~Monday Night Raw~
March 26th, 2007
~Smackdown Invades Raw~
”God, what a moment! These fans are goin' nuts!"
We kick off the show by cutting straight into the arena. No music, no pyro display, just the quiet hush of anticipation and excitement that darts across the arena. The camera lingers on a wide shot of the capacity crowd, before the silence is shattered by...
*ONE OF A KIND...*
The arena erupts with a tremendous outpouring of cheers as Rob Van Dam
, just six days away from perhaps the biggest match of his career, steps out onto the Raw stage. Pausing at the top of the ramp, Van Dam smiles and nods his head at the crowd, leading them through a cry of "ROB - VAN - DAM!" before he heads down to the ring. Wearing a black t-shirt over his singlet that reads "The Whole F'n Show", Van Dam takes his time as he enters the ring, savouring the moment as he stares around the arena and then steps through the ropes...
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Monday Night Raw, a very special edition of Raw, where Smackdown invades Monday nights. We'll see plenty of confrontations between Raw and Smackdown superstars as the night goes on, but right now, we're gonna hear from a man who is just six days away from his first Wrestlemania main event, 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam!
Six days J.R.! Wrestlemania XXIII is just six days away, there's excitement in the air, there's tension in the locker room, and if you ask me, there's a real buzz of excitement and anticipation when Rob Van Dam enters an arena.
Well certainly Van Dam is a big favourite with these fans. This Sunday, we're headin' into Van Dam's home state of Michigan, where after such a long, illustrious career, Van Dam finally gets the chance to compete for the WWE Championship on the grandest stage of 'em all. I've known Rob a long time, he's one of the most exciting competitors I've ever seen, he's had a career full o' highlights and breath-taking moments. I know 'RVD' is gonna be ready for Michaels and Triple H this Sunday in Detroit, but can he finally grab the richest prize in sports entertainment with the whole world watching? Well folks, the Smackdown roster is here tonight, as is the Smackdown announce team. Let's hear from Michael Cole, Tazz and 'JBL'. Welcome to Raw fellas!
The camera now switches to the Smackdown announce desk, which is at ringside alongside the Raw desk. A beaming smile is on Cole's face, while a smirk crosses Layfield's mug and Tazz looks all business behind those dark shades of his...
Thanks J.R., great to be here! We'll see ya' this Friday on Smackdown for the return trip! But tonight, this is Monday Night Raw, a Raw on which Smackdown is invading, and that means a series of great matchups are in store tonight featuring Raw and Smackdown talent.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Your damn right Michael! The final week before Wrestlemania, the last Raw before the biggest Wrestlemania in history and Friday Night Smackdown is here to be a part of it!
And obviously there you see 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam, a man who is one third of the WWE Championship Match at Wrestlemania XXIII, he is scheduled to compete with Smackdown's Mr. Kennedy, a man who has quite frankly tortured the family of Ric Flair over the last week, both physically and mentally.
My man 'RVD', he's gettin' ready for the biggest night of his life, and I hope he kicks the hell outta Kennedy tonight! But that ain't all Cole, also tonight, the United States Champion Finlay goes one on one with 'The Game' Triple H, while the World Heavyweight Champion Batista takes on the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels. What a set of matches that's gonna be!
All that, and so much more! It's gonna be an unbelievable night folks, but right now, let's hand it over to Van Dam...
In the ring, Van Dam uses his hand to motion for a bit of calm, although the crowd remain vocal with thier "RVD! RVD! RVD!" chant...
Rob Van Dam:
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Again Van Dam motions for silence, and after pausing, eventually the chants die down...
Rob Van Dam:
Only for the crowd to again erupt with a big cheer as Van Dam draws the cheap pop...
Rob Van Dam:
I'm pretty sure you all know that it's Wrestlemania week! For me, and a lotta the guys back in that locker room, this Sunday... is the biggest night of our careers. I might be showin' my age a little bit here, but it was way back in 1990 that I made my debut in this business. It's taken me seventeen years, but this Sunday, finally
, I get the chance to be in a Wrestlemania main event. And when I do it...
Van Dam pauses, shaking his head, almost in disbelief at what awaits him this weekend...
Rob Van Dam:
I get to challenge for the richest prize in all of professional wrestling. The WWE... Championship.
Solid pop from the fans, with Van Dam nodding in agreement with them...
Rob Van Dam:
But to do it... to become champion... I gotta take on two of the best. Two of the greatest we've ever had. Two... former friends. Shawn Michaels and Triple H. I mean yeah, when you look at their careers and compare 'em to mine... it ain't pretty. They... they kick my ass when it comes to accomplishments and Wrestlemania main events. I gotta hold my hands up and admit it... to this point, they've... had better careers than me.
Van Dam shakes his head ruefully...
Rob Van Dam:
But y'know what? This Sunday... I'm gonna prove that for all their titles, for all their achievements, for all their success... they're not better than me.
Rob Van Dam:
Shawn Michaels, every Wrestlemania, that dude brings it like nobody else can. Triple H? Well... I think he's been on the receivin' end of a few favours throughout his career. But ya' can't fault the guy for he's accomplished. But lemme tell everybody in this arena, that this business, for both of 'em... it doesn't mean as much to them as it does me. This Sunday, it means more to me than it ever could for either of 'em. Triple H and Shawn Michaels might love this business... but Rob Van Dam will always love it more.
Rob Van Dam:
It's love for this business that lead me to a bingo hall in Philadelphia to try get the big break I wanted. It was love for this business that I scratched and clawed and put my body on the line in some of the most insane matches ever, all to impress you people. It's love for this business that finally brought me to the WWE, and it's love for the business that's gonna lead me to the WWE Championship this Sunday.
Again the crowd respond positively, with Van Dam pausing for their cheers...
Rob Van Dam:
And last week? Last week, I learned a lil' lesson from 'The Game'. DTA... don't trust anybody. I'm not sayin' I trusted Triple H... but I did trust 'im to do things the right way. But given how things have gone down between the two of us since Saturday Night's Main Event... I shouldn't really be that surprised. Well guess what, Hunter?
Van Dam stares deep into the hard camera...
Rob Van Dam:
I got the message loud
... and clear
. You got me last week dude, but this Sunday... there's gonna be no chance of a repeat bro'. You wanna get my attention? You wanna get one over on me? You wanna piss me off? Way to go man... job done. You took the most laid back guy in this industry... and you just made 'im real
mad, six days away from the biggest night of his life!
Rob Van Dam:
And Shawn? Wrestlemania... that's you're night dude. You are 'Mr. Wrestlemania', and nobody's ever gonna take that away from ya'. Each and every year, you go out there and you look to steal the show. Well this year... I'm
gonna be the one stealin' the show.
The camera zooms in on Van Dam's serious demeanour...
Rob Van Dam:
For all your great Wrestlemania matches, and all your great Wrestlemania moments, I promise ya' dude, you're never gonna have one as good as this Sunday.
Van Dam now turns to look up the ramp, as if he's staring straight at both of his opponents...
Rob Van Dam:
Hunter, Shawn... believe it or not, I do actually respect you. I think you're both great wrestlers. But this Sunday... I'm gonna be better.
Rob Van Dam:
This Sunday, this has gotta be my night. This has gotta be the big chance I finally take. For you Shawn, and for you Hunter, it's just another Wrestlemania. Another nice payday, another chance to hold the WWE Championship, another main event. But for you... it's the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity I've been fightin' for my entire career. And now I've finally got it...
Van Dam turns, looking into a camera on the apron, allowing us to fully appreciate the focus in his eyes...
Rob Van Dam:
I'm not gonna mess it up. I'm walkin' into Detroit, Michigan, my home state, and I promise everybody, that come Sunday night, the WWE Championship is goin' home with me!
Rob Van Dam:
I'm not the biggest, I'm not the strongest. But drive, focus, determination, passion... those are things you can't measure. Those are things you're Father-in-law can't buy for ya'. Those are things you develop when you're bustin' your ass every night for a company like ECW.
Van Dam purses his lips, looking extremely focused...
Rob Van Dam:
But those are the things that's gonna lead me to the WWE Championship. I might not be the perfect corporate champion. I might not make the cover of WWE Magazine all that often. But the heart it takes to win at Wrestlemania... you're not gonna find that behind some Armani suit. You're gonna find it right here.
Van Dam vigorously thumps his chest...
Rob Van Dam:
I'm not arrogant, I'm not takin' anythin' for granted. But I know where I've been, and I know where I'm goin'. I know in the past I've maybe been guilty of talkin' about deservin'
opportunities. Hell, my opponent tonight, Mr. Kennedy, he's been guilty of that a lot lately too. But I've realised somethin'. To get where I wanna be, to become champion, I've gotta go out and deliver. And this Sunday... I'm gonna do exactly that.
Rob Van Dam:
So Shawn Michaels, Triple H... let's do it guys. Let's put on a heck of a match, let's have a helluva fight, let's steal the show. But when it's all said and done, there's only gonna one guy those fans remember. And his name... is Rob... VAN... DAM!!
And with a show of determination, Van Dam lets the mic drop to the mat with a thud as his music rings out once more. Staring hard into the camera, Van Dam looks focused beyond belief before he finally snaps back to his usual self, heading for the second rope to once again perform his thumb taunt, the crowd cheering along...
Well what a way to kick off Monday Night Raw. Rob Van Dam has the biggest opportunity of his storied career this Sunday, and he seems more determined that I've ever seen 'im before to get the job done. Can Van Dam achieve the ultimate dream? Can he defeat Shawn Michaels and Triple H this Sunday at Wrestlemania XXIII, and in the process become the new WWE Champion?
John Bradshaw Layfield:
I've never thought much o' the guy before, I've always felt he's nothin' more than a high flier who's a danger to 'imself. But lemme tell ya', that guy's gonna deliver the performance of a lifetime this Sunday. The big question is... is it gonna be enough to get past 'The Game' and 'The Showstopper'?
Well if ya' ask me, I think this is the biggest opportunity of his career, and he better take it. You don't wanna be here on Raw knowin' you had a shot at the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania and you couldn't take it.
Michaels, Triple H and Van Dam, six days away at Wrestlemania XXIII! But tonight, Van Dam is scheduled to go one on one with Mr. Kennedy! Join us when we return to Monday Night Raw!
As the commentators have been speaking, Van Dam has made his way to the top of the ramp, stopping on the stage to turn to the crowd, the camera focusing on the broad smile on his face as we head off to a commercial.
And when we return, it's straight to the office of 'The Chairman of the Board' Mr. McMahon
, who stands alongside his son Shane McMahon
, the pair looking decidedly unhappy. Brooke Adams
, Mr. McMahon's Executive Assistant stands in the background, a clipboard in her hand. Brooke shares the tension of her boss as she nervously chews on a pen, but all eyes are on the scowl on Vince's face as he sighs heavily...
Austin. 'Stone - Cold' - Steve - Austin. That vindictive bitch!
Shane flashes his Dad a look of annoyance, at which Vince returns with an understanding nod...
Sorry. But c'mon Shane, be reasonable here. The bitch is tryin' to ruin me! She's tryin' to ruin Lashley's chances this Sunday! I mean Austin... he hates
me. He hates my guts! There's no chance in hell he's gonna be impartial this Sunday!
Exasperated by the situation, Vince aggressively scratches the back of his head, searching for the answer...
I mean, I pleaded
with your Mother to try get her to change her mind. I tried to speak to the Board of Directors, MY Board of Directors, I tried to get an emergency vote to solve all this, and they wouldn't even listen to me!
Vince runs a hand across his chin, then turns to look at Brooke...
Brooke... did you hear anythin'? Is he here? Is Austin here tonight?
Yes, Mr. McMahon. He's - he's here.
Vince scrunches up his face and reluctantly nods his head, throwing up his arms almost in defeat...
Well... I might as well go talk to him, hear what he has to say. Hell, I might as well try and convince him to see things our way.
Shane, with a slight look of excitement on his face, places a hand on his Father's shoulder...
Wait a minute, wait a minute... that's not a bad idea. Let's talk to him. You and him, in the ring, face to face.
Vince looks furious at his Son's suggestion...
Are you outta your damn mind!? He's hit me with the stunner last week, and now you want me to get in the ring alone with him!?
Shane shakes his head quickly...
Dad, think about it! You and Austin, alone in the ring. Face to face, man to man, no John Cena or Mom involved. Just the two of ya'. Maybe you make him an offer? Maybe you try and convince him? Or maybe... if words don't work... we find another way to convince him?
A devilish smirk crosses Vince's face as the light bulb goes off inside his head...
Brooke? Where's Bobby right now?
He's not here yet Mr. McMahon, he said he had somethin' to take care of before he arrived tonight.
Well when he gets here you tell him to come see me right away. I need to discuss somethin' with him.
Brooke nods and makes a note on the piece of paper on her clipboard, only to be interrupted as Vince says...
And one more thing. Get me my wife Linda on the phone. I've got somethin' I know
she'll wanna hear first.
Adams nods and continues writing, while Vince turns to Shane, slowly smiling at each other, feeling a lot more comfortable than they did a few moments ago as we cut back into the arena.
*THIS FIRE BURNS...*
A great pop welcomes the arrival of The Straight Edge Saints
to the arena, with CM Punk
leading Nick Dinsmore
and Kelly Kelly
out onto the stage. Punk stops at the top of the ramp, tapping an imaginary watch on his wrist, holding it to his ear, then to Kelly's, before he yells out "It's clobberin' time!" and the trio head for the ring...
What a way to kick things off tonight, a preview of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match as all competitors team up for tag team action. And speakin' of Money in the Bank, what a way to cap off a tremendous year it would be for CM Punk if he managed to grab the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Y'know J.R., I was there the night CM Punk made his WWE debut back on ECW, and this kid has just continued to impress me. I'd love to see a young guy like Punk grab that briefcase. Wrestlemania is a night when careers are made and broken, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if CM Punk emerged as one of the stars of ths show.
Some solid heat as the red carpet is rolled out, and walking out arm in arm come Johnny Nitro
, the light bulbs flashing as the photographers snap off a few pictures of the pair. Chris Masters
is also there, a more serious look on his face, but he too poses for the cameras as he flexes his muscles before the trio head down the ramp...
Well he certainly hasn't had the best of years so far in 2007, but a victory over Nick Dinsmore landed Nitro a spot in Money in the Bank. And it seems that lately Nitro and Masters have had a few issues with The Straight Edge Saints.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Well wouldn't you have issues with those two? I mean they don't drink, they don't smoke, they don't do drugs, hell, they don't do anythin'! Can you imagine a night out with those two and that dumb blonde that hangs around with 'em!? God, I'd be more borin' that listenin' Joey Styles call a show by 'imself!
Yeah, nice 'JBL'. Take a shot at the guy who's suspended and ain't here to defend 'imself. Real classy.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
One o' the best decisions Mr. McMahon ever made was suspendin' his ass! I hope he makes it permanent and I never have to listen to that pencil-necked geek ever again!
*BURN IN MY LIGHT...*
Some really strong boos for Randy Orton
, who for the first time in several months is heading for the ring by himself, riding solo after his partnership with Kenny Dykstra came to an emphatic end last week. Orton enters the ring and scowls at both his partners tonight, before he heads for the corner to produce his trademark 'Legend Killer' pose...
I've always felt this guy has the skills to be one of the very best the industry has ever seen. He's certainly got all the physical tools, but more often than not, attitude and temper has let Randy Orton down.
Oh absolutely. We've saw in recent weeks how each time Jeff Hardy's gotten the better of Orton that's he's lost his cool. You have to wonder whether or not under the bright lights of Wrestlemania this guy can keep it together.
I think you gotta wonder if he's even gonna be able to work together with his team mates tonight? Can Orton work alongside guys like Punk, Nitro, and especially Jeff Hardy?
And the loudest response thus far is saved for Jeff Hardy
, who bounces out onto the stage, rocks his head to the beat of the music and pumps up the fans before he races for the ring. As Hardy slides under the bottom rope, Orton is right there to greet him, the two going nose to nose for a few seconds before Jeff heads to the corner to salute the fans...
I'd say that answers your question Tazz! Well, over on Smackdown we of course have Jeff's brother Matt, who's just six days away from the biggest opportunity of his career as he takes on Finlay for the United States Championship. But let's talk about how big an opportunity this Sunday is for Jeff. He's a multiple time Intercontinental Champion, but he's never held the big one, and grabbin' the Money in the Bank briefcase could be his ticket there.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
I've always felt that Matt and Jeff have a ton o' talent, but quite frankly, they're both screw ups! They've wasted every chance given to 'em in the past, and that's gonna happen for both of 'em again this Sunday. Wrestlemania XXIII ain't gonna be a good night for The Hardy Boyz, just you wait and see.
*DEAD WHITE GUYS...*
And here comes the first of the Smackdown competitors, and in an interesting move it's the duo of King Booker
and Montel Vontavious Porter
who emerge together. Booker stops at the top of the ramp to hold his pinky high in the air as Queen Sharmell
gives her King a warm round of applause, while 'MVP' scoffs and waves Booker off, heading for the ring...
Well I gotta tell ya', I'm surprised to see these two come out together as a unit. King Booker and 'MVP' formed a partnership about a month ago intent on removin' the competition, but all they done is argue with each other, and it's cost 'em on several occasions.
Two weeks ago they tried to jump Kane and wound up gettin' chokeslammed for it, last Friday night they lost to Kane and Chris Benoit. I don't see this partnership lastin' much longer.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
That's just a few small issues, they'll be fine. King Booker is the most regal man in all
of the WWE Kingdom. He's the greatest guy to ever wear a crown!
And you're the biggest jackass to ever wear a cowboy hat!
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Hey! That ain't any kinda way to talk to J.R.! He's gonna be a Hall of Famer someday! You better watch your damn mouth Lawler!
A good response as Kane
is the next man out, a maniacal grin on his face as he heads down the ramp, tugging on his left elbow pad before he yanks himself up onto the apron and steps over the top rope, setting off another shot of pyro...
Here's a guy I consider to be a real threat this Sunday. He's crazier than a pet coon, he seems impervious to pain at times, and if anybody can climb the ladder to success, it's that man Kane.
A threat is right. Just a mean, scary guy is Kane. I can see 'The Big Red Machine' doin' some serious damage this Sunday, especially if he gets that ladder in his hands.
And our final competitor gets the biggest welcome so far as Chris Benoit
makes his return to Monday Night Raw. Benoit quickly walks down the ramp, cocking his head from side to side as he goes, his eyes firmly fixated on the ring until he takes a long look at the briefcase that hangs from the rafters...
What a strong interview Chris Benoit gave last Friday night on Smackdown. Benoit said that perhaps the years of pain and injuries were finally takin' their toll on him, and he honestly didn't know how much longer he had left in the WWE. What a way for Chris Benoit to potentially go out if he could grab that briefcase and then cash it in to become champion once more.
He's never shown fear in his life, he's always been tough as they come. But I just wonder, that if he's not got long left, could Benoit do somethin' absolutely crazy this Sunday? God knows what this guy could do if he's that
determined to become Mr. Money in the Bank!
Match 1: Eight Man Tag Team Money in the Bank Preview Match
CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Johnny Nitro and Randy Orton w/ Chris Masters, Kelly Kelly, Melina and Nick Dinsmore vs. Chris Benoit, Kane, King Booker and Montel Vontavious Porter w/ Queen Sharmell
Tensions are high on both sides of the ring, as heels and faces feel uncomfortable having to team with each other. In the Raw corner, Punk and Nitro quickly stand down, but Orton and Jeff share a long stare at each other before Orton finally heads for the apron. Across from them, the Smackdown team pick Booker as their opener, the pair engaging in a collar and elbow tie up. The two jockey for position, until Booker is able to back Jeff into the corner. The ref steps in for the break, and both men appear to give it, only for Booker to snap off a stiff boot to the midsection, following with a had forearm to the back. More boots land, causing Jeff to slump to the canvas, but he’s soon back up as Booker goes for the Irish whip... Jeff reverses, sending Booker crashing into the turnbuckle... stumbling back out into a back body drop! Hardy takes control as he locks Booker into a headlock, reaching out to tag in Nitro. Nitro enters the ring and tags Booker with a few right hands, before he goes for an Irish whip... which Booker reverses... only to miss with a clothesline... Nitro connects with a leg lariat! From his knees Nitro crawls to tag in Punk, and with Booker still down, Punk slingshots onto the top rope... and enters with a springboard elbow drop! Punk goes for the cover... 1... 2... Booker kicks out. Both men are back on their feet, but Punk stays in control as he unloads with kicks to the thighs, but out of desperation Booker drills a knee to the midsection, quickly tagging in ‘MVP’.
‘MVP’ races into the ring, only to run straight into an armdrag. ‘MVP’ bursts back to his feet, only fro Punk to nail him with a kick to the side of the head, sending ‘MVP’ stumbling to the corner. Punk charges in... step up knee to the face connects... and Punk hangs on for a bulldog... but as they come out of the corner, ‘MVP’ pushes Punk away. Punk puts on the breaks, turns and runs at ‘MVP’... straight into a snap overhead belly to belly! Just like that ‘MVP’ takes control for his team, and after briefly hammering down on Punk with right hands and boots, ‘MVP’ tags in Kane. Kane steps over the top rope and starts his attack with a series of shots to the throat, before he scoops Punk up and slams him to the mat. Punk sits up, just as Kane comes off the ropes... low angle dropkick connects, with Kane hooking the leg... 1... 2... Punk rolls a shoulder. Benoit now gets the tag, and he unloads with stinging chops to the chest in the corner, following with boots to the gut. Benoit picks up the intensity of the match as he rocks Punk with headbutts and a backbreaker, with Benoit gaining a near fall. With both men back on their feet, Punk fires back with chops of his own to the chest, with he and Benoit trading loud, stinging chops, until Punk smacks Benoit with a kick to the side of the head, allowing him to go for the Irish whip... but Benoit reverses... and as Punk hits the ropes, Booker low bridges him, letting Punk crash over the top rope to the floor!
Booker drops down off the apron, making out that’s trying to help Punk back to his feet, but when Jeff Hardy enters the ring to protest, Booker and ‘MVP’ work quickly to reach under the ring... bringing out a ladder! The two on/off partners hold the ladder together... and drive it into Punk’s body! Punk cries out in pain, but ‘MVP’ moves to quickly roll Punk back into the ring, with Booker back on the apron yelling for Benoit to go for the cover... but Benoit, who saw it all unfold, reacts angrily, getting in Booker’s face. The crowd pops as it looks like the partners are about to turn on each other... only for Booker to instead tag himself in and dive to hook the leg... 1... 2... Punk kicks out! For the next few minutes, Booker and ‘MVP’ exclusively work on Punk, keeping Punk away from his partners and not tagging in Benoit or Kane. Booker connects on a sidewalk slam and a Russian legsweep, while ‘MVP’ does damage with a release German suplex and the ballin’ elbow for near falls. Booker is back in, and he has Punk locked in a grounded chinlock, but as the crowd rally, Punk battles back to his feet, hitting elbows to the midsection that causes some separation, only for Booker to answer straight back with a forearm to the spine. Booker comes off the ropes... HARLEM SIDEKICK... NO! Punk ducks underneath it... step up enzuigiri! Booker slumps to the mat, and now Punk is crawling to his corner... diving to tag in... Randy Orton?
It looks like an accident, but Orton is indeed the legal man, just as Booker tags in ‘MVP’. ‘MVP’ charges at Orton, missing with a clothesline... Orton hits the inverted headlock backbreaker! Benoit, seeing his team has lost the momentum, races into the ring... straight into a snap powerslam! Nitro enters the ring and tries to take a few cheap shots at Benoit, but here comes Kane... clothesline that takes both Kane and Nitro over the top rope! Kane is back on his feet first, tagging Nitro, only for Masters to get involved as he rocks Kane from behind with a double axe handle. The referee doesn’t see Nitro and Masters go to work on Kane, as all hell has broken loose in the ring, with Orton rocking ‘MVP’ with right hands... but ‘MVP’ manages a thumb to the eye, allowing him to tag in Booker. Booker steps through the ropes, kicks Orton in the midsection, doubling him over... and then comes off the ropes... SCISSORS KICK... NO! Orton stands up in time... another snap powerslam! On the outside Benoit has saw the attack on Kane, rolling to the floor, he tagging Nitro with right hands while Nick Dinsmore goes after Masters. With those four brawling, and Kane picking himself back up, it’s a cluster at ringside... which ends as CM Punk flies off the top rope to take them all down! Back in the ring, Orton actually the crowd behind him as he waits for Booker to rise, but here comes ‘MVP’ from the blindside... RKO! Orton catches ‘MVP’ with the RKO, and now he has his sights set on the legal man King Booker... only for Jeff Hardy to tag him from behind! Jeff enters the ring and calls for the two to put their hostilities aside for the moment, but as the two talk Booker rise... but walks into a kick... TWIST OF FATE! Hardy plants Booker with – RKO??!! Orton drops Jeff with the RKO!! Staring down at Jeff, Orton smirks as he gets a measure of revenge on Hardy! A cold, callous look in his eyes, Orton drops to the his knees and then rolls from the ring, and with Jeff down all the recovering Booker has to do is crawl over, drape an arm across Jeff’s chest to get the 1... 2... 3.
Winners: Chris Benoit, Kane, King Booker and Montel Vontavious Porter @ 08.12
Randy Orton has just cost his team the match by laying out Jeff Hardy! The crowd boos Orton loudly as he strides up the ramp, not giving a damn about anybody, while in the ring Sharmell races into an embrace with Booker, the two delighted with the good luck Booker has just had. Bodies are strewn in and around the ring, and as Orton heads off backstage, the only man left standing is King Booker, who points to the briefcase hanging high in the sky as we head for a commercial.
APRIL 2ND, 2006
A blood filled feud between employee and boss finally came to a head at Wrestlemania XXIII as Mr. McMahon and Shawn Michaels met in a No Holds Barred Match. A feud that first started with a flippant comment over the Montreal Screwjob would soon escalate into one of the most vicious rivalries in years, despite the presence of a group of male cheerleaders. In the lead up to the big show, Vince and his son Shane has brutalized Michaels, attacking him on several occasions including robbing Michaels during the Royal Rumble. Shane and Michaels would meet during Saturday Night's Main Event, but it was the senior McMahon that Shawn wanted to get his hands on, and when he finally got the chance, Michaels delivered yet another show-stealing Wrestlemania moment. Overcoming the odds, Michaels recovered from a 5-on-1 assault from The Spirit Squad, a run in from Shane armed with a kendo stick and a brutal beatdown from Vince to place 'The Chairman of the Board' on a table with a steel trash can, then climb a 16 foot ladder, before he soars through the air with an elbow to drive Vince through the wood. As the crowd went wild for Michaels' attack, 'HBK' would go on to tune up the band, smacking Vince with the sweet chin music to grab the victory, delivering yet another Wrestlemania classic, although this feud was far from over.
WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - 6 DAYS AND COUNTING
*End Video Package*
And we return to see the ever chirpy Maria standing by, ready for an interview...
Hi! I'm Maria! And I'd like you all to welcome my guest at this time... the challenger for the Women's Championship this Sunday at Wrestlemania... Beth Phoenix!
Heat rings out from inside the arena as both Beth Phoenix and her friend Victoria enter the frame. Both divas have stern looks on their face, intimidating Maria as she retreats into herself, with Victoria in particular doing her best to intimidate the interviewer...
Uh - Beth, in six days time you compete in your first Wrestlemania against your former best friend Mickie James for the Women's Championship. What are your thoughts ahead of this Sunday?
Having been staring off into the distance, Beth now snaps her attention towards Maria...
My thoughts? Y'know Maria, I just can't help but think about the fact that me and Mickie are former
friends. I mean, picture this. Me and Mickie, best friends, two competitors having a fair fight, the chance to compete with my best friend for the Women's Championship at my very first Wrestlemania. Sounds like a fairytale, doesn't it Maria?
Perking up, Maria smiles and enthusiastically nods her head...
Well fairytales don't come true when you've got Mickie James as your best friend!
Beth steps forward, shouting in Maria's face, causing that smile to vanish...
my chance at joinin' WWE all those years ago. And now that after all the pain, all the suffering, all the hard work I've been through to finally
make it here, I'm not gonna give her the satisfaction of ruining my dreams all over again.
I'm finally here now Mickie, and guess what? I'm here to stay.
Beth turns to look at Victoria, the two friends smiling and nodding at each other...
I'm here to stay, and I'm gonna make you suffer what I suffered when you cost me the chance to be a WWE diva. I don't just want to beat you for that title Mickie, I want you to feel the same pain I did all those years ago. I want you to shed the same tears I did all those years ago, but I want it to happen with the whole world watching.
Beth now turns back to Maria...
This Sunday, for me
, Wrestlemania is about so much more than just the Women's Championship. It's about pay back. It's about revenge. It's about... redemption
And now looks at the camera...
Mickie, I'm gonna take your title. And if I get the chance... I'm gonna break your hand... and then I'm gonna break your pretty - little - face!
Beth stares hard into the camera, before she turns and gives Maria one last fleeting smirk, then nods at Victoria and turns to leave. Victoria stares at Maria for a few seconds longer, the intimidating growl lingering before she too exits the scene, leaving Maria to cower, puffing out her cheeks and shaking her head, worried about Mickie James' chances this Sunday as we head back into the arena.
The crowd gives a positive response for The Hart Legacy
, as the trio of newcomers confidently head for the ring. Natalya Niedhart
leads the way, doing her best to big up her team to the fans, while Tyson Kidd
and Harry Smith
make sure to slap as many hands at ringside as they can...
These three young superstars have made quite the impact since debuting in the WWE, with Smith and Kidd picking up impressive victories over The Highlands and then The Redneck Wrecking Crew. But Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch didn't take too kindly to what they felt was a lack of respect from the newcomers.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Ya' earn your stripes in this business, and these kids ain't been in the door two minutes and already they're runnin' their mouths! Most teams take years to build up a reputation, yet these punks think a win over two guys in skirts means they're made. It don't work like that, and Cade 'n' Murdoch are the team to teach 'em that lesson, the hard way
Yeah but if anythin' it was Cade 'n' Murdoch who disrespected the Harts. I mean they beat 'em up after the match, they interrupted 'em durin' an interview. If ya' ask me, these kids earned
the respect of Cade 'n' Murdoch when they beat 'em, and The Crew oughta start showin' it.
*SWEET 'N' SOUR...*
After appearing on the show the last few weeks, the level of heat has risen as The Redneck Wrecking Crew
stride down the ramp in no-nonsense fashion. Trevor Murdoch
leads the way, pointing and throwing some trash talk towards the ring, while Lance Cade
brings up the rear, a confident swagger taking him down the ramp...
They're tougher than a two dollar steak, and last week they got right in the face of Smith and Kidd when they interrupted an interview The Hart Legacy were takin' part in. Cade and Murdoch demand respect, but they don't seem to want to show any.
Well they've been tag team champions in the past, and they wanna be back in the title hunt real soon. And perhaps that was where the frustration towards Smith and Kidd came from, they wanna be back challenging, yet they lost to a team in only their second match in the WWE.
That's no excuse Michael. These two are just plain mean and nasty jerks if ya' ask me. They might be tough, but they've got no class, and if they're not willin' to show The Hart Legacy any respect, I don't see why they should get any in return. This oughta be a real interestin' contest.
Match 2: Tag Team Match
The Redneck Wrecking Crew vs. The Hart Legacy w/ Natalya Niedhart
Kidd and Cade start us off, and when the two tie up Cade quickly gains the upper hand, rocking Kidd with right hands and elbows to the side. The shots knock Kidd down, only for Cade to drag him up and then plant Tyson with a scoop slam. Cade comes off the ropes... but Kidd rolls to avoid the elbow drop! Tyson now unloads with kicks and right hands, before he sends Cade off the ropes... and avoids him with a leapfrog... to then take him down with an armdrag! Cade is back up... right into another armdrag! Murdoch storms the ring... he runs into an armdrag too! Cade, the legal man, rolls to the outside, while Murdoch stumbles towards Smith... who tags him with a right hand, spinning Murdoch back towards Kidd... who comes off the ropes for a tilt-a-whirl headscissors! Murdoch stumbles back to his feet, and here comes Kidd... springboard crossbody! Kidd knocks Murdoch and bursts back to his feet, but as he attacks he doesn’t see Cade slip back into the ring... to smash Tyson from behind with a clothesline to the back of the head! Kidd smacks face first off the canvas, with Cade pouncing, hammering Kidd with a string of boots to the chest before he tags in Murdoch.
Murdoch goes to work with a series of power moves, bowling Kidd over with shoulderblocks, taking him up and down with a backbreaker before getting a near fall from a full nelson slam. Cade also goes to work on Kidd as The Crew work hard to keep Tyson away from Smith, with Cade sending Kidd high into the air with a big back body drop, before he continues his attack with a long vertical suplex. The rednecks show their experience factor as when Cade goes to the corner to pick a fight with Smith, Murdoch sneaks in and uses his boot pressed against Tyson’s throat in the corner to choke him, with Murdoch dropping back out of the ring just as the referee turns. Quick tags are made as the assault of Tyson continues, with The Crew combining for a nice double team move as Murdoch lifts Cade high into the air... to drop him with an elevated legdrop! Cade hooks the leg... 1... 2... Smith darts into the ring to make the save. Murdoch tags back in, and after landing a string of forearms to the lower back, he fires Kidd hard to the corner. Murdoch then lines him up from across the ring, building up a head of steam as he charges in... right into Kidd’s boot! Murdoch staggers back, then charges again... another boot to the face, with Tyson then quickly pushing himself onto the second rope... flying crossbody... countered into a powerslam! Murdoch gets all of it, not even bothering to hook the leg for the 1... 2... Kidd rolls a shoulder!
Cade and Murdoch are incensed, with Murdoch demanding a quicker count, before he relents and tags in Cade. Cade enters the ring and helps Kidd back to his feet... Tyson counters with a roll up out of nowhere! 1... 2... Cade kicks out, and both men are quickly back on their feet... Cade swings and misses with a clothesline... Kidd connects with a jumping roundhouse kick! Both men are down, and Kidd is crawling for his corner... to tag Harry Smith! Smith shows great agility for a man his size as he slingshots into the ring, gaining momentum as he lands on his feet and runs through Cade with a clothesline. Smith then grabs Cade, firing him off the ropes... huge back body drop! Murdoch storms the ring, but Smith sees him coming, catching him with a boot that doubles Murdoch over before he comes off the ropes... big boot to the side of the head! The force of the kick causes Murdoch to roll under the bottom rope, landing right next to Natalya. Murdoch gets back on his feet, and just like last week he starts exchanging words with Natalya... but here comes Kidd off the apron... diving hurricanrana... no! Murdoch hangs on... and counters with a powerbomb on the floor! The crowd gasps as Kidd takes a brutal landing, but while all this was happening, Smith continues his attack on Cade, synching him in... and taking him up... for the long DELAYED VERTICAL SUPLEX... only for Murdoch to then slide in the ring... and catch Smith with a chop block! Smith’s knee gives out, causing he and Cade to fall... with Cade landing on top of Smith! 1... 2... Cade has a handful of tights... 3!
Winners: The Redneck Wrecking Crew @ 04.27
Cade hangs on long enough to get the win, the force of Smith's kick out sending him rolling under the bottom rope to the floor. In the ring, Kidd is back in to check on his partner, as is Natalya, while on the outside Murdoch races around the ring to help Cade back to his feet. Smith explains the situation to his partner, angrily smacking his hands off the top rope, but it's all smiles as Cade and Murdoch back up the ramp, with Murdoch pointing back at the ring and shouting "Now ya'll better respect us!" as we cut to a commercial.
Back from commercial to the sight of the smiling Todd Grisham
, microphone in hand...
Welcome back to Monday Night Raw everybody. And please welcome my guest at this time, he is the challenger to the Intercontinental Championship this Sunday at Wrestlemania... Carlito!
A good pop from inside the arena as Carlito and Torrie Wilson come into the shot, the two walking with their arms linked together, while with his free hand 'Lito nonchalantly tosses an apple up and down...
And Carlito, Wrestlemania XXIII is just six
days away, the time is nearly upon us, and that means you one on one with Kenny Dykstra, the Intercontinental Championship on the line. How are you feeling ahead of what has to be considered a huge opportunity for you?
Carlito ponders for a moment, a brief smile as he nods his head in agreement...
Ju'know Todd, Carlito feels real, real
excited about 'dis Sunday man. Carlito has waited a long time to be Intercontinental Champion again, and at Wrestlemania XXIII, Carlito becomes a champion again. And Carlito's gonna teach 'dat punk Dykstra a lesson when he does it!
Well Carlito, I'm sure given what's been said between yourself and Kenny Dykstra over the last month or so with regards to your girlfriend Torrie, you can't wait to get your hands on the Intercontinental Champion.
Carlito breaths hard through his nose, nodding his head, this time with a much more aggressive look on his face...
Man, ju' better believe it! Kenny Dykstra, not only did he insult Carlito, he insulted Carlito's girl man. 'Dat's not cool! Carlito thinks Kenny's got a lotta talent, really impressin' Carlito in the ring. But dat kid's got a real bad attitude. He thinks he such a man that he can take Carlito's girl?
'Dat ain't gonna happen. Torrie don't want no little kid like Dykstra. She wants a real man, like Carlito. Right baby?
Torrie blushes as 'Lito playfully gives her a little punch on the chin...
And 'dis Sunday, Carlito gonna be the man to teach this punk a lesson. 'Ju don't talk trash about another guy's girl... especially not Carlito's girl. Carlito ain't gonna let 'dat fly man, and 'dis Sunday, ju' gonna pay 'de price!
And 'dat price is gonna be... 'jur Intercontinental Championship. Now 'dat... 'dat's cool!
A final pop rings out as 'Lito takes a big bite out of his apple, turning to look at Torrie, Raw's number one couple all smiles before they walk off, leaving the camera to linger on Grisham for a few seconds before we fade into a video.
A slow, sombre violin string is heard as we open to a darkened room, a glimmer of light peaking through the shadows, just barely illuminating the stoic figure of Triple H, sat on a steel folding chair wrapping his hands in white tape. The camera focuses on the fists of 'The Game', the tape passing over his knuckles in slow motion, until he applies that final strip, punching his right hand into his left, specks of water flying into the air as he does...
Triple H: Y'know, there's a reason why they call me 'The Cerebral Assassin'.
We now see Triple H rise out of the chair, slowly walking through the shadows and into the darkness...
Triple H: I'm one of the most calculated superstars in WWE history. Everything I do, I plan to the minute detail.
We now cut to a gym, 'The Game' working out hard as he performs a series of leg presses and squats...
Triple H: I'm a ten time World Champion. You don't get there through favouritism. You don't get there through family. You get there by workin' your ass off. I don't wait for opportunities... I go out and grab 'em.
And now Triple H starts going to work on the bench press, firing out an impressive set of reps...
Triple H: You gotta push yourself to the absolute limit. You gotta take your body further than it's ever been before. I know Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam are gonna be ready... but they're not gonna be as ready as me.
We now see Triple H sparring in the ring, taking over some no-name wrestler with a series of power moves...
Triple H: I've been to the top of the mountain before. I've main evented Wrestlemanias, I know what it takes to win on the biggest stage.
We now see brief, flashing highlights of previous Wrestlemania matches as 'The Game' knocks down Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania XX, Batista at Wrestlemania XXI and John Cena at Wrestlemania XXII...
Triple H: Rob, I'm not gonna lie to ya'... I don't like you. I don't like you... but I do respect you. But this isn't your time Rob. You got in this match through the back door, you got in my way of gettin' my hands on Shawn. And at Wrestlemania, I'm takin' you out, and I'm takin' you out early. You ain't a rookie, you're not some kid... but you're not in my league either. As for Shawn Michaels...
Cries of pain and howls of agony are heard as Triple H now stretches out the indistinguishable wrestler in the dimly lit wrestling ring...
Triple H: I don't just want your title Shawn. I want... blood. You took a friendship... and you shattered it. And ever since, you've dodged me, you've avoided me, but you've only delayed the inevitable. Payback's a bitch Shawn, and it's time I cashed in. It might not be personal with Van Dam, but with you Shawn... it's about as personal as it gets.
More shots of high impact moves, with Triple H connecting with the spinning spinebuster and then the pedigree...
Triple H: I'm more prepared for a fight than I've ever been. I know what Shawn and Rob are gonna do before they've even thought of it. I want back that WWE Championship. I wanna break Shawn Michaels in half. Call me greedy, but I'm more determined than ever to make sure I get what I want. I am the best in the world at what I do, and this Sunday, Rob, Shawn...
We now see 'The Game' stood on the second rope in the corner, flexing his arms, muscles bursting out of his skin, with the camera zooming in...
Triple H: It's time to play the game.
*End Video Package*
Back into the arena for a few seconds of silence until...
"BEHOLD THE KING... THE KING OF KINGS..."
The arena absolutely unloads with an incredible pop as Triple H
steps out from the back, stopping at the entrance way on the top of the ramp. 'The Game' holds his ground for a few seconds, letting the buzz of the crowd grow, before he spits out a spray of water and then strides down to the ring with a purpose...
This arena is on it's feet for 'The Game', Triple H! He is focused, he is determined, and he is ready for a showdown this Sunday in Detroit, Michigan! One third of the first ever
Wrestlemania WWE Championship Triple Threat Match, and Triple H is ready to become an eleven
time heavyweight champion!
John Bradshaw Layfield:
I can't hear a damn thing! These people are goin' nuts for Triple H! But he better not just be thinkin' about Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam, he better be thinkin' about the man he's gonna face tonight.
Oh don't worry about that 'JBL'. Triple H is ready! But we all know how much 'The Game' is lookin' forward to finally gettin' his hands on Shawn Michaels this Sunday, and I know he's got somethin' in store too for 'RVD'. I can't wait for that match, it's gonna be incredible!
"MY NAME IS FINLAY... AND I LOVE TO FIGHT..."
A good ammount of boos welcomes the United States Champion Finlay
into the arena, the Smackdown superstar looking very confident as he heads down the ramp, threatening the odd fan with his shillelagh before pointing it at Triple H in the ring...
Well all know how tough Triple H can be, but here comes one of the few men in the WWE who could claim to be even tougher. 'The Fighting Irishman' Finlay, the current United States Champion, he could make a huge statement ahead of his title defence against Matt Hardy this Sunday by pickin' up a win over 'The Game'.
Ya' gotta think Matt Hardy's gonna be watchin' this backstage, and he might see a few things that surprise him tonight. Finlay can go with anybody, he can mix it up with the very best of 'em. Matt Hardy's gonna find out exactly
what he's got comin' this Sunday in this match right now.
Match 3: Non Title Match
United States Champion Finlay vs. Triple H
The two well known hardmen step forward as the bell rings, exchanging words, the crowd noise building as they stare each other down. Eventually the pair tie up, and after a few seconds jockeying for position, Triple H takes Finlay down with a headlock takedown. Finlay works back to a vertical base, and then backs ‘The Game’ to the ropes, where he fires him across... but Triple H bowls Finlay over with a shoulderblock! ‘The Game’ now turns and comes off the ropes, only for Finlay to go for a hiptoss... Triple H blocks it... and then hammers Finlay with a clothesline! Early cover... 1... 2... Finlay kicks out. Both men are quickly back up... but again ‘The Game’ takes control with the headlock takedown, hanging on for a grounded headlock. Trips locks the hold on tight, but eventually Finlay is able to force both men up, allowing him to back ‘The Game’ into the corner. The referee calls for the break, with Triple H releasing... only for Finlay to take advantage by driving a series of shoulders to the midsection. Vicious knees to the side of the head follow, before Finlay fires Triple H across... only to run into a boot to the face. Now ‘The Game’ comes out of the corner swinging, rocking right after right, snapping Finlay’s head back, before he looks for the Irish whip off the ropes... but Finlay reverses... only to then lower his head... facebreaker knee smash! Finlay stumbles back to the ropes... and a clothesline knocks him over the top rope to the floor!
Finlay crashes to the floor below, and he takes his time recovering, which prompts ‘The Game’ to head for the side of the ring... but Finlay reaches in and grabs his ankle, pulling Triple H down and then under the ropes... but Trips connects on the first right hand! Finlay stumbles away, but ‘The Game’ grabs him... and smashes him face first off the announce desk! Finlay drops to a knee to try shake it off, but there’s not let up as first Triple H drives him spine first into the ring apron, and then takes Finlay up onto his shoulders... to drive Finlay face first into the ringpost... no! Finlay drops down the back and shoves Triple H towards the post... ‘The Game’ puts on the breaks, stopping himself for running face first into the post... but as he turns Finlay spears him spine first into the steel! Triple H crumples to the floor in pain, but Finlay moves quickly to roll him back into the ring, hooking the leg for a near fall. Now Finlay looks to target the spine as he snapmares ‘The Game’ to the mat and delivers a stiff kick to the back, repeatedly drives his knee to the small of the back, then rolls Triple H over for a running senton to the spine. After a near fall, Finlay locks on a bodyscissors, squeezing on the waist of ‘The Game’ in an attempt to apply pressure to the spine.
Finlay squeezes, causing ‘The Game’ to grimace in pain, which turn to groans when Finlay reaches up to grab the ropes, giving him some extra leverage to the hold. The crowd do their best to get Trips back into the match, and eventually he starts to strike with elbows to the face, causing some separation. Finlay is back on his feet first, and he hammers down on ‘The Game’ with a right hand to the face... Triple H fires back from his knees! Again Finlay strikes... again ‘The Game’ replies, back on his feet now as he connects on three right hands in a row. Trips comes off the ropes... but runs into a big time clothesline! Finlay crawls into the cover... 1... 2... Triple H rolls a shoulder, and with Finlay firmly in control, it’s rather appropriate that we quickly cut backstage to see his opponent at Wrestlemania this Sunday, Matt Hardy watching on, a determined if not slightly worried look on his face. Back to the ring, and after Finlay drills a few forearms to the spine, he rears back and aggressively fires ‘The Game’ to the corner, Triple H crying out as he hits the turnbuckle hard and slumps to his knees. Boots to the chest follow, before Finlay goes for a suplex... Triple H blocks. Finlay tries again... again ‘The Game’ blocks... and then responds with a suplex of his own! Both men are down, but eventually they struggle back up, with Finlay throwing a right hand... Triple H snaps him back, time and time again, until he goes for the Irish whip... Finlay reverses, but again he lowers his head... and Triple H synchs him in... PEDIGREE... NO! Finlay counters, reaching down, taking ‘The Game’ onto his shoulders... ROLLING HILLS! Finlay hits a great counter, hooks the leg tight for the 1... 2... NO!
After the kick out, Finlay protests to the referee, which allows Trips to crawl to the corner to recover. Slowly ‘The Game’ pulls himself up, but here comes Finlay looking for a spear against the turnbuckle... but he runs into a boot to the face! Finlay stumbles back, but charges once more... another boot to the face! Again Finlay staggers away, but he charges for the third time... running into a massive spinning spinebuster! Both men stay down for an age, the ref’s count reaching eight before either can drag themselves up. Finlay swings a right... ‘The Game’ blocks and fires back with a right of his own. Again Finlay swings... again Trips beats him to the punch, and then tags Finlay with three rights in a row. Triple H goes for the Irish whip... but Finlay reverses... only to miss with a clothesline... running knee strike! Trips drops into the cover... 1... 2... Finlay rolls a shoulder! ‘The Game’ now waits for Finlay to rise... kick... PEDIGREE... NO! Again Finlay counters... this time with a massive back body drop! Triple H crashes and burns, crawling to the corner, but Finlay is right on him as he goes for the Irish whip... but Triple H reverses... and follows in with a clothesline... no! Finlay dives to safety, seeing ‘The Game’ hits the turnbuckle... and this allows Finlay to hook him up... CELTIC CROSS... NO! Triple H manages to fight back to his feet... and he spins Finlay around... kick... PEDIGREE!! Triple H emphatically plants Finlay, and he hooks the leg for the 1... 2... 3!
Winner: Triple H @ 10.28
A stiff match ends with Triple H picking up a hard fought victory. 'The Game' gingerly rolls free of Finlay, taking a few moments to sell Finlay's attacks as he lies on the mat, but he's soon able to pick himself up to have his hand raised by the referee. Trips then heads for the corner, pulling himself up onto the second rope, where he points towards the Wrestlemania XXIII banner hanging from the rafters, motioning with his hands that this Sunday, he'll have a championship around his waist, the crowd still going wild as we head for a commercial.
And when we return...
*NO CHANCE IN HELL...*
Tremendous heat as 'The Chairman of the Board' Mr. McMahon
swaggers out onto the stage. Pausing briefly, McMahon surveys the landscape, basking in his creation, before he employs that trademark strut of his to carry him down the ramp...
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Monday Night Raw. There you see perhaps the most evil mind professional wrestlin' has ever seen. The man who will lead Bobby Lashley into Wrestlemania XXIII for a showdown with John Cena. But tonight, from what we understand, Mr. McMahon is set to walk into that ring, alone
I might add, and call out 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin.
Yeah and, ya' gotta ask... has he lost his freakin' mind!?
Oh believe me, Mr. McMahon knows what he's doin' here. He's got somethin' up his sleeve, you can count on it. But this Sunday, he's gonna be watchin' from the sidelines as Lashley and Cena go at it, and thanks to Austin being the Special Guest Referee this Sunday, I don't think McMahon is gonna be able to have quite the influence he's like to have on that match.
In the ring, Vince asks for and receives a microphone, returning to the centre of the ring with a rather eerie booming smile on his face...
Alright, alright. Cut the music.
Vince's music eventually dies down, although the crowd continue to boo, prompting McMahon to wait for them to settle down...
Indianapolis, Indiana... can you feel it!?
Strangely Vince goes for the cheap pop, but it seems to work as the crowd responds positively...
It's Wrestlemania season! And that of course means that in just six days time, John Cena-
A strong pop from the crowd cuts Vince off, much to McMahon's annoyance. Vince pauses, shaking his head, before he continues...
If you'll let me finish. In six days time, John Cena faces without doubt, the - biggest - threat
he's ever faced in his life. He takes on the irresistible force. He takes on 'The Real Deal'. My
representative at Wrestlemania XXIII... BOBBY... LASHLEY!
And of course, the reason that Cena finds himself in this predicament, is that for months, John Cena put his hands on me. He assaulted me. He insulted me. He questioned my authority. Simply put, he crossed the boss. And nobody... and I mean nobody
... crosses the boss and gets away with it.
More heat, at which Vince simply smirks...
And ever since Saturday Night's Main Event, ever since Bobby Lashley ripped through the canvas at Madison Square Garden and destroyed
Cena, quite frankly John Cena has been runnin' scared of Lashley. Cena's been on the run, he's been tryin' to avoid Lashley at every opportunity, but this Sunday, there's nowhere left for Cena to run to. This Sunday John, you're gonna met 'The Dominator', and you're gonna suffer
, and dammit, I'm gonna enjoy it!
At least, that's how I had it all planned out, until two weeks ago on Raw, when my wife Linda McMahon announce that (Makes air quotes)
"in the interests of fairness", there was goin' to be a Special Guest Referee for that match. And of course, last week as we all found out, the man she was referring to was... 'Stone Cold'... STEVE AUSTIN!!
Massive pop from the fans, with Vince sighing deeply and shaking his head...
Yeah, yeah. You all loved that one, didn't ya'? I don't know how John Cena can show up this Sunday with any kinda dignity left given the fact that such a biased
referee has been appointed. I dunno how he can step into that ring on Sunday and try exude any kind of class. 'Cause quite frankly, the fact that John Cena approached my wife, cried his eyes out, and wound up with Steve Austin as a hand picked referee, says to me that he knows he can't beat Lashley without any help. He can't beat Lashley one on one, and that's a fact.
Major heat for the sheer hypocrisy Vince is displaying...
And that's why I'm here tonight, stood in this very ring... alone
, I might add... to try and get a few guarantees. I wanna know just how much favouritism Mr. Austin plans on showing this Sunday. And, if possible, I'd like to try and persuade him to call it... right - down - the middle.
A few boos, but it's mostly silence from the crowd as Vince now turns to look up the ramp...
So Steve, I know you're back there. I want you to come down to this ring, I want you to face me like a man, and I want you to-
For the second time in as many weeks, the WWE faithful go ape-shit crazy as Steve Austin
roars into the arena on the back of his 4x4 kart. Stopping at the top of the ramp, Austin revs his engine loudly, before he races down the ramp and then circles the ring. Austin finally comes to an end at the base of the ramp, climbing off the kart and then up the stairs into the ring. Austin steps through the ropes and heads for the opposite corner, stopping as he crosses paths with Vince to flip him the bird, before he jumps up to the second rope to salute the crowd. Austin then drops down and asks for a microphone, being handed one, before he heads for the middle of the ring to go toe to toe with McMahon...
Steve! Steve, how are ya'? Great to see ya'! Just like old times, huh? Y'know, you, me, stood here in the middle of a WWE ring. You remember those happy days, right?
Austin gives Vince a look of confusion, crossing up his face, scratching his head, slowly bringing the microphone to his mouth to say...
Did you just ask 'Stone Cold' about tha' good ol' days?
Tha' days when ol' 'Stone Cold' would open a can o' whoop ass on you, ya' sorry sunnova bitch, each and ev'ry night?!
Tha' bottom line son, is that they weren't no good ol' days for you, they were good ol' days for 'Stone Cold'. And I know I drank a lotta beer over the years, my memory ain't as good as it oughta be, but I sure as hell remember that when you and me got in this ring together, I drank some beer and I kicked your ass! Now somebody gimme a damn beer!
Austin holds a hand in the air, calling for a beer, and sure enough, to very quickly are launched into the ring, Austin catching both one handed, before he snaps one open and places it on the mat, then snaps open the other and takes a big gulp of it. Vince tries his best to call for calm, motioning with his hands for Austin to settle down...
Well Steve, they may not have been the best of nights for me professionally, but they were certainly good days for business. And that's why I asked you out here tonight Steve. I'm not here to fight, I'm not here to drink beer with you, I'm here to discuss business
. In specific, your role in the Bobby Lashley/John Cena match this Sunday.
Austin nods his head, indicating that he's willing to listen...
Now Steve, let's be honest here... you don't like me.
I hate yer' sorry ass!
The crowd pop, with Vince laughing to himself...
Alright. You hate me. That's fine. I don't need you to like me Steve. But what I do need... is for you to call that match fairly this Sunday. Y'see, I want Lashley to hurt
John Cena. I wanna see Cena suffer. I wanna see Cena humiliated with the whole world watchin'. And for that to happen, I need you to put whatever issues you may have me aside, and call the match right down the middle. And to make sure that happens, I have a few proposals I'd like to make to you Steve.
Cautiously, Vince reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a few sheets of paper, keeping one eye on Austin as he unfolds the paper and starts reading its contents...
Now, as I understand it, you have a movie coming out in a couple of months time, called The Condemned
.Should you call the match this Sunday right down the line... or maybe even in my
favour... I can promise you Steve, that The Condemned
will receive the full support and backing of the WWE. I'm talking trailers promoting the movie, a countdown to its release date, interviews with you and the other stars, exclusive footage live on Raw, the works. How's that sound Steve?
Austin stares at Vince with a blank expression on his face...
Alright. Alright, how about this? How about a live, three hour special edition of Monday Night Raw entitled 'Stone Cold Appreciation Night'? A look back at the life and career of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. We'll show some of your greatest matches, some of your best moments, we'll let you make a few matches, hell, I'll even let ya' step back in the ring for a match with any current member of the WWE roster. What d'ya think of that Steve?
Once more Austin simply stares at Vince with that blank expression, causing a few laughs from the crowd, and frustration from McMahon...
Dammit Austin! Alright. Alright. How about this? How about this Saturday night, 24 hours before Wrestlemania, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, the final member of the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame Class? How about that!?
The crowd responds with a huge pop for that prospect, and it appears that even Austin is thinking it over as he slowly sips on his beer, a look of deep thought on his face. McMahon tries to encourage the crowd to make some noise, hoping their cheers helps Austin see things his way, while Austin now strokes his chin, clearly considering the offer...
C'mon Steve! You know it makes sense! Steve Austin... WWE Hall of Famer! I mean, listen to these people! They wanna see it happen! Don't disappoint the fans Steve! Call things my way! Call the match in my favour, and I can make all
of that happen!
And now a mixed response from the fans, realising that for them to see Austin in the Hall of Fame he'd need to see things from Vince's point of view. Austin looks to the crowd, who respond with a louder mixed reaction, and indeed Austin appears to be listening to them as he takes his time, pondering his options, until he finally brings the mic to his mouth...
Well hell, that's quite tha' offer Vince. Can I have a moment to consider it?
Austin again strikes his chin, a look of deep thought on his face, before he brings hsi head up, ready to answer... only to then shake it off, suggesting he needs more time...
If ya' wanna see 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's movie The Condemned
promoted on Monday Night Raw gimme a hell yeah!
If ya' wanna see a special Monday Night Raw called 'Stone Cold Appreciation Night', gimme a hell yeah!
If ya' wanna see 'Stone Cold' in tha' WWE Hall of Fame, gimme a hell yeah!
And if ya' wanna see 'Stone Cold' walk into Wrestlemania XXIII this Sunday and call tha' match in Bobby Lashley's favour, gimme a hell yeah.
Major heat, at which Austin shakes his head. McMahon hears the boos too, and does his best to motion for the crowd to quiet down...
Don't listen to these people Steve. These people are nothin' but selfish, arrogant-
Vince is taken aback, stunned at first, but soon a look of anger engulfs his face...
What the hell did you just-
I said... shut up.
The crowd pops, while Vince displays that trademark gulp of his...
Did you just try an' bribe 'Stone Cold'?
Ya' think yer' lil' offer is gonna make 'Stone Cold' call tha' match your way?
Well ya' can take yer' movie promotion, ya' can take yer' 'Stone Cold Appreciation Night', and ya' can take yer' WWE Hall of Fame, and you can kiss my ass!
A thunderous pop from the crowd, while Vince fumes, his face turning red with rage...
There ain't nothin' you can say son that's gonna make 'Stone Cold' call this match anythin' other than right down tha' line. There two guys goin' into Detroit, Michigan, two unbelievable athletes, and they're gonna get it on. John Cena, he's one helluva fighter. He's one helluva competitor. He's tha' face of this company right now, and he's a guy 'Stone Cold' has a lotta respect for. Hell, if he came down ta' this ring right now, 'Stone Cold' would give 'im a beer and say best o' luck for this Sunday. But that don't mean 'Stone Cold' likes 'im.
Austin now begins pacing the ring, picking up the second beer he left on the mat...
Bobby Lashley? Hell, he's a damn freak o' nature! He's got a mean streak a mile long, he can do some incredible things in tha' ring. He might be tha' closest thing ta' tha' ultimate fightin' machine yer' ever gonna see. He looks unstoppable, he looks like he could tear John Cena a new asshole. 'Stone Cold' has a lotta respect for 'im. But that don't mean 'Stone Cold' likes 'im.
Vince stares at Austin, sensing his words have gone un-noticed tonight...
Hell Vince, 'Stone Cold' don't like anybody! Ya' oughta know that by now son! But tha' fact o' tha' matter is, this Sunday at Wrestlemania XXIII, in Detroit, Michigan, tha' irresistible force is gonna meet tha' immovable object. And ol' 'Stone Cold' is gonna be right in tha' middle of it, waitin' ta' call that one, two, three. I don't give a rat's ass if it's John Cena's shoulders on tha' mat, or if it's Bobby Lashley's. I'll count 'em down, I'll raise tha' winner's hand, and that's tha' bottom line, 'cause 'Stone Cold' said so!
Vince smirks to himself, nodding his head ruefully...
It's gonna be an unbelievable match, on an unbelievable night, and there ain't nobody that's gonna stick their nose in that match.
Austin steps forward, getting right in Vince's face...
Especially you, ya' rat bastard!
Another big pop, with Austin quickly stepping back to take another sip from his beer can...
Well Steve... it pains me to hear you say that. It really does. Y'see, I made a genuine, honest attempt to try and reason with you tonight. Those offers I made, those proposals... they were legit. I really wanted you to do the right thing for once Steve, and see things my way. I really hoped it wouldn't have to come to this. But...
All of a sudden, a commotion is heard from the crowd...
I'm afraid you've left me no other choice.
And soon the reason becomes apparent... Bobby Lashley is in the ring! Austin is oblivious, staring straight at McMahon, but soon the crowd alerts him to turn around... LASHLEY RUNS THROUGH AUSTIN WITH A SPEAR!!
Lashley rips through Austin with a thunderous spear, the crowd unloading with a barrage of heat. Austin lies in a heap on the canvas, clutching his ribs, rolling in pain, while Lashley stands on Austin, an evil snarl on his face...
Yeah, I really
didn't wanna have to do this Austin! But you've left me no choice! If you're not gonna play ball with me and Bobby... we're just gonna have to take you outta the equation. Bobby... let's open up a can o' whoop ass!
Lashley nods, knowing what he has to do as he reaches down and grabs Austin, dragging 'The Texas Rattlesnake' back to his feet. Lashley holds Austin in position, while Vince winds up... and delivers a stiff slap across Austin's face! The crowd gasps as Vince gloats over the situation he's found himself in, knowing there's not a damn thing Austin can do to touch him right now...
Hey! Hey... throw me one of those beers. Get me a beer in here right now, dammit!
And right on cue, a beer can is launched into the ring, with Vince taking care to catch it with two hands. Lashley delivers a pair of clubbing forearms to the side of Austin's head, while Vince snaps open the can... holds it up in the air... and then pours some of the liquid into his mouth. But instead of swallowing, McMahon holds it in mouth... then puffs out his cheeks... MCMAHON'S GONNA SPIT BEER IN AUSTIN'S FACE! Vince pauses, letting the tension build, before he rears his head back and...
*MY TIME IS NOW...*
The arena erupts once more, and Vince damn near chokes on the bear, coughing, spluttering and spitting it all over his shirt as John Cena
races down to the ring! Lashley sees Cena coming, tossing Austin aside, and he stands and waits as Cena slides under the bottom rope... CENA AND LASHLEY START TRADING RIGHT HANDS!! The crowd is going wild as Cena and Lashley battle in the middle of the ring, each thunderous right being returned with ever more force than before... until Lashley ends the sequence with a knee to the midsection! Lashley quickly moves to club Cena twice on the spine, backing Cena to the ropes, prompting Lashley to go for an Irish whip... but Cena explodes off the opposite ropes... FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK! Cena flies through the air to take Lashley down, with Lashley quickly rolling from the ring... allowing Cena to turn his attentions to Vince! McMahon's eyes bulge as he sees Cena has him in his sights... but just as Cena moves to grab McMahon, Vince scurries under the bottom rope, quickly racing around the ring to meet up with Lashley.
Cena kicks the ropes in anger, raging that he once again wasn't able to get his hands on either Vince or Lashley, but he leans over the ropes and stares down the pair, shouting at them "THIS SUNDAY, WE END THIS!", causing Vince to gulp once more. Cena then turns back to the ring... RIGHT INTO A STUNNER FROM AUSTIN!!
STUNNER! STUNNER! AUSTIN HITS CENA WITH THE STUNNER! The crowd lets rip with a huge, mixed response, with Austin flipping Cena the bird, then doing the same to Lashley and McMahon! Cena is down and out, while ever so slowly, Vince and Lashley back up the ramp, nursing their wounds, but at the same time, the smile on Vince's face is impossible to miss as he realises that maybe, just maybe, he's got things going his way...
Good Gawd almighty! 'Stone Cold' just laid out John Cena!
God, what a moment! These fans are goin' nuts!
In the ring, Austin continues to ask for and receive beers, chugging down can after can as he heads for each corner of the ring, saluting the fans from every angle. On the ramp, McMahon and Lashley have backed to the top of it, just as Austin decides to get two more beers before he exits the ring. Lashley and Vince have since disappeared backstage, and by the time Austin has made it to the top of the ramp, Cena has begun to stir. Austin stops at the top of the ramp, smacking together the last two cans of beer, chugging them down his throat, while Cena manages to prop himself up onto his elbows, looking up at Austin. 'Stone Cold' takes one last look at the ring, the camera switching between Austin and Cena, with Cena looking furious as he shakes his head, annoyed that by saving Austin he got a stunner for his troubles. Cena stays down, rubbing the back of his neck, while on the ramp Austin salutes the crowd one last time, making it clear that he'll show no favouritism this Sunday as we go off to another commercial.
And we return to see The World's Greatest Tag Team
standing by, ready to cut a promo. Shelton Benjamin
stands rubbing his hands, a broad smirk on his face, while standing slightly behind him is Charlie Haas
, his arms folded across his chest, the World Tag Team Champions looking confident ahead of this Sunday...
So... it's Wrestlemania time. Time for The World's Greatest Tag Team to prove once and for all... that it ain't just a name. That it ain't just somethin' we say 'cause it sounds good. It's somethin' that we've always known... and it's about time that you people realised that. And y'all gonna find it out this Sunday.
Haas now steps forward...
Y'see we've been in this business a long time. We've been to Wrestlemania, hell, we've defended championships at Wrestlemania before. We may have went our separate ways, but there was always somethin' that kept drawin' us back together. And now look at us. We're the World Tag Team Champions again, but more important than that... we're still
The World's Greatest Tag Team.
Benjamin nods in agreement with his partner...
But now we're back on top, we realised somethin'... there's ain't nobody in our league. There ain't nobody good enough to compete wit' us. There ain't no competition anymore. But for some reason, a lotta people keep throwin' the same name at us. They keep mentionin'... the WWE Tag Team Champions... The Hooligans.
Haas turns up his nose at the mention of London and Kendrick...
And that's why he had to challenge 'em to a match at Wrestlemania. We don't need to find out... we already know. But we need to prove to you people, that once and for all... we're the best. Brian Kendrick and Paul London? They might be the longest reigning champions in Smackdown history, a record we used to hold, but to get there... they ain't be nobody. They ain't nothin'... but paper champions.
Benjamin glances at the title that hangs across his shoulder...
So this Sunday, we give the WWE tag team division the shot in the arm it needs. We made this challenge 'cause we wanted to be impressed. But since nobody impressed us... we're just gonna have to settle for beatin' you two. But when we beat you, you better bring everythin' you've got. We'll drag this tag team division back to relevance, the only way we know how... by puttin' on one helluva match. It's our aim to make these titles worth somethin' once again...
And there ain't no stoppin' us now.
The pair turn to look at each other, nodding confidently, before they turn back to the camera, a lingering stare straight down the lens from both men before we cut elsewhere.
To see that the smile has returned to the face of Maria as she's ready to conduct another interview...
Hi! It's me, Maria, again
! And please welcome my guest at this time, she is the WWE Women's Champion... Mickie... James!
A pretty decent pop for Mickie James as she enters the frame. James has her championship slung over her left shoulder, and she looks all business as a baseball cap is pulled down low over her eyes, but she still has time to give Maria a quick smile...
Mickie, earlier tonight we heard from your opponent in six days time, Beth Phoenix, and she said that your Women's Championship Match this Sunday was about so much more than just a title. It was about was she called... redemption
. What are your thoughts on that?
James pauses, biting her lip for a few seconds as she ponders her response...
God, has it really come to this Beth? We used to be so close, and now... let's just say redemption
is all I'm thinkin' about too. Y'know, I can say it time and time again. What happened to Beth all those years ago... it really was
a complete accident. But I guess some people just don't wanna listen. Some people just wanna believe whatver sounds good in their head.
Mickie shakes her head disappointingly...
If you'd said to me three years ago that one day, Mickie James would be defending the WWE Women's Championship against Beth Phoenix, I wouldn't have believed you. Back then, that sounded like a total dream come true! If you told me that all the pain, all the hard work, all the years of sacrifice would mean that me and my best friend would one day be at Wrestlemania fightin' for the Women's Title, I... I don't think I can even describe what I'd be feeling. But...
The champion reluctantly shrugs her shoulders...
That dream, kinda turned into a bit of a nightmare along the way. I said sorry to Beth about a thousand times for what happened to her. I never wanted it that way, I never wanted this title that way. But now I'm here, I'm livin' my
dream... and I'm gonna do all I can to make sure it lasts a little bit longer.
James now looks down the camera, more focused and determined...
But Beth... it's time for you to wake up and smell the coffee!
I've felt guilty for long enough, I've lived with the grief long enough. This Sunday, I'm gonna beat you, and when I do, you're gonna have no excuses. We might have been good friends Beth... but we'll make better enemies. And this Sunday, I'll prove that when they offered me that WWE contract all those years ago... they made the right choice.
Mickie continues to look down the camera, determination mixed with sorrow that it's come this far between her and Beth, but as the champion finally leaves, the camera switches to Maria, who simply watches Mickie go with a look of awe on her face before we cut back to ringside.
And it's to the announce desk we go, to hear from the commentary team...
Well it's certainly gonna be quite the moment when Mickie James and Beth Phoenix finally meet. Such a personal, long-standing rivalry between the two former best friends, it could turn out to be one of the most hard hittin' divas matches we've ever seen.
God no doubt about it. Beth Phoenix, she's got all the power, but Mickie, she's quick as hell and she's been a great champion. Really lookin' forward to that one.
But folks, we're all of course also looking forward to Saturday night, the night before Wrestlemania XXIII, to see the 2007 Hall of Fame Ceremony. It's an incredible class so far, and it's about to get one member bigger. And despite Mr. McMahon's offer earlier tonight, it won't
be 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes, 'Mr. Perfect' Curt Hennig, Owen Hart, my two colleagues here, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, Mr. T's headin' for the celebrity wing, and of course 'The Enforcer' Arn Anderson. What a class so far!
And it's about to get a whole lot better, as perhaps we've saved the very best name of this year's class for last. He's always been a little on the extreme side, he's always been a bit bizarre, but he entertained with some of the most iconic moments in WWE history...
We burst into the video with the screech of tyres, until a loud crash is heard, with the song ‘Wreck’ takes over...
Narrator: A man of many personas, our final inductee entertained fans around the world in whatever guise he chose...
We see quick fire shots of Mick Foley in his various guises, starting with Dude Love, then Cactus Jack, then Mankind...
Narrator: Be it as Cactus Jack, Dude Love or Mankind, he always pushed the limits and gave new meaning to the word attitude.
We cut to the iconic footage from King of the Ring ’98, where The Undertaker launches Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell, crashing through the announce desk below...
Jim Ross: As Gawd is my witness, he is broken in half!
Narrator: But Mick Foley had more in his locker than high risk stunts.
We now see footage from the infamous ‘Rock – This Is Your Life!” segment from 1999...
Mankind: It’s your six grade teacher... your high school football coach... your high school sweetheart!
The Rock: You wanna serve The Rock a great big piece o’ that poontang pie?
And now we relive the time that Mankind paid Mr. McMahon a visit in the hospital...
Mr. McMahon: I keep tellin’ you I don’t want any damn visitors!
Mankind: It’s Mr. Socko!
And now it’s back to the action as we see footage from No Way Out 2000 and the hellacious Hell in a Cell Match between Cactus Jack and Triple H...
Narrator: But behind all the laughs was one of the most extreme superstars in WWE history.
Foley smashes his barbed wire baseball bat off the skull of ‘The Game’, before Foley is back dropped onto the roof of the cell, it giving way as Foley crashes all the way to the mat below...
Triple H: That series of matches with Mick are the absolute toughest of my career. I’ve never been the same since then.
We fast forward to Wrestlemania XXII, to see Edge fly through the ropes, spearing Foley off the apron and onto a burning table...
Joey Styles: Oh my Gaaawwwwwwddddd!
Edge: The guy’s an absolute lunatic. I’ve never experienced pain like I did durin’ my match with Mick Foley. I couldn’t even begin to describe what he put me through.
We now rewind to 1996, where Mankind challenges Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship, flying off the apron with an elbow drop to the concrete and then Mankind sat on the apron, stabbing his leg with a pen...
Shawn Michaels: Just unbelievable. He had such a unique character, so edgy for that time. He’d talk to himself, he’d pull his hair out, he’d play with a rat... just so different to anythin’ else anybody was doin’ at that time.
Backlash 2004, where Randy Orton goes for an RKO, only for Foley to counter, launching Orton into a pile of thumb tacks on the canvas...
Randy Orton: One of the best matches of my career. I’ve heard ‘im say he thought it was pretty special too, so I’m glad I gave ‘im as good as I got when it came to the hardcore stuff.
Grainy footage of Foley diving off the roof of his parent’s house transitions into Foley as holding the WWF Championship for the first time in 1999...
Mick Foley: At the risk of not soundin’ very cool, I’d like to dedicate this match to my two little people at home and say... big Daddy-o did it!
A cavalcade of superstars are subjected to various incarnations of the mandible claw...
Narrator: The WWE Hall of Fame is proud to announce its latest inductee...
Back to that night on Raw in early ’99, where Foley celebrates in the ring and we hear the call Michael Cole made that night...
Michael Cole: You can’t measure guts, heart and determination. He may not be the most talented, he may not be the best looking, but he is the champion!
And finally, that sick, bloody, toothless smile that Mankind flashed during the Hell in a Cell Match with The Undertaker......
Triple H: He pushed himself further, and risked his life more times than anybody else, just to entertain the fans. And that’s why he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Narrator: Mick Foley!
Mick Foley: Have a nice day!
We now see a picture of Mick, broad smile on his face with one thumb up, with the Hall of Fame logo nearby. Also on the screen is the fact that Foley will be inducted into the Hall of Fame by The Rock!
*End Video Package*
And back into the arena, where the crowd are on their feet in a tremendous show of respect, a booming "FOLEY! FOLEY! FOLEY!" chant ringing out around the stands. The camera darts back and forth, and the commentary team stay silent, allowing us to soak in the level of appreciation being shown to 'The Hardcore Legend'...
What a night it's gonna be! 'Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy', Mick Foley, is the final member of the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame Class!
What an honour for Mick Foley that is! I got a lotta respect for Mick Foley, he was a big part of the early days of ECW, and he more than deserves that spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. Congratulations Mick!
I'm sure we all feel the same way. Wrestlemania weekend is almost upon us, it's gonna be a very important time in the life of Mick Foley, but it's also a time of huge importance to another ECW alumni. Rob Van Dam competes in his first ever
Wrestlemania main event, as he challenges-
*TURN UP THE TROUBLE...*
The arena erupts with a boisterous outpouring of heat as Friday Night Smackdown's own Mr. Kennedy
, perhaps the most hated man in the WWE at this point in time, steps out onto the Raw stage. Pausing at the top of the ramp, Kennedy smirks at the crowd, liking his lips at the prospect of addressing them as he swaggers down to the ring. Wearing an all black tracksuit that reads "KK" across the back, Kennedy takes his time entering the ring, his eyes narrowed in a show of focus just days away from the biggest match of his career...
Well... uh... that is
Mr. Kennedy, the man scheduled to compete against Rob Van Dam next. We were supposed to go to commercial here folks, but Kennedy has jumped the gun a lil' bit here.
Have you ever seen anybody act as arrogant as this guy does? I know he's talented, I know he can talk a good fight, but he really
likes to show it to you, doesn't he?
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Well why not? The guy's had an incredible career to this point, and it's only gonna get better. Hell, just think, we could be lookin' at our World Heavyweight Champion right now if it wasn't for Ric Flair. The guy's been held back, but that's what drives him, that's what fuels his desire to win, and that's what's gonna lead 'im to victory this Sunday.
But can that lead him to victory tonight? This is such an interestin' match up featuring possibly the two men with the most to prove this Sunday. This match could really let us see who's ready to take that next big step at Wrestlemania.
The lights are dimmed, a long spotlight dropping on Kennedy as he races his hand up to the heavens... and of course, down from the rafters drops that trademark microphone of his. The glare of the spotlight is just enough so that when the camera zooms in we see the dried in blood still stained on it, the blood of three male members of the Flair family. Kennedy brings the mic close to his mouth, breathing hard through his nose, loudly chewing gum, his obnoxious noises proving an effective heat gatherer before he finally speaks...
In six... days... time... yours truly turns the final page... ends the final chapter... writes the final words... in the story that has been Ric Flair's long
Kennedy pauses, smiling as he runs a hand across his chin...
Now, let's put that word long
in a little bit of perspective here. Y'see, Ric Flair... ol' Naitch... he made his wrestling debut way back in December 1972. Me? I wasn't even born yet. He won his first championship in February 1975. I still wasn't alive yet. Since before I even existed
, Ric Flair has been a major player in this industry. We know all about the countless titles, the countless women, the countless times you abandoned your children to head out on the road, we've heard it all these last few weeks. I know
exactly how successful your career's been... but Ric, all good things must come to and end.
Heat from the crowd...
And this Sunday, I personally
will make sure your career ends... once - and - for all.
More heat, at which Kennedy wags a finger...
Oh no. No, no, no. It's time the torch was finally passed to the man who is without doubt, unequivocally the future
of this business. Just like those days so long ago that the torch was passed to you
Ric. Lemme take you all on another lil' history lesson. 1978. The original
'Nature Boy' Buddy Rogers. You were the young, brash, cocky, arrogant upstart and he was the veteran clinging on the little bit of career he had left. Sound familiar?
Kennedy rolls his eyes and shakes his head...
Buddy Rogers passed the torch to you Ric. And as they say, the rest... is history. You went on to win all those championships, you rode the limousines, you flew in those jets, you stole all those kisses... but much more importantly than that... you held down an entire generation
of wrestlers. Buddy Rogers stepped aside and let you have your moment. He did the right thing... for this business
Kennedy briefly smirks to himself...
But not you Ric. Oh no. You just could never let go, could ya'? You've had countless
chances to ride that limousine o' yours off into the sunset, but ya' just couldn't do it. You might think these people respect you Ric... but they don't. Not deep down inside. Deep down inside, they are dyin'
to see you leave the ring and never come back. They're pleadin', cryin' out for a saviour, a man to lead them forward, a man to lead them into the next generation of this business, and that man has arrived! They don't need you Ric, but whether you people want to admit it or not, the fact of the matter is that you people... need me
a new hero. You're just too damn up your own asses to realise it. Just like Ric Flair was too ignorant to know when to call it a day. But I will not be held down anymore. I won't let a washed up has-been like Ric Flair take away my chance at advancement ever again.
Kennedy now begins to pace the ring...
It started at the Royal Rumble, when you tossed me over that top rope. The split - second my feet hit the floor, it all became clear to me. I had
to get you outta the way once and for all. I didn't want to Ric... well, not at first. But now?
Kennedy over exaggerates an apologetic shrug of the shoulders...
Now I can't wait to leave you layin' in the middle of that ring, in a pool of your own blood, lookin' up at the lights, beaten, brokin', battered and bruised... to the point that you realise that you NEVER wanna step into a wrestlin' ring ever again. I am gonna embarrass and humiliate you in front of the entire world, and when I finally put you to bed, when I finally end your fairytale career, my career
is headin' straight to tha' top!
Kennedy points to the rafters as the crowd respond with heat...
You can boo, you people can hold out hope, but lemme tell ya', I don't make idle threats. I don't make empty promises. I have destroyed everythin' Flair holds dear. I started at the Royal Rumble when I beat him to within an inch of his life. I came so - damn - close to breakin' his buddy Arn Anderson's neck. I cost 'im the tag team titles, I beat up not one
, but two
of his sons, and this Sunday... it's your turn Ric.
Having heard enough, the crowd respond with a passionate "NATURE BOY! NATURE BOY!" chant...
Oh yeah! Yeah! Let 'im hear it! Listen to this crowd Ric! Listen to 'em! Savour it! Soak it in! 'Cause I guaran - damn
- tee you are NEVER gonna hear this again! This Sunday, it's over
for you Ric! OVER!
Kennedy grits his teeth, pacing the ring angrily as the crowd do their best to drown him out. Eventually though Kennedy comes to a stop, nodding his head, eyes narrowed once more as he waits for the crowd to die down...
You people... you people are just as big a part of the problem. Why do you have this need to keep chanting that relics name? You people just don't know what's good for ya'. Well lemme give you a little heads up. This Sunday, you are gonna witness the first step to my first
heavyweight championship. Sixteen times. That's a pretty big number. But seventeen? That's where I'm gonna be one day. And the first step towards that is this Sunday in Detroit.
Kennedy winces as he utters that last line, shaking his head ruefully...
But the fact it's not me takin' on Batista this Sunday for the World Heavyweight Championship... it eats me up inside. It drives me insane, it gives me nightmares, it has consumed me for months now, but y'know what else? It feeds
me. It nourishes my drive. It keeps me tickin' over. It has pushed me further than I ever knew I could go, you
Ric, have driven me to depths I never
thought imaginable. I am obsessed with beating you this Sunday, I have
to beat Ric Flair, I have
to beat 'The Nature Boy'.
Kennedy closes his eyes as he finishes his words, almost in a state of euphoria...
Reid Flair is in a hospital somewhere. David Flair oughta be in a mental institute after what I put him through. And after this Sunday... Daddy's comin' home kids!
Kennedy's eyes bulge as he exaggerates his actions...
So dig out your videos, your DVDs, you old programmes and magazines, and take a good... long
... look at 'em. Reminisce. Cherish the good times you used
to have with Ric Flair. 'Cause after this Sunday, they'll be absolutely worthless. 'Cause stood right in front of you, before your very eyes, you are lookin' at the future of this business.
Kennedy briefly opens wide his arms in a "Take a good look at me" pose...
And not only are you gonna get to see that this Sunday... but you're gonna get to see it tonight when I take on Rob Van Dam.
Big time pop for the mention of 'RVD', but Kennedy shakes it off...
You're gonna get the whole - damn - show from me. You're gonna find out exactly what I've got lined up for this Sunday. You'll see it all, high flyin', technical grappling, brawling, you'll see that I am
the total package. You people can hate me, I don't give a crap. But you're gonna realise that Mr. Kennedy is exactly
what he says he is.
Kennedy points his finger at the camera to emphasize his point...
A future WWE Champion, the definition of greatness. Young? Brash? Cocky? Ya' damn right he is! But arrogant? (Kennedy shakes his head)
No, no. Not this guy. 'Cause he knows he was born
to be a champion. Simply put, he is here to be the man
. But like Ric Flair likes to say... "To be the man, you gotta beat the man."... and this Sunday, that's exactly what he's gonna do. 'Cause he is none other than... MMMIIISSSTTTEEERRR... KENNEDY!
Kennedy then heads for the corner, climbing to the second turnbuckle, where he stands... and waits. Taking a deep breath in through his nose, ala The Rock back in the day, Kennedy soaks in the heat of the crowd, before he ever so slowly brings the mic back to his lips, his eyes piercing the camera as he utters the name...
Mr. Kennedy: (Softly)
And with a show of arrogance, Kennedy simply flicks his microphone towards the ceiling as his music rings out once more. Staying on the second rope, Kennedy surveys the masses in the arena, before he starts pointing to himself, screaming to the crowd "This Sunday... it all ends!", before he finally drops back down to the ring, the camera once again catching the ice cold look of Kennedy's eyes as he paces the ring...
Well, there ya' have it folks. Young Mr. Kennedy, who despite his recent actions, has certainly been on a meteoric rise over the last year. Can Kennedy deliver on his promise? Can he defeat Ric Flair this Sunday at Wrestlemania XXIII, and in the process drive the final dagger into the heart of Flair's legendary career?
John Bradshaw Layfield:
The stars are alignin', and this Sunday, we're gonna witness the dawnin' of a new era. Kennedy has served his time, he's paid his dues, and by becomin' the man to finally put the legendary Ric Flair on the shelf once and for all, he's gonna head straight for icon status.
Well if ya' ask me, I hope Ric Flair kicks this punk's ass this Sunday! I love watchin' Ric Flair, I think he's one of the very best to ever step through those ropes, and I think this Sunday is gonna be another one of those legendary performances from Flair, where he gets the job done one more time!
Flair and Kennedy, six days away at Wrestlemania XXIII! But tonight, Kennedy is scheduled to go one on one with Rob Van Dam! Join us when we return to Monday Night Raw!
That same slow, sombre violin string opens the video, with us looking down a dark corridor. The camera cuts back and forth, zooming left and right, until we settle on the image of Rob Van Dam performing his split-legged stretch, his head bowed down looking at the concrete floor. In slow motion Van Dam brings his head up, ducking to the right to further the stretch, and then switching it to the left before his voice speaks over the images...
Rob Van Dam: I know I'm not like, the typical WWE poster boy. I never got handed the chances or the opportunities that Shawn Michaels and Triple H did. Everythin' I have, I owe to what I learned bustin' my ass in that bingo hall back in Philly.
We cut to rapid fire shots of Van Dam flying through the air back in his ECW days, crashing through bodies and tables...
Rob Van Dam: Last summer, I thought I had it all figured out.
We now cut to images of Van Dam from June 2006 during his reign as both WWE and ECW Champion...
Rob Van Dam: But then it all fell apart, and I had to start all over again. I had to work my way back to the top from the very bottom of the ladder. But maybe I had to take a step back to take two steps forward.
Back to the corridor, where having finished his stretch, Van Dam pushes himself up into a handstand, then swings his legs through, landing on his feet and walking off into the shadows...
Rob Van Dam: But hey, I'm puttin' a lot on the line this Sunday. Triple H and Shawn Michaels were right, I've never main evented a Wrestlemania. I've never had that championship match on the biggest stage. This Sunday's about more than just a title for me. It's about my legacy dude. It's about my whole reputation. It's about my very future in this business. What happens if I don't make it there, if I don't take this chance? That's not somethin' I wanna even consider, it just can't happen.
We cut to what appears to be a martial arts dojo, with Van Dam laying into a heavy punch bag with a series of roundhouse kicks...
Rob Van Dam: This is my shot, and I've gotta take it. Failure is not an option.
Cut now to the peaceful image of a zen garden, where Van Dam sits in quiet contemplation in some sort of yoga stretch...
Rob Van Dam: Believe it or not, I got a ton of respect for both my opponents this Sunday. I mean Shawn Michaels, he's been a real inspiration at times of my career. Do I think he's a total jackass for the way he won the title? Absolutely. But you can't deny the fact that he's been involved in some unbelievable Wrestlemania moments, this Sunday no doubt's gonna be another one. He wants to steal the show? I'll get 'im there, don't worry about that. But it's MY performance people are gonna remember.
Back into the dojo, where Van Dam performs his trademark Van Dam lift, performing that split legged stretch while at the same time firing out a series of reps by lifting a dumbbell from the floor to his waist...
Rob Van Dam: As for Triple H, I got a long history with the guy. We've been at it plenty of times before for championships, and he's always came out on top. It can't happen that way again, I just can't let it. We've all got demons and things we need to rid ourselves on before we can move on with our lives, and he's a big one of mine. I finally managed to beat 'im on Raw to get this chance, and I gotta do it again at Wrestlemania XXIII to prove once and for all I'm in his league.
Back to the zen garden, where stood on the grass Van Dam glides through the air in a series of slow motion jumping roundhouse kicks...
Rob Van Dam: They call me a lotta things. 'Mr. Monday Night', 'Mr. ECW', for a while I was 'Mr. Money in the Bank'. But it's time people started puttin' Rob Van Dam together with 'Mr. WWE'. And what better place to do it than back in my home state of Michigan. All those people in Detroit, they're gonna be screaming 'R - V - D' and I'm not gonna let 'em down.
And finally we head to the same dimly lit ring from earlier, where stands along 'RVD', stood on the second rope in the corner, performing his signature thumb movement in slow motion...
Rob Van Dam: I'm 'The Whole F'n Show', and this Sunday I'm gonna prove that isn't a gimmick. It's the real deal.
*End Video Package*
Back into the arena for a few seconds of silence...
*ONE OF A KIND…*
The crowd bursts to life as Rob Van Dam
walks out onto the stage. Stopping at the top of the ramp, Van Dam holds his arms out stretched, before he leads the crowd with his thumb taunt in a rendition of "ROB - VAN - DAM!" and then heads for the ring...
We heard from 'im earlier, we know exactly
what thsi Sunday means for Rob Van Dam. For Van Dam and Kennedy, Wrestlemania XXIII is about takin' the opportunity to push their careers to a higher level. But who's gonna head into Wrestlemania with a ton o' momentum after this one?
I know the eyes are on the prize this Sunday for both these guys, but can you imagine what defeat here right now could do for both these guys? I mean, Kennedy might snap if he loses here tonight.
I think this is an important match for both these guys. Nobody wants to to go into Wrestlemania on the back of a loss. Van Dam looks loose, he looks confident, and I think a win here over Mr. Kennedy could really set him up for success this Sunday.
Rob Van Dam vs. Mr. Kennedy
The bell rings, with Van Dam bouncing on the spot, clearly keen to get the action started. Kennedy, as you’d expect, prefers to run his mouth though, as he squares up to Van Dam is heard over the camera saying “This is my time!”, to which Van Dam rolls his eyes and looks away... so Kennedy slaps Van Dam across the face! Van Dam rubs his chin in anger, while Kennedy smirks in his face... Van Dam answers with a stiff right hand! Kennedy fires back, and a brief slugfest breaks out, until Kennedy goes for a boot to the midsection... which Van Dam catches... step-over spinning wheel kick... no! Kennedy blocks it, shoving ‘RVD’ off the ropes... and then puts Van Dam down with a shoulderblock. Kennedy goes for an elbowdrop... ‘RVD’ rolls to safety, and he’s quickly back on his feet... rolling thunder... no! Kennedy rolls away, but Van Dam sees him, landing on his feet, a natural ending to the opening exchange as both men look at each other from across the ring. The two now hook up for the more traditional tie up, with Kennedy working into a side headlock and then into a hammerlock. Van Dam counters with a headlock and then a hammerlock of his own. Kennedy tries to swing an elbow, but Van Dam ducks underneath and stays in control with a standing waistlock. Kennedy reaches up for a headlock, with Van Dam quickly shoving him off the ropes... again Kennedy howls ‘RVD’ over with a shoulderblock. Kennedy looks to up the pace as he comes off the ropes, although Van Dam lays down as Kennedy runs over... and then avoids Kennedy with a leapfrog... before he catches Kennedy on the rebound with a monkey flip! Kennedy is dazzled as he crawls to the corner, with Van Dam staying on the attack, hitting a pair of shoulder thrusts before he backflips out... then charges in for a final shoulder to the midsection!
Van Dam now looks to fire Kennedy across, but Kennedy reverses... only for Van Dam to jump to the second rope... springboard super kick! Kennedy is down near the ropes, and here comes Van Dam... ROLLING THUNDER! Van Dam gets all of it, and he hooks the leg... 1... 2... Kennedy kicks out, and he wisely rolls to the outside to try and regroup. Kennedy stands with hands on hips near the ring, and here comes ‘RVD’... baseball slide sends Kennedy crashing into the barricade! Van Dam rolls outside, tagging Kennedy with a pair of rights before he takes Kennedy up with a suplex... only to drop Kennedy gut first across the barricade! Van Dam quickly leaps back onto the apron, pausing to lead the crowd in a chant of “R – V – D!” before he launches for the diving legdrop... but Kennedy pulls himself to safety... and Van Dam flies into the barricade! The crowd groans as ‘RVD’ takes a nasty bump, with Kennedy grinning as he avoided the attack. Van Dam crawls on his knees, clutching his spine, but as he stumbles back to his knees, Kennedy lines him up from behind... and shoves ‘RVD’ shoulder first into the steel ring post! Van Dam groans in pain as he smacks into the steel, with Kennedy pouncing as he hammers ‘RVD’ with boots to the shoulder. Kennedy rolls Van Dam back into the ring, but he keeps him near the corner, grabbing the arm, pulling Van Dam’s shoulder against the post, trying to yank the arm out of its socket before he has to release due to the ref’s 5 count.
Van Dam rolls away, but when Kennedy slides back into the ring he naturally targets the arm, aiming kicks and stomps to the arm, dropping a leg across it, driving his knee into it, then taking Van Dam to the corner to wrap the arm around the ropes, pulling down across the top rope to apply pressure. With Van Dam against the turnbuckle, Kennedy hammers him with right hands that cause ‘RVD’ to slump to the canvas, before Kennedy then drives his boot into Van Dam’s face. With ‘RVD’ in a perilous condition, Kennedy turns and races off the ropes... to absolutely drill Van Dam with a boot to the side of the head! ‘RVD’ looks out of it, and Kennedy drags him to the centre of the ring to hook the leg... 1... 2... Van Dam rolls a shoulder! Quickly Kennedy goes back to target the arm, starting with a single arm DDT, transitioning this into an seated armbar, pressing his knee into Van Dam’s back as he pulls on the arm. Kennedy yanks back on the arm to up the pressure, adding to this as he drives his elbow into the top of Van Dam’s shoulder. Eventually Van Dam is able to struggle back to his feet, but Kennedy hangs on to the arm, prompting Van Dam to drill him with right hands to try create separation... but Kennedy shoves him shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Kennedy shakes away the shots and then charges in... straight into an elbow to the face. Kennedy stumbles back, then charges again... this time into a boot to the face! Van Dam bursts from the corner... clothesline puts Kennedy down! Kennedy is back up... another clothesline knocks him down! Van dam comes off the ropes... rolling wheel kick! Despite favouring the left arm, Van Dam looks to build momentum as he goes for the Irish whip... but Kennedy hangs on, twisting Van Dam in... forward Russian legsweep... no! Van Dam grabs the top rope, and Kennedy crashes to the mat!
Van Dam now has some momentum, and for the third time he’s coming off the ropes... ROLLING THUNDER... NO! Again Kennedy rolls to safety, but Van Dam sees it, landing on his feet... but Kennedy is quickly on his feet, scooping Van Dam up... rolling fireman’s carry slam! Kennedy drives Van Dam to the mat, rolls over to hook the leg... 1... 2... ‘RVD’ kicks out! Kennedy is enraged, sure he had the match won, but the ref confirms the 2 count. Looking to now but ‘RVD’ away, Kennedy stands, stalking Van Dam, waiting for him to rise. Slowly Van Dam picks himself up, and Kennedy is waiting... hooking him up for the MIC CHECK... NO! Van Dam hits a string of elbows to the back of the head... so Kennedy swings and misses a right hand... which Van Dam ducks... bridging northern lights suplex! 1... 2... Kennedy kicks out! Both men are quickly back up, racing at each other... Van Dam avoids Kennedy with a baseball slide through his legs... and then takes Kennedy down with a hurricanrana! 1... 2... Kennedy kicks out again, and he quickly rolls out of the ring to try and stop the momentum. Van Dam reacts angrily, heading for the ropes, but the referee steps in, trying to keep Van Dam in the ring. ‘RVD’ protests, wanting to take the fight to Kennedy, but the referee stops him. On the outside, Kennedy is doubled over, trying to suck in air and recover, although a commotion can be heard from the fans... as Ric Flair is coming down the ramp... STEEL CHAIR IN HAND! Kennedy picks his head up, ready to get back in the ring, but he feels a presence from behind... FLAIR CRACKS KENNEDY WITH THE CHAIR!! The arena goes wild as Flair smacks Kennedy with a thunderous chair shot! Kennedy is out cold, with Flair yanking him up, tossing him under the bottom rope. The referee sees nothing, but Van Dam pushes past him, slinging himself up to the top rope... FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH!!! Van Dam gets all of it, clutching his ribs on impact before he flops on top of Kennedy to get the 1... 2... 3!!
Winner: Rob Van Dam @ 09.12
Van Dam wins, thanks to a huge assist from 'The Dirtiest Player in the Game'! The fans are going crazy as Van Dam rolls free of Kennedy, with Flair now slowly back his way up the ramp. Van Dam stumbles back to his feet to have his hand raised, but he soon looks up the ramp, pointing and nodding his thanks at Flair. Kennedy is still down and out, not moving, while at the top of the ramp, Flair gives one big, almighty "WOOOOO!" before he departs backstage. In the ring, Van Dam climbs to the second rope, thumbs going up and down for a final "ROB - VAN - DAM!" before he stares at the Wrestlemania banner, a broad smile on his face, while the camera takes on final look at the stationary Kennedy before we head for another break.
And when we return, Todd Grisham
is standing by for the final interview segment of the broadcast...
Welcome back to Raw everybody. And please welcome my guest at this time, he is the Intercontinental Champion... Kenny Dykstra.
A decent level of heat as the brash youngster Kenny Dykstra enters the shot, a mean scowl on his face. Dykstra isn't dressed to compete tonight, meaning he's rocking the smart casual look this evening of a dark shirt and jeans, with the Intercontinental Championship perched on his right shoulder...
Kenny, this Sunday you defend your Intercontinental Championship against Carlito. But Kenny, it seems lately that you're attention hasn't been on Carlito and defending your title. Many people would say that the breakdown of your partnership with Randy Orton, and the attention you've been paying Torrie Wilson lately have caused you to become distracted. How do you respond to that?
Dykstra turns and glares at Grisham, clearly unhappy with the line of questioning...
Distracted? No, no... I've not been distracted by anythin'. I'll give ya' the fact that the way me and Randy Orton ended our partnership wasn't exactly what I had planned, but as far as I'm concerned... I've got Carlito and Torrie Wilson exactly
where I want them.
Dykstra smirks to himself...
Y'see, the one I learned from Randy walkin' out on our team, is that Torrie was cloudin' the issue between me and 'Lito. So Carlito, you can keep your girl. I don't care anymore. You keep fightin' for her honour, for your relationship. That doesn't concern me anymore. That slap to the face last week made it pretty clear to me that she's his girl. And he's welcome to her. But I'm still the Intercontinental Champion, and it's time Carlito started focusin' on that.
Dykstra takes a quick glance at the title on his shoulder...
My original plan was to kick Carlito's ass at Wrestlemania, keep my title, and in the process... take his girl. I guess I'll just have to settle for the first two.
Dykstra shrugs like it's no big deal...
Oh, and Torrie. When I leave your man broken and beaten in the middle of that ring... don't you come runnin' to me baby. You had your chance, and now that ship has sailed. You'll just have to settle for second place... just like Carlito.
The brash youngster has a little chuckle to himself...
I may not be cool
like you 'Lito... but I'm a winner. I'm the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, and at my first
Wrestlemania, I ain't gonna be denied. This title ain't goin' nowhere. You keep that skank
'Lito, and I'll keep this title... I realise now... which one I'd rather have.
With one last smirk, Dykstra wastes no time in leaving the scene, the camera then turning to a rather furlong looking Grisham before we cut to a video.
We open to a pitch black screen, with the faint sound of a revving motor engine slowly but surely getting louder...
Narrator: The road may be long...
Slowly on the horizon we see a red convertible driving over a hill, heading towards a sunset which lights the screen...
Narrator: The journey may be treacherous...
The revs of the engine increase and get louder, with the camera closing in on shots of the side of the car...
Narrator: But you'll love every second of it!
We now skim along the rear of the car, the sun glistening on the chrome duel exhaust...
Narrator: So strap yourself in...
The car now speeds past a road sign that reads "8 MILE ROAD"...
Narrator: And get ready!
From behind we see an image of the Detroit skyline, with our car heading down a straight road towards it...
Narrator: 20 years on, Wrestlemania returns to Detroit, Michigan!
More fast paced shots of the car racing through the streets of Detroit...
Narrator: And it's going to be...
The car suddenly crashes into the screen, with the grill of the car having the official Wrestlemania 23 logo and tagline printed on it...
Narrator: The ride of your life!
"WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII - APRIL 1ST - LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW!"
*End Video Package*
Back into the arena to once again hear from the announce team, with the official Wrestlemania XXIII theme tune "Ladies and Gentlemen" by Saliva playing over the arena PA system...
The time is nearly upon us. Just six days
until we'll be comin' to you live from beautiful Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan for the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment history!
It's gonna be a huge
night J.R.! Twelve matches in store, with six titles on the line, and plenty of personal rivalries to be brought to a head!
Of course both Raw and Smackdown will be heavily featured, and there's quite a few inter-promotional matches on the card. And perhaps one of the biggest of those is gonna be the third annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match. It was Smackdown against Raw earlier this evening, but the Raw team has a bit of trouble stayin' on the same page.
You ain't kiddin'. Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy, two of the favourites in my mind, they wound up goin' against each other when Orton nailed Hardy with that RKO. And don't think for a second that Jeff's gonna forget that, he'll be lookin' for a piece of Orton this Sunday.
And that could prove to be a distraction, allowing one of the other six men to clean up. And for my money, it's gonna be CM Punk. I think it's time for one of the young Raw superstars to step up, and while Johnny Nitro's an incredible athlete, it's CM Punk who I'm rootin' for.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
I think you got it all wrong Jerry. I think it's experience that'll win the day. Three of the four Smackdown competitors are former World Champions, and I'm pretty sure 'MVP' is gonna get there one day. But this Sunday at Wrestlemania, I'm goin' with King Booker to grab that briefcase and get back the World Heavyweight Championship he lost at Survivor Series.
It's such an open field, and I gotta go another way. I think it's either gonna go to Kane or Chris Benoit. Two veterans looking to get back to the heights the once scaled, I think your winner's gonna come from one of those two. But either way, Money in the Bank is always a spectacular match, and I'm sure this year is gonna be no different. Well Smackdown's side of the card is lookin' absolutely stacked, and one of the most highly anticipated matches is the 'Streak vs. Streak' Match between The Undertaker and Umaga.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
A streak must
be broken! Umaga, undefeated for almost a year, never been pinned, never been made to tap out, against the famous Wrestlemania Streak of The Undertaker. Two monsters of the ring set to meet, and it's gonna be one of the toughest matches you're ever gonna see. And I gotta admit, I think we've finally found the man capable of beatin' The Undertaker under the bright lights of Wrestlemania.
Well, no doubt Umaga is an absolute monster
. Me and J.R. sat at this desk on several occasions and just marvelled at Umaga could do in the ring. But I think he's finally met a challenge that he can't beat. I'm goin' for The Undertaker, I think 'The Streak' lives on, and Umaga's gonna rest in peace.
And of course Raw can counter that with our own battle of monsters if you will. John Cena and Bobby Lashley are set to collide, with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin as the Special Guest Referee.
God what a match that's gonna be. Two of the biggest, strongest guys in the WWE steppin' into the ring together, and the stakes could not be higher after what we saw in the ring earlier tonight. 'Stone Cold' got called out to the ring by Mr. McMahon, and Vince tried his best to get Austin to call things in Lashley's favour, only for Lashley to attack when Austin said no.
Right, and when John Cena raced down to the ring to make the save, he wound up eatin' a stunner from Austin! Cena and Lashley is gonna be an unbelievable encounter, 'The Irresistible Force meets The Immovable Object', and at least one thing’s for sure... Austin is gonna call it right down the middle.
There's gonna be six
title on the line this Sunday, and one of the most highly anticipated contests is for the United States Championship. Earlier in the broadcast we saw the champion Finlay lose a hard fougt match up with Triple H, but this Sunday Finlay takes on Matt Hardy, a man lookin' to finally break into the big time here in the WWE.
I've known both Matt and Jeff Hardy a long time, it was yours truly that signed 'em to the WWE. Matt's always had a ton o' potential, but for whatever reason, he's never quite been able to put it all together. But I've spoke to Matt recently, and I know he's focused and ready for this Sunday. This is a huge opportunity for Matt, and I know he's not gonna want to let it slip away.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
He might not have any choice though. He's steppin' into the ring with one of the toughest bastards to ever cross the pond, he's lookin' for a fight this Sunday. Matt's never been a brawler in my eyes, and that's where I think Finlay holds a huge advantage, and that's why I pick him to win.
Another title match I'm lookin' forward to is the Women's Championship Match between Mickie James and Beth Phoenix. Two former friends who had a major fallin' out a few years ago. Mickie's now the Women's Champion, while Beth's now finally made it to the WWE and she's out for revenge.
And that revenge starts with the Women's Championship... and might end with some serious damage bein' done to Mickie James.
Was certainly interestin' to hear from champion and challenger earlier tonight, both had one eye on the past and one eye on the future. Mickie's been over the course before, she's won Women's Championship matches at Wrestlemania in the past, and for my money, that gives her the edge. Although I don't think anybody is gonna underestimate the sheer power we've seen from Phoenix thus far.
And what about over on Smackdown the Cruiserweight Championship Match between Gregory Helms and Bryan Danielson? Helms has been champion for well over a year now, taking on all challengers and by hook or by crook, hangin' onto his title. But Wrestlemania XXIII sees the first one on one collision between Helms and Danielson, and the challenger is perhaps the biggest threat to Helms' title yet.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Are you kiddin' me!? By hook or by crook!? He's the greatest cruiserweight that ever lived, currently on the most dominant championship reign in WWE history, and you question him like that!? Gimme a break! I can't wait to see Helms wipe the floor with this Danielson punk. Helms is a what a champion is made of, he does whatever it takes to win, and this kid Danielson is nothin' more than some YouTube wannabe.
Man show some respect 'JBL'. Bryan Danielson has made a huge
impact since he got to the WWE. He came so close to winnin' the Cruiserweight Title in his very first match at No Way Out, but none of Helms' dirty tactics are gonna be able to save 'im this Sunday. Danielson's gonna make Helms tap out, I guarantee it!
Certainly Bryan Danielson is a very exciting prospect here in the WWE, and perhaps one of the most exciting matches this Sunday is gonna be the interbrand match between both the World Tag Team Champions and the WWE Tag Team Champions. It's 'Champions vs. Champions', it's The World's Greatest Tag Team against The Hooligans, and it's gonna be one heck of a fast paced contest.
It's Smackdown vs. Raw baby, battle of the brands! And I gotta admit, I'm rootin' for our guys London and Kendrick. They're the high flyers, they can take your breath away in that ring, and I think they're gonna get the job done, and shut Haas and Benjamin up, once and for all.
And even though it's Raw vs. Smackdown... I really hope you're right Tazz. I hate the way Haas and Benjamin have been runnin' their mouths, I wanna see them put in their place. So far, all I've heard is talk from the so-called World's Greatest Tag Team, but London and Kendrick have been deliverin' as champions for a long time now, and I hope they deliver again this Sunday.
And of course, the final interbrand match up at Wrestlemania needs no introduction. Ric Flair and Mr. Kennedy, 'Past vs. Future'.
Ric Flair is
, and forever will be, one of the very best to ever lace up a pair of wrestlin' boots. He's one of the all time greats, a sure-fire Hall of Famer. And I think that after what Kennedy has put Flair's family through these last few weeks, it's time Flair took Kennedy for a trip to the wood shed. I think Ric Flair has at least
on great performance left in 'im, and I think we're gonna see just that this Sunday.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Listen, I love Ric Flair. I'd been a fan of him since for as long as I can remember. And that's why not only do I think he will
lost this Sunday, I think he has
to lose. Flair's been around so long, think how many career could've been so much greater has Flair stepped aside when his time was up. He's hung around too long, and he's in danger of holdin' back the career of the biggest can't miss prospect in WWE history. I think Wrestlemania XXIII is gonna be the makin' of Mr. Kennedy... and then end of Ric Flair.
Well another young man considered to be part of the WWE's future is the Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra. The title is on the line as Dykstra defends against Carlito, but lately the issue between these two has included not only the title, but Carlito's girlfriend Torrie Wilson.
And I heard the smartest thing I've ever heard out of Dykstra's mouth when he said he was finally givin' up the chase on Torrie. Finally
Kenny seems ready to get back to focusin' on the actual stuff goin' on inside the ring.
Yeah but after all that Dykstra's said to Torrie, Carlito ain't gonna forget so easily. He's gotta feel like he owes Kenny a real beatin', and I think it's gonna happen this Sunday. Torrie may not be on Kenny's mind anymore, but Carlito's gotta be thinkin' that if he wins the title, he restores the honour in his girl.
And of course, as far as we here from Smackdown are concerned, the main event is the World Heavyweight Championship clash. The champion, 'The Animal' Batista, defending against the challenger, the 2007 Royal Rumble Winner, Edge.
John Bradshaw Layfield:
by Jonathan Coachman's no contact rule between the two-
Gimme a break!
John Bradshaw Layfield:
But at Wrestlemania, all that protection goes right out the window. Edge is in Batista's head, he's hurt 'The Animal', Batista oughta count himself lucky 'Coach' is savin' his ass. But this Sunday, Edge is gonna get his hands on Batista, and he's gonna become the new
World Heavyweight Champion. It's Edge's time to shine at the grandaddy of 'em all!
You bein' serious here 'JBL'? Listen, we all know exactly why 'Coach' brought in that no contact rule, it was to stop Batista kickin' Edge's ass so much that Edge don't even make it to 'Mania. Edge crossed a line when he smacked Batista with that one man con-chair-to, and the only reason he's not in the hospital right now is thanks to 'Coach'. I know Batista can't wait to finally get Edge one on one in the ring, and when he does, Edge's title hopes are gonna go up in smoke.
It's certainly a highly anticipated contest, Edge and Batista, one on one for the World Heavyweight Championship! But let's switch it up to the Raw main event, a Triple Threat Match for the richest prize in sports entertainment. Rob Van Dam and Triple H are the challengers for Shawn Michaels' WWE Championship.
Oh baby, I can't wait for this one! So many stories in this one, not just about the title. What about the bitter hatred between Michaels and Triple H? What about the rivalry that's sprung up over the last month or so between Triple H and 'RVD'? Will that hatred fuel Triple H's drive to another championship? Will Rob Van Dam, in his first Wrestlemania main event, take the biggest chance he's ever been given and grab the title? Or will Shawn Michaels' faith be enough to deliver him to greatness, and help him retain his title and steal the show one more time in the process? There's so much goin' on between these three, and the WWE Championship's gonna be on the line for the first time ever at Wrestlemania in a Triple Threat Match!
You absolutely don't wanna miss it folks! Wrestlemania XXIII, from Detroit, Michigan, live on pay per view! It's the biggest night in WWE history, and it's goin' to be, the ride of your life! But as we said, the WWE Championship is gonna be on the line in a Triple Threat Match. We've heard from both challengers, Triple H and Rob Van Dam, but right now let's hear from the champion, Shawn Michaels, on what Wrestlemania XXIII means to him.
A slow, stoic piano chord plays out, the picture nothing more than a bright vision of white. The camera slowly pans from left to right, until the bright white is shattered by the dark image of the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels. As has become the custom in recent months, Michaels is dressed all in black, a black cowboy hat pulled down low over his eyes, a smart black shirt on his torso. Michaels has a good level of stubble on his face, but he looks a man at peace with himself as he has his eyes closed, perhaps in a moment of prayer...
Shawn Michaels: I've rode at this rodeo before. The lights, the drama, the action of Wrestlemania. It does strange things to a man. For those with ice water runnin' through their veins, it doesn't phase 'em. But for those who can't quite cut it... it can ruin their careers.
A whoosh is heard as Michaels slowly opens his eyes...
Shawn Michaels: But me? It's a night where I rise to the occasion, each - and ev'ry - time. And why is that you ask?
Michaels now turns and walks off, leaving the screen to return to that blinding white light...
Shawn Michaels: Is it my skill? Is it my intestinal fortitude? No. It's 'cause Wrestlemania... sets my mind at ease.
We now cut to classic moment from past Michaels Wrestlemania performances, starting with his iconic entrance at Wrestlemania XII to his big splash with the ladder onto Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania X...
Shawn Michaels: I've done it time and time again. I've stolen shows, I've jumped into spotlights, I've main evented on the grandest stage. Each time Wrestlemania rolls around, there's one thing you can take to the bank. No matter who the opponent, no matter the situation, Shawn Michaels WILL be the shinin' light at the end of the evenin'. And it's not arrogance that leads me to think that way. It's not over confidence.
And now it's more recent images, such as clips of the titanic battle with Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XIX and as Michaels mercifully finishes off Mr. McMahon at Wrestlemania XXII...
Shawn Michaels: It's faith, pure and simple.
We now head to that dimly lit ring from previous videos, were Michaels snaps off a string of knife edge chops to some no name rookie's chest, howls of pain heard as each chop smacks into skin...
Shawn Michaels: I've been blessed with a gift. A gift to excite the masses. I preach to the world with my actions in the ring. I try my best to excite the fans, to help them, to make their miserable lives just that little bit better. But Rob and Hunter? They don't want to be helped. They don't want to see what their sins have done to them... 'cause they don't want to believe. I faced up to my past, I became a better person, a better human being, and guess what? I got my smile back.
A quick pan back to Michaels face, eyes closed, deep in thought...
Shawn Michaels: Hunter... my old friend. A man who's tried to break my spirit in the past. A man who tried to break my back. A man who stood in my way and held me back in my pursuit of happiness. Until that fateful night when I smacked that steel chair off his skull. You wanna hurt me Hunter? You'll never hurt me. I've known pain in the past, but that's exactly what those days are... in the past. This is a new 'Aitch - Bee - Kay, better than ever.
Back to the ring, where Michaels knocks down the no-name wrestler with the sweet chin music...
Shawn Michaels: Rob... you really think you can do this don't ya'? You really think those years of panderin' to those people in Philadelphia really makes you ready to compete with me at Wrestlemania? You're not the first to think the bright lights of Wrestlemania can help you reach my level. I've heard it all before... and I've still yet to see somebody make a believer outta me. But you wanna know what Shawn Michaels believe in? I believe that Detroit, Michigan is about to see 'The Showstoppah' at his very best. And Triple H and Rob Van Dam...
And we stay in the dimly lit ring to see Michaels down on his knees, his head bowed, his arms turned towards the heavens, before he brings his head up and flashes that cold, almost robotic like stare into the camera...
Shawn Michaels: I will strike thee down. For thy name... is Shawn Michaels. Your WWE Champion, for now... and forever.
*End Video Package*
We fade back into the arena, to the sound of silence, until it's broken by...
Ungodly heat for the WWE Champion, as Shawn Michaels
slowly emerges from the back, dressed to compete in those black tights of his. Michaels drops to his knees, looking to the ceiling, pausing for a few seconds before he stands and continues down to the ring...
Love 'im or hate 'im, you have to respect 'im. He is
the WWE Champion, and he's in action when we return. It's time for our main event, Champion vs. Champion, Shawn Michaels and Batista. Join us when we return to Monday Night Raw!
And when we return, Michaels is stood in the ring, slowly walking back and forth, shaking his hands in an attempt to stay loose. Michaels has a cold stared in his eyes, barely recognising anything around him, and he somehow manages to barely blink as...
*I WALK ALONE...*
One more time, Indianapolis explodes as the World Heavyweight Champion Batista
explodes out onto the stage. Going from side to side, 'The Animal' slaps his chest, firing up the crowd ever more, before he squats down to set off a massive pyro display and then heads for the ring...
He is the man who will defend the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at Wrestlemania XXIII. He is 'The Animal', Batista! And in six days time, he and Edge will meet in a showdown of epic proportions. But tonight, it's Champion vs. Champion as Batista faces off against the WWE Champion Shawn Michaels.
And I think tonight is gonna be a huge
test for Batista. Shawn Michaels may be actin' weird as hell right now, but he just seems so focused on what's ahead of him. I don't necessarily believe with what Shawn's sayin', but it's certainly not hurt him in the ring.
Yeah, but the frustrations of 'The Animal' have been buildin' for a while now, and the fact that Edge cost him a match with Mr. Kennedy last Friday night means that Batista's hot right now. And that's bad news for 'HBK'. This one's gonna be a real good indicator of who's ready to defend their gold this Sunday.
Main Event: Non Title Champion vs. Champion Match
WWE Champion Shawn Michaels vs. World Heavyweight Champion Batista
There’s a certain sense of trepidation from Michaels as the bell rings, and it shows as he spends the first few moments of the match going in for and then backing away from tie ups. Eventually the two come together, with Michaels quickly working into a standing rear waistlock, looking for a belly to back takedown... but he can’t get the big man off his feet! Instead, Batista throws elbows to the side of the head, backing Michaels to the corner, with ‘The Animal’ racing in for a clothesline... but Michaels avoids it, and he quickly throws a string of right hands... only for Batista to forcibly push him down to the mat! Michaels is quickly back up, and this time he strikes with a series of knife edge chops... but this only angers Batista, who grabs Michaels... and yanks him into the corner! Batista unloads with right hands, then shoulder thrusts to the midsection, before he goes for the Irish whip... and follows in with the corner clothesline! Michaels stumbles forward... right into a suplex from ‘The Animal’! Batista rolls into the cover, 1... 2... Michaels kicks out. Batista briefly presses his boot against Michaels’ throat, choking ‘HBK’ against the ropes, before he once again has the WWE Champion up, firing him to the corner. Batista follows in... but runs right into a boot to the face. ‘The Animal’ staggers back... and then Michaels catches him from behind with a chop block! Batista’s knee gives way as he falls to the mat, with Michaels now driving his knee into Batista’s. Looking for some kind of kneebar, Michaels stands with Batista’s foot in his hand... only for ‘The Animal’ to kick him away to the far away ropes. Batista struggles back up, and here comes Michaels... run right into a spinebuster... no! Michaels counters in mid air... tornado DDT!
After a near fall, Michaels looks to take control of the match, targeting the knee of Batista, working on it by stomping and driving knees into it, before he places Batista’s foot on the bottom rope, then springs into the air, dropping all his weight across the left knee. More damage is done when Michaels applies a spinning toe hold, cranking and twisting, applying all kinds of pressure to the knee. Michaels keeps the hold on tight, but when he goes for another spin around, Batista is able to kick Michaels away... straight through the ropes to the outside! Michaels hits the floor below with a bump, but it takes an age for Batista to get back to his feet, using the ropes for support. ‘The Animal’ reaches down to grab Michaels... but ‘HBK’ grabs Batista's foot, yanking him down to the mat. Batista tries to fight it, but pretty soon Michaels has him in the corner, rears back... and smashes Batista’s knee off the steel ring post! Again Michaels rears back... again the knee tastes the steel, with Batista crawling away to escape anymore punishment. After a 2 count, Michaels returns to the knee, taking Batista up and down with a shin breaker, and when he sweeps the leg, Michaels drops down into a kneebar. Michaels tries to hyperextend Batista’s left knee, pulling back, applying pressure, causing ‘The Animal’ to cry out in pain.
Batista is subjected to the hold for quite a while, letting his shoulders drop to the mat on several occasions, forcing him to pull them up as the ref counts them down. A surge of power see Batista slowly drag himself towards the ropes, inching ever closer with every burst of energy... and finally Batista reaches out and grabs the bottom rope! The ref steps in to call for the break, with Michaels taking every second of the 5 count before he finally lets go. Back on his feet, Michaels again provides more stomps to the knee, before he drags ‘The Animal’ to corner. More stomps, until Michaels yanks Batista up, unloading with slow, painful, calculated chops to the chest. Michaels goes for the Irish whip across... but Batista reverses and follows in with a limp... but Michaels gets a boot up to the face, then quickly pushes himself up onto the second rope... double axe handle... no! Batista catches him on his shoulders... and drives Michaels into the corner! ‘The Animal’ starts to unload again with those turnbuckle thrusts, then he pulls Michaels to the centre of the ring, sending Michaels off the ropes... into a big boot to the face! Michaels is all over the place as Batista helps him up, rocking the WWE Champion with right hands before he swings a clothesline... Michaels ducks underneath... then takes Batista down with a chop block! Michaels moves quickly, twisting the leg... FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK... NO! Once again Batista kicks Michaels to the corner, but the pain he’s suffered means Batista backs away to the opposite side to try recover. Michaels walks across, aiming kicks to the knee and chops to the chest, before he goes for the Irish whip across... Batista reverses and does his best to run in after... Michaels uses the ropes to elevate himself... but Batista catches him on his shoulders... running powerslam!
Both men stay down for an age, but eventually they’re back up, with Batista rocking right hands and then firing Michaels off the ropes... into a sidewalk slam! Here’s the cover... 1... 2... Michaels rolls a shoulder! Sensing a chance to build some offense, Batista snaps Michaels head back with right hands, then sends him off the ropes... Michaels ducks a clothesline... and fires back with a flying forearm! Michaels stays down... then kips up! Major heat as the arrogant Michaels shows off his athleticism, and just like that, ‘HBK’ is in the corner... and he’s tuning up the band! Michaels stomps his foot, waiting for Batista to rise, and after what feels like an eternity, ‘The Animal’ is up... here comes Michaels... SWEET CHIN – SPEAR!! SPEAR! Batista cuts Michaels off with the spear! ‘The Animal’ has it won as he crawls into the cover, hooking the near leg for the 1... 2... FOOT ON THE ROPES! Michaels somehow manages to place his foot on the ropes! The match slows way down as Batista drags Michaels up, firing him to the corner with force... and Michaels goes upside down into the turnbuckle! Michaels stumbles from the corner... into a massive SPINEBUSTER! ‘The Animal’ emphatically plants the WWE Champion, and the arena is on its feet as Batista shakes the ropes... thumbs up... thumbs down! Michaels’ fate appears to be sealed as Batista moves in, but as he goes to grab Michaels, ‘HBK’ grabs the referee by the shirt! Michaels pleads with the referee to call off Batista, but the ref assures him there’s nothing he can do. Batista stands, waiting for the referee to move aside, but as he does this, a commotion is heard from the crowd... EDGE IS IN THE RING! The crowd is buzzing but Batista is oblivious until he finally turns around... SPEAR! A spear from Edge... but what about the non contact rule? It’s a mixture of shock, heat and confusion as Edge quickly scarpers from the ring, hiding out of sight as Michaels pushes past the referee and drops into a pinfall for the easy 1... 2... 3.
Winner: Shawn Michaels @ 08.53
What the...? Edge... just speared Batista... despite the non contact rule between the two? Edge has just cost himself his chance at the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania... but he's smiling? Edge hovers around the outside of the ring, looking inside to see Batista still down, while Michaels is sat in the corner, clutching his WWE Championship tight to his chest. Edge meanwhile has started rooting around under the ring, searching for something... and he finds it as he launches a chair into the ring!
What the hell is Edge doin'? Has he lost his mind!?
John Bradshaw Layfield:
Don't ya' get it Michael? 'Coach' said no physical contact between Edge and Batista on Smackdown
, he didn't say nothin' about Raw! Edge is a genius!
And now what the hell's he doin' with those chairs?
Indeed after the first chair flies and crashes to the mat, Edge picks up another one, sliding under the bottom rope... he's looking for another one man con-chair-to! Batista is helpless, and Edge is poised to strike once again... until the crowd start going crazy... as here comes Triple H! 'The Game' sprints down the ramp, with the roar of the crowd causing Edge to turn around... just as Triple H slides under the bottom rope... and tackles Edge to the canvas! Triple H starts unloading with a furious flurry of left and right hands, but soon Michaels is back into things, and he starts hammering 'The Game', drawing boos from the crowd. Michaels does enough to save Edge for the moment, with 'The Rated-R Superstar' able to roll free, he and Michaels now drilling 'The Game' with kicks and stomps... until the crowd goes nuts again... as here comes Rob Van Dam!!
Van Dam races down to the ring, steel chair in hand, which in motion he launches into the air... and then jumps up onto the apron... Edge catches the chair... but here comes Van Dam... SPRINGBOARD VAN TERMINATOR!! Van Dam flies through the air to kick the chair into Edge's face, instantly taking the fight to 'The Rated-R Superstar'... and now Batista is back on his feet... and he charges at Shawn Michaels! Batista knocks Michaels down to the mat, letting rip with a barrage of right hands, while Van Dam and Edge continue to go at it... until Triple H takes the fight to Van Dam and Edge! All hell has broken loose as the five men involved in world championship matches this Sunday are having a free for all in the middle of the ring!
These people are goin' crazy here! It's absolute pandemonium right now! Michaels, Van Dam, Edge, Batista and 'The Game'! It's mayhem in the middle of the ring!
And what does this mean for this Sunday!? Michaels and Batista defend their titles, who's gonna leave Detroit as a champion!? I promise ya' folks, you want wanna miss it! The biggest night in WWE history, the ride of your life, and this chaos is what you've got in store live on pay per view! Championships, streaks, careers! They're all on the line at Wrestlemania XXIII! Good night!
The arena is still going wild as a posse of security guards, agents and referees have hit the ring and the surrounding area, but there's nothing they can do to separate the five men, the final image of Monday Night Raw is that of absolute carnage, a mass brawl that looks like it could go all night as for the last time on the Road to Wrestlemania we fade... to... black.
Current Card for WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIII :
Date: April 1st 2007
Location: Ford Field; Detroit, Michigan
WWE Championship Triple Threat Match Match:
WWE Champion Shawn Michaels vs. 'The Game' Triple H vs. 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs. 2007 Royal Rumble Winner Edge
The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object:
'The Real Deal' Bobby Lashley vs. John Cena
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