles to break Shane's grip...
Bobby... if you will.
Vince hands the title back to Lashley, you takes his free hand and squeezes Styles face, pushing his lips and cheeks together before he shouts...
"I... hate... ECW!"
And with that... Lashley drops the title into the burning trash can!!
Styles cries out in despair as the ECW Championship goes up in flames! The crowd is almost in disbelief, stunned at what they've just witnessed. Styles is in shock, as when Shane releases his grip on him, the former voice of ECW simply drops to his knees, head in his hands. Vince and Lashley now share a hearty handshake, with Vince raising Lashley's hand in the air to a cho... of boos. Shane then grabs the trash can and moves it aside, with Vince taking one last glorious look at the ECW Title burning.
Behind them though, the camera focuses on Styles, who has started shaking with rage. The crowd responds as they see Styles rise to his feet, fists clenched, shaking in anger, looking like he could snap at any second. Vince, Shane and Lashley turn to see Styles, and despite initially being taken aback, the trio quickly start to laugh at Styles...
Joey... you - you look like you wanna hit me?
Mockingly, Vince pushes forward his chin...
C'mon, I dare ya'! I dare ya' to-
STYLES SLAPS VINCE ACROSS THE FACE!!
The crowd goes nuts as Styles cracks one right across Vince's cheek... but he's quickly pounced on and grabbed by Lashley, who starts violently shaking Styles from side to side as Shane tries to help his father regroup...
You - you - you sunnova bitch Styles! Who the hell do you think you are? Huh?! Bobby... teach this punk a lesson!
Lashley snarls and nods his head, gripping Joey by the collar tightly. Lashley is just about to hoist Styles up onto his shoulders, when all of a sudden a roar rings out around the arena... and someone leaps the barricade and slides under the bottom rope... it's John Cena!!!
Cena is here, he's in the ring... and he just tackled Lashley to the mat! Styles scrambles to safety, with Vince and Shane diving for the outside as Cena starts to hammer Lashley with wild rights and lefts! It's nothing short of a frenzy as Cena goes nuts with punches, swinging like a man possessed! Somehow Lashley manages to fight his way free, rolling under the bottom rope to safety. Lashley quickly stumbles around to the bottom of the ramp and then halfway up it to join Vince and Shane, the three men looking like they've seen a ghost...
CENA! IT'S JOHN CENA! CENA IS HERE AND HE'S COME FOR BOBBY LASHLEY!!!
Cena is still running wild as he takes one last swing, missing wildly before he leans against the ropes closest to the ramp. Lashley, Vince and Shane huddle together, slowly backing away from the ring, while John Cena stands tall in the ring, baying for blood, dying to get his hands on his Wrestlemania opponent as we fade... to... black.
Current Card for WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII :
Date: April 1st 2007
Location: Ford Field; Detroit, Michigan
WWE Championship Triple Threat Match Match:
WWE Champion Shawn Michaels vs. 'The Game' Triple H vs. 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs. 2007 Royal Rumble Winner Edge
The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object:
'The Real Deal' Bobby Lashley vs. John Cena
Streak vs. Streak:
'The Phenom' The Undertaker vs. 'The Samoan Bulldozer' Umaga
United States Championship Match:
United States Champion Finlay vs. Matt Hardy
Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms vs. Bryan Danielson
Women's Championship Match:
Women's Champion Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix
Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Entrants in Alphabetical Order:
King Booker vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Randy Orton vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ??? vs. ???