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douba-douba-e1013 09-04-2011 03:17 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
The preview looks good, I am especially excited for the result of Hooligans and Bluebloods. Also wondering on who will win between Umaga and Benoit, surely it should be Umaga to keep the Streak until Mania but I feel you need to have Benoit put up a fight because well ... he's just Benoit, plain and simple, hard knocks. I am really pulling for Miz to be in MITB but if the opponent is better, that'll change definitely. The tag match between Helms/Finlay and Danielson/Hardy should be stellar, it's a nice preview for what'll come. Batista and Booker is eh, I am not really a fan of Booker. Of course, Mr. Kennedy will show! Gotta have progress to Mania mac.

Looks like a spectacular show, I will be tuning in, like I always do.

iMac 09-11-2011 02:41 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
~Friday Night Smackdown~
March 16th, 2007
Trenton, New Jersey



"Who’s scared now!?"




*Video Package*

EARLIER TONIGHT


In an unusual move, we open with footage shot earlier in the evening of Edge arriving at the arena. Opening the door of a car and stepping out, Edge puffs out his cheeks, looking tense and nervous, his eyes darting from side to side as he heads for the trunk of his car and takes out his bag. Rolling the bag behind him, Edge heads for the entrance of the arena, walking into the backstage area, leaving behind the bright sunshine of the outdoors and entering the darker, concrete enclosed arena. Edge heads along, continuing to look around, passing by several random backstage workers and hangers on. As Edge walks past these randoms, the camera catches them in the background whispering to the closest person, no doubt discussing Edge. Edge passes two workers in particular, two men, one holding a clipboard while the other has a headset on. The two turn their eyes to avoid Edge as he looks at them, but as Edge passes by, the camera rather conveniently picks up the guy with the clipboard lean in close to his colleague and say...

Backstage Worker #1: I think he's scared. I mean last week he-

Edge hears this, coming to a stop and turning to fiercely look at the two. A crazed, almost psychotic look in his eyes, Edge steps forward and gets in the workers face, aggressively running a hand through his hair...

Edge: What did you say?

The worker looks to his colleague, scared, almost afraid to answer...

Edge: I SAID WHAT DID YOU SAY!?

The worker cowers in fear, backing himself against a wall and turning his eyes to the side...

Backstage Worker #1: I - I -

Edge: ANSWER ME!

Backstage Worker #1: I - I think you might be afraid.

Edge snarls, flaring his nostrils, rapidly running both hands through his hair, even grabbing it and pulling on it...

Edge: Afraid... of who?

The worker, feeling that Edge may have calmed slightly, looks again to his colleague, then towards Edge...

Backstage Worker #1: Afraid... of Batista.

Edge breaths hard, aggressively staring at the worker... but instead of taking any action, Edge simply turns, snapping up his bag and carrying on towards the arena, only now a look of intense anger and fury on his face. Edge continues to look around, although the intimidating look in his eyes effects all the backstage workers he passes, as they keep their distance and don’t make a sound, with Edge pushing open a door and slamming it shut behind him, the closed door the last image we see as the video fades out.


*End Video Package*


We then see some highlights of last week’s show, focusing heavily on the situations between Batista and Edge and Mr. Kennedy and Ric Flair. We hear snippets of the exchanges Flair and Kennedy had, in particular the lines about how Flair should have retired years ago and how much ‘The Nature Boy’ loves and respects the wrestling industry. We then fast forward to the main event, the clash between Edge and Flair, where Ric takes a battering but somehow manages to hang in there, even kicking out of a spear. Making a comeback, Flair slaps on the figure four, only for Kennedy to storm the ring, causing the DQ. As Kennedy pounds Flair, Edge heads outside, grabbing a steel chair in an attempt to send a message to Batista… only for ‘The Animal’ to race to the ring to make the save! Batista hammers Kennedy, and when Edge slides into the ring behind him, it looks like Batista’s skull is about to be caved in… until he turns… and catches Edge in the act. Edge freezes, wanting to strike, but almost afraid of the consequences… so he drops the chair… and slowly walks away… with a smirk on his face? It’s mass confusion as Edge backs up the ramp, smiling, tapping the side of his head, with the video package ending as Edge utters the words… “This close.” before we fade to black.

After the usual opening video, it’s then into the arena for that trademark pyro display. The cameras take a spin around the boisterous New Jersey crowd, showing us many of the signs they have while the announce team talk over the top of this…


Michael Cole: Last week, the accusation was put at Edge’s door. Are you afraid of ‘The Animal’? But after the dramatic ending to last week’s show, another question now exists. Is it fear or mind games? Hello everyone, I’m Michael Cole, alongside me as always are Tazz and John Bradshaw Layfield, we are in Trenton, New Jersey and we are just sixteen days away from Wrestlemania XXIII!

Tazz: Oh baby, there’s excitement in the air! Wrestlemania is right around the corner, and every superstar knows that this is the time to shine!

Michael Cole: Well Tazz, ‘JBL’, lemme put the question to ya’. Right here, right now, is Edge afraid of Batista?

John Bradshaw Layfield: What kinda stupid question is that?! Of course he’s not afraid! He’s just getting’ into the head of Batista, he’s toyin’ with ‘The Animal’, at Wrestlemania XXIII he’s gonna strike and he’s gonna become the new World Heavyweight Champion.

Tazz: Well I gotta take the opposite view. I think he is afraid. I mean, if you’re stood behind Batista with a steel chair in your hand, if you’ve got that shot, you gotta take it! If you toy with an animal too much, he’s gonna bite ya’, and that could happen to Edge tonight.

Michael Cole: Or it could happen, perhaps, to King Booker. One of the biggest rivalries on Smackdown from 2006 is relived here tonight, as Batista takes on King Booker, both men wanting that win ahead of Wrestlemania.

John Bradshaw Layfield: That’s gonna be a helluva match, and so is the match between Umaga and Chris Benoit gonna be! I stood in the ring last week with ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ and even I, ‘JBL’, ‘The Wrestling God’ was intimidated by bein’ in that man presence.

Tazz: And not only that, but Wrestlemania opponents collide as the United States Champion Finlay and the Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms team up to take on their respective Wrestlemania opponents, Matt Hardy and Bryan Danielson.

Michael Cole: And not only that, but The Miz competes for the last Money in the Bank Ladder Match spot. It’s stacked show folks, you don’t wanna miss it!

The commentators quiet and the crowd comes to order for a few seconds of silence, until…

*SLICED BREAD…*


A great cheer rings out as the WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans make their entrance. Paul London and Brian Kendrick stop under the Smackdown fist, slapping hands, until Ashley Massaro sends the pair sprinting for the ring…


Michael Cole: But we’re kickin’ off the action with the WWE Tag Team Championships on the line. Paul London and Brian Kendrick have been the very definition of fighting champions during their reign, but have they ran into a fight they can’t win with regards to The Bluebloods?

Tazz: Well lemme tell ya’. I love The Hooligans. They bring so much energy, so much excitement to the ring. But they can get tough too when they need to, and they’re gonna need it tonight.

John Bradshaw Layfield: They’ve had a long reign, they’ve beatin’ a lotta teams, hell, they even beat The Bluebloods about a month ago. But that was a Bluebloods team without Paul Burchill. That’s why I have to believe that The Hooligans title run is over.

In the ring, London and Kendrick perform their duelling backflips off the top rope, before Ashley rips off the masks from their faces to a nice pop. The champs hand over the gold and then await their opponents…

*VILLIAN…*


The ominous music of the challengers sounds out and The Bluebloods confidently head for the ring. William Regal leads the way, a devilish smirk on his face, while [B[Dave Taylor[/b] does his best to threaten and intimidate the crowd, while the hulking Paul Burchill brings up the rear, a menacing look in his eyes…


Michael Cole: You mentioned it ‘JBL’, these two teams have met previously. That night, it was Regal and Taylor who challenged the champions and came up a little short. Can Paul Burchill make the difference tonight?

John Bradshaw Layfield: Oh without a doubt! He brings power, he brings viciousness, he brings a real nasty streak with ‘im, and he also has a bit of speed about ‘im. You put that with the technical knowledge of Regal, and that’s a team that London and Kendrick just can’t handle.

Tazz: Well, I don’t know about that. If you’re the champs, the gameplan’s simple. You use your speed, you use your quickness and you use your agility to keep the challengers off balance. The Hooligans might not have the power, but they’ve got the speed, fight and determination to get the job done here…

Match 1: WWE Tag Team Championships Match
WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans w/ Ashley Massaro vs. The Bluebloods (William Regal and Paul Burchill) w/ Dave Taylor

London and Burchill start the contest as the legal men, and straight from the first tie up Burchill makes his intentions clear as he drills London with a knee to the gut, then a forearm to the spine before locking on a standing side headlock. London is able to back Burchill to the ropes and fire him across, but Burchill runs straight through London with a shoulderblock. Burchill comes off the ropes again, but London lays down, seeing Burchill run over the top of him... and then avoids him with a leapfrog... Burchill puts on the breaks... but London catches him with a quick armdrag, holding on for a standing armbar. Kendrick gets the tag, and the champions go for a double Irish whip... into a double hiptoss... and finish the sequence with a double elbow drop... and then a double kip up! Regal storms the ring... straight into a double dropkick! The crowd pops as Regal is sent tumbling through the ropes to the floor, allowing Kendrick to turn back to Burchill. Again Burchill’s arm is wrung up, as Kendrick twists on it a couple of times. Burchill manages to grab a handful of hair, taking the pair to the ropes, and he’s able to muscle Kendrick off the opposite side... where Dave Taylor reaches out and grabs Kendrick’s foot! Kendrick puts on the breaks and dips his head through the ropes... Taylor swings a right... Kendrick blocks it... and rattles Taylor with a right of his own... but here comes Regal... Knee Trembler!!

The force of the vicious knee to the side of the head causes Kendrick to simply collapses and fall through the ropes to the outside, which is a blessing in disguise for the champs, as had Kendrick landed in the ring we’d have new champions by now. Kendrick barely moves, and with the referee counting, it’s up to Regal and Taylor to muscle the deadweight Kendrick back under the bottom rope, allowing Burchill to go for the cover... 1... 2... Kendrick rolls a shoulder! Kendrick looks in bad shape as Burchill tags in Regal, the challengers combining for a double Irish whip that sends Kendrick flying into the corner and then crashing down to the mat. A northern lights suplex gets Regal a near fall, before he mounts Kendrick to unload with stiff right hands to the head. Another quick tag, and again Kendrick is hammered against a turnbuckle with a double Irish whip, before Burchill drives him to the mat with boots to the midsection, then presses his foot against Kendrick’s throat, choking the champion.

Now the challengers start to his double team moves, starting with a long, double vertical suplex, and then a double flapjack, before Regal starts drilling knees to the midsection, a big forearm putting Kendrick down. Regal now really goes to work, hitting an exploder suplex, the Regal cutter and a release German suplex, but each time Regal can only get a 2 count. F...trated, Regal locks on a cobra clutch, trying to make Kendrick submit. Kendrick manages to fight it, trying to stay alive in the match, but he slowly begins to fade. London and Ashley start making some noise, attempting to rally the crowd, and eventually Kendrick shows signs of life, waving his arms, kicking hi s legs, desperately trying to break free. Regal tries to crank up the pressure, but he can’t subdue the fight in Kendrick, who drills elbows to the midsection in an attempt to break free. Kendrick breaks the hold... and ducks a Regal right hand... allowing him to dive to the corner and tag in London... no! The referee cuts London off, as Burchill had entered the ring, meaning the ref never saw the tag!

London can’t believe it, protesting furiously, all the while Burchill and Regal hammer Kendrick with boots behind the refs back. Finally London leaves the ring, but the challengers have victory in sight as they drag Kendrick up... double suplex... Kendrick counters... DOUBLE DDT! Kendrick shifts momentum in mid air, driving both challengers head first to the mat! As he’s not the legal man, Burchill is ushered from the ring, while Kendrick crawls for his corner... and tags in London! Regal tags in Burchill, but London is already racing into the ring... big right hand puts Burchill down! Regal is knocked down too, and as soon as both challengers are up, they go right back down. A dropkick puts Burchill down again, before Regal is sent for the ride... big back body drop! The crowd is as fired up as London is as he starts laying into Burchill with boots, before he too is sent off the ropes... textbook hurricanrana! London is quickly back up, but here comes Regal... dropkick to Regal... and in one fluid motion a standing moonsault to Burchill! 1... 2... NO! Burchill rolls a shoulder!

London thought he had it, but he presses on, going for a standing wasitlock... Burchill counters, then runs London to the ropes looking for a rollup... but London grabs the top rope... only for Taylor to reach up and yank London’s throat down across the top rope! The ref was trying to clear the ring and didn’t see it, and now London stumbles towards Burchill... SAITO SUPLEX! Burchill plants London on his head, and he quickly hooks the leg... 1... 2... NO! London rolls a shoulder! Burchill is enraged as the champions somehow survive, but with Regal on the apron, Burchill takes it upon himself to finish London off, as he waits for London to rise... JUMPING NECKBREAKER... NO! Kendrick cuts Burchill off with a dropkick! Regal storms the ring... but he runs into a DOUBLE SUPERKICK! Regal is nearly out cold as he rolls from the ring, and now the champions turn back to Burchill... as Kendrick hooks him up... SLICED BREAD! Kendrick plants Burchill, drags him into position as London climbs to the top rope... Taylor is on the apron... Kendrick sends him flying! London is ready... 450 SPLASH!! London gets all of it, collapsing on the spot for the lateral press and the 1... 2... 3!

Winners: And still WWE Tag Team Champions, The Hooligans @ 09.48

The Hooligans do it again! They’ve grabbed yet another win over The Bluebloods, prompting a great cheer from the crowd. London grabs at his ribs after the impact of the splash, but Kendrick is there to help him back to his feet, and soon Ashley is in with their title belts. The champs hug and then raise their titles in the air, while on the outside Taylor helps Regal backstage, while Burchill can only stare angrily back at the ring…


Michael Cole: They’ve done it again! London and Kendrick are still the WWE Tag Team Champions!

Tazz: God what an effort from these two teams. A couple o’ times I thought The Bluebloods had it won, but credit to the champs, they hung in there and they got the win.

John Bradshaw Layfield: I gotta hand it to ‘em, London and Kendrick did a helluva-

*WORLD’S GREATEST…*


What the…? Everyone in the arena, especially the champions in the ring, are confused as the World Tag Team Champions [B[The World’s Greatest Tag Team[/b] step out. Neither Shelton Benjamin nor Charlie Haas are dressed to compete, but for some reason they’re here tonight on Smackdown and they’re headed for the ring…


Shelton Benjamin: Guys, what can I say? That was very… nah, let’s not lie. That wasn’t bad. Certainly wasn’t great like us, but it wasn’t bad.

Haas and Benjamin continues their walk down the aisle, crossing paths with The Bluebloods, who stare the Raw intruders up and down…

Shelton Benjamin: Can I help you?

Arrogant as ever, Haas and Benjamin simply shake off The Bluebloods and carry on down the aisle…

Shelton Benjamin: Anyway, you guys know what we think o’ you. You ain’t nothin’ but paper champs who ain’t never been givin’ a real challenge since you got those belts. There ain’t been one team on this brand that pushed you all the way. You guys been livin’ on easy street, phonin’ it in ev’ry night.

London and Kendrick angrily watch on as Haas and Benjamin start to climb the steel steps…


Shelton Benjamin: But that’s just cause you didn’t have us on yo’ brand. If we was here on Smackdown, those titles you holdin’ would be long gone by now. They’d be around our waists.

Haas and Benjamin now enter the ring and approach London and Kendrick…


Shelton Benjamin: But I guess that ain’t yo’ fault. You never had a team the quality of us to compete with. And that’s why we here. Y’see, we told ev’rybody we wanted a match at Wrestlemania. And seein’ as we beat John Cena last Monday night, we got our wish. We been lookin’ for a team to step up and impress us. And you two…

Benjamin turns to Haas, who winces and shakes his head…


Shelton Benjamin: Let’s just say you two are the best we could find.

Haas and Benjamin turn and laugh to each other…

Shelton Benjamin: So out boi Jonathan Coachman hooked us up tonight. He let us come out here so we could issue a challenge. There ain’t nobody on Raw who can compete with us, nobody who can give us the kinda match we want at Wrestlemania. But as far as we concerned, if you two are the champs on Smackdown… then that makes you the best this show’s got.

A slight pop breaks out as London and Kendrick nod in agreement…


Shelton Benjamin: So… what is gonna be? Huh about The World’s Greatest Tag Team against The Hooligans? The World Tag Team Champions and the WWE Tag Team Champions? You two… and us two?

The crowd cheer their encouragement, wanting London and Kendrick to accept. The Hooligans look at each other, then into the crowd, before they turn to Haas and Benjamin and say “Yeah. Yeah you’re on!”, causing a great cheer to ring out around the arena…


Shelton Benjamin: Good. But we warnin’ you… you better be ready. ‘Cause we gonna be.

All four men stare at each other, determined looks in their eyes. Haas makes the first move, stepping closer so that he’s nose-to-nose with London, before Kendrick and Benjamin do likewise. The four men trade a few words of trash talk, until Shelton turns to Haas, nods his head and the Raw champions back away, happy that their challenge was accepted. The tensions eases as Haas and Benjamin leave the ring, but they keep their eyes trained on London and Kendrick as we go to a commercial.

*Commercial*


*Video Package*

WRESTLEMANIA RECALL!

MARCH 31ST, 2002
WRESTLEMANIA X8


After a 10 year absence, Ric Flair made his return to Wrestlemania, but it was to step into the ring with ‘The American Badass’ The Undertaker, a man who at this point had shed his darkside ways and become one of the meanest competitors in the WWE. It was only three months earlier that Flair has returned to the WWE as the company’s co-owner, he sharing control with Mr. McMahon. At No Way Out the previous month, Undertaker had faced off against The Rock, but it was the Undertaker’s actions in the build up to that match the infuriated Flair, after The Rock was chokeslammed and then tombstoned onto a car. At No Way Out, Flair interfered on The Rock’s behalf, setting up a month of abject misery for Flair. Flair himself, Arn Anderson and Flair’s on David were all subjected to brutal assaults from The Undertaker, leading to a No Holds Barred Match between the two. In a bloody affair, the two battered each other from pillar to post, and even Arn Anderson involved himself in the match, hitting ‘Taker with a Double-A spinebuster. However, it wasn’t to be Flair’s night, as after seeing off Anderson, Undertaker then planted Flair with a tombstone piledriver, grabbing the win and running his Wrestlemania streak to 10-0.

WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - 16 DAYS AND COUNTING


*End Video Package*


We now head to a locker room to see King Booker and Queen Sharmell stood talking to Montel Vontavious Porter. The crowd boo the trio, but it appears we’ve joined them during a conversation…

King Booker: Last week, we gave Christopher Benoit a royal beating. But tonight, The Miz has a Money in the Bank Qualifier against a mystery opponent. Now, my loyal subjects around the Smackdown kingdom have been trying to discover the identity of this mystery man.

Montel Vontavious Porter: And?

King Booker: And ‘dey ain’t found out nothin’ so far!

Sharmell clears her throat, prompting Booker to revert back to his regal voice…

King Booker: Ahem, excuse me. We must prepare for all possibilities. I care little for whether it is The Miz or this mystery man who qualifies for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. I’m quite sure both of them are nothing but mere… peasants. Whomever qualifies shall suffer the same fate as Christopher Benoit did last week.

’MVP’ nods his head in agreement…


Montel Vontavious Porter: Yeah. We send the punk that wins that match tonight a message!

King Booker; Yes. Slowly but surely Montel, we will weaken, and then eliminate the competition from Smackdown. Then, we shall start to target the Raw participants, until finally, at Wrestlemania XXIII, I, your King, climbs that ladder and grabs that-

Montel Vontavious Porter: Whoa, whoa, whoa… you? You’re gonna grab that briefcase?

Booker stares at ‘MVP’ wide eyed, feeling offended by his interruption…


King Booker: How dare you. How dare you interrupt your King! I have never been so besmirched in my life!

Queen Sharmell: How dare you ‘MVP’!

’MVP’ lifts his sunglasses of his eyes, rubbing them in annoyance, clearly getting fed up with the royal shtick…

Montel Vontavious Porter: A’ight, a’ight. But lemme tell ya’ somethin’ yo’ Highness… I might be down for the whole takin’ out the competition, but at Wrestlemania… it’s ev’ry dawg for ‘imself.

Once more Booker stares, eyes even wider than before…

King Booker: I think we should continue this meeting at another time, else ye’ find yourself exiled from my humble palace.

Montel Vontavious Porter: Pfft! You gonna kick me out the locker room man? Man, who you tryin’ to kid? Look man, just sit yo’ ass down and watch this match. Sit down and watch this!

’MVP’ pulls up a pair of nearby steel chairs, parking them infront of a television set. ‘MVP’ sits down on one of them, but Booker is less than impressed as he looks down on the chair in disgust, before reaching into his suit pocket to pull a handkerchief out to wipe the top of the seat…

Montel Vontavious Porter: You gotta be-

King Booker: I ain’t sittin’ on no punk ass chair dawg!

’MVP’ groans in f...tration, before he points the remote at the TV and pumps up the volume, no doubt so he doesn’t have to listen to Booker anymore as we head back into the arena…

*REALITY…*


Some pretty decent heat as The Miz makes his entrance, the beautiful Michelle McCool by his side. Miz may look goofy in his three-quarter jeans and hat, but he still manages to rile up the crowd as he and McCool head down the aisle…


Michael Cole: Well there certainly seems to be some tension in the ranks with regards to King Booker and ‘MVP’.

Tazz: Wouldn’t that royal crap start getting’ on your nerves too after a while?

Michael Cole: Oh absolutely. But here comes The Miz, a man who was made a sharp improvement in his performances lately. Hell, one day he might even win you over ‘JBL’!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Don’t hold your breath on that one. On second thoughts, do hold your breath, then we won’t have to listen to your terrible commentary anymore. This kid is a jackass, plain and simple. If he makes it to Wrestlemania, then I’m not workin’ that night!

Tazz: Well I don’t particularly like Miz, I think he’s arrogant, I think he’s a loudmouth, but I gotta hand it to ‘im, he’s workin’ hard at improvin’ his craft. And I gotta respect that. He’ll be a threat to whoever his opponent turns out to be.

Now in the ring, McCool asks for and receives a microphone, which she hands over to Miz, although Miz lets the boos linger a little longer before he finally speaks…


The Miz: I know you all can’t wait to find out just who exactly my opponent is in the Money in the Bank Qualifier. I know you all can’t wait ‘cause you hope whoever it is will come out here and kick my ass and take away my Wrestlemania dream.

Pop, at which Miz smoulders…


The Miz: Well I think it’s time for a lil’ reality check people. Y’see, ever since I arrived in this company, I’ve had to scratch and claw for everythin’ I’ve ever got. I’ve had to put up with all the crap from the back, with all the locker room politics, with everybody questionin’ my ability in the ring. Well lemme make it crystal clear for everybody listenin’ right now…

Miz looks deep into the hard camera...

The Miz: Wrestlemania… is in my destiny. Being Mr. Money in the Bank… is in my destiny. And becoming World Heavyweight Champion… is in my destiny. No matter how much you people don’t want it to happen, and no matter how much the guys in the back don’t, face it… it’s gonna happen and it’s gonna happen real soon.

Heat…

The Miz: So bring out this loser that I have to get past, because all he’s doin’ is delayin’ my de-

*BOOM!...*

*SLOW CHEMICAL...*


The arena responds with a rousing pop as Kane menacingly makes his entrance. Tugging at his elbow pad, Kane cuts a quick pace as he heads down the aisle, while Miz can’t believe it, head buried in his hands as he realizes what’s in store…


Michael Cole: Oh no. You gotta be kiddin’ me! Miz… has gotta face Kane?!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Haha, I love it! Not just Kane, but after the beatin’ he took from Umaga at Saturday Night’s Main Event, it’s gotta one pissed off ‘Big Red Machine’!

Tazz: God, this ain’t right. I think I actually feel sorry for Miz. Get the hell outta there kid…

Match 2: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
The Miz
w/ Michelle McCool vs. Kane

A sense of fear grips Miz as he sees Kane flash that sick smile in his direction. Miz gulps hard, and as the bell rings, he’s reluctant to go on the attack. Kane has no such fears though, and he strides forward, although Miz circles the ring, trying to stay out Kane’s grasp. Eventually, Kane is able to back Miz into a corner, and when Miz tries to make a run for it, Kane simply grabs him with a goozle and yanks him against the turnbuckle. Kane then snaps off a string off those uppercuts to the throat, before he pulls Miz to the middle of the ring and sends him for a ride… into a big boot to the face! Miz is reeling, the surprise of the opponent catching him off guard, and as he stumbles to his feet, Kane is already waiting, hand cocked in the air… he snatches Miz by the throat… Chokeslam…no! Miz manages to force himself back down to the mat, and he quickly strikes with a series of rights to the body. They have little effect though as Kane reverses Miz’s Irish whip off the ropes… into a sidewalk slam! Kane hooks the leg, 1… 2… no! Miz kicks out, and he quickly rolls to the outside, dropping to a knee, coughing, spluttering for breath, and as McCool scurries over to check on him. Kane stands tall in the ring as we fade into a commercial.

*Commercial*


And when we return, Kane is still in charge as he snaps off more of those uppercuts, and then fires Miz hard to the corner. Kane charges in… clothesline against the turnbuckle connects! Miz stumbles from the corner and flops to the mat, with the crowd roaring it’s approval for Kane, who then climbs through the ropes and heads upstairs. Kane perches himself, waiting for Miz to rise, no doubt looking for the flying clothesline… only for Michelle McCool to jump up onto the apron! McCool screams and shouts at Kane, distracting ‘The Big Red Machine’. The referee does his best to get McCool to stand down, but the distraction proves enough for Miz to pull himself together and dive for the ropes, causing Kane to lose his balance and fall, crotching himself on the top turnbuckle! The crowd winces as Kane has a sore landing, but it doesn’t take long for Miz to try and take advantage, as he climbs up and joins Kane up top. Miz tries to go for a superplex… but Kane fights it, snapping off right hands to Miz’s ribs… and then he pushes Miz down to the mat! Kane now stands high, waiting for Miz to rise… flying clothesline… no! Miz wisely dives to safety, and that lets Kane crash to the mat, although as the big guy tries to land on his feet, he appears to tweak his knee.

Kane instantly grabs at his left knee, crying out in pain, and once Miz has the cobwebs clear, he wastes little time in targeting the leg, stomping down on it and dropping knees across it, before he drags Kane to the ropes, puts his foot on the bottom one, and then bounces up and drops all of his weight across the knee. Miz repeats the trick before going for a cover, getting a near fall, and then he continues his attack by grabbing the foot, yanking it up in the air and viciously slamming the knee down to the mat. More punishment to the knee as kicks and elbows land, before Miz grabs the foot and drags Kane to the corner. Miz heads outside, once again grabs the foot, and winds up the leg… to smash it off the ring post! With McCool encouraging him, Miz winds up again… second time the knee hits the steel, with Kane crawling away in a serious amount of pain. Kane drags himself to a nearby corner, using the ropes to pull himself up, but Miz is right on him, hammering with right hands to the head, kicks to the chest and knee, before he hangs Kane’s left leg across the middle rope… and delivers a vicious kick to the back of the knee! Miz winds up… and delivers another kick… and a third! Kane tries to pull his leg away, but Miz cranks on it, wringing it across the ropes, taking every second of the ref’s 5 count before he backs away. Miz doesn’t go far though, as he soon builds up a head of steam… swinging corner clothesline! Miz gets all of it, and as Kane slumps from the corner, Miz hooks the leg… 1… 2… Kane rolls a shoulder, much to Miz’s annoyance.

Continuing his target of the leg, Miz soon locks on a single-leg Boston crab, trying to further weaken the knee, a move which draws praise from Tazz and ‘JBL’ as they admit it’s sound strategy from Miz. Miz leans back on the knee, applying pressure, all the while shouting at Kane to submit. Kane strains, trying to fight it, but Miz sits into the hold, upping the pressure again. Kane groans in pain, but the crowd starts to make some noise, trying to encourage Kane back into the match. Kane strains, using all his upperbody strength to push himself up… and then twist… so he can kick Miz away… shoulder first into the ring post! Miz hits the steel hard, grabbing his shoulder as he comes out of the corner, but he beats Kane to the punch with a right hand… uppercut finds the mark… right hand from Miz… Kane fires back again… and again… and again, this time backing Miz to the ropes. Kane goes for the Irish whip… big boot to the face… no! Miz avoids it with a baseball slide… then takes Kane down with a chop block! Kane grimaces and cries in pain, but after gaining another near fall, Miz looks to puts Kane away as he waits for him to get to his feet… kane is up, doubled over, and here comes Miz… REALITY CHECK… NO! Kane sees Miz coming… tilt-a-whirl powerslam!

The crowd pop as Kane plants Miz, but now both men are down and subjected to the referee’s count. We make it all the way to 6 until both men start to get back to their feet… where a slugfest ensues, with Miz surprisingly getting the better of it. Miz sends Kane to the corner… no, reversal… Kane follows in with an engulfing clothesline! Miz is then fired to the opposite corner, hitting the turnbuckle hard and then stumbling out… into a big back body drop! Miz flies through the air and crashes to the mat, and Kane is already climbing to the top rope… FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Kane crawls into the lateral press… 1… 2… NO! Miz rolls a shoulder. Kane has the advantage now, and he continues to land shots to the throat, before he sends Miz for the ride… and snatches him by the throat… but Miz manages to kick his way free of Kane’s grip. Seeking an end to things, Miz lines Kane up for the MIZARD OF OZ… NO! Kane spins out of it… and gets Miz with a goozle… CHOKESLAM!! Kane emphatically plants Miz, stumbles to the mat and rolls into the cover for the 1… 2… 3!

Winner : Kane @ 08.47

A gutsy effort from Miz, which will no doubt have helped his ever increasing stock, but it’s Kane who’s going to Wrestlemania. Kane quickly gets back on his feet, but before he can even consider a celebration, the crowd’s cheers turn to concern as King Booker and Montel Vontavious Porter are already in the ring! ‘MVP’ tackles Kane to the mat with a chop block, allowing Booker to start laying in with the boots. The pair quickly do a number on Kane, giving him a real beating as all Kane can do is try and cover up. Eventually, ‘MVP’ reaches down and drags Kane to his feet, but Booker tries to move ‘MVP’ aside so he can do more damage… but ‘MVP’ disagrees, motioning for Booker to move out of his way. Booker reacts angrily to this, grabbing ‘MVP’ and making him look Booker in the eye. Both men start shouting at each other, claiming that they can punish Kane better than the other man, but the crowd soon start cheering, and Queen Sharmell at ringside starts waving her arms franticly… Kane is back on his feet! Booker and ‘MVP’ turn and look at Sharmell, who is furiously pointing behind them… they both turn around… right into a goozle! Kane slaps his hand around both their necks… then takes them up… Double Chokeslam! The plan backfires as Booker and ‘MVP’ are planted to the mat, with Kane standing tall… throwing his arms down to set off a flash of flames! Sharmell can’t believe it, Kane has taken out both his attackers… and has he just declared himself one of the favourites for Money in the Bank in the process?


*Video Package*

We open to the grainy footage of Wrestlemania I, and soon the familiar opening to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ is heard...

Narrator: Wrestlemania was the showcase that brought sports entertainment to a whole new level, and this man was at the very heart of it...

We now see Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka walking the corridors of Madison Square Garden, the trio on their way to the ring for the first ever Wrestlemania main event ...

Narrator: Already a star of the small and big screen, he brought his talents to the wrestling ring...

Hogan reaches out tag in T, who starts unloading with rights and lefts to ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff...

Narrator: And captivated audiences like never before.

Shot from the end of that match, as Hogan and T embrace after their hard fought victory...

Mr. T: On the 31st, don’t look for a lotta sweet moves from me. I only know one thing... pain!

Mr. T and ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper go nose to nose during an edition of Piper’s Pit...

Narrator: Appearing at both Wrestlemania I and II,he helped establish what is now the biggest night of the wrestling year...

We see T unloading on a punching bag in preparation for his boxing match with Piper...

Gene Okerland: Mr. T, please-

Mr. T: Lemme tell ya’ somethin’! This ain’t gonna be no fight. This gonna be a war! I’m a smash the chump! When I finish wit’ ‘im, he gon’ look like you! Now get outta here!

And then we see the first of three main events at Wrestlemania II, with Piper and T trading jabs...

Narrator: And left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.

All hell breaks loose as Piper scoop slams T to the mat...

Narrator: But it was undoubtedly his famous television and movie roles that embedded him into the fabric of Americana.

We now hear the theme from ‘The A-Team’, with various shots of Mr. T portraying the B.A. Baracus character...

Mr. T: I ain’t gettin’ on no plane!

The music continues as we now see T in ‘Rocky III’ as Clubber Lang...

Interviewer: Clubber, what’s your prediction for the fight?

Mr. T: My prediction? I predict pain!

Shot of Hogan and T on the set of Saturday Night Live, the two struggling not to laugh...

Roddy Piper: Lemme tell ya’, when he hit ya’... forget about it! He was one tough S.O.B.!

More shots of the great Piper/T battles...

Narrator: The WWE Hall of Fame Celebrity Wing proudly welcomes...

We see Hogan and T reunited at Halloween Havoc ’94...

Edge: As a kid, I loved the WWE and I loved The A-Team. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever to see Mr. T in the same ring as Hulk Hogan...

And a final shot from Saturday Night’s Main Event, when T knocks Piper off the ring apron then slugs ‘Cowboy’ Boy Orton the top rope with a big left hand...

Narrator: Mr. T!

We now see a picture of Mr. T, stern faced, pointing at us, gold chains around his neck, with the Hall of Fame logo nearby. Also on the screen is the fact that T will be inducted into the Hall of Fame by current Hall of Famer ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper!

*End Video Package*


We now head to the interview area, where Josh Matthews is standing by…

Josh Matthews: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time… he is the World Heavyweight Champion… ‘The Animal’… Batista!

A great pop as Batista enters the frame, nodding a hello in Matthews direction…

Josh Matthews: Batista, obviously later tonight you’re scheduled to face the man we just saw being chokeslammed by Kane, King Booker, but if we could put that aside for a minute, I’d like to ask you about the situation between yourself and Edge, more specifically last week after Edge’s match with Ric Flair.

Batista smiles to himself, nodding his head…

Batista: Look, we all know what Edge is all about. He likes to talk, he likes to run his mouth, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t back it up all that often. And for me, that’s exactly what last week was. Y’see, I might run my mouth from time to time too. When I said Edge was scared… yeah, that might be considered runnin’ my mouth. But I back up every word I say when I step into that ring.

Pop…

Batista: And last week, Edge had the chance to back up his words. Alright, he might have had a steel chair in his hands when he was doin’ it, but at least he’d have finally shown he had a set of balls!

Another pop…

Batista: As far as I’m concerned, Edge it nothin’ but a coward. He had his chance to get the better of me… and he couldn’t take it. Well you made a huge mistake right there Edge. You had the chance to make a statement, and you blew it, and I’m gonna make sure it’s the last chance you get.

Batista pauses as yet another pop rings out…

Batista: As for tryin’ to play it off as mind games… I promise you Edge… it didn’t work. I’m not gonna be lookin’ over my shoulder at every turn for you. But maybe… you should be lookin’ over your shoulder… for me.

The crowd cheers again before Batista takes one last menacing look into the camera and leaves, the camera staying on Matthews who looks on in awe of the champion as we head for a commercial.

*Commercial*


And when we return, it’s off to the general manager’s office to see Jonathan Coachman stood smack in the middle of an argument, as The Extremists and The Full Blooded Italians stand either side of him, shouting all kinds of insults at each other. ‘Coach’ has his head in his hands as the volume rises, with Tommy Dreamer andThe Sandman shouting from one side as Sabu remains silent, while on the other Santino Marella, Big Vito, Nunzio, Tony Mamaluke and even Trinity hurl abuse back….


Jonathan Coachman: Guys, guys, enough! Enough! Now somebody tell me what the hell this is all about what the hell it’s doin’ happenin’ in my office!

Everybody tries to explain their side of the story at the same time, causing the volume to rise once more…

Jonathan Coachman: Alright! Enough! ‘Don’ Marella… perhaps you could explain all this?

Santino Marella: Si. Last week, I was-ah insulted by ‘dis ignorant guido !

Nunzio: ‘Ey!

Santino Marella: Not now Nunzio. Tommy Dreamy, from Yonkees, New York, he insulted me! And ‘De F.B.I., we not-ah gonna stand-ah for that!

’Coach’ now turns to The Extremists…

Jonathan Coachman: Alright. Sabu… you seem like the quiet, level-headed one in this group. Why don’t you give me your side of the story?

A few laughs from inside the arena as Sabu looks at both Dreamer and Sandman, shaking his head…

Jonathan Coachman: What? What’s the… what’s the problem?

Dreamer puts a reassuring hand on Sabu’s shoulder…

Tommy Dreamer: I got it. Listen Santino, first of all, my name’s Tommy Dreamer. Second of all, it’s Yonkers, New York. And third of all, I ain’t no guido. But tonight, we’re in New Jersey.

Pop…

Tommy Dreamer: You Full Blooded Italians, this is your turf. And while we’d hate to embarrass you infront of your home crowd… I’m sure the fans would love nothin’ more than to see us crack a few steel chairs over your skulls!

Another pop…

Jonathan Coachman: That didn’t really answer my question, but whatever. Listen, I can’t give you that match this week, but what I can do, if you two teams can hold of killin’ each other, is give you a match next week. How’s that sound?

The Sandman: I’ll drink to that…

Sandman snaps open a can of beer, pouring it down his throat put getting plenty of it down his shirt too…

Santino Marella: Si… this will-ah have to do.

Jonathan Coachman: Good. So, unless there’s anything else…

Santino steps past ‘Coach’, getting in Dreamer’s face…

Santino Marella: I always-ah get-ah my way Dreamy. After next week, you will-ah shine-ah my-

Sandman spits beer right in Marella’s face! The audience responds with a mix of disgust and delight as Sandman covers Santino in beer, it dripping off his face as The Extremists smile and walk off, leaving The F.B.I. and their embarrassed leader behind…

Jonathan Coachman: You need a towel ‘Don’ Marella?

’Coach’ starts to look around, but all he can find is a box of tissues, offering Santino one, which he snaps out of Coachman’s hand, leading his troops off in the opposite direction as we head back into the arena.

To see that Layla is already in the ring, microphone in hand, a wicked smile on her face. Behind her are stood Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von Monty Brown, obviously the tag team that Layla was speaking to ‘Coach’ about last week…


Layla: I want everybody to pay attention to the ring please! I’ve got something you’ll all… want to see.

Layla (who’s a heel, btw) flashes a devilish smirk as the crowd quiet down…


Layla: Thank you. Now, by winning the 2006 WWE Diva Search, I managed to prove one thing… that I’m far more good looking than any of you people ever will be.

Cheap heat…

Layla: But I didn’t need to win some silly contest to prove that. I mean… just look at me.

Layla poses for the crowd, with Burke exaggerating his admiration of her, while Brown, as the straight man of the team, remains stony faced…

Layla: I’m what a real diva should be. Beautiful, glamorous, athletic… and highly desirable. But I’m not all beauty, oh no. I have brains too. And that’s why I’ve put together a tag team that is the perfect combination… of speed and power. This…

Layla shimmies over to Burke, rubbing a hand across his abs…

Layla: Is Elijah Burke. And this…

Layla now heads for Brown, stroking an arm across his shoulders…

Layla: Is Monty Brown. And they’re what you might call… a New Breed of competitor here in the WWE. And I’ve brought them to Smackdown… because I reckon gold will look very good around their waists.

Layla again smirks into the camera, while Burke and Brown simply smile and nod their heads. The trio look extremely confident, although they are startled by…

*GONNA PUNCH SOMEONE TONIGHT…*


The gives a decent pop as Jimmy Wang Yang and his tag team partner for this match Shannon Moore head down the aisle, matching cowboy hats and all. Will this become a permanent duo? Who knows? But for now the pair look happy enough as a one night only team as they slap hands with the ringside crowd…


Michael Cole: Well… I guess it’s welcome to The New Breed. Layla has united Elijah Burke and Monty Brown, and they’re here to make an impact on Friday nights.

Tazz: Jeez, that Layla… she’s somethin’ else huh?

John Bradshaw Layfield: I think I just found the next Mrs. Layfield.

Tazz: That line never gets old huh…?

Match 3: Tag Team Match
The New Breed
w/ Layla vs. Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore

Brown and Yang get us underway, with the much larger Brown working Yang into a standing side headlock straight away. Yang is able to fire Brown into the ropes, and then avoid him with a leapfrog... before he takes Brown down with a low-angle dropkick to the shin. Brown is back up, but Yang takes him down with an armdrag, holding on for an armbar. Both men work back to a vertical base, with Brown breaking free of the armbar with a knee to the midsection, then kick to the gut and a forearm to the spine. Right hands land to the head, before Brown yanks Yang to his corner and tags in Burke, holding Yang in place so Burke can drill him with a shot to the ribs. A knee to the side of the head earns Burke an early 2 count, before Burke works into a standing hammerlock. Yang drops to his knees, breaking free with a fireman’s carry takeover, and Yang again goes for the armbar, wringing the arm, pulling Burke to the face corner and then tagging in Moore.

Yang takes Burke down with a suplex, allowing Moore to enter the ring with a slingshot summersault senton, earning him a near fall. A few rights from Moore, and then he’s tagging Yang back in, but not before he sends Burke off the ropes... Moore drops to the mat... and Yang smacks Burke with a textbook dropkick! Here’s the cover... 1... 2... Burke kicks out. Right hands back Burke to the corner, where Yang climbs to the second rope... the crowd count along as the right hands rain down... but at 7 Burke pushes Yang back down to the canvas. Yang lands on his feet, but here comes Burke... Yang ducks a clothesline, turns and charges... straight into a lifting spinning spinebuster! Burke plants Yang, and he quickly heads for his corner to tag in Brown. Now Brown goes t work, rocking Yang with high impact moves like an exploder suplex and a swinging neckbreaker, combined with pure stiff kicks and punches to the body. Yang is pummelled to the mat in the heel corner, and Burke gets the tag, lining Yang up... and then racing in... and springing up... OUTER LIMITZ ELBOW! Burke connects, and he drags Jimmy from the corner to hook the leg... 1... 2... Moore makes the save.

Burke comes close to victory again after a German suplex, before he aggressively fires Yang to the corner. Burke lines him up from across the ring, taking down his kneepads... and then charging across... ELIJAH EXPRESS... NO! Yang dives to safety, seeing Burke crash into the corner... and Yang tags in Moore! Shannon explodes into the ring, knocking Burke down and then running to knock Brown off the apron. Moore turns to level Burke with a dropkick, before he steps outside and climbs to the top rope... big crossbody! 1... 2... Brown makes the save, but here comes Yang, taking Brown down a Lou Thesz press and drilling him with right hands. Yang continues to attack, but the referee drags him away, ordering him from the ring. Yang protests, but as he does this, Moore lines Burke up... looking for a neckbreaker... but as he turns, Burke pushes him away... right into THE POUNCE!! Brown explodes into Moore from the blindside, and then he races across the ring to knock Yang off the apron, while the referee counts the 1... 2... 3.

Winners: The New Breed @ 04.17

A very confident first outing for Burke and Brown as they see off Wang Yang and Moore. Burke quickly gets back on his feet, joined by Brown, while Moore writhes on the mat in pain. Layla quickly joins them in the ring, delighted with what she’s seen, that devilish smirk back on her face as she raises her teams hands in the air to a cho... of boos before we head for a commercial.

*Commercial*


Straight back into the arena to hear…

*WHATEVER…*


A tremendous response as Chris Benoit strides to the ring, cocking his head as he goes…


Michael Cole: He’s already booked his place in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but tonight, Chris Benoit faces one of the biggest challenges of his career as he steps into the ring with ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ Umaga.

John Bradshaw Layfield: I’m a big Chris Benoit fan, I think he’s as tough as they come. But I can’t see anybody beatin’ Umaga with the kinda tear he’s on right now. I don’t think anybody can stop ‘im, includin’ The Undertaker!

Tazz: I dunno ‘bout that ‘JBL’. I ain’t seen many people in the WWE tougher than Chris Benoit. He’ll take Umaga all the way tonight, maybe even all the way to a victory. Don’t count out Benoit man…

*VIRTUAL VOODOO…*


Filthy heat as the ever menacing Umaga makes his entrance, snarling and shouting in his native tongue at the ringside fans. Armando Alejandro Estrada follows ‘Mags down the aisle, pointing and laughing at Benoit and generally promoting his client every step of the way…


Michael Cole: He has never been pinned, he has never been made to submit. Almost a year of dominance. He has ran through every obstacle put in his path, and now he has his sights set on the greatest streak in all of professional sports. He is… Umaga!

Tazz: The guy’s a freak of nature. I’ve never seen anybody so dominant, so powerful, so awe-inspirin’ as this guy. Just unbelievable.

John Bradshaw Layfield: You look at the list of people The Undertaker has faced at Wrestlemania. None of ‘em come close to this guy. I’m tellin’ ya’, that streak is history. At Wrestlemania XXIII, the streak is over.

Match 4:
Chris Benoit
vs. Umaga w/ Armando Alejandro Estrada

As the bell rings, Benoit cracks his neck and takes a few steps forward, wary of the Samoan stood across from him. Umaga is more patient, preferring to try intimidate Benoit with a series of snarls and grunts, before he too steps forward. The two tie up, only for Umaga to give us a display of his awesome raw power, as he quite easily shoves Benoit down to the mat, once more roaring to the crowd. Benoit nods his head in admittance that he lost the first contact, but he’s up and ready for another tie up. This time Benoit works in a standing waistlock, but Umaga simply clamps both wrists, showing incredible strength as he forces Benoit’s hands open. Desperate for a way to stay in control, Benoit hits a pair of headbutts to the back of the neck, and then turns ‘Mags around for a headbutt to the face… but both men feel the effects as Benoit has to shake the effects off. Benoit goes for the Irish whip, but Umaga reverses… Benoit ducks a clothesline… and rocks Umaga from behind with a German suplex! Benoit crawls into the cover… 1… Umaga quickly powers out. Benoit now starts striking with chops to the chest in the corner, but when he tries to send Umaga for the ride, Umaga reverses… and then charges in for a big splash… Benoit moves to safety… and Umaga smacks head first into the turnbuckle! Umaga is dazed, stumbling to the side of the ring, and here comes Benoit… running forearm smash knocks Umaga through the ropes to the floor!

The crowd roars it’s approval as Benoit takes control early, but as he sees Umaga get back to his feet, Benoit knows he needs to stay on the attack, coming off the ropes… suicide dive… but Umaga catches him in mid air with a shot to the throat… and then Benoit crashes hard to the floor! Umaga takes a few seconds to recover, before he yanks Benoit up, lifts him up… and drives him spine first into the ringpost! Instead of releasing Benoit, Umaga hangs on… and drives him into the steel for a second time… and then a third time… before he muscles Benoit back through the ropes. After a near fall, Umaga starts to target the surgically repaired neck of Benoit, dropping chops down on it before he goes for a nerve hold in a relatively early attempt to try and wear Benoit down. Umaga pushes down on the neck, squeezing, every now and then upping the pressure, but Benoit remains resilient, and eventually is able to fight back to his feet. Benoit drills elbows, breaking the hold, and he comes off the ropes… straight into a massive SAMOAN DROP! Umaga crawls into the lateral press… 1… 2… Benoit rolls a shoulder!

Umaga is firmly in control now, snapping headbutts to the back on Benoit’s neck, then clubbing forearms, before he rocks Benoit with a savate kick that damn near takes his head off. Another near fall follows, with Umaga once again punishing the neck with headbutts, forearms and even kicks, before he aggressively fires Benoit to the corner. Umaga stands tall in the opposite corner, bounces up in the air and attacks… but again he misses the splash! Once more Umaga takes too long, allowing Benoit to dive to safety. Benoit now goes to work, unloading with chops, but Umaga swings back… Benoit ducks… German suplex! But this time Benoit hangs on, rolling his hips, taking an age to drag Umaga up… SECOND GERMAN… NO! Umaga overpowers Benoit, backing him spine first into the corner. Umaga is still a bit dazed as he stumbles from the corner… and then he hammers Benoit with another savate kick… that knocks Benoit down in the corner! With his head in perfect position, Umaga moves quickly, bouncing off the far away ropes for momentum… SAMOAN WRECKING BALL!! Benoit’s head viciously snaps back against the bottom turnbuckle, but Umaga quickly drags him from the corner… 1… 2… NO! Somehow Benoit manages to roll his shoulder!

Estrada reacts angrily at ringside, slamming his hand off the canvas, and Umaga takes this as a sign to up the pressure, again attacking with headbutts to the neck, and then he sends Benoit off the ropes… into a swinging side slam! Benoit is planted, and Umaga comes off the ropes… diving headbutt… no! Benoit manages to roll to safety! Both men take their time returning to a vertical base, but when they do Benoit strikes first, alternating between chops to the chest and kicks to the gut… Umaga fires back with the savate kick… but this time Benoit grabs the foot… dragon screw puts Umaga down! Now Benoit looks to build some offence, grabbing both Umaga’s legs… and dropping a headbutt to the groin! Even ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ felt that one, rolling on the mat, but Benoit pushes him down for the 1… 2… Umaga kicks out. A snap legdrop follows, before Benoit helps Umaga up… and puts him right back down with a GERMAN SUPLEX! Benoit hangs on, rolling his hips… SECOND GERMAN! Again Benoit hangs on, taking forever to pull the massive Umaga up… THIRD GERMAN SUPLEX! Benoit has Umaga down… and now he’s headed for the corner! Slowly but surely, Benoit climbs to the top rope, steadying himself… but Estrada gets up on the apron and gets in his face! Benoit shouts back, and eventually he’s forced to kick Estrada back down… but it allows Umaga to flop into the ropes, causing Benoit to fall, crotching himself on the top turnbuckle!

Benoit writhes in agony, and once he’s cleared away the cobwebs, Umaga moves in, hooking Benoit’s legs under the top turnbuckle, twisting him and then letting Benoit fall into a tree of woe position. Umaga once more heads for the opposite corner. Umaga screams out, bounces and attacks… diving headbutt… no! Benoit pulls himself up in a vertical sit up… letting Umaga smack head first into the bottom turnbuckle! Umaga hits the desk hard, rolling onto his back, in perfect position as Benoit yanks himself back into position, poised on the top rope… DIVING HEADBUTT!! Benoit comes off the top rope and connects, writhing in pain on the mat, but quickly moving to hook the leg… 1… 2… NO!! What?! Incredibly, Umaga kicks out, stunning the crowd, the commentators, and most of all, Chris Benoit. Benoit slowly brings himself back up, the crowd urging him on… and then erupting as Benoit draws a thumb across his throat! Umaga makes it back to his knees… and Benoit moves in for the kill… grabbing the arm, wrapping his arms under the throat… CRIPPLER CROSSFACE!! Benoit has it locked in, Umaga’s undefeated streak is in serious jeopardy! Benoit pulls back on the neck, desperate to make Umaga submit… but somehow the beast is slowing inching towards the ropes! Using all his strength, Umaga drags both himself and Benoit ever closer to the ropes, despite Benoit’s desperate attempts to wrench on the hold, hoping to make Umaga submit. Another surge of power from Umaga… and another surge, with Estrada right there, willing Umaga to reach out. One last burst of power… and Umaga has the ropes! Benoit has thrown everything at him now, causing Tazz on commentary to cry “What the hell’s it gonna take to beat this guy?”.

Both men are tired, feeling the effects of the match, and as they get back on their feet, a punch-drunk slugfest ensues. Tired shots land from both, until Benoit stings Umaga with a chop… and another… and a third. Benoit goes for the Irish whip… but Umaga reverses… only to lower his head… DDT! Benoit plants Umaga… and the crowd erupts as he’s headed upstairs one more time! Benoit slowly climbs up top, perching himself, ready to fly… DIVING HEADBUTT… NO! Umaga rolls to safety, and Benoit crashes to the mat! Suddenly Umaga has a burst of power, as he waits for Benoit to rise… SAMOAN DROP! Umaga plants Benoit, but he’s not done yet, as he drags Benoit to the corner, lays him parallel to the ropes, and then heads for the opposite side… yells in his native tongue… and races across… to step over Benoit, springboard off the ropes… RUNNING UMAGABOMB!! Umaga absolutely c...hes Benoit, not even bothering to hook the legs as the referee counts 1… 2… 3.

Winner: Umaga @ 11.19

An incredible performance from Benoit as he gives Umaga perhaps his toughest test to date, but once again, ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ is victorious. ‘Mags is a little slow in getting back up, showing us all exactly what kind of match he’s just been in, but he’s soon back up, snatching his hand away from the referee as he tries to raise it. Estrada is in the ring, applauding his monster, before he raises Umaga’s arm in triumph. Umaga still has his eyes set on Benoit though, menacingly snarling at the man he’s just beaten…


Michael Cole: What an unbelievable effort from Chris Benoit. Benoit pushed Umaga all the way, perhaps further than anybody ever has before.

John Bradshaw Layfield: Yeah, but I think we all learned somethin’ about Umaga tonight. It was gut-check time for ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ and he came through it. He found that lil’ somethin’ extra to put Benoit away.

Tazz: That’s a great point. Benoit had Umaga on the ropes, but Umaga took it, and managed to dig deep and find what he needed to get the job done. And that’s bad news for The Under-

Michael Cole: Oh c’mon now! There’s no need for this…

The reason for Cole’s outcry is that Umaga has dragged the tired and broken Benoit back to his feet, just as Estrada takes a cigar from his top pocket… and SNAPS IT IN HALF! The crowd gasps as Umaga hold Benoit in his left arm… and draws back his right hand… and cocks his thumb… Samoan Spi-

*GONG*


THE ARENA IS PLUNGED INTO TOTAL DARKNESS!!


A rapturous mix of confusion and anticipation grips the audience, the entire arena buzzing…

*GONG*


The lights come back on… AND THE UNDERTAKER IS IN THE RING!


‘The Deadman’ is stood behind Umaga, who doesn’t realise it yet… but he turns around… right into a massive right hand! The Undertaker rocks Umaga with a flurry of right and left hands… but for each blow ‘Taker lands… Umaga fires right back! Despite just being involved in a gruelling match with Benoit, Umaga is going toe-to-toe with ‘The Phenom’. Undertaker rears back… and lands a big right hand… and then another… and a third in a row has ‘Mags staggering. Undertaker comes off the ropes… Umaga misses with a clothesline… and ‘Taker keeps on running… FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Undertaker finally puts Umaga down, sending ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ rolling under the bottom rope to the outside. Furious, Umaga slaps the steel steps, and then looks to slide back into the ring, but Estrada manages to corral his savage, whispering into Umaga’s ear that this is one fight they should walk away from. Umaga again tries to get in the ring, but Estrada again somehow manages to put the breaks on, slowly but surely managing to get Umaga to back away from the ring...


Michael Cole: Is tonight the first sign of weakness in Umaga? Has The Undertaker shown that-

John Bradshaw Layfield: Are you kiddin’ me, Michael?! Umaga just won a hellacious match with Benoit, and that damn coward The Undertaker had to sneak in from behind to attack ‘im! What a damn phoney The Undertaker is! He’s nothin’ but a coward, a fraud even!

Tazz: You better calm down of he’ll be after you next…

John Bradshaw Layfield: I don’t give a damn if he does! I keep a flashlight on me at all times, I’d see that son’ bitch comin’ a mile away! He ain’t got nothin’! And lemme tell ya’, come Wrestlemania, the lights are gonna be on, ain’t nothin’ gonna bump in the night, and The Undertaker is goin’ down! I promise ya’ that! He’s runnin’ scared of Umaga, the whole damn world can see it ‘part from you two morons!

Undertaker stands by the rolpes, watching Umaga leave, an evil look on his face, while on the aisle, Estrada is still speaking to Umaga, still encouraging him to head to the back as the two slowly back away, Umaga’s eyes still trained on the ring. Undertaker then heads for the centre of the ring, dropping to a knee, rolling his eyes to the back of his head and holding his hand to the sky, the arena once again bathed in darkness as we cut to a commercial.

*Commercial*


When we return, Kristal Marshall is standing by, ready for an interview…


Kristal Marshall: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time… he is ‘The Rated-R Superstar’… Edge!

Good amount of boos as Edge steps into the picture, a particularly angry look on his face. Dressed in street clothes, Edge isn’t ready to compete tonight, but he wears the look of a man dying to take his f...trations out on someone…

Kristal Marshall: Edge, last week you said that there was no way you were scared of-

Edge: Yeah, uh huh, that’s right, I said I’m not scared of Batista. That’s what I said, wasn’t it?

Concerned, Kristal just nods her head in agreement…

Edge: That’s what I said, but yet this week… nobody believe it. What about you Kristal? Do you believe me when I say I’m not afraid of Batista? Huh? Do ya’?

Kristal Marshall: Um… well, maybe… I mean…

Edge: WRONG!

Edge gets right in Marshall’s face, causing her to snap back in fear…

Edge; Y’know, all day today, I’ve heard nothin’ but whispers about me. I walk down the corridor and I see two nobodies standin’ there watchin’ me, lookin’ at me, pointin’ at me, “Hey, there’s Edge. I think he’s afraid of Batista” “Oh definitely” “Yeah, Batista’s gonna kick his ass at Wrestlemania” “Oh yeah I know, I can’t-“ WRONG! WRONG! YOU’RE ALL WRONG!

Kristal squeals in fear as Edge franticly runs his hands through his hair, looking like a man possessed…

Edge: Y’wanna know why I didn’t hit Batista with that chair last week!? ‘Cause I wanna be inside his head! I want him to know that I can strike at any moment, I want him lookin’ over his shoulder for me. I want him… to be afraid… of me.

Now Edge flashes a sick smile…

Edge: But, since it appears my little plan backfired last week… perhaps I’ll need to go one step further tonight. Perhaps I’ll need to send Batista a message, to show him, you, and the world once and for all… that I’m not afraid… of anybody.

Edge takes one last, long look at Kristal, the interviewer very intimidated by this point, before Edge runs his hands through his hair one last time and finally leaves, Kristal a nervous wreck as she watches him go.

And it’s off to the communal locker room we now head, to see the WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans packing their gear into their bags. Paul London is already fully changed into his street clothes, while Brian Kendrick throws on a t-shirt and then tosses a wrestling boot into his bag. Ashley Massaro soon enters the room, all smiles after another victory for her team earlier tonight…


Ashley Massaro: Guys, I just wanna say, that was a great win tonight.

London and Kendrick smile and nod their agreement…

Ashley Massaro: And I know you guys are gonna kick ass at Wrestlemania. We’ll show Benjamin and Haas who the world’s greatest tag team is.

Brian Kendrick: Y’know what? I say we don’t wait for Wrestlemania. I think I oughta challenge one of ‘em to a match this Monday night.

Paul London: Alright man, I like that. And I tell ya’ what. Whichever one you don’t challenge for a match on Raw, I’m gonna challenge to a match next week on Smackdown.

A solid pop from inside the arena at the prospect of those two matches…

Ashley Massaro: And that’s why you two have been champions for so long.

???: Oh I don’t think that’s right…

All eyes snap towards the door, and the camera follows to show The New Breed are stood in the doorway. Layla confidently leads her team into the room, with Elijah Burke and Monty Brown not far behind, the two Smackdown newcomers standing across from London and Kendrick…

Layla: What was it Shelton Benjamin said earlier? That you’ve never really had a challenge since you became champions?

Ashley glares at Layla angrily…


Layla: Well don’t worry, we’re here now.

Elijah Burke: You boys might’ve had no competition… but we’ll give ya’ all the competition you can handle.

London and Kendrick take a step forward…


Elijah Burke: Enjoy Wrestlemania. And keep those titles warm for us… we’ll be comin’ for ‘em soon enough.

Layla smirks at Ashley before she turns and leaves, Burke following, while the intimidating Brown menacingly stares at London just that little bit longer, then glares at Kendrick, but before he too finally leaves the room. The camera now focuses on the champion, who breathe heavily, stern looks on their faces as they realise a showdown with The New Breed could be in their future.

Back into the arena for…

”MY NAME IS FINLAY… AND I LOVE TO FIGHT…”

*LAMBEG…*


The United States Champion Finlay steps out to a large cho... of boos, the veteran Irishman looking as confident as ever as he heads down the aisle, threatening the odd fan with his t...ty shillelagh before he heads for the ring…


Michael Cole: He’s one of the toughest men to ever cross the pond. He’s now the United States Champion. Finlay, the man who loves to fight, is set for tag team action against the man he’ll defend the gold against at Wrestlemania, Matt Hardy.

Tazz: Oh no doubts. One tough, nasty S.O.B., who can mix it with the best of ‘em. But last week, he got a lil’ bit f...trate after he watched Matt Hardy pick up a win over Test. Finlay started tearin’ up the joint backstage.

John Bradshaw Layfield: But it’s that kinda anger, that kinda aggression, that kinda passion that for my money, Matt Hardy lacks. I’ve yet to see a real fire in the belly of the Number One Contender, and that’s why I think this man Finlay walks into Wrestlemania the same he’s gonna walk out, as United States Champion.

”LISTEN…”

*IT’S TIME…*


And here comes his partner, the Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms, who wears a mean scowl on his face as he quickly strides down the aisle…


Michael Cole: Folks, we’ve got to take a commercial. But join us when we return, it’s Finlay and Gregory Helms against Matt Hardy and Bryan Danielson, when we return to Friday Night Smackdown!

*Commercial*


When we snap back into the arena, Bryan Danielson is already at the bottom of the aisle, his music still ringing until it comes to a conclusion. Helms taunts Danielson, waving him into the ring and a two on one situation, but Danielson plays it cool, staying on the outside as he waits for…

“OH YEAH…”

*LIVE FOR THE MOMENT…*


A fantastic pop breaks out as Matt Hardy bounces into the arena, firing up the crowd. Hardy pauses under the Smackdown fist to pop his “V1” hand signal, before he heads down the aisle to join up with Danielson…


Michael Cole: Welcome back everybody. There is the man who in sixteen days time is faced with the biggest opportunity of his career. Matt Hardy has never been thought of as a guy who could make it on his own. But he has been on fire during 2007. Can he keep this impressive run goin’ all the way to Wrestlemania?

Tazz: In sixteen days time, it’s make or break for Matt Hardy. He’s never had a chance this big, he might never get one like it again, and it’s ‘cause of that, that I really think Matt’s gonna do it. I think he’ll keep turnin’ in great performances, and I think he’ll give us another one at Wrestlemania XXIII.

John Bradshaw Layfield: An’ I think he’ll choke under the pressure. But lemme ask a quick question about this Bryan Danielson guy. Has anybody ever heard this guy speak? I mean seriously, not one word outta the guy. What’s the deal with that?

Tazz: He’s goin’ for that kinda ‘silent rage’ idea. Y’know, let your actions in the ring do the talkin’ for ya’. I used to be a bit like that myself back in the day.

John Bradshaw Layfield: I wish you’d go back to bein’ like that. Then we wouldn’t have to listen to your terrible commentary…

Match 5: Tag Team Match
United States Champion Finlay and Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms vs. Matt Hardy and Bryan Danielson

Finlay and Danielson are the two men to kick this one off, the pair tying up with an aggressive collar and elbow tie up. Finlay grabs the wrist and wrenches on it, but Danielson quickly reverses this into a hammerlock. Finlay twists this into a hammerlock of his own, but Danielson does a nice forward roll, back on his feet, turning Finlay inside out and then down to the mat with an armdrag. Danielson doesn’t pounce though, a certain level of respect between he and Finlay on display as both men return to their feet to tie up again. This time Finlay takes Danielson down with a headlock takedown, but Bryan quickly counters this with a headscissors. Finlay then works this into a pinning predicament, but Danielson is able to bridge out, both men back on their feet… and Bryan goes for a backslide… 1… 2… Finlay kicks out, right back onto his feet… to deliver a stiff slap to the face! All respect goes out the window as Finlay, irritated by the way Danielson had outmanoeuvred him so far, cracks Danielson across the jaw. Bryan clutches his face, and then angrily charges at Finlay, but the crafty veteran heads for the heel corner and dips his head through the ropes, flashing that toothy smirk as he knows he’s gotten into Bryan’s head. The referee ushers Danielson back to the middle of the ring, with the two tying up for a third time, and Finlay gets Bryan in a standing side headlock. Bryan shoots Finlay into the ropes… avoids him with a leapfrog… then sends him flying with a monkey flip!

Finlay crashes into the ropes, and Danielson goes on the attack, scoring with a pair of flying forearm smashes, before he fires Finlay off the ropes… into a leg lariat! 1… 2… Finlay kicks out, but Danielson immediately drags him to the face corner to tag in Hardy. Danielson twists Finlay’s arm, allowing Matt to come off the second rope with a double axe handle, with Hardy continuing the focus on the arm by repeatedly drilling the point of the elbow into it, before he winds it up and puts Finlay down with a shoulderbreaker. After a near fall, Hardy takes Finlay down with a ...sian legsweep, and then tags Danielson back into the match. Bryan waits on the apron for Finlay to rise, entering the ring with a springboard forearm smash, and he follows this with a string of kicks to the back and body. A few knees to the face connects, before Danielson goes for the Irish whip… Finlay reverses… and Helms drills Bryan with a knee to the spine! Bryan stops… then sends Helms flying off the apron with a big forearm… only for Finlay to level him with a stiff clothesline! Finlay shakes away the cobwebs, before he starts laying in with boots to the chest, and then tags in Helms.

Helms enters and viciously lays in with stomps to the chest, before he pulls Danielson up and drops him with a falling neckbreaker for a near fall. More boots to the chest follow, until Helms presses his foot into Danielson’s throat against the ropes, choking his Wrestlemania opponent, taking every second of the ref’s 5 count before he relents. The heels now start making plenty of quick tags, as Helms rocks Bryan with a neckbreaker into backbreaker, and Finlay gets a near fall from a running senton. Finlay is still in the ring, and he drives his shoulder into Bryan’s midsection against the corner, before he goes for the Irish whip and follows in... Bryan gets a boot up to the face. Finlay staggers back, and Danielson charges from the corner... into a big clothesline! Finlay rattles Danielson, then drops down to hook the leg... 1... 2... Danielson kicks out. More quick tags, with Helms coming close to victory after a northern lights suplex, while Finlay gets a near fall from the rolling hills. Finlay has a rear chinlock locked on tight, but Danielson manages to fight back to his feet, striking with elbows to the side of the head to break the hold. Danielson charges off the ropes... right into a sleeper! Finlay catches Bryan in the middle of the ring, and despite his best efforts to fight it, Danielson eventually begins to fade.

Finlay manages to force Danielson down to a seated position, and it looks like Bryan is about to pass out... but the crowd start to rally, and Hardy encourages his partner, leading to Danielson to start pumping his fist. Danielson manages to struggle back to his feet, but Finlay hangs on... elbows to the midsection break the hold... but Finlay pushes Bryan off the ropes... Finlay misses with the clothesline... Danielson connects with the dragon suplex! Both men are down, but now they crawl for their corners... here comes Helms... here comes Hardy! Matt bursts into the ring and starts unloading with right hands, but Helms swings... and misses wildly... SIDE EFFECT! Matt hooks the leg... 1... 2... Finlay makes the save... but here comes Danielson... clothesline takes both men over the top rope to the floor! Danielson and Finlay have a rough landing, but in the ring Hardy tags Helms with right hands, sending him to the corner and following in... Helms gets the boot up. Helms quickly pushes himself onto the second rope... but Hardy yanks him down to the mat! Hardy moves quickly, climbing to the top rope... MOONSAULT... NO! Helms rolls to safety, seeing Matt crash to the mat, and now Helms waits for Matt to get to his knees... SHINNING WIZARD... NO! Matt drops down to his face, avoiding the contact. Helms grabs the back of his head, stumbling to his feet... kick... TWIST OF FATE!! Hardy plants Helms, and crawls into the lateral press... 1... 2... 3!

Winners: Matt Hardy and Bryan Danielson @ 08.32

Hardy gets the win for his team, pinning his long-time adversary Helms, sending a big message to Finlay in the process. Finlay is already walking up the ramp, angry at the defeat, while in the ring Hardy and Danielson celebrate together, with Danielson raising Matt’s hand in the air to a good cheer from the crowd before we fade into a video…


*Video Package*

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*


We now see an image of the announce team, all three smiling at the prospect of Wrestlemania XXIII…

Michael Cole; Boy, Wrestlemania XXIII is gonna be an unbelievable night. We’re gonna be there, we hope you’ll all join us on the night, and of course, the World Heavyweight Champion Batista is gonna be there, defending his title against Edge.

Tazz: ‘The Animal’ and ‘The Rated-R Superstar’, it don’t get much better than that.

John Bradshaw Layfield: And this is Edge’s year to shine. He’s the 2007 Royal Rumble Winner, he’s the man who can finally take that title away from Batista. I’m goin’ with Edge to finally end all these vicious rumours about ‘im bein’ scared of Batista.

Michael Cole: And what about the famous Wrestlemania undefeated streak of The Undertaker? The streak stands at 14-0, can The Undertaker run it to 15 against ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’ Umaga.

John Bradshaw Layfield: What you forget to mention Michael is that Umaga is undefeated for his entire career. He’s never been pinned, never had to submit, he is a human wreckin’ machine and he can’t be stopped! For all The Undertaker likes to intimidate hi s opponents with his mind games, Umaga ain’t here to play games. He’s here to kick ass and end the most famous streak in professional sports, and I think he’s gonna do it.

Tazz: Streak versus streak baby! One of ‘em’s comin’ to an end at Wrestlemania. And I just can’t imagine The Undertaker ever losin’ at Wrestlemania, and that’s why I’m goin’ with ‘The Deadman’.

Michael Cole; And what about the match some are calling ‘Past versus Future’. Ric Flair and Mr. Kennedy have engaged in a bitter-

Cole is cut off by the crackling sound of static taking over, the screen soon following as the picture becomes woozy…

Michael Cole: What the…?

The commentators don’t have a clue what’s going on as the sound and picture continue to buzz from the static, with the image of the announce trio becoming fainter and fainter…

Tazz: What the hell’s goin’ on?

Michael Cole: Uh, folks, we apologise, we appear to be havin’ some technical difficulties and-

Nothing. Nothing but a black screen and no sound… until the crackle of static once again takes over… and we finally have footage from what appears to be a handheld home video camera. The screen is shaky, the sound poor, but eventually it settles down and we see Mr. Kennedy sat in a darkened room, the light from the camera the only thing illuminating the shot. Kennedy sits in a chair, bottle of water in his hand, but instead of looking into the lens, his attention is to whomever is holding the camera…

Mr. Kennedy: Is it – Is it on?

???: Yeah. Yeah it’s on.

Kennedy now looks into the camera, composing himself for a second before he gives a very fake, sarcastic smile…

Mr. Kennedy: Listen uh, I’m gonna make this quick. Y’see, last week didn’t exactly go as I wanted it to. I mean, Ric Flair comes onto my show, calls me out… and then that old, wrinkled sunnova bitch slaps me in the face.

Kennedy seethes with anger…

Mr. Kennedy; He tried to embarrass me last week. But I got him back, oh yeah. I got him back when I smashed my microphone off his skull, bustin’ him wide open.

Kennedy smiles as he remembers that moment…

Mr. Kennedy: But then at the end of the night, his big buddy, Big Dave! Dave Batista, he once again stuck his nose where it didn’t belong. Y’know…

Kennedy laughs to himself, almost a laugh or you’ll cry moment for him…

Mr. Kennedy; I am SICK AND TIRED of people stickin’ their nose in my business! It – it really needs to stop Ric. It really needs to stop… and I have the perfect way to make you understand that.

An evil grin crosses Kennedy’s face…

Mr. Kennedy; Now, it’s…

Kennedy over exaggerates a wince as he looks at his watch…

Mr. Kennedy: Ah, it’s already pretty late on Friday night. Chances of getting’ outta this hellhole in Trenton are gonna be pretty slim right now. But don’t worry Ric, I’ll find a way. I owe you Ric… and I got somethin’ BIG lined up for you for this Monday night on Raw.

Kennedy again over exaggerates, this time biting his fist in excitement…

Mr. Kennedy: So me and this camera guy… did I – did I tell them your name?

???: No, you-

Mr. Kennedy; Meh, it's not important right now. They can find out who you are on Monday night. Anyway, me and this camera guy are gonna hit the road pretty soon, and we’ll get to where we’re goin’ in plenty o’ time Ric. And I’ll have another one of these videos for ya’ to watch. And believe me Ric… you won’t wanna miss the next episode.

And once again Kennedy has an evil look at the camera, pausing for a few seconds before snapping out of it…

Mr. Kennedy: OK, cut it.


And it’s back to more static, the screen scrambled and no sound, until after five seconds or so we finally head back into the arena to see the stunned and confused faces of the announce team…


Michael Cole: What on… earth was that?

Tazz: Uh… well… I guess that was a little message for us all from Mr. Kennedy, directed at Ric Flair.

Michael Cole: Kennedy said he had somethin’ big lined up for Flair for this Monday night on Raw. What could that be?

John Bradshaw Layfield: What the hell ya’ lookin’ at me for? I don’t know!

Tazz: Just gonna have to tune in find out I guess…

*DEAD WHITE GUYS…*


The confusion comes to an end as out comes King Booker for the second time this evening, a furious scowl on his face, no doubt as a result of him being chokeslammed earlier by Kane. Queen Sharmell is of course by Booker’s side, giving her King a curtsy before the pair walk hand in hand to the ring…


Michael Cole: Well we’re gonna have to put Mr. Kennedy to one side just now, as it’s time for our main event. King Booker takes on the World Heavyweight Champion Batista when we return to Friday Night Smackdown!

*Commercial*


When we return…

*I WALK ALONE…*


The arena erupts with the biggest pop of the broadcast as the World Heavyweight Champion Batista races out from the back. Crouching below the Smackdown first, ‘The Animal’ fires off a massive pyro display, before he roars to the crowd and makes his way down the aisle…


Michael Cole: This is Friday Night Smackdown! He is the World Heavyweight Champion. He is ‘The Animal’, Batista! And at Wrestlemania XXIII, he puts his title on the line against Edge. But tonight, King Booker is the man in Batista’s sights!

John Bradshaw Layfield; I can’t hear a damn thing!

Tazz: This place is goin’ nuts for ‘The Animal’!

Michael Cole: But what about what Batista said earlier? He said he wasn’t gonna be intimidated or scared by Edge’s mind games, he wasn’t gonna be lookin’ over his shoulder. Batista isn’t scared of Edge, but perhaps he should be after what Edge has to say earlier/

Tazz: I don’t think he oughta be scared, but at the same time, he’s gotta have his wits about ‘im. Edge can be pretty sneaky when he wants to be, and he can strike at any minute.

John Bradshaw Layfield: The fact your even askin’ that question proves I was right. If your thinkin’ it, you can be damn sure Batista’s thinkin’ it! Edge has done what he set out to achieve last week, he’s in Batista’s head! Look for King Booker to try take advantage of that right here…

Main Event: Non Title Match
World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs King Booker w/ Queen Sharmell

Still with that scowl on his face, Booker is eager for the tie up, the two jockeying for position. Batista wins the show of strength as he drives Booker to the corner, prompting the referee to step in and call for the break, which Batista provides… only to then start driving his shoulder repeatedly into Booker’s midsection. After four turnbuckle th...ts, Booker is sent for the ride, hitting the opposite turnbuckle hard… and staggering into a huge back body drop! A series of clotheslines continually knock Booker back down, before Batista goes for the Irish whip off the ropes… into a massive spinebuster! Batista hooks the leg… 1… 2... Booker kicks out. Batista is in control early on, and he rocks Booker with a string of right hands against the corner, before a big Irish whip sends Booker crashing into the opposite corner. Booker grabs his back as he stumbles out, with Batista lining him up… SPEAR… NO! Booker wisely drops to the mat and then rolls under the bottom rope, dropping to his knees in pain as he tries to recover from the early onslaught of the champion. Sharmell is over to check on her man, but Batista doesn’t bother to wait, as he climbs through the ropes and grabs Booker from behind, smashing him face first off the canvas. Angry at seeing her man being dominated in this fashion, Sharmell gets in the face of the champion, no hint of a regal accent whatsoever as she cusses out Batista. Batista tells her to “Get outta here!”, but the distraction proves enough for Booker to pick himself off his knees and drive Batista spine first into the barricade!

Booker finally has a chance to mount some offence, and he starts by hammering Dave with well placed fists to the forehead. Booker then drags Batista towards the steel steps, looking to smash Batista’s face off them… Batista puts on the breaks… and it’s Booker who tastes the steel! Booker flops to the floor, with Batista quickly regaining the advantage as he walks Booker rover to the announce desk… face first off that too! The referee calls for the match to return to the ring, and finally Batista rolls Booker under the bottom rope, hooking the leg for a near fall. Batista stays on the attack, connecting on more right hands, before a vertical suplex gets him another 2 count. Booker scrambles for the corner, trying to clear his head, but Batista is right back on him, raining down with right hands before he sends Booker across and follows in… but Booker uses the ropes to elevated himself over the on...hing champion… no! Batista catches Booker on his shoulder… RUNNING POWERSLAM… NO! Booker kicks and pushes himself free, landing on the mat. Batista keeps on running, put he puts on the breaks just before the corner, turning back to the middle of the ring… HARLEM SIDEKICK! Booker catches Batista flush in the face, but he’s too beat up to take advantage straight away, but as we fade into commercial, the champion is down, while ‘The King’ seems to be on the verge of a comeback.

*Commercial*


And when we return, Booker has Batista locked into a grounded reverses chinlock, but the crowd is already making noise in an attempt to spur Batista back to his feet. The champion responds, muscling back to a vertical base… elbows to the midsection break the hold, and Batista forces Booker off the ropes… Booker ducks a clothesline… and takes Batista down with a ...sian legsweep! Booker hooks the leg… 1… 2… Batista kicks out! Booker now starts to put a string of offence together, and he starts to target the back of the champion, starting by dropping knees to the small of the back. Elbows then start to land across the spine, before Booker drags Batista up and fires him hard to the corner. In the corner, Booker turns Batista so he’s facing the turnbuckle, leaving the champion exposed as Booker starts by hitting forearms to the small of the back and then repeatedly drives his shoulder to the same point. Batista is then dragged to the ropes, where Booker yanks his head through the middle, pulls back on his chin and drives a knee into the spine, applying all kinds off pressure to the back. The referee calls for the break, but Booker pushes it to the limit before he finally relents. An impressive feat of strength sees Booker take Batista up and down with a backbreaker, before he drags the champion to his feet and locks on an abdominal stretch.

Booker ramps up the pressure, wrenching the hold on tight, every now and then reaching out to grab the top rope to further the pain. Batista grimaces, and with the crowd encouraging him, he tries to gain some leverage… and eventually breaks free with a hiptoss! The damage is done though as Batista limps to grab Booker, pushing him to the corner for a trio of turnbuckle th...ts, and then an Irish whip sends Booker across, but Batista is slow to follow in… and he runs into a boot to the face. Batista stumbles back and lowers his head… so Booker leaps from the second rope with a sunset flip! 1… 2… Batista kicks out, but before he can get back on his feet, Booker pounces, dropping a double axe handle across the back. Booker drives a few more knees, before he rolls Batista over, mounts him and starts laying in with right hands. Booker now sense that he has to further weaken ‘The Animal’, so he starts by hooking Batista up, repeatedly driving his knee into Batista’s skull. Booker shoves Batista to the corner, unloading with chops to the chest, before he pulls the champion to the middle and sends him across… but Booker lowers his head… and Batista delivers a kick to the chest! Booker’s head snaps up, and Batista charges off the ropes… but Booker counters with a terrific snap powerslam! 1… 2… NO! Batista rolls the shoulder, much to Booker’s annoyance.

Booker now moves quickly to grab Batista’s feet, sitting back and locking on a Boston crab. Booker leans all the way back, even going as far as to drive a knee into Batista’s back, increasing the pain and pressure on the spine. Booker wrenches back on the legs, causing Batista to cry out in pain, a long way away from the safety of the ropes. Booker roars to the crowd, doing his best to anchor himself to the spot, but Batista has pushed himself onto his elbows, and it slowly crawling for the ropes. Booker desperately tries to sit into the hold, hoping to force Batista down, but ‘The Animal’ shows huge strength to drag both men ever closer. Booker sits in, wrenching back, but Batista has another surge… and reaches out to grab the ropes! The crowd cheers as ‘The Animal’ makes it to safety, but Booker is reluctant to break the hold, going to and beyond the 5 count of the referee, pushing very close to a DQ before he finally releases. Booker reacts angrily to the referee, but he soon turns his attentions back to Batista, snapping off a few boots to the chest before he sends Batista to the corner and charges in… into a boot to the face! Booker stumbles back, but he charges again… another boot to the face… and Batista explodes out of the corner with a clothesline!

Both men are down, and the referee is counting, making it to 5 before any signs of life appear. Booker is back up first, while Batista has to use the ropes to pull himself up. Booker strikes first with a right hand, but when he tries to send Batista to the corner, ‘The Animal’ reverses… and follows in for a corner clothesline! Booker stumbles from the corner… into a sidewalk slam! 1… 2… Booker kicks out. ‘The Animal’ now looks to take control, snapping off big right hands and then firing Booker off the ropes… big back body drop! Booker is all over the place, stumbling to the corner, where Batista lands a few turnbuckle th...ts and then fires Booker across and races after him… Booker uses the ropes to elevate himself clear… but once more Batista catches him on his shoulder… RUNNING POWERSLAM! 1… 2… NO! Booker barely rolls his shoulder, but now ‘The Animal’ has all the momentum, and he again catches Booker with right hands, firing him off the ropes… Booker ducks a clothesline… kick to the midsection, and Batista lowers his head, so Booker bounces off the ropes… SCISSOR KICK… NO! Batista springs up… MASSIVE SPINEBUSTER! Batista explodes back to his feet, shaking the ropes, building the crowd into a frenzy, before he points his thumbs up… thumbs down! Booker is barely able to stand as he stumbles back to his feet… and Batista synchs him in… and then up… for the BATISTA BOMB!!! Batista emphatically plants Booker to the mat and crawls into the pinfall.. 1… 2… 3!

Winner : Batista @ 13.21

Batista gets the win, giving him a boost of momentum and keeping him ticking over as we head towards Wrestlemania. ‘The Animal’ rolls off of Booker and then clambers back to his feet, but he briefly leans against the ropes to grab a few seconds of recovery. In pain, Booker rolls from the ring, only to be shouted at by Sharmell for the loss. Batista is handed his title, and he starts his celebration by climbing to the second rope, raising the belt high in the air…


???: Hey! Hey Dave!

All eyes turn to the tron, and the boos quickly ring out as we see Edge smiling broadly…

Edge: Dave! Hey, congrats big guy. Another great victory. But uh, you and me… we need to have a little chat. Y’see, from what I’ve been hearin’, you’ve been talkin’ a lotta smack about me lately, especially tonight. Y’say I’m scared, y’say I run my mouth and don’t back it up, y’say I’m not in your head. Well y’know somethin’ Dave? I don’t exactly like to hear that kinda stuff bein’ said about me.

Batista now drops down to the mat, standing by the ropes as he looks up at the screen…


Edge: So what I think should happen Dave, is that me and you need to have a discussion about this. Or more like, I’m gonna talk, and you’re gonna stand there and listen.

Batista laughs and shakes his head…

Edge: Alright. Number one… aw, screw this. I’m just gonna come down to that ring and I’m gonna say all this to your face! Hey Dave…

Suddenly a commotion is heard from the crowd…


Edge: Turn around.

Confused, Batista turns…

BANG!!

Right into a steel chair shot… from EDGE!!

It was a set up! Edge had come through the crowd, and just like last week he was stood behind Batista with a chair in his hand… only this week he’s caved Batista’s skull in!! It was with a thickening thud that steel met flesh, a thud that instantly busted Batista open! ‘The Animal’ is glassy eyed, blood streaming down his face, but he somehow manages to make it back to a knee… A SECOND CHAIR SHOT PUTS HIM BACK DOWN!

The crowd is fucking livid, giving Edge a ridiculous amount of heat for his actions. ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ clearly isn’t finished though, as he takes the chair, lifts Batista’s bloody skull off the canvas, and slides the chair under his head!

“Oh for God’s sake, no! Not this!”

Edge then jumps out of the ring, shoves Tony Chimel aside, grabs his chair and slides back in under the ring…

“C’mon man, don’t do this! You’ll freakin’ kill ‘im!”


Edge stands tall… draws the chair in the air… and strikes…

ONE MAN CON-CHAIR-TO!!!

Edge damn near kills Batista with a vile chair shot to the skull! ‘The Animal’ is out, not moving an inch, his body prone on the mat as Edge stands over him…


Michael Cole: Jesus Christ! What the hell is wrong with this maniac !?

Tazz: God, we – we need help out here!

John Bradshaw Layfield: Haha! What a statement! Edge has just taken out Batista! Who’s scared now?! Haha, I love it!

The crowd continue to boo loudly, hammering Edge with heat, while ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ simply raises the steel chair in the air in some kind of celebration, drawing even more heat. The challenger is standing tall, while the champion is down and out in a pool of his own blood, with nothing heard but the sound of boos as we fade… to… black.

*End Show*




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
Special Guest Referee: ???


Streak vs. Streak:
'The Phenom' The Undertaker vs. 'The Samoan Bulldozer' Umaga

Past vs. Future:
'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy

United States Championship Match:
United States Champion Finlay vs. Matt Hardy

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Carlito

Tag Team Showcase Match: Champions vs. Champions
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans

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:

Chris Benoit vs. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Kane vs. King Booker vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Randy Orton

cp954 09-12-2011 01:15 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
Smackdown feedback


Liked the opening little video here, really adds a bit of emphasis on the whole storyline now of Edge running scared from Batista, good stuff.

Starting things off with a title match is always a great way to kick off and this was no different. Nice exchange here between the two teams and a Hooliganz win was always on the cards, right call. Didn’t make the challengers look bad either.

About time we got going with the build for this match. Glad to see Benjamin and Haas make the trip over to Smackdown although I wasn’t crazy about what Benjamin had to say. Mainly the way he said it. I think he sounded a little too gangsta here if you know what I mean, maybe I missed that phase of Shelton? I can’t imagine him saying these kinda things it that way, such as yo’ instead of your and we instead of we’re. Glad the match is on now though and that’s the main thing.

This promo was a million times better and King Booker was down to a tee. His switching accents was priceless here, loved it. I did like the little argument between the two about the briefcase, shows that there is gonna be no alliances come Mania. Mystery man tonight should be interesting.

Miz’s little promo was decent and you’re doing a good job slowly building him up to be respectable. Kane as the mystery man wasn’t a total out the blue shocker and makes sense and it was a much more competitive match than I expected which is a good thing so I applaud you on that. Kane winning was the right call though. MVP and Booker sinking their claws in was nice to see, taking out the competition but the double choke slam was also a nice turn as it certainly leaves people believing that the Big Red Machine has a chance at Mania.

Nice interview with Batista here. Solid as can be with him and the mind games element was played up well.

Decent stuff with the F.B.I and Extremists here. Hopefully next week it comes to an end though.

This was very good stuff and I like having Layla bringing these guys on board, she’ll work well for them I think. Burke and Brown are definitely capable of being a big threat in the tag division and it was a nice debut win for them here. Hopefully they build further from this.

Very good contest between Benoit and Umaga here. You made Benoit look very strong and he certainly pushed Mags all the way. Umaga comes out looking great also and heading into Mania with a big win under his belt. Aftermath was alright, had to see Taker appear at some point and him getting the upper hand was a nice relief almost from Umaga dominating everyone, every week. JBL’s commentary was gold also.

Solid interview with Edge here. You get his anger across well and how adamant he is that he’s not afraid, bordering on psychotic. Good stuff.

This was another nice exchange here between the champs and the new boys and a feud between the two teams would be great. Burke and Brown are definite, legitimate threats to these two and after Mania should see some decent stuff.

Standard tag match here and a nice win for Hardy and Danielson building towards Wrestlemania.

Kennedy video was one of the main highlights/talking points of the show and I really enjoyed this. The way he was so angry about people sticking their nose in was nicely done and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Raw. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s something personal to do with Flair.

Good action in the main event, story of the night with some good match ups right the way through. Batista getting the win was the right call and Booker put up a strong fight. The end of the match was the main talking point and it was great writing from you here. The mind games element played up perfectly here whilst keeping up the theme of Edge being scared as he’s doing it from behind. Great stuff and it also linked back well to the line earlier from Batista about looking over his shoulder, perfectly played by Edge here, great ending.

Overall another fine effort of a show here imac. The build to Mania is going very well and the Smackdown side of things, especially the main event picked up well tonight. Edge/Batista was done perfectly tonight and I’m excited to see what they do next week. Kennedy’s surprise for Raw should be a good one and the MITB line up/alliances are looking all the more intriguing. Glad to see the tag match all sorted now also. Good show as ever, keep it up.

LegendofBaseball 09-12-2011 08:21 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
Friday Night SmackDown!
March 16th, 2007

This is maybe my first review in a while or ever, but I've been browsing through this thread for a while now. So here goes.

SEGMENT 1
We're jumped immediately into what kind of mind frame Edge will be for the night's show and how the mood is going to be like backstage for anyone that encouters Edge. All in great detail like always.

MATCH 1 - HOOLIGANS Vs BLUE BLOODS
A great matchup to start off this show. I kept on browsing your BTB for all this time because you had a healthy and well put together tag team division. The Hooligans grab a great victory and we get a great match for WrestleMania out of it all, a dream match of sorts. It should be tremendous come Detroit.

SEGMENT 2+3
I didn't see the actual link between the WrestleMania recall and Flair or the Undertaker during the show but, it's still one of the best outings of either one of these men during their respective careers. I really enjoyed Booker & MVP's interaction with one another, although a odd pairing at first, I can see it keeping itself strong but always with a bit of resentment on both men's part concerning who's taking orders from who.

MATCH 2 - MIZ Vs KANE - MITB QUALIFIER
I really liked this match. I don't really see Miz with McCool but, all and all, everything was written. The only gripe I have is that you so well desribed how Miz worked on Kane's leg, yet, immediately when Kane was on the comeback trail, Kane seemed all fine and dandy, even jumping off the top rope and delivering a Double Chokeslam.

SEGMENT 4
I don't know if you're planning on doing a recap during WrestleMania or writting a full on Hall of Fame show but, there's potential for it being tremendously entertaining with Mr. T being inducted by Piper.

SEGMENT 5
Good interview with Batista.

SEGMENT 6
The most original thing I've seen thus far, the FBI with Don Marella. Great little segment to set up a match next week. A 6-men tag I presume?! This one shall be great.

MATCH 3 - NEW BREED Vs WANG-YANG/MOORE
I felt that, the only presentation of the New Breed was really well put together, and Layla does do it for me as this vixen with a vicious streak. I can see her with her slicked back and wearing black leather like Aksana is currently doing on FNS!, it works real well. The only gripe I found with this debut is that Wang-Yang & Moore had way too much offensive on such wrestlers as Burke & Brown. They didn't make that much of an impact when it came down to their wrestling. (I.e. the way they won was coming off a reversal and, if not for the impact of the Pounce, maybe this match could have gone either way.)

MATCH 4 - BENOIT Vs UMAGA
Tremendous contest. The action was crisp and Benoit really looked good in defeat (too good even, he pulled those Germans off too easily imo for the sheer size difference between both men). What really rounded this whole match for me was the Undertaker's appearance at the hand. Very good and short brawl between those two. Really looking forward to the streaks going at it. (JBL was gold during this match)

SEGMENT 7
I loved Edge's interview. Kristal I don't love as much but still, Edge didn't even need her there to get me excited about what's to come on the show.

SEGMENT 8
Predictable segment but, I like that the New Breed get back their heat after a subpar showing between the ropes. Especially since their targets are in the same size category as Wang-Yang & Moore were.

MATCH 5 - FINLAY/HELMS Vs HARDY/DANIELSON
Great tag team bout that Danielson really carried, and carried tremendously well. I can't to see how Danielson and Helms will match against each other come 'Mania.

SEGMENT 9
I really must compliment on how well you describe and go into great detail for such small segments. It really brings to life everything that you put down into writting. Kudos.

SEGMENT 10
Kind of a weird segment for WWE in general but I liked it because I once used the same kind of idea for a Mr. Kennedy (based of) character in an E/Fed group on MSNGroups some years ago. I wonder just who is behind that camera? Who could have enough patience to handle Kennedy on such a basis.

MAIN EVENT - KING BOOKER Vs BATISTA
For me, the best match of the night. Both wrestlers were tremendously well represented in their attacks and maneuvers. As well as the first bit of real outside action during the whole show. Sharmell's involvment. The high impact maneuvers on both part but mostly for Batista. And, a great way to end the match with this amped up Spinebuster followed by the 'Bomb. And to wrap everything up with the man who oppened the show was brilliant. Especially since Edge sent a vibrant message to the Champion just days away from WrestleMania 23.

OVERALL
I really enjoyed this show. It was a 2 weeks away feeling that I could garner from this show. The quick but good to great matches. The enveloppe not yet openened as far as intensity for most rivalries (Edge & Batista's excluded). Everything in this BTB is worth the while. Kudos. You truly have this thing patented down to a science it would seem.

I give this show 8.3 Hitman Sunglasses out of 10.

619IDH 09-15-2011 10:42 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
619s Feedback for iMac's Friday Night Smackdown


Very nice non-traditional opening, like when things kick off this way. This didn’t have that much going on, but it looks like you’re emphasizing Edge’s potential paranoia going into the big show, which I would think would prompt psycho Edge to come forth, which is ALWAYS a good thing. So nice opening shot here.

Upon that emphasis, I guess this allowed you to kick things off with a match, which is something I seriously need to consider doing in the very near future. Great tag action to start things, getting the crowd into all this and what not. The match itself had everyone in their proper roles – the Hooliganz doing their athletics while being beaten, while the brawlers in the Bluebloods dominated a great deal, a little longer than I was hoping, though. A Hooliganz retention was never really in doubt, seeing as how you’ve pretty much set the wheels for the Champions v. Champions clash at ‘mania. Nice job not to completely job out the bloods here, though. The post-match cemented the champions match, which is always a fun thing to do at ‘mania. I think this is gonna be a fun read for me personally, seeing as how I did this program recently with a totally different story. I guess I can say the same for Helms/Danielson too, but nonetheless, good on ya to finally get this one going.

These Wrestlemania Recalls have all been great to help give the build that mystical feel. Just throwing that out there so you don’t think they’re being totally ignored.

:lmao at Booker/MVP. Booker was hilarious as the King in real life, and you pretty much captured that to contrast MVP’s sort of hood outlook. Of course they won’t get along come the big show, but this was just fun. Quick note on the commentary following it – it would’ve made it that much more enjoyable had JBL jumped all over Tazz and Cole like he did in real life when defending Booker. And that would’ve been even better had JBL jumped all over The Miz like he did during this time period. That would’ve been gold. But nonetheless, we continue.

Hey, I did this segment once, too. Now who’s copying who 8*D. I kid. Again, nice job on not totally jobbing Miz out here, which would’ve been preferred. Was surprised almost instantly that he lasted to a commercial break, but also that he put up a pretty solid fight. You really wanna set this guy up for a push, don’t you? Kane wins, as expected and predicted, and boy what an ill-conceived beatdown, huh? Didn’t figure the MVP/Book alliance would blow up this quickly, but not complaining that it did. Just disappointed as this might be the end of those hilarious segments before they can begin. Comedy purposes aside, we’ll see how this affects them as a whole in the next few weeks. Kane/Benoit v. MVP/Booker next week…?

I pity da foo’ who don’t appreciate this video package a second time.

Batista was as good as face Batista could be at calling Edge out, nothing all too special here. Will say that this match has ‘ambiguity’ written all over it at this point. I’m not sure who’s got more momentum or who’s gonna win in a few weeks. I’ll take that as a good thing.

Another light-hearted segment here. Solid job with setting this up for next week, giving it a bit of story and depth instead of just being a filler match on the card. Can’t stress how much I personally appreciate the comedy segments, though, with the Road to Wrestlemania having its mystical, all-serious aura. It’s nice to have these to remember that writing the whole shebang is supposed to be fun, too.

The repackaging of the New Breed is interesting – instead of being the next gen of ECW, they’re a whole new breed of athlete. I see what you did there. Another new tag team here, great to see you building those up. No surprise to see the Redneck and the Reject doing the job here. On a side note, you must really enjoy tag teams with managers/chicks. MNM, the Hart Legacy, potentially MVP/Booker, as well as Punk/Dinsmore/Kelly, now the New Breed, and you haven’t gotten rid of Ashley from beside the Hooliganz, either, and I guess Flair/Carlito/Torrie until recently. Not sure if you like them or they just come better that way, but I’m not complaining. Just thought that tidbit was interesting.

Pity that Umaga/Benoit could never go into full fruition for anything. And now it never will for reason we all know, but this match was something I wanted to see for a while. Benoit’s a perfect guy for Umaga to run through who’ll give him as much fight, if not more, than ‘Taker will come ‘mania. I figured Benoit wouldn’t go down easily, and I marked a good bit when he hit the German. Then I marked like a little bitch when he hit the triple Germans and then the Crossface. The Umagabomb was a tad difficult for me to visualize, but I imagined it was his rope-hung headbutt thing or I just thought of it totally wrong. Glad you keep booking Umaga as the monster he is, going for even more damage when he knows good and damn well it’s not necessary. He just thinks its fun. ‘Taker coming and crashing the party is always a great move, not completely putting him at a disadvantage come ‘mania. Lol at JBL’s banter following.

Oh dear lord I loved this. It wasn’t even all that special, it just confirmed that psycho Edge is what we’ll be seeing. And I love me some psychos. I could just picture Edge’s dialogue here being really ...hed and jittery with his slasher smile all in Krystal’s face. Great job on this one.

‘bout damn time one of these managed tag teams hooked up. This should be a fun feud post-‘Mania.

Really solid tag match with the champions and their contneders. Very nicely done with Finlay dominating Danielson, but didn’t make him look too weak, and Hardy going over Helms. Matt definitely needed the momentum here, but curious to see how Helms’ll be able to recover in the near future.

Hacked by Kennedy! I enjoyed this, although I will say my attention was a bit more focused on whom the guy holding the camera might wind up being than the actual message itself. So there’ll be more of these? Sounds like a ton of fun.

Dead White Guys? :lmao. The result of this one was never really in doubt, just again, trying not to make Booker look like a total jobber to the champ, but he doesn’t lose too much momentum himself. Post-match was very, very, very good – in the span of one night, you’ve introduced the prospect of crazy Edge, shown that it will definitely be there, but then to conclude things, not only did you execute the crazy and really show us it’ll be there, but you tied in his crafty, manipulative side as well with the Titantron distraction. I felt a little awful after reading this segment, as I realized my eyes were wide with glee at a bloody Con-Chair-To shot. There might be something wrong with me, but nonetheless, very efficient way to end the program, especially characterwise.


Overall, there isn’t much I haven’t already said. Nothing really rubbed me the wrong way, with everything moving along very smoothly with the gears going towards ‘mania. No doubt this show was great in terms of Edge character development, but I’m not complaining in the least, as I’ve already gushed about how stoked I am about him. The nice intro of the New Breed gives the show something to look forward to beyond ‘mania, much like the Dinsmore situation/Hart Legacy on RAW. I never realized why people enjoyed my Helms segment so much until I read the Kennedy seg, which was very enjoyable. But yeah, another great show for development and stuffs. Everything looks bitchin’ going into Wrestlemania, with what I’m assuming is the final card outside the referee situation. Keep it up, homes. Kirby still very much approving.

iMac 10-02-2011 02:02 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 


~WWE.COM ANNOUNCEMENT~

With eleven matches already announced for Wrestlemania XXIII, wwe.com can exclusively reveal that a twelve match has been added to the event, with the addition of a 20 Man Battle Royal set to take place during the Pre-Wrestlemania Free For All show. So far no names have been announced for the match, but you can be sure that many of the stars unlucky enough to miss out on appearing on the main Wrestlemania card will be determined to impress to make sure they don't repeat the disappointment at Wrestlemania XXIV. You can catch the action, plus much more, live on wwe.com during the hour before Wrestlemania XXIII begins.

Join us live for the final countdown to the biggest night in WWE history, only on wwe.com!

*****


~News, Notes and Spoilers~

With Wrestlemania XXIII just two weeks away, a quiet mix of nervousness and optimism exists within the WWE hierarchy. While the general feeling is that on paper the current card looks strong, it's well known that this year's edition of Wrestlemania will go a long way in shaping the future of the company. Several members of the roster are being counted on to deliver strong, career enhancing performances in order to establish them as prominent members of the roster. Although nobody has come straight out and said it, for superstars such as Bobby Lashley, Mr. Kennedy and Umaga, Wrestlemania is a huge night for them going forward. Strong, confident performances from them are needed if any of the trio are to cement their statuses as future world champions. Many other members of the roster are also fully aware that Wrestlemania could be make or break for them, but there is a companywide collective feeling that everyone will go all out to not only ensure success for the short term, but also in the long term.

The current feeling is that while many of the feuds have been ticking along nicely, it's now time to up the ante and kick many of the featured storylines into a higher gear. This Monday on Raw, the Mr. Kennedy/Ric Flair feud is scheduled to receive a huge shot in the arm with the rather shocking revelation of how is the mystery man holding that camera that Kennedy spoke to on Smackdown, while the unveiling of the Special Guest Referee is set to add a new dimension to the John Cena/Bobby Lashley situation. While the current odds on favourite for the role is 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. the WWE have been confirmed in being in talks with Bret Hart, Mick Foley and The Rock with regards to them making appearances over Wrestlemania weekend. Hart is confirmed to induct his brother Owen into the WWE Hall of Fame, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him inserted into the feud given his history with Vince McMahon.

After his stellar performance on the last episode of Smackdown, a real push has came from within the creative department to get heavily behind Edge and have him win the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. While the general consensus was that Batista would retain the gold, Edge really embraced the manic way in which his character was presented last Friday night. As of this moment, the feeling is that the World Heavyweight Championship Match could easily go either way. The same could be said for the WWE Championship situation on Raw, as while Shawn Michaels has revelled in the bizarre way his character has developed in recent weeks, Triple H and Rob Van Dam have both also impressed with their confrontations at and since Saturday Night's Main Event. With both titles up in the air right now, all five men will be given plenty of chances to impress over the next two weeks, although the political pull of Triple H could render all that hard work moot.

Since the turn of the year, a strong effort has been made to re-establish both the Women's and Cruiserweight division, and so far creative are reported to be pleased with the results. The Mickie James/Beth Phoenix feud has benefited from the depth of the backstory provided for the match, with the potential there for many more twists and turns set to be in store for the rivalry to continue post-Mania, regardless of who the champion is. And although currently serving as valets for tag teams, both Natalya Niedhart and Melina are set to contribute in the ring over the next few months. On Smackdown, it's full steam ahead for the Gregory Helms/Bryan Danielson showdown, with the strength of the in-ring performances between the two a pleasing aspect thus far. One interesting quirk is that fact that Danielson is yet to utter a single word on WWE television, and that is likely to continue, with creative wanting to push him as a silent man who lets his actions in the ring do the talking. Much of the inspiration for Danielson's character has came from current cruiserweight road agent Dean Malenko, who has been heavily involved in the build of the match.

In other news, Rey Mysterio's recovery from injury has went well, with Mysterio's injured knee responding strongly to the rehabilitation he's done since his surgery six months ago. If all goes well, Mysterio should make his return in early summer, giving him time to establish a feud that will lead into Summerslam.

Speaking of the summer, several contracts are up this summer, with other superstars looking to take an extended break away from the ring. Rob Van Dam's current deal expires in July, and his inability to sign an extension to this point could have implications on his chances of winning in 14 days time. Two men however not wanting to take their customary breaks after Wrestlemania are The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Undertaker is set to be enjoying his time with the company right now, as the respected veteran hasn't been asked to do much in the ring on a weekly basis, allowing him to get by on the strength of his promos. Michaels is in a similar position, feeling that allowing him to mostly speak has meant his in ring appearances appear more special. Both men are set to be heavily involved on Raw and Smackdown for the foreseeable future, although possible time off may come after Summerslam. Undertaker's feud with Umaga is already being earmarked as long term deal, with plans already being considered for carrying the situation between the two all the way to Survivor Series for a spectacular blow off match.

*****


So yeah, it's time for the final push. There's four shows left before 'Mania, and I've written three of them. Time constraints due to starting a full time engineering job, completing my final year of university part time and my social life mean I'm still a long way away from having Wrestlemania finished. But I'll get there. ;) But yeah, once I have the final Smackdown written, a Raw preview will be up, and hopefully I can get into some kind of rhythym before posting the big show. I'm excited to get there, and I hope many of you are excited to read it. :)


And one thing I want to clear up...

Quote:

Originally Posted by 619IDH (Post 10319793)
The Umagabomb was a tad difficult for me to visualize, but I imagined it was his rope-hung headbutt thing or I just thought of it totally wrong.

Did you ever see Vader do this? Well, since I'm a big fan of athletic big guys like Vader and Umaga, I felt 'Mags could easily pull off a running version of that. And of course, by giving him this move, is sets up that dramatic moonsault for a guy that big. Maybe at Wrestlemania we'll see something like that? ;)

As always, thanks to the guys above for the reviews. I've gotten them back, I think, but if I haven't, I'll get them for your next shows. So yeah, until Smackdown is written, see you around. :)

Stojy 10-10-2011 09:14 AM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
Honestly, the Mania card being set in stone just adds to the excitement of this thread right now. The card is brilliant, everything has been built well, and I really can't wait until you get this bad boy of an event up.

All the news and notes seemed decent enough. Nothing really ground breaking or anything, just adding some intrigue to the event. I'm hoping that RVD not signing an extension is just a swerve, as even though I don't see him winning at 'Mania, it'd be a shame to lose him from this thread. After all, you've done such a terrific job of building the guy up.

Rey Mysterio coming into this thread soon will just add another element as well. Regarding the special referee situation, if it actually is Austin I'll be severely disappointed. In real life or in BTB, the whole Stone Cold as special ref just seems so 'already done'. You know what you are doing though, so I hope that's another swerve. Anyway, things are very much on track, hurry up and get the bad boy up though. :o

iMac 10-24-2011 07:02 PM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
~Monday Night Raw~
March 19th, 2007
Indianapolis, IN





Wrestlemania XXIII is just thirteen days away, and all three men involved in the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match will continue to jockey for position as the show grows ever nearer. WWE Champion Shawn Michaels lead his team of himself and Bobby Lashley to victory last week over his two Wrestlemania challengers Triple H and Rob Van Dam, and he’ll no doubt be in a confident mood as he watches ‘Mr. Monday Night’ and ‘The Game’ in action tonight. Triple H will face Chris Masters, while Van Dam takes on Mike Knox, but perhaps both men will be more worried about their Wrestlemania opponents than their opponents tonight, such is the level of tension running high between the three. Michaels is no doubt in the driving seat ahead of Wrestlemania, but both challengers will be determined to pick up strong victories tonight, sending a strong message to the other members of the triple threat so close to Wrestlemania XXIII.

John Cena spoke of his desire to overcome Mr. McMahon and Bobby Lashley at Wrestlemania, but after Cena was put in a handicap match against The World’s Greatest Tag Team, many felt that McMahon has abused his power too much when it comes to Cena. And it seems that WWE C.E.O. Linda McMahon and the Board of Directors agree with the popular consensus. So much so that just before we went off the air last week, Linda McMahon announced that at Wrestlemania XXIII, the match between Cena and Lashley will have a Special Guest Referee... who will be revealed tonight! Cena and Lashley will sit down to sign a contract for their match, and our referee will be in attendance to ensure the fair play starts as it should go on. Rumours have been swirling all around the WWE as to the identity of the Special Guest Referee is, but make no mistake, whoever is put in-between Cena and Lashley and charged with the task of holding order over the McMahons better be prepared for the chaos that such a role brings... and it could all start tonight during the contract signing!

After forcing Randy Orton to accept his challenge of Kenny Dykstra on Dykstra’s behalf last week, Carlito will be in a buoyant mood as he now knows he has an Intercontinental Championship Match ahead of him at Wrestlemania XXIII. Tonight though, Carlito teams with the man he saved from a potential two on one attack last week, Jeff Hardy, to take the two would be attackers, Orton and Dykstra. These four men have been entwined with each other for a number of months now, and with ‘Lito and Dykstra set to meet and Orton and Hardy but part of the Money in the Bank Match, tonight is a big night for all four men to establish a sense of superiority over their upcoming opponents. But what of Torrie Wilson after she walked out in disgust at the way Carlito threatened to assault Dykstra with a one man con-chair-to last week. Having seen Orton and Dykstra assault Hardy in such a manner, putting him on the shelf for over a month in the process, Wilson left the ring in disbelief that her boyfriend would stoop to such a level. Carlito will no doubt be looking to make it up to Torrie, but after Orton’s warning to Dykstra not to let Torrie distract him, could it be ‘Lito who winds up being distracted by Wilson?

Last Friday night on Smackdown, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas appeared on the show to challenge the WWE Tag Team Champions Brian Kendrick and Paul London to a Champions vs. Champions match at Wrestlemania. The Hooligans accepted the challenge, and then laid forth a challenge of their own, as Kendrick and London will be here on Raw tonight as Kendrick steps into the ring with Shelton Benjamin. Both men will want the win to give their team the early upperhand, especially with their match now only being thirteen days away. And speaking of last Friday night, Mr. Kennedy delivered an eerie message to Ric Flair, stating that he had something big lined up for Flair this Monday night. Nobody knows what Kennedy has in store for ‘The Nature Boy’, but after Kennedy felt embarrassed by the way he’s been treated by Flair recently, you can guarantee that Kennedy will be looking to re-gain the upperhand in this feud that has the potential to become more personal than ever before.

All of this, plus Six Divas Tag Team action as Women’s Champion Mickie James teams up with Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly to face James’ Wrestlemania challenger, Beth Phoenix, Victoria and Melina, we’ll hear from The Hart Legacy after they were jumped from behind by The Redneck Wrecking Crew last week, and entrant number seven in the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame Class will be revealed, live on Raw tonight!

Confirmed Matches:

Triple H vs. Chris Masters
Rob Van Dam vs. Mike Knox

John Cena and Bobby Lashley will sign the contract for their Wrestlemania XXIII match, where the Special Guest Referee will be revealed!

Randy Orton and Kenny Dykstra vs. Jeff Hardy and Carlito

Mickie James, Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix, Victoria and Melina

Plus! What does Mr. Kennedy have in store for Ric Flair?



Stojy 10-25-2011 06:43 AM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
Looks like another good edition on the Road to WrestleMania. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens between Flair and Kennedy on this show. The slow rise of Kenny needs to continue, and I know he'll be jobbing (:(), but Masters HAS TO look good against Triple H.

I'll be reading.

iMac 10-27-2011 07:18 AM

Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
 
~Monday Night Raw~
March 19th, 2007
Indianapolis, IN



”It's always funny... when history repeats itself."





We kick off the broadcast with a quick highlights package from last week’s show, in particular the main event were Shawn Michaels and Bobby Lashley took on Triple H and Rob Van Dam. After a back and forth match up, Lashley ultimately grabs the win for his team, only for John Cena to race down to the ring to once again pick a fight with 'The Dominator'. The two battle back and forth until Mr. McMahon sends his security team down to the ring, separating the pair. Just as it looks like Cena is about to be decimated, WWE C.E.O. Linda McMahon appears, declaring that next week we'll have a contract signing for the Cena/Lashley Wrestlemania match, including the appointment of a Special Guest Referee. Vince can't believe it, asking if Linda was serious with her announcement, to which his wife responds "Oh hell yeah Vince!". The crowd erupts, and after being given the chance to recover, Van Dam and Triple H assist Cena in clearing the ring, all three faces standing tall, but an uneasy atmosphere exists between the three as we fade to black.

We now hear the usual Raw opening video, before it's into the arena for the bright lights and pyro display we've come to expect. A quick tour of the crowd showing off some of the more creative signs, before he settle at the announce desk...


Jim Ross: There's only thirteen days left 'til the Grandaddy of 'em all, Wrestlemania XXIII! But tonight, Raw comes to you live from Indianapolis, Indiana, and 'King', we've got a huge night in store!

Jerry Lawler: Oh absolutely! Tonight, it's quite possibly the biggest contract signing in Monday Night Raw history! John Cena and Bobby Lashley will sign on the dotted line, and of course, we're gonna find out just who will be the Special Guest Referee for that match up!

Jim Ross: The rumour mill has ran rampant all week, but we'll find out one way or another tonight! But of course, that's not all folks. One third of the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match at Wrestlemania, Rob Van Dam, will take on the always dangerous Mike Knox, Randy Orton teams with the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra to face Carlito and Jeff Hardy, Smackdown's Brian Kendrick is here to take on Shelton Benjamin, we've got Divas action, 'King', this show is packed!

Jerry Lawler: And I can't wait to get it started!

"BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS..."

*THE GAME...*


And wait you shall not 'King', as the arena explodes for the arrival of Triple H. 'The Game' slowly enters the arena, pausing at the top of the ramp to spray a burst of water into the air before he confidently strides down the ramp towards the ring...


Jim Ross: And we're not gonna waste any time 'King', as here comes the man who in thirteen days will be one of the challengers for the WWE Championship. He is a current ten time heavyweight champion, will Wrestlemania XXIII see 'The Game', Triple H, make it number eleven?

Jerry Lawler: I think he's got a heck of a shot at it. Triple H has been fuelled by his hatred of Shawn Michaels lately, and that desire for revenge could carry Triple H all the way to the WWE Championship if ya' ask me.

Jim Ross: What an explosive Raw main event it's gonna be! Shawn Michaels defending the WWE Championship against both Triple H and Rob Van Dam. Both of the challengers will be in action tonight, a big chance for the two of 'em to let their opponents know what they can expect come Wrestlemania.

Jerry Lawler: Right but both Van Dam and Triple H have got tough matches ahead of 'em. Van Dam is takin' on Mike Knox, that's never an easy match when you're in the ring with somebody as dangerous as Knox is, while Triple H is gonna take on 'The Masterpiece', Chris Masters.

After jumping up onto the apron to once again spit a burst of water into the air, 'The Game' steps through the ropes and heads for the second ropes, flexing and posing for the crowd who once again show their support with a great pop. Trips drops down and starts pacing the ring, awaiting the arrival of...

*MASTERPIECE...*


Some prety solid heat as Chris Masters makes his entrance, stopping behind the bright gold sparks that drop on the top of the ramp, shaking off his robe and posing for the crowd before he turns and heads for the ring, as Johnny Nitro and Melina follow him down...


Jim Ross: He's always had an impressive physique, he's always had the ability to punish his opponents. But lately, Chris Masters hasn't quite been able to put it all together and deliver results.

Jerry Lawler: And the same could be said for Masters' tag team partner Johnny Nitro, until last week when Nitro finally managed a win over Nick Dinsmore. Could tonight be Masters' turn to end his losing streak with a big win over 'The Game'?

Match 1:
Triple H
vs. Chris Masters w/ Johnny Nitro and Melina

As the bell rings, Masters initially has no interest in locking up with Triple H, instead he stalls by posturing to the crowd, flexing his biceps and popping his pecs. ‘The Game’ wants to get the action started, but again Masters isn’t interested, as he now cuts a pose right in Triple H’s face. ‘The Game’ turns to the crowd, smirks… and than answers Masters with a DX crotch chop… then smacks him with a big right hand! The match is now underway as Masters is backed to the ropes with stiff right hands, before he’s sent for the Irish whip… but Masters reverses… and swings and misses with a clothesline… to then be knocked down with a running high knee! Masters is reeling, but he finds no respite by stumbling to the corner, as ‘The Game’ just follows in and starts to unload with more right hands. An Irish whip sends Masters crashing into the opposite corner… and then staggering out into a running clothesline! ‘The Game’ is pilling on the early pressure, and it continues as Masters is dragged back up and tagged with more right hands. Trips goes for another Irish whip, but this time when Masters reverses, he lowers his head for a back body drop… but Triple H puts on the breaks… and synchs Masters in… PEDIGREE… NO! Masters counters with a back body drop… over the top rope to the floor! ‘The Game’ has a rough landing, but Masters quickly follows him outside, looking to finally gain the advantage in the match.

Masters starts by landing a few well placed right hands to the forehead, and he then scoops Triple H up… and looks to drop him face first on the announce desk… no! Triple H forces himself down to his feet, landing behind Masters… and runs through him with a clothesline! Masters smacks off the floor, but he has little chance to recover as Trips yanks him back up… and whips him shoulder first into the steel steps! The top half off the steps flies off due to the impact, with Masters lying in a heap, grabbing his arm in pain. ‘The Game’ is ruthless in his approach as he starts targeting that arm, driving elbow after elbow into the shoulder. The referee calls for both men to return to the ring, to which Trips agrees too as he rolls Masters back inside. Melina then tries to make her presence felt as she inches closer and closer to the action, but Triple H warns her to back away. In the ring, Masters has the attention of the referee by grabbing him by the shirt, Masters pleading from his knees for a bit of leniency. With his back to Triple H, the ref doesn’t see ‘The Game’ climb up onto the apron… which means he doesn’t see Melina grab Triple H by the foot as he tries to re-enter the ring. With Triple H pinned to the apron, he leaves himself open… for Nitro to spring up and rock him with a boot to the back of the head! Nitro and Melina quickly depart the area, as Masters sees his chance to attack, by ...hing the ropes… and shoulderblocking Triple H off the apron… and into the announce desk! The ribs of ‘The Game’ crash into the side of the desk, but as he writhes on the floor in pain and Masters drops down to the canvas to try recover, it’s anybody’s match as we head off for a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we return just in time to see Trips take Masters up and down with a suplex, before he heads for the corner, comes out to hit a kneedrop to the face and then hooks the leg for a 2 count. Masters crawls to the corner, trying to regroup, but ‘The Game’ is right on him, laying in with boots and right hands before he pulls Masters to the ropes and goes for the Irish whip... Masters reverses... and Melina reaches in and grabs Triple H by the foot! ‘The Game’ puts on the breaks, angrily shouting at Melina, but Masters is quick to take advantage... as he runs through Trips with a clothesline! Masters nearly snaps Triple H’s head off, and after a two count, he kicks Triple H under the bottom rope. Masters once again distracts the referee, and Nitro moves in, as with Triple H still favouring the ribs he hurt before the break, Nitro drives ‘The Game’ repeatedly into the side of the ring. Trips is rolled back in, and after a near fall, Masters starts to target the ribs by dropping elbows across them. Masters show his strength by scooping Trips up for a slam, then drops a legdrop for a 2 count. Again Masters shows his strength by this time hitting a suplex, before he starts laying in with double axe handles to the small of the back, and then starts hitting forearms to the same point. Triple H manages to muster up a slight comeback as he tags Masters with a pair of rights, but when he goes for an Irish whip, Masters reverses... and sends Triple H flying with a big back body drop! Masters drops into the cover, 1... 2... ‘The Game’ rolls a shoulder.

Masters continues to target the ribs and small of the back as he takes Trips up and down with a backbreaker, getting another near fall, before he starts repeatedly driving the knee to the small of the back. Masters backs away, again drawing the ref’s attention, allowing Morrison to grab the bottom rope, swing his leg up and lay in with a cheap kick to the side of Triple H’s head, with Masters pouncing to hook the leg... 1... 2... ‘The Game’ rolls a shoulder. Masters continues his attack, again hitting a backbreaker, although this time he keeps Triple H across his knee, applying pressure to the chin allowing him to force his knee into the small of the back. Masters tries to up the pressure, but eventually ‘The Game’ is able to drive a pair of knees to the side of the head, prompting Masters to drop Triple H to the mat. Trips can’t take advantage though, as masters quickly moves to locked on a grounded chinlock, applying pressure by again driving his knee into the back. Masters holds this on longer, trying his best to wear ‘The Game’ down, but as the crowd start to make some noise, Triple H shows signs of life. Melina and Nitro try their best to silence the crowd, but the fans get behind Trips, and he slowly starts to work back to a vertical base. A pair of elbows land to the midsection... and Triple H is finally able to break the hold with a side suplex!

Both men are slow to their feet, with Trips having to use the corner to pull himself up. Masters charges in... straight into a boot to the face. Masters charges again... another boot to the face... Triple H charges... but Masters counters with a slam... no! Triple H lands on his feet behind Masters, spins him around... DDT! Triple H crawls into the cover... 1... 2... Masters rolls a shoulder! Triple H now has the advantage, and he looks to hammer it home as he goes for the Irish whip... Masters reverses... only to lower his head... facebreaker knee smash! Masters stumbles backwards into the ropes, but he bounces off and goes for a running clothesline... Triple H ducks underneath... and then catches Masters with a massive ‘Double A’ spinebuster! ‘The Game’ roars to his feet, the crowd going wild as he waits for Masters to rise... kick... PEDIGREE... NO! Masters counters... back body drop! The crowd deflates in an instant as ‘The Game’ crashes to the mat, and after shaking off the cobwebs, Masters stands and waits, readying himself. Triple H slowly stumbles to his feet, and Masters sneaks up from behind... MASTERLOCK... NO! Triple H shows incredible strength to keep Masters’ arms open... and then twists himself free... kick to the midsection... Masters is synched in... PEDIGREE! Triple H plants Masters, and he hooks the leg, staring at Nitro who backs away from any possible interference as the ref counts 1... 2... 3!

Winner: Triple H @ 11.09

Triple H gets the win, but almost the second the referee's hand comes down for the three count, Nitro slides into the ring and jumps Triple H, laying into him as 'The Game' tries to get back to his feet. Nitro mounts Triple H and starts hammering him with right hands, and even Melina gets into the ring, laying in with a few cheap stomps with her high heeled boots. Melina then tries to bring Masters back around, helping him back to his feet, while Nitro continues his attack, drilling Triple H time and time again with well placed punches... until a roar rings out from the crowd... as The Straight Edge Saints are racing down to the ring! CM Punk and Nick Dinsmore sprint down the ramp and slide under the bottom rope, with Dinsmore flying at Masters while Punk tackles Nitro to the mat! Suddenly a four man brawl breaks out, with Masters and Dinsmore both rolling out of the ring on one side, while Punk and Nitro roll out on the other. The four men battle back and forth on the outside, and it spills into the crowd as Punk takes Nitro over the barricade with a clothesline. The crowd goes nuts for the wild action at ringside, but soon a commotion is heard... as Shawn Michaels has sneaked into the ring!

Triple H struggles to pull himself to his feet, but Michaels is already waiting for him, poised ready to strike... but before he can make his move, a huge pop rings out... as Rob Van Dam sprints down the ramp, steel chair in his hand! Michaels pauses, turning to look at Van Dam, and as he does this, Triple H gets back on his feet. Michaels glances at 'The Game', then back at Van Dam as he slides under the bottom rope... and Michaels wisely decides to roll back out of the ring. The crowd boos as Michaels decides to life to fight another day, quickly backing away from the ring as Van Dam encourages him to return, dying to smack that steel chair off the skull of the WWE Champion. Van Dam stands near the ropes, staring up the ramp, while behind him Triple H has gotten himself back together, a seriously pissed off look on his face. Van Dam realises there's no chance of Michaels coming back to the ring, as he then turns his attentions to Triple H... but 'The Game' gives him an angry stare, the tension between the two once again clear for all to see, with 'The Game' looking at the chair in Van Dam's hand... and Van Dam gives it a glance as well. The crowd continue to roar, dying to see these two go at it, but as both men continue to look at each other and the chair, the crowd reaches a fever pitch as we head off to a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we return to hear from J.R. and 'King'...


Jim Ross: Welcome back to Monday Night Raw everybody. Before he break, we saw Rob Van Dam come to the aid of Triple H, but there was an uneasy tension between the two to say the least as we headed for commercial. Our cameras followed Van Dam and 'The Game' backstage, and here's what happened durin' the commercial break.

*Video Package*

DURING THE COMMERCIAL BREAK

The video opens to see Rob Van Dam walking backstage, a f...trated look on his face as he quickly walks along a corridor. Not far behind him is Triple H, obviously playing catch up in an effort to speak with Van Dam, although that pissed off look from before the break is still very much evident...

Triple H: Hey! Hey, Rob!

'The Game' reaches out, grabbing Van Dam by the shoulder and rather aggressively spinning him around...

Triple H: What the hell are you doin'? I don't want your help Rob, I don't NEED your help! I told you last week that after that tag team match, I was through with you!

Van Dam laughs to himself, shaking his head...

Rob Van Dam: Look bro', you might not want my help, but you sure as hell needed it out there.

'The Game' is seething, breathing hard as he stares at Van Dam...

Rob Van Dam: T...t me dude, I ain't out there to try save your ass. I'm out there 'cause I don't want there to be any excuses come Wrestlemania. I don't want what happened after Saturday Night's Main Event to happen again. I wanna beat you and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania, and I wanna do it the right way... even if you don't.

Trips looks slightly confused by this...

Triple H: What the hell's that supposed to mean?

Rob Van Dam: Look bro', you said it yourself. You're 'The Cerebral Assassin'. You take every chance you get, you show no weakness. To me... that means you wanna take the easy way out. Well I'm not gonna go that way dude.

'The Game' shakes his head, almost in disappointment...

Triple H: And that's why you're not gonna win the WWE Championship. I'll take every chance I get, and I sure as hell won't show any remorse for doin' so. Put it this way... if I see Shawn Michaels out there later tonight tryin' to kick your head off your shoulders...

Triple H steps forward, getting in Van Dam's face...

Triple H: I'm not gonna be there to stop 'im.

A very mixed reaction from inside the arena, with Van Dam smiling to himself...

Rob Van Dam: Y'know... I kinda get a feelin' that you might. You don't want a tainted title win in Detroit man... just as much as I don't.

Triple H: DTA Rob. Don’t… t...t… anybody.

Van Dam and 'The Game' have a lasting stare down, before Van Dam, cool as you like, simply turns and continues off down the corridor. Triple H stays standing, conflicting emotions on his face, still seething with anger, but he too turns and heads in the opposite direction before the video ends.

*End Video Package*


And we now cut to the communal locker room to see Randy Orton and the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra stood across from each other, neither man looking particularly happy at how their partnership has been going lately. Dykstra rather sheepishly looks down at the ground, while Orton wears a scowl on his face as he stands over Kenny, arms crossed across his chest…

Randy Orton: Last week I said there was gonna be no more mistakes. And you… you made a mistake Kenny.

Kenny is bemused by this, but before he can say anything Orton presses on…


Randy Orton: Once again you let yourself be distracted by Carlito and that stupid blonde who hangs on his arm, and it cost you, 'cause now you've gotta defend that title against Carlito at Wrestlemania.

Kenny looks confused and annoyed as he starts his protest...

Kenny Dykstra: Wait a second... it was YOU who agreed to that match with Carlito! I was barely conscious! How the hell was it my fault?

Orton sighs, shaking his head...

Randy Orton: If I hadn't agreed to that match, you wouldn't even be standin' here right now. If it wasn't me, you'd have had your head caved in!

Kenny turns away, knowing Orton is right...


Randy Orton: Last week, mistakes happen. But tonight... we do things right. We punish Jeff Hardy and Carlito, we make them realise that at Wrestlemania, their dreams go up in smoke.

A smirk crosses Kenny's face as he nods in agreement...

Randy Orton: I am going to grab that Money in the Bank Briefcase, and I don't need that reckless idiot Jeff Hardy gettin' in my way. As for you and Carlito, if you can keep your head off of Torrie Wilson long enough... then you might just send him a message tonight that you're more of a threat that he gives you credit for.

Kenny smiles, glancing at his title...

Kenny Dykstra: Yeah. Yeah we'll show them. I'm gonna kick Carlito's ass tonight infront of his girl. I'm gonna embarrass him tonight!

Orton gets f...trated as Dykstra once again mentions Torrie Wilson...

Randy Orton: Dammit Kenny, focus here! No mistakes! I mean it Kenny, if you get distracted and screw up tonight...

Orton pauses, reeling in his temper, composing himself before he says something he'll regret...

Randy Orton: Let's just say I don't wanna have to slap you across the face again to make you see sense. Focus, get your head in gear... and I'll see you later.

Orton stares ominously at Kenny, anger and f...tration in his eyes before he turns and leaves the scene, the camera lingering on Kenny who watches Orton leave, rubbing his chin in memory of the slap his mentor delivered recently before he too heads off.

As do we as we head off to the office of 'The Chairman of the Board' Mr. McMahon, who's appearance is greeted with heat from the crowd. Shane McMahon is stood nearby his father, the two McMahons with concerned looks on their faces, while in the background Brooke Adams looks as good as ever, although she currently has a phone pressed against her ear, although we can't clearly make out the conversation she's engaged in...


Mr. McMahon: Oh hell yeah? Oh... hell... yeah?! God, who does she think she is? I mean... did you talk to your mother? Did ya' get anythin' out of here?

Shane begrudgingly shakes his head...

Shane McMahon: No, sorry Dad. She wasn't givin' away anythin'.

Mr. McMahon: Dammit! That evil, twisted, manipulative bitch! I bet this was all her idea. I bet she approached Cena and made this happen! I mean... you don't think... you don't think it's him... do you?

Shane winces as he knows his father won't like his answer...

Shane McMahon: It could be Dad. I mean... why else would she say that?

Vince desperately shakes his head, wishing for the best...

Brooke Adams: OK, bye.

Adams ends her phone call, placing the phone back down on the table. She walks over to the McMahons, a desperate look in Vince's eyes...

Mr. McMahon: Well, anything?

Brooke Adams: I'm sorry Mr. McMahon, I tried every contact at the office that you gave me but... nobody wanted to tell me who it is that's going to be the Special Guest Referee in the match between Bobby Lashley and John Cena.

Vince's eyes bulge in disbelief...

Mr. McMahon: What!? Not - not even somebody on the Board of Directors? Not one of those crooks would tell you?

Sadly Brooke can only shake her head...

Mr. McMahon: No... no it - it couldn't be?

Vince has the look of a desperate man, perhaps finally feeling that after months of always having the upper hand, tonight it could all come crashing down around him...

Shane McMahon: Dad, there's gotta be somethin' we can do. There's gotta be an angle, there's - there's gotta be somethin'!

Dejected, Vince trudges towards a nearby couch, flopping down into it, head in his hands...

Shane McMahon: Dad? Dad!? Dad, c'mon! We gotta do somethin'. We gotta-

Suddenly the office door bursts open, and in walks Bobby Lashley to a barrage of boos from inside the arena. Lashley is once again suited and booted, but he also wears a confident scowl on his face...

Bobby Lashley: What's the matter Vince? You don't look so good.

Mr. McMahon: Weren't you listenin' last week? Didn't you hear what my wife Linda said? There's gonna be a Special Guest Referee for your match at Wrestlemania, and she dropped a pretty damn big hint as to who it might be!

Lashley casually shrugs his shoulders...


Bobby Lashley: So? What are you worried about Vince?

Vince looks at Lashley, incredulous at what he just said...


Mr. McMahon: What am I worried about? You don't think that if it is... him... then that puts us at a huge disadvantage?

Lashley flares his nostrils, breathing hard...

Bobby Lashley: If it is him... then maybe I oughta make him see things our way later tonight. Maybe I oughta convince him to call the match... right down the middle. I am going to tear John Cena limb from limb at Wrestlemania... and no washed up old has-been tryin' to be pretend he's a referee is gonna stop me.

Enthused by Lashley's words, Vince allows himself a smile...

Bobby Lashley: Don't worry Vince... John Cena's not leavin' Detroit on his own power. He's gonna need to be carried outta Ford Field... and I'll do the same damn thing to any referee that tries to stop me.

That smile turns into a broad smirk as Vince beams with pride over Lashley's confidence...

Bobby Lashley: I'll see you guys at the contract signing.

Lashley nods at both Vince and Shane before he turns and walks back out of the room, with Shane looking on almost in awe, while Vince rises up off the sofa...

Mr. McMahon: Oh... HELL... YEAH!

Full of confidence once again, Vince has that evil smirk back on his face, nodding his head confidently and looking at Shane with a certain level of reassurance before we head back into the arena.

To hear...

*WORLD'S GREATEST...*


A solid level of heat for The World's Greatest Tag Team, as the World Tag Team Champions make their way down the ramp. Charlie Haas leads the way, having very little time for the crowd, while Shelton Benjamin throws plenty of trash talking at the ringside fans...


Jim Ross: Wow. Certainly strong words from 'The Dominator' Bobby Lashley.

Jerry Lawler: Yeah but J.R., I know you have contacts in the office... you gotta know who the Special Guest Referee is! I know you know! You gotta tell me.

Jim Ross: I'm afraid I don't 'King'. We'll all just have to wait and see who Linda McMahon and the WWE Board of Directors have chosen. But another match scheduled to take place at Wrestlemania is the Champions vs. Champions match. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin issued the challenge to Paul London and Brian Kendrick last Friday night on Smackdown, and tonight, Benjamin and Kendrick are set to go at it.

Jerry Lawler: And I really can't get over the arrogance of these two lately. I mean, it's bad enough they call themselves The World's Greatest Tag Team, but to go around claiming that no team in the WWE can even come close to them is too much for me. I really want to see London and Kendrick bring these two down a peg or two at Wrestlemania.

*SLICED BREAD...*


A very warm reception for The Hooligans, as Smackdown's WWE Tag Team Champions Brian Kendrick and Paul London make a rare Raw appearance. The pair burst out from the back and stop at the top of the ramp, fist bumping and posing for the crowd before Ashley Massaro sends them racing down the ramp and into the ring...


Jim Ross: I think the upcoming matchup between these two teams is gonna be a real clash of styles. The more technical prowess of Haas and Benjamin against the quick, high flyin' style of London and Kendrick.

Jerry Lawler: It's gonna be exciting J.R.! Let's find out if The World's Greatest Tag Team can truly live up to their name. I'd have to believe 'em if they managed to see off The Hooligans in two weeks time...

Match 2:
World Tag Team Champion Shelton Benjamin w/ Charlie Haas vs. WWE Tag Team Champion Brian Kendrick w/ Paul London and Ashley Massaro

A broad smile adorns Benjamin’s face as he looks very confident as the bell rings, perhaps too confident. The pair tie up, with Shelton quickly working into a standing waistlock. A waistlock takedown brings the action to the mat, where Shelton floats over into a reverse headlock, only for Kendrick to quickly twist this into a grounded hammerlock. Both men trade back and forth, as Benjamin works into a hammerlock of his own, only for Kendrick to force the situation back to a vertical base, uses a front flip to gain the advantage, then puts Benjamin down with an armdrag. Another armdrag plants Shelton, with Kendrick hanging on for the armbar. Shelton slaps the mat in f...tration, but he forces himself back up, grabbing a handful of hair to back Kendrick to the ropes, then fires him across… Shelton avoids Kendrick with a leapfrog, but Kendrick puts on the breaks… and takes Shelton down with a hurricanrana! 1… 2… Benjamin kicks out, with both men quickly back up… only for Kendrick to go right back to the armdrag into an armbar. The smile is long gone as Benjamin groans in anger, with this time Kendrick applying more pressure to keep Benjamin down. Eventually though, Benjamin is back up, forcing himself and Kendrick to the corner. The referee calls for the break, which Kendrick provides… only to then be smacked in the face by an elbow! Shelton now hammers Kendrick with forearms to the back of the head, before he goes for the Irish whip across and follows in… but Kendrick uses the ropes to elevate himself over Benjamin… only for Benjamin to catch him, Kendrick’s legs around Shelton’s head… headscissors takedown! Kendrick sends Benjamin flying, but Shelton stumbles back to his feet… running crossbody from Kendrick! 1… 2… Benjamin kicks out.

Kendrick continues his attack by striking with kicks to the legs, but as he goes for an Irish whip, Shelton reverses… and lowers his head… sunset flip from Kendrick, but Shelton rolls straight through and back onto his feet, his momentum bouncing him off the ropes… to hammer Kendrick with a low-angle dropkick! Kendrick’s head snaps back off the mat with the impact of the move, and Benjamin quickly crawls over to get a near fall. The quick pace of the match comes to an end as Benjamin starts laying in with stomps to the chest, before he yanks Kendrick up… Kendrick tries a kick to the gut, but Benjamin catches the foot… and plants Kendrick with a dragon screw! Benjamin twists Kendrick’s knee, causing Kendrick to cry in pain, with Benjamin now seeing an opportunity to do some damage. Stomps land to the knee, as do elbows, before Benjamin drags Kendrick towards the corner. With Kendrick in position, Shelton rears back… and smacks Kendrick’s knee off the ringpost! London and Ashley are furious, as is the referee, but when Shelton returns to the ring to confront the ref, Haas uses the distraction… to smash Kendrick’s knee off the steel for a second time! Kendrick writhes in pain as he crawls away from the corner, with Benjamin hooking the leg and getting a long 2 count.

Benjamin now focuses his attack on the left knee, showing a real vicious side as he slams the knee off the canvas, then shoves Kendrick to the corner, places the knee across the middle rope and delivers a string of stiff kicks. The more technical side of Shelton’s game returns as he gets a near fall from a northern lights suplex, before he drops Kendrick on his head after a release German suplex, gaining another near fall. Haas continues to reach into the ring for the odd cheap shot, and Kendrick is in a world of hurt as Benjamin locks on a single-leg Boston crab. Benjamin pulls back on the knee and sits in to apply pressure, trying to make Kendrick submit, but knowing he’s doing all kinds of damage that could come into effect with Wrestlemania so close now. Kendrick is in the hold for a good while, but with London and Ashley slapping the mat, trying to encourage the crowd, Kendrick slowly starts to crawl towards the ropes. Kendrick inches closer and closer, almost able to grab the ropes. One last surge from Kendrick… and he reaches out to grab the bottom rope… but there’s no break of the hold as Haas jumps up onto the apron and distracts the referee! The hold should be broken, but with no ref, Benjamin is able to drag Kendrick back to the middle of the ring, sitting back into the hold just as Haas drops back down to the floor. Once more the ropes seem so far away as Benjamin pulls back on the knee, but again London and Ashley try to rally the fans, and Kendrick forces himself up onto his elbows… and twists his body around… kicking Benjamin to the corner, breaking the hold! Shelton smacks into the turnbuckle, and Kendrick hobbles over to tag him with a pair of forearms. Kendrick goes for the Irish whip… Benjamin reverses, with Kendrick hitting the turnbuckle hard. Shelton backs up, builds momentum and attacks… SHELTON SPLASH… NO! Kendrick dives to safety… and Benjamin flies into the corner!

Now Kendrick senses a chance to attack, kicking with his good right foot, but as he tries to send Benjamin to the corner, Shelton once again reverses and follows in… into a boot to the face… and then Kendrick explodes from the corner with a springboard tornado DDT! Kendrick crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Benjamin rolls a shoulder! Kendrick now tries to quicken the pace, but the damage to his knee takes it’s toll as Kendrick has to jump to slug Benjamin with right hands. Benjamin swings a right… but Kendrick ducks… and transitions into a northern lights suplex! 1… 2… Benjamin kicks out. Kendrick again throws forearms and kicks, before he sends Benjamin to the corner… and follows in… Benjamin elevates Kendrick over the top rope… but Kendrick lands on the apron! A pair of forearms causes Benjamin to stumble away, with Kendrick springing to the top rope… flying crossbody… but the momentum carries Benjamin through into the pinfall… 1… 2… Kendrick barely kicks out! Kendrick stays alive, but Benjamin quickly pounces, dropping double axe handles across the back as he tries to keep Kendrick down. Benjamin now stands, waiting for Kendrick to rise. Kendrick slowly staggers up, and Shelton is waiting… to hook him up for the T-BONE SUPLEX… NO! Kendrick desperately throws elbows, breaking free as Shelton pushes him into the ropes. Kendrick grabs the top rope to hang on, and here comes Shelton… right into a boot to the face! Benjamin stumbles back, but as Kendrick tries to attack, Haas reaches in and grabs his boot… causing Kendrick to smack face first off the mat! Having seen enough, London races round the ring to try get a piece of Haas, but Haas takes off, running round the ring to stay away from London. As the chase takes place, Kendrick grabs his mouth as he staggers back to his feet… where Shelton is ready and waiting… T-BONE SUPLEX!! Benjamin gets all of it, and he quickly hooks the leg to get the 1… 2… 3.

Winner: Shelton Benjamin @ 07.02

It wasn't exactly clean, but an impressive victory none the less for Shelton Benjamin, who quickly rolls from the ring to join up with Haas. London and Ashley angrily slide into the ring to tend to Kendrick, but it's Haas and Benjamin who have struck the first blow, the two backing up the ramp with broad smirks on their faces, their titles raised high in the air while in the ring Kendrick tries to shake away the cobwebs while London stands by the ropes, staring up at Haas and Benjamin, shaking his head in annoyance as we head for a commercial.

*Commercial*


*Video Package*

WRESTLEMANIA RECALL!

MARCH 24TH, 1991
WRESTLEMANIA VII


With the world griped in fear due to the Gulf War, Wrestlemania VII had a distinctly patriotic feel to it as the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was decked out in the stars and stripes. A few months earlier, former American hero Sgt. Slaughter very publicly turned his back on his country, declaring himself an Iraqi sympathiser who was supporting Saddam Hussein in the ongoing conflict, insulting the troops involved in Operation Desert Shield in the process. Public hatred for Slaughter grew, and it reached a fever pitch when Slaughter beat The Ultimate Warrior at Royal Rumble '91 to become the WWF Champion. America and the WWF needed an American Hero to step forward and save the day. Enter Hulk Hogan. Waving the American flag, Hogan stormed into action, taking the fight to Slaughter, but the champion would gain the upper hand, battering Hogan for much of the match, causing Hogan to bleed heavily and even draping the Iraqi flag over 'The Hulkster'. All hope looked to be lost as Slaughter locked on the dreaded camel clutch, but the spirit of Hulkamania saw Hogan battle back into contention, before he ultimately prevailed by hitting the big legdrop for the victory. After the match, Hogan celebrated by once again waving the American flag, the show ending on a positive note as the American hero had once again slain his enemy, becoming a three time WWF Champion in the process.

WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - 13 DAYS AND COUNTING


*End Video Package*


We now see Todd Grisham standing by...

Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time... John Cena.

A loud reaction for the appearance of John Cena, a smattering of boos mixed in amongst the majority of cheers from the crowd. Cena gives Grisham a quick pat on the shoulder, the look of despair of recent weeks replaced by a smile now...

Todd Grisham: John, we are just thirteen days away from Wrestlemania XXIII and your clash with Bobby Lashley. Over the last month or so, Mr. McMahon has always found a way to stay one step ahead of you, but last week Linda McMahon announced that your match with Lashley will have a Special Guest Referee. John, have you managed to turn the tide in your favour ahead of Wrestlemania?

Cena sighs deeply, shaking his head in comical fashion...

John Cena: Ah Todd, Toddy, Todd, Todd! Can ya' feel it? It's Wrestlemania season! There's excitement in the air, and finally John Cena and Bobby Lashley are gonna have one helluva match... and for once Vince McMahon is gonna be involved in somethin' that's on a level playin' field. I can't wait!

Grisham can’t help but smile as Cena’s infectious positive attitude rings out…

John Cena: But I wanna just get one thing straight. I never went to Linda McMahon and asked for any of this. I've never went runnin' to authority in my life, I will fight night after night, no matter how the odds might be stacked against me. This was her idea, her call to make, but I'm glad she made it. For too long now I've been on the receivin' end of Vince throwin' his stroke around, and I think a Special Guest Referee is the right call to make sure these fans get the match they deserve in Detroit.

Pop…

John Cena: I also wanna say a lil' somthin' to our Guest Referee, whoever he may be. I don't want any favours in this match, I don't want any decisions unfairly goin' my way. All I want is the chance to compete, and for you to call it straight it down the middle. You do your bit, you keep ..... and Shane on the outside, and I'll take care of Bobby Lashley. And as far as I'm concerned... that's the bottom line.

Cena has a cheeky grin on his face as the crowd responds with another pop...

Todd Grisham: Well John, with that in mind, I gotta ask you... do you know who the Special Guest Referee is going to be?

Cena smiles, pursing his lips as he pauses to think…


John Cena: Ah Todd. I just can't answer that man. Don't worry 'bout it though, you, the fans, and everybody else are gonna find out tonight. It's gonna be big... I guran-damn-tee it.

Another knowing reference draws a positive response from the audience, their cheers lingering on as Cena smiles, nods his head at Grisham and leaves the interviewer behind as we cut elsewhere.

To a random backstage room, where sat on a paif of leather couches are Carlito and Torrie Wilson. There is a frosty atmosphere in the air as the pair sit on different couches, although still close enough for the two to make contact with each other. Torrie has her arms folded across her chest, clearly still mad at ‘Lito after last week, while ‘The Caribbean Superstar’ looks very apologetic, head bowed, hands clasped, shaking his head in disappointment at himself…


Carlito: Look Torrie, Carlito – Carlito’s sorry for what almost happened last week. ‘Ju were right. If Carlito had hit Kenny with ‘dat con-chair-to, Carlito would be no better than ‘dat punk… and Carlito knows ‘dis now. All Carlito can say is… sorry.

Softening her stance, Torrie gives ‘Lito a little smile and let’s her hands drops down to her side…

Carlito: ‘Ju know, sometimes Carlito let’s his emotions get the better of ‘im. Carlito hates that way ‘dat punk talks to us. Carlito hates the way ‘dat punks talks to ‘ju. At Wrestlemania, ‘dat Intercontinental Title is gonna be mine, and Kenny’s gonna get his ass kicked Caribbean style! But to get ‘dat… last week Carlito had to stoop pretty low. And Carlito’s sorry for ‘dat.

Forgiving him, Torrie turns to face Carlito, the two now holding hands…

Torrie Wilson: Carlito, last week I saw a side of you I never knew existed. I mean… you were gonna smash his skull in with those steel chairs. You were gonna seriously injure someone all to get your own way. I never knew you could be that way. I never thought you would do such a thing.

Carlito turns his head, half in annoyance at Torrie’s words, but also a sense of regret in his eyes…


Torrie Wilson: I mean, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing last week. I was so angry with you ‘Lito. That wasn’t you, and you know it wasn’t.

Carlito can only nod in agreement…

Torrie Wilson: You have to promise me… and I mean promise… that you’ll never think about doin’ anything like that again.

Carlito holds both of Torrie’s hands in his, staring deep into his girlfriend’s eyes…

Carlito: Carlito promises… ‘dat’ll never happen again.

Relieved, Torrie moves in closer, the two sharing a hug before they separate once more…

Torrie Wilson: Now you get out there tonight and you kick his ass like he deserves!

Carlito is slightly surprised, but very impressed with Torrie’s response…

Carlito: Now ‘dat… ‘dat’s cool!

Torrie giggles as the two hug once more, the embrace lingering on before we head back into the arena, where after a few seconds of silence we hear…

*OBSESSION...*


A decent enough reaction as the Women’s Champion Mickie James bounces out onto the stage, holding her title high in the air as she tries to fire up the crowd. Mickie leads the rest of her team for tonight’s match, Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly, down the ramp, the three divas playing up to the crowd who respond with a series of wolf whistles…


Jim Ross: A tight lipped John Cena there ‘King’, he’s not givin’ anythin’ away with regards to the identity of our Special Guest Referee for Wrestlemania.

Jerry Lawler: J.R., I don’t know if I can wait much longer. I gotta know now, this suspense is killin’ me!

Jim Ross: You’re just gonna have to wait it out ‘King’. Also, great to see the relationship between Carlito and Torrie Wilson looks stronger than ever. But right now, the Women’s Champion Mickie James leads her team into battle in six-diva tag team action.

Jerry Lawler: God, six divas in the ring at one time? I think I’ve just died and gone to heaven J.R.!

*GLAMAZON*


A decent outpouring of heat as Beth Phoenix leads out her team, the powerful blonde purposefully striding down the ramp and leading the way as Victoria and Melina follow a few steps behind…


Jim Ross: She has been dominant since her debut. Beth Phoenix already holds a win over Mickie James in tag team action, and it Wrestlemania, the two former friends, now enemies, are set to collide with the Women’s Championship on the line.

Jerry Lawler: Well nobody can excuse Mickie James of not being a fighting champion. She’s defend that title against Victoria, Melina, any challenger who’s stepped forward, Mickie’s been ready for a fight. But I dunno if she’s gonna be ready for ‘The Glamazon’ at Wrestlemania XXIII. I mean, look at how powerful, how strong Beth Phoenix is. I think she’s the biggest threat Mickie James might ever face, and that’s why I’ve gotta think we’ll have a new Women’s Champion at Wrestlemania.

Match 3: Six Diva Tag Team Match
Women’s Champion Mickie James, Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix, Victoria and Melina

Candice and Victoria kick off the match, with Victoria quickly turning the tie up into standing waistlock. Candice grabs the wrists and twists into a hammerlock, but Victoria rolls forward, sending Candice to the corner. Victoria races in, but Candice avoids the contact, and then takes Victoria down from behind with a backslide... 1... 2.. Victoria kicks out, but Candice quickly jumps on her by again going for the wrist, twisting the arm once more. Victoria is dragged to the face corner, where Candice tags in Mickie, who climbs to the top rope... double axe handle across the arm! Mickie continues to target the arm as she wrenches and twists on it, driving her own shoulder into Victoria’s a few times, only for Victoria to grab a handful of hair, backing Mickie to the heel corner. The referee calls for the break, and when both women provide it, Mickie tries to fight out of the corner, rocking Victoria with a forearm, Beth with an elbow, Melina with a forearm... but then Beth grabs the hair... and painfully yanks Mickie to the mat!

After a few stomps, Melina is tagged in, and she lays in with kicks to the gut, forcing Mickie down to the canvas. Melina then fires Mickie to a neutral corner, but when she follows in, she runs smack into an a back elbow. Mickie then uses the ropes to push herself up, wrapping her legs around Melina’s head... Mick-A-Rana! The champion looks to build momentum, connecting on a pair of running leaping clotheslines before she drags Melina to the face corner and tags in Kelly. With Melina sitting on the mat, Kelly comes off the ropes for a running snapmare, before she picks Melina up and goes for the Irish whip... but Melina reverses... and as Kelly comes off the ropes, Beth drills her with a knee to the spine... allowing Melina to take Kelly up and down with a scoop slam. Phoenix gets the tag, and she looks to punish Kelly with knees to the midsection, forearms to the side of the head, before she again grabs the hair and yanks her opponent to the mat.

As she waits for Kely to rise, Beth charges at the face corner and takes a cheap shot at Mickie, knocking the champion off the apron. Kelly is then subjected to a sidewalk slam for a 2 count, before Victoria is brought back in to do more punishment, connecting on a snap suplex and then a falling neckbreaker before she goes fir a reverse chinlock. Kelly reaches for her corner, but she’s a mile away, but the newcomer does manage to eventually struggle back to her feet... and breaks the hold with a jawbreaker! Both divas are down and crawling for their corners... here comes Melina... and here comes Mickie James! Melina sprints across the ring, but she runs into a shoulder to the midsection from the apron, and then Mickie slingshots into the ring... with a sunset flip! 1... 2... Phoenix makes the save, kicking Mickie in the side of the head... only for Candice to tackle Phoenix to the mat! Both women roll to the outside, and similar happens as Victoria and Kelly start scratching and clawing their way through the ropes.

Melina has the advantage, and she looks to press it home as she fires Mickie to the corner... but she runs into a boot to the face... and then Mickie grabs Melina, pushes herself to the middle rope... for a victory roll! 1... 2... Melina kicks out. Mickie quickens the pace, connecting on a pair of dropkicks that put Melina down, before she climbs to the top rope... flying Lou Thesz Press! Mickie takes Melina down, grabbing her hair to slam her head off the mat, but here comes Phoenix... Mickie cuts her off with a baseball slide! Phoenix crashes back down to the floor, but Melina is up and catches Mickie from behind... and goes for the Primal Scream... no! Mickie twists her way free... but swings and misses with a right hand... allowing Melina to push her to the corner. Once more Melina races in... but again Mickie avoids the contact... and this time she synchs Melina in... for the MICKIE-DT! The champion plants Melina, and with Beth and Victoria still brawling on the outside, she hooks the leg for the easy 1... 2... 3!

Winners: Mickie James, Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly @ 04.49

The losing woes continue for Melina as James grabs the pinfall over her, with Victoria and Beth quickly huddling together on the outside, the outcome of the match the least of their concerns right now. Candice and Kelly join Mickie as they hug in celebration, before the champion steps towards the ropes with her eyes fixated on her Wrestlemania challenger. Phoenix and Victoria slowly start to back up the ramp, with Victoria reassuring Beth that she’ll be victorious at Wrestlemania, while Mickie has a confident glint in her eye as she continues to stare at Phoenix, the camera darting between the two as we cut to a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we’re back from commercial, and it’s to a rather sombre looking announce desk we go to hear from J.R. and ‘King’…


Jim Ross: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Monday Night Raw. As you may have noticed, we’re still without our suspended colleague Joey Styles. Joey was handed a 30 day suspension after an altercation with Mr. McMahon in the ring two weeks ago.

Jerry Lawler: And from what we understand, Joey is tryin’ desperately to fight that suspension, allowing him to return to work and more importantly, call the action at Wrestlemania.

Jim Ross: We hope you’re watchin’ Joey, we’re all rootin’ for ya’! Let’s hope we see you back here on Raw real soon.

A few seconds of silence… until…

"WOOOOO..."

*ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA...*


A tremendous ovation breaks out as Ric Flair enters the arena. Dressed in a sharp shoot, Flair isn’t looking like he’ll compete tonight, although he stills styles and profiles his way down the ramp, giving the crowd an emphatic “Wooooo!” every now and then…


Ric Flair: He is a legend of our business! One of the all-time greats, the sixteen time heavyweight champion… ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. And in thirteen nights, Flair will once again be competin’ at the grandaddy of ‘em all, Wrestlemania!

Jerry Lawler: You think of all the great moments this man has delivered us over the years, all the legendary performances, the outstanding interviews, he’s done it all and he’s done it all with class. But at Wrestlemania, it’s personal between Kennedy and Flair. These two guys hate each other, and I can’t see there bein’ too many classic wrestlin’ moves, I think it’s gonna be a straight up fight!

Jim Ross: Emotions have certainly run high between Flair and Kennedy, but let’s remember what Mr. Kennedy said last Friday night on Smackdown. Kennedy said he had somethin’ big in store for Flair tonight,

Jerry Lawler: Well it certainly doesn’t seem to have gotten to Flair. Look at him, he’s smillin’ from ear to ear! He looks pretty happy with somethin’ right now…

Now in the ring, Flair waits for the roar of the crowd to die down, but he gives them a wave of appreciation and mouths “Thank you” at them. The crowd simmers down, but Flair pauses, soaking in the atmosphere before he brings the mic in his hand to his lips…

Ric Flair: WOOOOO!

Flair sends the crowd into raptures once again, a beaming smile on his face…

Ric Flair: Indianapolis, Indiana… WOOOOO!

WOOOOO!...


Ric Flair: Oh God Gawd almighty, ‘The Naitcha’ Boy’ is feelin’ it tonight! WOOOOO!

WOOOOO!....


Ric Flair: ‘Cause tonight, it’s nights like these that ol’ Naitch’ lives for! Wrestlemania XXIII, Detroit City, thirteen days time, ‘The Naitcha’ Boy’ is stylin’ and profilin’ his way right into Ford Field! WOOOO!

WOOOO!...

Ric Flair: Ya’ can feel it in the air! I KNOW you people can feel it! Wrestlemania, the biggest night in our business is just thirteen days away, and ol’ Naitch’ is gonna prove once again why I’m a limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’ sun of a gun when I teach that no good jackass Mr. Kennedy a thing or two about respect!

Pop…

Ric Flair: But Kennedy and Wrestlemania, I’ll deal with that in a second. As you all know, the night before Wrestlemania is the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony.

A strong round of applause shows the crowd appreciation for the prestigious event…

Ric Flair: Maybe one day, Ric Flair’s name will be included with the legends of this business. Maybe one day! But tonight… we announce the latest inductee into the 2007 Hall of Fame Class. And when ol’ Naitch’ heard who the latest announcement was… I couldn’t sit back there and let it happen. I knew I had to be out here, I just had to announce it to the world. ‘Cause this latest inductee… is a man who I consider one of the very best to ever step into the ring. And… one o’ the best friends a guy could ever have.

A pop rings out as some of the audience catch on…

Ric Flair: A member of the greatest group this business has ever seen. A fellow Horseman!

And now it’s a rousing, loud pop as the rest of the arena catch up…

Ric Flair: Ladies and gentlemen… the latest inductee to the 2007 Hall of Fame… ARN… ANDERSON!!!

*Video Package*

The audio fades in with the sound of galloping horse hooves, and soon the legendary guitar rift of ‘The Four Horsemen Theme’ kicks in...

Narrator: The Four Horsemen were one of the most feared and revered groups in wrestling history...

We now see footage of the original incarnation of The Four Horsemen, as Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson and J.J. Dillon stand in an interview set, all five men holding up four fingers..

Narrator: But for all their style and pizzazz, one man was the very backbone of the organisation...

The camera now focuses solely on Arn, who grimaces and draws a thumb across his throat...

Narrator: ‘The Enforcer’.

Shots of various wrestlers falling victim to the Double-A spinebuster...

Arn Anderson: The Four Horsemen is what’s makin’ the wrestlin’ world go round and round. Don’t ever forget that!

We now see shots of Anderson punishing his opponents alongside Ole Anderson and then Tully Blanchard in tag team action...

Narrator: He was one of the toughest men to ever enter a wrestling ring...

Cut to Anderson and Flair in the ring, both men seething with rage, motioning for an opponent to return to the ring...

Ric Flair: He could beat up anybody. I mean, without Arn Anderson, The Four Horsemen were nothin’. He allowed me to be who I was in the ring.

We now see various shots of Flair and Anderson, Flair as NWA World Heavyweight Champion while Arn holds the NWA World Television Championship...

Narrator: But even the toughest can suffer pain at the hands of an injury.

We now cut to the emotional retirement speech Arn delivered on Nitro...

Arn Anderson: But the fact it is, I got nothin’ left to give. And I want you to remember me as I was, not as I am.

A shot from an interview, where all four of The Horsemen place their hands on top of each other...

Arn Anderson: And for all you people out there, that have ever bought a ticket to see Arn Anderson wrestle, whether ya’ loved me... or ya’ hated me... you knew, that when that bell rang you got all I had that night, whether I won, whether I lost, I gave you everythin’ I had.

Anderson salutes the fans that night, while in the background Flair si close to tears...

Ric Flair: The speech on Nitro that night, for my money, is one of the highlights of his career.

Footage of some of the battles between The Rockers and The Brain Busters...

Shawn Michaels: I loved wrestlin’ Arn Anderson. It was an education each and every night I stepped into the ring with him.

More spinebusters land on various opponents...

Narrator: The WWE Hall of Fame is proud to announce it’s latest inductee...

Once more Anderson grimaces, slowly drawing a thumb across his throat...

Ric Flair: I hope that he’s remembered and held in the highest esteem and the highest level of respect given to anybody that’s been in this business, ‘cause he deserves that.

A solemn image of Anderson walking up the aisle after a match, his back to the camera, hands placed on his hips...

Arn Anderson: And other than be anythin’ but ‘The Enforcer’ in my best friend’s eyes... I’d rather walk away.

Gene Okerland: One of the all-time legends of this sport, ‘The Enforcer’...

Narrator: Arn Anderson!

We now see a picture of Arn, stony faced, four fingers held across his chest, with the Hall of Fame logo nearby. Also on the screen is the fact that Anderson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame by ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair!

*End Video Package*


The arena is on their feet, a boisterous “DOU – BLE – A! DOU – BLE – A!” chant breaking out. In the ring, Flair can’t help but beam with pride, wiping away the odd tear of joy as he nods his head in agreement with the crowd…

Ric Flair: Let ‘im hear it folks, he deserves it!

The chats and claps of the crowd continue, with Flair allowing plenty of time for the fans to show Anderson their appreciation before he uses his hands to motion for quiet…


Ric Flair: Before I leave you to enjoy the rest of the show… I got a lil’ somethin’ I wanna say to Mr. Kennedy. Now Kennedy… you got thirteen days buddy. Thirteen days to run your mouth. Thirteen days to tell everybody how great you are. Thirteen days… ‘til you learn the lesson of a lifetime pal!

The crowd pops for the intensity of Flair…

Ric Flair: You say I don’t respect ya’ ‘cause I want stand aside and let young guys like you take my spot. Well lemme tell ya’ somethin’… I’ve spent the better part of my career teachin’ kids like you what it takes to be ‘The Man’ in this business. Some of ‘em wanna listen and learn. Chris Benoit... he listened and he learned. Dean Malenko... he listened and he learned real good. Randy Orton, Batista, hell, even ‘The Game’ ‘imself, Triple H, they all learned from ‘The Naitcha’ Boy’! One way or another, I helped shape their careers. And at Wrestlemania, whether ya’ like it or not, Kennedy… I’m gonna do the same to you.

Pop…


Ric Flair: They all showed me respect, and I gave it right back, but you Kennedy… you ain’t got an ounce of respect in your whole damn body!

Another pop…


Ric Flair: And that’s why I’m gonna give you exactly what you deserve at Wrestlemania XXIII. You want me to step aside Kennedy? Lemme tall ya’ buddy, I ain’t ready to step aside! Not when I love bein’ in this business! Not when I love entertainin’ these fans! Not when I love givin’ ‘em each – and every – drop o’ blood, sweat and tears in my body each – and every – night! I love what I do! And I ain’t ready to give that up yet! So Kennedy… bring everythin’ ya’ got! Bring it all! Bring the loudmouth, bring the microphone, bring plenty of that bubble gum pal, bring it all! But I promise this, if I die tryin’ to teach it to ya’, you’re gonna learn one thing…

Suddenly the intensity of the moment takes over as Flair rips his jacket from his body, throws it down to the mat, turns, bounces off the ropes and drops an elbow on the jacket…

Ric Flair: That diamonds are forever… and so… is Ri-

A loud, echoing scratch of static takes over, the audio going crazy, just like last Friday night on Smackdown. All eyes turn towards the titan tron, where the screen buzzes and the picture shakes violently. Mass confusion rings out all around the arena… until the tron snaps to black. Flair tries to speak into his microphone, but no sound is heard, the fans booing as nobody seems to have a clue what to say or do…


Suddenly the tron comes back to life, and we see the very grainy, shaky footage of a hand held camera. The camera is pointed at none other than Mr. Kennedy, who is sat in the driver’s seat of a car, sunglasses on, the car speeding down the highway. Kennedy is once again engaged with the mystery cameraman from Smackdown…

Mr. Kennedy: Is it on? Are ya’ sure?

???: Yeah. I’m tellin’ ya’ it’s on.

Mr. Kennedy: Alright good…

Kennedy now turns away from the camera, eyes back focused on the road, acting casual as he guides the car along the road…

Mr. Kennedy: Oh hey! Hey there! I didn’t see ya’ come in. Ric! Ricky baby, how the hell are ya’? Huh? Ya’ doin’ good? Now, obviously I’m not there in the arena tonight. Boo – hoo! BUT… I did make this little video for ya’ champ, just to fill ya’ in on what I’ve been getting’ up to. Now, it’s currently Monday afternoon, and right now I’m drivin’ down Route 61, about an hour or so outside of a lil’ place called Eldon, Mississippi.

Kennedy gives the camera an exaggerated confused look…

Mr. Kennedy: Wait a minute. Eldon, Mississippi? That’s a place you know pretty well huh Ric? Hmmm… I wonder what I’ll find when I get there? Well, we’re gonna leave you right now Ric, but when we get to Eldon, I’ll get back to ya’. See ya’ later Ric!

We briefly cut to static as the camera is switched off, but just as quickly it’s back on again. The car has came to a stop, with the footage rolling once more as Kennedy clambers out of the car. Our mystery cameraman does likewise, and after a few seconds of looking at feet and the ground, the camera is adjusted and we see we’re now in a parking lot, while a big old barn of a building stands in the distance of the background. Slowly Kennedy starts to walk along a path towards said building, talking as he goes…

Mr. Kennedy: Ric, welcome back to Eldon! Now, math was never my strong point in school, but if my calculations are right, and the gopher in the production truck I paid off has done his job right, then you’ll currently be stood in the ring in givin’ some long, ass winded speech about our match at Wrestlemania. But Ric, lately I’m not really feelin’ the whole war of words with ya’ pal. Lately, I’d rather let my actions do the talkin’ for me. And that’s why I’m here right now.

Kennedy carries on up the path, very audibly chewing on a piece of gum...

Mr. Kennedy: Y'see Ric, I really wanted to get to know you man. Find out what really makes you tick. I know about the girls, the partyin', the 'space mountain', I've heard all that crap before. I wanted to find out about the real Ric Flair. The man behind 'The Nature Boy'. And y'know what I found out? Despite the fact you've been married - what is it, three times now? - you're actually quite the family man. And you've always wanted your sons to follow you into the ring. I mean, we all remember your son David. He had a good run back in WCW back in the day. Always seemed to have a lady on his arm too. The apple didn't fall far from the tree, huh Ric?

We now see Kennedy pass by a sign that reads 'Harley Race's Wrestling Academy', the camera focusing on the sign rather than Kennedy for a few seconds...

Mr. Kennedy: And that's why I'm here Ric. Family. 'Cause David wasn't the only one of your sons who followed you into the ring. Oh no. While David may have been the first son... the crown prince is just the other side of this door, trainin', workin' hard every day, hopin' to one day make it into a WWE ring. Maybe even wrestle alongside his old man? Just like his big brother David did.

Kennedy reaches for the handle, opening the door...

Mr. Kennedy: Let's take a look and see how the training's goin'...

Kennedy calmly walks through the door, taking a few steps into the gym. The camera of course follows, and we see a single wrestling ring inside the building, a handful of wrestlers stood in the ring, listening intently to the man himself, Harley Race. Race holds counsel with the students gathered around him, and the camera quickly focuses and zooms in on a young man who we can assume to be Reid Flair. So far, nobody has noticed Kennedy entering the gym, but they soon do as Kennedy scrambles under the bottom rope. Surprised and confused, the students' attention leaves Race and snaps to Kennedy, who simply barges his way into the middle of the circle, pushing Race aside...

Mr. Kennedy: Get outta here old man!

The cameraman steps up onto the apron of the ring, focusing the shot on Kennedy and Reid as Kennedy gets in the youngster's face...

Mr. Kennedy: Reid... is it?

The startled youngster nods his head in acknowledgment...

Mr. Kennedy: I thought as much.

BANG! Kennedy drills Flair with a stiff right hand right to the face! The youngster crumples and drops to the mat instantly, with the rest of the students crying out in protest. Harley Race tries to grab Kennedy and manhandle him, but Kennedy quickly over powers the veteran, drilling him square in the jaw with another right hand. The other students look too scared or confused to get involved, and Kennedy warns them off by grabbing Reid by the hair, dragging him to his feet and shouting "Any of you sons of bitches try anythin' you're next!". The students back off as Kennedy yanks Flair towards the ropes, tossing him through them to the floor below. Kennedy drops down to join Reid, as does our cameraman, and the loudmouth yanks Reid back to his feet by the hair...

Mr. Kennedy: Pass me the bag.

Our cameraman then tosses Kennedy a rucksack, with Kennedy catches and opens. Reaching inside, Kennedy quickly finds what he's looking for... it's the microphone head that drops down from the rafters every week on Smackdown... only it's bloodstained! That's gotta be Ric Flair's blood from when Kennedy busted him open two weeks ago! A few more stiff right hands land to Reid's forehead, before Kennedy lines him up... and drills Flair with the mic head to the skull! Reid collapses to the floor, his body barely moving, but Kennedy is soon down on his level, grabbing Reid by the hair, pulling his head up off the floor, the young man now busted open, blood pouring profusely from his forehead. Holding Reid's face close to his own, Kennedy breaths hard, looking at bloody mess that is now Reid Flair, a sick smile on his face...

Mr. Kennedy: Family Ric. Your golden boy... just got a taste of what I'm gonna do to you at Wrestlemania. But y'know...

Kennedy lets Reid's head drop to the concrete as he returns to his feet...

Mr. Kennedy: It's always funny...

And walks towards the camera, snatching it from whoever is holding it, fumbling around with it...

Mr. Kennedy: When history repeats itself.

And then finally points it towards our mystery cameraman. The shot is fuzzy, but as Kennedy settles down the person comes into focus... David Flair? Reid Flair's older brother David has been the man behind the lens all along! A sick smile on his face, the elder Flair sibling looks at the camera, and then down at his little brother, broken, battered and bruised, the camera taking one last look at the prone body of Reid Flair before the feed it cut and the static takes over once more.


We now cut back to the arena, to see tears running down the face of Ric Flair. Heartbroken at seeing one son beaten to a bloody pulp as he stands in the ring powerless to do anything about it, but at the same time, shock, anger and confusion as he realises his other son watched it all unfold. The tears intensify as Flair's face turns red, he reaching out at the tron, almost desperate to console his son, but coming up with nothing but fresh air...

"I... I can't believe what I just saw."


Flair tries to wipe away the tears, and he finally manages to pull himself together long enough to drop down to the mat, roll under the bottom rope and then race up the ramp. The crowd is stunned, a few boos, but it's mostly hands over mouth in sheer shock...

"God I... words can't describe what Ric Flair is feelin' right now."

The same can be said for the commentators, who offer very little as Flair disappears backstage to the sound of silence as we fade into a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we return to see an incredibly sombre looking Todd Grisham is ready and waiting for another interview...


Todd Grisham: Uh, ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time... the WWE Champion, Shawn Michaels.

Big time heat as the camera pans to reveal Shawn Michaels, the stone-faced WWE Champion being as emotionless as ever. As is the norm these days, Michaels is dressed head to toe in black, the WWE Championship the only bright spot in his persona…

Todd Grisham: And Shawn, with Wrestlemania just thirteen days away, was your attempted attack of Rob Van Dam a case of you tryin’ to send a message to your Wrestlemania opponents? Or was there perhaps something more sinister behind your actions?

Michaels remains blank faced, staring off into the distance, prompting Grisham to point the microphone under Michaels’ mouth…

Shawn Michaels: Sinister, Todd? Shawn Michaels… does not live in sin. But Triple H and Rob Van Dam… their lives are consumed… by sin.

Grisham starts to look uncomfortable, but Michaels presses on…

Shawn Michaels: Do you know what… greed… does to a man, Todd?

Grisham looks at the ground as he shakes his head in response…

Shawn Michaels: Greed… can drive a man to do things he never thought possible. Greed can make a man sense dark parts of his mind, think thoughts he never thought possible. Greed… is a terrible sin. But it’s greed that drives Triple H and Rob Van Dam into Wrestlemania. It’s greed that has consumed their bodies and minds. They speak of revenge, they speak of championships, they speak of hurtin’ ‘Aitch-Bee-Kay, they wanna take their shot at Mr. Wrestlemania on the biggest stage of ‘em all, but they have no idea what those thoughts are doin’ to them. Greed… is gonna eat them up inside.

Michaels pauses, lowering his head, staring at the ground for a few seconds as he chooses his words…

Shawn Michaels: They think their sins will carry them to Wrestlemania and the WWE Championship. But if they’d only open their minds… they’d realise the damage they’re doin’. I know they don’t see it, I understand that. And that’s because they haven’t opened their eyes and saw the light.

Michaels glances at his WWE Championship as he says this, adjusting the strap across his shoulder…

Shawn Michaels: Shawn Michaels… is not a greedy man. I don’t live in sin because I am guided each and every day… by the man upstairs. I’ve saw the light, and that’s what’s gonna guide me into Wrestlemania and beyond as the WWE Champion.

Absolute silence in the arena, nobody quite sure what to make of Michaels’ words…

Shawn Michaels: Rob and Hunter, for whatever reason, don’t want to open their eyes and help themselves. But II can help them. But to help them… I have to break them. And that’s what I was doin’ earlier tonight. You might call it a sinister attack Todd, but in reality, I was my way of helpin’ Hunter. Call it… an intervention.

Michaels now brings his head up, still staring off into the distance…

Shawn Michaels: I’ve been brought this far, I’ve been brought to the WWE Championship, I’ve been brought to countless classic Wrestlemania moments, and I owe it all to one man. And I know… I’ll be blessed with another Wrestlemania moment in thirteen days time. I will leave Detroit as the WWE Champion… ‘cause I know it’s my calling to do so. And since earlier tonight Rob Van Dam wouldn’t let me help Hunter… I’ll just have to break both their wills at Wrestlemania. And perhaps once we leave Detroit, their greed, their… sins… will be clear. And they’ll realise that when you have faith… you have all the power.

Michaels rather robotically turns and faces Grisham for the first time in the entire interview, tipping his cowboy hat in Grisham’s direction before he turns and leaves the scene…

Todd Grisham: Uh… thank – thank you Shawn. The WWE Champion everybody. Shawn – Shawn Michaels.

Grisham fumbles for his words, looking completely perplexed at what he’s just heard, puffing out his cheeks as he exhales a big sigh, shaking his head in total confusion as we head back into the arena.

To hear…

*LOADED…*


The crowd springs back to life as the always popular Jeff Hardy bounces out onto the stage, shaking his hands and his head to the beat of his entrance theme before he finally starts to make his way down the ramp…


Jerry Lawler: What… on… earth is goin’ on with Shawn Michaels? I mean every week we hear from this guy, it just gets more and more bizarre.

Jim Ross: I really worry for Shawn Michaels. That’s not the same Shawn Michaels I remember, that’s not the man these fans used to love. Somethin’ is not right with his mental wellbeing right now. I know it’s his beliefs, I have no problem with that, but some o’ the stuff he’s sayin’… I just don’t understand it ‘King’.

Jerry Lawler: Well, what can you do? What can you say to Shawn to try and get through to ‘im?

Jim Ross: I don’t know. I just… don’t know anymore. Folks, we’re scheduled for tag team action here. There’s Jeff Hardy, one of the eight men who’ll be competin’ in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania XXIII. But tonight, Jeff teams up with Carlito to take on Randy Orton and the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra.

Jerry Lawler: And quite the rivalry has developed between these four men, stretchin’ back over several months now. It was Dykstra who put Hardy on the shelf, but he had a lot of encouragement from Randy Orton when he did it. I’m sure Jeff’s eager to get his hands on Orton, both tonight, and at Wrestlemania.

“I SPIT IN ‘DA FACE OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE COOL…”

*COOL…*


Another solid pop this time for Carlito who walks hand in hand to the ring with Torrie Wilson, the couple looking much more happier than earlier in the evening. Carlito casually tosses his apple in the air with his free hand, plucking it out the air before he starts exchanging words with the ringside crowd…


Jim Ross: There’s the man who will challenge the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra at Wrestlemania. After losin’ the World Tag Team Championships at Saturday Night’s Main Event, Carlito wasted no time in settin’ his sights on Dykstra and the Intercontinental Title.

Jerry Lawler: And not only that, Dykstra’s had plenty to say about Carlito’s girlfriend Torrie in recent weeks. I’m sure ‘Lito would like to smack some sense into young Kenny after what he’s been sayin’. I really hope these two are back on track, they make a great couple. I’d hate to see them break up over a disagreement involvin’ that idiot Dykstra.

"HEY!..."

*BURN IN MY LIGHT...*


Strong heat welcomes the arrival of Randy Orton and Kenny Dykstra, the pair looking confident as they stride down the ramp towards the ring. Neither man has much time for the crowd, as Dykstra follows Orton’s lead in remaining focused on the two opponents in the ring. Orton methodically enters the ring, although Dykstra spots Torrie on the outside, giving her an arrogant smirk before he steps through the ropes…


Jim Ross: For my money, Randy Orton has to be considered one of the favorites in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. He’s been a heavyweight champion in the past, and he’s started 2007 in determined fashion to get back to the top of the mountain. I think grabbin’ that briefcase could be his ticket to becomin’ a champion once more.

Jerry Lawler: Lemme ask ya’ somethin’. Do you think Orton’s partnership with Kenny Dykstra could be a distraction for ‘The Legend Killer’ at Wrestlemania? I mean, we’ve heard week after week about how Orton feels Kenny keeps makin’ mistakes. If Orton’s too busy tryin’ to cover for those mistakes, he might not have his eyes on the prize.

Jim Ross: That’s a great point ‘King’. The message from Orton was perfectly clear earlier this evenin’. No mistakes. I hope for Kenny’s sake, he doesn’t make one…

Match 4: Tag Team Match
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra and Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy and Carlito w/ Torrie Wilson

Orton and Hardy are the two men who step forward to kick off the match, an intense look on Orton’s face as he steps forward. The two engage in an aggressive tie up, both men jockeying for position, before Orton works Jeff into a standing side headlock. Hardy forces Orton into the ropes, only for Orton to bowl Jeff over with a shoulderblock. Orton then turns and comes off the ropes, but Jeff drops face first onto the mat to avoid the contact, then springs back to his feet… hiptoss puts Orton down! Jeff now strings together a series of right hands, and when Orton swings and wildly misses, Jeff takes advantage with the sitout jawbreaker and then a clothesline that puts Orton down for a 2 count. Jeff stomps down on Orton to get him grounded, before he connects with the double legdrop to the midsection. Again Jeff strikes with right hands, but when he tries for an Irish whip, Orton hangs on, twists… and drops Jeff with the inverted headlock backbreaker. Jeff stays down, allowing Orton to crawl to his corner to tag in Kenny. The Intercontinental Champion lays in with kicks and boots to the chest that force Hardy to the corner, where Kenny starts laying in with right hands to the face. Dykstra then sends Jeff for the ride, but when he follows in, Jeff elevates himself over Kenny and lands behind him… dropkick smacks Dykstra into the turnbuckle and down to a seated position! Kenny rests his head against the turnbuckle, but Hardy quickens the pace by charging in… but before he can connect on anything, Kenny rolls under the bottom rope to the outside. Dykstra rolls out near the announce desk, which just so happens to be perpendicular to the face corner… and of course that means Torrie Wilson is stood nearby. Kenny sees Torrie is close at hand, and the ever arrogant youngster can’t help but have a few words in Wilson’s direction… but that means he doesn’t see Carlito drop down from the apron, spin Kenny around… and tag him with a big right hand! Dykstra hits the floor, but the referee sticks his head out from inside the ring and barks for ‘Lito to back away. Carlito holds his hands up and head back to his corner, but as Kenny struggles back to his feet, Jeff is waiting… to take Kenny down with a plancha!

Hardy flies through the air to take down Kenny, and after a few right hands to the face, he rolls the youngster into the ring and hooks the leg for a 2 count. Carlito gets the tag, and he takes the fight to Dykstra, snapping the champion’s head back with a string of right hands, then delivers a few kicks to the chest as Dykstra is down on his knees. Kenny is yanked into the face corner, where ‘Lito unloads with a flurry of stinging knife edge chops, letting out a lot of the f...tration he has towards Kenny, before a standing dropkick gains Carlito a 2 count. More chops and right hands land against the ropes, before Carlito goes for the Irish whip… but Kenny reverses… ‘Lito jumps to the second rope for a springboard back elbow… only for Dykstra to drill ‘Lito in mid air with a dropkick! Carlito’s entire body snaps with the force of changing direction mid flight, and his neck and head take a nasty thump as they strike the canvas. Dykstra is still reeling after the punishment he’s taken, but after he angrily drives his knee to the back of Carlito’s neck over and over again, he relents and tags in Orton. ‘The Legend Killer’ steps through the ropes and is calculated in his assault, targeting the neck as he connects with a falling neckbreaker for a near fall. After Orton stomps his way around Carlito’s body, plenty of uppercuts cause Carlito’s head to snap back, before a falling clothesline puts Carlito down for another 2 count.

Orton and Dykstra make plenty of tags as they seek to wear ‘Lito down, insolating him from Jeff in the process. Orton gains a near fall from a full nelson slam, while Dykstra comes close to victory after a snap swinging neckbreaker. Orton is back in, and he looks on that trademark wrenching chinlock of his in an attempt to further damage Carlito’s neck. ‘Lito tries to fight it, but Orton wrenches the hold on tight, not giving ‘Lito much chance of escape. After being in the hold for a good while, Carlito is able to work back to a seated position, and then back to his feet, where he strikes with a series of elbows to the midsection that loosen Orton’s grip. Carlito turns and comes off the ropes… only for Dykstra to pull down the top rope, low bridging Carlito and seeing him crash over the top rope to the floor! The crowd boo the dastardly tactics of young Kenny, but the Intercontinental Champion is the picture of innocence as the referee confronts him. Determined to make it back into the match, Carlito has to drag himself back onto the apron… only for Orton to grab ‘Lito by the hair, yank him through the ropes… and into the rope-hung DDT! It’s gotta be over as Orton rolls Carlito over for the 1… 2… ‘Lito gets a foot on the bottom rope! Orton can’t believe it as Carlito stays alive, and he responds by pounding ‘Lito with wild forearms to the back of the head. Dykstra gets the tag, and he enters the ring by paying Carlito back with a few knife edge chops against the corner, before he muscles Carlito up into a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Kenny keeps ‘Lito in position with a few stiff right hands to the face, before he then grabs a handful of hair and pulls Carlito into position… for the same move that helped him pin Jeff to become Intercontinental Champion… the top rope spike DDT… no! Desperately Carlito swings right hands, knocking Kenny away, before he stands himself on the top rope… DIVING SUMMERSAULT NECKBREAKER!

Carlito takes a huge risk, but it pays off as he’s able to drive Dykstra to the mat, but now both men are down and crawling for their corners… here comes Orton… and here comes Hardy! Both men storm the ring, with Orton swinging a clothesline… Jeff avoids it with a baseball slide… then takes Orton down with a sitout inverted suplex slam! Dykstra tries to get back involved, but he once again runs into a dropkick that knocks him into a seated position in the corner. Jeff charges in… and this time connects on the Hardyac Arrest! Dykstra rolls outside, allowing Jeff to go back to Orton, rocking him with right after right that backs Orton to the corner. Jeff sends Orton for the ride to the opposite corner, but Orton reverses… Jeff runs the turnbuckle… and comes back down with the whisper in the wind! Jeff crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Kenny makes the save! Dykstra hits the ring and then quickly steps back into his corner, holding his hand out for the tag. Orton brings Kenny into the match, and he quickly climbs to the top rope, as he sees Jeff in the perfect spot… only for Carlito to clothesline Orton… and both of them fall to the floor! Kenny saw ‘Lito coming though, and he smartly crouches on the top turnbuckle to avoid losing his balance. Now with the other two competitors out of the way, Dykstra stands on the top turnbuckle… only for Torrie to jump up onto the apron! Dykstra screams at Torrie to get off the apron, but Wilson stands firm, doing her best to buy the faces some time. Enraged, Dykstra abandons the top rope, dropping down to the canvas to confront Torrie. Dykstra again demands that Torrie stand down, but when Torrie doesn’t budge, the youngster gets cocky, taunting Torrie, blowing air kisses in Torrie’s direction… SO TORRIE SLAPS KENNY ACROSS THE FACE! Dykstra is stunned, grabbing his cheek in pain, and in the confrontation with Torrie he doesn’t realise that Carlito has snuck back into the ring behind him… Kenny stumbles backwards… into the BACKSTABBER! Carlito plants Dykstra, and now Jeff is climbing to the top rope… to finish Kenny off with the SWANTON BOMB!! Hardy connects, and as he crawls into the cover, Orton can only watch on in disgust as the referee counts the 1… 2… 3!

Winners: Jeff Hardy and Carlito @ 08.28

This time Dykstra really did let himself be distracted, and it’s cost him as Jeff picks up the win for his team. Orton is furious as he storms up the ramp, not even bothering to drag Kenny from the ring, instead he simply heads for the back, unable to even look at Dykstra such is the anger he’s feeling right now. Jeff and Carlito celebrate along with Torrie, who looks down at Kenny with a smile on her face, as Raw’s golden couple hug in triumph, while the Intercontinental Champion is down and out as we head for a commercial.

*Commercial*


And we return to a furious backstage scene, where Kenny Dykstra has caught up with Randy Orton, desperately trying to plead his case. Orton however doesn’t want to hear it, as he keeps walking along a corridor, a irate scowl on his face, kicking and knocking things over as he goes…


Kenny Dykstra: Randy! Hey, Randy will ya’ – will ya’ stop!?

Orton finally relents, snapping his head around, catching Dykstra off guard as the two nearly go head to head…

Randy Orton: I TOLD YOU! I warned you, no mistakes! And what the hell do you do!? You get distracted, AGAIN!

Kenny turns away, unable to look Orton in the eye…

Randy Orton: Well that’s IT! I’ve had IT! You and me, we are FINISHED!

This draws a pop from inside the arena, although Dykstra’s jaw nearly hits the floor…

Kenny Dykstra: But – but…

Randy Orton: But NOTHIN’! Get the hell outta my sight!

Orton then turns and storms off once more, leaving a perplexed and stunned looking Dykstra behind. Kenny clutches tight at his Intercontinental Title, holding it, almost caressing it, a worried look in his eyes, the camera remaining focused on the troubled champion as we cut elsewhere.

And it’s to the interview set we go to see the ever chirpy Maria


Maria: Hi! I’m Maria! And I want you all to say hi to my guests at this time… The Hart Legacy!

A warm welcome as the camera pans to show us The Hart Legacy stood to the right hand side of Maria. Natalya Niedhart stands closest to the microphone, while Tyson Kidd is all smiles infront of the determined looking Harry Smith

Maria: And guys, your first two weeks on Raw, and you’ve picked up two impressive tag team victories. But last week, after your victory over The Redneck Wrecking Crew, Cade and Murdoch decided to attack you after the bell. That can’t have made you guys happy.

Natalya grimaces, shaking her head…


Natalya Niedhart: You’re right Maria, that didn’t make us happy at all. Infact, I know it made Harry and Tyson really angry. Y’see, growin’ up in the Hart family and trainin’ in the dungeon, we learned to leave it all in the ring. We were taught to give everythin’ you’ve got, then at the end of the match, win, lose or draw, you respect your opponents afterwards. But maybe Cade and Murdoch felt that because we’re young and we’re new, they didn’t have to show us any respect. Well if they’re not gonna show us any respect… Harry and Tyson are just gonna have to beat it outta them!

The arena responds with a good pop as Tyson steps forward…

Tyson Kidd: We know we’re newcomers around here. And we know we gotta pay or dues. We got no problem with that. But we got a problem with guys treatin’ us like a bunch o’ punks, especially after we just beat ‘em. So Cade ‘n’ Murdoch, anytime you guys want a rematch… you got it!

Pop…


Natalya Niedhart: We might be new, but we’re not gonna let anybody treat us the way Cade ‘n’ Murdoch did last we-

???: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on ‘ere lil’ missy!

The camera now pans left to show us The Redneck Wrecking Crew have entered the scene. Some decent heat greets the arrival of Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, with Murdoch grabbing Maria’s hand, forcing her to hold the microphone under his mouth…


Trevor Murdoch: Y’know, for a bunch o’ wet behind the ears kids, you sure like to talk pretty loud. But what y’all gotta realise is that we ain’t about ta’ be upstaged by no uppity young-uns. Ain’t that right Lance?

Lance Cade: This here’s the WWE. This here’s Monday Night Raw. We don’t take too kindly to young-uns who don’t show the veterans no respect, and you damn sure didn’t show us none last week!

All three of the Hart’s stare at each other, not quite believing what they’re hearing…

Trevor Murdoch: Now we know you’re new here, so that’s why me ‘n’ Lance cut ya’ll a lil’ slack last week. That’s why we didn’t kick yo’ asses back out the door back up to Calgary where ya’ came from. But you don’t start showin’ us a lil’ o’ that respect y’all are talkin’ about…

Murdoch steps forward, getting in Natalya’s face, although the young diva doesn’t back down…

Trevor Murdoch: Then we might have ta’ finish what we started.

This comment angrily draws Harry Smith forward, although Tyson manages to step infront of his partner, stopping the potential altercation…

Trevor Murdoch: Easy there big fella! You don’t want this ta’ get ugly.

Lance Cade; Think about what we said… and then think twice before steppin’ in the ring with us again.

Cade and Murdoch both slowly back away, their eyes still fixated on Smith, Kidd and Niedhart, who simply fume with anger, although all three bite their lips on this occasion, instead the just glare as they watch ‘The Crew’ leave while we cut back into the arena.

And after a few seconds silence, we hear…

*ONE OF A KIND…*


An incredible pop breaks out for Rob Van Dam, who excites the crowd as he steps out on the stage. Van Dam walks back and forth across the stage, firing up the fans, before he leads the crowd in a chant of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” and then heads for the ring…


Jim Ross: He’s a one time WWE Champion, but he’s never main evented a Wrestlemania. Thirteen days time, at Wrestlemania XXIII, Rob Van Dam fulfils one of the aims he’s been strivin’ for his entire career. But can he live the dream by winnin’ the WWE Championship?

Jerry Lawler: Unless he realises that it’s every man for himself, and you gotta take every advantage you can get, then no, I don’t think he can. I think Triple H is right. The reason he’s been a heavyweight champion so many times is ‘cause he’s so damn ruthless! He takes every opportunity he can get, he never lets a chance to win slip by. I know Rob Van Dam wants to win with no excuses, but it’s the WWE Championship we’re talkin’ about here. You can’t afford to show any sign of weakness.

Van Dam climbs to the second ropes, again leading the crowd in a chant of his name, before he drops down to the mat. Looking cool and calm, Van Dam shakes his hands loose and paces the ring, awaiting the arrival of…

*DEATH GRIP…*


Always intimidating, Mike Knox strides down the ramp, those long legs of his eating up the steel in no time. Knox has an evil scowl on his face, and he waists no time in stepping up the stairs and through the ropes…


Jim Ross: He may not have won a lotta matches since arriving here on Raw, but one thing you’re guaranteed from Mike Knox is that he will punish his opponent to a degree that many can’t stand up to.

Jerry Lawler: You’ll certainly never forget bein’ in a match with this guy. I think he’s borderline psychotic. I mean, sometimes it’s like the outcome of the match doesn’t matter to ‘im, he just wants to hurt you. This is gonna be far from easy for ‘RVD’ tonight.

Match 5:
Rob Van Dam
vs. Mike Knox

With Van Dam giving up so much size to Knox, it’s no surprise that as Knox steps forward, ‘RVD’ avoids an initial tie up and instead starts laying in with kicks to Knox’s thighs and midsection. Knox creates some separation then goes back in with a clothesline, but Van Dam ducks underneath, and again puts those educated feet to work... but Knox catches a kick... and shoves Van Dam to the corner. Knox then charges in for a splash, but Van Dam dives to safety, before he rocks Knox with a kick to the head. Knox is against the turnbuckle, and Van Dam drills him with two turnbuckle th...ts, then handsprings back... and charges in for a third turnbuckle th...t! A pair of forearms to the side of the head follow, before Van Dam fires Knox across the ring... then goes for Rolling Thunder towards Knox... to then fire him out of the corner with a monkey flip! Knox is dazed as he stumbles to the nearest corner, but ‘RVD’ stays on the attack, slugging Knox with a pair of right hands before he goes for the Irish whip... Knox reverses and follows in... Van Dam gets a boot up to the face! Knox staggers away as Van Dam props himself onto the second ropes... diving superkick! Knox is down, Van Dam hooks the leg... 1... 2... Knox kicks out.

And as soon as he does so, Knox rolls outside, f...trated at how the early stages of the match have gone as he angrily kicks the steel steps. Looking away from the ring as he shakes off the cobwebs, Knox doesn’t see Van Dam approach... to fly through the air with a plancha! Van Dam takes Knox down on the outside, and after drilling Knox with a few right hands, he rolls the big guy back into the ring, following in to hook the leg for a near fall. Knox makes it back to his knees, but Van Dam snaps him with a kick to the side of the head, then slings himself up to the top rope. Taking a look over his shoulder, Van Dam seems to be lining himself up for a moonsault... but he doesn’t see that Knox is back on his feet... to shove Van Dam off the turnbuckle... and flying into the barricade! ‘RVD’ crashes and burns to the floor, with Knox quickly out to take advantage, as he scoops Van Dam up and drops him throat first across the top of the barricade before he yanks ‘RVD’ back into the ring. After a near fall, Knox looks to string together some offence, starting with a short-arm clothesline, before he places Van Dam’s throat across the middle rope, applying pressure to choke ‘RVD’. Knox then races off the opposite ropes... and drops the leg across the back of the neck, forcing Van Dam’s throat against the ropes! Van Dam coughs and splutters, and after Knox drops an elbow, Van Dam barely kicks out at 2.

A slugfest breaks out as Van Dam tries to fight back, but a big knee to the midsection ends it, with Knox pushing ‘RVD’ to the corner to pummel him with right hands, knocking Van Dam down to the mat. Knox now starts hitting high impact moves, rocking Van Dam with a double underhook suplex, then a hard Irish whip to the corner followed in with a big splash, before he fires Van Dam off the ropes into a big boot to the face for a near fall. Knox looks to crank up the pressure as he locks on a grounded reverse chinlock, trying to wear Van Dam down. The crowd makes some noise, and Van Dam is able to fight back to his feet, landing a pair of elbows to the midsection, only for Knox to push Van Dam off the ropes... and swing with a clothesline... that Van Dam avoids. ‘RVD’ puts on the breaks, but as Knox turns he goes for a kick to the gut... Van Dam catches the foot... step-over spinning wheel kick! Knox goes down, but he’s right back up as Van Dam tries to quicken the pace by coming off the ropes... and ducking a clothesline... spinning wheel kick! Van Dam now looks to string together some offence, connecting on forearm after forearm, only for Knox to fire back with a knee to the gut. Knox sends Van Dam to the corner, and then follows in... right into an elbow to the face. Van Dam slings with the ropes... springboard roundhouse kick! Van Dam goes for the cover... 1... 2... Knox rolls the shoulder!

Van Dam has all the momentum now, and he looks to press it home as he tries to send Knox to the corner... but again Knox reverses, and follows in... Van Dam hits a drop-toe-hold... and Knox smacks face first off the middle turnbuckle! Knox stumbles back to his feet... roundhouse kick puts him down! Sensing a chance to quicken the pace, Van Dam comes off the ropes... rolling thunder... no! Knox rolls to safety, and he’s already on his feet as Van Dam staggers up... BICYCLE KICK! Knox damn near takes Van Dam’s head off, and he drops into the cover... 1... 2... Van Dam gets the shoulder up! Knox can’t believe it as Van Dam stays in the match! Knox is furious as he gets back on his feet, shouting at the referee, but it’s still only a 2 count. Looking to put Van Dam away, Knox drags him to his feet... and synchs ‘RVD’ in... Knox Out... NO! Van Dam desperately kicks away at Knox’s head, breaking himself free, allowing him to come off the ropes... one-handed bulldog! Knox is down, and in perfect position as Van Dam slings himself to the top rope, poising himself, waiting to fly... but before he can go for the frog splash, Knox shoves the referee into the ropes, crotching Van Dam on the top turnbuckle! Van Dam groans in pain, but Knox is already joining him upstairs... SUPERPLEX! Knox and Van Dam fly through the air, and although initially he can’t take advantage, eventually Knox is able to drag himself over to make the cover... 1... 2... somehow Van Dam kicks out!

Knox can’t believe, head in his hands, holding three fingers to the referee, but only getting two in response. Dragging himself and Van Dam up, Knox looks to finally finish Van Dam off as he once more synchs Van Dam in... KNOX OUT... NO! Van Dam throws his legs up, wrapping them around Knox’s head... and using a headscissors to force Knox into the ropes! Van Dam springs back to his feet just as Knox turns... and catches a Van Dam kick to the midsection... but Van Dam steps over... and connects with a mule kick! Knox is down, and Van Dam moves quickly to sling himself to the top rope... turn... and then fly... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH!! Van Dam gets all of it, and after taking a few second to grab his ribs, he flops into the lateral press for the 1... 2... 3!

Winner: Rob Van Dam @ 10.12

A good win for ‘RVD’, sending a strong message to his opponents ahead of Wrestlemania. Van Dam clutches his ribs, selling the effects of the match, but he’s soon back on his feet to have his hand raised high in the air by the refe-

BANG!

Van Dam has his head kicked off his shoulders… by SHAWN MICHAELS!

The WWE Champion slipped into the ring behind Van Dam’s back and just smacked him with the sweet chin music! The crowd absolutely shits all over Michaels’ actions, with ‘HBK’ now standing over Van Dam, the distant look in his eyes as he stares down at one of his Wrestlemania opponents. Van Dam barely moves, unable to stir, prompting Michaels to feel his message has been sent as he calmly tips his hat in Van Dam’s direction and then turns to leave… only for Van Dam to somehow be able to drag his head off the canvas.

Despite all the punishment he took during the match, Van Dam is somehow stirring, trying to struggle back to his feet. Michaels sees this… stops, pausing to think… and then heads for the corner… and for the first time since his heel turn… he starts stomping his foot on the mat! The crowd boos vociferously, knowing exactly what’s coming as Michaels slowly stomps away. Michaels stomps… and stomps… and the crowd start screaming… “TRI – PLE – H! TRI – PLE - H! Sensing Van Dam is in trouble, the referee tries to talk him into staying down on the mat and waiting for medical assistance, but Van Dam is determined to pull himself up using the ropes. Michaels now gathers pace, but the crowd continues their chant… and their persistence is rewarded as racing down the ramp comes Triple H!!

‘The Game’ sprints down the aisle, but Michaels is already on the move… SWEET CHIN –… Michaels pauses as Triple H enters the ring… ‘The Game’ hammers Michaels with a clothesline! Triple H makes the save for Rob Van Dam! The arena comes unglued as Triple H comes through in the clutch, with Michaels quickly rolling and stumbling under the bottom rope. Michaels is flustered on the outside, with Triple H not paying any attention to Van Dam, instead he continues to stare at Michaels and motions for him to get back in the ring. The crowd continue to roar their approval, but for the second time this evening, Michaels is forced to backtrack, slowly backing up the ramp to towards the stage. Van Dam is finally back on his feet, looking dazed and confused, but as ‘The Game’ turns towards Van Dam, the tension between the two is once again very much evident as they stare at each other intently. Triple H wears that scowl on his face, but as Van Dam stumbles towards him, ‘The Game’ appears to soften a wee bit… until he drills Van Dam with a boot to the midsection… PEDIGREE!!

An incredibly loud, mixed reaction breaks out, the crowd unsure as to how to react as Triple H emphatically plants Van Dam! At the top of the stage, Michaels for once shows some emotion, looking down at his two Wrestlemania opponents with a devilish smirk on his face as lies Van Dam flat out in the centre of the ring. Triple H gets back on his feet, taking a look down at Van Dam, before he then once more stares at Michaels…


Jerry Lawler: He told ya’ J.R.! DTA! Don’t t...t anybody!

Jim Ross: What a combustible situation this is! Michaels, Van Dam and ‘The Game’, on a collision course for Wrestlemania XXIII! These three are about ready to explode, and it’s gonna be every man for ‘imself!

The crowd continues their cacophony of cheers and boos, while an incredibly tense staredown between Michaels and Triple H breaks out, neither man showing any fear, both men looking determined ahead of Wrestlemania, while Rob Van Dam has saw one of weaknesses exploited by ‘The Cerebral Assassin’.

*Commercial*


*Video Package*

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*


Jim Ross: That’s right folks, Wrestlemania XXIII, less than two –weeks – away! We will live on pay per view from Detroit, Michigan, Ford Field is sold out, with over 70,000 fans from all over the world live in attendance for ‘The Showcase of the Immortals.’

Jerry Lawler: Oh boy I can’t wait! I’m excited for Wrestlemania every year, but I’m even more excited for this year if that could even be possible! You and me J.R., we’re bein’ inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame!

Jim Ross; Certainly a huge honour, no doubt it’ll be a very humbling occasion. I still can’t quite believe it’s actually gonna happen. And I’m sure the rest of the 2007 Class feel the same way. And what a class it is! ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes, ‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Hennig, ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart, celebrity inductee Mr. T, earlier tonight we found out that ‘Double A’ Arn Anderson would also be inducted, and then of course, myself Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

Jerry Lawler: And J.R., from what I understand, the final inductee of the 2007 Hall of Fame Class is gonna be announce next week, live on Raw!

Jim Ross: It’s gonna be an unbelievable night, a very emotional Saturday night, the night before Wrestlemania. But then the next night, it’s the lights, the drama, and the pageantry of Wrestlemania! So much excitement, so much to look forward to, and there’ll be plenty o’ excitement durin’ the eight man Money in the Bank Ladder Match. CM Punk, Johnny Nitro, Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy from Monday Night Raw compete with Smackdown’s King Booker, ‘MVP’, Chris Benoit and the final man to qualify, ‘The Big Red Machine’ Kane.

Jerry Lawler: I love those Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, they’re like a train wreck every year! But it’s not just about bein’ a high flyer or a risk taker, experience will also play a part. Half the field have been WWE or World Heavyweight Champion in the past, half the field haven’t. And for me, Kane, King Booker, Chris Benoit and Randy Orton have a big advantage goin’ into the match up.

Jim Ross: It’s a great point ‘King’. But don’t count out the young guns in the match. Guys like Jeff Hardy and CM Punk are willin’ to push their bodies to the absolute limit to make a name for themselves and grab that briefcase. And remember folks, in the two years of Money in the Bank, the man who grabbed the briefcase has gone on to become WWE Champion. It could be time for Punk, Hardy, ‘MVP’ or Nitro to take that step to their first heavyweight championships. And another man seeking his first championship in the WWE is Smackdown’s Bryan Danielson. Since arriving here in the WWE, Danielson has made Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms his number one target, they’ll meet at Wrestlemania with the gold on the line!

Jerry Lawler: I’m a big fan of the cruiserweight division J.R., such a different contrast of styles across the board. But at Wrestlemania, I don’t think we’ll se a lotta high flyin’, it’ll be a hard hittin’, technical clinic between those two. Danielson arrived with a lotta hype, and so far he’s lived up it, he just can’t seem to get the better of Gregory Helms so far. Helms may have had Bryan’s number in their previous encounters, but I think that’s all about to change when we get to Detroit!

Jim Ross: I like this kid Danielson, he’s made me one impressed Oklahoman since he arrived in the WWE. But from one impressive man, to four guys who for my money have the potential to steal the show. It’s the tag team showcase, it’s Raw versus Smackdown, it’s champions against champions! The WWE Tag Team Champions, Smackdown’s Brian Kendrick and Paul London take on Raw’s World Tag Team Champions, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, with braggin’ rights on the line for both.

Jerry Lawler: You think of some of the legendary tag team battles we seen at Wrestlemania over the years, this one has the potential to be right up there with ‘em. I gotta admit though, I’m not sure who I’m gonna be cheerin’ for to win! I mean, bein’ a Raw guy, part of me wants to see Haas and Benjamin win, but on the other hand, I can’t stand the arrogance of those two. Either way, I’m sure it’s gonna be one helluva match. A Wrestlemania classic in waitin’ if ya’ ask me.

Jim Ross: Four incredible athletes, four tremendous competitors, we’ll see which team truly is the best in the WWE in thirteen days time. But one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns is the battle between John Cena and Bobby Lashley. For months Mr. McMahon has terrorised John Cena, and it was Bobby Lashley who emerged as Vince’s hand picked opponent for Cena. A true test of power if ever there was one.

Jerry Lawler: Well so far, every step of the way, Mr. McMahon has held the advantage. He’s abused his authority and power to his advantage, keepin’ one step ahead of Cena. But thanks to Linda McMahon, a Special Guest Referee is set to be appointed, and we’re gonna find out who that is durin’ tonight’s contract signing! And I have a sneaky feelin’ that the odds are gonna be a little bit more even once we reach Detroit.

Jim Ross: I can’t wait for that contract signin’ tonight, that’s could get outta hand in a hurry! But another match that has the potential to break out into an all out war is The Undertaker takin’ on Umaga. The most famous streak in all of sports, The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak is on the line, and never before has ‘The Phenom’ faced such a threat like ‘The Samoan Bulldozer’. Can Umaga be the man to finally end ‘The Streak’?

Jerry Lawler: I’ve never seen anybody like Umaga in the ring. kIt’s just incredible the power, the fury, the savageness that monster can bring to the square circle. He can do incredible amounts of damage in the ring, but The Undertaker has always seemed impervious to pain. But now… I’m not so sure. I can’t ever remember goin’ into Wrestlemania thinkin’ ‘The Streak’ was in such jeopardy. But let’s not forget, Umaga has his own undefeated streak on the line too. He’s never been pinned, he’s never been forced to submit, and I can’t see that changin’ anytime soon.

Jim Ross: Mere mortals have struggled to even get Umaga off his feet, never mind pin his shoulders to the mat. It’s gonna be an absolute slobberknocker, I guarantee it! One of the most personal rivalries I can ever remember, certainly the most in the history of the Diva’s division is that between Mickie James and Beth Phoenix. Two long-time friends, turned bitter enemies, they’ll do battle at Wrestlemania for the Women’s Championship.

Jerry Lawler: They used to be best friends, they trained together, they travelled to shows together, they even shared an apartment together! But a freak injury that cost Beth the chance of a WWE contract has turned into a bitter, jealous rivalry between the two. I don’t think they’ll ever settle their differences, but they’ll sure as hell try beat the heck outta each other in thirteen days time!

Jim Ross: The United States Champion Finlay has always been considered one of the toughest competitors in the world, as seen durin’ the hellacious Belfast Brawl at Saturday Night’s Main Event. But at Wrestlemania, Finlay’ll have to rely on his wrestling skills as he defends his title against Matt Hardy.

Jerry Lawler: And what a big opportunity this is for Matt Hardy. Never before in his career has Matt had a chance like this, the chance to compete for singles gold at Wrestlemania. We both know how determined Matt is to prove himself on the grandest stage, but what a tall order it is to try get past Finlay. It won’t be easy, but I know how focused Hardy is, how hard he’s workin’ to be ready for the biggest opportunity of his career, and I think he’s got what it takes to become a champion.

Jim Ross: Certainly a tough ask for Matt to get it done. I spoke earlier about how personal the rivalry between Beth Phoenix and Mickie James was, but after what I seen earlier in the broadcast, I don’t think anythin’ can come close to bein’ as personal as the match between Mr. Kennedy and Ric Flair.

Jerry Lawler: What a horrible, sickenin’ attack on young Reid Flair by Kennedy, and not only that, but Reid’s big brother David Flair was the man who filmed it all! I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seein’, it was absolutely disgustin’. I mean, what on earth could Kennedy have said that would make David Flair want to be involved in a heinous act like that? It just doesn’t make sense.

Jim Ross: Hopefully Friday night on Smackdown, we’ll get a few answers. Kennedy has certainly taken things to a new low tonight. The Intercontinental Championship will also be us for grabs. The young, cocky, brash champion, Kenny Dykstra, who seems to have some kind of infatuation with Torrie Wilson, the girlfriend of the challenger, Carlito.

Jerry Lawler: And as we saw earlier tonight, that infatuation as you put it, it cost Kenny his match. I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with Randy Orton. If Kenny wants to stay Intercontinental Champion, he better stop thinkin’ about Torrie Wilson and start focusin’ on Carlito, or we’re gonna have ourselves a new Intercontinental Champion.

Jim Ross: The 2007 Royal Rumble winner was none other than ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ Edge. Edge made his choice, chalengin’ the World Heavyweight Champion Batista. Edge and ‘The Animal’ will collide, but lately, it certainly seemed at first as if Edge regretted his decision.

Jerry Lawler: Well for a while, Edge seemed to duck Batista at every opportunity. A lotta people started sayin’ that quite frankly, Edge was scared of ‘The Animal’. But all that changed last Friday night when Edge nailed Batista with a devastating one man con-chair-to. We went off the air last Friday night to the sight of Edge standin’ tall over Batista, but I know ‘The Animal’ is gonna be back for more this Friday, and Edge might be forced to finally stand toe to toe with Batista.

Jim Ross: And last, but certainly not least, not in any way, for the first in Wrestlemania history, the WWE Championship will be defended in a triple threat situation. The WWE Champion Shawn Michaels defends the most prestigious prize in all of sports entertainment against ‘The Game’ Triple H and ‘Mr. Monday Night’ Rob Van Dam.

Jerry Lawler: The Raw main event featurin’ three of the biggest superstars in WWE history. We’ve know all about the history between Michaels and Triple H, but they’ve been to the top of the mountain plenty of times in the past. Rob Van Dam, he’s never main evented a Wrestlemania. It’s an incredible opportunity for ‘RVD’, but after what we’ve seen tonight, I really have to wonder if Rob has the mental fortitude to win at Wrestlemania. Right now, I’m goin’ for Triple H, he’s my favourite.

Jim Ross: It’s gonna be a night to remember folks. The biggest Wrestlemania in WWE history, live on pay per view in just thirteen days! You won’t wanna miss this one folks, I promise ya’ that!

A few seconds of silence, no doubt to let the commentary team recover, before we hear...

*MY TIME IS NOW...


A thunderous out pouring of cheers, with as always, that share of boos, as John Cena bursts onto the stage. Cena stops at the top of the ramp, gives the crowd a strong salute, before he sprints down the ramp and slides into the ring...


Jim Ross: But it’s now that time folks! The contract signing between John Cena and Bobby Lashley is up next, where the Special Guest Referee will be revealed! Join us when we return to Monday Night Raw!

*Commercial*


When we return, the ring has been transformed, as a black canvas covers the mat, while a desk now sits in-between two black, leather recliners. Cena sits in one of the leather chairs, looking calm and relaxed, although he twiddles the pen left on the table between his fingers in perhaps a slight show of nerves. Linda McMahon is already in the ring, having made her entrance during the break, although she stands in a neutral position adjacent to the table. The pair aren’t alone for long though, as pretty soon...

*NO CHANCE IN HELL...*


A strong level of heat as Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and Bobby Lashley head for the ring, all three dressed in sharp suits, projecting a strong corporate image. Vince leads the way, performing that trademark strut down the ramp, while Shane sports a look of worry and concern. Lashley meanwhile brings up the rear, hulking as ever, looking like he could unleash his power on anybody who gets in his way at a moment’s notice...


Jim Ross: Welcome back to Monday Night Raw. There you see the man who will face John Cena at Wrestlemania, Bobby Lashley, and of course, ‘The Chairman of the Board’ Mr. McMahon and his son Shane.

Jerry Lawler: What an absolute number these three have done on John Cena for the last few months. It started with Vince, then Shane got involved, but Lashley has taken to a whole new level. I don’t know if Ford Field is gonna be big enough to hold these two once they get goin’ at Wrestlemania.

Jim Ross: Well, we have all the important parties, let’s hand things over to the C.E.O. of the WWE, Linda McMahon.

Taking her cue, Linda lifts a microphone to her mouth...


Linda McMahon: Alright, now it’s time to sign-

Mr. McMahon: Just wait a minute there Linda.

Only to be quickly cut off by Vince, who stands behind the now seated Lashley, determined to have his say before anyone else...

Mr. McMahon: On behalf of Bobby Lashley, let me just say, that until we find out the identity of this secret Special Guest Referee, were not signin’ a damn thing! We want full disclosure on who this man is, we want ‘im down here in this ring, or we’re not agreein’ to any terms.

The crowd responds with heat, although Linda has a brief chuckle to herself...

Linda McMahon: Well Vince, that’s quite the ultimatum. But let me remind you that if Bobby refuses to sign this contract, he could be held in breach of his own contract with the WWE. Not to mention what the WWE Board of Directors would have to say to you about it. So Vince, I suggest that we get the formalities over with, and both Bobby and John sign the contract.

Linda’s words draw a quick pop, as well as a scowl from Vince...

Mr. McMahon: Alright. Alright, fine! Have it your way! We’ll sign your damn contract! But I want you to know that we are signing this under protest! I’m not happy with the way you’re throwin’ your weight around here Linda!

Linda McMahon: Thank you Vince, I’ll take that on board. Bobby, if you’d like to go first...

Lashley picks up the contract, thumbing through the pages, taking quick glances as he goes. Lashley turns to the final page, flipping the pages open there, but as he places the contract back down on the desk and reaches for the pen, Vince once again interjects...

Mr. McMahon: Just a second there Bobby. John... I’ve got a little something I wanna say to you before you sign that contract. John, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. You brought all of this on... yourself. You put your hands on me, and you’ve suffered the consequences of your actions. Myself and Shane, we’ve taken away your WWE Championship, we’ve beaten you in a steel cage match, we’ve left you battered and bloody and laid out on this mat on countless occasions. And at Wrestlemania XXIII, when Bobby Lashley gets his hands on you, believe me John... things will get a whole – lot – worse for you.

Cena stares at Vince while he talks, however Lashley’s eyes burn a whole through his opponent...

Mr. McMahon: I don’t care who you and my wife handpicked to be the Special Guest Referee, and I know Bobby doesn’t care either. It won’t make one bit o’ difference to us. Bobby Lashley is gonna punish you to within an inch of your life Cena, and no referee is ever gonna be able to stop that. We’re gonna c...h you at Wrestlemania Cena... and I’m enjoy watchin’ each – and every – second of it.

Cena rolls his eyes to the back of his head, taking his cap off to scratch his head in f...tration...

Mr. McMahon: BUT... I’m nothing but a fair man John. I’m also a business man. And as much as I’d like to see you leave Wrestlemania on a stretcher, and as much as I know that Bobby here is more than capable of makin’ that happen... that just wouldn’t be good for business. So, putting my personal feelings aside for a second here... I’m willing to let you back out of the match, right here, right now John.

A ton of heat for the offer from Vince, with even Lashley angrily turning towards McMahon, wondering what the hell Vince is doing. Vince tries to appease Lashley by motioning with his hands for Lashley to relax, but across the table, Cena can’t help but laugh at the offer...

Linda McMahon: Is there any chance Vince that the only reason you’re offering Mr. Cena this opportunity is because you’re worried about who the Special Guest Referee is going to be?

Cena nods his head, knowing full well that Linda has hit the nail on the head, but Vince reacts in typical angry fashion...

Mr. McMahon: No wait just a minute. I’m Vince McMahon dammit! I’m scared of nobody! All the years we’ve been married and you don’t even know that yet!?

Again Cena can’t help but laugh, but now it’s Linda who’s rolling her eyes...

Linda McMahon: Are you quite finished Vince?

F...trated, Vince throws his hands up as a sign that he gives up, placing the mic down on the table next to Lashley...


Linda McMahon: Good. Bobby... is you will?

Having already read over the contract, Lashley quickly grabs his pen... takes one last, long, evil look at John Cena... and then aggressively signs his name on the dotted line! The crowd pops and gasps at the same time, knowing we’re one step close to officially having one of the biggest matches in WWE history. Lashley rather forcibly slams his pen back on the desk, his eyes returning to focus on Cena as he slides the contract in his opponent’s direction. Cena receives the paperwork, taking a quick flick through the pages, before he then reaches across to grab the microphone that Vince placed down...

John Cena: Well, I guess I oughta start by sayin’... thanks Vince... I guess. Thanks for the offer to back outta the match... but there ain’t no chance in hell of me pullin’ outta this one. I ain’t never backed down from a fight in my life, and I ain’t about to start now. Besides... I don’t think either of us really wants that. Ain’t that right Bobby?

Lashley offers no response whatsoever, instead he continues to fiercely stare at Cena...

John Cena: I get it Lashley. I mean it, I get what it’s all about for ya’. You might not wanna admit it... but you want my spot Bobby. You wanna be in the main event, you wanna be WWE Champion, and when ..... gave ya’ the chance to take me out, to grab my spot, ya’ took it with both hands. Now you and me are headin’ to Wrestlemania and we’re gonna tear each other apart. You wanted my spot... but you didn’t wanna do it the hard way. You didn’t wanna earn it... like I did. You can blame me, you can blame these fans, but at the end of the day, you chased the dollar and you - sold – out!

Great pop from the arena, while Lashley flares his nostrils in response...

John Cena: I mean look at ya’ man! Sat here in a suit, takin’ orders from Vince, what the hell happened to you man? What happened to that guy who rocked into ECW, stuck his name on a contract just like this and made himself a champion? That guy didn’t listen to no boss, that guy stuck it to the man!

Cena angrily shakes his head...

John Cena: Ya’ sold out, and now you’re buyin’ into all the crap he’s feedin’ ya’!

Pop, with Cena now moving towards the nearby pen...

John Cena: So I’m gonna sign this contract, and you and me are gonna have a fight the likes of which these people ain’t never seen before. And I hope when it’s all over, you find some comfort in those Gucci suits and the money Vince is payin’ ya’...

Cena quickly scrawls his name on the contract...


John Cena: ‘Cause I ain’t givin’ up what I worked hard for... for NOBODY! I scratched and clawed every day o’ my life to be here right now, and I ain’t lettin’ you, and especially not you ....., take that away from me!

Pop...

John Cena: So at Wrestlemania XXIII... if ya’ want some... COME GET SOME!

Cena emphatically slams the pen down on the table, the crowd responding with a much more positive cheer for Cena’s actions. Linda reaches down and scoops up the contract, giving a look over, while Vince tries to pear over his wife’s shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of the name of our referee, but Linda catches him in the act and snaps the pages over to the front of the contract once more...

Linda McMahon: Well... I guess that settles it. It’s official. John Cena and Bobby Lashley, one on one at Wrestlemania XXIII. All the remains... is to introduce to you all, the Special Guest Referee for the match up. And Vince...

Linda turns to her husband, a look of comical sympathy in her eyes...

Linda McMahon: It’s someone you know very...

A look of fear grips Vince’s face...


Linda McMahon: Very...

Which now turns to sheer desperation...

Linda McMahon: Well.

*GLASS SHATTERS...*


The arena explodes with a fucking crazy pop as the worst kept secret in WWE history is revealed, as Steve Austin rides into the arena on the back of a 4x4 kart! Austin pauses at the top of the ramp, standing up in his seat to deliver an arena wide flip of the bird, before he cranks on the revs of the engine and roars down the ramp towards the ring...


Jim Ross: This arena is goin’ crazy! The Special Guest Referee has been revealed, and oh hell yeah, it’s ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin!

Jerry Lawler: What!? I can’t hear a thing you’re sayin’ J.R.!

Austin circles the kart around the ring a few times before he finally comes to a stop at the foot of the ramp, stepping off the kart to yet another big ovation. Austin rolls under the bottom ropes and into the ring, and his first point of business is to cross paths with Vince, heading for the corner... and flipping the bird at Vince as he goes! Austin climbs to the second rope, raising his arms high in the air, dropping down and then repeating this at ever corner, although not once do he acknowledge either Cena or Lashley. Once he’s done the rounds of the turnbuckles, Austin sticks his hand through the ropes, receiving a mic from Lillian Garcia. Austin’s music may have stopped, but the fans haven’t, as a deafening “AUSTIN! AUSTIN! AUSTIN!” chant continues to reverberate around the arena. Austin pauses, soaking the atmosphere in, waiting a few seconds for the fans to die down before he brings the mic to his mouth...

Steve Austin: Happy to see me?

Austin directs the question straight at Vince, getting right in McMahon’s face, but all Vince can do is gulp...

Steve Austin: What’s tha’ matter son? You can’t speak ta’ me?

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: You got nothin’ ta’ say ta’ me?

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: Cat got yer’ tongue?

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: I’m talkin’ to ya’ here son!

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: I said I’m talkin’ to ya’ here son!

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: Yer’ wife brought me out here, ya’ may as well say somethin’ to me ya’ rat bastard!

A few fans try continue the what, but they’re drowned out by laughter and cheers...

Steve Austin: Look at ya’!

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: I said look at ya’!

WHAT?!

Steve Austin: I been sittin’ at home, watchin’ ya’ throw your weight around and flappin’ yer’ gums! Ya’ think this suit and that haircut impress anybody?

Vince quickly places a hand on his hair, looking to Shane for reassurance that his hair’s OK...

Steve Austin: UH – UH! You ain’t impressin’ nobody son! Especially not ol’ Stone Cold. And now that I am officially tha’ Special Guest Referee o’ tha’ Bobby Lashley versus John Cena match, you oughta start impressin’ me ya’ stupid sunnova bitch!

Another big pop, with Vince seething...

Steve Austin: Now, I got a lil’ somethin’ I wanna say ta’ both o’ you two. But before I get down ta’ business, somebody gimme a damn beer!

Two beer cans fly through the air from down by the timekeeper’s desk, with Austin catching both with ease. ‘Stone Cold’ snaps open both cans, placing one down on the table before he rapidly chugs the other can down. When finished, Austin c...hes the can and tosses it from the ring, before he picks up the other can, preferring to drink this one a little more slowly...


Steve Austin: That’s better. Now, Bobby Lashley, ya’ got a lot goin’ for ya’ son. Big ol’ bastard, strong as hell, great wrestler, but ya’ must be stupider than Vince looks ta’ have this worthless sunnova bitch in yer’ corner at Wrestlemania XXIII.

Angry, Lashley rises up out of his chair, wanting to go nose to nose with Austin, but Vince and Shane quickly step in, separating the pair and encouraging Lashley to sit back down again...

Steve Austin: Ya’ll sit yer’ ass down if ya’ know what’s good for ya’ son!

A few more words of encouragement from Vince, and Lashley finally backs down, retaking his seat...

Steve Austin: Now as I was sayin’. Ya’ got a lot goin’ for ya’ kid, you wanna make it to tha’ top. ‘Stone Cold’ ain’t got no problem wit’ that. But the fact o’ the matter is son, that when John Cena says ya’ sold yer’ ass out, ya’ damn sure ya’ did son!

Lashley offers no response, simply staring at Cena defiantly...

Steve Austin: ‘Stone Cold’ don’t like ya’ Lashley! But ‘Stone Cold’ don’t like ya’ either Cena.

A mixed reaction from the crowd...

Steve Austin: Hell, ‘Stone Cold’ don’t like anybody! But when ya’ talk about Lashley wantin’ ta’ take yer’ spot... you sittin’ in my old spot right now son. The face o’ the company, that used to be ‘Stone Cold’. Now it’s you. And that means ya’ livin’ off what ‘Stone Cold’ brought ta’ tha’ dance.

Cena shrugs his shoulders, not agreeing with Austin but understanding his point of view...

Steve Austin: I don’t like either of ya’, I ain’t gonna show either of ya’ any favouritism, all ‘Stone Cold’ wants ta’ do is drink some beer, count tha’ three count, and make sure nobody by the name o’ McMahon sticks their ass in tha’ match, and that’s tha’ BOTTOM LINE... ‘CAUSE ‘STONE COLD’ SAID SO!

Another great pop from the crowd, but now Vince reaches down and picks up the microphone from the table...

Mr. McMahon: I’m gonna say this once, so you better listen real good.

Steve Austin: WHAT?!

WHAT?!

Mr. McMahon: Cute. Real cute. As I was about to say... let me just give you a little warning. If you so much as make one mistake, if you so much as screw up once in John Cena’s favour and it costs Bobby Lashley, I... will personally make sure... you never step foot in another WWE arena... ever again. I mean it Austin. You screw me over... and I’ll unleash Bobby Lashley on you.

Lashley rather visually cracks his knuckles, making sure Austin saw him do it...

Mr. McMahon: And that’ the bottom line... ‘cause Vince McMahon sai-

KICK... STUNNER!!

Austin hits the stunner on McMahon! Lashley springs to his feet and heads for Austin... but Cena tackles Lashley to the mat! Suddenly the brawl is on! Linda heads for the exit, while Shane tries his best to fight on Lashley’s behalf... but Austin spins him around... KICK... STUNNER!! A stunner to Shane! Finally there’s some separation between Cena and Lashley, with Lashley rolling from the ring, while Cena tries to scratch and claw to get hold of him. Lashley stands his ground on the outside, while in the ring, Cena gets back to his feet... at the same time as Austin... and the two back into each other... and then snap around to face each other! Both men look ready to strike... but at the last second they but on the breaks!

A tense standoff ensues, with Cena having his fists raised, ready for what Austin can throw at him, but Austin is much more open, both hands at his side as he looks Cena up and down. The crowd is electric, dying to see some kind of altercation between the three men, but all three stand their ground, with Cena constantly spinning back and forth to look at Austin in the ring and Lashley on the outside...


Jim Ross: Aw hell yeah! Austin is here, and he just laid out Vince and Shane!

Jerry Lawler: Yeah and now he looks like he wants to lay out Lashley and Cena too! What’s gonna happen when these three are in the ring together at Wrestlemania XXIII?!

Jim Ross: It’s an explosive situation, and there could be more fuel added to the fire next week, live on Monday Night Raw!

The tension and the crowd is at an absolute fever pitch, all three men looking each other up and down, nobody willing to take that first step, nobody willing to make that first move, the arena coming absolutely unglued as we fade... to... black.


*End Show*




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
Special Guest Referee: Steve Austin


Streak vs. Streak:
'The Phenom' The Undertaker vs. 'The Samoan Bulldozer' Umaga

Past vs. Future:
'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy

United States Championship Match:
United States Champion Finlay vs. Matt Hardy

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Carlito

Tag Team Showcase Match: Champions vs. Champions
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The Hooligans

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:

Chris Benoit vs. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Kane vs. King Booker vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Randy Orton


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