~Monday Night Raw~
April 30th, 2007
”For it has been written... and it shall be done."
As you’d expect, we kick off the broadcast with still images and soundbites from last night’s pay per view, Backlash, with the sound of dark, ominous music taking us through the brutality that Shawn Michaels and Triple H put themselves through, until ultimately, one final, crushing sledgehammer shot to the skull saw Michaels put Triple H down once and for all. The music then becomes more triumphant as we see from the WWE Championship Match, where a spirited match between Rob Van Dam and John Cena was disrupted by the presence of Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and Bobby Lashley, until ‘RVD’ managed to rid the ring of the trio, allowing he and Cena to battle until ultimately Van Dam hit the winning Five Star Frog Splash, retaining the WWE Title in the process.
From this we see the usual Raw opening video, and then head into the arena for an impressive pyro display. As the cameras scan the arena, we hear the buzz of the red hot crowd, and the words of our commentary team…
It was a night that will live on in the memories of all who witnessed it! A night for the ages, a night full of tragedy and triumph, a night were Monday Night Raw, the backlash was and truly felt! Hello everyone, I’m Jim Ross alongside my colleagues Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Joey Styles, and we are less than 24 hours removed from WWE Backlash, a night that I’m sure nobody sat at this table is ever gonna forget!
Absolutely not! Rob Van Dam, the WWE Champion headin’ into Backlash, a champion under pressure, a champion looking to live up to the high expectations he places on himself, a champion looking to overcome the biggest obstacle, and he did that with a great victory over John Cena.
It was a helluva match, despite the interference of Mr. McMahon, his son Shane, and of course, Bobby Lashley. I wanna know what those three thought they were doin’ stickin’ their noses in that match, especially given the fact that tonight, we’re gonna find out the decision of the WWE Board of Directors as to who’s gonna be in charge here on Raw. Is it gonna be Mr. McMahon, or his wife Linda? And I don’t think Vince did his chances any favours with his actions last night.
It certainly remains to be seen which side that all important boardroom vote will fall on. Folks, we’ve got a huge night lined up, as the 2007 King of the Ring tournament gets underway with the first of the qualifying matches tonight. And of course, after the vile, sadistic fashion in which Shawn Michaels won last night’s No Holds Barred Match, we’re gonna have an update on the status of Triple H, and we’ll hear live from ‘The Heartbreak Kid’.
I bet he’s got a lot to say for himself after his shameful actions last night. Pulling a helpless referee infront of him to save himself, and then that blessing of Triple H as he was bein' stretchered out of the arena, infront of Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley no less. Just absolutely sickening.
It was definitely a disturbing incident, one that I thought I’d never see from a guy like Shawn Michaels. I just can’t believe what’s happened to him over these last few months, and I can’t wait to hear what kinda explanation he’s gonna offer for it all tonight.
All of that to come folks, as well as a rematch of sorts from last night, as the ladies step aside as Tyson Kidd and Harry Smith square off against Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters-
*ONE OF A KIND…*
The music of the WWE Champion blares out into the arena, causing an explosion from the capacity crowd, and the noise level rises even higher as Rob Van Dam
strides out onto the stage, a little sore, a little stiff, but still sporting a smile for the fans as he heads for the ring…
But it seems we’re kickin’ things off with the WWE Champion himself, Rob Van Dam! What an incredible effort from Van Dam, not only having to survive the onslaught of John Cena, but then to see off the attack from Mr. McMahon and his cohorts. A huge effort from ‘RVD’, and a fully deserved victory.
Headin’ into Backlash, there was doubts as to whether ‘Mr. Monday Night’ was gonna live up to the pressure of bein’ WWE Champion and the face of Monday Night Raw. But last night, Van Dam put any doubts to rest. Van Dam rose above the pressure, and now he can head forward and forge his legacy as champion.
Credit where credit’s due, Van Dam saw off John Cena. But I’m pretty sure that there’s gonna be a whole host of challengers now lookin’ to take their shot at the WWE Champion, and we might even find out Van Dam’s challenger right here tonight. But for now, ‘RVD’ deserves to enjoy the moment, enjoy his victory last night… but I wouldn’t celebrate too much if I was him.
In the ring, Van Dam has a broad smile on his face as he soaks in the cheers of the crowd, before he nips up onto the second rope in the corner, lofts the WWE Championship high in the air before he leads the crowd through a chant of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” before he drops back down to the canvas. ‘RVD’ asks for and receives a microphone, waits for his music to die down, before he starts to address the crowd…
Rob Van Dam:
I uh... I think I'm gonna have to owe you guys an apology.
A confused murmur breaks out, to which Van Dam simply shrugs his shoulders before carrying on...
Rob Van Dam:
Y'see, about a month ago I came out here and I said I wasn't gonna be a champion who opened every Raw with some drawn out monologue. And that's somethin' I'm still plannin' on livin' up to. But...
Van Dam pauses and offers the crowd an exaggerated wince...
Rob Van Dam:
I'm gonna have to go back on my word a little bit tonight. 'Cos I got somethin' I wanna say about Backlash last night... and John Cena.
A very loud, very mixed response, until eventually the cheers outweigh the boos, a reaction that Van Dam raises his eyebrows to...
Rob Van Dam:
Hey, love 'im or hate 'im, I wanted John Cena at his best last night. I needed him to bring it, and I needed to prove to all of you... and maybe even to myself... that I could beat 'im. And y'know what?
Thinking for a second, 'RVD' nods his head assuringly...
Rob Van Dam:
John... he brought it last night. He gave me his all, he gave me his very best. He gave me a helluva match for my first title defence and all I wanna say is... thank you.
A warm pop breaks out around the arena, Van Dam nodding his head in agreement...
Rob Van Dam:
Thank you John for a helluva match, and any time you want a rematch, you just let me know, dude. Now, that might be all I gotta say about John Cena, but I still got somethin' else I gotta get off my chest, and that concerns... Vince McMahon.
Lots of heat for the mention of 'The Chairman of the Board'...
Rob Van Dam:
Vince, Shane, Lashley... what's your problem, dudes? I mean, I get it the fact that you obviously don't like me, Vince. I'm not the typical poster boy, I'm not the marketing guy's dream. I get it... and I really don't care about any o' that.
Van Dam rubs his jaw and purses his lips, choosing his words carefully...
Rob Van Dam:
I'm not in this business for the chance to get my face on video game covers, or on magazine covers, and I'm definitely not in this to host Saturday Night Live or anythin' like that. The reason I'm in this business, the reason I'm willin' to risk my body night after night, is to entertain these fans... and it's for this WWE Championship right here.
Rob Van Dam:
Now Vince, I hope you can hear me when I say this. If you don't want me as WWE Champion, that's cool bro'. And if you want this title around Lashley's waist... that's cool too. But if you want Lashley to be the poster boy, to be the face of Monday Night Raw...
Again 'RVD' pauses and shrugs his shoulders...
Rob Van Dam:
Then sooner or later, he's gonna have to step into the ring with me. And that's
where we're gonna have a problem, Vince.
A much more serious tone for that last sentence, drawing another cheer from the fans...
Rob Van Dam:
But I'm not gonna wait around, let Lashley try jump me from behind. I'm not gonna waste any time. Vince, if you want this title around Lashley's waist so bad... then why don't you make 'im come out here and win it... TONIGHT!
Big time pop, the fans clearly excited by the prospect of a Van Dam/Lashley title match live tonight...
Rob Van Dam:
This time tomorrow, you might not be callin' the shots around here. If that boardroom decision goes against you, Vince McMahon means nothin' on this show anymore. So I'm here, willin' to put this WWE Championship on the line tonight, and all you gotta do Vince, with one last act of power, is make the match-
What the...? A tune is heard throughout the arena, but nobody knows whom it heralds the arrival off. Van Dam looks as confused as the fans are as he stares up towards the entrance way. The fans buzz with excitement and anticipation, and then a very loud cheer breaks out from the smarks in the audience... as outsteps Claudio Cesaro
! OK, it's not a debut reaction of Jericho-esque proportions, but thanks to the month long promos, and the pure wrestling fans in attendance, there's enough people in the arena who know exactly who this man is.
Standing tall on the stage in a sharp suit, Cesaro scans the arena, removing a pair of sunglasses to better survey the land, before he slips the shades into the breast pocket of his jacket, adjusts his tie and then slowly makes his way down the ramp...
Well, I guess we all know who that is! That's Claudio Cesaro, the man who we've been seein' in all those videos for the past month, and the man we saw watchin' on from the sky box last night at Backlash. We knew he was gonna make his Raw debut tonight, but I never thought he'd do it by interrupting the WWE Champion!
Talk about makin' a good first impression. 'RVD' was out here challengin' Bobby Lashley to a WWE Title Match tonight, but instead he's the newcomer comin' out here.
I can't claim to know too much about this man, but from what I've heard, he sounds very impressive. He's an aristocrat from Switzerland, he comes from a family deep rooted in the aristocracy of Europe, and he's had the best wrestlin' education money can buy!
And not only that, but this man Cesaro has won titles all across the world. From Europe to America to Japan, he's won it all, and now he's here on Monday Night Raw, and he's lookin' the WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam, dead in the eye!
As Cesaro bursts through the ropes and holds his arms out wide, the crowd is still buzzing with excitement, the smarks again giving the newcomer a strong cheer. Looking rather perplexed, Van Dam looks Cesaro up and down, sizing the newcomer up, wondering why Cesaro has chosen now to make his presence felt, and it appears he won't have to wait long as Cesaro holds a hand up into the air, motioning for his music to stop...
Bonsoir! Guten abend! Buenas noches! Mr. Rob Van Dam, WWE Champion… good evening. My name… is Claudio Cesaro
Another pop from the smarks, at which Cesaro smirks and holds his arms out wide, clearly revelling in the early response from the crowd...
Und ich bin hier, um Ihnen und all diese menschen zu erziehen ... und dann, dass WWE Championship wegnehmen.
Confused, Van Dam turns to the crowd as if to ask if any of them understood that, only to see a mass of blank faces looking back at him, something at which Cesato can't help but laugh at...
You didn’t understand that, did you Rob? You didn’t understand a word I just said.
Almost nonchalantly, the WWE Champion shakes his head...
No, of course not. That's because foreign culture means nothing to you and these fat, weak, ignorant people here in Nashville.
And now finally some heat, at which Cesaro simply shakes his head then carries on...
They think that the world starts at California and ends at New York. And they think that this country, America... is the world number one. And you Mr. Van Dam, you think that because you stand there wearing that championship... that you're the best in the world within this ring.
Cesaro shakes his head again and wags a finger…
But you... just like all of them... are mistaken. And that is why I am here. To educate you and all these people. Your country is not the best in the world... and neither are you... I
am. Tell me Mr. Van Dam... what do you know of a little place called... Switzerland?
Looking to the crowd in search of an answer, all Van Dam can offer is a shrug of the shoulders…
I thought so. Nothing. And that is what’s wrong with this country of yours. You Rob, represent everything that is wrong with America. And you also represent everything that is wrong with the WWE today.
And now the champion perks up, raising his eyebrows and adjusting the title on his shoulder, clearly now paying much more attention to Cesaro’s words…
A small, slow, boring, hardcore wrestling darling, who couldn’t even lace my boots… and yet here you are, as champion of the biggest wrestling company in the world. Sie ekeln mich an!
Frustration overcomes the newcomer as he turns his head away for a brief second, gathering his thoughts before carrying on…
But right now, you
, Mr. Van Dam, are the biggest wrestling name in the world. As for me… I am a hero back in Europe. A national icon in Switzerland. A man of great taste. A man whose bloodlines run from the very best of European aristocracy. In any other country, in any civilised way of life, I
… am simply better… than you
More jeers from the crowd…
But not in this country. In America… and in Nashville… you’re better than me. Right?
Cesaro turns to the crowd, who cheer their answer, Cesaro nodding and laughing, fully expecting that response…
Only in America. Only in this country would people think that way. Across the world, everyone would see that I am clearly the superior man… the superior athlete… and the superior wrestler. And these people… are going to find that out… tonight
The camera closes in on Cesaro as he narrows his eyes in Van Dam’s direction…
Mr. Van Dam, I heard what you had to say earlier about defending that WWE Championship night after night. Well… I have decided to give you the honour
of facing me in my WWE debut. I have built a reputation across Europe and the rest of the world as one of the very best… and I want the people of America to find that out first hand.
Cesaro pauses, taking a moment to smirk, before he speaks…
Claudio Cesaro: And
… Ich fordere Sie auf, diesen Titel gegen mich zu verteidigen. What better way for these people to find out… than by becoming WWE Champion in my first match.
More jeers from the crowd, with Cesaro ignoring them as his eyes lock in on the champion…
So Mr. Van Dam… what do you say? Akzeptieren Sie meine Herausforderung?
Cesaro now steps forward, right in the champions face as he slowly says…
Do you… accept
… my challenge?
Cesaro now steps back, a smug look on his face as the crowd again throws some heat his way. Thinking things over, Van Dam rubs his jaw, taking it all in, before he finally starts to speak…
Rob Van Dam:
Wow. Uh… wow, Claudio, that was uh… that was quite the introduction, dude. I mean to come out here, live on Monday Night Raw, on your WWE debut, and to challenge the WWE Champion to a title match… that’s gotta take some guts.
Nodding in agreement, Cesaro smirks and waits in anticipation…
Rob Van Dam:
And everything that you said, the icon in Europe, the man of taste, the great family history… that’s all really very impressive. I can tell you’re a man of taste by that suit you’re wearin’. Very nice, dude.
Opening his suit jacket, Cesaro shows off his clothes to the crowd…
Rob Van Dam:
But uh… to me and all these fans, all the accolades across the world, all the fancy suits… that means nothin’
Pop from the crowd, much to Cesaro’s annoyance…
Rob Van Dam:
Because this is America… and this is the WWE.
And with that, the crowd break out with a “USA! USA! USA!” chant, causing Cesaro to fume in annoyance…
Rob Van Dam:
And in this country, and in this company… this title right here is all that matters. And I dunno what my rep is like in Switzerland, but in Nashville, I’m pretty sure these people think I’m a better man than you.
And a resounding cheer shows the fans in full agreement with the champion…
Rob Van Dam:
And y’know, that’s somethin’ you’re gonna have to learn about to survive here in the WWE. Y’see, I wrestled all around the world, just like you. I made my name in this business against some o’ the biggest names in Japan.
An almost reluctant shrug of the shoulders from ‘RVD’…
Rob Van Dam:
And then I came back to the States, and the WWE… they didn’t wanna know about me. So I had to prove myself to the fans in this country, and I did that in a little company called ECW.
”ECW! ECW! ECW!”
Rob Van Dam:
And it was only after that I got the WWE to finally pay attention to me and give me a job. But for everythin’ I’ve done in my career, for every accomplishment, it all meant nothin’ until bro’ until WrestleMania XXIII where I won the big one on the biggest stage of ‘em all.
Rob Van Dam:
So lemme give you a bit of advice, dude. The attitude, the baggage, the past accomplishments… check ‘em all at the door. You’re in the WWE. You’re on Raw now dude. And these people, their respect… that’s gotta be earned
Van Dam points a finger squarely at Cesaro to emphasise his words…
Rob Van Dam:
So I’m gonna accept your challenge, and I’ll put this WWE Title on the line against you tonight in your first match on Raw.
The fans let out a cheer, pleased to be seeing the WWE Title defended tonight, a fact at which Cesaro smiles and nods approvingly…
Rob Van Dam:
But I promise you dude, you’re not comin’ into my show and makin’ a name off my back. To be standin’ here infront of you as the WWE Champion, in the last month, I’ve had to beat guys like Shawn Michaels, Triple H and John Cena. And if you wanna kick off your WWE career with a loss… then you got it, dude!
And a final cheer from the crowd, but as Van Dam lowers his mic, Cesaro takes the chance to offer a response…
Respect? You think I care… about these people’s respect? I don’t need to earn anything from them… and I don’t need to earn anything from you.
A tense moment as Cesaro pauses, he and Van Dam staring intently at each other…
And as for you accepting my challenge... I don’t need to earn that WWE Championship either. I’m just… going to take it.
And just like in the videos hyping his debut, Cesaro holds an open hand in the air…
You might have beaten Michaels, Cena and Triple H… but you won’t beat me. Das WWE Title ... ist mein.
And then Cesaro clothes his hand into a tight fist, clearly signalling his intentions tonight. The smirk is gone, replaced with a tense look of determination, a look echoed by Van Dam, the two burning a hole in each other with their eyes until finally, Cesaro turns and heads for the ropes, leaving the WWE Champion in the centre of the ring to watch the bold newcomer make his exit…
Well there you have it folks. The newcomer Claudio Cesaro is set to make his debut here tonight on Monday Night Raw, and what a match to do it in! The WWE Championship is gonna be on the line tonight, as Cesaro takes on Rob Van Dam!
And could you imagine if Cesaro wins tonight. I mean, we could be about to witness history right here! I mean, how many people can say they became WWE Champion in their very first match here in the WWE?!
What a night this is shapin’ up to be! The King of the Ring gets underway, we’re gonna hear from Shawn Michaels, and now we’ve got a WWE Title Match! All of that to come when Monday Night Raw returns!
With Cesaro now at the top of the ramp, the camera switches between Van Dam and Cesaro, the determined look on the face of the champion a stark contrast to the smug smirk on the face of the newcomer. We continue to go back and forth, until Cesaro turns and heads backstage, the shot taking one last look at Van Dam before we head into a commercial.
We’re back, and it’s straight to the office of Mr. McMahon
, who paces back and forth, a tense, worried look on his face. The tension in the room is echoed by his personal assistant Brooke Adams
who sits nearby, looking scared to even say anything. In the corner, the hulking figure of Bobby Lashley
sits, wrapping tap around his fists, his eyes fixated on the floor, clearly feeling rather sheepish given his botched run during the WWE Championship Match at Backlash…
Have you heard anything yet? I mean, I thought the board were meeting in the run up to the show? They should’ve made their decision already, we should’ve heard somethin’ by now!
Exasperated, Vince rubs a hand across his forehead, while Brooke can only offer a sympathetic shake of the head…
I’m sorry Mr. McMahon, I haven’t heard anything yet. I’m sure Shane will be back soon to give you the good news. After the way you put business ahead of your own family last night, the board of directors have gotta see it in your favour, Sir.
Wanting to believe her, Vince lets out a long sigh…
Yeah, well there should’ve never been any doubt in the first place. This whole vote of no confidence is a joke, and it better come to an end tonight.
Off camera, the sound of a door swinging open is heard, and in walks Shane McMahon himself, his father relieved to see him, although Shane is clearly uncomfortable in entering the room…
Shane! Finally! Well, what was the outcome? Just how badly did I beat your mother in the vote?
A nervous laugh from ‘The Chairman of the Board’, but the silence from Shane quickly turns that to a look of worry…
I did win, didn’t I? The board voted in my favour, right?
Shane grits his teeth and rubs the back of his neck, taking an age to answer as he chooses his words carefully…
Uh, well… not exactly. I mean, I did my best, I spoke to every board member to try to convince ‘em to vote to for ya’. And John Laurinitus, he did a lotta good work too. But…
Vince raises his eyebrows and opens out his hands, desperate to hear the answer…
It was a split vote. They couldn’t come to a decision. They didn’t vote either way. But uh, they’re havin’ another meeting right now and they’re gonna figure out a way to make a decision, one way or the other.
Almost offended, Vince scoffs and shakes his head in disbelief…
What’s that supposed to mean? What way? How are they gonna decide?
Clearly not privy to that information, all Shane can offer his father is a shrug of the shoulders…
Dad, I’m sorry, but I don’t know. They wanted everybody outta there so they could think o’ somethin’. I dunno what decision they’re gonna make, but they promised we’d find out before the end of Raw.
Worried and dejected, Vince slumps down onto a nearby coach, running a hand over his face, trying to gather his thoughts, before he looks back up at Shane and says…
Just what the hell could have they have in mind?
But we’re gonna have to wait to find that out folks, the camera lingering on ‘The Boss’ as he continues to shake his head, clearly not able to figure things out, his grip on Monday Night Raw slowly slipping away it seems as we cut elsewhere.
And it’s too a dressing room, where we see the tense faces of Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters stood across from each other, the pair both on their feet with the arms cross across their chests. Keeping the pair separate is Melina, a rose between two thorns, albeit one with a seriously annoyed look on her face as she turns her head from side to side, looking up at both men, clearly with something she wants to get off her chest…
Last night… you two embarrassed
me at Backlash. I mean, we lost to those kids The Hart Legacy. They’ve been in the WWE for about two minutes, and they beat us on pay per view? I don’t think so! It was you two that let it happen, and it better not happen again tonight.
Masters scoffs at those words, instantly on the defensive…
Whoa, wait a minute. It the two
of us? I think you’ll find it was Johnny here who lost the match. Infact, I’m pretty sure if you look back at a lot o’ our defeats, it’s John’s fault we lose.
And now it’s Nitro who’s offended, snapping the sunglasses off his face to look Masters in the eye…
You tryin’ to say it’s my fault we keep getting’ beat?
Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m sayin’!
Well maybe if you didn’t get kicked outta the ring by a girl last night we mighta won!
What’s that supposed-
Letting out one of her trademark screams, Melina pulls at her hair and starts firing fierce glares at both men…
This is exactly what I’m talkin’ about! All this fighting, all this arguing, it’s gotta stop! You two better work together and get on the same page tonight, ‘cause I am NOT watchin’ you guys lose another match.
Taking a moment to compose herself, Melina takes a deep breath and then continues…
Johnny… it was you
who got pinned last night. You
messed up. But Chris… I need you to try forget about that, put it behind you, and work together as a team tonight. You think you can do that?
Nitro rolls his eyes and shakes his head, annoyed at being blamed for last night’s defeat, while Masters shrugs his shoulders and reluctantly nods his head…
Yeah. Yeah sure, I’m a big enough man to do that. How ‘bout you, Johnny?
And in a move reminiscent of the night they joined together as a team, Masters extends his hand and offers Nitro a handshake, but just like that night, Nitro takes an age to eye up the hand, and then take a good look at Masters, until finally, he accepts…
Good. Now, why don’t you two go get ready? Take a chance to cool off.
With peace and harmony restored, Masters and Nitro both agree and turn to head off in opposite directions, but as Nitro moves to make his exit, Melina grabs him by the arm and spins him back around…
Johnny… don’t disappoint me again.
And with that, Melina lets go her grip on Nitro’s arm, takes one last look at Nitro and then heads off in the same direction that Masters’ went. Watching her go, Nitro looks concerned, almost worried about what that ominous last statement, but there’s no time to ponder on it as we head back into the arena.
”I SPIT IN DA' FACE... OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE COOL...”
A pretty warm response as Carlito
steps out from the back, not his usual smiling self, still clearly upset about how his Intercontinental Championship Match last night ended. Instead of his usual saunter down to the ring, ‘Lito is all business as he strides down the ramp, rolling under the bottom rope and quickly taking off his t-shirt, dying to get this match underway…
Certainly some interesting developments right there, especially for Mr. McMahon and his struggle to stay in control of Monday Night Raw. But we’re gonna have to put all that aside for now, as it’s time to kick off the 2007 King of the Ring with the first of three
And you can see the frustrations of Backlash are still runnin’ high for Carlito. As far as I’m concerned, Carlito had the Intercontinental Championship won until Torrie Wilson caused the disqualification, saving the title for Dykstra.
Well you talk about frustration, I’m pretty sure ‘Lito took out a lotta that frustration when he hit that second Backstabber on Dykstra after the match. But he’s gotta put that to one side right now and focus on becomin’ King of the Ring!
Not much of a response as the intimidating figure of Mike Knox
makes his entrance, a fierce look of determination on his face as he makes a beeline for the ring…
We haven’t seen a whole lotta Mike Knox as of late, but he is a very scary, and a very dangerous competitor. If Carlito’s mind isn’t on the job here, the power of Knox could easily lead him to a victory.
I’d go further than that J.R., I’d even go as far as sayin’ that Mike Knox could be a real contender to win the whole tournament if he beat Carlito tonight and then got on a roll.
I gotta agree with that. I mean, if I make it past Chris Masters and into the next round, Mike Knox is definitely a guy I’d be lookin’ to avoid. This one could go either way, especially if Carlito’s mind is still on Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson.
Match 1: King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Round of 32
Carlito vs. Mike Knox
As the bell rings, Carlito quickly finds himself cornered as Knox inches forward, with Knox then lunging to squash 'Lito against the turnbuckle... but 'Lito sidesteps, allowing Knox to smack into the corner. Quick as a flash, Carlito starts throwing left hands to the face, snapping Knox's head back, 'Lito then goes for an Irish whip across the ring, only for Knox to reverse... Carlito hits the turnbuckle hard, and here comes Knox... charging right into a boot to the face! Knox stumbles away, turning his back on 'Lito who nips up to the second rope... then takes Knox down with a diving bulldog! Knox is driven into the canvas, and 'Lito goes for an early cover... 1... 2... but Knox powers out easily. Looking to stay in control, 'Lito grabs a handful of hair and yanks Knox up, but Knox quickly shoves him away to the ropes, then races towards him... but Carlito low bridges... and Knox tumbles all the way to the floor! Knox smacks off the floor with a thud, but as he gets back on his feet, 'Lito is already waiting to attack, coming off the opposite ropes... baseball slide! Knox goes stumbling into the barricade, and 'Lito is right on him, landing more rights and lefts to the face and body, before he rolls Knox back under the bottom rope and follows in for another near fall.
'Lito tries to keep Knox down by laying in with more rights and lefts to the back, but Knox forces himself back up, prompting Carlito to go for an Irish whip off the ropes... which Knox reverses... and then he lines 'Lito up for a big boot to the face... no! 'Lito slides underneath, nips back to his feet... and sends Knox sprawling with a headscissor takedown! Knox bounds back up... right into an armdrag! Knox is reeling, on his hands and knees by the ropes, and after 'Lito tags him with lefts hands to the face, he then sends Knox to the corner and follows in... only for Knox to elevate 'Lito over the top rope... but Carlito lands on the apron! More left hands cause Knox to back away, allowing Carlito to sling onto the top rope... and score a springboard flying clothesline! 'Lito hooks the leg... 1... 2... Knox kicks out strongly. Annoyed with himself, Knox rolls to the outside to try break the momentum, but Carlito follows him out, spinning Knox around and then tagging him with more left hands to the face... but he takes one swing too many, as Knox ducks underneath... and then drives 'Lito spine first into the barricade! Carlito groans in pain, but it's about to get much worse as Knox hangs on, lifts him up in a bearhug... and then drives Carlito spine first into the ring post! Carlito crumples to the floor in pain, but there's no chance to rest as he's rolled back into the ring and Knox crawls into the lateral press... 1... 2... 'Lito rolls a shoulder!
Sensing he has Carlito hurt, Knox now looks to target the lower spine, locking 'Lito in a three-quarter facelock that not only allows him to drive knees into the midsection, but also to drop clubbing forearms to the back. Big impact moves such as backbreakers and scoop slams follow, gaining near falls, before Carlito is fired hard to the corner... and then he staggers forward... right into a sidewalk slam! This time Knox hooks the leg... 1... 2... 'Lito again rolls a shoulder. Knox works at a methodical pace as he lands more forearms, knees and headbutts to the spine, but when he goes for another scoop slam, 'Lito lands on his feet behind Knox! Carlito throws desperate shots to the face, staggering the big man, and now he goes for an Irish whip... but Knox rebounds off the ropes... then nails the FLYING BEAR! Carlito is absolutely engulfed, with Knox staying on for the lateral press... 1... 2... again Carlito kicks out! Knox never hooked the leg, and it might have cost him the win right there. After protesting to the referee, Knox yanks 'Lito back up, lands a few more forearms to the spine, then fires him off the ropes... into a BEARHUG... NO! Carlito counters... using the momentum to twist into a TORNADO DDT!
Out of nowhere 'Lito finally lands some offence, leaving both down and subject to the ten count. The referee makes it to six before both are back on their feet, Knox swinging and missing with a big right hand... and now 'Lito snaps off three lefts in a row, allowing him to go for an Irish whip off the ropes... but Knox reverses... only for 'Lito to jump to the second rope... SPRINGBOARD BACK ELBOW! Carlito connects, then hooks the leg... 1... 2... Knox kicks out! Knox is hanging in there, but the momentum is with 'Lito, who again snaps off lefts to the face, then lands a kick to the midsection which doubles Knox over. 'Lito now heads for the ropes... running knee lift snaps Knox up... and Carlito keeps on running... running clothesline... no! Knox swings a clothesline of his own... but 'Lito ducks... and scores a FLOWING DDT! Carlito has Knox down, but he doesn't go for the cover, instead he rises and waits for Knox, looking to put him away. Slowly Knox staggers to his feet... and here comes Carlito... but Knox turns at the last second... and smacks 'Lito with a big boot to the face! Just like that, the momentum shits, and now it's Knox who's wasting little time as he yanks 'Lito up by the hair... fires him off the ropes... and then lines him up... BICYCLE KICK... NO! Carlito avoids it with a baseball slide... then nips back onto his feet before Knox can turn around... BACKSTABBER!! Carlito gets all of it, and he quickly crawls over to hook the leg... 1... 2... 3!
Winner: Carlito @ 06.29
A confidence boosting win for Carlito as he sees off Knox to advance to the next round of the King of the Ring tournament. Pushing himself back to his feet, Carlito leans against the ropes and tries to recover from the heavy hitting he received at the hands of Knox, but soon he’s reaching through the ropes and asking Lillian Garcia for a microphone…
Hey… hey how ‘bout ‘dat? Carlito just advanced in the King of ‘de Ring tournament. ‘Dat’s pretty cool, right?
A few cheers from the crowd as ‘Lito pauses to catch his breath…
But what wasn’t cool… was what ‘dat little bitch Kenny and ‘dat whore Torrie did to Carlito last night at Backlash.
The crowd agree, voicing their displeasure with some boos…
So Carlito wants to send Kenny a little message right now. Ju’ might be holdin’ ‘dat Intercontinental Title right now… but as soon as Carlito becomes King of ‘de Ring… Carlito’s comin’ back after ju’ and ‘dat title… and NOTHIN’ is gonna stop Carlito becomin’ champion. Now ‘dat… ‘dat’s cool!
A pretty emphatic statement from ‘Lito, clearly making his intentions known that the situation between he and Dykstra is far from over. After tossing away the microphone, ‘Lito heads for the corner, climbing to the second rope to and posing for the crowd, and it’s on that image that we head into the commercial.
We return and see Todd Grisham
standing by, ready for an interview…
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Monday Night Raw. And please welcome my guests at this time… Torrie Wilson… and the Intercontinental Champion… Kenny Dykstra.
Some very loud heat from inside the arena as Kenny Dykstra and Torrie Wilson enter the frame. Dykstra has a serious scowl on his face, and Torrie looks just as annoyed, the pair showing no remorse for their cheap actions last night…
And Kenny, obviously last night you lost
your match to Carlito by disqualification, but of course, you still left Backlash as the Intercontinental Champion. Given what happened last night, and what we just heard from Carlito before the commercial… surely, there’s gotta be another rematch between the two of you?
Dykstra flashes Grisham a look of sheer disgust, shaking his head in disbelief before he finally answers…
Rematch? Are you kiddin’ me? Rematch!? What the hell has Carlito done to deserve another shot at my Intercontinental Title? Two times now he’s tried and failed to take this title away from me, two times he’s ran his mouth, sayin’ how he’s gonna beat me, and both times, he’s left a loser. And not only that, not only did he fail to become champion, then he had the nerve to spit apple all over me.
Torrie shudders with disgust as she recalls the incident from Backlash, with Kenny shaking his head at the thought of it…
Carlito couldn’t get the job done at WrestleMania… and he couldn’t get the job done at Backlash. And you think he deserves a third
Dykstra brings a hand to his forehead, showing how incredulous an idea he thinks that is…
And to make it worse, Carlito thinks so as well! I mean seriously, the guy is as deluded as you, Todd!
Becoming more animated, Dykstra throws his hands up in annoyance…
The way I see it, Carlito’s had his chance… and he blew it. Just like he blew his relationship with Torrie.
Dykstra turns and shares a quick laugh with Torrie, who drapes a hand over Kenny’s shoulder…
So I don’t care what you think, or what he thinks, I am finished
with Carlito. I’m bored of goin’ into title matches with him and leavin’ the champion. I want to focus on becomin’ King of the Ring and then… then I want some new competition for my Intercontinental Title.
Taking a quick glance down at the belt across his shoulder, Kenny drops the smug look from his face and narrows his eyes in a show of how serious he is…
But lemme make this crystal clear. Carlito… has had his chance. He’s had two title shots… and he ain’t getting’ a third.
And now Dykstra turns back to the camera…
So sit back and watch next week as ‘The Future Hall of Famer’ takes the next big step in his career… by becomin’ the 2007 King of the Ring. And if you ever even mention Carlito in another one o’ my interviews… it’ll be your last interview. You got me?
Kenny steps forward, towering over Grisham, who meekly nods in response. Pleased with how he’s intimidated the interviewer, Dykstra has a quick laugh to himself, but before he can turn and walk off, Dykstra’s eyes bulge… and then he blindsided… by Carlito!
‘Lito storms the scene and tackles Dykstra into the interview set, causing the nearby TV monitor to crash to the floor while the background set quickly tumbles down around them, causing Torrie to let out a scream. Carlito absolutely hammers Dykstra, mounting the Intercontinental Champion to fire down with a flurry of left and right hands, Dykstra desperately trying to cover up, but it’s no use as ‘Lito unleashes all his frustration and anger on the youngster. Carlito continues to land wild shots to the head and body, but just like that, a group of referee’s and agents hit the scene, and it takes four of them to drag Carlito off of Dykstra. The young champion is helped back to his feet by Torrie, but as we see Carlito literally dragged kicking and screaming out of the shot, the fear in the champion’s eyes is clear for all to see as we hear Carlito shout “Ju’re mine Dykstra! ‘Dis ain’t over!” and after a few seconds of big eyes and heavy breathing from the champ, we head back into the arena.
And we hear…
That legendary guitar rift rips through the arena, the fans on their feet as The Hart Legacy
make their entrance. Leading the way with a spring in her step is Natalya Niedhart
, who confidently heads down the ramp, while Harry Smith
and Tyson Kidd
follow her down, high fiving with the fans, the trio looking much more happy than they have done in previous weeks…
What a big night Backlash was for this young team, their first appearance on WWE pay per view and they picked up a very convincing victory. But tonight, Natalya and Melina are takin’ the night off as Smith and Kidd take on Nitro and Masters in tag team action.
It was certainly an impressive display from The Hart Legacy, one that proved they belong here on Raw. If they managed to follow it up with another win right here, you gotta think they’d be in with a great chance of earnin’ a future title shot against Haas and Benjamin.
Yeah but getting’ that win tonight might not be as easy as getting’ the win last night after that little pep talk Melina gave Nitro and Masters. I’m sure this is gonna be a much harder match for Smith and Kidd to win.
The red carpet rolls out, the photographers start snapping away, and Melina
steps out arm in arm with Johnny Nitro
and Chris Masters
, with Masters still wearing that ridiculous fur jacket. As they approach the ring, Nitro and Masters seem to be back on the same page as they stand back and watch as Melina performs her trademark ring entrance…
Well, I don’t know if Melina’s gonna finally be able to lead this team to a victory, but after seein’ that entrance, she could lead me anywhere she wants!
Let’s try stay focused here, ‘King’. Nitro and Masters first joined forces to try and put their own individual losing streaks behind ‘em, but all that’s happened is that they’ve continued to lose as a unit. Can they rebound from another defeat at Backlash by finally getting’ a victory here tonight?
I just wonder what’s gonna happen if they lose right here. I mean, they were close to blows last night, another defeat against The Hart Legacy could see this team pushed to breaking point. And I dunno if Melina’s charm is gonna be enough to keep ‘em together if it all breaks down again…
Match 2: Tag Team Match
The Hart Legacy w/Natalya Niedhart vs. Johnny Nitro and Chris Masters w/Melina
In a reversal from last night, it's Nitro and Kidd who kick this one off, the two quickly moving in towards each other for a tie up, one which Nitro quickly turns into a standing waistlock. Kidd counters with a waistlock of his own... only for Nitro to wrench control back... and then take Kidd down with a waistlock takedown. Nitro tries to hang on, but Kidd slips free, quickly back on his feet to drill Nitro with a stiff kick to the spine, and then he charges off the ropes... low angle dropkick catches Nitro flush on the jaw! Here’s an early cover… but Nitro quickly kicks out. Kidd now strikes with kicks to the chest that back Nitro the corner, where he tags in Smith. Harry steps in and drills a few rights to the midsection and face, before he fires Nitro off the ropes… into a big back body drop! Nitro is quickly back on his feet… but a clothesline puts him straight back down! Again Nitro is up… another clothesline knocks him down! This time Smith has to drag Nitro back up… and then he hooks him up… and takes him up into the air… for a delayed vertical suplex! Smith crawls into the cover… 1… 2… Nitro kicks out. Smith now winds up and looks to send Nitro off the ropes, but as he rebounds off them, Masters slaps Nitro on the back for a blind tag… Smith traps Nitro and takes him down with a belly to belly suplex… but when he’s back on his feet, Masters clobbers him from behind!
It’s all legal, and now Masters lays in with a series of boots to the body, then he drops a trio of elbows, before he grabs Smith by the foot and drags him towards the heel corner. With Smith’s head against the bottom turnbuckle, Masters jams his foot into the throat, choking him, and when the ref calls for the breaks, Masters distracts him long enough to allow Melina to continue the choking from the outside. Masters continues to lay in with the power moves, showing impressive strength as he rocks Smith with a backbreaker, as well as landing more forearms and knees to the body. Nitro gets the tag, and he lays in with more stomps and then connects with a side Russian legsweep for a near fall, before he brings Masters back in who fires Smith off the ropes… straight into a sidewalk slam! Masters goes for the cover… 1… 2… Smith rolls a shoulder! Nitro and Masters now work to keep Smith isolated from Kidd, and again they look to do damage in the corner as Masters lays in with a string of shoulder thrusts that cause Smith to drop to a seated position, before Nitro tags in and smashes his knee into Smith’s face. The pair continue to make quick tags, with Masters getting a near fall from a Samoan drop, while Nitro gets a long two count with an enzuigiri. Nitro has Smith down in the corner, and seeking a way to put him away, Nitro leaps up and comes off the ropes with a SPLIT-LEGGED CORKSCREW MOONSAULT… but Smith gets his knees up!
Saving himself, Smith causes Nitro to crumble in pain, and now the young powerhouse starts to crawl towards his corner… Nitro tags in Masters… but Smith tags in Kidd! Masters charges across the ring, but Kidd sees him coming and slings himself to the top rope… springboard clothesline! Kidd quickens the pace as he comes off the ropes… running headscissors takedown! Masters is reeling, but here comes Nitro to try even the odds… but Kidd sees him coming, ducks underneath a clothesline… then comes off the ropes for a running leg lariat! Turning back to Masters, Kidd smacks a few more kicks to the chest, and then he sends Masters to the corner and tags in Smith… and then Kidd sends Smith to the same corner with an Irish whip… adding momentum as Smith crushes Masters against the turnbuckle! As Masters stumbles to the middle of the ring, Smith heads for the ropes… but Melina low bridges them… and Smith crashes to the floor! Melina stands over Harry, taunting him, but that means she doesn’t see Natalya racing around the ring… big clothesline levels Melina! With Smith down on the outside, Kidd is outnumbered in the ring, but he takes the fight to Nitro… clothesline sends Nitro to the floor! Kidd now turns back to the ring… only for Masters to hammer him with a massive spinebuster! Kidd is absolutely planted, and now Masters waits for him to rise, looking to lock on the MASTERLOCK… only for Nitro to tag himself in! Masters can’t believe it, wondering what on earth Nitro is doing, but Nitro pleads his case, saying he wants to get the win to prove himself to Melina… but as the pair argue, Kidd uses the ropes to drag himself back up, then slings onto them… SPRINGBOARD DROPKICK… TO BOTH MEN! The impact knocks Masters through the ropes to the floor, and now Nitro is left in the ring with Kidd… just as Smith slips back in. Kidd fires Nitro off the ropes… but Nitro jumps to the second and looks for a SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY… but Smith catches him on his shoulder… and nails the RUNNING POWERSLAM!! Smith plants Nitro, hooks the leg… 1… 2… 3!
Winners: The Hart Legacy @ 05.53
Another win for Smith and Kidd, but yet another defeat for Nitro as he again has his shoulders pinned to the canvas. Smith and Kidd are back on their feet, sharing a hug and having their arms raised by Natalya, while on the outside Melina lets out a scream of anguish. Seeing the seething Melina and Masters slide back into the ring, the Harts waste little time in heading for the outside where they celebrate with the fans with more high fives, while in the ring Masters stands with his hands on his hips, shaking his head in disbelief at yet another defeat.
Melina can’t seem to believe it either, ripping and tearing at her wild hair, but soon she drops down to her knees and tries to bring Nitro back around. A few gentle slaps of the face and a shove of the shoulders wakes Nitro up, with Johnny managing to sit back up, and then he’s helped back to his feet by Melina, with Masters clearly not interested in offering any help to his partner. Slowly Nitro is helped back to his feet, Melina propping him up, with Nitro rubbing his jaw and grabbing the back of his neck in pain. Looking apologetic, Nitro struggles for words, but his emotions clearly show how disappointed he is to have let Melina down again. Melina appears to show sympathy as she tenderly strokes Nitro’s face… until her look turns to that of sheer fury… and then MELINA SLAPS NITRO HARD ACROSS THE FACE!
The crowd is as stunned as Nitro is as he recoils and grabs his face… only for Masters to sneak up from behind… and LOCK NITRO IN THE MASTERLOCK!! Nitro is trapped in Masters’ arms, his head flailing as he’s violently swung back and forth, and Melina… she’s encouraging Masters! Desperately, Nitro tries to fight it, but there’s no escape, and soon he begins to pass out in Masters’ arms. Melina is loving it, shouting for Masters to keep up the pressure, but it’s pointless as Nitro is out cold… but before Masters can toss him to the mat, Melina lines up… and DELIVERS A SECOND SLAP TO THE FACE!! A few jerks of the Masterlock from Masters and then he finally flings Nitro down to the canvas, the partnership in ruins, but more than that, the years long relationship between Nitro and Melina seems to be over as well.
As Masters and Melina stand over Nitro, Melina places a hand on Masters’ shoulder, clearly pleased with what just transpired. The two look to each other and nod, exchanging smiles, clearly indicating that this whole thing was a setup of sorts. As the pair start to leave and head for the ropes, Masters sits down on the second rope and holds it open for Melina… but instead of leaving, Melina decides she has one last task to perform. Grabbing Nitro’s fur jacket that was hanging on the ringpost, Melina holds it over Nitro... and then carefully places it over his body. It’s a symbolic gesture, one that draws a strong level of boos from the crowd, but clearly Melina and Masters don’t give a damn, making their exit as they head up the ramp, while the last image we see before we head for the commercial is that of Nitro laid out in the centre of the ring, covered by a fur coat, his partnership with Masters and his relationship with Melina well and truly finished.
And when we return, we see Johnny Nitro
very gingerly walking backstage, limping, holding his neck, clearly in pain, his body and his pride having taken an absolute pounding in the previous segment. Nitro carries with him the fur coat that was laid over him, slowly walking along a corridor, looking like he’s almost close to tears. As Nitro continues his slow, silent walk, he’s comes across a trash can. Looking down on it, it looks like Nitro is searching for career inside of it, until suddenly he holds up the fur coat… takes a long look at it… and then down on the trash can… before he emphatically tosses the fur coat down into the trash. Taking one last look at it, Nitro shakes his head and then turns to continue to slowly limp away, the camera staying focused on the jacket in the trash can, before we cut elsewhere.
And now we see the always bubbly Maria
standing by at the interview set…
Hi! I’m Maria! And welcome back to Raw everyone! And please welcome my guest at this time… ‘Mr. Money in the Bank’… Randy Orton.
Loud boos from inside the arena as Randy Orton steps towards Maria, the interviewer taking a slight step back in intimidation…
Now Randy, last night at Backlash you successfully defended your Money in the Bank briefcase against Jeff Hardy. But now that you’ve held onto your briefcase, and you’re not
entered in the King of the Ring tournament… what’s next for you?
Orton rolls his eyes and crosses his arms across his chest, clearly not interested in answering the question…
What’s next for me? What’s next for me is none of your concern, Maria. As far as the King of the Ring is concerned, I don’t need to win some tournament to prove my credentials. This right here…
Orton holds his briefcase up infront of his face for all to see…
Is worth far more than any crown or sceptre might be. This briefcase guarantees me a title shot at any time, and now that I’ve managed to hold onto it… Rob Van Dam… and for that matter, Batista… now it’s time for the two of you to start looking over your shoulder again.
Now turning to the camera, Orton stares down the lens intently…
You might think you’re finished with John Cena, but Rob, I just want you to know… that you’re far
… from finished… with me.
Heat from inside the arena…
So tonight in your match with Claudio Cesaro… you better worry about hanging onto that title against him… and you better worry about me. ‘Cause I am ready to strike at a moment’s notice… and I won’t make any mistakes. When I make my move… I will
become a champion again.
Orton thinks about wrapping it up and walking away, but he stops himself, remembering that he has more to say…
Oh… and while I’m here… I just want to take this chance to encourage the WWE Board of Directors to do the right thing tonight… and find in favour of Mr. McMahon and allow him to continue to run Monday Night Raw. We don’t need his wife Linda in charge, laying down more rulings like the one that bans me from using this briefcase as a weapon.
And now once again Orton stares a hole through the camera…
Raw was doing fine before Linda stuck her nose in. She should go back to the boardroom and concentrate on the business side of things, and leave the in-ring side… to the professionals.
And with his message firmly made, Orton takes one last menacing look at Maria before he makes his exit, leaving Maria behind to watch him go as we head back into the arena.
To see the smiling faces of our announce team…
Certainly an ominous warning from ‘Mr. Money in the Bank’, Randy Orton, towards our WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam. As if ‘RVD’ didn’t have enough to worry about tonight by defending his title against the newcomer, Claudio Cesaro, he now has to worry about Orton cashin’ in his Money in the Bank contract at any second.
When you think about what Van Dam went through last night at Backlash, and then add in what he’s got ahead of him tonight with Claudio Cesaro, the unknown quantity, and now Randy Orton, poised to strike like a viper with that Money in the Bank briefcase, it’s been a pretty wild last 24 hours for the WWE Champion.
Well while Backlash mighta been a success for Rob Van Dam, but for Shawn Michaels and Triple H, it was a night of hell. In a No Holds Barred Match, ‘The Game’ and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ took part in their final battle… and it was one that Triple H didn’t survive.
Let’s take you back and show some of the highlights of one of the most personal, hellacious matches I’ve ever seen. Let’s take a look…
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST NIGHT AT BACKLASH
We see a few quick fire images of the match, starting with the early goings when Triple H was in control, the fight heading towards the control area where Michaels is sent sprawling across a table and is then back body dropped onto the stage.
Back into the ring, where ‘The Game’ has a steel chair in his hand, and he unloads on Michaels’ spine time and time again.
The tide turns as Michaels wraps an electrical cable around Triple H’s throat, choking ‘The Game’, and then smacks a monitor off his skull.
The symbolic moment where ‘The Game’ is trapped against the ropes, almost in a crucifix position, allowing Michaels to relentlessly strike with a kendo stick to Triple H’s midsection, and then turns his attention to Triple H’s knee, smacking the stick off of it time and time again.
The battle heads back outside and spirals on top of the Spanish announce desk, where ‘The Game’ blocks a Sweet Chin Music attempt, then counters with a Pedigree that shatters the table.
Michaels does more damage to the leg, this time with a flying elbow drop onto a steel chair that was wrapped around the ankle of ‘The Game’.
Which is then followed up with a painful figure four leg lock, but ‘The Game’ shows incredible guts to somehow reverse the hold.
Both men defy the odds as Triple H kicks out of a Sweet Chin Music, while Michaels survives a Pedigree.
And finally the finish, as Triple H lines Michaels up for a sledgehammer shot to the skull, only for Michaels to drag the referee infront of the shot saving himself. This allows Michaels to attack the knee, and then he looks to finish off ‘The Game’… who gives Michaels a DX chop… before Michaels ends things with an emphatic sledgehammer shot to the skull.
And in the post-match, with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley in tears as her husband is carted out of the arena on a stretcher, Michaels crosses Triple H, only to receive a slap to the face for his troubles… to which ‘HBK’ simply offers an eerie smirk and then disappears backstage.
*End Video Package*
From the package, we cut back to the announce desk, where our announce team now look far more solemn than before…
It was hard to watch live, and it’s just as hard to see it again. Shawn Michaels, his transformation, his metamorphosis if you will, was completed last night in the symbolic nature of his victory over Triple H. I thought there was a chance that Shawn could be saved almost, by Triple H, but I think any chance of us getting’ back the old Shawn Michaels, was well and truly lost at Backlash.
It was a sad night for all of us who knew and who loved Shawn Michaels. A night I’ll never forget. And I… honestly, I’m worried about what could be next for ‘The Heartbreak Kid’.
Well folks, as we mentioned earlier, Triple H is still in a Memphis medical facility, his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley by his side, but Shawn Michaels is here tonight, and we are scheduled to hear from Michaels later tonight. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say…
And after a few seconds silence we hear…
*THIS FIRE BURNS…*
And the arena is on it’s feet once more as The Straight Edge Saints
emerge from the back, with CM Punk
dropping down to a knee, tapping the imaginery watch on his wrist, holding it up to the ear of Kelly Kelly
before he yells out “It’s clobberin’ time!” and Punk leads Kelly and Nick Dinsmore
down the ramp…
Backlash was not
a successful night for the Straight Edge Saints as they came up short in their quest for the World Tag Championships. But tonight, CM Punk gets a chance to redeem himself as he looks to advance in the King of the Ring tournament.
All it took last night was just a moments distraction on the part of Nick Dinsmore and Haas and Benjamin took advantage to retain their titles. But for me, both Punk and Dinsmore have the chance to go far in this tournament.
I’d even go as far as to say that CM Punk is a favourite to win the whole tournament. I’m pretty sure he’ll be headin’ to Saturday Night’s Main Event, and I think he’s gonna go far.
*SWEET ‘N’ SOUR…*
A pretty decent level of heat welcomes The Redneck Wrecking Crew
into the arena, the two angry rednecks Lance Cade
and Trevor Murdoch
striding to the ring with a purpose, both men pointing at the ring and throwing some trash talk in that direction…
Last week, Lance Cade went one on one with Triple H, with Cade revealing that he was a former student of Shawn Michaels when Michaels ran his own wrestling school before returnin’ to the WWE. And while Cade vowed to soften up ‘The Game’ ahead of Backlash, it didn’t quite work out that way, as Triple H smashed both Cade and Murdoch.
And Cade and Murdoch were both pretty ticked off about that, so much so that early today, they recorded these messages…
We cut to the interview area where stood before us are The Redneck Wrecking Crew, with as stern, pissed off look on the face off Trevor Murdoch, while Lance Cade wears a brace around his neck, bookending his face with his cowboy hat. Feeling sorry for himself, Cade rubs his jaw and winces, leaving Murdoch to start the talking…
Trevor Murdoch: Y’know somethin’? Last week, that jackass Triple H, he embarrassed me and Lance. He made a fool outta us, and more important than that… he pissed off the wrong pair o’ rednecks.
Lance Cade: And now, it’s gonna be the so-called Superstars o’ Monday Night Raw that’s gonna pay the price!
A devilish smirk cross Murdoch’s face as he nods along with Cade…
Trevor Murdoch: That’s right. And it’s all gonna start tonight. Y’see me and Lance, we’re in this lil’ King o’ the Ring tournament. And we plan on goin’ a long, long way in it. And that means doin’ what we do best.
Lance Cade: Kickin’ ass… and smackin’ skulls.
An angry snarl now crosses Murdoch’s face as he points down the lens…
Trevor Murdoch: We AIN’T gonna be embarrassed no more! And that means CM Punk… you’re gonna get an ass kickin’ tonight… redneck style.
And in a show of aggression, Murdoch rips off his trucker hat and throws it at the camera, storming off the screen, leaving Cade behind, who flashes a stern looking smirk before he too makes his exit.
*End Video Package*
And now we’re back into the arena, where all four men are in the ring, the trash talking and finger talking continuing from Cade and Murdoch…
Well certainly some strong words from Cade and Murdoch right there. I think the intensity of this match just went up a notch. Let’s see if Murdoch lives up to those words and advances to the next round of the King of the Ring…
Match 3: King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Round of 32
CM Punk w/ Nick Dinsmore and Kelly Kelly vs. Trevor Murdoch w/ Lance Cade
After some initial circling of the ring, the two come together and snap into a collar and elbow tie up... which sees Murdoch shove Punk down to the canvas in the corner! A touch of arrogance from Murdoch as he doesn't take advantage, instead he waves Punk back to the centre of the ring, the two tying up once more, but this time Punk works into a standing waistlock. After trying and failing to break Punk's grip, Murdoch is then ran into the ropes as Punk locks for a rollup... but Murdoch grabs the top rope, sending Punk tumbling backwards. Punk bursts back to his feet, but here comes Murdoch... who runs straight into a leg lariat! Punk is straight back up, catching Murdoch with kicks to the thighs and chest, before a big standing roundhouse to the head sends Murdoch staggering backwards to the corner. More kicks land, this time to the midsection, before Punk winds up the Irish whip... only for Murdoch to reverse it and follow in... right into a back elbow! Punk now runs from the corner, ducking underneath a Murdoch clothesline and then rebounding off the far away ropes... flying clothesline! Murdoch burst back to his feet... but runs into an armdrag! Again Murdoch is up... another armdrag puts him down again... and then on the third occasion, a scoop slam makes sure Murdoch stays down. Punk now heads to the corner, climbing to the top rope... but before he can fly, Cade drags Murdoch under the bottom rope to the safety of the outside!
The crowd loudly jeer Cade's antics as he brings Punk's momentum to a halt, but as Cade and Murdoch huddle in an attempt to regroup, they don't see Punk charging off the far away ropes... SUICIDE DIVE... TAKES OUT BOTH MEN! Punk launches himself through the ropes, sending Cade and Murdoch sprawling to the floor, and he wastes no time in yanking Murdoch back up to roll him under the bottom rope. Punk then nips up onto the apron and slings himself onto the top rope... but before he can springboard into an offensive manoeuvre, Cade nips up onto the apron and shoves Punk... sending him crashing to the canvas! The ref never saw it, but Dinsmore did, prompting him to race round the ring to confront Cade, only for Cade to quickly sneak away. In the ring, Murdoch now looks to take advantage by dropping numerous stomps to Punk's midsection, following this up with a trio of elbow drops, followed by a near fall. As Murdoch yanks Punk back up, he repeatedly drives his knee into Punk's gut, backing him to the corner. Murdoch goes for the Irish whip across... but Punk reverses and follows in... looking to drive his shoulder into the midsection... but Murdoch sidesteps it... and Punk smacks shoulder first off the ringpost! Kelly Kelly winces as Punk groans in pain, and when he stumbles from the corner... Murdoch levels him with a massive boot to the face! Now Murdoch drops down into the lateral press... 1... 2... Punk kicks out.
Murdoch is in full control now, and he looks to target the left shoulder, driving the point of his elbow several times to the top of the arm, then drives his foot into Punk's face while trying to yank the arm right out the socket. Punk is then shoved to the ropes, allowing Murdoch to drape the arm across the middle rope and apply all his weight on top of it. As the ref calls for the break and backs Murdoch away, Cade races in and lands a cheap shot, again drawing the ire of Dinsmore who just misses out on getting his hands on Cade. Murdoch continues to apply pressure to the arm, landing elbow and legdrops across it, then aiming more stomps to the shoulder, before he finally takes Punk up and down with a shoulderbreaker for a long two count. Murdoch now slaps on a grounded hammerlock, determined to keep Punk down while causing damage to the arm. Murdoch continualy yanks on the arm, upping the pressure, causing Punk to goran in pain, but Kelly and Dinsmore try to rally the crowd, and the fans support feeds Punk's desire to make it back to his feet. Once there, Punk throws the elbow of his free arm in a desperate attempt to break the hold, and after landing three to the jaw, Murdoch finally lets go, allowing Punk to swing a right hand... but Murdoch ducks underneath, then hooks Punk up from behind... FULL NELSON SLAM! Punk is painfully driven to the mat, and now Murdoch hooks the leg... 1... 2... Punk barely kicks out! Murdoch storms to his feet and confronts the ref, demanding it was three, only for the two count to be confirmed. Punk uses the ropes to hoist himself back up, but a scoop slam plants him again, which allows Murdoch to head for the corner and climb to the second rope. Murdoch lines Punk up... then he flies... DIVING LEGDROP... NOBODY HOME!
Punk rolls to safety, leaving Murdoch to crash to the canvas, and now Punk is back on his feet first, smacking kicks to the head and body, driving Murdoch back to the corner, where he goes for an Irish whip... but Murdoch reverses and follows in... Punk avoids it... and Murdoch runs smack into the turnbuckle! Stumbling back, Murdoch doesn't see Punk charge off the ropes... running leg lariat! Murdoch crawls to the corner, but when he drags himself up, Punk makes his move... step up high knee... and then Punk hangs on for the bulldog! Punk rolls Murdoch over... 1... 2... Murdoch rolls a shoulder! Dejected but determined to carry on, Punk is back on his feet, waiting for Murdoch to rise... and when he does, Punk makes his move... scoops Murdoch up onto his shoulders... GTS... NO! Cade jumps up onto the apron, and almost on instinct, Punk drops Murdoch to the mat... but here comes Dinsmore... dragging Cade back down... then tagging him with a big right hand! Cade is down, but here comes Murdoch from behind... running big boot... Punk avoids it... and Murdoch kicks the ropes! A painful collision for Murdoch, and once again he's staggers right into Punk's clutches... GO TO SLEEP!! Punk gets all of it, and he hooks the leg for the 1... 2... 3!
Winner: CM Punk @ 06.28
A strong win for CM Punk, but as soon as the three count is made and the ref calls for the bell, Lance Cade picks himself back up… and clobbers Nick Dinsmore from behind! Dinsmore smacks off the floor, and now Cade slides under the bottom rope and starts hammering Punk with a series of boots and stomps! Despite the brace he wears around his neck, Cade shows his legs are perfectly fine as he absolute destroys Punk with the boots… but here comes Dinsmore sliding into the ring… and he tags Cade with a big right hand! Dinsmore comes to the rescue, saving his partner as he lands right after right to the face… until he’s blindsided by a big boot to the face from Murdoch!
Dinsmore is sent flying to the canvas, his head bouncing off the mat with serious force, with Cade and Murdoch both now laying into him with boots to the chest. Satisfied that they’ve laid Dinsmore out, Cade and Murdoch now start to circle the fallen Punk, standing either side of him, waiting for him to rise… and when he does, Kelly Kelly has her face in her hands… as Cade and Murdoch attack… SWEET ‘N’ SOUR!! Punk’s head is damn near taken off as he's hammered to the mat, the crowd throwing a ton of heat at the ring as The Redneck Wrecking Crew stand tall, their pre-match words coming to fruition as they’ve just laid out The Straight Edge Saints. Happy with the damage they’ve caused, the duo exit the ring and start to make their way backstage, leaving Kelly to bring her team back around as we head to a commercial.
We’re back from commercial, and straight back into the arena for a few seconds silence… until…
The heat is nuclear, and it only grows louder as Shawn Michaels
slowly makes his way out from the back. Limping slightly, Michaels shows the effects of the match from last night, but as usual there’s no emotion from the man dressed head to toe in black, his cowboy hat pulled down over his eyes, but as usual, we catch a glimpse of his emotionless face as he drops down to his knees, turns his head to the heavens and says a silent prayer, before gingerly getting back to his feet and then heading for the ring…
Welcome back to Raw folks. There you see the man who at Backlash quite possibly could have ended the career of 'The Game', Triple H. It was bloody, it was violent, it was sure as hell personal, and when it was all over, it was Shawn who watched his former best friend leave the arena on a stretcher.
Well, it might have been the most hate-fuelled match in WWE history, and it might have been pretty disgusting on Shawn Michaels' part given what he did after the bell, but credit where credit's due, Michaels did what he went out there to achieve. He said all along, he needed to take out Triple H, he needed that closure, and last night he got it.
But at what price, 'King'? Was it really worth another man's career? Was it worth what Michaels did with that sledgehammer? I don't think so. Shawn can talk about faith all he wants, last night had nothin' to do with faith if ya' ask me. That was sheer, vile hatred. I felt sick watchin' it, and I don't think I'm gonna feel any better listenin' to Michaels right here...
In the ring, Michaels has a microphone in hand, his head still looking down as he waits for his music to end. As the music dies down, the heat from the fans is deafening, with Michaels barely acknowledging it, his eyes remaining distant and without emotion. Slowly the boos start to ease off, allowing Michaels the chance to speak...
I did try
to tell ya'.
A hush from the crowd as Michaels simply shrugs his shoulders...
I did try
and warn ya', Hunter. I said it all along... and you all thought I was crazy. You all said I wasn't thinkin' straight, that I wasn't right in the head, that this wasn't the same 'ol 'Aitch – Bee – Kay. But all along... I told ya' what was gonna happen.
Still not many boos, not that Michaels is caring as he starts to pace back and forth...
I talked about faith, I talked about belief, and I talked about how it was faith that was gonna deliver me to a better place. It was faith that was gonna rid me of the evils in my life. It was faith
... that was gonna make me happy again.
A wry smirk cross Michaels face as he pauses...
And I knew this was gonna happen... 'cause of faith... and 'cause I'd seen it.
Still the crowd are subdued, not sure how to respond to Michaels' words...
Call it a vision, call it a dream, call it a prophecy... it doesn't matter what ya' call it, all that matters is that when I lay my head down in bed at night and I closed my eyes... I could see it all. The pain in Hunter's eyes, the anger from Stephanie... and the sorrow in little Aurora Rose's eyes. I seen it all.
Michaels ruefully shakes his head...
And that's why I tried to tell Hunter that the best thing he could do for his career, for his body... for his family... was to walk away. I told 'im to leave the WWE, to get outta my way, 'cause I knew what was gonna happen. But... Hunter chose not to listen. And now?
Pausing, Michaels purses his lips, thinking long and hard about what happened last night...
Now he's stuck in a Memphis hospital, maybe with a broken neck, but definitely with a broken body... a broken spirit... and a broken career. And why? 'Cause he's too damn selfish to listen to what's best for 'im. Y’see, throughout his career, and throughout the time we spent together as D-Generation X… I always knew what was right. I knew that when Hunter put the future of D-X on the line to get another shot at the tag titles… that wasn’t right. But at Night of Champions when I smacked that steel chair off his skull and became WWE Champion… that was right.
Nodding, Michaels seems to believe every word he's saying...
And how did I know that was the right thing to do? Like I’ve said all along… it’s all a matter of faith.
And now some heat from the crowd, a chorus of boos ringing out...
And that’s why I know that my actions at Backlash… whether you people agree with ‘em or not… were the right thing to do. Not right for Hunter, not right for any of you, not right for the WWE… but right for me
Michaels squarely points a finger to his chest to emphasis his point...
And if Hunter wants to look for somebody to blame for what happened to ‘im… then he oughta look within ‘imself… and question his faith.
And more boos...
You people can boo all ya’ want, but let’s be honest here… if we’re tellin’ a few home truths, it’s not like he didn’t deserve it. Just think of all the people over the years who he left broken and crippled. Just think of all the people he stabbed in the back. All the so called friends he turned his back on. For years he’s been one of the most selfish, egotistical men that ever stepped foot in this ring. And now that it’s finally all came back to haunt ‘im, now that his sins have finally all came back to bite ‘im on the ass… and just because it’s ol’ ‘HBK’ who was the man that told ya’ along he was gonna pay for those sins… you people boo me?
With his head down, the camera sees the look of disgust on Michaels' face as he shakes his head...
Well, I’m gonna do the right thing, I’m gonna listen to what’s gotten me this far… and I’m gonna turn the other check. I’m gonna… absolve you of all this… and I forgive you.
Holding out a hand to the masses, Michaels soaks in the heat the fans throw back at him, but it doesn't affect 'HBK' as he carries right on...
But while I forgive you fans for your opinion… don’t think for a second that I’m gonna start playin’ up to you people again. I’ve spent the last five years since I came back to this company tryin’ to please all of you, and it didn’t get me anywhere. Ever since I started lookin’ out for myself, and doin’ what I know to be right… I’ve been WWE Champion again… and I just sent my former best friend… and that guy who has done nothin’ but hold me back… into a permanent state of retirement. And I know that now I’m this close to getting’ back my smile… I’m not about to start listenin’ to you people again.
And as far as I’m concerned, now that Triple H is set for a life of pain and sufferin’… my issue with him is done… and I’ve got nothin’ else to say about ‘im.
Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes for a few seconds, Michaels composes himself then carries on...
But right now, I’m on a journey. A journey back to happiness, a journey back to find my smile again. For a lotta years, I didn’t have it, then I found it, and then… at WrestleMania… I lost it again. But now I got Triple H outta my life… it’s time to go get my smile back. And that means one thing… the WWE Championship.
A real buzz of anticipation from the crowd, excited by the prospect of a Michaels/Van Dam title match...
And that means that Rob Van Dam… you’re the right man… in the wrong place… at the wrong time.
A mixture of boos and cheers now...
WrestleMania XXIII… I went out there like I do at every WrestleMania… and I stole the show. And you… just like Triple H, were lucky enough to come along for the ride. You’d never had that WrestleMania moment before Rob, and I gave it to you. But not only did you get that once in a lifetime moment you always dreamed off… you took my WWE Title too. And now… now I want it back.
Michaels delivers that last sentence with a real sense of desire...
I’ve closed my eyes, I’ve said my prayers… and I saw the pain that Triple H suffered at Backlash. I saw that, but I’ve seen somethin’ else too. I’ve seen you Rob. I’ve seen the pressure you’ve been under. I’ve felt it. And I’ve seen the cracks startin’ to form. And I’ve seen that one day, somebody’s gonna take advantage o’ that.
Pausing, Michaels again smirks to himself...
And y’know what else I’ve seen Rob? That somebody’s… gonna be me.
But Rob, I’m gonna give you a warnin’. The same warnin’ I gave to Hunter. Backlash… it didn’t have to be that way for him. And Rob…
Michaels emphatically looks straight down the lens of the nearest camera and says...
It doesn’t have to be that way for you either. Triple H suffered ‘cause he chose not to listen. Don’t make that same mistake, Rob.
Staying near the camera, Michaels now points a finger...
With Hunter at Backlash, it was personal. It was the most personal situation I’ve ever been involved in. You, Rob? It’s not personal… yet
. And if you’re smart… you won’t make it that way. Let Backlash and the sight of Triple H leavin’ the arena on a stretcher be a warnin’… and you make sure you listen to it. ‘Cause if you make it personal between us Rob… that’s exactly what’s gonna happen to you.
And now Michaels turns away from the camera, the boos ringing out for his words...
Hunter was my friend. I knew his wife, I knew his kid, I knew everythin’ about him. I don’t know the same about you Rob… don’t gimme a reason to find out.
With his head lowered, the camera zooms in to see Michaels close his eyes as he finishes that statement...
After Backlash last night, when I got back to my hotel room, I lay my head down on that pillow and I closed my eyes…
A look of relief crosses Michaels' face...
And for the first time in months, it wasn’t Hunter in pain that I saw. It was you, Rob.
Looking to the heavens, Michaels again simply soaks in the jeers before pressing on...
It was you layin’ on the mat, a beaten man… and me standin’ over you, with the WWE Championship in my hands… and a smile… on my face.
No smile just now from 'HBK', who has that cold look in his eyes...
But all that can change. I could close my eyes one night… and then I’m lookin’ at you, leavin’ an arena on a stretcher. I could see that pain on your wife’s eyes. I could see your body bein’ broken… just like your career.
The boos intensify now...
You've had your WrestleMania moment, Rob. The dream came true. But I know better than anybody how that feels. I lived that dream once. 1996, WrestleMania XII... 'the boyhood dream came true'... fast forward two years, WrestleMania XIV... that dream became a nightmare. I broke my back, my body was a wreck, my mind wasn't clear... I was left just like I left Hunter last night.
Pondering, Michaels seems to be contemplating with himself over what happened last night...
And if you're not careful Rob... if you don't heed my warnin'... that's exactly how I'm gonna leave you.
A real sense of venom in how Michaels delivered that last line, something the crowd picks up on...
The whole fightin' champion, takin' on all comers, anytime, anywhere, I get it... I've been there, I've done it. Y'think you're doin' to entertain the fans, to please these people... but when I take that title away from you Rob, these people... they aren't gonna give a damn about you. So you take your matches with the new guy, you try and keep yourself busy for a couple o' weeks, and you keep tellin' yourself that you're doin' it for each and every person who bought a ticket.
You might have these people fooled... but it doesn't impress me. 'Cause I know it's all lies. I know... it's not right.
Michaels now heads towards the ropes, leaning against them, looking up the ramp at the entrance way...
So 'RVD', I am officially puttin' you on notice. I want back what's rightfully mine, I want back my
WWE Title. And if you don't give it to me?
And the promo comes full circle as Michaels offers up another shrug of the shoulders...
I'm just gonna take it anyway. For it has been written... and it shall be done. Now hit my
The microphone falls from Michaels' hand and crashes to the canvas, signalling a rather emphatic end to Michaels' words. With that blank stare and those cold eyes, Michaels lets his gaze linger into the camera for a few seconds, before he finally turns his head back down to the canvas and then moves to make his exit...
Well... that was uh, pretty disturbing from Shawn Michaels. Emphatic, yes. Straight to the point, yes. But it was the manner in which Michaels said those words, the coldness, the lack of human emotion, that's gotta have the WWE Champion concerned. Rob Van Dam has been put on notice, Shawn Michaels is comin' after 'im.
Rob Van Dam has always had an air of coolness about him. Very little seems to faze the WWE Champion. But even a guy like me who's known Van Dam for years... I gotta agree with you, Jim. I can't imagine hearin' somethin' like that and not havin' it effect me.
I guess we'll find out first hand later tonight. 'RVD' is still scheduled to defend the WWE Title tonight against Claudio Cesaro. Not only has he gotta deal with the unknown Cesaro, now he's got the threat of 'The Heartbreak Kid' hangin' over 'im.
And if Van Dam makes it past Cesaro tonight, he now knows what could be instore. It could be the deranged, the almost psychotic Shawn Michaels. And after what we saw Michaels do last night at Backlash... I don't like Van Dam's chances of makin' it outta a match with Michaels in one piece.
And with Michaels now at the top of the ramp, he takes one last look out at the fans, no hint of emotion in his eyes, before he finally heads backstage and we fade into a commercial.
And we're back with Todd Grisham
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Monday Night Raw. And please welcome my guests at this time, they are the World Tag Team Champions... Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, The World's Greatest Tag Team.
A decent level of heat from inside the arena as The World's Greatest Tag Team step into the frame, with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin standing either side of Grisham, both men with their titles slung across their shoulders and smug grins on their faces...
Charlie, Shelton, last night you defended your titles against The Straight Edge Saints, albeit in a match with it's share of controversy. As champions, you've always said that you want to prove without doubt that you're the best tag team in the world... do you think last night you did that?
Benjamin shakes his head and smirks, while behind Grisham’s back, Haas rolls his eyes and rubs his jaw in annoyance…
We won, didn't we? I mean, the whole reason Punk and Dinsmore even got that match was 'cause they beat all the other teams on Raw. So if we can beat the best o' the rest... then I guess that proves our point.
And now Haas takes over as he places a hand on Grisham’s shoulder to attract his attention…
And what d’ya mean controversy? There was nothin’ controversial about our win last night. We did whatever it took to win, whatever it took to hang onto these titles. Y’see, that’s what bein’ the best in the world is all about. You do what ya’ gotta do to make yourself a champion… and then ya’ do what ya’ gotta do to keep it that way.
Benjamin nods in agreement…
And to the rest of the… pretenders
out there… any time you wanna step up and take a shot at us… we’ll be ready. As for who’s next in line, to us… it really don’t matter. We’ll let you guys figure it out for yo’self, and when you decide who’s gonna be the next team to try and fail at takin’ these titles… you come find us.
Both men pause as they let some boos from inside the arena ring out, before Haas carries on…
But right now, we wanna send out a little message. After beatin’ Punk and Dinsmore, and with no other challengers in sight, we’re gonna take a quick step back from tag team action… to focus on the King of the Ring.
Haas readjusts the titles on his shoulder, showing that despite focusing on the King of the Ring, the gold still means plenty to the champs…
Y’see both Charlie and me are entered in this year’s tournament. And we intend on provin’ that not only are we great tag team specialists… but we’re great singles competitors too. And we’re gonna do it by makin’ sure we both make it to Saturday Night’s Main Event… and then one of us is goin’ home with that crown.
There’s no hint of dissension or confusion from the champs as Haas nods in agreement, clearly confident that one of them will be winning the tournament…
Next week Shelton’s got Super Crazy. Then the week after that, I got Tyson Kidd. That’s two matches where we’re gonna prove just how big a threat we are to winnin’ the whole tournament. And then when one of us is crowned King, and we’ve proved we’re the world’s greatest singles wrestlers…
With a smirk, Benjamin wraps things up…
Then it’s right back to work provin’ we’re The World’s Greatest Tag Team. We just hope that whoever’s up next… has more to offer than Punk and Dinsmore.
And with more heat from inside the arena, the champs take a lasting look at Grisham and then head off in opposite directions, leaving the interviewer to watch them go, but we don’t stay focused on Grisham for long as we cut elsewhere.
To a locker room where we see the new Woman’s Champion Beth Phoenix stood before the camera, her title glistening around her waist, with Beth looking down on it lovingly, stroking and caressing it, a broad smile on her face. Standing nearby is Victoria, the two still clearly a partnership, but the scowl on Victoria’s face shows she’s clearly not happy about how the match ended last night…
Well, well… look at this. I did it. Just like I said I would. I came back to Monday Night Raw, I went after Mickie James… and I took her precious title away from ‘er. And I did it all – by – myself.
Clearly not agreeing with that, Victoria raises her eyebrows and screws up her face…
What are you-
Not now Victoria, this is important. All the years of disappointment I suffered, all the pain I went through, all the hard work, all the sacrifices, all the effort it took to get myself back to the WWE… it was all finally worth it last night at Backlash when I finally became WWE Woman’s Champion. And y’know what the best part was?
Looking off camera, the champion rubs her hand and smirks with delight…
I finally got revenge on Mickie James. She tried to rob me of my career, she injured me on purpose, she tried to keep me from ever makin’ it to the WWE, and now here we are… I’m the champion, while Mickie?
Beth laughs to herself then carries on…
Mickie’s at home, cryin’ her little eyes out. She was too scared to even show up here tonight. Infact, I don’t even think we’ll ever see her again here on Raw. Not now she’s lost this title to me, ‘cause she knows she’s never gonna get it back. I took this title away from her last night, and now it looks like Mickie’s finally faced up to the fact that I have always
been better than her.
Heat from inside the arena, but Beth doesn’t let that phase her as she turns to her partner…
And I don’t know about you Victoria, but… I’m getting’ kinda bored of Mickie’s face to be honest. I think it’s time we gave somebody else a shot to challenge for this title. So next week, I’m issuing an open challenge to any diva… NOT named Mickie James… to face me in the ring for my
Woman’s Title. I mean, as champion… it’s my duty. Right, Victoria?
With her arms folded across her chest, Victoria looks like through Beth with a look of annoyance on her face, but she goes along with what the champ is saying for now…
And oblivious to the tone of Victoria’s answer, the champion turns back towards the camera and again strokes the belt around her waist with affection…
We’re entering a new age for women’s wrestling here on Raw. The days of Mickie James hogging the limelight are over. It’s the age of ‘The Glamazon’. An age where we can finally forget about Mickie James, and focus on the strength and the beauty of women’s competition.
More heat, at which Beth just smiles at, until something pops into her head that she remembers to say…
Oh, and Mickie? If you’re watching this… I suggest you stay away. You might have been able to walk out of the arena last night and board the first flight home. But you ever show your face on Monday Night Raw again… getting home won’t be that easy. Let’s go, Victoria.
Phoenix makes a quick exit, fully expecting Victoria to be right behind her, but instead Victoria watches her friend leave, clearly annoyed about the fact that Beth pinned her last night, although she holds her peace for now, eventually following Phoenix off camera with a shake of the head, while we head back into the arena.
Despite his defeat last night, it’s a warm welcome for Jeff Hardy
as he gyrates his way down the ramp to the ring, slapping hands with as many fans as he can…
It was certainly a gutsy effort from that man, Jeff Hardy, last night at Backlash as he tried to wrestle the Money in the Bank briefcase away from Randy Orton. Hardy may have came up short at Backlash, but I’m sure he’ll put that behind ‘im in a hurry and focus on becomin’ the next King of the Ring.
And this tournament could be just what Jeff needs to get ‘im back on track. We’ve heard from a lotta the contenders tonight, but Jeff tends to be a little bit more reserved, and it’s that attitude that could see him go far.
Yeah but he’s in for a real tough ride right here against Hardcore Holly. I mean, comin’ off a tough loss to Randy Orton the night before, the last guy you wanna see standin’ across the ring from ya’ is Holly. This is gonna be a real test for Jeff right here.
*HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?...*
Not much of a response, but still a decent level of boos as the grizzled veteran Hardcore Holly
strides for the ring, a nasty snarl on his face as he has his eyes firmly focused on his opponent tonight…
He’s tougher than a two dollar steak, and he’s more than capable of goin’ far in this King of the Ring tournament. He’s a brawler that brings a bowling shoe ugly offence to the ring, a real contrast to the fast paced, high flyin’ style of Jeff, and that could give Holly a real advantage right here.
He’s got all the experience, he’s got all the toughness needed to advance and make it to Saturday Night’s Main Event. He might not have been on Raw all that much lately, but he’s gonna be comin’ into this match a lot fresher than Jeff is given Jeff’s efforts last night.
Well Hardcore Holly made his King of the Ring debut all the way back in 1994. He’s had a few good runs, he’s gotten close on a couple of occasions, but he’s never gone all the way and became King. A win tonight over Jeff Hardy, and 2007 could finally be Holly’s year…
Match 4: King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Round of 32
Hardcore Holly vs. Jeff Hardy
As the bell rings, both men circle the ring for a few seconds, Hardy clapping his hands as a method of getting the crowd into things, before finally the two come together for a collar and elbow tie up. The pair jockey for position, until the leg strength of Holly allows him to back Hardy to the corner. The ref steps in and calls for the break, which Holly provides... only to then hammer Hardy with a stiff elbow to the face! Another two elbows land, then a boot lands to the gut, allowing Holly to drop a pair of forearms to the back of the neck. Holly shoves Hardy to the ropes, then goes for the Irish whip... but Jeff reverses and drops down to avoid the rebounding Holly... and then catches him on the second pass with a hiptoss! Holly springs back up... into another hiptoss! As Jeff stands over Hardcore, Holly tries to kick Jeff away, but Hardy grabs the feet, spins Holly around on the canvas... and then nails the double legdrop! Here's the first cover... 1... 2... Holly kicks out easily. From the kickout, Holly crawls to the corner, where Jeff lays in with a few stomps to the chest, then he grabs the top rope and launches himself… Hardyac Arrest! Hardy is in full control, and now he waits for Holly to drag himself up in the corner… Hardy races in… but Holly elevates him over the top rope… but Jeff lands on the apron! Hardy swings a right hand… but Holly ducks underneath… then drops down… which causes the back of Hardy’s neck to snap off the top rope! Jeff tumbles all the way to the floor, a painful landing to add to the damage just done to his neck.
Holly quickly heads outside and looks to take advantage, smacking a pair of knife edge chops to the chest, before he grabs Hardy by the hair… and smacks him face first off the steel steps! Holly rolls Jeff back into the ring for a near fall, and now he looks to apply pressure to the neck, dropping his knee across it, then he yanks Hardy up and drops him with a scoop slam for another near fall. A vertical suplex is followed by a standing camel clutch, Holly applying more pressure to the neck in an attempt to make Hardy pass out. Hardy hangs in there, trying to pry Holly’s grip free, but Holly’s grip remains tight. Hardy manages to work back to his knees, then forces himself back to his feet, but Holly continues to hang on, until Hardy repeatedly drives his elbow into the midsection… but Holly stops the momentum by smacking a forearm to the back of the head… then hammers Hardy with a FULL NELSON SLAM! Holly goes for the cover… 1… 2… Hardy rolls the shoulder! Frustrated, once again Holly turns to a mat based submission move to wear Hardy down, this time going for a grounded headlock. Holly wrenches the hold on tight, but the crowd start to make some noise, and Hardy feeds off of it, rising back to his feet… and he breaks the hold with a side suplex! Despite the impact of the move, Holly is on his feet first, but when he approaches Jeff, Hardy catches him with a sitout jawbreaker! Now Hardy goes on the attack, landing right after right that backs Holly to the corner, before he winds up for the Irish whip across… Holly reverses… but Hardy runs up the turnbuckle… and flies with whisper in the wind! Here’s a cover… 1… 2… Holly kicks out! Hardy is on the attack now, snapping off kicks to the gut and rights to the face, Hardy looks for the Irish whip to the corner, but Holly reverses again and follows in… but Hardy uses the ropes to elevate himself over Holly… no! Holly catches him on his shoulders… and looks for the ALABAMA SLAM… NO! Hardy counters with a sunset flip… but Holly rolls straight through! Both men are on their feet and charge at each other… Hardy ducks a clothesline… kick… TWIST OF FATE! Holly is planted, but Jeff is already heading for the top rope… SWANTON BOMB!! Hardy gets all of it, crawls over and hooks the leg… 1… 2… 3!
Winner: Jeff Hardy @ 04.52
A nice rebound win for Hardy as he puts last night’s disappointment behind him and advances to the final sixteen. Back on his feet, Hardy has his hand raised by the referee and celebrates for the fans, who respond with a nice pop, and as the commentators talk up Hardy’s chances of going all the way, we head for a commercial.
Our video opens at the King of the Ring ’96, where ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin stands victorious, delivering the interview that launched his main event career…
Narrator: It’s a night where future legends make their mark...
“AUSTIN 3:16 SAYS I JUST WHIPPED YOUR ASS!”
We now head back to King of the Ring ’93, where Bret Hart puts Bam Bam Bigelow away with the winning victory roll...
Narrator: A night where icons are created…
“I’M THE BEST THERE IS, THE BEST THERE WAS, AND THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE!”
King of the Ring ’01, where Edge puts Kurt Angle down with the Edgecution then crawls into the pin to get an emotional victory…
Narrator: A night when the stars of tomorrow shine bright...
“WELCOME TO THE ERA OF AWESOMENESS!”
And we now go to last year’s tournament final, where Booker T grabs the win over Bobby Lashley…
Narrator: A night to crown… a new king.
“BOW DOWN BEFORE YOUR KING!”
We now see flashing images of some of this year’s contenders, starting with Jeff Hardy, Montel Vontavious Porter, CM Punk and Matt Hardy…
Narrator: And this year, live on NBC, the WWE King of the Ring returns! It’s the one night Saturday Night’s Main Event spectacular where one man’s career is set to skyrocket!
More flashing images, this time it’s Bryan Danielson, Kenny Dykstra, Johnny Nitro and Mr. Kennedy…
Narrator: Eight men will battle to join the most exclusive of WWE clubs. Who will take King Booker’s crown and become the 2007 King of the Ring!?
Another round of flashing images, this time of former winners such as Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Edge, Bret Hart and King Booker…
Narrator: The King is dead…
More clips from last year, this time from Booker’s coronation ceremony, then a quick shot of him close to tears after his victory to clinch the World Heavyweight Championship…
“ALL HAIL KING BOO-KAH!”
”Long live… the King.”
"SATURDAY NIGHT’S MAIN EVENT – THREE HOUR KING OF THE RING SPECIAL – JUNE 2ND - LIVE ON NBC!"
*End Video Package*
And from the video, it’s back to the smiling face of our announce team…
That’s right folks, we are just over one month away from Saturday Night’s Main Event, the King of the Ring special. June 2nd, the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, and the contenders are startin’ to fall into place.
The first three men into the round of sixteen qualified tonight, so let’s take a look at the bracket as it stands now…
Harry Smith vs. Kenny Dykstra
Lance Cade vs. Nick Dinsmore
Chris Masters vs. Jerry Lawler
CM Punk vs.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Super Crazy
Hardcore Holly vs. Jeff Hardy
Charlie Haas vs. Tyson Kidd
And there ya’ have it folks, Jeff Hardy, CM Punk and Carlito have all advanced, we’ll find out there opponents over the next few weeks.
Oh boy J.R., I can’t wait to see how this tournament unfolds. It got off to a great start tonight, and I’m sure this Friday night when the SmackDown half of the draw kicks off, it’s gonna be more of the same.
And after a few seconds silence…
And now it’s time for the perhaps the biggest debut in Raw history as the newcomer Claudio Cesaro
steps out from the back. Wearing a red sports jacket with the word ‘Swiss’ across the chest, Cesaro oozes confidence as he stops at the top of the stage, raise a fist in the air and then heads down to the ring…
Oh here we go guys. I’ve been waitin’ for this all night! Claudio Cesaro has arrived here on Monday Night Raw, and he’s walkin’ straight into a WWE Title Match with Rob Van Dam!
From the videos we’ve seen over the last few weeks, we’ve certainly gathered that Cesaro is a well-educated man, both in and out of the ring, a man of refined taste, and a man who’s extremely confident in his abilities. And tonight he could back all that up in the biggest way possible by becomin’ WWE Champion.
I’ve heard about this man, I know he’s been successful all over the world, but this is a first for me right here. I’ve never seen this man wrestle in the flesh, and I doubt Rob Van Dam ever has either. This is gonna be a huge challenge for the WWE Champion, Cesaro claimed in his videos that he’d scouted the Raw roster, that he knew everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, and that could give him a huge advantage in his Raw debut.
*ONE OF A KIND…*
And a huge cheer breaks out as the WWE Champion Rob Van Dam
strides out onto the stage. With a stern look on his face, ‘RVD’ pauses on the ramp, takes a long, hard look down at Cesaro in the ring, before he leads the crowd in a chant of “ROB – VAN – DAM!” and then heads down the ramp…
Last night, Rob Van Dam overcame the challenge of not only John Cena, but also the interference of Mr. McMahon and his hired muscle, Bobby Lashley. But tonight, it’s a challenge of a very different kind, as he takes on a newcomer, a man he’s not scouted, a man who’s offence he knows very little about. Cesaro has come to Raw with an agenda, he’s sought out the WWE Champion, is Van Dam up to the challenge?
We all know ‘RVD’ is always extremely confident, he’s never doubted his abilities, but we’ve seen in the past few weeks, Mr. McMahon questioned if the pressure of bein’ champion was starting to get to him. Van Dam proved McMahon wrong last night, but there’s gotta be some doubts in the back of the champion’s mind, given how little we know about the newcomer.
I heard lot from Cesaro earlier, I heard all his credentials, I know he’s arrogant and cocky, but this is the WWE. This is a whole ‘nother level, and right now Rob Van Dam is the best we’ve got to offer. Maybe it’s a case of the new guy needin’ to learn his place in the new company, and ‘RVD’ is the perfect guy to do it, especially given how high the stakes are right now.
Match 5: WWE Championship Match
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Claudio Cesaro
The bell rings with both men in opposite corners, a very cagey first few seconds as the two size each other up, before they eventually come together and tie up… but Cesaro catches the champion off guards initially, working the initial tie up into a hammerlock. Van Dam twists and reverses into a hammerlock of his own, only for Cesaro to then spin through this and take Van Dam down with a northern lights suplex, hanging onto the wrist which allows him to bridge into an armbar. ‘RVD’ works his way back up, then rolls through, twisting into another hammerlock, but with it locked on tight this time, there’s no escape for Cesaro… so he simply drags Van Dam towards the ropes and grabs hold, forcing the break. As ‘RVD’ backs away, Cesaro arrogantly taps the side of his head, expressing that he has a far greater wrestling mind than the WWE Champion, something which ‘RVD’ calmly shakes off. Again the two tie up, and again Cesaro has the advantage with a standing side headlock, only for Van Dam to shove him into the ropes… Cesaro runs him over with a shoulderblock! Again Cesaro catches the WWE Champion off guard, and he snatches ‘RVD’ into another standing side headlock, but again Van Dam wastes no time in shoving Cesaro to the ropes… and avoids him with a leapfrog… before smacking a spinning heel kick right off Cesaro’s jaw! Cesaro crawls to the ropes, but Van Dam quickly sends him for the ride… into a hiptoss… no, Cesarp blocks it and goes for a hiptoss of his own… but ‘RVD’ lands on his feet… Cesaro goes for a kick to the gut… but Van Dam catches it… and nails the step-over spinning wheel kick! Here’s the first cover… 1… 2… Cesaro kicks out easily.
From the kickout Cesaro scrambles to the corner, but Van Dam is right back on him, drilling a pair of shoulder thrusts before he backflips out, then races back in… and sends Cesaro flying with a monkey flip! Van Dam now goes on the attack, striking with multiple kicks to the body, then he winds up for the Irish whip… but Cesaro reverses… and then lowers his head… but ‘RVD’ snaps him up with a kick… then lands a jumping roundhouse that sends Cesaro sprawling under the bottom rope! The crowd break out with a strong pop as ‘RVD’ seems to have rallied from the early disadvantage, and as Cesaro gets back to his feet, Van Dam doesn’t want to wait… as he flies to the floor with a plancha! ‘RVD’ crashes down on Cesaro, but he’s right back up to lead the crowd in a chant of ‘ROB – VAN – DAM!” before he snatches Cesaro up and smacks him face first off the barricade. With a shove, Cesaro is left prone across the barricade, allowing Van Dam to nip up onto the apron… then launch himself for the guillotine legdrop! Both men hit the floor with a thud, but the WWE Champion doesn’t let the newcomer rest, rolling him back into the ring for another near fall. With Cesaro still down near the ropes, Van Dam drops a snap legdrop, then races to the opposite ropes… and then goes for ROLLING THUNDER! Cesaro groans in pain, but Van Dam isn’t wasting any time as he heads to the corner, slings himself to the top rope… but when Cesaro rises, Van Dam changes tactic and goes for a flying crossbody… but Cesaro counters… with a powerslam!
A great counter from Cesaro, and he stays down for the pinfall… 1… 2… Van Dam kicks out. From the kickout, Cesaro now looks to mount some offence, landing a stiff kick to the ribs before driving a double footstomp into the midsection. Cesaro now looks to focus his attack on Van Dam’s core, aiming more stomps to the gut and chest, before he yanks ‘RVD’ up by the hair and drills a pair of knees. Cesaro then takes ‘RVD’ up with a fireman’s carry… then drops Van Dam gut first across the top turnbuckle… backs up and races in to deliver a stiff kick to the body! It’s Van Dam who now groans in pain, and it gets worse as Cesaro aggressively pulls Van Dam away from the corner to the canvas for a near fall. Looking to wear Van Dam down, Cesaro goes for a grounded waistlock, wrapping his legs around the midsection, trying to squeeze the life out of the champion. Van Dam tries to break free, but slowly he begins to fade, until the roar of the crowd spurs him on, and he tries to mount a comeback, trying to break the grip, but Cesaro’s impressive strength keeps the hold locked on. Van Dam then starts to throw elbows to the face, causing Cesaro to break the grip, allowing ‘RVD’ to stumble back to his feet against the ropes. Cesaro moves in, but Van Dam snaps off a right hand, and another one, only for Cesaro to drill another knee to the gut. Cesaro then goes for the Irish whip off the ropes... but Van Dam ducks underneath his clothesline attempt… and goes for a bridging German suplex! 1… 2… Cesaro kicks out, but ‘RVD’ tries to quicken the pace, heading for the ropes… jumping to the second rope for a springboard moonsault… but Cesaro gets his knees up… and Van Dam crashes down on them! ‘RVD’ kicks and grimaces, burying his face into the mat in pain, and as we head into a commercial, it seems like Cesaro has once again gotten the better of the WWE Champion.
When we return, Van Dam is down in the corner, Cesaro hammering him with stiff boots to the chest, the referee finally stepping in to back Cesaro away. Cesaro moves back in… only for Van Dam to land a kick to the midsection, then a pair of right hands… but out of desperation, Cesaro drills a knee to the midsection, doubling ‘RVD’ over… allowing Cesaro to hit a gutwrench suplex! Cesaro floats over into the cover… 1… 2… Van Dam kicks out again. Looking to press home his advantage, Cesaro lands methodical boots and elbows to the chest, before he yanks ‘RVD’ by the hair into the corner, again laying in with stomps that causes Van Dam to drop to a seated position. Cesaro helps Van Dam back up, then fires him across the ring… no, ‘RVD’ reverses and follows in… right into a boot to the face! ‘RVD’ stumbles backwards… and then Cesaro levels him with a clothesline! Once again, ‘RVD’ is grounded by Cesaro, who slows the pace right down as he drops more elbows to the chest, then lands a well-placed legdrop, gaining another two count. Cesaro continues to attack the midsection, nailing a gutbuster and an impressive, long delayed vertical suplex, both netting two counts. Cesaro then locks on an abdominal stretch near the ropes, every now and then reaching out to grab the top rope for extra leverage. Once again, the crowd try to will Van Dam from the submission situation, and despite Cesaro dropping elbows and fists into the ribs, it seems to working as Van Dam tries to power free… and he finally does so with a hiptoss!
Both men stuggle back to their feet, with Cesaro beating Van Dam to the punch… but ‘RVD’ blocks it… and rattles Cesaro with a right of his own! Another pair of rights land, allowing Van Dam to go for an Irish whip… and then he sends Cesaro up with a flapjack… and catches him with a dropkick on the way down! Van Dam looks to build some momentum, seeing Cesaro on the rise… atomic drop… and then a bridging northern lights suplex! 1… 2… Cesaro kicks out! ‘RVD’ is in control now, smacking more kicks to the chest, before a big roundhouse knocks him into the corner. Van Dam moves in, for a pair of shoulder thrusts, then he backflips away and once again charges in… but this time Cesaro is ready for it and charges out for a clothesline… but Van Dam ducks underneath that and keeps on running… jumping to the second rope… then he nails a springboard superkick! Cesaro is down, and now Van Dam heads to the corner, slinging himself to the top rope… only for Cesaro to dives for the ropes, shaking them… causing ‘RVD’ to fall and crotch himself on the top turnbuckle! A painful landing for the WWE Champion, and it could get worse as Cesaro climbs up alongside him… and hooks Van Dam up for a SUPERPLEX… NO! Van Dam swings rights to the midsection, desperately trying to fight it off… and then he shoves Cesaro down! Cesaro lands on his feet though… only for Van Dam to fly with a DIVING TORNADO DDT! ‘RVD’ crawls over and hooks a leg… 1… 2… Cesaro rolls a shoulder!
Seeking a way to finally put Cesaro away, Van Dam drags the challenger back up, again drilling kicks to the chest of Cesaro against the corner. Van Dam shoves Cesaro against the ropes, then looks for the Irish whip… but Cesaro reverses… and looks for a bicycle kick… but ‘RVD’ avoids it with a baseball slide… then jumps up… and goes for a VICTORY ROLL… 1… 2… Cesaro shifts the momentum into a roll up… 1… 2… Cesaro has a handful of tights… Van Dam barely kicks out! Cesaro can’t believe it, he was sure he had the title won, but after being told it was only two, he pounces and keeps Van Dam grounded with a painful knee to the gut, followed by a string of forearms to the back of the head. Cesaro now quickly heads for the corner, climbing to the second rope, calling for Van Dam to rise as he holds a forearm high in the air… and as the WWE Champion stumbles up, Cesaro flies… DIVING EUROPEAN UPPERCUT… NO! Van Dam counters in mid-air… with a sitout facebuster! Cesaro is planted face first into the canvas, and now he’s down in the perfect position as Van Dam heads for the corner… slings himself to the top rope and readies himself to fly… FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH… NO!
Wait, before ‘RVD’ goes for it, a chorus of boos breaks out with all eyes heading towards the stage… as Shawn Michaels
has emerged from the back! Michaels may have come out onto the stage, but he’s just standing there, his blank stare looking down on the ring. Clearly distracted, Van Dam drops down to the apron and then to the floor, shouting “What the hell are you doin’?” up at Michaels… but he gets nothing in response, just that blank stare. Van Dam stands ready at the foot of the stage, anticipating an attack… but there’s nothing from ‘HBK’, just that cold stare… and that means Van Dam doesn’t see Cesaro coming from behind… where he clobbers Van Dam, knocking him down to the steel of the stage! Cesaro doesn’t pay attention to Michaels, instead he drags Van Dam up… hooks him up… and takes him up and down with a cradle belly to back inverted mat slam, a move Joey Styles tell us is called THE NEUTRALIZER… ON THE STEEL RAMP!!
A devastating move, one that leaves Van Dam motionless, the referee enraged, screaming for Cesaro to get back in the ring. The ref threatens Cesaro with a disqualification, but Cesaro doesn’t care as he tries desperately to drag Van Dam back up… but ‘RVD’ is lifeless, a deadweight that Cesaro can’t shift… and after one final ultimatum from the ref, Cesaro backs away and heads back into the ring. The ref starts to count, making it to five… at which point Van Dam makes it back to his knees, desperately crawling towards the ring… 6… 7… 8… ‘RVD’ reaches the bottom of the ramp… 9… but he just can’t quite get there… 10!
Winner: Via Countout, Claudio Cesaro @ 13.38
The crowd boo loudly for the controversial finish, while in the ring, Cesaro has his hand raised in victory but quickly snatches it away, angered by the fact that he’s only won via a countout. On the floor, Van Dam is still down in pain, barely moving, while on the stage, Michaels stands and watches, his eyes firmly fixed on ‘RVD’. The camera cuts back to Cesaro, hands on his hips, a win on his debut, but it’s not a win that’s made him champion, a fact that clearly annoys him greatly. We again cut back to Van Dam, now being tended to by trainers and medical personnel, before we take one last look at ‘HBK’, the boos heard loudly in the background, Michaels’ eyes coldly staring down at the fallen WWE Champion as we head for a commercial.
And we’re back, straight into the arena to hear…
*NO CHANCE IN HELL…*
It’s time for the big announcement, as here comes Mr. McMahon
, leading out his entourage, which of course consists of his Personal Assistant, Brooke Adams
, his son Shane McMahon
, and the always intimidating Bobby Lashley
bringing up the rear. Vince of course leads the way, that broad swagger of his on full display, with Shane nearby, he and his father both looking extremely confident ahead of tonight’s announcement. As they hit the ring, it’s smiles all round from Vince, Shane and Brooke, obviously expecting good news tonight from the emergency board meeting…
Welcome back to Raw everybody. I guess it’s that time, time to find out just who will be in control of Monday Night Raw for the foreseeable future. For the last few months, Mr. McMahon has ruled Raw with an iron fist, especially where John Cena and Rob Van Dam have been concerned. But Linda McMahon has challenged that over the last month or so, and now, we’re gonna find out just what have the Board of Directors decided to do about it?
You gotta admit guys, Mr. McMahon, he looks pretty happy with 'imself right now. I know he's got his supporters on the Board of Directors, maybe he knows something. Maybe he knows the decisions already been made and he's out here to announce that they voted in his favour.
Yeah but we've seen that smug, confident look on Mr. McMahon's face before, only for something or somebody to come out here and wipe clean off. Maybe this time it's different, maybe Mr. McMahon has been chosen to run Monday Night Raw from here on out... but I'm just not that sure. I damn sure hope it's Linda McMahon who got the vote in her favour, otherwise... it's gonna be hell around here with Vince runnin' wild!
Shane heads for the corner and receives a microphone, turning and handing it over to his father. As the music comes to an end, Vince waits for the boos to die down, the smirk on his face barely flickering as the crowd make their opinion known, until finally there's a bit of quiet and McMahon starts to speak...
So... Backlash. How 'bout that pay per view last night, huh?
McMahon opens his arms out looking for a response from the crowd, although he gets very little...
I mean, what a show that was. It had everything. Action, drama, violence, blood, sweat, tears, it had it all! It was everything a WWE pay per view should be and more! It was shows like Backlash and WrestleMania that prove once and for all that when it comes to pay per view, nobody, and I mean nobody
does it better than the WWE.
A bit of a pop for that, although many of the fans aren't buying what Vince is saying so far...
And Backlash was yet another example of why the WWE is, and forever will be, the leader in pay per view broadcasts in all of professional sports. Ever since I launched the WWE onto pay per view with the very first WrestleMania, nobody has been able to touch this company.
In the background, Shane nods in agreement with his father, while Lashley simply snarls and scowls at the crowd...
And why is that, huh? Why d’ya think that for over 20 years, this company has been the market leader in sports pay per view? You wanna know why? I’ll tell ya’ why. This reason this company has been so successful, the reason this company has made hundreds of millions of dollars over the years… is all because… of ME!
And now the boos break out, the fans realising this is nothing more than McMahon giving himself a pat on the back...
It’s not because of the superstars that step into this ring, it’s not because of you fans, and it’s certainly not because of my wife Linda. I made the WWE, I moulded this company in my image, I created the WWE you see today in my vision, and I made it one of the biggest companies in the world! And hell, I made myself a lotta money in the process.
More heat, but Vince simply shrugs his shoulders...
And what about this show? What about the flagship show of the WWE, Monday Night Raw? For 13 years now, Raw has been pullin’ in the highest ratings ever for whatever station it’s been on. And why is that? It’s all because of me
Pointing a finger firmly into his chest, Vince smirks, knowing the fans can't prove him wrong...
My creativity, my talent, my resourcefulness, my perseverance, that’s what’s made this company and this show what they are today. Linda? Huh. She was too busy livin’ off my success, too busy spendin’ my money, to contribute anythin’ meaningful. And yet somehow, she is the latest in a long line of people lookin’ to take control of my baby. Plenty o’ people have tried and failed to take all this away from me. I’m sure you all remember my most fiercest rival, Eric Bischoff.
Mixed response for Bischoff...
Yeah, ol’ ‘Easy E’, he tried to run me outta business. That worked out well for him, didn’t it? Same could be said about Paul Heyman.
A much more positive response for the mention of Heyman , with a small “ECW!” chant breaking out...
He and that group of thugs he called ECW, they had their hearts set on takin’ my spot. Then one day, I just bought ‘em outta business. Who else? Well… let’s see, my own daughter, Stephanie, she tried it once. She tried to take control, she tried to have me removed from power… so I took matters into my own hands and I dealt out a little fatherly advice, and she soon got back in her place. And what about Ric Flair?
A resounding “Woooo!” from the fans, at which Vince rolls his eyes and shakes his head...
Yeah, woo! He arrived here in the WWE as the part owner of my company, and he tried to gain full control away from me. But I soon saw him off, hell, I even stepped in the ring with ‘im, and I beat ‘im at ‘is own game! It doesn’t matter who it is, or who they do it, anybody who’s tried to take control of Monday Night Raw away from me has found out the hard way that it’s just not gonna happen.
Vince heads to the side of the ring where he now points up the ramp at the entrance way...
And I’m not sure if the WWE Board of Directors back there have made their decision or not… but if there was ever any prove needed of my credentials, then last night at Backlash… they got it.
Turning back towards the hard camera, Vince gives us a ridiculously fake look of sincerity...
My own family, my son in law, Triple H, he had to be removed from the arena on a stretcher, but did I let family get in the way of business? Did I let my personal feelings of sadness and regret get in the way of doin’ the right thing for the fans of this company? Absolutely not! There was a show to finish, and I had to be there to see it through to the end. But Linda? She jumped in my limo, she and Stephanie raced to the hospital, and they let their personal lives effect business. And that’s why the Board of Directors should see sense, make the right decision, and let’s put an end to all this crazy talk about Linda runnin’ Raw.
I’m a very busy man, and quite frankly, all this business over the last few months, it’s been nothin’ but a distraction. I mean, to be honest, I don’t know how I managed to keep things runnin’ so smoothly with all this goin’ on around me. I just don’t know how I do it, sometimes I impress even me.
Vince turns and shares a hearty smile with Shane, with son giving father a warm pat on the back...
So that’s why I’m callin’ on the Board of Directors to send a representative out here to the ring right now, and let’s hear the decision. Let’s hear that at Backlash last night, my commitment to the show, my commitment to the WWE, proved without a shadow of a doubt that there is nobody better equipped to lead this show forward. So c’mon, let’s get somebody out here, and let’s put all this to bed, and let me get on with running my creation.
Come on, let’s go. I’m a very busy man, and I-
A groan from Vince as he rolls his eyes and shakes his head as his wife Linda McMahon
steps out from the back and quickly heads down the ramp. Although not much of a reaction, it’s a warm response for Linda, who is at least welcomed into the ring by her son Shane, who clearly had no bad feelings towards his mother. After a quick nod of courtesy between husband and wife, Linda heads for the corner and is handed a microphone, then returns to the centre of the ring to stand opposite Vince. As the music dies down, the annoyed ‘Chairman of the Board’ holds his hands out, not so much in confusion, more in exasperation that he’s not going to get the answer he wants right now…
Linda? What… I didn’t invite you out here right now. I wanted somebody from the Board of Directors out here, I wanted answers right now. What are you doin’ out here?
Standing tall in the face of her husband's rage, Linda pauses, composing herself with a slight smile before she begins...
Well Vince, that’s exactly why I’m out here. To give you answers.
Confused, Vince screws up his face...
Y’see, the Board of Directors wrapped up their boardroom meeting about 15 minutes ago. If you weren’t so busy sitting in hair and makeup, you might have been there to hear what they had to say.
A few laughs from the crowd, which prompts Vince to gently stroke a hand across his well-placed hair…
I was there Vince to hear the decision, and I gotta tell ya’… it was very
interesting… if not a little bit… disappointing.
Again confusion from Vince and the crowd...
Infact, it was… very
disappointing for me.
And the confusion grows as Linda turns her head away in disapointment, but of course Vince is convinced he's figured things out...
You mean… ha! Ha ha! Yes! I knew it! They voted for me, didn’t they?! They saw sense and voted in my favour! I knew it! I knew it all along! I knew walkin’ out on the show last night was gonna cost ya’! I just knew-
Settle down, Vince. I wasn’t finished.
Pop for the interruption that stops Vince dead in his tracks...
It might have been a disappointing decision for me… but believe me, it was also a very disappointing decision… for you.
And now the look of fear starts to cross the face of 'The Chairman of the Board'...
Because the decision that the Board of Directors finally came to was that… well, they just couldn’t make up their minds. Just like two weeks ago, they just couldn’t decide who should be in control of Monday Night Raw. We’re at a stalemate, Vince.
Loud jeers from the fans, a sentiment echoed by Vince as he angrily shakes his head...
Goddammit! Those incompetent idiots!
Well, let’s just remember, the majority of those board members were put there on your behest, Vince. You put a board in place, and only half of them have any confidence left in you.
Vince throws up his hands in annoyance...
So… what? What now? We just keep on sharing power, getting in each other’s way, making decisions together. I don’t think so, Linda. That’s now how I operate, that’s not how I do business. I tell ya’ what… name your price. Just how much is it gonna cost me to buy to you outta my business. What’s it gonna take to get you to stay away from Raw?
Reaching inside his jacket pocket, Vince goes for what we can only assume is his wallet, but Linda quickly motions for her husband to stop...
Vince, believe me, this has nothing to do with money. This is all about what’s best for business. And by that I mean what’s best for the WWE… and more importantly, what’s best for it’s fans.
But you’re right, we can’t carry on like this. We can’t continue to work together like this. And that’s one thing that the Board of Directors could come to an agreement on. We need to settle this. And they agreed that only one of us can control Raw moving forward. And to settle it, they wanted to do it the old fashioned way… in the ring.
And now more confusion, with Vince breaking out into a laugh...
What? Me and you in the ring?
More laughter, although in the background Shane looks rather concerned by the thought of his mother and father in the ring together...
Or wait, lemme guess. I pick a representative, you pick a representative, we let ‘em go at it, and the winner gets control of Raw, right?
Linda flashes Vince a fake smile and then says...
Wrong. One member of the Board of Directors said, and I quote… the WWE is bein’ dragged through a civil war. And then at that point, it seemed like a unanimous decision. There was only gonna be one way to decide who would control Monday Night Raw…
Moving in close, Linda gets right in Vince's face and shouts...
A major cheer from the crowd, many of whom are in shock at the announcement. Vince is stunned, giving us one of those trademark gulps of his while he scratches his head and tries to take in the news his wife has just given him...
They decided that I should pick a team, you should pick a team… and to the winners go the spoils. If my team wins… I take control of Monday Night Raw. If your team wins… I’ll step aside and leave you to it. I’ll let you and your maniacal ego run this show and this company into the ground. But believe me, I’m not goin’ out without a fight. And when you need a man to lead a team into war… well, I can think of only one man for the job…
And as Linda turns towards the entrance way, Vince’s heart sinks… as…
*MY TIME IS NOW…*
The excitement of the moment takes over as a truly thunderous reaction breaks out as John Cena
strides out onto the stage. Soaking in the loud Nashville crowd, Cena takes a long look around the arena, nodding his head in agreement, before he offers up a salute and then charges down towards the ring.
As usual, Cena slides under the bottom rope and then bursts back to his feet, fully aware and on-guard as Lashley steps forward, the two WrestleMania opponents coming face to face once more. The music quickly cuts as Cena and Lashley stand toe to toe, tension in the air, both men with snarls on their faces, fists clenched, the crowd in a frenzy, cheering them on, dying to see a brawl break out right here and now. Vince looks furious, embarrassed that he’s been caught off guard with the announcement, and now he’s got his nemesis stood mere yards away from him.
The tension continues to build as both Cena and Lashley stand their ground… until… Lashley throws a right hand… Cena fires back… the fight is on! The two muscle bound warriors trade fierce and furious left and rights, then tackle each other to the canvas! It’s an all-out brawl, the two man trading violent shots that find their mark, and it seems there’s no end in sight, they could battle all night… only for Shane to try and come to Lashley’s aid as he jumps in, stomping on Cena! Breaking free from Lashley, Cena nips back up as Shane continues to land shots to him… but now Cena fires back! Right after right lands to Shane, backing him to the ropes… and here comes Cena… clothesline over the top rope to the floor! Shane is dumped outside, causing Vince and Brooke to make a sharp exit from the ring, but here comes Lashley, clubbing Cena from behind. The crowd boos loudly as the numbers game gets the better of Cena, and now Lashley winds him up for an Irish whip… but as Cena rebounds off the ropes, he ducks a Lashley clothesline… and then takes Lashley down with a flying shoulderblock! Cena bowls Lashley over, causing Lashley to roll under the bottom rope to scamper around to the base of the ramp to join Vince, Shane and Brooke.
In the ring, Cena is like an animal unleashed, muscles straining, full of intensity, dying for another piece of Vince and Lashley… but ‘The Boss’ decides it’s best to fight another day as he orders his crew to back their way up the ramp. Lashley of course isn’t interested, as he lingers near the ring, nostrils flaring, baying for Cena’s blood, but it’s not going to be tonight as we hear Linda say…
VINCE! Allow me to introduce to you the captain of ‘Team Linda’… JOHN – CENA!!
Cena throws up his hands to the crowd, a loud reaction for him while on the ramp, Shane does his best to hold back the seething Lashley...
We are gonna settle this once and for all. And at War Games, if ya’ want some…
Linda holds the mic under Cena's face as he screams with intensity...
COME GET SOME!!
*MY TIME IS NOW…*
And another loud response from the fans as Cena and Linda have firmly laid down the gauntlet to Vince. As ‘The Chairman of the Board’ backs away, both he and Lashley share the same look of disgust on their faces, both clearly furious with what’s just transpired. As they back away, in the ring Cena raises Linda’s arm high in the air, pointing at her, clearly showing he’s fully on board with representing her at War Games, the crowd showing they too are in Linda’s corner as they give her a tremendous pop…
My Gawd, can you believe it? War Games is comin’ to the WWE! It’s Team Vince again Team Linda, and John Cena’s steppin’ up for Linda McMahon!
And, well… who’s gonna join ‘im? I mean, who else is gonna be on Team Linda? Who’s Vince gonna choose for his team? What the heck’s gonna happen next!?
I guess we’re gonna have to wait to find out, but one thing’s for certain, War Games is on it’s way, and the Civil War in the WWE is finally gonna be settled. Who’s gonna run Monday Night Raw? Who’s gonna gain control of the WWE’s flagship show?! I guess we’re about to find out!
What a night it’s been, and we thank you for joinin’ us folks! We’ll see ya’ next week for more Monday Night Raw!
In the ring, Cena and Linda continue to celebrate, with Cena heading for the corner and climbing to the second rope, firing up the crowd, while on the stage, Vince and Lashley stare back down on the two, angry scowls on both their faces, the camera switching back and forth as we fade to black.
Current Card for WWE SATURDAY NIGHT'S MAIN EVENT - KING OF THE RING SPECIAL:
Date: June 2nd, 2007
Location: TD Banknorth Garden; Boston, Massachusetts
The 2007 King of the Ring Tournament:
COMPETITORS TO BE DETERMINED
Current Card for WWE WAR GAMES:
Date: June 17th, 2007
Location: Target Center; Minneapolis, Minnesota
War Games Match:
Team Linda (John Cena, ???, ???, ??? and ???) vs. Team Vince (???, ???, ???, ??? and ???)