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Old 04-24-2012, 06:46 PM   #91 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Got to say I have only checked a couple of shows here as I am a bit new to the forums, but I like what I have seen thus far. I hope my show can live up to some of the expectations of the guys already here.


(8) WWE Championship – Extreme Rules Match
The Miz (c) vs John Cena vs Triple H

(7) World Heavyweight Championship – Steel Cage Match
Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio

(5) Last Man Standing Match
CM Punk vs Randy Orton

(6) I Quit Match
Christian vs Jack Swagger

(2) No. 1 Contender To The WWE Title – Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler vs Daniel Bryan

(3) Intercontinental Championship – Six-Pack Hardcore Elimination Challenge
Wade Barrett (c) vs Kofi Kingston vs Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio vs Drew McIntyre vs Trent Barreta

(4) United States and Diva’s Championships – Winner Take All Match
Sheamus (c) and Melina vs John Morrison and Eve Torres (c)

(1) WWE Tag Team Championships – Tag Team Tables Match
Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (c) vs Big Show and Kane

1. Predict the match order.Done
2. Who will take the fall in the Winner Take All match?John Morrison
3. Who will be last eliminated in the Six-Pack Challenge?Kofi Kingston
4. What will be the shortest match?Sheamus/Melina vs Morrison/Eve
5. What will be the longest match?The Miz vs HHH vs Cena
6. How many titles will change hands? (at least one because of WTA) 1
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:19 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

8. WWE Championship – Extreme Rules Match
The Miz (c) vs John Cena vs Triple H


Miz. Miz. A thousand times Miz. As underwhelming as he is to watch in the ring and in some occasions on the mike, Miz is the only soul on the roster who needs this win more than life itself. Coming off his stained win at 'mania, I'm sure you already have figured by now that Miz NEEDS this to firmly establish himself and not toil around doing nothing like he has for an entire year in real life. And at that, defeating the single two biggest names on the full-time roster (sorry, 'Taker)? Yes. Another Trips/Cena feud is probably down the road somewhere unless you spring a draft to give yourself some fresh options. Hell, I'd even rather see Miz take down both Cena and Trips here, then go on to defend against Trips one last time at the next big show to cement his status as a threat. But that may be pushing it a little too far. As stated, Miz to go over in defining fashion here.

7. World Heavyweight Championship – Steel Cage Match
Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio


This one is the one, absolute true toss up on the entire card. You've done not just a great job building the case for both men, but with the other 'bigger picture' booking decisions on the card, this outcome may be the sends the most waves through it all. Del Rio needs the win to prove he's no fluke and to build on his new administration AND get some status as a legitimate top heel that the 'E so desperately needed at this time (and still needs), but I can see you not pulling the trigger on Del Rio quite yet until you flesh out his character more. Of course, an Edge win here would set up the possible Swagger challenge down the line in that other match, or set up Christian should he win. Edge has more possibilities with everyone else on the roster, while Rio I think can hold off and develop himself more. The only other factor I can think of is I'm not sure if or how long you're gonna keep Edge around with his whole 'early retirement' bit looming. Not that you have to keep that, but it's definitely something to think about in a realistic sense. But yeah. Edge to walk away with it, but not to walk away thanks to the Administration.

6. Last Man Standing Match
CM Punk vs Randy Orton


I felt like this feud lost a little bit of fire on the last show, but that can be easily overlooked in favor of the long run. Orton got the 'Mania win, so it seems very much ideal that Punk gets the final notch here, whether it be by shady means or not. And hell, if Punk wins, we can possibly see Punk/Cena or Punk/Trips from you, which would breathe some fresh air into that upper card, versus Orton/Miz which we've seen before (just not from you). Plus, wasn't this the feud that brought up shit from 2008? It would look TERRIBLE on the Punk character's part to lose after bringing up stuff we were supposedly supposed to forget. Orton needs his comeuppance for that, really, as well as punting the Nexus to hell. All signs point towards a Punk win both storyline wise and booking wise.

5. I Quit Match
Christian vs Jack Swagger


The second most up in the air match on the card which I'm hoping is revolved around getting Swagger some legitimacy. Not just that you're a fan of his, but as I noted in the last feedback, the way you're building his character, it almost would seem he, instead of the face Christian, would be the least likely to say I quit. If you keep building him the way I've taken you build him, the lean, mean, wrestling machine that is Swagger will NEVER say those words and just relentlessly go on Christian. Love Christian, but he can be used as the tool to get guys over right now and honestly not lose a whole lot. If this feud goes anywhere from here, I can see it escalating and Christian getting the final word, but for now, it's Swagger for character building all the way. Even as much as I'd love a Christian/Edge program from you (not that you and I don't have that already going ). Which, again, that varies on if you want to keep Edge around long enough. Christian/Edge TLC for the title at SummerSlam perhaps in Edge's last match...? I'd like that. But we can't go for the jugular just yet. Also, didn't this one bring up stuff from years ago, too? So yeah. Swagger needs it more now.

4. No. 1 Contender To The WWE Title – Ladder Match
Dolph Ziggler vs Daniel Bryan


Fully expect this to be the show-stealing MOTN. I've seen your Tourney work and there's a reason why you have that crown. Bryan is a ridiculous guy for you to write and you did so very well in the Tourney (if I recall correctly). That said, this feud picked up the necessary fire on the take home to make it a legit fight between the two. Pardon, not fight - wrestling match. These guys can grapple and they can go, so it'll be interesting to see how you program two guys with much wrestling prowess around with ladders. Ziggler and Bryan both should look like gold coming out of this, but Bryan climbs the rungs.

1. Intercontinental Championship – Six-Pack Hardcore Elimination Challenge
Wade Barrett (c) vs Kofi Kingston vs Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio vs Drew McIntyre vs Trent Barreta


Expect this to be a cracker of an opener. But Barrett, and I believe I explained why on the last SD feedback. But even beyond building The Corre, Rhodes/Mysterio doesn't need a title, McIntyre/Barreta isn't developed enough as a feud or individual characters to get it yet, and so the only options are Kingston and the champ. And seeing as how Barrett won it from Kofi (I believe), I don't think it'll do either man much good for him to drop it back to him here. Barrett all the way and I'll be looking for those minuscule development traits that still show he's very unnerved from whatever's been haunting him...

2. United States and Diva’s Championships – Winner Take All Match
Sheamus (c) and Melina vs John Morrison and Eve Torres (c)


Lots of heels tagged for the win tonight, huh? This one I'm not entirely sure about other than Beth coming for Melina looks like a better idea that her coming for Eve. That and the fact that Sheamus hasn't had the title for very long at all and that Morrison looks a lot better chasing than anything, it goes with the Irishman and the Latina here. Morrison to take it off in the near future, though.

3. WWE Tag Team Championships – Tag Team Tables Match
Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (c) vs Big Show and Kane


*sigh* even more heels. But again, I've already stated my desire for a strong Corre. Whether Big Zeke helps them or not, I Gabes and Slates to get the big win here. Would absolutely put both they and the whole Corre as threats. That and I know you're all up on Gabriel right now. And that's fine too.


1. Predict the match order. Complete, my king
2. Who will take the fall in the Winner Take All match? Goin' with Eve
3. Who will be last eliminated in the Six-Pack Challenge? Y'know what? Gonna go on a limb here and say Trent
4. What will be the shortest match? WTA
5. What will be the longest match? Again, going on a limb here and gonna say Ziggles/Bryan
6. How many titles will change hands? (at least one because of WTA) Just the one.

This show better put mine to shame, your highness. Meet dat challenge.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:36 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Pre-show Dark Match:
Sin Cara bts. Curt Hawkins via La Mistica at 6:13


St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida | 1st May 2011

***

Through the darkness, a slow, melodic, morose tune begins to play.

Narrator:
On the grandest stage of them all...

THE UNDERTAKER walks down the ramp at Wrestlemania, the image slowed.

Narrator:
...men went to war.

Then TRIPLE H storms towards the ring on the same night.

Narrator:
Some triumphed...

THE MIZ clutches at his WWE Championship; EDGE hoists the World Title into the air.

Narrator:
Some failed.

JOHN CENA looks at the floor in disbelief; ALBERTO DEL RIO is almost in tears.

Narrator:
But no matter what...

CM PUNK comes off the top rope into an RKO from RANDY ORTON.

Narrator:
...every competitor learnt something.

WADE BARRETT looks in fury at his compatriots in The Corre.

Narrator:
But historic as it was...

JERRY LAWLER and STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN share a beer.

Narrator:
It was only – one night.

DOLPH ZIGGLER looks infuriated, as JOHN MORRISON celebrates with TRISH STRATUS and SNOOKI in the background.

Narrator:
Who deserves a take two?

CENA shakes his head at THE ROCK’s celebrations; CM PUNK bares his teeth, defeated.

Narrator:
Who barely escaped with the spoils?

CODY RHODES blasts REY MYSTERIO with his mask for a tainted win; TRIPLE H watches THE UNDERTAKER lying unconscious on the outside floor.

Narrator:
And how... will the scores be settled?

DEL RIO seethes furiously at EDGE, and we fade away to black...

...and back with CENA standing across from TRIPLE H on Raw, as Rev Theory’s ‘Justice’ pumps into our ears.

Narrator:
Tonight, LIVE on pay-per-view...

DEL RIO celebrates beating SIN CARA inside the steel cage.

Narrator:
...these men will go to war again.

A crowd roars in delight as a series of images flash through; a variety of hardcore spots – tables, ladders, chairs.

Narrator:
There is no better environment for such a battle.

THE MIZ tilts his head back, exhausted; CHRISTIAN yells in the Ankle Lock. CENA through the spotlight.

Narrator:
An extreme warzone where many men have lost in the past.

SHEAMUS Brogue Kicks TRIPLE H at last year’s event; JACK SWAGGER drives ORTON into the steel chair.

Narrator:
But if a man can break his own barriers...

JUSTIN GABRIEL and HEATH SLATER exchange tired glances; BIG SHOW and KANE hitting Chokeslams.

Narrator:
If they can find their second wind...

KOFI KINGSTON soars from the top turnbuckle; MORRISON with his famous Money In The Bank Moonsault, ladder in hand.

Narrator:
If they can abandon every rule in the book...

MELINA blindsiding EVE TORRES.

Narrator:
They can achieve...

DANIEL BRYAN yells in triumph; ORTON with the famous pose.

Narrator:
...GREATNESS.

THE MIZ raises the WWE Title once more...

Narrator:
And now, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, in association with Paper Jamz, present...



Narrator:
WWE – EXTREME RULES!!!

***

From that, we suddenly find ourselves rushing into the St. Pete Times Forum, where a plethora of stunning pyrotechnics EXPLODE across the blood-red X on the stage, and the crowd goes absolutely NUTS! The camera sweeps across the roaring masses, with a logo telling you firmly that this bad boy is in glorious high definition... and now we head to ringside, where the three-man team of JOSH MATTHEWS, MICHAEL COLE and BOOKER T awaits us.

Josh Matthews:
Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for a historic night – we’re emanating LIVE from Tampa, Florida, broadcasting in high definition for the countless members of the WWE Universe watching around the world! I’m Josh Matthews, alongside Michael Cole and the Bookerman himself, Booker T – hold on tight, guys!

Booker T:
Awwww, I’m so excited, I think I’m gonna explode, Josh! Dis is it right here, dawg – Extreme Rules is right here, right now, the atmosphere is electric and we gonna get down and dirty with an amazing show... dere ain’t no words for dis, man!

Michael Cole:
Well, just cool yourself down there, Booker, ‘cause I don’t like my chances of sittin’ at this announce desk all night with you goin’ off the handle every two seconds. Josh, you’re lucky you won the paper-scissors-stone contest before the show kicked off or I’d be doin’ the intros, but still, you got one thing right; nobody’s gonna forget what lies ahead of us tonight.

Josh Matthews:
Indeed, Cole, this is a night like few others in the WWE. Tonight at Extreme Rules, we’ve got eight huge matches in store, including five title contests, and don’t forget the crucial factoid – every match tonight has a unique spin on it somehow, from tables to ladders to chairs to cages... a truly unpredictable night.

Michael Cole:
And hey, don’t leave out the elephant in the room, Josh – The Miz defendin’ his WWE Title in an Extreme Rules match against John Cena and Triple H! That’s just one of the things we’ve got to look forward to; The Miz finally puts the doubters to bed, tonight!

Josh Matthews:
The Miz has a huge task ahead of him later on, but there’s also the bout for the World Heavyweight Championship; just two nights ago, Alberto Del Rio and Edge exchanged fierce words that tore deep into their opponent, and as they each said; the stakes are higher than ever, Booker.

Booker T:
Tell me about it, Josh, tell me ‘bout it. Ma boi Edge said dat once he’s won tonight, he’s gonna bring out a personal con-chair-to symphony fo’ da Alberto Administration, but Alberto’s got his sights set on bein’ da leader of da so-called “new era” on SmackDown. S’gonna be a mutha of a Steel Cage match, man.

Josh Matthews:
Absolutely; both World Title matches are going to be hellacious contests, but if you’re looking for a dynamic bout with some extreme content, look no further than our first match of the evening – we’ll pass you over to our colleague, Tony Chimel.

In the ring, indeed, stands TONY CHIMEL, who the camera pans up to slowly, and the bell chimes as SmackDown’s main announcer raises his mic.

Tony Chimel:
Ladies and gentlemen, your opening contest for Extreme Rules... is a Six-Pack, Hardcore, Elimination Challenge, and it is for – THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

Big healthy cheer from the Tampa fans.

Tony Chimel:
The rules are as follows; six men will compete. There are no disqualifications, no count-outs, and only a successful pinfall or submission will eliminate another competitor. The last man standing in the ring will be declared – the champion!

Again, a good cheer goes up. All eyes turn to the stage, which lights up in a rainbow...

“BOOYAKA, BOOYAKA...”

*619*

THE CROWD GOES WILD!!! Even in the early going of the event, the Tampa fans are highly excited, and that’s shown immediately as REY MYSTERIO comes charging out on to the stage to a great reception! The Ultimate Underdog heads to both sides of the stage, slamming his hand to the floor to unleash his pyro, before he begins to head down the ramp, giving his white over-mask to a nearby fan. He then does the rounds, giving blessings to fans wearing his replica masks, before he heads for the ring, his own mask a sparkling-bright white one tonight.

Josh Matthews:
If anyone was going to kick off Extreme Rules, it would have to be a man who’s made a career out of rising above and beyond, guys – Rey Mysterio has his eyes locked on the Intercontinental Championship, and with the environment he’s about to set foot in, he’ll need a truly outstanding display of courage to get his hands on it again.

Booker T:
No doubt, no doubt, man. But Rey can give dat. He’s got what it takes to get da job done in dat ring, no matter what he’s gotta face, and even dough he’s got five other men to take care of, I know he’s got the goods, Josh.

Michael Cole:
I suppose you gotta notice one thing; if Rey can beat five guys in a no-disqualification match to win the Intercontinental Championship, no-one can deny that he’s a worthy champ. Hell, that goes for anyone who wins this – nothing says rightful champion like a pile of defeated opponents, huh?

Mysterio rolls into the ring, then immediately heads for the nearest turnbuckle, blessing the crowd on that side, before he heads to the next one to do the same, and eventually blesses all four corners of the St. Pete Times Forum before he finds a corner to rest in, crouching down so he can prepare himself. His music dies down, and this time the stage turns a startling shade of gold...

“WHAT’S THAT METRONOME I HEAR, PERHAPS THE END IS DRAWING NEAR...”

*BROKEN DREAMS*

This time around, it’s boos for the imposing figure of the Sinister Scotsman, DREW MCINTYRE, who wanders out in his usual longcoat, and looks darkly confident ahead of this contest. His glare wavers over the entire scene briefly, before he turns his attention to the title match he’s about to compete in, and locks his eyes on the only other man in view – Mysterio.

Josh Matthews:
Booker, you and I sat at ringside just forty-eight hours ago to see Drew McIntyre pin Rey Mysterio in a Six-Man Tag Team Match, and the confidence that’s given the Sinister Scotsman is etched into his face.

Booker T:
Well, I’m thinkin’ Drew got a bit of an assist from Cody Rhodes and his mask, Josh, but I bet dat doesn’t matter to him. All I know is, Drew’s one dangerous mutha, and he doesn’t think – he knows, that he’s gonna win dis match and start his second reign as Intercontinental Champion.

Michael Cole:
Who’s gonna deny him, Book? Ya think after what we saw on SmackDown that McIntyre’s gonna lay down and let someone like Rey run away with the title? Pah! Ya gotta be kiddin’ me! Ya can give credit to Rey, sure, but this man right here, Drew McIntyre, could be the favourite to win this!

Josh Matthews:
Of course, Drew McIntyre is dangerous enough by himself; what happens when you give him a weapon, guys?

Booker T:
(shudders) I don’t wanna know, but I think we gonna find out, dawg.

McIntyre slowly walks up the steel steps, then swings into the squared circle, removing his jacket and passing it to ringside. He turns to stare at the still-crouching Rey with a cold glare, with the corner of his mouth curving upwards a little, before he takes up a position in the refuge of one of the other turnbuckles.

*LET’S ROCK*

It’s a decent pop, but nothing earth-shattering, as TRENT BARRETA makes his entrance for what I’m assuming is his first ever pay-per-view appearance, clearly excited at the prospect of becoming Intercontinental Champion here tonight. He leaps about the stage, trying to fire up the crowd, then charges down the ramp, slapping the hands of fans here and there, before he slides into the ring and rebounds off the ropes a few times.

Booker T:
Awww, get ready to be excited, guys! Dis guy right here, Trent Barreta, he knows how to get a crowd on its feet, and I don’t think dere’s a better pay-per-view in da whole universe than Extreme Rules to let him rock da house, if ya know what I’m sayin’!

Michael Cole:
(frowning) I can honestly say I don’t know what you’re sayin’, Book, and after the issues Trent Barreta’s been havin’ with Drew McIntyre, don’t expect him to last long if the Sinister Scotsman gets his hands on a weapon – or just Trent in general!

Josh Matthews:
Honestly Cole, Trent shows a lot of promise; qualified for this match by beating Chavo Guerrero a few weeks back, impressed this past Friday against the other competitors in the Six-Man Tag – I’d say he’s got a good shot here!

Michael Cole:
Pfft. I’ll believe it when I see it, Josh.

Barreta keeps grinning at the entire set-up of the pay-per-view that he’s involved in, but his usual jolly demeanour disappears as he turns to face the glare from McIntyre. Barreta returns the glare for a moment, then spreads his arms and grins at him, backtracking to another free corner. The referee, in this case Charles Robinson, has to tell McIntyre to stay where he is, fearful of a collision before the bell has rung. Trent’s music subsides, allowing us to turn our attention back to the stage again.

“WOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAHHH...”

*UNDASHING*

The crowd boos loudly as the classic ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ riff tears through the arena, and out steps the masked CODY RHODES, with his usual hood over his face and with his head down. Staring at the floor so we don’t see his face, Rhodes tries to keep the cameramen away from him on his way down the ramp, as the ominous facade of the Disfigured One continues; in the ring, Rey Mysterio is seen shaking his head at his long-time rival.

Michael Cole:
Now, if you’re lookin’ for a guy who’s goin’ places, you just found your guy, Josh! Cody Rhodes is standin’ up for what he believes is right by goin’ after Rey Mysterio, and right now, he’s gonna put ‘im outta title contention, pay ‘im back for everythin’ he’s done to ‘im, AND win the title at the same time! I’m excited for this!

Josh Matthews:
Indeed, Cody Rhodes declared that this would be his breakout night; he said that Rey should have “cut his losses” after his loss to the so-called ‘Disfigured One’ at Wrestlemania, but Mysterio refused to let Rhodes’ tainted win stand.

Booker T:
And all of dat means we’ve seen dese two go at it like mortal enemies, dawg! Tonight, it’s all about who can outdo da other, prove dat dey’re the rightful wearer of da mask, and most of all – just beat da livin’ hell outta each other, Josh.

Josh Matthews:
Absolutely, Book – these two men despise each other. Cody accuses Rey of “breaking” his face, forcing him to wear that mask; he promised him that tonight, he would “pay him back”, and considering the disturbing new mental status Rhodes has taken on, it’s hard to argue that he’s not going to put some men through hell tonight.

Rhodes heads up the steps, but stops ominously by the turnbuckle; he’s muttering something to himself, not that we can hear him, and when he’s done, he finally steps inside the ring. Rather than any kind of taunting, he just casts ONE glance across at Mysterio, then takes the last free corner and stares at the floor, unmoving. An eerie scene created by Rhodes; his music dies down.

“SOS... I HEAR DEM SHOUTIN’! SOS... I HEAR DEM CRYIN’!”

*SOS*

A big cheer erupts throughout the St. Pete Times Forum as the arena turns green, and KOFI KINGSTON comes leaping out of the gate, fired up as ever tonight. He leads the crowd in a series of ‘BOOM’s with three claps of his hands, each one eliciting a blast of pyro behind him, and now he begins to jog down the ramp, slapping the hands of every man, woman or child he can see. He then charges up the ring steps to get into the squared circle, running off both sides of the ring ropes before he stops in the middle, and fires up the crowd again with more ‘BOOM’ slaps.

Josh Matthews:
Now, here’s a man not driven by rage or desire for revenge, but for the simple love of the game and love of the Intercontinental Title; Booker, I have to say, it’s rare to see someone with such a passion for the industry, especially at such a young age, as Kofi Kingston.

Booker T:
Ya know, you are so right, man – Kofi gives his all, night in, night out, and all he wants is to entertain, follow in the footsteps of the guys he was watchin’ as a kid. He’s one hell of a competitor, a personal friend o’ mine, and if anyone wants dat Intercontinental Title, it’d be the guy who held it last, my boi Kofi.

Josh Matthews:
In the Fave Five, you might say?

Booker T:
(as I bring that gimmick back, a chuckle from Booker) Aww, definitely in the Fave Five.

Michael Cole:
Now, this is all really heart-warming, but here’s a question for you guys; Kofi Kingston lost the Intercontinental Championship to Wade Barrett, and he only qualified for this match when the lights went out and gave him the narrow win. What makes you guys think he can outlast five other guys, including the champ himself, when he can barely beat Wade Barrett on his own?

Josh Matthews:
You say that, Cole, but in the past, Wade Barrett’s only beaten Kofi thanks to the Corre – heck, his very title win was thanks to the Corre’s intervention!

As Cole grumbles that Matthews has probably got his facts twisted, Kofi leans against the ropes on the side between McIntyre and Mysterio, the announce desk side, and his music fades out. We turn our attention to the stage one more time for the arrival of the champion himself, as the men in the ring (bar the unmoving Rhodes) begin to prepare themselves...

“I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!! I MAKE ‘EM SEE...”

*END OF DAYS*

The heat is pretty strong for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION, WADE BARRETT as he makes his way out on the stage, smirking as he feels the atmosphere of a pay-per-view wash over him. With his belt around his waist and his classic black coat over his shoulders, he bends down before he throws the jacket off himself dramatically, letting out a roar of adrenaline as he raises his arms into the air. He keeps them kept there as he begins to make his way down the ramp, with – oh – EZEKIEL JACKSON making his way out behind the Bare Knuckle Fighter; an enforcer to help him even the odds?

Michael Cole:
That’s smart! That is very smart!

Booker T:
Awww, hell, I shoulda known Wade Barrett would never play fair...

But wait? Jackson doesn’t leave the stage, simply nodding as Barrett walks down the ramp – then turns to gesture to Jackson... who walks backstage again! A mixed reaction goes up as Barrett turns back with a smirk to face the competitors in the ring, and tells them in no uncertain terms, “I don’t need him to beat you lot!”

Josh Matthews:
Well, no-one can accuse Wade Barrett of not following the traditional characteristics of the English gentleman, folks, because it seems he’s going it alone tonight.

Booker T:
Ya gotta hand it to Wade Barrett, Josh – he’s been a little off-track of late ‘cause of da lights goin’ out on ‘im a few weeks back, but he looks ready, he looks focused, and dat man, for all the things he does... you know, morally wrong, may have got something very right here ta-night in Tampa.

Michael Cole:
Frankly guys, Wade Barrett is right – he doesn’t need the Corre to retain his Intercontinental Title! He’s gonna steamroll these guys like he does every night on SmackDown, like when he led his team to glory just this past Friday! We’re about to see somethin’ really special from a guy of pure class and style!

The Bare Knuckle Fighter heads up the steps and joins his opponents in the ring. He takes off his belt and puts it over his shoulder for the time being, as his music dies down, and he tells every other man in the ring, again bar the motionless Cody Rhodes, that he’s “ready to clean house”. Tony Chimel steps forward:

Tony Chimel:
Introducing the competitors... first, from San Diego, California, weighing in tonight at one hundred and seventy-five pounds... RRRRRREEEEEY – MYSTERIO!!!

A big cheer goes up as Rey blesses the crowd once again, then retreats to his corner.

Tony Chimel:
From Ayr, Scotland, weighing in tonight at two hundred and sixty-five pounds... DREW – MCINTYRE!!!

“Booooo!” comes the reply from the Tampa fans as the camera focuses on McIntyre’s scowl in the corner.

Tony Chimel:
From Mount Sinai, New York, weighing in tonight at two hundred and three pounds... TRENT – BARRETA!!!

Barreta throws up his arms with a grin as a decent cheer can be heard; McIntyre stares at him sour-faced from across the ring.

Tony Chimel:
From Marietta, Georgia, weighing in tonight at two hundred and fifteen pounds... CODY – RHODES!!!

Heavy boos as Rhodes finally moves, removing his black jacket so we can see his head, though his face is still a little (but only a little) obscured by the mask. He lifts his head so we can see his filthy glare through the see-through mask, of course directed at Mysterio, who watches him warily.

Tony Chimel:
From Ghana, West Africa, weighing in tonight at two hundred and twelve pounds... KOFI – KINGSTON!!!

The crowd gives Kingston a loud cheer of approval, and he responds with a grin, nodding his head. A few “BOOM! BOOM!” chants can be heard ringing around the arena.

Tony Chimel:
And finally, from Manchester, England, weighing in at two hundred and forty-six pounds... he is the current Intercontinental Champion... WADE – BARRETT!!!

Still smirking with a quiet confidence, Barrett lifts his title into the air to a chorus of boos; Charles Robinson takes the belt from him and does likewise, this time to symbolise what’s at stake. All six men stare up at it briefly, before eyes begin to flicker about the ring, and tensions begin to rise. Chimel exits the ring as Robinson hands the title to ringside, and with Justin King at ringside in case a second pinfall needs to be counted, it seems we’re all set... so Robinson calls for the bell to kick off Extreme Rules!



The crowd cheers wildly as the bell rings, and for a moment, the six men stand motionlessly, heads turning this way and that as they try to measure up their fellow competitors... BUT RHODES SNARLS AND GOES AFTER MYSTERIO, KICKING OFF THE ACTION!!! Rhodes absolutely cannons into Mysterio, driving him into the corner with bared teeth, while Barreta charges across the squared circle and takes McIntyre by surprise with a series of right hands! This leaves just Barrett and Kingston, and they collide ferociously with a lock-up, with Kofi doing his usual style of bouncing on the balls of his feet to provide some momentum; he forces Barrett to the ropes, then sends him off to the other side. The Bare Knuckle Fighter comes back with a Big Boot, but Kofi ducks right under it, before he clatters through Barrett with a stinging Forearm Smash on his return! A big cheer goes up as Kingston leaps up and down, firing up the crowd by slapping his hands together – but Barrett rolls from the ring to escape any more punishment! Elsewhere, McIntyre and Barreta continue to trade blows, as Rey just tries to keep the rabid Cody Rhodes’ clawing blows away from his mask; on the outside, Barrett scrambles through the undergrowth of wires and staff in the ringside area... UNTIL HE FINDS THE STEEL CHAIR HE’S LOOKING FOR, AND SLAMS IT FLAT!!!

Things are about to get seriously EXTREME already, it seems, because Barrett begins to head for the ring – BUT KOFI SPRINTS TO THE ROPES AND THROWS HIMSELF TO THE OUTSIDE WITH A SUICIDE DIVE, WITH THE CHAIR TUMBLING OUT OF BARRETT’S HANDS!!! The crowd goes WILD with cheers as Kofi puts his body on the line early on, and with both the Ghanaian and the Englishman down on the outside, we turn our attention back to the ring, though Matthews and Booker insist on watching more replays of the early-doors Suicide Dive. Things bode well for an extreme night already, it seems, and back in the ring, Rhodes begins to lay boots in Mysterio, who has fallen to a seated position under the heavy pressure from the manic Disfigured One himself. Across the ring, McIntyre begins to dominate the smaller Barreta by booting him in the gut, before he looks to throw him into the ring post – NO! Barreta stops himself, then turns round to see McIntyre charging in, but he darts out the way, and the Scotsman runs chest-first into the turnbuckle... SO BARRETA ROLLS HIM UP FOR THE FIRST COVER OF THE EVENT!

ONE...

TWO – BUT MCINTYRE KICKS OUT!

A groan goes up as McIntyre escapes, horrified that he might have been beaten so early, or at all, and as both men get to their feet, he furiously clubs Barreta in the back to send him collapsing to his knees. Clearly enraged now, he grabs his fellow youngster by his hair, and tugs him to the corner, before he starts to pound his head against the top turnbuckle, almost trying to teach him a ‘lesson’! As Barreta stumbles back across the ring following his beating, McIntyre looks to follow up by hoisting him up into the Powerslam hold, before he swings him round for the TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER – ONLY FOR BARRETA TO COUNTER AGAIN, SPINNING ALL AROUND THE WORLD BEFORE HE DRILLS DREW WITH THE TORNADO DDT!!! The crowd LOVES that, as McIntyre gets planted into the canvas, and Barreta gets to his feet with a small smile, nodding at the reaction. He turns back to McIntyre to perhaps make a cover – but he gets a boot to the gut from Cody Rhodes, forcing him to keel over in pain! Luckily, this gives Mysterio some respite, but Barreta isn’t as lucky, as Rhodes lines him up, and connects with a Russian Legsweep. With Trent down, Rhodes stands and surveys the scene around him with a foul look on his face; he goes back to Mysterio, who is pulling himself back up, and immediately hits him with a right hand, before he hoists the Ultimate Underdog to the top rope. Rhodes then stands on the second rope, possibly thinking Superplex – as Kingston and Barrett begin to sluggishly brawl on the outside, as shown by a picture-in-picture shot – but Rey starts to fire back with right hands to his nemesis!

The fans begin to cheer as it seems that Mysterio has some fight in him against Rhodes, and the Master of the 619 starts to get some momentum going with those blows! We cut briefly to the outside, where Kofi tries to whip Barrett towards the steel steps, but the Englishman sets his feet to send Kingston instead – SO KOFI CRASHES INTO THE STEEL WITH A SICKENING IMPACT!!! The crowd groans as Kingston clutches his left arm in pain on the floor, and Barrett takes a moment to taunt the crowd, before we cut back to the ring, where Rhodes is staggered by Mysterio on the top rope. Finally, Rey puts his foot on Cody’s chest, then shoves him off, sending the Disfigured One crashing to the canvas! A pop can be heard as Rey sets up on the top rope again, taking a deep breath... and as Rhodes gets up, Mysterio leaps off, taking him down with a terrific Seated Senton! Mysterio hits the ground running, and as a dazed Rhodes sits up, Mysterio spins on his heel, charges at the ropes, then uses the rebound to power up a huge Dropkick to Rhodes’ mask-covered face! The crowd cheers loudly as Rhodes takes a nasty shot there, and now Rey makes a cover...

ONE...

TWO... KICK OUT FROM RHODES!

Mysterio rolls back to his feet, but Rhodes, blinking out the cobwebs, mutters something under his (panting) breath about not letting his night be ruined, and he slithers from the ring as Rey tries to grab his ankle! Boos can be heard as Rhodes sneaks away, still talking to himself, and now Mysterio turns around – BUT WADE BARRETT IS THERE WITH A CHAIR! The crowd screams a warning to Rey, but it’s too late, as the Englishman blasts the Ultimate Underdog in the gut with the end of the chair... BEFORE HE CRASHES IT OFF REY’S BACK, BRINGING HIM DOWN TO THE MAT IN AN INSTANT!!! Mysterio yells in horrible pain, and collapses, with Barrett immediately on top of him to eliminate him...

ONE...

TWO...

THR – BUT NO!!! REY KICKS OUT!!!

That pinfall went close to the wire after that massive chairshot, but Rey is still alive in this bout! On the outside, Drew McIntyre holds his head in frustration, while Barrett gets back to his feet, scowling following Mysterio’s denial of an elimination for him; he picks up the chair again, and holds it above Rey again, looking to inflict more punishment... but the crowd begins to cheer, because Trent Barreta is behind him, and he springboards, before he nails Barrett in the back with the stunning Springboard Dropkick! A big cheer goes up as the Englishman spirals to the floor, wincing in pain, and rolls from the ring to avoid any more hurt; Barreta, however, beckons for Mysterio to rise, setting his sights on the only man smaller than him. Rey slowly gets to his feet, still smarting from the chairshot, and Barreta immediately whips him to the ropes. Trent slides to the floor to duck underneath Rey as he runs over him, then leapfrogs him the second time, before he scores with a sweet Enzuigiri on the third time around! Rey staggers back up, holding his head in pain, and Barreta hooks him up with the side headlock so he can hit the Springboard Tornado DDT... he charges to the ropes, and he gets the springboard – BUT REY ESCAPES! A groan goes up from the crowd as Barreta lands on his feet without hitting the move, and now Mysterio hits a Dropkick to send him staggering back to the ropes; he comes back with a clothesline, which Rey ducks, and hits the other side... ONLY FOR BARRETA TO CLATTER THROUGH THE ULTIMATE UNDERDOG WITH THE STUNNING GOBSTOBBER KNEE STRIKE!!! The crowd cries out in pure awe of that massive move –

- but suddenly, Drew McIntyre slides back into the ring, and grabs a stunned Barreta to hook both arms... BEFORE HE DRILLS HIM WITH THE FUTURE SHOCK – OH!!! STRAIGHT ON TO THE STEEL CHAIR ON THE CANVAS!!! The crowd roars in astonishment as Barreta gets left completely motionless by that sickening move, and McIntyre has to peel the grounded high-flyer from the mat before he makes the cover...

ONE...

TWO...

THREE!!!

ELIMINATION #1: TRENT BARRETA BY DREW MCINTYRE VIA PINFALL AT 5:56

McIntyre gets to his feet with a more-than-satisfied smirk following his successful elimination of his rival there, and pulls Rey to the corner to continue dishing out punishment, this time in the form of boots to the Master of the 619. Across the ring, Charles Robinson, after sliding the steel chair out under the bottom rope, has to tell a crestfallen (and completely dazed) Barreta that his part in this match is over, and he trudges, defeated, from the ring, as McIntyre continues to lay the stomps into Rey. The recovered Kofi Kingston has something to say about that, however, as he slides into the ring, and immediately goes after the Scotsman, spinning him around and rocking him with a right hand! This catches McIntyre off guard, but he comes back with one of his own, and the fight spills into the centre of the ring, leaving Mysterio to slump to the outside from exhaustion. He’s given little respite, however, as none other than the savage Cody Rhodes sees him, and leaps on him with a series of right hands again! Booker and Matthews again question Rhodes’ mental state as the Disfigured One goes wild on Rey with unmeasured blows, while back in the ring, Kofi and Drew continue to trade blows of their own. Kingston begins to get the upper hand, even throwing in a few kicks to keep McIntyre off guard, before he whips the Scotsman to the ropes – no, Drew sends him to the corner instead!

Kingston collides with the turnbuckle hard, and he grimaces, seemingly leaving McIntyre enough time to charge in with a Corner Clothesline... NO! Kingston disappears through the ropes to dodge it, meaning Drew’s head BASHES off the top buckle – AND BAM! KOFI ADDS INSULT TO INJURY WITH THE PENDULUM KICK TO FOLLOW UP! The crowd cheers as Kofi sends the Scotsman staggering away, holding his head, and now Kingston heads to the outside apron, before he clambers to the top rope! With the St. Pete Times Forum now getting fully involved as Kingston turns the pace up, the Ghanaian waits for McIntyre to turn around – THEN SOARS OFF WITH THE FLYING CROSSBODY... GOT HIM, AND THE COVER WITH IT!!!

ONE...

TWO...

NO! MCINTYRE KICKS OUT!!!

A groan goes up as Drew escapes, and once again, both men get to their feet – but McIntyre surprises the Ghanaian with an instinctive Hangman’s Neckbreaker, driving him on to his knee, before he lies flat himself, both men tired from the exchange they’ve endured here! On the outside, Rhodes pulls Mysterio up to his feet, hissing a series of slurs about how he’s going to suffer – BEFORE HE FLINGS REY INTO THE SECURITY BARRICADE NEARBY! The crowd boos wildly as Mysterio gasps in agony, while elsewhere at ringside, Wade Barrett, having recovered sufficiently to walk around ringside with his usual condescending look returning to his face, wanders to the announce desk... and picks up a headset? The commentators can’t believe what they’re witnessing, as Matthews points out to Barrett that there’s a match going on, and Barrett says “Not much of a match, I’m afraid, Josh; one man’s already fallen, and there’s going to be plenty more, because I’m a ruthless champion.” He continues to obnoxiously praise his good self, commentating during his own title match, as Rhodes slides into the ring, and sees Kofi flat out, thus makes the sensible decision to cover him...

ONE...

TWO...

BUT KINGSTON KICKS OUT OF IT!!!

The camera flicks to ringside, where Barrett seems unimpressed, folding his arms, and then we head back to the ring, where Rhodes pulls Kingston up slightly... then drapes him over the second rope, choking him out! The crowd boos Rhodes’ antics, as he ferociously puts his boot to Kofi’s neck to further increase his suffering, and considering the No-Disqualification stipulation, Charles Robinson is powerless to stop him! Fortunately for Kofi, Rhodes is rather unstable, it seems, because he mutters something to himself and moves away. Drew McIntyre also finds his feet now... and straight away, he steps into the path of Cody Rhodes! The former tag team partners (and champions) eye each other up with wide-eyed expressions, and McIntyre turns to look at the still-floored Kingston, implying a possible partnership. Boos can be heard as it seems this old alliance is returning, but as McIntyre moves towards Kingston, Rhodes – rolls from the ring? A mixed reaction goes up as the peculiar actions of Rhodes draws a confused frown from McIntyre... and it nearly costs him, as Kofi leaps up, catching the Scotsman off-guard with a Dropkick; but Drew regains himself, then comes thumping back at Kingston with a crunching Big Boot to the jaw, sending the Ghanaian crashing over the top rope to the outside floor!

The crowd groans as Kofi clatters awkwardly off the apron and down to the ground, face contorted in pain, but with no-one else in the ring to cover, McIntyre drops to the ground and rolls out to join him. Any chance of a recovery for Kingston is immediately shot down by the Sinister Scotsman, who yanks him back up by his hair, and hoists him up into the air... BEFORE HE DROPS HIM FACE-FIRST INTO THE CROWD BARRICADE! A groan of sympathy goes up as Kingston staggers away, completely dizzy, and as McIntyre beats him down to the floor with a few clubbing blows, we see Cody Rhodes pacing around ringside. He flips up the ring apron, searching with a demented expression... and finds a BASEBALL BAT? Rhodes regards the lethal weapon with a wide-eyed look of sickly satisfaction, then wields it in two hands, and heads around ringside, muttering “Where are you, Rey? C’mon, c’mon...” under his breath. He looks first to where he left Mysterio last, crippled against the crowd barricade, but he’s not there. Scowling, Rhodes turns on his heel, looking around with bat in hand as the crowd buzzes... TO SEE REY MYSTERIO ON THE TOP ROPE, AND HE SOARS TO THE OUTSIDE WITH A PLANCHA, WIPING RHODES OUT COMPLETELY!!!

The inevitable cheer goes up as Rey and Cody’s bodies contort on the outside floor now, with the bat rolling to the side, and Rhodes’ masked skull rests an angle against the fan barricade, his eyes glazed over behind the covering plastic. Elsewhere, Wade Barrett continues to muse, (“Frankly, this is all futile, Josh; none of these men will ever amount to half the champion I am, a member of the Corre, an icon to SmackDown...”) as we cut to see Drew McIntyre throwing a fatigued Kofi Kingston into the ring again. Before he joins the Ghanaian, though, he stops himself with a glint in his eye, and storms to pick up the baseball bat that Rhodes dropped via Mysterio’s Plancha, before he finally joins Kofi in the ring. He measures Kingston up with a small smile, seeing the Intercontinental Championship for the taking soon, and as the Ghanaian wobbles back to a vertical base, Drew steps forward and swings for the fences – BUT KOFI DUCKS! A pop rings through the St. Pete Times Forum as Kingston shows some life, and the stunned McIntyre turns around into the grip of the determined high-flyer; SOS CONNECTS, AND KOFI STICKS IN THE PINNING POSITION...

ONE...

TWO...

THR – NO!!! KICKOUT BY MCINTYRE!!!

Following the kickout, Kofi’s eyes bulge, disbelieving that McIntyre kicked out there, and with a frustrated sigh, he pulls himself back up using the ropes. McIntyre crawls over to the ropes too, though he seems to be considering leaving the ring – at which point, he’s surprised by the appearance of the stumbling Rey Mysterio, who throws a sluggish right hand to knock him back into the ring! A pop can be heard as the Scotsman, sweat-drenched hair across his face, rolls back into the path of Kofi, who immediately hops to the second rope in the corner; McIntyre gets up, and Kingston leaps to give him his second Tornado DDT of the match... but Drew shoves him off before he can complete it! Kofi stumbles across the ring, stopping himself in the corner with a hand on the top buckle... which is exactly where Rey Mysterio clambers up to, quick as a flash, and leaps to take McIntyre down with a Senton – NO! Drew refuses to be beaten, ducking under Rey’s leaping move, and grabbing the baseball bat from the deck, BEFORE HE DRILLS THE TURNING MYSTERIO IN THE KNEE WITH IT, SENDING HIM DOWN TO THE FLOOR!!! An awkward groan resounds around the arena as Rey gasps, going down in a heap as McIntyre looks more than satisfied – ONLY TO TURN INTO TROUBLE IN PARADISE FROM KOFI KINGSTON, SENDING THE CROWD WILD!!! The Scotsman collapses, his momentum ended in an instant, and Kofi wastes no time hooking a leg...

ONE...

TWO...

THREE!!!

ELIMINATION #2: DREW MCINTYRE BY KOFI KINGSTON VIA PINFALL AT 10:02

The cheer that goes up as the hand comes down for a third time is solidified by the dismay on Drew McIntyre’s face when he finally comes around; this is in the momentary, unofficial ‘rest period’ that follows the pinfall, considering Rey is still selling the knee, while Kofi looks rather tired, as Rhodes tries to pull himself up on the outside, and Barrett articulates “All things considered, impressive, but the result will still be the same, I assure you”. Booker and Josh exchange a look, but the key point is that Barrett shows no signs of leaving the desk, though he remains standing all the while. In the ring, McIntyre storms from the ring, snarling at the fans waving him goodbye, and we cut back to the squared circle, where Kofi Kingston stands up across from Rey Mysterio. The two exciting superstars are clearly bruised from the match so far, and thus they give each other a sporting moment to recover themselves, leaning against opposite corners. Meanwhile, we turn our attention to Rhodes on the outside, who shoots a look at Mysterio briefly, then searches under the apron again – before he pulls out a STACK of steel chairs, and sprays them out across the outside floor! The crowd groans as Rhodes picks up the first one to hand, and waits until Kofi and Rey have begun to circle each other, and the subsequent lock-up, before he slides into the ring... oh dear...

Mysterio takes the first shot, inevitably – whether it’s just because he’s closer or because Rhodes targets him deliberately, it’s unclear, but nevertheless, the Ultimate Underdog goes down with a yell as the steel clangs off his back. Kingston has a chance to react, firing a big Knife Edge Chop across Rhodes’ chest; the crowd cries “WOOOO!” in their thousands, but the fresher Cody comes back with a kick to the gut, forcing Kingston to bend over as the breath is taken from him. With a growl of malevolence, Rhodes brings the steel chair up with both hands... AND BACK DOWN WITH A SICKENING CRASH ACROSS THE GHANAIAN’S BACK!!! Rhodes knows he can eliminate Kingston with a shot like that, as he collapses to the deck with a motionless slump, but instead, Rhodes dumps the chair to the floor, and goes to pick up Mysterio! The commentators question how smart it is for Rhodes to forgo the cover on Kofi, but the Disfigured One is obsessed with inflicting pain on his nemesis, and as such, he pulls the small luchador to his feet. He puts his hand on the Ultimate Underdog’s jaw, hissing “You can’t ruin me” in a menacing tone, before he applies the inverted facelock for Cross Rhodes, standing above the steel chair... but Rey spins out suddenly, and feeds the leg to the stunned figure of Rhodes – LEG-FEED ENZUIGIRI!!! The ‘CRACK’ echoes around the entire arena, and the crowd groans as both men go down, leaving us with a motionless ring.

The crowd begins to chant for a mixture of Rey and Kofi, though no-one seems to move... but ‘clunk’ goes the headset on the announce desk, and boos begin to ring around the arena, as the champion himself, the crafty Wade Barrett, leaves his position at the desk, and once again explores the ringside area so he can grab his TITLE BELT this time! The abuse from the crowd just gets louder as the Englishman slides into the ring, looking tremendously pleased with himself, and soon turns his focus to business to hand, gripping his title with two hands as he waits for someone to rise. The first man to do so is Kingston, who staggers and stumbles – BAM! BARRETT DRILLS HIM WITH THE BELT, RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES! A groan goes up as Kofi collapses, holding his face, and now Mysterio gets up to face the Englishman, who swings with the belt... but Rey ducks under it, then forces his knee into action as he scales the ropes – AND CRASHES INTO BARRETT WITH A SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY... AND THE PIN!

ONE...

TWO...

BUT BARRETT GETS A SHOULDER UP!

As if fired by adrenaline, both Barrett and Mysterio get back to their feet; the Bare Knuckle Fighter looks to throw one of his dangerous right hands, but Rey ducks under it as he did the title belt! Both men stumble away from each other, and Mysterio grabs the baseball bat that McIntyre previously used on his weakened knee, as Barrett picks up Rhodes’ favoured chair... they turn to face each other speedily, both swinging, both unaware of the other weapon – AND THE BASEBALL BAT WINS OUT, BENDING THE CHAIR IN HALF AS BARRETT GOES DOWN!!! The crowd cries “OHHH!” there, and Rey kicks the chair into the pile of them on the outside, before he moves towards the Englishman for the cover... but from nowhere comes Cody Rhodes, springboarding athletically, and CRACKING Rey between the eyes with the BEAUTIFUL DISASTER!!! Another stinging impact rings through the arena, and Mysterio goes down in agony, as Rhodes stares down at him with a fierce look of rage and contempt. The Disfigured One stands there for just a moment, watching Rey squirm with the flickering of a smile... TROUBLE IN PARADISE!!! TROUBLE IN PARADISE CLOCKS RHODES!!!

The crowd comes alive yet again as Cody hits the deck, brains just as scrambled as Rey’s had been, and now Kofi Kingston, having provided that big impact, falls to the floor, unable to capitalise with a cover. Once again, we’re left with a ring of fallen men, this time including Barrett, but as before, it’s the Englishman who gets the action going again; as Cody’s limp body slumps from the ring on the side with the mess of steel chairs, Barrett gets to his feet, and looks at his title with a sinister smile. He picks it up, then places it (though he wobbles with the post-chairshot-fatigue) on the top turnbuckle to keep it safe, before he turns back to pick his victim. He settles on the lifeless Mysterio, and grabs him by the head to pull him up to his feet, as a concerned Charles Robinson watches over the wreckage. Barrett hoists Mysterio up with the Fireman’s Carry, looking ready to deliver the Wasteland, and the crowd comes alive, booing at the concept of one of their favourites being eliminated...

...BUT THE LIGHTS GO OUT!!!

IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN!!! The crowd ROARS with adrenaline through the darkness, and when the lights finally return, Mysterio is on the floor, and Barrett is stumbling about the ring like a man haunted by a ghost, punching at shadows, snarling at opponents who aren’t there! No-one but Kofi and Rey share the ring with Barrett, who looks furiously about the arena, trying to figure out what’s going on... and Kingston suddenly gets up, then instinctively Dropkicks him in the back – SO HE FALLS OVER THE SECOND ROPE!!! The crowd immediately goes wild, and Kingston actually helps Rey Mysterio up to his feet, desperately pointing to Barrett draped in perfect position! Mysterio nods, and charges in with an opportunistic gleam in his eyes – 619 TO BARRETT!!! The Tampa crowd goes wild as Barrett staggers backwards, and Kingston unleashes TROUBLE IN PARADISE to take the Englishman down again!!! Rey needs no instructions this time, heading out to the apron as Kofi grabs the Intercontinental Title, and lays it across Barrett’s abdomen, saying “Here’s your title, man!” with an exhausted final taunt to the reigning champion; Mysterio finds the top rope, and Kingston fires up the crowd... BEFORE REY SOARS OFF WITH THE NO-HANDED SPLASH, CATCHING BARRETT ACROSS THE STOMACH!!! The crowd is rocking now, as Rey clutches at his own abdomen with a grimace, before he lies on top of the Intercontinental Champion, with Kofi leading the crowd in the count-along...

ONE...

TWO...

THREE!!!

ELIMINATION #3: WADE BARRETT BY REY MYSTERIO VIA PINFALL AT 14:23

That’s it officially; we WILL see a new champion crowned in the very first match this evening! The crowd loves it; Wade Barrett rolls limply to the outside, barely conscious, let alone able to realise his failure tonight, while Kingston and Rey manage grins through their exhaustion in the ring. Kofi looks especially pleased, given Barrett’s steal of a title win over him months previously. And now, of course, we’re down to three tired men; Cody Rhodes, lying in a pile of steel chairs on the outside, along with former champions Kofi, of three previous reigns, and Rey, of two, in the ring. As Barrett’s eyes flicker open on the outside, he comes to terms with what’s happened, and runs a hand through his greased-back hair, letting it straggle across his forehead as he slumps his head back against the security barricade. Some fans give him reassuring pats on the shoulder from behind him, but he just sits there, sour as the proverbial lemon, as Kofi and Rey once again look to wrestle one-on-one. The baseball bat remains the only weapon in the ring, lying under one of the turnbuckles, with the title slipping under the bottom rope to the outside when Barrett did. The two babyfaces, of course showing signs of exhaustion from the hits they’ve taken in the past quarter of an hour, watch each other warily, and once again lock up.

Having the slight size advantage, it’s Kingston who takes the lead here, forcing Rey back to the ropes. He winds back for a right hand, considering Mysterio is trapped, but that’s only an illusion, as the Ultimate Underdog darts swiftly under the blow in spite of his fatigue. Kofi turns, only to take a sharp kick to the side of the torso; he replies with a stiff kick of his own, however, and soon the two are exchanging kicks, each one eliciting a loud ‘crack’ around the arena. By the end of it, both men are wincing, and Rey decides to mix things up with an up-reaching right hand; Kingston darts sideways to dodge, though, and shoves Mysterio to the ropes. The Ultimate Underdog comes back into the Two-Handed Chop from Kofi, who begins to fire up as usual... but we cut briefly to the outside to see Wade Barrett, being urged by secondary referee Justin King to leave ringside. The soon-to-be former Intercontinental Champion glares at him, and forces his beaten frame up, stomping past the recovering Cody Rhodes on the outside and letting out a groan of frustration on his way up the ramp. Back in the squared circle, Kingston has let loose a couple of those chops to Mysterio, and this time, when Rey gets up, Kofi has to force his drained legs into action to get some height on usually-explosive Jumping Clothesline, but despite its lessened impact, it takes Mysterio down, and this gives Kingston the window he needs! Trying to get the pace going yet again, Kofi starts to jog around the ring, firing up the crowd, and now he heads to the ropes... “BOOM”... “BOOM”... BOOM DROP CONNECTS!!!

A good cheer goes up as Kingston rolls backwards, gripping the top rope to stop himself falling, before he begins to slap his hands together, crying “BOOM!” every time to set up for Trouble In Paradise again. Before Rey can get up, however, Cody Rhodes is back in the ring, and he charges right at Kofi, taking him by surprise with some fierce right hands! Boos ring around the St. Pete Times Forum as the Disfigured One blasts away, snarling from behind his mask – but Kingston manages to shove him away briefly. Cody goes scrambling back in, but that space was all Kofi needed to get of the way, meaning Rhodes has to stop himself colliding with the turnbuckle... and this allows Kingston to throw him across the ring with the lethargic-but-effective Monkey Flip as he turns around! Rhodes lands on his back hard, and though Kofi hasn’t the energy to make the cover, Rey Mysterio is still down on the mat, so he drapes an arm over his enemy to do it instead...

ONE...

TWO...

BUT NO! RHODES KICKS OUT!!!

The crowd groans as Mysterio rolls to the side, and now the focus is Rhodes/Kingston once again, with the Ghanaian finding his feet with a groan of fatigue. Cody looks similarly tired, but he scowls from behind his mask and pushes himself back up, casting a quick glance at Rey as the high-flyer sits in the corner. He then turns to Kofi, who brings up his fists; but before he can form an offensive plan, Rhodes slips in behind him and clubs him in the back to send him staggering across the ring! The Disfigured One stays with him, looking to carry on his strikes – but Kofi comes back with a stinging European Uppercut to send Rhodes away! The shot glances off the mask, but it has its desired effect anyway, and Rhodes smarts, allowing Kingston to hit the ropes... BUT HE WALKS STRAIGHT INTO A BIG BOOT FROM CODY!!! A groan echoes around the arena as the Ghanaian hits the deck, rolling to the side with his hands on his face! Rhodes turns to watch him, a hint of a smirk flashing momentarily across his visage, before he scowls once more, and beckons for Kingston to rise. Kofi looks rather disorientated, meaning he can only find himself on all fours, but soon he staggers to a standing position – SO RHODES HITS THE ROPES, AND DELIVERS THE BEAUTIFUL DISASTER!!!

“OHHH!” roars the crowd, and Kingston collapses into a heap, barely moving as the ‘crack’ still rings in our ears! Rhodes tilts his gaze to the ceiling, revelling in the punishment he’s dished out so far... then turns his head like a HAWK to see Rey Mysterio charging in as the action stays frantic – he sends the Ultimate Underdog across the ring with a shove, then bends down for the return... BUT REY GOES OVER THE TOP WITH A SUNSET FLIP... NOOOO!!! Rhodes telegraphs it, standing up as Rey attempts the Sunset Flip, clutching his legs as he prepares Mysterio for slaughter... AND NOW HE SCORES WITH THE RING-SHAKING ALABAMA SLAM!!! Mysterio crumples to the canvas, leaving the Tampa crowd in a state of awe, and now it’s all about Cody Rhodes, eyes flickering about in the middle of the ring as the heat rolls in. He nods slowly, then drops into the cover, staring coldly down at the motionless face of Rey Mysterio...

ONE...

TWO...

THR- NOOO!!! KICKOUT!!! REY KICKS OUT!!!

That’s the narrowest kick-out so far! That was hugely close, and Rhodes is immediately on the referee’s case, lambasting him with all sorts of accusations, yelling “I had this won!” desperately! In the midst of his frantic protests, the Disfigured One hasn’t noticed Kofi Kingston getting to his feet behind him – the Ghanaian immediately spins Rhodes around, then goes for the SOS... NO! Cody spins out, then shoves Kofi instinctively in the back... AND HE STUMBLES, DRAPING HIMSELF ON THE SECOND ROPE!!! A loud mixed reaction goes up in the Times Forum, and Rhodes stares dramatically at Kingston’s positioning... but he gets surprised by a Rey Mysterio Dropkick from behind – AND HE TUMBLES OUT OF THE RING, CRASHING INTO THE PILE OF CHAIRS ON THE OUTSIDE!!! The crowd groans as Cody writhes in pain on the outside floor, and now Mysterio turns his attention to Kofi, still conveniently positioned on the second rope... so he charges in as if by instinct – AND DIALS UP THE 619 ON KOFI!!! A big mixed reaction greets that move, as Kingston totters blindly into the middle of the ring, and now Mysterio finds himself on the apron, springboarding... AND PULLING OUT A HUGE SPRINGBOARD HURRICANRANA, SLAMMING KOFI’S SHOULDERS INTO THE CANVAS FOR THE COVER...

ONE...

TWO...

THREE!!!

ELIMINATION #4: KOFI KINGSTON BY REY MYSTERIO VIA PINFALL AT 17:56

KICKOUT – NO! Kofi just gets a shoulder up, but it’s a second too late, meaning he’s eliminated, and we’re down to two! The referee tells a disconsolate Kingston that his part in this match is over, and the Ghanaian takes a moment to come to terms with that, before he sluggishly finds his feet, and traipses from the ring. Rey stands with his hands on his hips, breathing heavily as he watches his fellow competitor leave, then turns to see a series of steel chairs being slid into the ring by Rhodes! The crowd groans in awe as the demented Georgia native covers the ring floor (not literally) with the steel weaponry, then rolls into the ring – Rey is smart enough to pick one up, but so does Rhodes, meaning the action’s about to kick off once again, before Kingston’s even gone behind the curtain! Both men swing with their own chair – BANG! They collide emphatically and fly out of their hands! Rhodes and Mysterio stare at each other for a split-second, then Cody throws a right hand – no, Rey ducks it, and heads for the ropes – and he somehow manages to Moonsault backwards off... NO! Rhodes ducks under the move, meaning Mysterio staggers as he lands, and it’s this momentary lapse that allows Cody to grab one of the chairs... BAM! The Disfigured One hits the butt of the chair into Mysterio’s gut... THEN STINGS IT OFF THE HIGH-FLYER’S BACK!!!

Rey yells in pure agony, dropping to his knees here, and Rhodes, driven by his insane hatred of the Ultimate Underdog, doesn’t stop there; he continues to BASH the chair off Mysterio’s back, again and again, until the crowd is in shock of Rhodes’ cruelty and Rey is crawling for the ropes, wincing heavily through the pain. Mysterio looks in a hopeless position now, and we hear the ‘clang’ as Cody drops the bent chair to the deck, before he pulls Mysterio back up, and thinks CROSS RHODES – the crowd roars in protest, but Rey keeps their hopes alive, spinning out of it then pulling a SCHOOL BOY out of nowhere...

ONE...

TWO...

THR – NOOO!!! KICKOUT!!!

The crowd yells in simultaneous shock, and Rhodes blows out a long breath to the ceiling, eyes unfocused following that exchange. Rey, meanwhile, is staring listlessly into the distance, shaking his head ever-so-slightly, then turns to the corner... THE BASEBALL BAT. The crowd cheers as Mysterio lethargically crawls over to the turnbuckle, then picks up the weapon; he uses it to prop himself up a little, then uses his free hand on the ropes to pull his tired frame back up. This display could be seen as weakness, but as Josh Matthews notes at ringside, Mysterio has more heart than anyone else in this match, and for that, he deserves the win. Mysterio watches Rhodes coldly, with the Disfigured One huddled in the corner, hands on his face. The camera can’t make out what Rhodes is doing, nor can we see his face as he staggers to his feet, and wobbles towards Rey, WHO SWINGS FOR THE HOME RUN... NOOOO!!! Cody Rhodes ducks under the baseball bat shot, then swings around with a bloodthirsty look in his eyes... and you can see those eyes perfectly...

...BECAUSE HE DRILLS MYSTERIO WITH THE MASK IN HIS HAND!!!

A huge, huge cry of disapproval rings through the St. Pete Times Forum as Mysterio tumbles to the mat, and now Rhodes reattaches his mask, murmuring “They don’t deserve... deserve to see me...” to himself as he stands above the Ultimate Underdog, emotionless. It’s a truly eerie image, juxtaposed with the disgusted, buzzkill-esque silence from the crowd, and now Rhodes plans the finishing touch. He pulls Rey’s disorientated body to his feet, then applies the inverted facelock, as the crowd comes alive once again with a unanimous host of loud boos... AND RHODES STRIKES WITH CROSS RHODES TO MYSTERIO!!! Rey hits the deck with no fight left whatsoever, and Rhodes takes a moment to relish his enemy’s punishment, before he drops to the deck, and makes the cover...

ONE...

TWO...

THREE!!!

WINNER AND NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: CODY RHODES VIA PINFALL AT 19:45

*UNDASHING*

Tony Chimel:
Here is your winner... AND THE NEEEEEEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION... CODY – RHODES!!!

The crowd just RIPS it out of Rhodes, who gets to his feet with an expression which reads “I deserve this” – his smirk just widens as Charles Robinson gives him his title, then lifts his hand into the air, eliciting another plethora of heat from the fans in attendance. Mysterio, having rolled to the outside, holds his aching head in his hands, trying to recall what’s just transpired, as Rhodes heads for the turnbuckles, raising his new title belt into the air.

Josh Matthews:
Folks, we have a new Intercontinental Champion, by some questionable means, but regardless, Cody Rhodes is –

Michael Cole:
Oh, shut your yap, Josh! Don’t take this win away from Cody Rhodes! We’re talkin’ his first singles title in the WWE, and you’re dissectin’ the details already? Give the man a chance to celebrate, huh?

Booker T:
Aww, I’m not so sure, Cole – you saw dat boi Cody usin’ dat mask to give himself a leg-up in dat match, and I don’t know if dat’s da right way to do your business, man. Sure, he’s da new Intercontinental Champ, and congrats I guess, but boi, he got an assist from da mask on his... on his face, dawg.

Josh Matthews:
(as the replay shows)Agreed, Booker. Now look at this – Cody Rhodes striking with a shot from his mask to swing the final stretch of that match in his favour, and while it was a no-disqualification match, that mask was an extra weapon Cody had with him at all times... but as we can see, he doesn’t care one bit. Your new Intercontinental Champion, folks... the demented, disfigured – Cody Rhodes.

The camera returns from the replay to show Rhodes now on the turnbuckle closest to Mysterio, strapping the title around his waist; Rey winces heavily as he looks up at the Disfigured One, who looks damn pleased with his work here tonight, and as that image borders on burning into our screens, we fade away...

---

Our shot starts with a car’s wheels; the rims spin at a ridiculous pace, and the roar of an engine can be heard in the background. We smash cut to the car stereo, which is conveniently playing ‘Help Is On The Way’ by Rise Against, and at the wheel, we can see a hand tapping to the beat. The camera pans slowly upwards from the wheel and we can see The Miz, nodding his head to the beat as the car window behind him shows us that the car is flying down the highway, late at night. Suddenly however, blue and red lights flash in his rear view mirror, and he looks up at it with a frown...

The Miz:
Great... what now?

His car pulls over to the side of the road, and the police car slides in behind it. Out from the car walks two cops, both wearing hats, and they arrive at The Miz’s window. One of them looks curiously like Christian, and the other uncannily resembles Edge.

Long-haired officer:
Sir, do you know what speed you were going?

The short-haired officer (the Christian lookalike) takes a notepad, flips it open, and starts making unnecessary notes.

The Miz:
You don’t understand, officer, I have to –

Short-haired officer:
No, there’s no excuse for speed, sir. Speed kills.

Long-haired officer:
That it does. I’m gonna have to see your licence, sir.

Begrudgingly, The Miz gets out his licence and gives it to Edge the officer.

Long-haired officer:
This expiration date doesn’t look good to me, sir. I’m gonna have to ask you to come downtown with us.

The Miz:
Wait, hold on a sec! You don’t understand, I’m late!

Short-haired officer:
(intrigued) Late for what?

The Miz thinks about it, then comes clean.

The Miz:
I need to get to Over The Limit.

The officers look at each other, then nod.

Long-haired officer:
Well, that changes everything. Let’s get this man an escort!

The Miz smirks, and now we cut to the sight of him driving his car at an even faster speed, with police cars surrounding him as he speeds towards a stadium in the distance. We briefly cut back to Edge and Christian’s car, where someone who looks a damn lot like Sheamus pleads from the back seat:

Ginger criminal:
I’m tellin’ ya, I didn’t know she was a fella!

Edge and Christian’s doppelgangers shake their heads with disapproval, then we watch the police escort speed towards the stadium, before we sweep into the graphic...

Narrator:
Where anything goes... WWE – Over The Limit!



---

We return at ringside, where Matthews, Cole and Booker are waiting again.

Josh Matthews:
Yep, in just three weeks, folks, the superstars of the WWE invade the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, the night before the WWE Draft – guys, things are heating up in the WWE at the moment, and we’ve already seen one title change hands here tonight!

Michael Cole:
Damn right, Josh, we’ve seen Cody Rhodes crowned as the rightful Intercontinental Champion, beating out that – that midget Rey Mysterio, and he’s gonna bring in a new era for SmackDown with that belt around his waist, I’m tellin’ ya right now!

Booker T:
Ugh.

Josh Matthews:
And speaking of ‘new eras’, that’s exactly what Alberto Del Rio promised to usher in himself... we’re getting word that we’re gonna hear from the so-called ‘Destiny’s Darling’ after this next match, so prepare your ears... and your gag reflexes.

Michael Cole:
You’re supposed to be impartial, Josh!

Josh Matthews:
Oh come on, Cole, you stand up and applaud The Miz every Monday night!

Michael Cole:
That’s not bias, that’s just common sense!

We cut briefly backstage to see ALBERTO DEL RIO having a mic attached to his shirt backstage; he sits on a specially-brought-in gleaming white sofa in his gigantic locker room, with ROSA MENDES watching carefully at the side of the shot and a series of appetising snack tables in the far background. The crowd immediately boos the sight of the Mexican Aristocrat, but as the commentators mentioned, we won’t be hearing from him just yet, with that just being a little ‘heads-up’ of what’s still to come. With that said, we now fade slowly back into the arena, where the bell chimes for Raw’s first match of the evening, and JUSTIN ROBERTS gives us a warm smile.

Justin Roberts:
The following contest is set for one fall... and it is a Winner Take All Match, for both the United States, and DIIIIIVA’S – CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

Decent pop from the crowd.

Justin Roberts:
Now, in this match, the first fall... takes it all. Whichever team picks up the pinfall or submission will claim both titles!

Another, smaller, pop from the fans in attendance.

“NOW LISTEN...”

*THIS AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*

The crowd comes alive once again now; Cody Rhodes might have walked out with the Intercontinental Title, but we could be looking at the next United States Champion in the form of JOHN MORRISON, who flashes a smile from behind his shades. Wearing his classic fur coat, he does his slow-mo pose on the stage, as the Tampa crowd gives him a warm reception.

Josh Matthews:
Now guys, this match is Monday Night Raw’s first offering of the evening, and it doesn’t get much more unusual tonight than Jerry Lawler’s thinking this past Monday.

Michael Cole:
‘Unusual’ is one word for it, Josh – ‘stupid’ is another! That hack Lawler thinks he can just throw his weight around and make these crazy matches, but let’s face it; John Morrison doesn’t deserve a United States Title shot! You gotta be insane to think that!

Booker T:
Naw, naw, don’t go hatin’ on John Morrison just yet, man. He ain’t had the best luck lately, but you just show me someone who wants dis title shot badder than him. I have da faith that he can prove what he’s been sayin’ to us all right here ta-night... it’s comeback time fo’ John Morrison, I can feel it in da air!

Josh Matthews:
Very true, Book – John Morrison has been told several times in these past weeks that he lacks the ‘edge’ to be a champion in the WWE, but this is his moment to prove those doubters wrong. And to do it, he’ll have to beat out two of those very same doubters.

We head back to Morrison, now heading up to the apron. He steps inside, then raises an arm to the crowd; he’s apparently given his shades to a girl in the crowd along the ramp, meaning we can now see his eyes as they survey the arena around him. He hops to a turnbuckle, and throws up an arm in his classic pose, before he returns to ground level and removes his jacket, eliciting a few girlish screams around the Times Forum.

*SHE LOOKS GOOD TO ME*

A small cheer goes up for the DIVA’S CHAMPION, EVE TORRES, as she makes her way out on to the stage with a quiet confidence. She smiles to the crowd, then turns side-on to do her usual pose, before she jogs down the ramp, title on her shoulder as she greets the various fans. We cut to see Morrison pacing in the ring, approving of his partner but itching to get going.

Josh Matthews:
Eve Torres said last Monday night that she was fighting for everything the WWE Divas stood for, guys. She said if her opponent Melina became Diva’s Champion, she’d essentially be putting that title to shame.

Michael Cole:
(laughing a little) Oh, that’s rich, Josh, that is so rich. Eve says Melina would bring shame to the title? Hell, I’m rooting for a Melina win! Let’s bring some life into the Diva’s division, know what I’m sayin’?

Booker T:
-- Sorry, whut? I wasn’t listenin’ to ya, Cole, I was too busy checkin’ out dat Eve Torres, dawg, I mean shucky ducky quack quack.

As Cole groans, Eve joins Morrison in the ring. They exchange some pleasantries (or is that tactics?) as Eve’s music dies down, and the image is that of a duo ready to win tonight. However, they’ve got fierce opposition...

*PAPARAZZI*

It’s moderate heat for the challenger, MELINA, as she walks slowly out into view, posing for the several cameramen taking her picture. Melina is clad tonight in a striking red outfit, complete with her usual pay-per-view feathers strung across her arms and arching over her back. Booker manages a “Wow” as the Red Carpet Diva spreads her arms wide as if to say ‘Got your attention’ to the Times Forum, before she begins to strut down the obviously-coloured carpet towards the ring. We see Eve watching her with a shake of the head, but it seems Melina couldn’t care less, enjoying the spotlight as she heads up towards the apron.

Michael Cole:
Now here’s a woman we can believe in, Josh! Melina is the epitome of the WWE Divas – she’s smart, she’s sexy, she’s powerful – and what an entrance, huh? I’m puttin’ a timer on Eve’s title reign! Get me an egg timer!

Josh Matthews:
(basically ignoring him) Well, it’s been all about the mind games for Melina of late, guys. She first sent her message to the reigning champion by assaulting after she won a match four weeks ago, and she hasn’t looked back since – the closing bell isn’t a limit to her, gentlemen... it’s a suggestion.

Booker T:
Ya’know that Melina’s got dat mean streak dat’s given her da title before, dawg. She Supakicked Eve’s head off last Monday on Raw, and she just gotta do it one more time ta-night and she’s da champ once again.

As the cameramen roll up the red carpet and head up the ramp, Melina strolls leisurely along the apron, then goes for the splits – no! She jumps up, but she comes back down with a sly smile, refusing to do them and wagging a slow finger at Eve; she mouths ‘Not for you, sweetie-pie’ before swinging into the ring and doing a slow, arrogant twirl to show her outfit to the crowd. They respond with mostly boos, though a few wolf whistles can be heard through the heat, and now Melina struts across the ring to take her place in the usual heel corner.

“IT’S A SHAME THAT THEY – LOST THEIR HEAD, A CARELESS MAN COULD WIND UP DEAD...”

*WRITTEN IN MY FACE*

The crowd really lets their feelings be known here, with a cavalcade of heat meeting the arrival of the UNITED STATES CHAMPION, SHEAMUS, who storms out purposefully – he means business tonight, and he backs this up by ROARING out at the crowd, adrenaline pumping for this contest here. He lifts his title majestically into the air, then throws it over his shoulder, and begins to march for the squared circle, face locked in a permanent scowl of frustration that he’s even competing tonight.

Josh Matthews:
You can see it in Sheamus’ expressions, guys – he doesn’t think he should be defending his title tonight, and it doesn’t help that he doesn’t have to be pinned to lose it.

Michael Cole:
Hey, I’m not gonna bore ya with the long, LONG list of reasons Sheamus should be takin’ the night off, but just think of it like this, ol’ buddy – Sheamus is undefeated as United States Champion. He hasn’t lost ONCE, Josh. Not ONCE, Booker. This is a man who has hit John Morrison with more Brogue Kicks than Morrison’s had girlfriends. He’s gonna steamroll that poor sap, and you guys know it too!

Booker T:
I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions right dere Cole, but... me oh my, I ain’t gonna get on da wrong side of Sheamus, dat man is one mean mutha, and he’s dangerous right naw. It’s gonna be a big one right here.

Josh Matthews:
I agree – we’ve seen what Sheamus is capable of. But John Morrison is fired up. He’s ready to step up and claim this title, and that’s why you shouldn’t count him out, guys. He’s desperate to prove he has a killer instinct, and honestly – you can never be sure what’s gonna happen when he’s in the ring.

Michael Cole:
Okay, can’t argue with ya there, Josh.

Booker T:
True dat, true dat.

We head back to the ring now, where Sheamus and Melina are having some last-minute words in the corner. Justin Roberts hasn’t left, as he still has the introductions to do.

Justin Roberts:
Introducing first, the challenger... from Hollywood, California... MELINA!!!

Boos for the Red Carpet Diva as she does a dramatic pose, then removes the feathered part of her outfit and slides it to ringside.

Justin Roberts:
And her tag team partner... from Dublin, Ireland, weighing in tonight at two hundred and sixty-five pounds... he is the current United States Champion... the Celtic Warrior and 2010 King of the Ring... SHEAMUS!!!

Much heavier heat rains down as the Irishman beats his chest and spreads his arms wide, roaring out once more in an attempt to intimidate Morrison; the Prince of Parkour is, however, unfazed.

Justin Roberts:
And their opponents – first, the challenger... from Los Angeles, California, weighing in tonight at two hundred and twenty pounds... JOOOOOHN – MORRISON!!!

A hearty pop goes up for Morrison, whose gaze never leaves Sheamus as he raises his arm into the air in acknowledgement.

Justin Roberts:
And his tag team partner... from Los Angeles, California... she is the current Diva’s Champion... EEEEEEVE – TORRES!!!

As before, Eve raises her title high, getting a decent pop from the crowd; for some reason, three of the four competitors are from Los Angeles, but I’ll put that down to a weird coincidence. The referee, the previously-seen Justin “The Pimp” King (there’s women in the ring, duh), takes both the Diva’s Title and the United States Title to the middle of the ring and raises them into the air for a small pop. He then hands them to ringside, and it looks like the men are going to start, with Morrison eager to get his hands on Sheamus; the Irishman can’t exactly say ‘no’, so he shakes out his shoulders and prepares for a fight. Eve and Melina hit the apron, leaving us with our second match of the evening ready to go. Justin King calls for the bell...



It’s game time, and with both Divas watching intently from the apron, Sheamus and Morrison begin to move in. The Shaman of Sexy starts to circle, forcing his Irish opponent to do the same; the United States Champion regards his opponent with that same frown, clearly disapproving of a man he’s beaten once already recently, but Morrison decides to force some respect out of him with a sharp lock-up. It takes Sheamus a little off-guard, but the forty-pound-or-so difference between them gives the Celtic Warrior the advantage, and he forces Morrison back to the corner. The referee tells Sheamus to back away, and without complaint, he does. We see why moments later, as Sheamus smirks for the first time at the sight of Morrison leaving the corner; he knows he’s sent a message that he can out-muscle him early on. Regardless, Morrison knows what he needs to do, and begins to circle again – as Sheamus does similarly, he expects a lock-up... but Morrison kicks him in the side! The Irishman winces, but manages to move light-footedly to the side, keeping his momentum going... but then he takes another shot, this time from Morrison’s left foot! The evident striking power of Morrison’s kicks has Sheamus looking a little wary, but he shakes it off and tries to lock up again – no, Morrison darts under his grip, then cracks a big third kick into the Irishman’s torso to force him to bend over! Morrison immediately turns to the ropes, getting some momentum on the return... BUT HE WALKS RIGHT INTO A THUNDERING CLOTHESLINE FROM THE UNITED STATES CHAMPION!!! The crowd groans in awe, and now Sheamus makes a cover, hoping to put this away early on...

ONE...

TWO – KICKOUT! MORRISON KICKS OUT!

A hearty cheer goes up as Morrison fights out of the pin, and now the Prince of Parkour looks to find his feet again. He looks briefly at Eve, who looks concerned by Sheamus’ display of power, and then to Melina, who looks conversely satisfied. The Red Carpet Diva’s disapproval just spurs Morrison on, however, and the Shaman of Sexy immediately goes back on offence, catching Sheamus by surprise with a waist lock. The Irishman frowns, and manages to find a side headlock on his opponent… only to get sent to the ropes with a shove. Sheamus tries another big clothesline, but the crowd sighs with relief as Morrison ducks it, then pulls the champion down with an Arm Drag! Both men get up, and Morrison strikes again with a second Arm Drag, this time holding on to the arm and trying a submission, a kind of Chickenwing! Sheamus grunts and groans in the hold, then manages to force his way back up, firing a few elbows to break free, before he grabs Morrison by the head and TRIES TO FLING HIM INTO THE RING POST… NO! Morrison uses the momentum to scale the buckles, then launches off the top one with a MOONSAULT… GOT HIM!!! The crowd goes wild for that spectacular move, which flattens the Irishman, and Morrison hooks the leg, eyes wide in hope…

ONE…

TWO – BUT NO! SHEAMUS KICKS OUT OF IT!

Morrison rolls to the side with the force of the kickout; he’s a little surprised, but he’s happy to continue, getting back to his feet and raising his fists. Sheamus, however, is much less enthusiastic, regarding Morrison with a look of shock after he pulled out such a brilliant piece of improvisation. Slowly, the Irishman makes his way up – then decides he wants a breather, and tags in Melina on the apron! Boos resound around the Times Forum as Sheamus heads to the outside, and Morrison stands with his hands on his hips; he’s not impressed, but he throws up his hands and heads to the outside. Following the tag, Eve is now legal whether Morrison likes it or not, so the Diva’s Champion steps into the ring, as Matthews asks “Is that round one to Morrison?” at ringside, and now we get our first glimpse of Diva action. Torres and Perez measure each other up, then Melina shoots a side headlock, trash talking a little as she does. Eve is having none of it, however, pushing Melina away – but the Red Carpet Diva stops herself, then squares up to the Diva’s Champion, continuing her trash talk!

The crowd boos as Melina gets up in Eve’s ‘grill’, bringing up the attacks of previous weeks… but THAT’S not sensible, because it inspires Eve to SLAP her challenger square in the face! The crowd cheers that, and Melina looks furious, but as she swings a return shot, Eve ducks under it, and hits one of her annoying One-Footed Dropkicks! Melina goes down, but she brushes herself off and tries again, only for another Dropkick to send her sprawling! The fans like what they’re seeing here, and Eve hooks Melina up as the pair of them rise again… Scoop Slam! Torres wastes no time on impact, hitting the ropes and finishing the move with a somewhat-clumsy Leg Drop! Regardless, the damage is done, and it allows her to make a cover…

ONE…

TWO – KICKOUT BY MELINA!

Eve looks frustrated, but on the apron, Morrison is clapping her on, encouraging to ‘keep it up’, so she forces herself back up. Melina has found her feet, infuriated that she’s been on the receiving end of this offence, and now she turns around, ready to dish it out instead. Eve moves in, but Melina surprises her by forcing an Irish whip, and when she comes back, the Red Carpet Diva effortlessly DOES THE SPLITS to duck a clothesline, then waits for Eve to run in again, so she can hit a Drop Toe Hold to guillotine Eve’s neck on the middle rope! The crowd groans as the Diva’s Champion gasps for air, and now Melina hits the opposite ropes, leaping up for a vicious Double Knee Drop on the back of Eve’s neck! Again, Eve gets BRUTALISED with that move, and topples off the ropes, clutching her neck in agony, but Melina still isn’t done! She wheels back to the middle of the ring, lets out a huge scream to the Times Forum, then beckons for Eve to get up. Slowly, she does, and Melina charges in – SPINNING FACEBUSTER!!! Eve gets drilled face-first into the mat, and Sheamus looks impressed on the apron as Melina hooks the leg confidently…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT NO! EVE KICKS OUT!!!

The crowd cheers for that, and now we’re even between the two teams again; everyone in this match has taken some offence and been covered, but it doesn’t look like swaying either way just yet. Melina looks to change this, however, pulling Eve back up by her hair, and talking a little trash before SLAPPING her in the face, returning the earlier favour! Torres reels back as the crowd boos, and now Melina hits the ropes, looking for a Big Boot… but no! Eve ducks it, and when Melina turns, she gets peppered with a few Knife Edge Chops (“WOOO!” cries the crowd) to force her back to the ropes. The Diva’s Champion presses her opponent into them, then sends her across the ring – she rebounds, then tries to floor Torres with a kick to the side… NOPE! Eve catches the leg, then spins her out… DRAGON WHIP OUTTA NOWHERE CONNECTS!!! Eve staggers back across the ring, dazed, and now Melina gets up, itching to fire a killer blow… ROUNDHOUSE KICK – DUCKED BY EVE – WHO THEN UNLEASHES AN ENZUIGIRI OUT OF THE TOP FUCKING DRAWER TO TAKE MELINA DOWN!!! The crowd goes wild as Melina hits the deck, and with Eve down too, both women begin to turn for their respective corners, needing a break from the other… both Morrison and Sheamus are straining for the tag, keeping an eye on the other corner because the first tag switches the set-up… it’s EVE who gets there first, releasing Morrison over the top rope, and HERE WE GO!!!

Sheamus charges into the ring, ignoring Melina as she rolls out, and the Irishman immediately tries an Axe Handle – no, the agile Morrison ducks it, then hits the ropes, and spins up on to Sheamus’ shoulders… TILT-A-WHIRL DDT!!! The awe-inspiring move gets the crowd on their feet, as Morrison does a backwards-roll to get up, and furiously tells the dazed United States Champion to try him again! Sheamus looks shocked by the move he was just dealt, but slowly he begins to stagger up, at which point Morrison puts him in his cross-hairs… AND PUTS A ROUNDHOUSE KICK BETWEEN HIS EYES!!! A big cheer goes up as Sheamus goes down in a heap, and now Morrison takes a second to think this through; he could be the new United States Champion if he plays his cards right here. On that train of thought, he stands above Sheamus, tells the crowd to make some noise, then tries the STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS… KNEES UP!!! KNEES UP FROM SHEAMUS!!!

A horrible groan of disappointment goes up around the arena as Morrison spasms across the ring, and the replays show us Morrison taking Sheamus’ knees directly into the ribs – the Shaman of Sexy looks in a bad way, but Sheamus is struggling back up, baring his teeth as he prepares to punish Morrison further. Across the squared circle, the Prince of Parkour puts an arm over his ribs to shut out the pain, then winces as he finds his feet. He wanders back towards Sheamus – BROGUE KICK – NOOO!!! Morrison somehow ducks the big kick, then answers with the SUPERKICK – BUT SHEAMUS DUCKS THAT… and surprises Morrison with an arm across the chest – IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER, RIGHT TO THE DAMAGED RIBS!!! The crowd groans with the sickening impact, and Sheamus leaves Morrison in his contorted position for just a moment, before he presses him to the mat for the win…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NO!!! MORRISON KICKS OUT!!!

The fans cheer wildly for Morrison’s resilience, but things don’t look good for him as Sheamus forces himself up again. The Celtic Warrior is frustrated that wasn’t good enough, so he immediately attacks again, dropping his signature knees to the side of Morrison’s head! Eve and Melina are back to their respective corners now, with the former looking concerned for Morrison’s welfare while the latter’s eyes turn to dollar signs as she sees the Diva’s Title sliding proverbially towards her. Justin King gives Sheamus a count of five to stop dropping the knees, and he takes until four, leaving Morrison barely moving on the deck. The Prince of Parkour’s eyes flicker towards his corner, needing the tag if he wants to keep his title hopes alive. Slowly, he begins to crawl, but Sheamus is right back on his case, yanking him up by his hair and putting him in POWERBOMB position… the crowd begins to boo loudly in protest as Sheamus sets his opponent in the Crucifix – BUT MORRISON ESCAPES!!! Melina screeches in frustration as her ex-boyfriend lands on his feet, and Sheamus turns around in shock – CRACK!!! SUPERKICK TO THE JAW!!! Both men go down in a heap, with the fans lighting up with frantic cheers once again, and now it’s all about the hot tag!

Eve desperately reaches over the top rope, knowing this could be the difference between her retaining or losing her title, while Melina screams at Sheamus to move faster, clearly thinking the same! Both men are dizzy from the hits they’ve taken, but suddenly, Morrison finds a burst of athletic energy, and springs for the hot tag, releasing the Divas! The women charge for each other, with Torres hitting a clothesline – and another – then a Dropkick – and then dumping Melina on her face with the Reverse STO! The crowd is fully on her side here, egging her on as she quickly shoots a look at the recovering Morrison on the outside, and now she tells Melina to get up once again. The Red Carpet Diva finds her feet, though she staggers, giving Eve the window to shove her into the ropes… THEN BAM! SAMOAN DROP FROM THE DIVA’S CHAMP!!! Melina gets completely laid out by Torres now, and letting out a battle cry akin to her opponent, Eve heads for the corner, scaling to the top turnbuckle! The crowd loves it, buzzing as she turns her back to the ring, and soars with the MOONSAAAAUUUULLLTTT… GOT IT!!! MOONSAULT CONNECTS ON THE BUTTON, AND THAT’S SURELY IT…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NO!!! SHEAMUS YANKS EVE OFF THE COVER!!!

The Times Forum RIPS it out of the United States Champion, who gets an earful from both Justin King and Eve! The Irishman puts his hands up, then begins to retreat with a smirk… BUT JOHN MORRISON IS BEHIND HIM, and he springboards – MISSILE DROPKICK TO SHEAMUS!!! The crowd roars their approval, and now both men roll from the ring, leaving us just with Eve, stunned by the proceedings… but Melina is up! Torres turns around a second too late, because the Red Carpet Diva hooks her up – LAST CALL CONNECTS, WITH THE PINFALL TO BOOT…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NO!!! EVE KICKS OUT!!! SHE KICKED OUT!!!

“Oh, you’re kiddin’ me!” yells Melina in horror as Justin King shows her two fingers, and she beats in the mat in frustration! Forcing herself to her feet, Melina runs a hand through her hair, trying to figure out what to do next, as Eve crawls away from her, across the ring. Both of the men clamber back to the apron, and the Times Forum urges Eve to make a tag – but Sheamus is roaring for it anyway, so Melina gives in and makes the men legal! The Irishman storms into the squared circle, and before Morrison can react, the Celtic Warrior throws him over the top rope into the ring! The crowd groans, while Eve rolls exhaustedly to the outside, and now Sheamus yanks Morrison back to his feet… before he presses him to the ropes, and starts BEATING him with blunt, brutal forearms to the chest!!! An awkward groan goes up from the fans with every nasty shot, until Morrison’s chest is red, and he collapses to the deck. The crowd begins to chant Morrison’s name to support him, but Sheamus bares his teeth – he refuses to let this match run away from him, and he tells Morrison that as he pulls him up by his hair. Sheamus ignores the remonstrations of the referee, then shoves Morrison towards the ropes… BUT THE SHAMAN OF SEXY SPRINGBOARDS… FLASH KICK!!! MORRISON NAILS HIM WITH THE FLASH KICK, SENDING THE ARENA WILD!!! Both men collapse to the canvas, unmoving, but suddenly, the lifeless Morrison stretches his arm out, and drapes it over the champion’s chest…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NEW CHAMP – NOOOOO!!! KICKOUT!!!

No, not even a kickout! It was barely a shoulder up from the Irishman, but he managed it, and now he’s by the ropes, making a cover impossible! Morrison holds his head in his hands on the mat, trying to come to terms with what he has to do, and then he has a light bulb moment. Of course, Sheamus has rolled conveniently into the corner, and Morrison’s so desperate to get over there he nearly stumbles as he gets up, but he gets there eventually. He takes a look at the crowd, then to Sheamus on the mat, before he uses the ropes to springboard… STARSHIP PAAAAAAIIIINNNN – NOBODY HOME!!! Sheamus rolls out of the way, leaving Morrison to CRASH into the canvas, and though adrenaline urges him back to his feet, Sheamus is waiting for him with a tired but vicious look in his eyes… BROGUE KICK TO THE SKULL!!! Down goes Morrison, and as Eve rushes up to the apron, Melina returns to the ring to SLAP her back to the outside floor, leaving Sheamus free to make the cover…

ONE...

TWO…

THREE!!!

WINNERS AND STILL/NEW UNITED STATES AND DIVA’S CHAMPIONS: SHEAMUS AND MELINA VIA PINFALL AT 9:59

*WRITTEN IN MY FACE*

Justin Roberts:
Here are your winners… the team of your United States Champion, SHEAMUS… AND THE NEEEEEEW DIVA’S CHAMPION… MELINA!!!

The crowd boos profusely at the sight of Melina and Sheamus having their arms raised by Justin King. They both receive their titles, with Melina looking deathly pleased by her new acquisition, and immediately raising it above her head with two hands to flaunt it. She even takes it to the ramp-side of the ring, smirking at Eve, who looks furious about not being pinned to lose it, while Morrison just looks dazed on the outside floor.

Michael Cole:
Oh, feast your eyes on that one, guys! Sheamus finally proves somethin’ to John Morrison and we’ve got ourselves a new Diva’s Champ to boot! About damn time, I say! Well done Melina! Well done Sheamus!

Josh Matthews:
A lethal partnership between Sheamus and Melina here tonight, and although a lot of that win came down the Celtic Warrior’s brutal instinct… guys, you gotta ask what this must do for John Morrison’s mindset.

Booker T:
I know, man, I know. It’s gonna smart for my boi John not to get da win here ta-night, and hey, I’m just prayin’ he can pick up his game again, he’s a talented kid.

Josh Matthews:
I’m with you there, Booker. We have a new Diva’s Champion, and Sheamus’ roll with the United States Title continues on – tune in to Raw tomorrow to see the fallout from a hectic Winner Take All Match, folks.

With that said, we now cut away from Melina’s celebrations in the ring (as Sheamus storms up the ramp) to go backstage, where ALBERTO DEL RIO is still waiting. He’s now fully prepared for his interview, sitting on that white sofa from before. He’s not in his ring gear yet, preferring to enjoy the evening in an expensive silver suit (and of course, his usual scarf) before he gets in the ring later. Regardless, the crowd boos loudly as Del Rio appears on the TitanTron, and he flashes one of his annoying smiles.

Alberto Del Rio:
Senores and senoras. What a pleasant evening dis is, no?

He smirks.

Alberto Del Rio:
As I made my way here tonight, I thought I could feel a… buzz. In the back seat of my limousine, there was just dis sense dat something was going to change tonight.

He feigns some deep thought, then flashes another grin.

Alberto Del Rio:
De one main change? From one man, to another. De reign of terror dat Edge has brought on all you people will soon come to a close.

Boos for that.

Alberto Del Rio:
Look at me. I’m all alone on dis couch here. Tonight, I don’t need my Administration to help me win dis match. I’m going to make Edge wish he never stepped inside dat steel cage, and you’re all going to watch it. And I’m very, very happy about that. Because tonight’s victory is for YOU. De people.

More heat at the implication there.

Alberto Del Rio:
I’m bringing in a new era for SmackDown – tonight. You no longer have to fear watching Edge bore you with his long, tedious speeches or his sorry – little – attempts – to try to keep his title reign interesting. SmackDown will once again be de people’s show… thanks to me. Alberto Del Rio.

A few “YOU SUCK!” chants filter in here, but Alberto is undeterred.

Alberto Del Rio:
So sit back and relax, senores and senoras. It is only a matter of time until de cage comes down… and I usher in de new era. You will all be glad you bought your tickets, I promise you dat.

Del Rio winks to the camera, and flashes yet another arrogant grin.

Alberto Del Rio:
Enjoy de show.

We fade away from his infuriating smile to see the cage itself, hanging above the ring. It doesn’t descend this early, but we can hear the commentators over the top.

Josh Matthews:
Alberto Del Rio is primed and ready for the Steel Cage Match to determine the fate of the World Heavyweight Championship; that match still to come.

Michael Cole:
I can’t wait for it, Josh! Del Rio’s gonna correct the mistakes from Wrestlemania and take us into a new age, a new era! Time to get excited, huh?

Josh Matthews:
Well, speaking of Wrestlemania, it was there that Christian stood at ringside to counteract Alberto Del Rio’s own measures, and Christian is the man we’re about to see in action next… but it hasn’t been an easy ride.

We sweep into a video package…

---

*VIDEO PACKAGE*

We start with the slow-motion image of Christian making his return to the WWE in 2009, complete with a gem of commentary…

Todd Grisham:
It’s… it’s Christian.

Suddenly, we flash through a series of shots, all of Christian’s successes during his return to ECW, including several uses of the Killswitch.

Matt Striker:
Ohhh boy! Captain Charisma is really lighting it up on Tuesday nights!

The logo of ‘BACKLASH 2009’ appears, and now we’re at that event, watching Christian and, yes, Jack Swagger exchange moves.

Michael Cole:
What a huge night for Christian – an opportunity at the ECW Championship!

Christian and Swagger both exposing a steel turnbuckle, but Swagger being stopped by the referee…

Jim Ross:
Hey – look at this… it’s like a game of chess…

Christian eventually using it to his advantage, darting out the way to allow Swagger’s face to cannon off it, leading to the Killswitch…

Michael Cole:
Talk about turnin’ the tables!

Christian raising the ECW Title high.

Jim Ross:
Christian has slaughtered Swagger – he’s won the title!

Swagger’s sour face after his loss.

Michael Cole:
Captain Charisma is champion!

And now to ‘JUDGMENT DAY 2009’, where Swagger and Christian match up again.

Matt Striker:
What’s that – pulling down his straps…

Christian doing just that, surprising Swagger by yanking down his singlet straps, then rolling him up and using them to his advantage in the 1-2-3…

Josh Matthews:
Swagger stacked up on his shoulders… Christian retains!

Christian rolls from the ring in victory, while Swagger yells at the referee in horror.

Josh Matthews:
Christian won that match with the use of Swagger’s tights… I’m…

Christian holding the title high on the ramp…

…and now we switch to ‘WRESTLEMANIA 26’…

Matt Striker:
Christian has it! Christian has it!

Christian with both hands on the Money In The Bank briefcase, but Swagger swings it into his face and knocks him from the ladder.

Michael Cole:
OH! Swagger! Swagger takes advantage!

Matt Striker:
Genius!

Swagger unhooks the briefcase and roars with delight.

Michael Cole:
Swagger’s got it!

Christian cursing his luck on the outside.

Michael Cole:
Swagger – is – MONEY!

We cut to ‘SMACKDOWN’, where Swagger bludgeons Edge down with the briefcase.

Matt Striker:
OH!

Todd Grisham:
It’s Jack Swagger! Winner of the Money In The Bank Ladder Match!

Swagger roaring for a referee…

Matt Striker:
The bank of the All-American American is open and it’s CASH DEPOSITS ONLY!

As I remind you that this is all REAL commentary, we cut to Swagger’s Gutwrench Powerbomb on Chris Jericho… and the World Title in his hands.

Todd Grisham:
We have a NEW World – Heavyweight – Champion!

Swagger, now completely serious, raises the belt high.

Matt Striker:
Let the reign begin!

And now the clips speed up, showing his victory over Randy Orton at Extreme Rules, his cowardly tactics against the Big Show, then finally his losing the belt to Rey Mysterio.

We see him pounding the floor in frustration, then cut to a more recent event.

Tony Chimel:
The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and the winner will face Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules!

The crowd on SmackDown goes wild… and then we see Christian facing Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican Aristocrat is down, and as Christian goes for the pincer motion to signify the Killswitch, the image slows down.

Michael Cole:
May I have your attention, please?

The image becomes slanted and the boos of the crowd are just audible. Cole’s ranting dissolves into nothing, and we just see Swagger sneak into the ring to hit Christian with the Gutwrench Powerbomb… the shot cuts to black.

Booker T:
Dis is – dis is a joke!

Matt Striker:
Why... why would Jack Swagger want to ruin Christian’s World Title hopes?

And now we see Swagger in the ring on the Peep Show, across from Christian.

Jack Swagger:
I am so sick… of people like you.

Christian raising the ECW Title high, then back to Swagger.

Jack Swagger:
Yeah. People like you, losers like you, tryin’ to claim MY World Title.

Swagger raising the World Title in 2010.

Jack Swagger:
Ever since I lost the World Title last year, I’ve been wanderin’ around aimlessly. Every time I tell somebody I want that title back... no-one takes me seriously. Like my first reign was a flop or somethin’.

Now he fumes as Mysterio beats him for it.

Jack Swagger:
So when you... you... start paradin’ about the place, sayin’ YOU’RE the next in line to the World Title? What a joke. I can’t think of anybody who deserves it less.

Christian’s frown.

Jack Swagger:
You remember back on ECW, Christian? Back when ya used to screw me over with exposed turnbuckles and... and leverage pins in our title matches? Remember that?

We see those exact moments replayed.

Jack Swagger:
I know you do. And after that, you don’t deserve anything related to that World Title before I do. I still deserve MY shot at gettin’ back somethin’ I’ve been missin’ for a long time. Somethin’ that proves beyond a doubt... that I don’t just look like a winner. I don’t just act like a winner. I – AM – A – WINNER.

Swagger making some jobber tap out in England.

Teddy Long:
You’re gonna be facin’ Christian… in an I QUIT MATCH, playa.

Swagger’s horrified expression.

Christian:
You cost me my title shot. Which means we still have a score to settle.

The two men going nose-to-nose.

Christian:
Back then, it was all about the ECW Title. That was the biggest prize we could get our mitts on, y’know that. But now we’re on SmackDown. Now there’s the World – Heavyweight – Title.

Edge clutching that same belt at Wrestlemania.

Christian:
That’s huge. And if you want it, you’ve gotta be focused. Not complainin’ about something that happened two years ago, but just step in the ring with me and change the record this time around.

Swagger’s backstage attack last Friday night. The Ankle Lock. Cole’s attempts to record a submission. And now Christian’s no-nonsense expression.

Christian:
The second you wrenched that chance outta my hands, man, you dug yourself a hole that I’m not gonna let you out of. Hell – no. I’m gonna make things EXTREME this Sunday.

A few snapshots of I Quit matches in the past.

Christian:
And in that I Quit Match, I’m gonna make you yell out that you could never beat me back on ECW, and that you can’t beat me here on SmackDown either. Then once we’re done – I’m going straight for the gold.

Christian shaking hands with Edge.

Christian:
Christian… World – Heavyweight – Champion.

Swagger and Christian in a staredown again.

Josh Matthews:
These two men know they are capable of being World Champion, but first they have to deal with their old issues… and it’s gonna be brutal!

The screen goes black.

Jack Swagger:
(panting) This Sunday... I’m puttin’ things... in their rightful – PLACE.

*END VIDEO PACKAGE*

---

We head back to the St. Pete Times Forum, where for a moment there is silence, and then the stage turns a stunning shade of gold…

“…GO!!!”

*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*

The arena goes NUTS for the arrival of CHRISTIAN, clad in his usual pay-per-view gear of a shining, sparkling silver tracksuit. He has the hood over his face, but he whips it backwards to inspect the crowd out in front of him with a smile. He has the slightest of limps, but his resilience is impressive, and the crowd gives him a great ovation on his way down the ramp. The bell chimes as he heads for the ring, shifting his weight from the ankle a little, but looking better than we might have expected.

Tony Chimel:
The following contest is an I QUIT Match!

Michael Cole:
Guys, get ready for the emergence of the next big star, because the man you see in front of you… is about to become CANNON FODDER for the Phenomenal Athlete, the All-American American, JACK – SWAGGER.

Booker T:
Man, I’m not so sure.

Josh Matthews:
Not that I would ever disagree with you for the sake of disagreeing, Cole, but take a look at Christian here tonight. Just TWO days after he was attacked backstage on SmackDown by Swagger and – well, you – he is out here to claim the victory that he needs to propel himself into the upper echelons of SmackDown.

Michael Cole:
Oh, come on! He’s been patched together, sure, but he’s just a bunch of broken parts, Josh! I’m tellin’ ya, Swagger’s about to pick this guy apart and roll into the next World Title match! And to top it all off, he’s gonna make one of his worst enemies scream ‘I Quit!’ Is there anything better in the world?

Josh Matthews:
I won’t answer that.

Christian stops to slap a few fans’ hands, but the crowd is screaming suddenly…

…BECAUSE JACK SWAGGER SPRINTS OUT BEHIND HIM, AND CHOP BLOCKS HIM TO THE FLOOR!!!

The heat for Swagger is IMMENSE here, as the match referee, Chad Patton, rolls from the ring to protest. Swagger, understandably in his ring gear, starts laying stomps to Christian’s injured ankle, ignoring Patton all the while. Captain Charisma tries to crawl away as the referee gets in Swagger’s way, but the All-American American spots it and pulls him to his feet. Christian tries to fight back by throwing a punch, but Swagger no-sells it and HURLS Christian in the ramp barricade! The crowd cries out in sympathy as Christian hits the floor, gasping in pain, and now Swagger pulls him and forces him toward the ring.

Josh Matthews:
This is disgusting! Wasn’t it enough that Swagger had to assault him backstage, now he has to sneak-attack him too? How is this a man you’d want as your World Champion?

Michael Cole:
(gleefully) On the contrary, Josh, this is exactly who I want as World Champ! Jack knows how to get the job done, and I see this match being very, very short!

As Matthews and Booker continue to lambast Cole’s morality, Swagger throws Christian into the ring and follows him in. Captain Charisma winces as he puts weight on his ankle, but he forces it into action… AND WHEN SWAGGER MOVES FORWARD, CHRISTIAN BUNDLES HIM TO THE DECK AND STARTS FIRING AWAY WITH RIGHT HANDS!!! The crowd goes WILD as Swagger gets some comeuppance, and it takes a frantic Chad Patton getting in the fray to make Christian relent, though he’s furious and he has to stop himself hitting the official with a right hand of his own.

Finally, Captain Charisma gets off Swagger, and the pair separate, both seething – Patton steps in between them desperately to stop them fighting again. He tells Christian to take off his tracksuit, which he does in quick time and throws it to ringside. Tony Chimel steps forward and begins his introduction.

Tony Chimel:
Introducing first, weighing in tonight at two hundred and –

Christian says “Screw it” AND DARTS ROUND PATTON TO TACKLE SWAGGER TO THE GROUND AGAIN!!! The crowd lights up with a thousand cheers, and Patton curses his luck, telling Chimel he’ll have to leave – the announcer nods nervously and does just that, as Patton calls for the bell!



The crowd cheers wildly as the referee gives us the go-ahead, but for now it’s not so much a match as it A FREAKING CATFIGHT, with both men rolling around, trying to punch the hell out of each other! Huge “CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN!” chants begin in the Times Forum, while Michael Cole calls Christian a cheater at ringside with no hint of irony. In the ring, Swagger gets the upper hand, mounting the Livewire and blasting away with closed fists… but Christian shoves him off, and drives him across the ring, into the turnbuckle! Swagger yells out in pain as he collides with the buckle, and now Christian takes his shots, each one harder than the next, until Swagger manages to push him away. Christian turns around again, and the Phenomenal Athlete sprints at him, but Christian ducks the Lariat attempt and rebounds off the ropes… BIG RUNNING FOREARM SMASH CONNECTS FROM CAPTAIN CHARISMA!!! Swagger goes down, and Christian follows that move (as usual) with a huge yell of adrenaline, amplified by his fury with Swagger here in Tampa tonight!!!

But before Christian can start celebrating, Swagger is back up, and this time he’s more wary of rushing in. In fact, he edges backwards, red in the face… and rolls from the ring! Boos roll in for the All-American American, who heads to the apron to look for a weapon… so Christian heads to the turnbuckle – and irony of ironies, removes the top buckle cover! He cracks a smile at his own handiwork, then turns to see Swagger sliding into the ring – WITH THE KENDO STICK. The crowd boos again as the Phenomenal Athlete smirks, weighing the cane in his hand and saying between heaving breaths – “I’m gonna enjoy this one.” Christian stays in the corner, however, not revealing the buckle cover’s disappearance, meaning Swagger charges in with the kendo stick… AND CHRISTIAN DODGES, MEANING SWAGGER SPRINTS FACE-FIRST INTO NOTHING BUT STEEL!!! He reels back in agony, eyes unfocused, and drops the cane… and now Christian charges in, hitting him with a surprise Dropkick to send him tumbling through the ropes!

Swagger crashes to the outside floor, thoroughly shaken, and Christian plays to the crowd, even picking up the kendo stick and throwing a few shadow blows with it to test himself as he watches Swagger suffer on the outside. He then rests it on a top turnbuckle so he doesn’t forget it, before he prepares to launch with a Plancha to the outside on Swagger… BUT MICHAEL COLE DROPS HIS HEADSET AND COMES TO THE RESCUE, WARNING SWAGGER AS CHRISTIAN BEGINS HIS RUN-UP!!! The crowd boos intensely as Cole guides his associate away from where Christian would have landed, and luckily the Livewire sees this in time to stop, but he’s unimpressed. Cole begins hissing advice in the ear of a dazed Jack Swagger, leading him up the ramp a little to keep him away from Christian. At ringside, Matthews apologises for the announce team dropping to two, then has the epiphany that no Cole on commentary is a good thing.

Christian decides he doesn’t plan on waiting for Cole and Swagger to finish their meeting, and rolls from the ring, to the delight of the crowd! Cole immediately ducks behind the Phenomenal Athlete, terrified, but Swagger snarls and heads for his opponent – his right hand is ducked by Christian, who then puts him in the inverted facelock… Reverse DDT on the OUTSIDE FLOOR? NO!!! Swagger spins back out of it, then grabs Christian by the head – AND FLINGS HIM FACE-FIRST INTO THE STEEL RING POST NEARBY!!! The crowd groans with the impact as Christian collapses to the floor clutching his face, and now Cole starts screaming “Make ‘im quit, make ‘im quit!”, so Swagger pulls Christian back up. The Livewire is too dizzy to respond, allowing the All-American American to slide him into the ring, only to then grab him by the injured ankle… AND HAMMER IT SICKENINGLY AGAINST THE RING POST!!! The fans roar in disgust as Christian screams in agony, but Swagger refuses to relent, bashing his ankle off the ring post again and again… and then he tells Chad Patton to “ASK HIM!” for the first time! Patton, who went and got a mic after the bell, falls to all fours beside Christian and asks “Christian, do you want to quit?” before offering him the mic…

“NO!” he roars back, though sweating from the pain – the crowd pops for that, but Swagger scowls… AND SLAMS CHRISTIAN’S ANKLE INTO THE RING POST YET AGAIN!!! Another groan of awe can be heard as Christian reels back into the middle of the ring, desperately holding his ankle, and now Swagger re-joins him in there, as Cole supports him from the outside. The All-American American yanks poor Christian back to his feet, then hooks him up with the Oklahoma hold… and slams him into the unbroken turnbuckle, before dropping him with the Running Powerslam to complete the brutal OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE!!! Christian writhes in pain on the canvas, but Swagger isn’t done, going right back to the ankle with a couple of nasty stomps… BEFORE HE GRABS IT WITH BOTH HANDS, AND LOOKS FOR THE ANKLE LOCK TO END IT – NOOO!!! Christian rolls through, sending Swagger stumbling forward… RIGHT INTO THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE AGAIN!!! A big pop goes up as Swagger takes another dizzying shot, and now he turns around to see Christian testing his weakened ankle – European Uppercut connects from Captain Charisma!

Swagger staggers back under the impact, then wobbles forward again – so Christian deals him another Uppercut, and another, forcing him back to the ropes! The crowd begins to cheer, the support building as Christian’s momentum does likewise, and now the Livewire sends Swagger off to the other side of the ring – but his ankle stops him from running back properly, and his hesitation gives Swagger the window of opportunity for the – BAM – Running Knee Lift!!! Christian crashes back down, face wrecked with pain, and now Swagger grips the top rope, breathing heavily. Shaking out his shoulders, he turns back to his prey, an evil expression crossing his face as he prepares to pick his spot. He picks Christian up once again, looking for his next move… BUT THE LIVEWIRE LASHES OUT DESPERATELY, AND HAMMERS SWAGGER WITH A LOW BLOW!!! “OHHH!” cries the crowd, as Swagger collapses in terrible pain, and now Cole is screaming in protest at ringside, telling Chad Patton to do something – but this is a No-Disqualification contest!

As Swagger rolls about on the mat, inevitably clutching his family jewels, Christian struggles back up, and gasps in pain as his ankle bears his weight. He decides to fight through it, and limps to the corner – to take the kendo stick, and wield it above his head! The crowd cheers to show their approval, and he slumps back across the ring… before CRACKING it into Swagger’s back! The All-American American yells in pain and tries to roll from the ring, but Christian leaps down to the ground and stops him… BEFORE HE PUTS THE CANE TO SWAGGER’S THROAT AND STARTS CHOKING THE AIR FROM HIS LUNGS!!! Again, the fans in Tampa show their love with a set of resounding cheers, and the referee immediately falls to his knees to ask him if he wants to quit… but Swagger manages to wheeze “No!” from beneath Christian’s grip! The Livewire begins to bare his teeth, genuinely trying to hurt Swagger now – but Cole reaches under the bottom rope, grabs the Phenomenal Athlete by the forearm, and tugs him out of the ring to the dismay of the crowd!!!

Swagger and Cole tumble down to the outside floor as the cane slips from Christian’s fingers to the mat, and Captain Charisma is FURIOUS! The Canadian pulls himself to his feet using the ropes, then sees Cole with wide eyes… AND DROPS TO THE FLOOR TO CHASE SWAGGER DOWN!!! The pop is huge as the Livewire rolls to the outside and fights through the pain to follow Swagger – who shoves Cole in Christian’s way and begins to run up the ramp! Christian DECKS Cole to a huge cheer, then hobbles up the ramp after Swagger, as the All-American American disappears behind the curtain, and Christian sticks on his tail…

…and now we cut backstage to see Swagger trotting down the black steps from the Gorilla position, but Christian appears behind him, and throws himself off the middle step to tackle Swagger to the floor! The crowd in the arena roars as Christian throws some big right hands, but Swagger manages to shove him off and get up, so Captain Charisma has to limp after him again. The pair eventually find their way to the backstage corridors, where various people (including Michael Tarver, texting as always) have to move out the way of the two of them, both breathing heavily as they go. Finally, Swagger tries to duck behind a corner, then jumps back at Christian with a clothesline, but the Livewire ISN’T THERE, and while Swagger tries to figure out what’s happening, he gets DUMPED into the floor by Christian, launching out from behind a vending machine! As before, various backstage staff members scatter, as Chad Patton rushes back to the scene with that same mic in hand. Christian gives Swagger a beating with a dozen closed fist shots, before he yanks him back up, and goes to throw him head-first into that vending machine… NO! Swagger stops himself, elbows Christian in the gut to send him stumbling away, then grabs him with a waist lock – AND THROWS HIM WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX, SENDING HIM INTO THE PLASTIC OF THE VENDING MACHINE IN THE MOST SICKENING FASHION POSSIBLE!!!

The arena crowd screams in disbelief as Christian collapses to the floor, and Swagger falls on to his back too, simply from the fatigue of Christian’s attacks thus far. The All-American American tilts himself back to a seated position and groans “Ask him” through the pain, prompting Patton to drop beside Christian and do just that. The Livewire manages to push himself up to all fours somehow, and although his eyes are unfocused, he shakes his head, keeping this bout going. Swagger, frustrated, forces himself up and now we follow him as he sweeps the nearby snack tables clear of food, and wipes his hands on his singlet, before he picks Christian up and looks for the GUTWRENCH – NO! Captain Charisma spins out of his grip, then leaps up with a Dropkick, sending Swagger clattering face-first into the backstage wall! A groan goes up from the crowd as the Phenomenal Athlete hits the deck, but Christian is also down, having hurt his ankle as he fell back to earth. Swagger begins to crawl away, but he’s blocked several yards along by a few green containers on wheels, which he manages to use to bring himself upright. Christian struggles up as well, and begins to limp after the All-American American again, but Swagger roars back with a kick to the injured ankle… THEN HURLS CHRISTIAN BACK-FIRST INTO THE CONTAINER!!! Once again Christian collapses in pain, and Swagger begins to talk trash, spitting “Wanna quit yet, huh buddy? HUH? Wanna quit?” and Christian doesn’t response, still holding his back with one hand and his ankle with the other. It’s not looking good for the Livewire, attacked on SmackDown and attacked before the match, and now Swagger looks to finish with the ANKLE LOCK…

…BUT NO! Christian again fights out, this time kicking Swagger with his free leg, and the All-American American is forced to release him! The crowd cheers as Swagger stumbles away, stopping himself on a locker room door. Seeing Christian getting up again, Swagger opens the door, then sees the room to be empty, so he heads inside. Christian hobbles in, and the camera staggers to the side as the cameraman rushes to follow them inside – Swagger has a DUMBBELL in his hand, AND HE HURLS IT AT CHRISTIAN… BUT THE LIVEWIRE DUCKS IT!!! The crowd groans in awe as the weight leaves a huge dent in the plaster wall, and Christian uses the bench as a stepping stone to launch back at Swagger – FLYING EUROPEAN UPPERCUT, THE FLASHPOINT!!! Christian pulls that move out of nowhere, shocking Swagger, and now the Canadian goes back to the brawling that has set the tone so far, beating his opponent with another host of right hands! Finally, he relents, having given Swagger a decent beat-down, and searches the locker room for something to use as a weapon. He picks up the dumbbell from before, wincing because he’s tired and – well, it’s heavy – before he dumps it back down. Swagger is trying to get up using a standing steel chair, so Christian wrenches it away, folds it, and begins to raise it high… WHEN MICHAEL COLE BURSTS THROUGH THE DOOR AND SHIELDS THE GROUNDED SWAGGER!!!

The crowd groans in frustration as Christian is caught off-guard and can’t bring himself to hit the cowering Michael Cole with the chair. Instead, he holds it as he prepares to swing, and tells Cole to “get out of the way”, but the commentator is too desperate to save Swagger from a beating to do as he’s told! Slowly, Swagger finds his feet as Cole keeps in between them, but Christian BARGES him out of the way, and SWINGS FOR THE FENCES… INTO THE WALL! Swagger darts out of the way, meaning the chair cannons off the wall and out of Christian’s grip – AND SWAGGER GOES RIGHT BACK TO THE ANKLE WITH A LOW CHOP BLOCK!!! Christian collapses in pain, and now Swagger wastes no time, with Cole smirking as the All-American American drags Christian by the ankle to the door… AND PREPARES TO SLAM THE DOOR SHUT ON HIS ANKLE!!! The crowd immediately boos, while Matthews murmurs “Oh God” as Swagger pulls the door back… AND SLAMS IT – BUT CHRISTIAN PULLS HIS ANKLE OUT OF HARM’S WAY!!! The Livewire escapes at the last second, then finds his feet tentatively, and knocks Swagger back with a right hand! The All-American American slams into the wall, shocked, and Cole immediately goes to shield him… SO CHRISTIAN OPENS THE DOOR, AND SWINGS IT BACK ON ITS HINGES, CRUSHING BOTH MEN AGAINST THE WALL!!!

Cole takes the door directly on the nose, so he collapses, holding it and screaming all sorts of nonsense about his “beautiful face”, while Swagger just looks dazed, so Christian peels him off the wall and tosses him back into the backstage corridors. The Phenomenal Athlete, not looking so phenomenal at the moment, tumbles to his knees, but manages to wobble back up, only to take a right hand from Christian to send him staggering through the corridors yet again. Christian chases him, though limping all the while, and keeps striking with right hands to keep Swagger moving where he wants him. Eventually, Swagger trudges through a curtain, dying to escape, and comes out – on the arena floor, just beneath the steel stage! Hundreds of fans up in that area of seating (you know the one) begin to wave and cheer, as the Times Forum gets to watch this match live once more, and Swagger heads for the ramp, eyes unfocused. Once he gets there, he tries to shake out the cobwebs, but Captain Charisma is hot on his heels, practically hopping now to keep up. Swagger turns, but takes a SLAP to the face for his troubles, and he nearly hits the floor, but instead scarpers up to the stage again.

Swagger looks to have taken a bit of a beating from Christian here, but he refuses to quit when Patton asks him, and instead gets back up. Christian follows him up to the stage, fists clenched, and Swagger tries to kick out the weak ankle – NO! The Livewire sees it coming and sidesteps the shot… before he ROCKS Swagger with another right hand, sending him teetering towards the edge of the stage! The crowd groans in awe as Swagger has to stop himself flying into oblivion, and then turns round to cop yet another right hand, this time to the gut, before Christian grabs him by the scruff of the neck and LOOKS TO HURL HIM OFF THE STAAAAAGE… NO!!! Once again, Swagger is saved by MICHAEL COLE, who sprints into the fray and pulls Christian off! Swagger falls to his knees, too busy trying to recover to care why he’s not off the edge, and now Christian has a score to settle with Cole, grabbing him by his tie! The crowd roars for Captain Charisma to batter the annoying commentator, who begs and pleads for his safety… BUT CHRISTIAN SHAKES HIS HEAD, AND TUGS HIM OVER TO THE EDGE OF THE STAGE! Christian looks out the crowd, asking if they want him to do it, and the reception is obviously positive, so he winds back with a right hand – but the crowd screams a warning – because Swagger is up, and he charges in… but Christian dives to the side… AND SWAGGER SHOULDER BLOCKS COLE, SENDING HIM FLYING OFF THE EDGE OF THE STAGE!!! The crowd goes MENTAL, with the self-proclaimed “Voice of the WWE” crashing down through the canvas to hit the floor way down below, and we can see him lying unconscious at the bottom! The most extreme moment of the night so far!

Swagger looks horrified by what he’s inadvertently done, and the only thing stopping a stunned Christian from attacking again is the cameraman filming Cole’s demise, just next to Swagger. Finally, the All-American American turns around, still shocked by what he did, and Christian throws a right hand… but Swagger ducks it, and when Christian turns around, the Phenomenal Athlete rips the camera out of the cameraman’s hand… AND HAMMERS CHRISTIAN BETWEEN THE EYES WITH IT!!! The crowd groans in horror as the horrid impact of camera-on-skull reverbs around the arena, and now Christian goes down, motionless, with Chad Patton looking extremely concerned nearby. Swagger isn’t done, though, red in the face from exhaustion and embarrassment, and now he picks the camera up again… but he RIPS the wire out of it, and throws the camera to the side, leaving him with just that long television cable! A disorientated Christian begins to find his feet, but Swagger immediately goes back to the unusable ankle with a hard boot, knocking him back down, then falls to the floor – AND WRAPS THE TELEVISION CABLE AROUND CHRISTIAN’S THROAT, SEVERAL TIMES OVER, THEN BEGINS TO CHOKE THE LIVING HELL OUT OF HIM!!! BRUTAL FROM SWAGGER!!!

Christian begins to gasp for air, as Swagger wrenches back against his neck with the cables, and the crowd boos the HELL out of the All-American American, who yells “ASK HIM!” in a loud, cruel voice to Patton! The referee drops beside Christian to ask him to quit, but the Livewire can barely even talk with the wires choked around his neck! His lips are moving, and Patton puts the mic as close as he can, but all we get is Christian’s desperate attempts to breathe! Swagger nods his head, yelling “QUIT! QUIT, DAMMIT!” as loud as he can, and Christian puts his fingers in between the cables to give him some respite so he can spit “No!” back at Patton. Now his face is red, burning with pain, and it looks bad for the Livewire… until he begins to reach behind him to Swagger’s face – no, he finds his singlet straps – and begins to pull them down! Swagger immediately lets go of the cables, allowing Christian to drop to all fours, clutching at his neck and gasping, but Swagger is INCENSED! The All-American American stomps about the stage, pulling his singlet straps firmly back up, and screaming “HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO ME AGAIN! YOU ASSHOLE! YOU DAMN-“ … but Christian sees the opportunity, and instinctively leaps up to surprise Swagger with the arms hooked – KILLSWITCH ON THE STEEL STAGE… BUT NO!!! Swagger spins out, then thinks GUTWRENCH… BUT CHRISTIAN GOES FOR THE BACK BODY DROP – SENDING SWAGGER CAREERING SPINE-FIRST INTO THE STEEL!!!

The impact just echoes through the Times Forum, and the crowd goes wild as Christian throws an arm into the air! He cracks a smile, then turns back to Swagger… and grabs his legs, tying them up – AND APPLYING THE CLOVERLEAF!!! It’s a serious blast from the past for Christian, who roars with adrenaline, trying to shut out the pain in his ankle, but the man in real trouble is Swagger, who is sweating like a damn pig as he suffers in this submission hold! Patton immediately asks him if he wants to quit, then holds it to Swagger’s lips as the All-American American considers it, having no ropes to break the hold… but he answers a shaky “No”, still willing to keep this contest going… SO CHRISTIAN CRANKS UP THE PRESSURE! Swagger’s yell of pain goes right through the mic, and the audience cheers in approval, and for a moment, it looks like he might give in… but he digs deep and tells the official “NO!” once again! Even despite the damage to Swagger’s back from the Back Body Drop, the All-American American refuses to quit in the Cloverleaf, and slowly, he begins to turn the screw, managing to spin onto his shoulder… and SHOVE Christian away, sending him staggering down the ramp – and his ankle gives out, meaning he falls to the ground in agony! The crowd groans – that one looked awkward – and now a frustrated Swagger clutches his back as he gets up, eyes locked on the struggling Captain Charisma!

Christian pushes himself weakly back to his feet, and hobbles back towards ringside for the first time in a while, with Swagger following him, breathing heavily and still clutching at his back. Captain Charisma rolls back into the ring for a breather, but Swagger follows him in and just THROWS himself on top of him with an Elbow Drop! Christian’s tired frame feels the full force of that, and now Swagger attempts to drag him to the corner, keeping him there with a harsh stomp to the ankle. The All-American American winds back, then charges across the ring, hopping over Christian and propelling himself up using the turnbuckle… SWAGGER BOMB!!! The pace slows right down here, with Swagger delivering a big blow to Christian’s chances, and the Livewire reels in pain, face pressed against the canvas. Swagger pushes himself lethargically back up, then his eyes turn to the exposed turnbuckle. As if to complete the cycle, he pulls Christian up, then runs him to the corner and just HAMMERS his head into the exposed steel, again and again! The crowd boos wildly as Swagger goes to work, beating the Livewire’s forehead into the steel like a madman, then holds back his head to ask him if he quits… Patton holds out the mic… he breathes heavily…

“NO!” he cries, and the crowd pops big to show their support; Swagger spits “Fine” in response and goes right back to BASHING his head off the steel! Christian takes shot after shot after shot, each one knocking him further into oblivion and increasing the likelihood of a concussion. Again, the All-American American stops to make Patton ask the question, and Christian takes a moment to think about it, panting as he suffers, then murmurs the negative response to keep the match alive! Swagger, furious, uses both hands to SLAM Christian into the buckle, then lets him slump to the canvas. The Canadian looks in a bad way, even more so than before, and he can barely move, crawling at a snail’s pace across the ring. Swagger stares at him with cold eyes, then steals the mic from Patton and says…

“I’m gonna beat you… the same way you beat me… with the straps down.”

He shoves the mic back to the referee, then indeed, brings his singlet straps down, having used the exposed buckle and now bringing in the other flashback from the VP we saw before the match. We wonder what he’s got in store, but it soon becomes clear, because Swagger goes right after the injured ankle – AND HERE WE GO, IT’S THE ANKLE LOCK, AND SWAGGER ROARS WITH ADRENALINE!!! Christian yells out in agony as Swagger targets the ankle he attacked on Friday, the same one that’s been slammed against ring posts, stomped on several times, kicked at and Chop Blocked, the same one that Christian can’t even use anymore! It’s a sickening display from Swagger, who is no longer enjoying making Christian suffer as much as he just wants the victory. He wrenches away at the ankle, as Chad Patton inevitably asks the question, and Christian is almost IN TEARS as he screeches “NO!” and holds a hand high as if considering tapping out, not that it’ll do anything. He tries to crawl to the ropes, but Swagger hauls him back and twists it to a brutal angle yet again, trying to render his opponent unconscious if he has to! Christian’s eyes flicker around the ring, looking for someone to help him, but all he has is the crowd’s support, the ten thousand people in the Times Forum roaring for him NOT – TO – QUIT!!! Though he’s sweating, in agony, and it seems unlikely he’ll be able to win after this, the Livewire is determined – he won’t quit to this man, and he manages to whisper “No” into the mic as Patton thrusts it his way again. Slowly, Captain Charisma starts to pump a fist, trying to build the crowd support, and now the 10,000 in the Times Forum are clapping, urging him on – he begins to slide across the canvas, drowning in his own sweat as the pain threatens to make him pass out, with Swagger baring his teeth from adrenaline behind him… but somehow, someway, Christian finds his way to bottom rope – AND BEGINS TO PULL HIMSELF UP!!!

The crowd is ecstatic, but Swagger can’t believe his eyes! The All-American American keeps hold of Christian’s leg as the Livewire scales back to his other standing foot, and bounces on it for a moment, before he pushes himself off the ropes – AND BLASTS SWAGGER WITH A HEROIC RIGHT HAND TO KNOCK HIM DOWN!!! The crowd goes WILD, and now the All-American American wobbles back up, though Christian literally has to HOP to throw another punch – DUCKED! Even though he’s exhausted, Swagger still has the wherewithal to evade that shot, and when Christian spins, the Phenomenal Athlete provides a hard kick to the ankle, forcing him to take a knee – THEN SENDS HIM UP AND DOWN WITH THE GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB!!! The crowd is SILENCED in seconds, and now Swagger stands above a motionless, beaten Captain Charisma; the only problem is that Swagger can’t make Christian quit. Knowing this, Swagger lugs his tired body to the outside, and heads through the ringside area to grab not one, but TWO steel chairs! Boos begin to sound around the Times Forum as Swagger takes one in either hand and rolls back into the ring, his eyes lighting up as he sees Christian still unmoved.

Swagger dumps one chair to the floor, then unfolds one of them slightly… BEFORE HE PLACES IT AROUND CHRISTIAN’S INJURED ANKLE!!! The crowd immediately comes alive with massive boos, telling Swagger what they think of this despicable act, and now Swagger pulls Christian back to the corner. The chair detaches a little, so he makes sure it’s firmly locked around the Livewire’s ankle, then heads across the ring to prepare his run-up. The Phenomenal Athlete is bruised and battered, but he’s standing, and he spreads his arms wide as he says “I’m just phenomenal… like that.” Chad Patton tries to convince him not to do this, but the All-American American shoves him aside and sprints in for the kill… SWAGGER BOMB – NOOOOOO!!! Christian rolls out the way, and Swagger eats the CANVAS!!! The crowd ERUPTS with a massive cheer, and now both men struggle up again – this is Christian’s last chance – AND THE LIVEWIRE MANAGES TO HOOK HIS OPPONENT UP… KILLSWITCH, FACE FIRST INTO THE STEEL CHAIR!!! SWAGGER GETS ABSOLUTELY PLANTED!!!

The noise in the Times Forum is HUGE for Christian, who rolls to the side in exhaustion, looking up at the ceiling. He sits up and shakes his head, unable to believe he pulled that off, but Swagger hasn’t moved, his face still stuck to the chair he got drilled into. Captain Charisma manages to crawl to the ropes to pull himself up, tentatively trying to put weight on the ankle, and only just managing to keep it on the mat without crying out. Slowly, he hops like a wounded animal across the ring, and picks up the other chair, sending the crowd into a wild chorus of cheers as he looks down at the motionless Swagger! Patton again tries to stop the violence, but it’s no use, as Christian bares his teeth, and lofts the chair high above the All-American American for the CON-CHAIR-TO… but Patton slides beside Swagger, and puts the mic against his mouth! Christian stops himself, nodding his head, and he rests his weakened left foot on Swagger’s neck as a sign of keeping him there, whether it’s possible or not. Swagger’s eyes flash open, and he stares around in horror, feeling the steel against his skin, and Patton explains, asking if he wants to quit – but Swagger snarls “NO!” with adrenaline through his fatigue and turns his head to see Christian winding back with the killer chairshot…

“All right! All right, I… I quit… I SAID I QUIT! JUST DON’T – I QUIT!!!”

WINNER: CHRISTIAN VIA SUBMISSION AT 21:32

*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*

Tony Chimel:
Here is your winner as the result of a submission… CHRISTIAN!!!

The crowd roars with delight as Christian drops the chair and falls to his knees! He’s more grateful than ecstatic, but still, he clenches a fist and pumps it, knowing he’s survived an all-out brawl here tonight. Slowly, referee Chad Patton helps him up, then hoists his arm into the air in victory – conversely, Swagger is on the outside, panting heavily with his hair matted against his forehead in sweat. The focus goes back to Christian, who can barely get a breath out, but he raises his arm to acknowledge the crowd’s support, then accepts the help of Patton to limp from the ring.

Josh Matthews:
It took something extraordinary from Christian to make Jack Swagger quit here tonight, and what a hellacious contest, Booker.

Booker T:
Ya know it, Josh, and I’m tellin’ ya, I wouldn’t be stickin’ around if somebody threatenin’ me with one of dose con-chair-tos! Swagger went to da kitchen, he got da sink, threw it at Christian and he still wouldn’t give up – dat’s one tough dude right dere.

Josh Matthews:
Folks, Christian survived a backstage assault on SmackDown, an assault on his way to the ring tonight, and (watching the replay) even this brutal German Suplex into a vending machine during the match. He endured a lot of offence during that match, but crucially, he dug deep when it counted, and he’s declared the winner here in Tampa.

Booker T:
And hell, did you SEE Michael Cole goin’ off da edge of da stage? Dat’s some crazy stuff, dawg – I don’t like da guy, but dayum, I wouldn’t wish dat on anyone.

Josh Matthews:
I agree, Booker, Michael Cole put himself at risk to help Jack Swagger tonight, and if he’s conscious after he was taken to the back, it’ll sting even more that the self-proclaimed ‘Phenomenal Athlete’ couldn’t get the win.

We see Christian limping up the ramp, as his music continues to play and another referee comes to help him, but then we switch back to Swagger. The All-American American is now standing, as nearby fans make fun of him, and he rubs his jaw as he makes his way around ringside, clearly in some intense pain. With Christian disappearing behind the curtain, he now makes his own way up the ramp, baring his teeth in anger after the loss, and even casting a look at where Cole fell. Slowly, he turns to face the crowd, who are all waving and taunting him… and he lets out a HUGE yell of fury, unable to believe he uttered the fatal words. He holds his neck in pain, then runs a hand through his hair, slowly shaking his head… then pulls his singlet straps begrudgingly back up and trudges backstage, lambasting himself under his breath.

---


MONDAY NIGHT RAW – A THREE-HOUR DRAFT SPECIAL
23rd MAY 2011 | TACOMA DOME, TACOMA, WASHINGTON

---

Extreme Rules returns to the sight of the usual WWE parking lot, where a black SUV slides into view, and ALEX RILEY steps out of the passenger seat. The Varsity Villain cops some heat from the crowd, but it’s nothing compared to the reaction as he pulls the back door open and the WWE CHAMPION, THE MIZ, steps into view. Ignoring the loud booing from the arena, The Miz beckons for Riley to follow him as he begins to WALK towards the camera. A worker looks at him a little too long and Miz snaps “I can turn up when I like, I’m the most must-see champ of all time,” before continuing on his way, dressed in his godly trench coat tonight as usual.

We head elsewhere, with the walking (~!) RANDY ORTON being the man we focus on. The arena crowd immediately cheers loudly for the Viper, who looks to be in a bad mood, as if he was capable of much else, and the WWE’s resident joker, SCOTT STANFORD, rushes into the shot with a mic in his hand.

Scott Stanford:
Randy… Randy – could I get a word?

Orton stops and turns his eyes to the interviewer, essentially saying ‘Yes’.

Scott Stanford:
Randy… tonight you finally get a chance to get your hands on CM Punk in a Last Man Standing Match. What are your thoughts so close to such a monumental contest?

The Viper just stares at Stanford as the mic rolls his way.

Randy Orton:
Just one thought, Scott. Tonight is the final moment for CM Punk, and I can’t wait.

Unsurprisingly, Orton has a real lethal edge to him tonight.

Randy Orton:
There’s just gonna be this one second – you’ll know it when you see it – when CM Punk has two… choices.

He smirks, just a little.

Randy Orton:
Either he’s going to beg… for forgiveness… for what he’s tried to do to me, tried to do to my family… or he’s going to fight back.

A pause. Orton tilts his head.

Randy Orton:
Now, personally, I don’t care which one he does, because whatever he chooses, the moment after that… will be the same no matter what. I’m going to PUNT him in the head, all over again.

Big cheer from the arena at that.

Randy Orton:
And when I do that, I’m going to bury every last snide comment, every last taunt, every last shot at my family… in that same moment that I lay… him… down… for the TEN.

It’s short and sweet interviews tonight, as another hearty pop goes up. Orton nods at Stanford, who thanks him for his time, and now the Viper marches out of shot, looking prepared to go to war.

We head back to ringside now, where MATT STRIKER is now sat next to Matthews, who now sits in the middle to occupy where Cole was.

Josh Matthews:
Folks, we saw Michael Cole inadvertently knocked off the stage in the last match between Christian and Jack Swagger, and as a result, we’re now joined by your teacher, Matt Striker, at ringside.

Matt Striker:
Well, I’m not one to wish misfortune on anyone, Josh, but I just got a ticket for the best seat in the house, and to be honest, it’s an honour to be back out here with my SmackDown broadcast partners. Wassup, Booker?

They fist bump across Matthews.

Booker T:
Hey dawg, how’s it goin’?

Josh Matthews:
And it’s almost fitting that we’re back to our SmackDown team, because our next match is also from the heart of SmackDown – you saw Wade Barrett of the Corre lose his Intercontinental Title to first-time champion Cody Rhodes earlier tonight, but things might yet improve for the faction, because in our next match, the WWE Tag Team Titles are on the line.

Matt Striker:
Indeed, Josh, but Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater are faced with an uphill struggle, because if they want to keep their titles, they have to put two behemoths… through a table. No easy task.

The bell rings, and once again, we’re with Chimel.

Tony Chimel:
The following contest is a Tag Team Tables Match, and it is for… the WWE – TAG – TEAM – CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

Good pop from the masses, warmed up thoroughly from the extreme action of the last match after two less frantic opening bouts.

“WEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLL…”

BOOM!!!

*MAN ON FIRE*

“IT’S THE BIG SHOOOOOOOW…”

The crowd gives a strong pop for the pairing of BIG SHOW and KANE, who wander out in the red lighting accompanied by a thousand flickering tongues of fire on the mini-Tron. The two look ready to deal some damage, and they nod at each other before they head for the ring.

Josh Matthews:
Now, only two days ago on SmackDown, the Big Show and Kane put their opponents, the current champions, through the same table, and that’s the biggest statement possible.

Matt Striker:
Couldn’t agree more, Josh. These two gigantic men have told The Corre on more than one occasion that they had their eye on the WWE Tag Team Titles, and tonight might just be the night that they take them home.

Booker T:
I don’t envy da champs, havin’ ta get in da ring wit two guys like da Big Show and – man, he huge – da Big Red Monsta. Dey’re some big dudes.

Show and Kane enter the ring, over the top rope, naturally. Show throws up his Chokeslam taunt, then joins Kane in the centre of the ring, as the Big Red Machine puts his hands in the air…

BOOM!!!

…and then swings them back down! The fans continue to give the two big men a good ovation, and as their music dies out, a few “Chokeslam!” chants ring around the Times Forum. As Show points to ringside, where there’s already two tables standing up by each set of ring steps, the stage turns red for The Corre.

“I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!! I MAKE ‘EM SEE...”

*END OF DAYS*

Heat immediately greets the appearance of the WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, JUSTIN GABRIEL and HEATH SLATER, but the surprisingly-placed smirk on Slater’s face tells you that they don’t care. Gabriel is more focused on the mission at hand, keeping his dark eyes locked on the huge tag team in the ring. The camera cuts briefly to see Show, now scowling at Gabriel after the high-flyer’s upset victory over him last Friday on SmackDown. Slater continues to taunt the crowd, flaunting his title in anyone’s face he can, while Gabriel just stalks towards the ring, his black hair almost covering his eyes and giving him a real cold air.

Josh Matthews:
And guys, there’s been a lot of questions asked of these two men – people keep wondering how either of the Tag Team Champions are going to be able to put ONE of their opponents through a table, let alone BOTH of them.

Booker T:
I know, man, but hey, we saw somethin’ impressive two nights ago. Dat boi Justin Gabriel got da win over da Big Show, and if he can pin him one-two-three, maybe he can beat him all over again, ta-night.

Matt Striker:
The doubts regarding Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater are well founded, gentlemen, but they’re here to prove themselves as WWE’s number one tag team, and don’t take these men lightly. Both of these men have beaten their opponents in singles action in these past few weeks, and they’re smart cookies – don’t write them off.

Josh Matthews:
A good point to raise, Matt, and don’t forget this, either; tomorrow night on Raw, the winners of this match must face R-Truth and Johnny Curtis for the titles, with Curtis cashing in the title shot he earned as winner of the fourth season of NXT. That’ll play on the minds of these men as well.

Matt Striker:
I was with Johnny Curtis throughout his time on NXT, Josh; he’s a talented kid, as is R-Truth, and you can’t shake the thought that whichever team wins this match… well, they might not be able to recover in time to successfully defend the titles tomorrow night.

Gabriel slingshots into the ring, while Slater takes a moment to survey ringside, running his hand along the nearest table’s surface. He smirks, then rolls into the ring, spreading his arms wide and yelling “ONE MAN ROCK BAAAAND!!!” in the faces of the stoic Kane and the frowning Big Show. The big men exchange glances, but stay in their corner, waiting for the introductions before they move in to initiate demolition. As The Corre’s music dies down, Gabriel and Slater begin talking in low voices, with the South African trying to get him to taunt less and think more, but he’s interrupted by Chimel.

Tony Chimel:
Introducing the challengers… at a combined weight of seven hundred and forty-one pounds… the team of KANE – AND THE BIG SHOW!!!

Show throws up a hand to pump up the crowd, but Kane remains motionless, just staring across the ring at the champions.

Tony Chimel:
And at a combined weight of four hundred and twenty-nine pounds… they are the current WWE Tag Team Champions… the team of JUSTIN GABRIEL, AND HEATH – SLATER!!!

Boos as the Tag Team Champions stare about the arena, with Slater cracking a smirk and raising his title for good measure. Chimel exits the ring, and the champions hand their titles over to referee Jack Doan, who lofts them into the air to show them as the prize. He hands them to ringside, and because this is essentially a Tornado Tag Match, no-one has to step to the apron – so Doan calls for the bell!



We are GO as we approach the half-way point of the night, and immediately, Slater and Gabriel hit the deck and roll from the ring! Show and Kane charge forward, but the more agile pairing are on the outside, lapping up the boos from the crowd! The champions split up, taking to opposite sides of ringside to break up the bigger team… so Big Show steps out of the ring, and heads for Gabriel! The South African sees him coming, however, and rolls back into the ring, where Kane is still watching Slater – meaning Gabriel is free to Chop Block the big man down from behind! Show slides back to meet him, but Gabriel escapes easily under the bottom rope, leaving the World’s Largest Athlete snarling – but then Slater appears behind Show, and brings him down with a Chop Block of his own! Both Show and Kane are down now, frustrated by the champions, and now Gabriel leaps back to the apron, before he slingshots, and drops a Senton Bomb across Big Show’s stomach! The seven footer groans in pain, but Kane is UP, and he goes after Gabriel – but the South African ducks from the ring again, allowing Slater to pop out from the corner and attempt a club to the back… that does nothing, however, so Kane turns menacingly on the One Man Rock Band! Slater is horrified, but before Kane can do anything, the ginger-haired champion rolls from the ring, and now Gabriel is on the top rope, leaping and knocking Kane down with a great Missile Dropkick! Big Show struggles up, and sees Gabriel, so he chases him down… but the South African rolls from the ring AGAIN, meaning the champions can regroup outside!

Slater and Gabriel look very pleased with their work, but Show and Kane are incensed – they exchange looks that say ‘Playtime is over’, then exit the ring themselves… but Gabriel and Slater are quick on their toes, and they split up once more! The big men just can’t keep up with their quicker opponents, and so they stop – Big Show mutters something to his partner, pointing to Gabriel, and the big men set off as a TEAM this time, aiming for the South African! Show charges full-pelt around ringside to get at Gabriel, who is by the announce tables and slides into the ring – but Kane is there, and he stops Gabriel in his tracks! The high-flyer turns instinctively, but BIG SHOW is there to stop him, weighing that deadly right fist in his left, and it looks like Gabriel could be trapped – UNTIL SLATER SLIDES IN THE RING WITH A FOLDED TABLE, AND HITS SHOW IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH IT! The World’s Largest Athlete falls to a knee, and Gabriel uses the distraction to roll from the ring, as Kane looks to get his hands on Slater – but the One Man Rock Band throws the table at him, sending him staggering back and giving him time to leave the ring! The crowd boos the ‘cowardly’ – but effective – tactics of the Tag Team Champions, who breathe heavily by the announce tables, but they’ve hardly been touched so far. Kane blinks out the cobwebs and pulls Show back to his feet; that folded table is now on the mat, meaning there’s only one table still set up on the outside, as Slater used the other one to bludgeon Show with.

Kane and Show are unsure how to proceed, so the Big Red Machine picks up the table and lugs it into a standing position in the corner. As if answering back, Gabriel goes over to the Spanish announce table (with the poor announcers wondering ‘Why Always Me?’) and throws off the cover! While he’s doing that, however, the Big Show clambers from the ring, and Slater foolishly tries to fire a right hand… but it does nothing to the World’s Largest Athlete, who grabs Slater by the throat and just flings him into the ring apron! The One Man Rock Band collapses in a heap, holding his back in pain, and now Show turns to Gabriel, who tries to beat him off with a TV monitor to no avail – he throws it at Show, who blocks it, and now Gabriel scarpers over the Spanish announce table! The South African darts away from Show, crawling beneath Matthews, Striker and Booker’s chairs to get to the other side of the English announce table, then hops up to the crowd barricade and balances perfectly, running all the way around, well away from Show and leaping off – STRAIGHT INTO AN UPPERCUT FROM KANE!!!

The crowd cries in awe as Gabriel gets shot down out of the skies, and now he lies on the floor in agony, struggling to breathe. Now the tables have turned, if you’ll pardon the slight pun, because Slater and Gabriel are both down, and Kane and Big Show exchange a glance; they’re in control. Slater crawls slowly back into the ring, so Show sticks with him, sliding back in too. Slater scrambles to his feet, then sees the World’s Largest Athlete behind him and tries to run, but Show is upon him and he throws him into the corner. Slater hits the buckle hard, and now the big man presses him against it, telling the crowd to ‘shhh’ briefly… BEFORE HE CAVES SLATER’S CHEST IN WITH AN ALMIGHTY CHOP!!! The One Man Rock Band yells out in agony, and tries to stumble out of the corner, but he gets pressed right back in there – AND SLAPPED BRUTALLY AGAIN ACROSS THE CHEST! This time, Slater collapses, while across the arena floor, Kane pulls Gabriel to his feet – then sends him cascading into the crowd barricade! Gabriel lets out a huge yell of pain, but he’s seen nothing yet, as Kane pulls him mercilessly back up, hoists him into the air – AND DROPS HIM FACE-FIRST ON THE BARRICADE THIS TIME!!! The South African reels off it and drapes himself on the ring apron, eyes glazing over, and now Kane follows him… TO BLAST HIM WITH A BIG BOOT ACROSS THE FACE!!! The crowd groans with the impact of that, as Gabriel crashes to the ground, barely able to remember his name, and Kane pulls his limp body up to roll into the ring.

Show, meanwhile, has Slater on the ropes – literally – picking his spots with those thumping right and left-handed blows to the gut. Finally, he sends the One Man Rock Band across the ring, then knocks him down with a Shoulder Block. Slater gets up again, so Show shoves him onto the ropes – Shoulder Block for a second time! This time, Show gives him some aid in getting to his feet – but only so he can hoist him up with the Military Press, then he looks to throw him to the outside, through the TABLE… NO! Slater escapes out the back, then tries to run – BUT KANE ROCKS HIM BETWEEN THE EYES WITH A RIGHT HAND! Slater crunches to the floor, as Gabriel lethargically gets up, and Kane looks to whip him into that table in the corner… the crowd buzzes – but Gabriel stops himself at the last second! The South African turns around, and Kane, of course, charges in to squash him – BUT GABRIEL DARTS TO THE SIDE, AND KANE HAMMERS INTO THE TABLE – BUT IT DOESN’T BREAK! Kane only rattles off the wood, staggering back, and now Gabriel takes advantage, shoving him across the ring at the Big Show – the two big men collide, and Show falls back, his arms draping over the top turnbuckle! Gabriel rushes across the ring, tipping the dazed Kane over the top rope and out to the floor, and now it’s two-on-one! The South African desperately tries to pull Slater to his feet, and finally, the One Man Rock Band is lucid enough to help him – the champions grab Show by a wrist each, and try to send him into the table across the ring… but Show reverses it, keeping a grip on Slater’s arm, and he pulls him back into his grip – namely, a grip around the throat! The crowd roars for a potential Chokeslam, but Gabriel sprints forward to stop that – BUT SHOW GRABS HIM AROUND THE THROAT TOO!!! The Times Forum gets up on its feet as Show lifts the champions up for a double finisher – BUT BOTH MEN ESCAPE IN MID-AIR, AND KICK SHOW IN THE BACK OF THE KNEES TO BRING HIM DOWN!!! The pair then grab him in a double facelock – DOUBLE DDT!!!

The World’s Largest Athlete gets flattened by that double team move from Gabriel and Slater, who nod at each other, and now the South African looks to the outside, where Kane is slowly finding his feet. Gabriel instinctively goes to the ropes, rebounds, then soars with a SOMERSAULT PLANCHAAAAA – GOT HIM!!! Kane goes to ground again under Gabriel’s spectacular move, but the South African looks to be hurting, too. In the ring, Slater has a downed Big Show, and it occurs to him he should do something, so he goes to the corner and takes down the table. He undoes the metal supports, then sets it up in the middle of the ring… before he tries to tug Big Show’s dead weight up, and slowly lays him out on the table! The crowd begins to boo as Slater heads for the corner, climbing up to the second buckle nervously… but before he can go anywhere, Big Show rolls off the table, and GRABS HIM BY THE THROAT!!! A big pop goes up through the Times Forum, and Slater flounders about, terrified, as the World’s Largest Athlete takes a look at the table behind him… but out of NOWHERE, Justin Gabriel slides into the ring, and Dropkicks the table out of the way, meaning when the inevitable CHOKESLAM hits, it’s only on the mat for Slater, keeping him in this match!!! Still, it’s from the second rope, meaning Slater takes the full force of that move, writhing about the ring, and now the Big Show sets his sights on Gabriel, who tries to put the overturned table in between the two of them… but now KANE is in the ring, too, and the Big Red Monster doesn’t look happy!

Gabriel staggers backwards, then inevitably rolls from the ring – BUT SHOW AND KANE ARE SICK OF IT, AND THEY CHASE HIM DOWN!!! Gabriel has no partner, and the crowd are desperate to see him caught, so as he runs around ringside, he has to step out the way of fans trying to stop him with their hands. Kane blocks him off at the ramp, so he heads towards the set-up table near the steps, and tries to fend the Big Red Machine off with that – this is when Show comes careering in, so Gabriel drops the table and athletically leaps up on to the crowd barricade (no-one wants to interfere with a spot, so they all withdraw their hands) and runs along it, getting away once again! Show and Kane chase after him, but now he leaps from the barricade to the ring steps, and heads up to the apron. From there, he sees Kane and Big Show behind him, so he leaps for the ASAI MOONSAULT… BUT THEY CATCH HIM!!! The crowd roars with delight as Gabriel struggles like a fish out of water, but the big men have a grip on him, and they carry him over to the table once again… but the South African boots Kane away, then slips out of Show’s hands to land on the table! Show turns around, and Gabriel is now above Show’s height for once, so he starts with a stiff right hand, then spins for a Heel Kick – right to the stomach – then leaps up for a shock Hurricanrana… NO! Show can’t be thrown with it, and he pulls Gabriel back up for the POWERBOMB, RIGHT BY THE TABLE… BUT SUDDENLY, HEATH SLATER DIVES IN WITH A CHOP BLOCK, BRINGING SHOW CRASHING DOWN AS GABRIEL PERFORMS AN ACCIDENTAL SEATED SENTON!!!

Slater pulls Gabriel back up, and the South African breathes a sigh of relief, only for Kane to come hurtling towards them… BUT THEY PULL OFF AN AMAZING DOUBLE FLAPJACK, DUMPING HIM FACE-FIRST ONTO THE OUTSIDE FLOOR!!! The crowd groans with that impact, and Kane’s face is wrecked with pain – so Gabriel and Slater exchange words, and pull the Big Red Machine back to his feet, before they try to lug him towards the table! Nearby, the Big Show is on all fours, trying to recover after his head hit the floor, but the focus is on the Tag Team Champions as they lay Kane on the table, and Gabriel heads up to the crowd barricade to eliminate the first man. A few fans boo him, but he ignores them, and crouches, preparing himself… BUT KANE SITS UP!!! The crowd goes wild for the Big Red Monster’s trademark, and now he rolls off the table, before he knocks Gabriel off the barricade with a stinging uppercut! The South African loses his footing on the barricade, and slumps off it to the outside floor, narrowly missing the table, and Slater boots Kane in the gut… only for the bigger man to snarl, and hoist Slater up – SIDEWALK SLAM ON THE OUTSIDE FLOOR!!! Slater’s spine gets bent to a nasty angle there, and as he writhes in agony, Kane roars for Big Show to get up. The World’s Largest Athlete does just that, though rather lethargically, and staggers over to where Kane is yanking Slater up by his hair. The One Man Rock Band is too disorientated to fight back, and now Kane grabs the Tag Team Champion with TWO hands by the throat, looking to put an emphatic mark on this… but Justin Gabriel climbs on to the table, and as Kane looks up – BAM!!! Gabriel STRIKES with a huge Roundhouse Kick, knocking the Big Red Machine down to his knees!!!

Slater quickly takes the window of opportunity, booting Kane down to the floor, but now they have to deal with the Big Show, fully recovered! The World’s Largest Athlete sets his targets on Gabriel, still standing on the table, and he throws that KNOCKOUT PUNCH – BUT NO! Gabriel leapfrogs Show with the aid of the table’s height, and lands on the ring steps! Show turns around, stunned, and Gabriel boots him square between the eyes, sending him back towards the table… AND SLATER CAPITALISES WITH E-MINOR… NOOOOOO!!! Big Show instinctively GRABS hold of Slater’s arms around his neck – and just HAULS him up into the Military Press like some superhuman being… BEFORE HE HURLS HIM INTO GABRIEL, HIS OWN TAG TEAM PARTNER, AND KNOCKS THE SOUTH AFRICAN FLYING OFF THE STEPS!!! The crowd can’t believe what they’ve just seen, as the replays show again and again that ridiculous feat of strength from the World’s Largest Athlete! Gabriel and Slater lie in a heap, both their faces scrunched in pain, and it’s Slater who manages to crawl away, his fall somewhat cushioned by Gabriel’s body. Kane is up again, and he joins his tag team partner in picking up a man each, before they fling them into the ring. Gabriel looks too bruised to move, but Slater manages to stand up, stumbling to the edge of the ring and using the top rope to stay upright. The big men clamber into the ring, and Slater instinctively, and stupidly, throws a punch in Kane’s direction… but the Big Red Machine catches and CRUSHES Slater’s hand in a vicegrip, before he raises his right hand for the famous taunt, sending the crowd wild! Show tells him to “WAIT!” however, and beckons to be sent the One Man Rock Band, so Kane shoves him towards the World’s Largest Athlete – KNOCKOUT PUNCH TO SLATER!!! The Tag Team Champion gets BATTERED with that hit, and now he stumbles into the grip of Kane one more time… CHOKESLAM, STRAIGHT TO HELL!!!

The crowd shows their appreciation for the damage dealt to Slater, and now the One Man Rock Band is motionless, though who wouldn’t be? Show and Kane turn to find Gabriel… but the South African has vanished! The behemoths look to ringside, where Gabriel is holding his ribs a little tenderly, and Kane and Show immediately climb from the ring to take him on. Gabriel sees them and holds up his hands, unwilling to fight, taking a few tentative strides towards the ring steps. Kane tells Show he’ll handle it, and moves in… BUT GABRIEL’S PLAYING POSSUM, AND HE PULLS OFF A DROP TOE HOLD, DRIVING KANE’S FACE INTO THE EDGE OF THE STEEL STEPS!!! THE IMPACT IS SICKENING!!! There are members of the crowd shielding their eyes, because that was one hell of an impact, and everyone is shocked, even Gabriel! Show looks at him like he’s just run over his dog, and immediately wields his right hand to deliver the deadly blow… but Gabriel darts lightly to the side, then ducks under Show’s instinctive punch – he climbs to the apron to gain some height, then leaps off… CRACK!!! MASSIVE ENZUIGIRI, RIGHT BETWEEN BIG SHOW’S EYES, AND THE BIG MAN COULD BE DOWN AND OUT!!! WHAT A HIT!!!

Gabriel slowly picks himself up – he’s practically knocked the two biggest men in the WWE unconscious in the space of twenty seconds! The South African looks to the ring and sees that Slater’s going nowhere fast, so he realises he has to finish this himself! The crowd is still in shock about what Gabriel’s just done, as the commentators and the viewers at home see some replays, and now the wide-eyed, disbelieving Justin Gabriel pulls the Big Show’s dead weight, dragging it – on to the Spanish announce table! The boos begin to return after the period of disbelief, with the South African managing somehow to shove the four hundred pounder on to the table, and then turning his attention to Kane. Slater’s still unconscious, unable to help, but so are Kane and Big Show, especially the Big Red Machine, who might need medical attention after that collision. Regardless, Gabriel only has one thing in mind, and he hoists Kane’s lifeless carcass from the steps… and lugs him ON TOP of the Big Show! The crowd begins to see what Gabriel is thinking here, as the South African rolls back into the ring, still unsure if he’s dreaming or not to be given this chance… and begins to climb to the top turnbuckle!

The crowd has almost fallen silent, so stunned are they about what Gabriel’s about to attempt. The South African perches himself tentatively on the top rope, facing the outside, and takes a deep breath. As usual, he casts that brutal, unforgiving look around the arena, and even shoots a look back at Slater… before he stands up. There’s a few seconds where no-one says a word, and then Gabriel puts himself in the record books. He raises his arms high, takes another long breath, and mutters “My name is Justin Gabriel,” to himself, before he crouches…

…AND LAUNCHES WITH THE 450 SPLASH, DRIVING THE BIG SHOW AND KANE THROUGH THE SPANISH ANNOUNCE TABLE IN ONE GIGANTIC IMPACT!!!!! THE ST. PETE TIMES FORUM JUST SAW SOMETHING UNBELIEVABLE!!! THE BELL RINGS!!!

WINNERS AND STILL WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: JUSTIN GABRIEL AND HEATH SLATER VIA TABLE KO AT 13:03

*END OF DAYS*

Tony Chimel:
Ladies and gentlemen… er – here are your winners – and s-still your WWE Tag Team Champions… J-Justin Gabriel, and Heath Slater!

The Corre’s music plays, and slowly, the boos roll in, but they’re outdone by the “HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!” chants coming from the adult males. Justin Gabriel is strewn in the wreckage of what USED to be the Spanish announce table, his eyes unfocused after that RIDICULOUS spot, while Big Show and Kane are completely unconscious. Jack Doan crouches by the three men and immediately calls for help.

Josh Matthews:
I… I… there are no words for what we just saw from Justin Gabriel. Watch this replay.

Indeed, we get a replay – several replays – by which time Doan has a host of medics and referees to help him, most of whom are trying to wake Kane and Big Show up. Gabriel, meanwhile, is holding his ribs, head rested against the barricade but slowly he’s coming around, realising what’s he done, but unable to smile because he’s in so much pain. In the ring, Heath Slater is on his feet, although he stumbles, and he blinks several times as he sees what happened below him – no-one’s quite sure what to do.

Josh Matthews:
Justin Gabriel – that 450 Splash off the top turnbuckle… through the Spanish announce table, taking out both the Big Show and Kane… folks, in all my short time as an announcer for the WWE, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

Matt Striker:
We saw Justin Gabriel go way beyond what we thought he was capable of tonight, Josh. We thought the end was nigh when the Big Show knocked out Heath Slater, and it was – but none of us were expecting Big Show and Kane to be… well, laid out in this, this debris. It’s surreal.

Booker T:
You know, we got ourselves some seriously deservin’ champs after dat performance, but dayum, Justin Gabriel brought a whole new meanin’ to da word ‘extreme’ with dat 450 Splash, dat was something else, dawg. I – I’m still a little shocked, too.

Slowly, Heath Slater exits the ring, and pulls his tag team partner up to his feet. Both of them are pretty dizzy, but they keep each other up like true tag team partners, and Slater leads them over to ringside, where the timekeeper hands them their belts without interest and goes to help the medics with Show and Kane. The focus is mostly on the big men, still only just bordering on consciousness, but we cut away to see Gabriel and Slater on the ramp, breathing heavily but victorious. Slater raises his title high, while Gabriel doesn’t know how to feel. They hobble back up the ramp to a few boos, but most of us are still looking at the two men in Gabriel’s wreckage.

Josh Matthews:
Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater have retained their titles, folks… but at what cost?

We fade very briefly backstage to see JOHN CENA backstage; the camera is far away, more of a ‘spot’ than an actual segment. As with The Miz earlier, it reminds us that the WWE Title match is still to come, but we’re not going to talk to him, with the sombre atmosphere hanging over the arena after what just happened to Show and Kane. Regardless, we have a few seconds of Cena in the distance talking to a backstage worker, then we fade away… ironically, to hear him talk in an advert…

---

We open with John Cena, sitting against a black background.

John Cena:
Being a WWE Superstar is hard work.

Wade Barrett beating Cena with a chair. And now Randy Orton sits in Cena’s seat.

Randy Orton:
It’s not an easy job.

Orton considers tapping out to the Walls of Jericho at the end of last year. Edge now occupies the chair.

Edge:
Sure, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, but it comes with a price.

Edge reeling back, bloodied in some match. Daniel Bryan shrugs in the seat.

Daniel Bryan:
Sometimes… sometimes it’s nice to have a break. Let loose.

Bryan holds his arms high in victory. Rey Mysterio scratches his head.

Rey Mysterio:
What I could really use is a good – party.

A sweeping shot of Los Angeles follows that.

John Cena:
So it’s a damn good thing someone thought of Summerslam.

Fireworks. Beaches. Sunbathing. Cheering crowds.

Edge:
Summerslam and L.A. are a better mix than peanut butter and jelly. Oh, I’m serious.

Now Hollywood; movie stars, guided tours, directors flashing smiles for the cameras.

Daniel Bryan:
Summerslam in Hollywood is amazing. Everything’s better in Hollywood.

Bryan making his triumphant return at last year’s event, then Mysterio with fans at Summerslam Axxess.

Rey Mysterio:
It’s hard to beat. Sun, competition, the beaches, the location, the atmosphere. Perfect.

Orton raises the Legend Killer pose at Summerslam 2010, then it’s him sitting in the chair. He smirks, then shrugs.

Randy Orton:
In one line? It’s the biggest party of the summer.

We sweep through some more crazy fans roaring and cheering at Summerslams past, until we rest on the logo.

Narrator:
Summerslam 2011… a FIVE HOUR spectacular!



WWE SUMMERSLAM – A FIVE HOUR SPECTACULAR ON PAY-PER-VIEW
LIVE FROM THE STAPLES CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
14TH AUGUST 2011 | THE BIGGEST PARTY OF THE SUMMER

---

When we return, we’re with Josh Matthews, who is smiling politely.

Josh Matthews:
Folks, we’ll give you updates on the conditions of the Big Show and Kane when they become available, but on a lighter note, this August is the biggest party of the summer – Summerslam is going for an unprecedented five hours, making it a marathon of top-quality sports entertainment. It’s not something you want to miss.

Matt Striker:
Summerslam is one of my favourite pay-per-views, Josh; so much history, but so much to look forward to as well.

Josh Matthews:
And folks, three years ago at Summerslam, a young man holding the World Heavyweight Championship for the very first time was planning to defend it, and defend it he did. It was what transpired after Summerslam that set the tone for the rest of his career. Let’s take a look at one of the key moments in the life – of CM Punk.

We sweep away once more.

---

*VIDEO PACKAGE*

Jerry Lawler:
Punk wins! Punk wins! Punk wins!

We go straight into a famous moment; Edge is on the mat on Raw, having been hit with the GTS and having his World Title wrenched out his grasp by the former “Mister Money In The Bank” CM Punk. The Straight-Edge Superstar lofts his new title into the air to masses of cheering fans.

CM Punk:
I’m gonna say this one more time, and I’m gonna say it real clear.

Punk across the ring from JBL in the ‘drinking contest’ promo not long afterwards in 2008, frowning at Layfield.

CM Punk:
This World Championship is around my waist because I’ve earned it.

JBL’s sour face.

CM Punk:
I’m not willing to compromise my morals, my beliefs, because they’ve got me this far… they’ve made me extremely successful; I AM – WORLD – HEAVYWEIGHT – CHAMPION.

Punk toppling JBL at Summerslam and holding his title high again.

And now to ‘UNFORGIVEN 2008’, the fateful evening, with Randy Orton and Legacy beating down CM Punk and Kofi Kingston. We see Orton PUNT Punk in the skull.

Jim Ross:
MY GAWD! Oh – oh my GAWD, Orton just punted –

Randy Orton:
Now THAT! That right there… was IMPRESSIVE!

When Orton’s done screaming at the rest of Legacy, we see it again and again, in slow motion, that same brutal impact…

CM Punk at the Slammy Awards late last year.

CM Punk:
Backstage somewhere, there is another individual… that has wronged me. I just want you to know… that there will come the day – that I get even.

…and now to Raw in 2011, Punk putting on the Nexus armband. And now leading the New Nexus down the ramp.

Michael Cole:
And you know what they say about pay back… CM Punk has waited over two years for this… and look at this!

Orton fighting off the Nexus, but succumbing to a Mason Ryan clothesline, played again in slow motion like all good WWE video packages.

Jerry Lawler:
Oh, this isn’t fair at all, Randy Orton doesn’t stand a chance here!

Michael Cole:
Come on, King, two and half years ago Orton cost Punk the World Championship!

Jerry Lawler:
Well why don’t you let CM Punk do something about it instead of his henchmen?

Orton lurching forward and making Punk bleed, but the Nexus beat him down and give him to Punk for a vengeful GTS. He beats the mat mockingly beside him.

CM Punk:
2008… Randall… you decided… to punt ME in the skull.

Randy Orton:
The only mistake that I made… was that I should have kicked you HARDER.

The two men exchanging blows – that infamous punt yet again.

CM Punk:
As long as you and I are on the same show, as long as you and I breathe the same air, you will never be WWE Champion… again.

Punk’s numerous attacks on the Viper.

Randy Orton:
I’ll put you in a rehabilitation facility… where your only goal in life is to SOMEDAY… walk again…

Punk on his knees, falling deeper and deeper into insanity.

CM Punk:
RANDAAAALL!

Now ‘WRESTLEMANIA 27’, Orton hitting the Super RKO to pin the Second City Saint despite suffering with a knee injury all match…

…and to Raw the next night, where I take over.

CM Punk:
My business with Randall Keith Orton... is not over. And until the day I finally do to him – what he did to me, I don’t plan to stop my pursuit. And I will demolish any man who stands – in my way.

Punk making Mark Henry tap in seven minutes.

CM Punk:
So Randall, even though you beat me last night? Until the day I obtain retribution... you will remain – UN – FOR – GIVEN.

Punk rushes to the ring in the main event, dumping Orton with a GTS after the bell.

Randy Orton:
I am having... the worst insomnia right now.

Now Orton, pacing on Raw.

Randy Orton:
Every night – nothing. I can’t get to sleep, no matter what I try. And each time I think I’m drifting off – a face appears in front of me. That face... haunts me. So I can’t sleep. My eyes just can’t stay closed. It’s the face... of C... M... Punk.

Punk flashing a smirk after he costs Orton against The Miz.

CM Punk:
You say... you have insomnia? Well luckily, I know just the guy who’s great at putting people to sleep.

Now the shots cascade, back and forth between Orton’s RKOs, Punk’s attacks on Orton, the infamous Punt, the cruel taunts they throw at one another.

Randy Orton:
CM Punk is so wrapped up in the past that he doesn’t realise... what kind of beast he’s awakened. Awakened permanently.

CM Punk:
I want a match with you at Extreme Rules, so can I give you what I owe you there. When the whole world’s eyes turn on you. And then, once I’m done – you’ll be asleep alright, but it’ll be a nightmare. A living nightmare.

Randy Orton:
You have a decision to make. You have to weigh up how much you want retribution – versus how much you value your health.

CM Punk:
You won’t just see my face when you go to bed, Randall. Every time you step between these ropes, every time you open your curtains in the morning, every time you start your car engine, every time you kiss... your... daughter... goodnight...

“STEP IN HERE! I DARE YOU TO GET IN HERE AND SEE WHAT I DO TO YOU!!!” roars Orton in reply, raging.

CM Punk:
You’ll see the same image over and over. My hand... being raised into the air.

Randy Orton:
As it turns out, this insomnia was the best thing to happen to me in a long, long time. ‘Cause now I know exactly what I’m capable of. And I know exactly what kind of beast I am.

Orton giving Ted DiBiase a second RKO this past Monday.

CM Punk:
There will – be BLOOD.

Orton and Punk inches from the other’s face, eyes burning into the other. Slowly, we fade away…

*END VIDEO PACKAGE*

---

As we return, the bell chimes. The Spanish announce table has been completely cleared away, giving their commentators nowhere to put their notes, but they’ll survive, it’s a regular occurrence for them. Kane and Big Show are gone, and now we head to the ring to see Justin Roberts.

Justin Roberts:
The following contest is a LAST – MAN – STANDING MATCH!

A big pop goes up at that concept.

*THIS FIRE BURNS*

It’s possibly the loudest heat of the night so far for CM PUNK, who wanders slowly into view with the coldest of glares on his face. Twitching, a smirk flashes across his face and dies. He’s an unstable man, but he knows his routines, falling to a knee at the top of the ramp and hollering “IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!” at the crowd as usual.

Justin Roberts:
Introducing first… from Chicago, Illinois, weighing in tonight at two hundred and eighteen pounds… C – M – PUNK!!!

Josh Matthews:
Folks, as you saw in that footage, CM Punk is no longer that young, proud warrior from two and half years ago. He still claims to be the top of his field, but he’s become much more mentally questionable in his pursuit of ‘justice’.

Matt Striker:
Punk believes that Randy Orton still needs to be punished for his actions at Unforgiven 2008, and he won’t stop hunting the Viper until he gets that retribution. He’s a dangerous man, Josh, but so is Randy Orton, and they’re about share of the most dangerous match types in WWE history together.

Booker T:
Awwww, dis match is gonna get mean before it’s done, guys! You know what dey say, karma is a mutha, and both dese guys have got some karma to dish out ta-night!

Punk sways down to the ring, spreading his arms wide as if no-one in the arena can touch him. He clambers up the steel steps, then up to the top rope from the outside to make his usual pose, his arms spread-eagled in front of the masses in Tampa. He hops down, then runs his hands over one another, again and again; his beard is still dirty, but not at the Messiah length from 2009. His short hair is spiked, and he has a frenzied look in his eyes as he waits for his opponent.

“I HEAR VOICES IN MY HEAD…”

*VOICES*

THE TIMES FORUM GOES ABSOLUTELY NUTS!!! The red and orange lights engulf the arena, and Punk cracks an evil smile as RANDY ORTON makes his way out, furiously staring down at Punk from the get-go. This is going to get brutal quickly, as the Viper makes clear by pounding one fist into the palm of his other hand, and now he storms down the ramp, wasting little time in getting to the ring to give Punk the beating he’s been yearning for.

Justin Roberts:
And his opponent… from St. Louis, Missouri, weighing in tonight at two hundred and thirty pounds… the Viper… RANDY – OOOORTON!!!

Josh Matthews:
Now, to be clear on this, this man beat CM Punk at Wrestlemania, but by no means was their business done, guys, as we saw just now in that video.

Matt Striker:
Oh my, no, not by any means, Josh. These two men hate each other, despise what they’ve suffered from each other, and just plain want to hurt each other. We saw what Punk drove the New Nexus to do to Randy Orton, and we saw what Randy Orton was willing to do to the New Nexus to get to Punk!

Booker T:
And think about dis, dawg – Randy Orton, he puntin’ all dese guys dat CM Punk was leadin’, and dat probably cut him deep, too, y’know? I’m not sayin’ Punk cares about ‘em more than he just wants to beat da livin’ tar outta Randy, but hell, if it ain’t just another rung on dat ladder!

Punk watches Orton climb the steps with a heartless glare. The Viper steps inside the ring, forgoing the usual pose for the fans tonight, and instead keeping his eyes locked in contact with his nemesis across the ring. The two men look primed to beat the crap out of each other, which is promising, and referee Scott Armstrong may have a task on his hands. Regardless, he waits for Punk to take off his t-shirt, and as it gets thrown to ringside, he calls for the bell. War has begun.



The bell chimes, and for just a moment, the two men stand motionless… and then Orton bares his teeth as he surges forward, driving Punk into the corner and firing away with right hands! The crowd immediately begins to cheer as Punk gets hammered by the Viper, who lets his anger out, then takes a few steps out the corner so he can LEAP in for a Corner Clothesline… NOBODY HOME! Punk escapes the corner, leaving Orton to slam head-first into the turnbuckle, and as he wobbles back into the centre of the ring, Punk strikes with a kick to the side – then the other side – and now his stomach, three times, before he hits the ropes… AND WALKS RIGHT INTO AN ORTON CLOTHESLINE!!! The crowd pops again as Punk goes down, but the adrenaline rushes through him to urge him back up, and Orton throws another clothesline – but Punk ducks, THEN SCORES WITH A BIG CLOTHESLINE OF HIS OWN!!! This time, the dazed Orton stays down, holding his head, and Punk screams for Armstrong to “COUNT!”…

ONE…

But Orton gets up, furious! The Viper – and much of the arena – is stunned that Punk wanted the referee to count at such an early venture, but it’s all part of the mind games, as the Second City Saint proves with a cold, devilish smirk. Orton is less than pleased, though, and he goes right for his opponent again – Punk forces a lock-up, however, again surprising Orton with his bizarre tactics… only for the Viper to force Punk all the way back to the turnbuckle! Orton lets go of his opponent, then starts to blast him with boots to the gut, forcing him down to a seated position… and Orton just stomps away, really letting Punk have it in the early going! The Viper’s eyes are wide with rage, and finally, he moves away to allow Punk to get up – no! As the Chicago native starts to find his way up, Orton charges back in again and CRUSHES him into the turnbuckle with a knee to the side of the head! Punk collapses again the buckle, wincing in pain, and now the referee begins to count, as Orton tries to restrain himself from brutalising Punk more in the meantime…

ONE…

TWO…

Punk grabs the top rope and yanks himself up; Orton is like a coiled spring, and he immediately looks to attack again, but Punk stops him with a surprise kick to the gut… BEFORE HE HURLS HIM SHOULDER-FIRST INTO THE RING POST!!! The crowd groans with the impact, as Orton detaches himself from between the turnbuckles, and now the Second City Saint is in control, pulling Orton up with a front facelock. From there he starts dropping elbows on to the top of Orton’s back, trying to wear him down, before he whips him across the ring – Orton rebounds, but he gets caught with another boot to the gut, before Punk hooks his arms… DOUBLE UNDERHOOK BACKBREAKER! Orton writhes on the canvas, and Punk falls forward a little after hitting the move, but he shoves himself up again. The Second City Saint grabs Orton by the head, pulls him up, and hisses something under his breath before he unleashes a big kick to the head… NO! Orton ducks under it, then smacks Punk with a European Uppercut to send him reeling over to the ropes… BEFORE HE SPRINTS ACROSS THE RING FOR THE CLOTHESLINE, TAKING THEM BOTH OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE OUTSIDE!!!

Both Punk and Orton clatter to the outside now, and it’s the Viper who’s up first, powered by adrenaline, and he yanks Punk up by his hair… before he SLAMS him head-first into the announce table! Punk reels off the desk to the floor, blinking out the pain, but Orton gives him no respite, kicking him across the arena floor! Punk tries to escape, crawling towards the steps, but Orton grabs him by the head and slams him again, THIS TIME FACE-FIRST INTO THE TOP STEP!!! We saw how devastating the steps can be in the last match, and now Punk is laid out, his head resting against the steel as Orton climbs up them and goes for the KNEE DROP… NO!!! Punk moves at the last second to avoid the move, meaning Orton’s knee hits the steel awkwardly – the Viper staggers off the steps, falling to a knee, and Punk immediately capitalises, charging after him… STEP-UP ENZUIGIRI KNOCKS ORTON DOWN!!! The clumsy but effective move puts the Viper on the deck, eyes unfocused as Armstrong begins to count, with Punk looking to find his feet too, breathing just as heavily…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

Punk is up, but Orton looks disorientated…

FOUR…

FIVE…

But now Orton staggers back up! The crowd cheers, but Punk snarls and charges back in… ONLY FOR ORTON TO USE HIS MOMENTUM AGAINST HIM, SENDING HIM CAREERING INTO THE RING POST!!! Punk gets clocked and goes down in a heap, but Orton doesn’t want a count, he just wants to punish his opponent, and he grabs a handful of Punk’s hair to pull him up again. The Second City Saint is barely aware of where he is after that, but Orton makes things worse, hitting a European Uppercut, and another, to keep Punk moving about ringside. Punk’s steps are misaimed and unstable, but the vicious Orton is right on his tail, slamming his head into the crowd barricade several times, then pushing him away… ONLY TO LEAP FORWARD WITH A NASTY FALLING CLOTHESLINE, MEANING PUNK’S HEAD BOUNCES OFF THE OUTSIDE FLOOR!!! Punk’s pain is Orton’s gain, as this fires the Viper up even more, and he twitches like a madman, roaring “C’MON!” to the cheering crowd! Punk, meanwhile, rolls to all fours, and has to use the ring apron to try to stand up. Orton looks under that same apron, however, and PULLS OUT A STEEL CHAIR!!! The crowd roars their approval, and Orton immediately puts it to use, CANING it off Punk’s back as soon as he gets up!!!

Punk staggers to the side, face wrecked with pain, but Orton follows him, wielding the chair again… but Punk is getting desperate, and he rolls back into the ring to get away! Orton slides in after him, and when they’re up, the Viper SWINGS – DUCKED BY PUNK! The Second City Saint avoids the headshot, then spins on his heel – ROUNDHOUSE KICK TO THE CHAIR, SMASHING IN INTO ORTON’S FACE AND TAKING HIM DOWN!!! Punk falls to his knees, trying to recover from the hits he’s taken so far, but Orton is flat-out, having taken the full force of the chair…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

Once again, Punk is the first man to his feet…

FOUR…

But Orton stirs!

FIVE…

The Viper rolls to his knees…

SIX…

…then wobbles back up! The crowd cheers, but Punk has the chair in hand, and he looks to deliver his own shot… he slams the butt of the chair into Orton’s gut – THEN UNLEASHES A STINGING SHOT TO HIS BACK TO TAKE HIM DOWN AGAIN!!! Groans go up around the arena as Orton yells out in pain, and now Punk drops the chair, grabbing Orton in a front facelock and sending him to the corner with an Irish whip. Orton hits the buckle with a dazed expression, and things get worse – SHINING WIZARD CONNECTS FROM PUNK! The Second City Saint finally cracks that sick smile again, before he leads Orton towards the chair on the mat for the BULLDOG… BUT ORTON SHOVES HIM AWAY! Punk spins – AND ORTON FLOORS HIM WITH THE LOU THESZ PRESS, BEFORE HE STARTS THROWING RIGHT HANDS LIKE A MADMAN!!! The crowd LOVES it, and Orton won’t stop hitting his opponent until he’s satisfied, getting up with a furious expression. He puts a hand on the top rope to steady himself, then watches Punk struggling back up. The Viper measures his opponent, and moves in for the Inverted Headlock Backbreaker… but as he hooks up the move, Punk spins out of it, then heads for the ropes – but so does Orton… DOUBLE KNOCKDOWN!!! Both men collide in mid-air as they each go for a Crossbody, and now the crowd chants “RANDY! RANDY!” in support of their favourite, who holds his ribs as he tries to find his feet…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

Punk rolls from the ring…

FIVE…

…so Orton does, too! They’re at adjacent angles, and as Orton moves in, Punk scales the ring steps… AND TACKLES THE VIPER TO THE FLOOR! This time it’s Punk’s turn to deal some frenzied damage, throwing punches with both hands, and going red in the face from the hatred running through him! Inevitably, the crowd responds with heat for the Second City Saint, who breathes heavily as he relents, and now Orton puts a hand on the barricade, trying to find his feet. Punk sends him reeling with a cracking kick to the ribs, however, and when the Viper tries to get up once again, Punk charges up from behind and delivers the BULLDOG, driving Orton face-first into the outside flooring! The crowd groans with the impact there, and with the ring steps nearby, Punk decides to hit one more move before the count, pulling Orton back up. The Viper falls to a knee again, so Punk has to strain to keep him up… BEFORE HE THROWS ORTON INTO THE STEEEEPS… NO!!! Orton stops himself at the last second, then turns around to see Punk charging in… SNAP POWERSLAM!!! SNAP POWERSLAM INTO THE STEEL STEPS!!! PUNK GETS LAID OUT ON THE STEEL!!! BRUTAL!!! The whole arena groans in awe of that extreme move, and Orton staggers back into the crowd barricade in shock, barely believing he pulled that off! The fans nearby pat him on the back in support, but Punk lies unmoving on the steps, his whole body at an awkward angle before he slumps off and lands on the floor. Scott Armstrong is on the outside now, making the count…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

Finally, Punk shows some life, his arms floundering towards the apron…

SIX…

SEVEN…

He begins to pull himself up…

EIGHT…

..and does it! The crowd sighs in frustration, but no-one is more pissed than Randy Orton, who goes back on offence with a clubbing blow to the back. Punk falls to his knees again, but Orton pulls him back up, and throws him into the ring. The Second City Saint struggles back to his feet, then turns to Orton coming straight at him, and throws a kick to the Viper’s side. Orton reels back, but cops another shot, and another, allowing Punk to spin for a Heel Kick, and a Mongolian Chop, and a Knife Edge Chop (“WOOO!” cries the front row but few others), before he winds back, and knocks Orton towards the ropes with a square right hand! The Viper rebounds, then walks back into Punk’s grip… TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER! The intricacy of that move leaves Punk a little fatigued, but looking down at his enemy, he finds the cruel desire he needs to spur him on, and he heads out to the apron. Orton desperately looks for that chair, and slowly, he gets his fingertips around it, so he rises to his feet with a weapon… BUT PUNK SPRINGBOARDS, AND TAKES THEM BOTH DOWN WITH THE SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE!!!

The chair clatters back to the floor, and now both men are on the deck! Armstrong begins to count, but Punk stumbles up and stomps on Orton’s neck to break the count immediately before it really goes anywhere. Punk turns his eyes to the chair as well, and picks it up – before he rams it in between the top and second turnbuckles! There it sits menacingly, and Punk nods with a hungry look in his eyes, before he turns and calls “Randall…” to the Viper as he uses the ropes to try to get up. Punk talks some more trash, furthering his insane persona, and now Orton gets up to fire a stinging right hand in response to that! Punk stumbles back, but comes back with a shot of his own… as does Orton – and now they exchange punches, with each shot becoming more laboured as the men tire in this harsh match-up… the crowd cheers for Orton, boos for Punk, and soon it’s just a matter of Orton, then Punk, Orton, then Punk… Orton… Punk… Orton… Punk… Orton… Orton… Orton… and the Viper presses his opponent back to the ropes, sending him across the ring and bending down – but Punk kicks him between the eyes! Orton flies upright, blinking out the pain, and now Punk capitalises, grabbing him by the neck to send him ROCKETING INTO THE CORNER… WHERE HIS HEAD GOES RIGHT THROUGH THE STEEL CHAIR IN BETWEEN THE TURNBUCKLES!!! WHAT AN IMPACT!!!

We see several replays of that, each one more brutal than the last, and when we head back to the ring, Punk is draped over the top rope, taking a breather. Orton is still trapped in the turnbuckles, eyes glazed over, and slowly, his exhausted frame slumps out of there. The Viper’s hand rests on the middle rope, and for a moment it seems he might find his feet, but then he collapses again, and the referee has no choice but to count him…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

Slowly, he begins to use those ropes…

SIX…

SEVEN…

EIGHT…

…and he’s UP, to the delight of the Tampa fans! Punk looks to the ceiling in frustration, then flashes a bizarre, sick smile again and goes to meet the Viper. As if running on the back-burners, Orton lashes out with an instinctive right hand, catching Punk off-guard, but he comes back with a stinging kick to the side, and Orton reels away. The Viper is still feeling the effects of the chair in the turnbuckles, which has now fallen to the outside. Punk grabs him to take advantage of his exhaustion, sending him across the ring to the ropes – Orton rebounds and Punk bends down… CRACK! Orton levels the Second City Saint with a rifling kick between the eyes, and Punk crashes backwards against the ropes, trying to keep himself upright. It’s becoming a bit of a slugfest here, but Orton changes that when Punk staggers back to meet him… INVERTED HEADLOCK BACKBREAKER CONNECTS THIS TIME! The crowd pops as both men go down, Orton landing on all fours, and the Viper winces, still selling the chair hit from before. It looks like Scott Armstrong is about to start the count, but Orton struggles back up and tells him not to bother, hissing for Punk to get to his feet too. Eventually, the Chicago native does just that, but Orton catches him with the Snap Powerslam again! Both men fight their fatigue to get up once again, but Orton deals his opponent a clothesline… and then another… but Punk stays down this time, which means it’s time for Orton to FIRE UP! The crowd goes wild as the Viper hits the deck, pounding the mat like a MADMAN… but Punk rolls smartly from the ring!

Boos ring around the arena as Punk smarts, holding his jaw with a frown, and heads around ringside to recover. Orton, however, isn’t happy to see him get away, and storms from the ring – he grabs Punk from behind, and just HURLS him into the crowd barricade! Another round of cheers go up as Punk collapses in a heap, but Orton doesn’t want a count, he wants to make Punk suffer… because he grabs the steel ring steps and drags them slowly towards his opponent! The commentators start to talk about Orton’s mental state, as the Viper now grabs Punk with a deranged expression and lugs his torso onto the barricade… before sliding him forward with the front facelock, and preparing to improvise the “ROPE-HUNG” DDT ON TO THE STEEL STEPS... BUT PUNK DROPS HIS LEGS OFF THE BARRICADE! The crowd groans in disappointment, and suddenly Punk takes advantage… HE HOISTS ORTON ONTO HIS SHOULDERS – THEN DROPS HIM WITH THE GTS… BUT HE DOESN’T RAISE THE KNEE, INSTEAD LETTING ORTON’S HEAD CANNON OFF THE STEEL STEPS!!! “OHHHH!” cries the crowd in unison, and for a moment Orton reels backwards, as if he’s going to stay upright, but he soon collapses to the ground, with an exhausted Punk joining him down there. The Times Forum tries to cheer Orton up, but the Viper isn’t moving as Scott Armstrong begins to count…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

Punk uses the crowd barricade to find his feet…

SIX…

…and now he smirks, sensing the win…

SEVEN…

EIGHT…

Orton’s on his knees…

NINE…

…AND HE MAKES IT TO HIS FEET!!! The crowd sighs in relief, but Punk snarls, and moves towards Orton – but the Viper kicks him in the gut, then finds the bent chair from before lying nearby, so he hastily puts it in his hands and just SLAMS it against Punk’s left shoulder! A big groan echoes around the arena, as does that impact, and Punk staggers away, wincing as he tries to put some distance between him and Orton, but again the Viper refuses to let the chance go, lethargically chasing after him. Orton’s still considerably dazed from the GTS, so he misses a swing, giving Punk a chance to pull himself up to the apron… BUT ORTON BLASTS HIM IN THE KNEE WITH THE CHAIR! The nasty impact has the crowd groaning again, while Punk falls to a knee, gasping in pain. Orton rolls back into the ring and throws the chair down, then reaches through the ropes and GRABS Punk by the hair, yanking him up for the front facelock! The crowd pops with a big approving cheer, and now Orton viciously pulls Punk inside the ring, making sure he’s level with that mangled steel chair on the floor, before he spits “HERE’S your nightmare!” AND DROPS PUNK WITH THE ROPE-HUNG DDT ON TO THE SHARP EDGE OF THE STEEL CHAIR!!! The clang from the impact echoes around the Times Forum, and Orton uses the adrenaline flowing through him to urge him back to his feet… and when Punk rolls over, we can see that he’s bleeding a little, taking a cut to the forehead in the process! Scott Armstrong looks concerned for the now-unmoving Second City Saint, while Orton rests against the turnbuckle, fighting his own urges to lie down…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

SIX…

Punk’s arms flail for the ropes…

SEVEN...

He finds a knee…

EIGHT…

NINE…

…then shoves himself desperately up to his feet! Orton looks to the ceiling in frustration, and Punk touches deftly at his forehead, watching the blood drip off his fingers with a cruel smile. He turns his evil gaze to Orton and nods his head, but the Viper just seethes, and charges in to take Punk off-guard… but the Second City Saint raises an ELBOW, which Orton collides with, and the Viper stumbles back to the ropes. This allows Punk to take a breath, before he charges across the ring to clothesline Orton over and out of the ring! Orton crashes to the outside to another groan from the crowd, but he desperately tries to find his feet, rather than risk being counted down. He lays an arm across the one remaining announce table, where the commentators are questioning the competitors’ resolve and general health at this point, and finally, the Viper turns to see CM Punk hitting the ropes to sprint across the ring… SUICIDE DIIIIIIIVVVVEEEE… NOBODY HOME!!! PUNK CRASHES INTO THE ANNOUNCE TABLE COVER!!!

The crowd groans as Punk bounces off the announce desk, nearly wiping out all three commentators, who are now on their feet in awe – Orton, having dived out the way, is on the outside floor as we see a couple of replays of Punk’s horrific crash and burn there, and now the Second City Saint looks unsure of his surroundings! Orton shoves himself up, though one of his knees wobble on his way there, and as a lethargic Punk detaches from the announce desk, he lands uncertainly on his feet and wanders towards Orton… WHERE THE VIPER DELIVERS THE R – K – O!!! The crowd ERUPTS as Orton drills Punk into the floor, and the Viper immediately leaps to his feet, throwing his fists about and raging with adrenaline! The noise in the St. Pete Times Forum is just huge, with several “RKO! RKO!” chants ringing about the place, and now Orton slumps against the apron, watching the slightly-bloodied Punk try to find his footing…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

SIX…

Punk has an arm on the announce desk, but his eyes are unfocused…

SEVEN…

EIGHT…

…he stumbles, but he’s up to a knee…

NINE…

...and somehow, he finds the resolve to get up before the fatal ten count! The crowd can’t believe it, and neither can Orton, prompting the Viper to sting Punk with a European Uppercut when he turns around, sending him staggering and wobbling away again! Punk finds himself stepping exhaustedly into the mess of ringside wires, with Justin Roberts and Tony Chimel darting out of the way to avoid him – Orton follows him in, however, and a hard fist to the temple has the Second City Saint collapsing on to the timekeeper’s table! The timekeeper himself scarpers, unwilling to become collateral damage, and Orton continues to advance on Punk, grabbing him by the head to maybe take him back towards the ring… BUT PUNK LASHES OUT, AND ORTON GOES DOWN LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES… THE RING BELL!!! PUNK CAUGHT HIM WITH THE RING BELL, RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES… AND ORTON’S CUT!!! WE HAVE BLOOD!!!

Punk can’t keep a devilish grin off his face, despite his heavy breathing, and as Orton tries to crawl away, wincing, Punk smells the non-proverbial blood in the water, beckoning for the Viper to get up again. Slowly, though Scott Armstrong’s count reaches five in the process, Orton finds his feet, and tries to move towards the ring… BUT PUNK BLUDGEONS HIM DOWN WITH THE RING BELL AGAIN, THIS TIME IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD!!! The crowd groans with the impact as Orton hits the ground with a thud, but Punk STILL isn’t done, dropping the bell momentarily to pull Orton up and just shove him back under the bottom rope. This momentum allows Orton to totter back to his feet, but he has to grab the top rope to stay upright, by which point Punk has that bell in his hand, and he’s in the ring, kicking the bent chair from before out through the ropes… Orton turns – AND THE RING BELL MEETS ORTON’S SKULL A THIRD TIME!!! Orton now has a streaky, more prominent crimson mask as he falls, and Punk symbolically taps the bell with his fingertips, suggesting the end, before he throws the weapon to the side and pulls Orton to his feet… HE’S THINKING GO TO SLEEP, WITH THE VIPER UP TO HIS SHOULDERS… BUT ORTON SOMEHOW ESCAPES OUT THE BACK, THEN HOOKS PUNK UP, AND SCORES WITH THE OLYMPIC SLAM!!!

The St. Pete Times Forum gets to its feet in jubilation as Orton avoids the final punishment there, but both men are down – both bleeding, both in pain, both breathing heavily, but both still in this match. Orton looks to change that, however, as he rolls to his feet slowly and tells Armstrong not to count – the referee looks perplexed, and Orton rolls Punk’s body across the ring a little to make sure the count stops. The commentators wonder what he’s doing, but we’re about to find out, because the Viper has THAT look in his eyes, and with Punk on all fours in the corner of the ring – is history about to repeat itself? Randy Orton heads for the opposite corner, using the top rope on either side to restrain himself as he measures Punk up – by now, the crowd has figured out what’s about to happen, and they’re on their feet in their thousands to enjoy it. Punk’s blood is smattered across his forehead, but it’s nothing compared to the red rain on Orton’s, coupled with his sadistic smirk as he prepares to beat Punk in the most vicious way possible – could this be the MOMENT Orton was talking about?!? Orton seethes, baring his teeth, then decides to kill things off, charging across the ring for the INFAMOUS PUNT… NOOOOO!!! PUNK LAUNCHES TO HIS FEET, SCOOPS ORTON UP MID-RUN… AND DRILLS HIM WITH THE GO – TO – SLEEP!!! The entire arena gets deflated as Orton lies flat out now, surely unconscious, and Punk falls to his knees beside him, his insane side coming into play as he wipes the blood from his forehead and rubs it on his palm. Scott Armstrong begins to count, as the crowd sits in silence as the end beckons…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

Punk stands up to exclude himself from the count…

FIVE…

SIX…

…and now he raises an arm in celebration…

SEVEN…

EIGHT…

…but Orton stirs, rolling up…

NINE…

…AND THROWING HIMSELF AT THE ROPES TO PUT TWO BOOTS TO THE FLOOR!!! The crowd goes WILD, unable to believe that Orton is still going, refusing to be beaten and endure all those nightmares Punk promised would follow a loss! The Viper drapes both arms over the top rope, simply to keep himself upright. Slowly, he turns around and tries to wobble his way uncertainly back towards his opponent… but Punk comes alive, furious, and drives him all the way back to the turnbuckle! Orton collides with the buckle and gasps, but he’s dealt with worse so far, although Punk is relentless – the Second City Saint strikes with a few nasty kicks, though they’ve lost a little of their edge, then forces his arms into action to lift Orton up to the top rope. The Viper fires back with a right hand or two as Punk steps up to the second rope, and the crowd begins to cheer… BAM! But Punk targets the cut on Orton’s forehead with a closed fist to stop the comeback! A groan goes up as Orton’s face scrunches in pain, and now Punk puts his hands on the Viper’s shoulders… BEFORE USING ANY ENERGY HE HAS LEFT FOR A LETHARGIC ATTEMPT AT THE SUPER FRANKENSTEINER… AND HE CONNECTS!!!

Orton’s spine hits the canvas in agony now, despite the non-fluidity in Punk’s execution this late on in the contest, and somehow the Second City Saint finds the will to push himself back up and to the outside apron. He clambers up to the top turnbuckle, spiked hair now matted against his forehead in a mix of sweat and blood, and he has to sweep a few strains from his eyes before he can prepare his move. Orton looks just as tired, but the referee’s count of six is enough to get him up to his knees, with Punk standing up to fly off as the Viper stands to receive him… CM Punk launches – AND RANDY ORTON DEALS HIM THE SUPER RKO!!! RKO IN MID-AIR!!! RKO IN MID-AIR!!!

The St. Pete Times Forum is in a FRENZY!!! Punk and Orton are just laid out, not moving an inch, and we see maybe five, six replays as the commentators go nuts working through that ridiculous moment!!! We’re reliving Wrestlemania for these few pictures, but this time, Orton can’t cover Punk – he has to just make it to his feet! That looks like no easy task, however, because he’s blinking, trying to comprehend what he just pulled off for the second pay-per-view in a row! Scott Armstrong, having been too stunned to remember his office at first, now drops beside the two men to see if they’re even conscious, before remembering what he’s here for and getting to his feet for the money moment, the count

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

SIX…

SEVEN…

Finally, both men begin to stir…

EIGHT...

…and Orton finds the ropes…

NINE…

…so does Punk…

TEN – NOOOOO!!! Armstrong calls “TEN!” but Orton is up… and by some miracle, so is CM Punk!!! The crowd roars in delight, with Punk stumbling as he gets up and it looking like maybe he didn’t make it… but Armstrong cries “NO!” at the timekeeper to say that this bout isn’t done – AND PUNK COLLAPSES BACK TO THE DECK, FLAIR-ESQUE!!! Again, a HUGE pop goes up from the crowd, but he beat the count the first time, so that doesn’t mean victory for Orton! The Viper is disbelieving, wiping blood from his face and baring his teeth through the agony of it all – he turns to Armstrong, growling that it must have been ten before Punk’s second foot hit the floor, but the referee shakes his head! Orton’s head droops, but when he raises it again, he’s back in business, eyes flaring as usual… SO HE DROPS TO THE MAT, AND STARTS POUNDING IT LIKE A MAN POSSESSED FOR THE SECOND TIME TONIGHT!!! The ten thousand in the Forum are on their feet now, screaming “RKO! RKO!” at the top of their lungs, as Punk raises a hand and begins waving to the back… and suddenly, the cheers turns to screams, boos, warnings, yells, as Orton turns round in fury…

…TO SEE MASON RYAN THUNDERING DOWN THE RAMP!!!

The Forum explodes with boos as the Welshman hits the scene, immediately drawing the attention of the incensed Randy Orton, who leans over the ropes and roars all sorts of trash talk about what he’s going to do to him! Ryan just stares back at the Viper with wild, crazed eyes and nods his head with a sadistic smile, not unlike Orton himself five minutes ago! The crowd is still making a plethora of frantic noise, as the commentators question Ryan’s appearance and Orton decides to turn around…

…AND TAKES A HUGE LARIAT TO THE FACE FROM SKIP SHEFFIELD!!!

SKIP SHEFFIELD!!! The heat here in Tampa is UNGODLY as Orton hits the deck, and the brutish, gigantic muscular figure of Skip Sheffield stands above the Viper’s unmoving body. Scott Armstrong is beside himself trying to get him to leave, but the former Nexus member won’t move an inch. Behind him, Mason Ryan rolls into the ring… AND HELPS CM PUNK TO HIS FEET!!! More boos roll in, were it possible, as Punk receives help from one of his old New Nexus associates, and the Second City Saint snarls down at Orton, breathing heavily but looking ultimately satisfied.

But these men aren’t done. As Punk beckons Sheffield over, and the bald superstar lends him his arm to keep him upright, Mason Ryan takes his turn with Orton, pulling the Viper to his feet. The Viper tries a right hand, but Ryan no-sells it, BOOTS Orton in the gut… THEN LINES UP THE PUMPHANDLE SLAAAAAAAM – AND DELIVERS IT!!! That’s the first time we’ve ever seen that from him, and he loves it, just roaring out at the crowd to show his dominance! The Tampa fans are disgusted with this display, but Punk pats Sheffield on the chest and mutters “You go,” so the big man pulls the lifeless Orton back to his feet again. The Viper puts up no resistance this time, as Punk slumps against Ryan in the background, and Sheffield lifts Orton up with ease… stomps about methodically… AND LAYS HIM OUT WITH THE RYBACK-ESQUE DELAYED FISHERMAN SUPLEX!!! That brutal move leaves the ring shaking, and Sheffield takes a moment to nod his head, a deadly-serious look on his face. The crowd has lost its energy, stunned by this out-of-nowhere display, and now CM Punk steps forward, telling Ryan and Sheffield something we can’t hear, but we can assume.

Indeed, Sheffield and Ryan pull Orton up to his feet, then hoist him up so Punk can easily take the Viper on his shoulders… THEN DELIVERS THE GO TO SLEEP ONE MORE TIME!!! The crowd groans with the impact, and that’s more than enough to knock Orton unconscious – the Viper lies unmoving on the canvas, and now Ryan and Sheffield raise Punk’s arms into the air as Scott Armstrong makes the reluctant count. Mason Ryan looks ecstatic, Sheffield as serious as can be, but Punk just nods, again and again, muttering “Randall… Randall…”

ONE…

TWO…

THREE…

FOUR…

FIVE…

SIX…

“Here come the nightmares, Randall!”

SEVEN…

“There’s your retribution!”

EIGHT…

“Sleep… tight...”

NINE…

TEN!!!

WINNER: CM PUNK VIA KNOCKOUT AT 24:41

*THIS FIRE BURNS*

Justin Roberts:
Here is your winner… C – M – PUNK!!!

It’s HUGE heat for CM Punk, who collapses to his knees and wears that devilish, sadistic, cruel smile again. Sheffield observes the booing crowd without remorse, while Ryan looks visibly pleased by his accomplishments, and the slightly-bloodied Punk is nothing compared to the filthy crimson mask all over Orton’s face now. The Viper hasn’t moved, and won’t for a while – he’s been outnumbered and outgunned, and CM Punk looks like he’s enjoying the greatest moment of his professional career. A sickening sight for the casuals.

Josh Matthews:
CM Punk and Randy Orton… that match was going to the wire, guys. I – I’m in shock – Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan giving CM Punk the assist tonight… I don’t think we expected him to go that far.

Matt Striker:
Well, I expected carnage, Josh, and carnage I saw – but you’re right, that input from Mason Ryan and the first appearance of Skip Sheffield in – I’m not sure, six months? – that was the difference here. CM Punk hit a new low here tonight in Tampa, and you can hear what the WWE Universe thinks.

Booker T:
Damn, man, I shoulda seen dis comin’. CM Punk, he always tryna get da upper hand somehow, some way, and he did dat in da most evil way he could, right here ta-night. Hell, I don’t think Randy Orton’s in a good way, dawg.

Sheffield and Ryan help Punk exit the ring, and boos follow them all the way up the ramp. Punk stops on the stage, a few streaks of blood dotting his nose, and his two cohorts stare down with him as the bloodied Orton sits up, breathing heavily, and glares up furiously through his fatigue at Punk. The Second City Saint can’t keep that evil grin off his face, and he’s helped backstage now; Orton hits the mat in frustration, then falls back down to lie on the mat as the exhaustion overcomes him. Scott Armstrong kneels beside him, checking if he’s okay.

Josh Matthews:
Randy Orton couldn’t overcome those stacked odds here tonight, folks, and you’ve got to wonder what the fallout of this match will be tomorrow night on Raw – the Viper won’t take this injustice lying down.

As Orton covers his blood-soaked face with his hands, we fade backstage.

When we get there, we’re greeted by SCOTT STANFORD once more. He’s walking with a mic in his hand, with the camera over his shoulder.

Scott Stanford:
Gentlemen! Gentlemen!

In the distance, two figures are leant against the wall. The camera zooms in closer as Stanford makes his way towards them, and the crowd boos somewhat as we realise it’s the WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, JUSTIN GABRIEL AND HEATH SLATER. Both men look tired, and Slater already has a yellow bruise under his eye from Big Show’s Knockout Punch. Regardless, they have their title belts; to the left of the shot we can see a locker room with ‘THE CORRE’ on its sign, but yet the champions are standing outside it.

Scott Stanford:
Gentlemen, a moment?

Slater nods; they’re clearly in a bad mood about something, but he sweeps his hair out of his eyes and cracks a smirk. Is that a banging noise in the background?

Heath Slater:
What ya wanna say, buddy?

Scott Stanford:
Well, you’ve answered your critics with that performance tonight, and –

Heath Slater:
Damn right we’ve answered our (air quotes) “critics”! And we showed a helluva lot more than that, too! We showed the whole of SmackDown, no, the whole of the WWE, that The Corre is the numbah one force gettin’ it done – ain’t that right, Justin?

Again, a bang in the background. Probably just a production error. Gabriel nods as the mic goes his way.

Justin Gabriel:
(solemnly) The Corre showed you everything you needed to see when I hit that 450 Splash. I made sure… you won’t forget tonight.

Heath Slater steals the mic away from his partner.

Heath Slater:
Yup – they said Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel couldn’t beat the Big Show and Kane! Well, we did, boy, and if y’all need more evidence that we’re the best tag team around, you probably weren’t watchin’ closely enough!

Slater flashes another grin.

Heath Slater:
So we’re just gonna take ta-night to soak up that win. That big ‘W’, boy. The One Man Rock Band proved a point in that match, and don’t you forget it. There’s your moment for ya, Scotty.

Just for the slightest of moments, that comment has Gabriel’s eyes flickering across at Slater with – possibly – a small frown, but it vanishes and he looks back at Stanford.

Scott Stanford:
Well, er, thank you for your time.

Slater winks, though it’s the wrong eye and he winces a little, before he motions for Gabriel to head inside the locker room. The South African shoots him a look, but Slater shrugs, and so Gabriel turns the door handle… and immediately we see someone’s kit bag getting chucked across the room.

Wade Barrett:
(off-screen) And who the bloody hell does he think he is? HEY? Takin’ MY title off me, can you imagine THAT? I’ll bury him all over again, Ezekiel, I’ll do it! I – WILL – BURY – HIM!

This time, it’s a steel chair that goes flying across the room, and Gabriel and Slater rush inside with concerned expressions. The camera tilts to see WADE BARRETT, red in the face, in the midst of a locker room where everything has been turned upside down and strewn across the floor.

Wade Barrett:
Y’know what, Zeke? I’m gonna take it to HIM! That’s what he deserves! That son of a – that son of a – he thinks he can play mind games with me? WADE BARRETT?! I just dare him to take me on… I’LL MAKE HIM BLEED!

Barrett turns his head in shock to see the camera.

Wade Barrett:
(yelling) Shut that DAMN door!

Slater hastily turns to the camera and SLAMS the door shut, with ‘THE CORRE’ on the sign being the last thing we see before we fade back to the desk.

Josh Matthews:
Heath Slater understandably pleased to be leaving Tampa as WWE Tag Team Champion alongside Justin Gabriel, but no such luck for The Corre’s Wade Barrett, who as we saw earlier, was plagued by the lights going out once again, costing him the Intercontinental Championship. A mixed night for The Corre.

Matt Striker:
While one must wonder what it does to Wade Barrett’s psyche to be left this calling card on more than one occasion, Josh, I wonder about Justin Gabriel – the South African was very quiet just there, and I’d like to hear more from the man who, to be honest, won the match for his team with that unbelievable move at the end.

Josh Matthews:
Indeed Matt, a bizarre situation for the members of The Corre at the moment, and hopefully we’ll get some answers this Friday, but up next, it’s about the young up-and-comers on the other side – Monday Night Raw. Now, I did some field research this past week after Raw, going behind the scenes with both Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler ahead of their upcoming clash. Let’s take a look at what I unearthed.

---

*VIDEO PACKAGE*

We open, unsurprisingly, with Matthews again, this time in a well-lit gymnasium. In the background we can see a wrestling ring with red, white and blue ropes, while sunlight streams through high windows of the huge room. Blue mats surround the ring and there’s a good number of people, mostly wrestlers and spectators, milling about the room, whether they’re training or watching the action in the ring. Matthews himself is dressed very casually, in a blue chequered shirt and jeans, and he has no mic in his hand, instead giving us a warm smile.

Josh Matthews:
Hey guys, it’s Josh Matthews again, here in sunny Southern Florida – we’re just coming to the end of April, so it’s starting to warm up outside, but I’m sure that’s nothing compared to the heated action going on at Extreme Rules this Sunday, or when you’ll be watching this – tonight. But of course, to prepare for the big matches, there needs to be some heavy training, which is why I’m down here to talk to the two guys who are both hoping to get their hands on a WWE Title shot.

We cut to the ring, where someone drops someone else with a Suplex, then back to Matthews watching with a smile at ringside. Again, he turns to face the camera, as the action continues behind him.

Josh Matthews:
Now, down here in Tampa, WWE superstars have been taking their training quite seriously all week to prepare for Extreme Rules, but of course, Tampa is also home to WWE’s developmental territory.

In the background, someone pulls off a nice-looking Figure Four Leg Lock, and everyone nearby starts yelling “WOOO!”, showing the jolly atmosphere. For the purposes of helping you guys out, Leo Kruger is applying the submission and Hunico is the guy considering tapping out. Matthews takes a quick glance.

Josh Matthews:
Well, as you can see, these guys have quite an edge for competition too, and that means that while the WWE’s been spending a week back in Florida, the WWE superstars have had a chance to pass on some knowledge to the next generation.

We get a little musical riff as we quickly cut to see William Regal coaching Richie Steamboat on a headlock, then Edge sharing a joke with Xavier Woods. Now we’re back to Matthews.

Josh Matthews:
But of course, the reason I’m here isn’t to scout the future WWE Champions, as much as I’d love to spend all day doing that…

He smiles as Hunico, now on the top rope, busts out a Missile Dropkick on Kruger to draw some applause from the small audience assembled.

Josh Matthews:
…but I’m here to get a close-up look on the training of two men who could be WWE Champion in a much shorter timespan if Extreme Rules goes just right. Of course, I’m talking about Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan.

A few flashing shots of both men, before we cut to an actual gym, with weights, running machines and the whole system ready to go. We get a few here-and-there shots of FCW athletes on the gear, especially the MONSTROUS Big E Langston on the weights and Brad Maddox trying to spur himself on by yelling encouragement to himself on the treadmill. We cut to finally see Daniel Bryan himself, doing some pull-ups on the bars as Matthews approaches, while an impressed Gail Kim stands nearby. Bryan drops from the bar and immediately shakes Matthews’ hand with a smile.

Josh Matthews:
Hey Daniel, how’s it going?

Daniel Bryan:
All good, Josh, all good. Filming?

Josh Matthews:
Yeah, I’m digging for deep secrets. Anything you wanna share with us?

Daniel Bryan:
(laughing) Oh God, I don’t think so…

We cut elsewhere, to see Dolph Ziggler entering the gym with Vickie Guerrero in tow. The camera sweeps to view them as if it was a complete accident they arrived.

Josh Matthews:
Maybe later? (pause as a production team member points out Ziggler) Oh – oh, okay. And Daniel, there’s your Extreme Rules opponent… have you been working hard to keep in shape for this Sunday?

Bryan’s eyes are now locked across the gym at Ziggler, although there are a dozen FCW superstars to keep them apart regardless.

Daniel Bryan:
Oh – absolutely, Josh, I mean – Gail here keeps me in shape, don’t you – plus you know, I’ve always wanted to be WWE Champion, it’s a big opportunity. This preparation is just so important, you can’t underestimate it.

Josh Matthews:
And of course, in a Ladder Match, so much unpredictability, you want to give yourself every chance possible.

Daniel Bryan:
I hear that, man, I really do. I was just saying to Gail the other day – yesterday, I think – this is possibly the biggest match of my career so far, I can’t afford to throw it away by not preparing right.

Gail puts an arm around him with a warm smile, and now we cut to see Ziggler, just showing off by doing ridiculous amounts of reps on the leg press machine. Matthews is right beside him now, as Vickie watches with folded arms.

Josh Matthews:
Okay Dolph, so you’ve spent some time in here with the development superstars – I’m sure you’ve taught them plenty, but have you learnt anything from them?

Ziggler stops mid-rep to frown at that.

Dolph Ziggler:
Wait – what did you just ask me?

Back to Bryan, after (we assume) the same question.

Daniel Bryan:
Absolutely I’ve learnt stuff from them. There’s some real talented guys here in Tampa, and I can’t wait to compete against them when they make the step up. So yeah, definitely. Sharing what you know with other like-minded guys really helps your game.

Matthews approaching Leo Kruger and Roman Leakee, both of whom have messed-up hair after long sessions on the weights.

Josh Matthews:
Hey guys, quick question for the WWE Universe – who’s been in here more? Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler?

They exchange a glance.

Leo Kruger:
Er, probably Ziggler. But Daniel Bryan’s been spendin’ a lotta time in the ring next door – y’know, teaching and competing against some of us. Guy’s really quick.

Leakee nods at that. Matthews back with Ziggler, now on the bench.

Josh Matthews:
Okay, so have you gained anything from being in Florida this past week?

Dolph Ziggler:
(between presses) Lemme just… clarify for you there, Josh… the only reason I’m here in this god-forsaken state… is ‘cause I want my title shot.

Now with Gail Kim, as Bryan chats amiably with his former NXT Rookie, Derrick Bateman, in the background.

Gail Kim:
He’s been training hard, talking to all the guys, spending time with the fans – he won’t admit it because he doesn’t want to lose his focus, but I think he’s had a lot of fun this week, too. Win or lose this Sunday, he’s had a good week. We had dinner at Derrick Bateman’s house (gesturing) but Daniel said Disneyland was out of the question.

She laughs.

Gail Kim:
So yeah. He deserves to win. I don’t think there’s anyone in the WWE who would make a better role model as WWE Champion than him, but (laughing again) maybe I’m biased.

Ziggler doing a headstand – FCW’s Erick Rowan and James Bronson look impressed in the background, having put down their dumbbells in the meantime. Now Vickie Guerrero’s face fills our screens.

Josh Matthews:
(off-screen) Vickie, I know you think Dolph’s got it locked up this Sunday – can you tell us why?

She looks at him with disdain.

Vickie Guerrero:
I shouldn’t have to explain it, Josh, but fine – Dolph Ziggler, my BOYFRIEND, is at his peak of fitness, he’s been World – Heavyweight – Champion before, and… he’s not scared of heights. That’s – that’s very important. In a Ladder Match.

Even she doesn’t look convinced by that, so we cut back to Ziggler, now drying himself off with a towel.

Dolph Ziggler:
Look, Josh. It’s been real cute havin’ you around this week to film me and watch me out-lift Mr. Vanilla over there, but I think you’ve got all the evidence you need, alright? If you wanna know why I’m gonna unhook that contract, lemme just sum up your entire video in one word. One word that personifies Dolph Ziggler.

He grabs his training jacket off the hook of one of the machines and holds it up, with the word ‘PERFECTION’ embroidered in gold.

Dolph Ziggler:
Perfection.

He runs a hand through his drenched hair, then heads for the exit, with Vickie following him. The FCW athletes look up as he leaves, and he lauds “See ya next time, losers” on his way out. The camera swings crudely across the gym to see Daniel Bryan holding himself mid-pull-up to roll his eyes at that, then continues his exercise, with Gail Kim urging him on. We cut to him smiling, juxtaposed with another image of him raising Derrick Bateman’s hand at the end of a match in the gymnasium.

Daniel Bryan:
Why am I gonna win, Josh? ‘Cause I’ve trained too hard not to.

And now back to Matthews in the gymnasium, now wearing a yellow shirt to signify a week’s passing.

Josh Matthews:
So I’ve stuck with these guys the past five days or so since Monday Night Raw, and honestly, I can’t call it, but Extreme Rules is in good hands in Tampa, Florida, and we’re in for a great contest in Dolph Ziggler versus Daniel Bryan. They’ve kept their hands off each other all week in preparation, but all hell breaks loose this Sunday, and I for one, can’t wait.

Matthews holds up a hand to say goodbye, walking out of the shot as Bryan and Bateman celebrate with a bunch of the FCW wrestlers.

*END VIDEO PACKAGE*

---

We return to a quiet arena, but the bell chimes, and we’re with Justin Roberts in the middle of the ring again.

Justin Roberts:
The following contest… is a Ladder Match! Whoever unhooks the contract suspended above the ring will earn themselves a WWE Title shot at our next pay-per-view, Over The Limit!

The crowd pops after the relatively feel-good VP we just saw.

“I AM PERFECTIOOOOOON!!!”

*PERFECTION*

Inevitably, it’s some decent heat for DOLPH ZIGGLER as he arrives on the scene with VICKIE GUERRERO beside him. Nodding his head as he surveys the scene, the Perfection Artiste smirks a little, then runs both hands through his drenched hair and flicks it out. Down at ringside, there are four ladders, one next to each of the ring posts, all standing, with a couple of stepladders dotting the ringside area too. It all looks promising after an extreme night so far, and Ziggler begins to trash talk, dare I say, showing off, on his way down to the ring, while Vickie applauds him all the way.

Justin Roberts:
Introducing first, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero… from Hollywood, California, weighing in tonight at two hundred and fifteen pounds… DOLPH – ZIGGLER!

Matt Striker:
That was some nice journalism, Josh.

Josh Matthews:
Thank you, I thought so. Now, ladies and gentlemen, as you heard in that video, Dolph Ziggler has had the slightest taste of World Title gold, and now he wants more. If he can scale one of those ladders and unhook that contract, he’ll be facing the WWE Champion at Over The Limit.

Booker T:
Dolph’s been pretty damn cocky about dis here match, guys – he thinkin’ dat contract belongs to him and him alone, y’know? But I know my boi D-Bryan – he at da top of da FAVE FIVE – he knows how to take da big risks, I’m thinkin’ Ziggler’s got his work cut out fo’ him ta-night.

Matt Striker:
And on that same vein, Booker, you’ve got to ask – could overconfidence be Dolph Ziggler’s downfall tonight? Or conversely, could that assertive attitude from the self-proclaimed ‘Perfection Artiste’ lead him right into contention for the greatest prize in the industry? With this man, you can never be sure.

As Ziggler heads up to the apron and does his usual taunt, stepping into the ring and then back out, Vickie inspects one of the ladders with disdain. Ziggler finally gets into the ring, and we get a brief shot of the contract hanging above the ring, the clipboard hooked up on that cord suspended from the arena ceiling. Ziggler’s eyes are locked on it with an ambitious smirk, while the camera heads back to the stage…

*RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES*

The crowd gives a loud ovation for DANIEL BRYAN, who walks out looking completely focused, continuing the dichotomy between Ziggler’s brash, outlandish attitude and Bryan’s no-nonsense one. GAIL KIM joins the former American Dragon, who gives the crowd a raised arm in acknowledgement before he goes sidestepping his way down the ramp. Ziggler averts his eyes from the contract to watch Bryan as he heads up the steps, and the pair stare a hole through one another, then look up to the prize yet again.

Justin Roberts:
And his opponent, accompanied by Gail Kim… from Aberdeen, Washington, weighing in tonight at two hundred and ten pounds… DANIEL – BRYAN!

Josh Matthews:
And as you heard moments ago, Daniel Bryan is one of the most hard-working superstars in the WWE, and while Dolph Ziggler wants the WWE Title to flaunt it in the face of anyone he can, Daniel Bryan has said on many occasions – that WWE Title symbolises the best of the best, and that’s something this man has been working for his entire life, guys.

Matt Striker:
Couldn’t agree more, Josh. Daniel Bryan is a competitor happiest when he’s between the ropes, and although this isn’t your traditional one-on-one match because of those ladders, I have absolute faith that Daniel will leave it all in the ring tonight.

Booker T:
Like I said, man, my boi D-Bryan been trainin’ hard, makin’ sure he fightin’ fit for dis here match – dis one’s a big one, it’s go hard or go home stuff, know what I’m sayin’? I’m just gonna sit here, enjoy it, and cheer my boi on.

As Bryan joins Ziggler in the ring, his music dies down. The referee, in this match Mike Chioda, brings both men closer in, then gives a somewhat-sexist warning for the women outside not to get involved. Gail says nothing, while Vickie just snorts, and Chioda takes that as his cue to call for the bell.



Inevitably, as the bell chimes, the focus turns to the contract, swaying a tiny bit above the ring; both Ziggler and Bryan watch it for a moment, then tilt their heads back down to stare at each other. Ziggler looks to the ladders on the outside, maybe considering getting his hands on one early, but Bryan is crouching and it looks like we’re about to get some wrasslin’ before anything else. Ziggler looks his opponent up and down and says “You seriously think you can out-do me?” with a harsh laugh… so Bryan surprises him with a lock-up. Bryan shoves the bleach blond superstar all the way back to the corner, then rocks him with a stiff right hand before he moves away. Ziggler rubs the jaw bitterly, then trots back to the middle of the ring, and holds out an arm to prepare his grapple… then just BOOTS Bryan in the gut, talking more trash – “I don’t play by your rules, buddy!” The Perfection Artiste weighs up a right hand as Bryan catches his breath back, and then he lets it loose, knocking the submission expert back, and then again with another, until Bryan’s on the ropes. Ziggler presses him into them, then sends him across the ring – Bryan rebounds, but Ziggler sweeps to the floor, then leapfrogs him, and puts him down with a sweet Dropkick. When Bryan brushes himself off and gets up, Ziggler tries a waist lock, but Bryan is no slouch and he immediately escapes out behind to use a waist lock of his own. Ziggler manages to get a side headlock, but Bryan hoists him up immediately and slams him down on to his shoulders with a Belly-to-Back Suplex!

It’s wrestling city early on, with Gail Kim applauding politely at ringside, and now Bryan and Ziggler get up again, with the latter wincing a little after that move. Regardless, he shakes out his shoulders and takes a few steps towards Bryan… but he takes a hard kick to the side for his troubles, then another, and again and again as Bryan really lets loose! Ziggler reels back with every kick, finally hitting the ropes, and Bryan takes a few steps back as a run-up… but he runs straight into a Ziggler elbow, allowing the Perfection Artiste to step up to the second rope – but Bryan ducks when he leaps off, and now Ziggler goes staggering across the ring from the momentum. He hits the turnbuckle on the opposite side, taking a breather with a frown, while Bryan goes all ROH on us by using the turnbuckle to rebound, charging across the ring at Ziggler again… but the Perfection Artiste uses his momentum to hoist him up to the top turnbuckle! Bryan clings on to the top rope, making sure he doesn’t fall to the outside, but Ziggler notices that, and just SHOVES Bryan in the back, sending him FLYING towards the ladder on the outside… BUT BRYAN STICKS THE LANDING ON THE LADDER! The crowd cheers Bryan’s athleticism as the Washington native clings on to the ladder rungs with a relieved smile, but Ziggler isn’t pleased, and he responds by climbing the same turnbuckle, before leaping off to crush Bryan… BUT HE MOVES, AND ZIGGLER TAKES OUT THE ENTIRE LADDER! A groan goes up as Ziggler collapses on to the floor, holding his torso where he landed on nothing but steel, while Bryan counts his lucky stars just nearby.

Once Ziggler has rolled off the unfortunate ladder, Bryan takes Gail Kim’s advice to pick up the said weapon – while Ziggler crawls about in pain, Bryan tests its weight in his hand, and almost cracks a smile. Ziggler uses the crowd barricade to force himself up, then Bryan charges in… but Ziggler darts under the ladder, then clambers UP on to the next crowd barricade, AND THROWS HIMSELF OFF WITH A DROPKICK INTO THE LADDER IN BRYAN’S HANDS!!! Both men collapse to the floor again as the crowd cries out in awe of Ziggler’s athletic prowess there, and now Bryan tries to crawl away as Vickie Guerrero screams for Dolph to “GET HIM! GET HIM, DOLPH!” Ziggler obliges, scrambling back to his feet and clubbing Bryan down. He then pulls him back up and leads him by the head towards the next ladder, still standing in another corner of ringside… so he just HURLS Bryan into it, with the submission expert reeling back off the steel rungs! With Bryan dazed, Ziggler looks to take advantage, grabbing Bryan by the arm so he can WHIP him back into the ladder a second time! Bryan staggers away as the ladder nearly topples over, but Ziggler won’t leave him be, grabbing him to line up a Suplex on the outside floor… BUT BRYAN ESCAPES, THEN DUCKS BEHIND ZIGGLER… REGAL-PLEX!!! REGAL-PLEX DRIVES ZIGGLER’S NECK INTO THE OUTSIDE MATS!!!

With the crowd (and Ziggler) reeling after that huge move from D-Bryan, he shoves himself to his feet and wastes no time, stumbling over to the third corner to grab a ladder – he folds it, then slides it clumsily into the ring. With Vickie Guerrero screaming at Dolph to get up, Bryan is free to roll under the bottom rope and pick up the ladder, and he begins to set it up in the middle of the squared circle! The crowd cheers as Bryan gets the metal struts in place, and with that nasty Regal-Plex taking some of the fight out of Ziggler, Bryan can look up towards the contract… and now he starts to climb! Gail Kim looks thrilled at ringside, but before Bryan reaches the fourth rung, even, Ziggler is BACK in the ring, sliding in and shaking out the cobwebs to force Bryan back off the ladder with a clubbing blow to the back! Bryan lands on his feet, but he winces to sell the shot – Ziggler whips him into the corner, then follows him in… BUT BRYAN SCALES THE BUCKLES AND BACKFLIPS OVER HIM!!! A big pop goes up as Ziggler turns back into the centre of the ring… FLYING CLOTHESLINE FROM BRYAN – AND AGAIN!!! Bryan is getting pumped once more here, and as Ziggler staggers up, he gets hooked for a possible second Regal-Plex... but Ziggler elbows out, then wheels Bryan back into the mat with the Inverted Powerslam!

Bryan hits the canvas hard, and the crowd groans – Ziggler lands that move sweetly, and Bryan clutches his stomach in pain. Ziggler’s not done, however, because Bryan rolls on to his back, and Ziggler leaps up for one of his signature leaping Elbow Drops! Bryan gasps in pain, and Ziggler has a ‘light-bulb’ moment, scaling a couple rungs of the ladder backwards to get some elevation… before he falls with another Elbow Drop, this time with an even harder impact! Bryan rolls towards the corner, and Ziggler takes a moment to run his hands through his hair, but once he flicks the water out either side, he gets back to business. He takes a look at the standing ladder and decides against the climb for the moment, instead turning to Bryan, now seated against the turnbuckle, and charges in… LOW-ANGLE DROPKICK TO THE FACE! Bryan gets mashed against the buckle, a huge groan going up around the Times Forum in the process, and now it’s back to bragging for Ziggler, climbing to the second rope so he can tell the world that “I – am – PERFECTION, BABY!”… BUT BRYAN IS UP, AND HE TAKES ZIGGLER BY SURPRISE ON HIS SHOULDERS – POWERBOMB INTO THE LADDER!!! BRYAN POWERBOMBS ZIGGLER INTO THE DAMN LADDER!!! There’s a few “HOLY SHIT!” chants in the distance, and Ziggler crashes into the ladder, bringing them both down, and Bryan falls to his knees, stunned by what he’s done!

Once we’ve seen a replay or three of that spot, Bryan rolls to the outside… AND GRABS THE FOURTH CORNERED LADDER! It’s not like the other outside two are unusable, but just for the sake of symmetry, that’s the one Bryan collapses, and shoves it back into the ring before he follows it in. Ziggler is lying by the other ladder, eyes glazed over as Vickie tries to urge him back up from the outside. That ladder is collapsed again, as Ziggler is, so Bryan uses the one he’s just brought in… no, he rests it on the second rope, between the turnbuckles? A peculiar move by Bryan, who now tries to grab Ziggler by the legs to drag him across the ring… but the Perfection Artiste comes alive to boot him away! Bryan hits the ropes with the momentum, then comes back to see Ziggler getting up – he throws a kick, but Ziggler ducks underneath it, then lines Bryan up with a Neckbreaker… no, first he drags him towards the collapsed ladder on the mat, then LEAPS FOR THE NECKBREAKER, ALMOST LIKE AN INVERTED RKO, AND DRIVES BRYAN DOWN INTO THE STEEL!!! CRASHING IMPACT!!! The crowd groans as Bryan writhes in pain, and this time Ziggler won’t gloat, his smirks gone to be replaced with a serious look – he points to the nearby camera and says “Hope you’re all watchin’ – someone’s gonna have to follow this…” before he puts Bryan in his cross-hairs. D-Bryan is struggling up, clutching as his neck as he gets up to a knee beside the ladder… BUT ZIGGLER SPRINTS IN, AND DELIVERS THE FAME ASSER, DRIVING BRYAN’S FACE DOWN INTO THE STEEL!!!

Once again, Bryan reels off the ladder’s surface with a bewildered, beaten expression, and collapses down on to his back. Ziggler, meanwhile, drapes his arms over the top rope, breathing heavily, then barks something to Vickie. She immediately grabs one of the step-ladders and passes it under the bottom rope to a chorus of boos, and despite Gail Kim’s protests to Mike Chioda, we’re No-DQ in this one, and that’s why Ziggler is free to… set it up? Quite what Ziggler’s thinking here is unclear, but it’s near the corner, and now the Perfection Artiste pulls Bryan up, before he shoves his lethargic, bruised opponent into that same corner. Bryan’s face is wrecked with pain, and Ziggler takes a run-up, using the step-ladder as a platform FOR A HUGE ELEVATION ON THE CORNER SPLASH – NOOOO!!! Bryan spins out the way, and Ziggler’s head CRASHES off the top turnbuckle… BEFORE BRYAN HOOKS HIM UP, AND DELIVERS A DOUBLE UNDERHOOK SUPLEX, RIGHT ONTO THE NOW-FLATTENED STEP-LADDER!!! The awkward impact resounds around the arena as Ziggler’s spine meets the step-ladder, but Bryan’s on his knees – he needs to get the contract, but there’s one more motion to carry… Ziggler clutches at his back as he gets up, and Bryan picks up the step-ladder, throwing it to Ziggler, who catches it… AND BRYAN UNLEASHES A MASSIVE KICK TO THE STEP-LADDER, KNOCKING ZIGGLER DOWN IN AN INSTANT!!! The crowd goes WILD as Ziggler gets flattened, and now Bryan can turn his attention to the collapsed, real ladder.

Though tired, D-Bryan fights through the fatigue to pick up the ladder and slaps at the struts to set it up. He rubs his jaw in pain, then continues his pursuit of the contract, dragging the set-up ladder into the perfect position… slowly, he throws his hand to the first rung he sees, and begins to climb – but Vickie Guerrero is lugging one of the outside ladders to the ring, and she shoves it desperately under the rope, beside Ziggler! Again, the crowd boos Vickie’s involvement, and Gail Kim is FURIOUS, rushing around ringside to accuse Vickie of stacking the deck – Guerrero just laughs in her face, however, and backtracks away! Gail scowls, but back in the ring, Ziggler is recovering, and he puts his hands on the floored ladder with the slightest of pained smirks… Bryan is having some trouble climbing up his own ladder after the hits he’s taken, and now Ziggler is on his feet, pulling his weapon up with him! The crowd screams warning at Bryan, who is still lethargically trying to find the top, and now Ziggler clumsily moves towards him to attack with the ladder in his hand… but he gets it wrong, and Bryan manages to scramble up to avoid the shot – meaning Ziggler’s ladder gets trapped between the rungs of the standing one! Bryan looks relieved, but Ziggler is conversely frustrated, trying to remove his ladder but finding it jammed… so he gives up, and lets it rest on the top rope, forming a horizontal platform in the process! Bryan turns his attention back to the contract and begins to climb… but Ziggler is having NONE of it, clambering up the ladder rungs and awkwardly finding his way to the makeshift platform. He clubs Bryan in the back to bring him down to the platform, too, and the ladder wobbles anxiously under their weight… but Ziggler begins to sneak, climbing up behind Bryan – ONLY TO THEN LOCK HIM IN THE INFAMOUS SLEEPER HOLD!!!

The crowd immediately boos as Ziggler traps Bryan in the deadly hold, and now D-Bryan waves his arms about in desperation, not that he has anywhere to go – if he steps off the platform, he’ll crash and burn, leaving Ziggler to take the contract, but he can’t escape the hold either! Ziggler wrenches away as Vickie applauds down below at ringside, and the commentators question if Bryan wants it enough to escape this… he begins to fade… then comes back with a stinging right hand out of nowhere! Ziggler blinks in pain, then tries to keep the hold, but Bryan is fighting, and he staggers backwards a little, bashing Ziggler against the standing ladder to make him relinquish the hold! The entire structure wavers menacingly but stays upright, with Bryan now falling to all fours on the precarious platform… Ziggler looks at him with a pained scowl, then turns and TRIES TO CLIMB AGAIN… NOOO!!! Bryan manages to JAM Ziggler’s boots with his own, meaning he can’t climb or he’ll fall – the momentum makes Ziggler wobble backwards, with Bryan reaching up from his grounded position… AND GRABBING ZIGGLER’S ARMS FOR THE – BY GAWD – SURFBOARD STRETCH SIX FEET IN THE AIR!!! UNBELIEVABLE IMPROVISATION FROM BRYAN!!! The crowd roars out in pure awe of Bryan’s move, and Ziggler is SCREAMING in pain, arms and legs locked into the brutal hold in the most ridiculous position possible!!! It’s one to show the grandkids from Daniel Bryan, who screams “TAP OR SNAP, TAP OR SNAP!” over and over again even though it won’t end this match-up! Ziggler is nodding, then shaking his head, then nodding, then shaking his head, and he just needs to find the will to escape this crazy situation… HE GETS AN ARM FREE! It’s with this right elbow that he bludgeons Bryan to let him loose, and now he collapses against the side of the standing ladder, face awash with sweat and agony! Relief for the Perfection Artiste!

Behind Ziggler, Bryan remains laid out on the steel. His eyes are slightly unfocused, still recovering from the adrenaline rush of that ludicrous submission manoeuvre, and now Ziggler might just have the energy to climb. He finds it one rung at a time, lethargic eyes turning back to the contract… BUT NO! Bryan won’t leave him be, and they share the same rung now, one foot each on the ladder while the other hangs in the air – Bryan fires a couple of stiff right hands to keep him immobilised, then climbs to the top… AND HE’S GOT A HAND ON THE CONTRACT… BUT ZIGGLER CLUBS HIM IN THE BACK AGAIN! The crowd groans as Bryan’s hand slips away from the prize, and now he has to turn, sitting on top of the ladder as he tries to boot Ziggler off – he catches the Perfection Artiste in the shoulder, and for a moment it seems that’ll give him the window to take the contract… but Ziggler rifles back with a right hand to the stomach, and then he steps up to SHOVE BRYAN OFF THE TOOOOOP – NOOOOOO!!! Bryan falls backwards, but he KEEPS his legs arched over the top of the ladder like a trapeze performer! The crowd cheers wildly for Bryan’s unmitigated desire to win, but still, he’s in a dangerous position, as Ziggler climbs to the top of the ladder and GETS HIS MITTS ON THE CONTRACT… but wait, Bryan gets his legs up – AND LOCKS ZIGGLER IN A HEADSCISSORS AT THE MOST IMPOSSIBLE JUNCTURE!!! The crowd goes into a FRENZY, unable to believe what Bryan’s capable of to stop Ziggler winning, and though he’s being choked out, Ziggler manages to raise an arm towards the contract… only for Bryan to show the benefit of all that training, putting his stomach muscles through hell to force his body up – AND HE GRABS ZIGGLER’S ARM, YANKING IT DOWN TO WRENCH IT AGAINST THE LADDER IN A MAKE-SHIFT ARMBAR AS WELL!!!

The commentators are selling Bryan’s skills to the extreme, but it’s not necessary, because we can all see what he’s just done – he’s defying the laws of physics, hanging upside down on a ladder, putting Ziggler in a headscissors AND some kind of Armbar at the same time! It’s just pure insanity from Daniel Bryan, and now Ziggler begins to slip over the top of the ladder, Bryan’s two-hundred-pound frame tugging him down… so Bryan lets go of the arm – AND PULLS THEM BOTH DOWN WITH A HURRICANRANA OF SORTS, SENDING THE PAIR HURTLING INTO THE CANVAS BELOW!!! The impact makes the whole ring shudder, and the ladders waver from side to side, but they don’t fall, probably because of the stabilising influence of the horizontal ladder. Regardless, the focus is on the laid-out pairing of Bryan and Ziggler, while Mike Chioda, for the most part unimportant in this contest, checks on them both. Standing up, he clearly sees nothing to stop them continuing other than impact and fatigue, so he leaves alone and retreats to a bare, neutral corner. The crowd begins to chant “DANIEL BRYAN!” repeatedly, and in that vein, it’s the submission expert who looks more likely to get up, crawling towards the ropes at a snail’s pace…

…but Vickie Guerrero is on the apron, and now she steps into the ring! Boos ring around the Times Forum as the former GM surveys the scene, and despite Chioda’s remonstrations, she moves towards the ladder! It looks like Vickie is about to give her boyfriend the biggest helping hand possible, as she tentatively steps on to the lowest rung… BUT GAIL KIM ROLLS INTO THE RING TOO! The crowd cheers as Gail, in her street clothes, immediately tells Vickie to stop in her tracks, and Guerrero scowls, stepping off the ladder to match up to her opposite number. The pair talk a little trash, then inevitably, GAIL SLAPS VICKIE IN THE FACE! A big pop echoes around the arena as Guerrero hits the deck and rolls from the ring – complete with the classic tantrum and scream – and Gail raises an arm to the crowd to celebrate. Ziggler, however, is now in the corner where Chioda slid the step-ladder under the turnbuckle, and he instinctively takes it in his hands as he gets up. Gail turns around, and Ziggler stands there, wielding the step-ladder… is he willing to go this far? Gail takes a few steps back, holding up her hands, and the furious Ziggler winds back with the step-ladder – but his head turns at the speed of light, and he fires the ladder shot into the gut of Daniel Bryan, who comes charging in to save his girlfriend! Bryan gasps out in pain, and Gail hurriedly exits the ring, leaving Ziggler to bash the ladder off Bryan’s back, again and again, before he finally hurls it from the ring once Bryan has fallen to his knees! Ziggler looks to have re-taken control after Bryan’s masterful display on the ladder, and the Perfection Artiste pulls the dazed D-Bryan back up, before he whips him to the corner with the ladder resting on the second rope… but Bryan stops himself! The submission expert manages to avoid both the ladder and the buckles by grabbing the top rope, then turns around to see Ziggler charging in – so he throws him into the air with an improvised Flapjack of sorts… AND ZIGGLER’S FACE CANNONS OFF THE LADDER!!! The crowd cries “OHHHH!” as Ziggler reels backwards, blinking repeatedly, and Bryan measures him – THEN UNLEASHES A MIND-BENDING KICK TO THE HEAD TO TAKE HIM DOWN!!!

The St. Pete Times Forum cheers in unison as the crack of Bryan’s boot to Ziggler’s jaw echoes around the arena, and as the Perfection Artiste collapses to the floor, Bryan grabs the ladder between the turnbuckles, and tugs it out, letting it fall to the mat. He prods it with his boot to slide it into the ring a little bit more – he takes a look at the ladder and its horizontal counterpart, but he’s not ready to climb just yet. He yanks Ziggler slowly to his feet, with the Hollywood native looking a little dazed – BUT SUDDENLY HE SCOOPS BRYAN UP – ROLLING FIREMAN’S CARRY SLAM ONTO THE LADDER!!! ZIGGLER SCORES WITH THE ROLLING THUNDER ON THE STEEL!!! Again, the arena sits in awe of the back-and-forth nature of this match, and now it’s Bryan who writhes and gasps in pain, clutching at his back, but Ziggler’s down too, selling the kick and the various other hits he’s taken so far. Both men lie almost motionless on the ground, with their girlfriends egging them back to their feet on the outside, and the crowd chanting Bryan’s name to urge him back up… BUT IT’S ZIGGLER WHO PULLS OFF THE KIP-UP! The Perfection Artiste lands sweetly on his feet, but then he stumbles, exhausted, and has to use the ladder platform to keep himself upright. He looks up to the contract, and at the (screaming) behest of his girlfriend at ringside, he slowly begins to climb again, getting his feet up to the platform. The horizontal ladder looks even more precarious than before after all that’s happened on it, but it holds Ziggler’s weight… that is, until Daniel Bryan scurries to his feet, and SHOVES the platform out from the ladder – SO ZIGGLER CRASHES TO THE MAT!!!

The ladder that gave this match a new dynamic is now gone, cascading over the ropes to the outside, and Ziggler holds his stomach in pain after that fall; Bryan senses an opportunity, and immediately falls beside Ziggler to attempt the LEBELL LOCK TO MAKE HIM TAP, JUST LIKE HE PROMISED… NO!!! Ziggler goes manic like a cornered animal, even in a match with no submissions, and squirms until he can get a decent view of Bryan – and he throws a heavy right hand to end the submission before it can start! The crowd groans as both men scramble back to their feet, and Ziggler, desperate to put some distance between them, SHOVES Bryan towards the ladder – BUT BRYAN LEAPS UP AND USES THE MOMENTUM TO CLIMB!!! The crowd screams with delight as Bryan finds his way up the first few rungs… BUT ZIGGLER IS ON HIM WITH THE ZIG-ZAAAAAG… NOOOOO!!! BRYAN HOLDS ON TO THE LADDER!!! Ziggler hits the mat hard, eyes wide in surprise and pain, and Vickie screeches for him to get up – furiously, he does, and Bryan knows he won’t beat him to the top… so he turns, then SOARS INTO ZIGGLER WITH THE FRONT MISSILE DROPKICK, RIGHT ON THE BUTTON!!! The fans in Tampa roar their approval, and now Bryan is pumping his fist, trying to fire up some adrenaline, and soon the “DANIEL BRYAN!” chants are ringing around the arena once again! After we’ve seen a couple of replays of Bryan’s reckless disregard for his safety and the safety of others, we’re back to the action, where both tired competitors are getting to their feet…

…BRYAN FIRES THE LETHAL KICK TO THE SKULL – DUCKED!!! Ziggler ducks the potential match-ender, and the momentum throws Bryan the wrong way around… SO ZIGGLER CAPITALISES WITH THE ZIG-ZAG!!! HE GOT HIM WITH THE ZIG-ZAG!!! The breath is taken out of the crowd, and from Bryan’s lungs, as that moves connects, and now it’s Ziggler trying to light a fire inside himself, trying to find the ladder… he gets there, and slowly drags himself up, each step its own individual trial. Bryan is stirring, but he has a hand over the back of his head, and we get the famous WWE camera angle, zooming out to show the collective side of the stadium as Ziggler finds the energy to scale the last few rungs… his face lights up with a finally-satisfied smile as he reaches for the contract to end this – BUT BRYAN HAS A HAND ON THE BOTTOM RUNG, AND HE’S TIPPING THE LADDER… IT GOES DOWN…

…BUT ZIGGLER DOESN’T GO DOWN WITH IT!!! The crowd gasps in awe as the ladder hits the ropes, not collapsing as the struts stay rigid… BUT TO BRYAN’S HORROR, ZIGGLER IS HANGING ON BY ONE HAND TO THE CONTRACT CORD!!! The impact has Ziggler swinging from left to right in the air of the Times Forum, and he desperately flails with his left hand to get the other fatal fingertips on the contract hook… but Bryan won’t give up! The submission expert forces his tired body into action, dragging the ladder back off the ropes to line it up with the contract again, as Ziggler’s eyes light up and his left hand brushes the contract – for a man so exhausted, the effort is MAMMOTH from Ziggler to even hold on, and now Bryan’s coming for him, setting up the ladder and scaling it desperately to meet his opponent! The airborne Ziggler just – can’t – find – the contract’s hook, and now Bryan reaches the summit, sending the crowd wild with a hope for a Bryan comeback! Ziggler, no longer swinging like a madman, throws his left hand at Bryan to knock him off – BUT BRYAN BLOCKS IT… AND ANOTHER… THEN SOMEHOW KICKS HIS FUCKING HEAD IN, SENDING HIM CRASHING DOWN INTO THE COLLAPSED STEEL LADDER ON THE CANVAS!!! WHAT A HIT FROM BRYAN!!! ZIGGLER GETS DESTROYED, AND IT’S ALL ON BRYAN NOW… the submission expert breathes a sigh of exhausted relief, thankful to keep his balance after that kick, and he doesn’t spend more than a second looking at the unmoving Ziggler, just raising his hands to the contract… AND UNHOOKING IT, WINNING HIMSELF A SHOT AT THE WWE TITLE IN THE PROCESS!!! THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!

WINNER AND NEW NUMBER ONE CONTENDER: DANIEL BRYAN VIA CONTRACT RETRIEVAL AT 17:28

*RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES*

Justin Roberts:
Here is your winner, and receiving a WWE Title opportunity at Over The Limit… DANIEL – BRYAN!!!

Bryan lofts his contract high to a HUGE ovation in the Times Forum, from a crowd who haven’t had much to cheer for in a heel-victory-heavy night so far, and the look of delight on the submission expert’s face tells the whole story. He’s bruised and fatigued out of his mind, but he has his title shot, and he can’t hold back a grin, soaking up every moment on top of the ladder with the crowd cheering him on. Down below, Vickie Guerrero and Mike Chioda are trying to revive Dolph Ziggler, who was flattened when he fell from the skies into the collapsed ladder on the mat.

Josh Matthews:
Ladies and gentlemen, whoever wins the Extreme Rules match later this evening will have a task on their hands – at Over The Limit, it’ll be Daniel Bryan getting his first ever World Title shot, and on the back of that gutsy performance, it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve it, guys.

Booker T:
My boi! My boi! He went out dere and he GOT – IT – DONE here ta-night Josh, I’m one happy dude right now – well done, D-Bryan!

Matt Striker:
One hundred percent, gentlemen – both Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler put their bodies on the line to claim just one chance at the WWE Title, and like you said, Daniel’s not going to waste it, he worked far too hard in that match. Very impressive from that man.

Bryan finally steps down off the ladder, and is immediately wrapped in an ecstatic hug from Gail Kim – he’s hurt but he smiles through the pain, raising the contract to the crowd one more time before Gail helps him from the ring. Across the ring, Ziggler is leant against the ropes, with Vickie asking if he’s okay… and he beats the mat lethargically, his hair in a straggled mess – the stark contrast to Bryan; he’s absolutely furious to miss out here tonight.

Josh Matthews:
It’s been a hard slog for Daniel Bryan here tonight, but in the end, he went the extra mile to leave Dolph Ziggler frustrated, and he’s walking out with the spoils. Your new number one contender is the beaten down, exhausted, but victorious Daniel Bryan.

As Bryan and Gail Kim celebrate with the fans on the ramp, Ziggler stares at him, red in the face and humiliated… and we fade away.

---

A man strapping on a pair of fighter’s gloves.

Narrator:
For a year, he’s been held back.

He throws punches, left and right, left and right.

Narrator:
He hasn’t shown his true colours...

He bounces up and down, preparing himself.

Narrator:
...yet.

The man throws back his head and roars out, though no sound can be heard.

Narrator:
But he’s been watching you. Waiting in the shadows.

A dark smirk through the darkness from this man.

Narrator:
Now, Monday Night Raw must prepare...

We see the flash of this man’s eyes, then his bared teeth.

Narrator:
...for when he gets let off his LEASH...

The man, towel over his shoulders, laughs as he storms around the place, free.

Narrator:
...and runs rampant.

Flashing shots of men falling to the ground in boxing matches.

Narrator:
It won’t take long to see that this man is the future.

The man spreads his arms wide and roars once again.

Narrator:
In fact...

For the first time, the man steps into the spotlight...

Narrator:
...it’ll only take you 1.9 seconds.

HE IS UNLEASHED

SOON

ON MONDAY NIGHT RAW

---

When we return (by the way, that’s not me being mysterious, I know you all know who that is, it’s intentional ) we’re backstage, with TRIPLE H being the man we focus on, again in the distance as Cena was earlier for this shot. The Game is drinking from a water bottle, unsurprisingly, and trying to pump himself up, doing so alone in an isolated backstage cargo bay. It’s a very eerie sight, but we fade away without hearing from him, making deathly sure we’ll have no words until after the final bell tonight.

And now we head elsewhere to see SMACKDOWN GENERAL MANAGER, THEODORE LONG, in a backstage office. He gets a little pop from the crowd, sat at his playa desk, when the door slams open, and he looks up with a frown.

Theodore Long:
Yes?

Into the shot steps the unimpressed DAVID OTUNGA, dressed in his A-List gear, and he removes his sunglasses to show Long how unimpressed he is with his unimpressiveness.

David Otunga:
Teddy, I need to talk to you.

T-Lo shrugs.

Theodore Long:
Go right ahead, playa.

Again, Otunga frowns. I don’t think he’s very impressed.

David Otunga:
Teddy, when I came to SmackDown, it was because I had a goal in mind. I was going to make SmackDown the ‘A’ show, because every ‘A’ show needs… an A-Lister.

Long doesn’t answer that, just raising an eyebrow.

David Otunga:
But how do you expect me to carry SmackDown on my shoulders when I haven’t even got a match tonight? Are you tellin’ me you’re gonna leave the A-Lister off your show? That’s not a sensible business decision.

Long chuckles.

Theodore Long:
You think you know what’s best for business, do you, playa?

David Otunga:
Damn right I do. So about you just slide me into the World Title Match next, and I’ll go out there and make SmackDown history… as the first ever A-List World Heavyweight Champion.

A few boos for that, but T-Lo isn’t buying it.

Theodore Long:
Sorry, I don’t think so. But here’s my counter offer. As… er, thanks for bringin’ your… um, A-List presence to SmackDown, how about I put you in a match this Friday night, and if you win, you can face the World Champion… at Over The Limit.

Surprised heat from the crowd, but Otunga can’t believe his luck!

David Otunga:
(grinning) You’ve got yourself a deal, Teddy. Good thinkin’.

He shakes the GM’s hand, then goes to leave.

Theodore Long:
Oh, but that reminds me – it’s gonna be alongside nineteen other men… in a Twenty-Man, Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal! Holla holla!

BIG cheer from the crowd there, and Otunga looks stunned.

Theodore Long:
(sarcastically) Best of luck, playa. But I’m sure you won’t need it… you’re an A-Lister.

Otunga can’t argue, and he sighs before he leaves. We focus on Long, looking very pleased with himself, before we fade back to ringside.

Josh Matthews:
Big news from SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long there, guys – this Friday on SmackDown, twenty men go at it to decide the next contender to the World Heavyweight Title.

Matt Striker:
Undoubtedly huge announcement, Josh, and think about it – Daniel Bryan just went through a catastrophic match to obtain his own shot at glory, and now the SmackDown superstars are going to have to try to do the same, including the man you just saw, David Otunga.

Josh Matthews:
Indeed, Matt. Well, whoever wins that Battle Royal will have a tough time on their hands at Over The Limit, because they’ll have to face either the current champion Edge, or the would-be champion Alberto Del Rio, who of course we heard from earlier. Neither is an easy opponent to face, and they’re about to go head-to-head…

We look up to the skies… AND THE STEEL CAGE BEGINS TO DESCEND.

Josh Matthews:
The cage is lowering – it’s the World Heavyweight Championship Match, and let’s get some background into what should be as unpredictable a match-up as we’ve seen tonight.

*VIDEO PACKAGE*

Del Rio throws out Santino Marella to WIN the 2011 Royal Rumble match.

Ricardo Rodriguez:
ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIO! ALBERTO DEL RIOOOOOOO!!!

Then the Mexican Aristocrat the night afterwards on Raw, with The Miz on one side and Edge on the other.

Alberto Del Rio:
And I promise you… I will be the next... (the vital pause) World Heavyweight Champion.

Michael Cole:
Oh my!

Edge looking unfazed by the challenge.

And now Del Rio on SmackDown.

Alberto Del Rio:
It was my destiny to win the Royal Rumble, and now it’s my destiny to be World… Heavyweight… Champion.

At Elimination Chamber, we see Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston tapping to the Cross-Arm Breaker, then Edge Spearing Kane and Rey Mysterio to win the SmackDown Elimination Chamber. Del Rio runs down to put Edge in the Cross-Arm Breaker, but Christian charges out to make the save.

Josh Matthews:
Del Rio’s gonna have Brodus Clay in his corner…

Del Rio and Clay teaming up on SmackDown…

Josh Matthews:
…but Edge has his own enforcer!

…but losing to the team of Edge and Christian.

And now to Wrestlemania, where Christian neutralises Clay on the outside, and Edge cuts Del Rio in half with a Spear to win the bout.

Booker T:
My boi Edge kickin’ off Wrestlemania da right way, man! Spear!

Back to SmackDown, once I’ve taken over, with Del Rio attacking Edge on his way down the ramp.

Alberto Del Rio:
Five nights ago... at Wrrrrrrestlemania... Edge, and Christian, screwed me over.

Christian hitting the Tornado DDT on Clay at ‘Mania.

Alberto Del Rio:
So for now... allow me to imagine what it would have been like, for me to stand before you tonight as World Heavyweight Champion. Because we all know... my destiny says this is how things should have happened.

Christian and Del Rio going at it in the main event… and then, as we’ve seen already, Swagger’s interference. Del Rio’s frantic celebrations fill our screens...

…and now he stands in the ring for his ‘fiesta’, accompanied by the band.

Alberto Del Rio:
But... where are my manners. I am not alone in my... quest for my destiny.

Flashing shots of Clay, Ricardo, Rosa, the trumpeter… Chavo.

Alberto Del Rio:
Together, we make the Alberto Administration.

Del Rio, Clay and Chavo holding their arms high above Edge in the cage.

Alberto Del Rio:
A toast. To de beginning of a new... a new era for SmackDown. An era of new talent – namely, Alberto Del Rio. To de end of Edge’s time as champion... and de completion of my destiny.

“VIVA ALBERTO!” cries Rodriguez in the distance.

Alberto Del Rio: Let us drink; to the true... champion. Viva Alberto!

But then the shot turns black.

“YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME!!!”

The roaring crowd; Edge Spearing countless men throughout his career, including the one on Del Rio at Wrestlemania; facing Chris Jericho in the cage last year.

Edge:
Dude, your guitar’s way out of tune.

Edge DRILLING Clay in the face with one of the band’s guitars, then overturning the champagne table, Spearing the trumpeter.

Edge:
I don’t know if your Administration’s gonna make it to Extreme Rules or not, Alberto, but even if they do, it’s not gonna matter. Because you and me, our World Title match – we’re talkin’ about a STEEL – CAGE.

A dozen flashing shots of brutal Steel Cage matches in the past.

Edge:
Viva Alberto? Nah. VIVA... RATED R.

Del Rio’s horrified expression…

…but then his smirk the next week on SmackDown.

Alberto Del Rio:
What he did – it reminded me of de classic story. Think about it. A man on Death Row. He... he knows his final hour, is approaching. But he manages to say something meaningful, just before dey take him out back – and shoot him like a DOG.

Edge gasping for air during his beating from the Administration.

Alberto Del Rio:
I can beat you all by myself, peso. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because you’re living in a little dream world, all of your own, Edge.

Edge lofting the World Title high on Del Rio’s car bonnet.

Alberto Del Rio:
See, in de years and years dat have gone by, Edge – Edge was making waves. He used to be de revolutionary!

The Rated R Superstar Spearing Mick Foley through a flaming table.

Alberto Del Rio:
Edge used to be de guy who made things interesting. I know, I know him. He used to liven dese things up here on SmackDown, or over on Raw, when someone had – well, outstayed deir welcome.

Various con-chair-tos.

Alberto Del Rio:
It was exciting, no? Was it not? But de problem is – now, Edge is de man who’s outstayed his welcome here in de WWE. He’s become de exact thing he hates!

And now we sweep to Del Rio’s Steel Cage match with Sin Cara, making the luchadore tap out to the Cross-Arm Breaker…

…before it’s Edge hitting the Spear on Justin Gabriel to pull out the win…

“OOOOOOH, CHAVO…”

Booker T:
What da hell is Chavo doin’ out here?

The fatal distraction to allow Clay, Del Rio and Chavo to attack Edge and bring down the cage. The sickening assault; the Fall of Humanity, the Frog Splash, the Three Amigos, the slam into the cage wall, the Cross-Arm Breaker… the tap out.

Chavo Guerrero:
See, I’m not here to do Alberto Del Rio’s dirty work; I’m here to make sure that the World Title isn’t on someone who doesn’t deserve it. And mostly, I’m here to pay tribute to my heritage better than I ever could when I was Edge’s – tackle dummy.

Chavo stands front and centre on SmackDown.

Chavo Guerrero:
Alberto Del Rio knows how to bring the true Mexican spirit into the WWE – better than anyone else. So this Sunday, he’s gonna become the new World Heavyweight Champ, and at the same time, the Administration’s gonna become the biggest force in the WWE.

Again, Del Rio with the World Title around his waist, then various shots of the Administration’s callous and arrogant members.

Chavo Guerrero:
And Chavo Guerrero’s along for the ride, ese.

But then it’s Edge brutalising Chavo with a kendo stick after his match with Christian… and saying “Cutting Edge. Tonight.” to the camera.

Josh Matthews:
It’s all about retribution for Edge tonight, guys – after that horrific attack on the World Champion inside the steel cage last week, he came out here to punish Brodus Clay and Chavo Guerrero, and he did just that, without a doubt.

Edge in the ring for the Cutting Edge.

Edge:
Del Rio’s tryin’ to make up for how he couldn’t beat me at Wrestlemania... by stacking the deck with this so-called – Administration.

Del Rio’s toast at the fiesta.

Edge:
But not only does that steel cage make sure he can’t do that, it just proves something to me, proves something to you all, and proves something to Alberto too. Like everybody saw last week, it proves that Alberto Del Rio can’t beat me – by himself.

Del Rio and the Administration out to face him.

Alberto Del Rio:
De stakes are higher in two days, Edge. Much higher than at Wrestlemania. Because you and I are going to step into dat Steel Cage Match – it’s a dangerous, dangerous place.

Del Rio smashing Sin Cara’s masked face off the merciless steel.

Alberto Del Rio:
I showed you last week how much I can handle de cage. I beat Sin Cara inside it and made him suffer. And dis Sunday, I’m going to do the same to you. I’m going to come out victorious – just me, not my associates. I’m going to stand tall as the new leader of SmackDown…

One more flash of a smile from Alberto.

Alberto Del Rio:
…because it’s my destiny.

Edge furiously beckoning for Del Rio to get up at ‘Mania.

Edge:
You said one thing that’s right. The stakes ARE higher for you. Because this Sunday, I wanna kill two birds – with one stone. Y’see, I don’t just want to retain my title… I wanna tear your Administration… LIMB FROM LIMB.

The fatal Spear at Wrestlemania, then Del Rio’s scowl on SmackDown. Ricardo and the trumpeter’s scared expressions.

Edge:
Once it’s done, I’m gonna find a steel chair, and run through your stupid Administration until there’s nothing but wreckage left. A personal con-chair-to symphony.

Edge’s con-chair-tos in the past. The pair standing nose-to-nose.

Edge:
There’s only room for the guys at the very top. They’re the guys here to make the lasting impact. Guys like me who can tap into the levels way beyond the regular, way beyond PG and way beyond the acceptable standard. Guys like the RATED – R – SUPERSTAR.

The letter ‘R’ from Edge’s TitanTron flashes into our vision, then disappears. Chavo raising his fists, but Del Rio telling him to back down.

Edge:
And I’m not going anywhere.

Edge raising the title into the air.

Josh Matthews:
Ladies and gentlemen, the entire landscape of SmackDown could change inside that steel cage in just two days’ time… will it be another Rated R performance from SmackDown’s most faithful servant, Edge, or will Alberto Del Rio truly ‘usher in the new era’?

As the two men stand within inches of the other, the shot flickers, flashes, then sweeps to the sight of the deadly steel cage…

…and we fade to black.

*END VIDEO PACKAGE*

We return to the sight of the cage being secured to the canvas; it’s a long VP we just saw, so the workers don’t need much longer to sort it, and now we turn our attention to the stage. Is that honking we can hear?

*REALEZA*

HUGE heat rains down from the crowd as the narcissistic, blue-blooded ALBERTO DEL RIO rolls up in a gorgeous white Rolls Royce. In the passenger seat sits ROSA MENDES, smirking at the crowd, and as Del Rio brings the car to a halt, he honks the horn a few more times before he gets out. Rosa does likewise, and now they head for the ramp, with Del Rio adorned in his usual gold trunks and white scarf over his neck. The bell chimes, and Del Rio points to his own smiling face as the usual golden rain falls from the ceiling. The bell rings.

Tony Chimel:
The following contest is a STEEL CAGE Match, and it is for the WORLD – HEAVYWEEEEIGGHT – CHAMPIONSHIP!

The crowd cheers a little for that, but they soon begin to boo again, as CHAVO GUERRERO, THE TRUMPETER and BRODUS CLAY wander out behind Del Rio and Mendes on the ramp. Guerrero can’t keep a smirk off his face, nor the trumpeter, but Clay remains stony-faced as always when he’s not fighting someone. Del Rio begins to walk down the ramp, eyes lighting up at the sight of the cage in which he’s had some good moments recently.

Josh Matthews:
This is it, guys; SmackDown could be about to change drastically, because when that cage rises again, Edge will have pulled off another title defence, or we’ll be looking at a new face of SmackDown.

Matt Striker:
You can see that Alberto Del Rio, ‘Destiny’s Darling’, is fully prepared for tonight’s match, Josh, and he’s even got the Administration out here for moral support – he clearly believes his destiny will be fulfilled here in Tampa, and if he can repeat his master-class against Sin Cara two weeks ago, he’ll walk out of Extreme Rules as the new World Champion. A big night for that man.

Booker T:
I ain’t a fan of how Alberto does his business, dawg, but he’s been effective, and sometimes, dat’s all that matters… don’t think for a second he won’t try ta pull somethin’ in this match too, because he want dat World Title more dan anythin’, and dat means he might do anythin’ to get it.

Josh Matthews:
Indeed Booker, and just look at the fire in Del Rio’s eyes there as he climbs up to the apron there – he’s had practice in the cage recently, and he’s confident he knows what’s in store… but of course, his opponent is known for being unpredictable, especially in an environment like this.

In line with what Matthews just said, Del Rio is up the steps (moved by the workers during the VP so it’s now by the cage door) and he takes just a moment at the cage threshold before he steps inside. He wheels about the ring slowly, inspecting the steel mesh surrounding him, then heads for a turnbuckle, climbing to the top rope so he can touch one of the steel struts that line the top of the cage. Confident he can climb that, he hops down, as Clay, Chavo, the trumpeter and Rosa take their position at ringside – the word is definitely ‘prowling’ to describe them, especially the first two, while Rosa greets RICARDO RODRIGUEZ through the cage wall with a familiar nod. Del Rio’s music dies down, and it’s all eyes to the stage again, including the eyes of the Mexican Aristocrat…

“YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME!!!”

*METALINGUS*

THE TIMES FORUM GOES NUTS!!! As usual, the steam that rushes up from the stage gives way to the frantic, wild-eyed figure of the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, EDGE, who has the title strapped around his waist as he stares at the ramp… then brings his arms up for the usual ‘rock star’ pose, sending fireworks ROARING across the pay-per-view stage! The slew of pyro gets another big cheer from the crowd, and now Edge detaches the title, opting to throw it over his shoulder, surely hoping that he’ll get the chance to do that again when this is all said and done.

Josh Matthews:
And if there’s one man who you can always trust to overcome the odds when his back is against the wall, it’s the Rated R Superstar – that’s exactly what he’ll need to do. After weeks of mind games from Alberto Del Rio, he finally gets him one-on-one, with the cage keeping the Administration out, and guys, sometimes it only takes a Spear.

Booker T:
Awwww, if you’re Edge right now, you must be lickin’ – yo – lips at dis one – he finally gonna get his hands on dat man Del Rio, with nobody there to save ‘im from dat big Spear if it’s comin’, man. I’ve waited four weeks for dis moment!

Matt Striker:
I agree, Book – see, at Wrestlemania, Edge wanted a chance to prove Alberto Del Rio’s ‘destiny’ talk wrong, and he did that, but tonight is about so much more for the Rated R Superstar, guys. He’s not just here to prove he’s a good champion, he’s here to prove that Del Rio isn’t, and that includes paying him back for all the turmoil he’s endured over the past few editions of SmackDown.

Edge now makes his way down the ramp, eyes flickering up to the menacing cage laid out before him. For a second, he allows himself a smirk, then returns to his serious expression, running a hand through his long hair to pump himself up, and then heads for the steps. He has to shoot a look at Clay and Guerrero, both who take tentative steps towards him, but we all know they won’t touch him by Del Rio’s command. At that, Edge clambers up the steps to the apron, where he climbs inside the steel cage for the first time in a long while. Like Del Rio did, he takes in his surroundings, then nods his head, and waits in the corner as Tony Chimel and the aforementioned Rodriguez stand in the middle of the ring to make the announcements. Edge’s music dies down.

Tony Chimel:
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer – Ricardo – Rodriguez!

Immediate boos for Rodriguez as he steps forward, casting a disapproving look over the crowd before he brings the mic up.

Ricardo Rodriguez:
Damas y caballeros… prepararse para deslumbrar. Esta noche es la noche en que todos serán testigos dealgo extraordinario. Esta noche, podrás ver a un hombre hacer su país se sienta orgulloso, y dar paso a la nueva era. Él es el orgullo de México… ALBERTOOOOOO – DEL RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOO!!!

Del Rio lifts his arms into the air slowly, not so much of a gloat as a methodical show of confidence. He nods across at Edge, who just hops up and down, preparing to fight.

Tony Chimel:
And from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, weighing in tonight at two hundred and forty-one pounds… he is the current World Heavyweight Champion… the RATED – R – SUUUUPERSTAR… EEEEEEDDDDDGGGGEEEE!!!

BIG, big pop from the masses as Edge raises the title high. Referee John Cone moves over to greet him, and the Rated R Superstar eventually hands the title over, if somewhat begrudgingly. Cone raises the title to demonstrate what’s on the line, then hands it through the door to the outside, with Ricardo and Chimel already gone. We now turn our attention back to Edge and Del Rio, squaring up a little as Cone tries to keep them apart just yet. The referee on the outside, Rod Zapata, swings the cage door shut and latches it half-heartedly so it can still be opened if necessary. Now that’s done and dusted, Edge and Del Rio begin to bounce on their balls of their feet, and Cone tells the timekeeper to “RING THE BELL!”



We’re set to go in the penultimate match of the evening, courtesy of our two World Title competitors, and they begin to circle right from the get-go. The crowd gets behind Edge immediately, chanting his name, but Del Rio pays them no heed, refusing to take his eyes off the Rated R Superstar. For a moment, they stop, then begin to circle the other way… but Edge says enough is enough, and EXPLODES forward, beating Del Rio back to the ropes with right hands, then just pounding away with a series of shots to the Mexican’s back! Del Rio gasps out with each blow, until finally Edge stands back, only to charge back in again – Del Rio dives out the way – and Edge has to stop himself colliding into the steel! The crowd sighs a little as the World Champion comes to a halt inches from the mesh… but when he turns around, Del Rio sends him wheeling on to his back with an Arm Drag! Both men get up, but Del Rio pulls off another Arm Drag, this time holding on to the arm to try to wear it down early on! Edge winces, and it looks like Del Rio could be opting for some tactical play here, but the Rated R Superstar won’t let the pace slow and forces himself to his feet. He turns and shoves Del Rio off to the ropes, and the Mexican Aristocrat comes back with a BIG BOOT – ducked by Edge, however, who hits the ropes himself, and catches Del Rio with an Irish Whip… DEL RIO INTO THE STEEL MESH, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS CAREER! The crowd cries out as Del Rio reels back, stunned, and now Edge looks to capitalise, grabbing him by the head to do it again… but Del Rio stops himself this time! Destiny’s Darling doesn’t want another taste of the steel, and instead he elbows Edge in the gut, before he scoops him up AND RAMS HIM INTO THE CAGE WALL HIMSELF!

Again, the crowd groans as Edge falls to his knees this time, and with both competitors having endured a shot from the cage, we’re even again as Del Rio rubs his jaw with a frown. The commentators ask how much of the real cage experience he got in his nine-minute match against Sin Cara, and bring it up as a possible weak point. Regardless, we’re back to the action, with Edge forcing himself up. Del Rio doesn’t want to give him too much space, so he forces him to the corner and begins to lay some boots into the World Champion’s gut. He takes a step or two back so he can get some momentum behind his charge… but no! Edge bends down and hoists Del Rio up… only for the Mexican Aristocrat to grab on to the steel wall – AND BEGIN TO CLIMB! The crowd screams while Edge merely recovers, and it takes a second for him to realise what’s happening, turning around and hopping frantically to the second rope to club him in the back. Guerrero, Clay and co. look frustrated as Del Rio is stopped in his tracks, and now Edge looks back to the ring, slipping beneath Del Rio to maybe let loose a POWERBOMB… NO! Edge begins to tip forward – BUT DEL RIO TRANSITIONS IT INTO A HURRICANRANA AND TOSSES EDGE ACROSS THE RING! The crowd groans as Edge goes cascading across the canvas, shocked and hurt, but he scrambles back up… STRAIGHT INTO A SMALL PACKAGE FROM DEL RIO FROM NOWHERE…

ONE…

TWO – KICKOUT! EDGE KICKS OUT!

The early kickout has the crowd cheering, as well as reminding us that pinfalls count in this match (even though they didn’t in the last four you’ve seen), and now both men get up again, leaping out of the pinning predicament. Del Rio moves first, being the slightly fresher man, and even SCOOPS Edge up with the Military Press – “My destiny!” he cries – but Edge slips out the back, and shoves Del Rio on to the second rope! The Mexican Aristocrat gets draped over the rope as if a 619 is imminent, fingertips away from the steel, and Edge wastes no time, hitting the opposite ropes for some momentum – RUNNING CROSSBODY INTO DEL RIO TO CRUSH HIM! Del Rio’s face stings off the steel a little, meaning he gets choked and smashed, and now he collapses back to the canvas, blinking wildly. Edge isn’t done, however, helping his dazed opponent back up so he can drag him to the middle of the ring – and score with the Northern Lights Suplex! The sweetly-executed move gets some polite cheers and applause, and Edge sticks the pinning position as John Cone slides beside him for the count…

ONE…

TWO – BUT DEL RIO GETS A SHOULDER UP!

Wild applause from the Administration at ringside follows the kickout, complete with a little victory tune from the trumpeter. Edge rolls to the side, but accepts that he needs to do more and shoves himself back up. Del Rio, likewise, finds his feet, but he’s facing the wrong way, so Edge grabs him from behind, then slams his head into one of the turnbuckles! Destiny’s Darling reels off the buckle in pain, but Edge does it again, and again, before he shoves him into the corner and takes a lengthy run-up on his way in for a SPEAR AGAINST THE BUCKLES… NOOO!!! Del Rio spins out the way, and Edge goes straight through the middle and top turnbuckles – AND HIS LEFT SHOULDER CANNONS OFF THE RING POST, HIS ELBOW OFF THE CAGE!!! The nasty impact reverberates around the Times Forum, with none of the inhabiting fans liking what they hear – Del Rio, however, now on his haunches across the ring, has had a moment of inspiration, unsurprisingly. As Edge slowly detaches himself, Del Rio rushes over there to ‘aid’ him, tugging him mercilessly out on to the mat… then stomping all over Edge’s left arm like a man possessed! Referee John Cone looks horrified, but it’s No-DQ again, meaning Del Rio is free to exploit Edge’s arm to the full extent of his will! Each shot elicits a gasp of pain from Edge, as Del Rio looks to target the arm for the inevitable submission, and now he drags Edge towards the cage wall… ONLY TO PRESS HIS ARM AGAINST THE STEEL AND CRUSH IT BETWEEN THE MESH AND HIS BOOT!!!

It’s heartless and cruel from Del Rio, but it’s efficient, and that’s exactly the kind of heel he is; he keeps the pressure on for maybe ten, fifteen seconds before he releases poor Edge, who immediately clutches at his arm in pain. The World Champion is quickly losing momentum, but he’s not helped by Del Rio pulling him up (of course, by that arm) and forcing him towards the ropes – only to bend the arm around the top rope, sending pain shooting through Edge’s left elbow joint! Again, the methodical nature of Del Rio elicits some loud heat from the crowd, and Edge is clearly suffering – the Mexican Aristocrat pounds his fist off the weakened limb a few times to continue the damage, then whips him across the ring by the same arm… no! Edge reverses it, setting his feet to force the arm into action and send Del Rio to the ropes… AND NOW THE FLAPJACK PLANTS DEL RIO INTO THE CANVAS! The crowd begins to liven up again, with both men going down but the momentum back with Edge, who continues to sell the arm even whilst recovering on the mat. Del Rio is still encouraged by the Administration at ringside, all shouting support through the cage (except Clay, he won’t say a word), but he’s clearly frustrated by losing an opportunity. Red-faced, he tries to find the ropes just to give him a hand getting up, but Edge is already there, holding the arm momentarily.

The Rated R Superstar fires a right hand to surprise Del Rio, then another, and hits the ropes… but the challenger catches him with a right hand of his own, then a kick, right to the weakened arm, then again, deliberately targeting it over and over! Edge bares his teeth in pain and almost falls to a knee, but he manages to get in another right hand, only to take another unforgiving kick to the left arm. Edge staggers back again, giving Del Rio the space to drive him back into the corner by the ribs! The World Champion gasps, still selling the arm even though it didn’t take the brunt of the impact there, and now Del Rio tries to tie it up again, bending it around the top rope! The crowd boos as the Mexican Aristocrat methodically aims there once more, then takes a few steps back to charge in with a CORNER DROPKICK TO THE ARM – NOBODY’S HOME!!! DEL RIO OFF THE CAGE WALL!!! The Times Forum lights up with a thousand cheers as Del Rio crashes awkwardly off the ropes and cage, having aimed his Dropkick towards Edge’s arm, only for the Rated R Superstar to spin out of the way! With Del Rio down, clutching at the back of his knees, Edge steps to the outside apron, using his right arm to find the top turnbuckle – the crowd begins to cheer as Edge looks to fly, despite the injured arm… he’s on his feet up top, and down below, Del Rio begins to do likewise – SO EDGE SOARS OFF AND CONNECTS WITH A MISSILE DROPKICK!!! The arena pops big as both men go down in a heap, and for a moment no-one moves… then it’s Edge who crawls across to hook a leg using his right arm…

ONE…

TWO…

KICKOUT BY DEL RIO!

The crowd groans as Del Rio kicks out, then begins to crawl towards the ropes, panting as he does. Edge slumps back to a sitting position, holding his arm briefly, then gets up. He forces Del Rio away from the ropes to pull him to his feet, but the Mexican Aristocrat turns ninety degrees to kick him the gut… THEN THROWS HIM ARM-FIRST INTO THE STEEL! The crowd groans with the impact as Edge reels off, cursing under his breath, and Del Rio won’t let up, firing a few well-placed punches to the forearm to wear it down further, before he straps the arm across his stomach and delivers the SINGLE ARM DDT! Again, Edge rolls across the ring in pain, gritting his teeth, and now it’s Del Rio’s turn to make the cover, holding the weak arm into the mat as he does…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT EDGE KICKS OUT THIS TIME!

Edge keeps this bout alive, much to the delight of the fans in Tampa, but after the kickout, he doesn’t move. Seeing this, the frustrated Del Rio gets to his feet, and lays a few stomps to the injured arm… before he turns to the cage, and adopts a different tactic to win! The Mexican Aristocrat heads for the corner, with the crowd screaming their disapproval as he scales the buckles and begins to climb! Edge is still down on the mat, wincing as he tries to get up, while Del Rio makes the slow journey up the cage, fingers locking around the steel struts… and he begins to pull himself towards the top! Edge is up, though, and he manages to use his right arm to get up the turnbuckle after his opponent – Del Rio’s legs are still dangling as he tries to force himself to the level surface at the top, meaning Edge stretches up… and grabs one of those legs in his right hand, trying to yank him down again! The crowd sighs with relief, while Del Rio scrabbles to keep hold of the steel at the top, only to slide down a little… he tries to boot Edge away, but the Rated R Superstar is determined, and now he manages to pull Del Rio back down to the turnbuckle! This is all using the right arm, though Edge manages to keep his grip on the cage using his weaker left – and that’s what Del Rio immediately aims for with an elbow shot… Edge winces, but then comes back with a clubbing right hand to the jaw! Del Rio falls back, resting against the cage wall in shock, and now Edge starts to fire away, sending the crowd wild as the World Champion lets his anger out!

The Administration look concerned at ringside, but the masses in the Times Forum love it, and Del Rio looks dazed as he slumps back against the steel. Edge takes a moment to catch his breath, then looks up to the top… so he begins to climb, grabbing the struts to pull himself slowly up, even using Del Rio as a stepping stone! The arena watches on tenterhooks as the Rated R Superstar gets both his arms on the top of the cage, and we begin to believe… BUT DEL RIO HAS HIS ARMS ON EDGE’S LEGS! Suddenly, the momentum changes, as Del Rio pulls Edge back down, and it could be SUPER POWERBOMB ON THE CARDS… NO! Edge jams his fingers into the steel wall to stop himself falling, and manages to get loose of the Powerbomb hold, dropping in front of Del Rio again… but the Mexican Aristocrat shoves him off, and the Rated R Superstar crashes down to the mat! Landing spine-first, Edge groans in pain, but Del Rio wastes no time adding to his misery, LEAPING OFF WITH A DIVING SENTON… AND CONNECTING WITH IT ACROSS EDGE’S STOMACH!!! The big impact has the crowd groaning in awe, and though Del Rio sells it for a moment, he’s quickly back to business by leaning back to hook a leg…

ONE…

TWO…

THR – NO! EDGE KICKS OUT! KICKOUT!!!

Del Rio has his head in his hands – he can’t believe that didn’t do it, but we’re still going, as the lethargic Edge holds his stomach on his way up. Del Rio is breathing heavily, too, but he’s first on offence, getting up and clubbing Edge in the back to force him back to the corner. The Rated R Superstar fires back with an elbow, then another, and turns around, before he moves out of the corner, whipping Del Rio across the ring in the process. The Mexican Aristocrat hits the ropes, then comes back to duck Edge’s clothesline attempt – he stops, then grabs the Rated R Superstar’s arm for the CROSS-ARM BREAKER… NOOOO!!! Edge shoves Del Rio off to the ropes as he spins for it, forcing him to rebound – Big Boot – DUCKED by Del Rio, who darts in behind the World Champion… AND SCORES WITH THE BACKSTABBER! As part of the ‘all Latin American superstars have to use this move’ initiative, Del Rio hits the Double Knee Backbreaker, but Edge rolls under the ropes and rests against the cage, preventing a cover. The Mexican Aristocrat struggles back up, frowning as he sees Edge, then deciding that it’ll give him a chance to climb again, scooting up the ropes to head for the top! Again, the crowd comes alive with boos and desperate shouts for Edge to stop him, and the Rated R Superstar manages to heed the warnings, wincing as he rolls back into the fray and finds his feet. Del Rio is lethargically making his way up the side of the cage, but Edge steps up to the second rope to surprise his challenger by putting him on his shoulders… AND TIPPING DEL RIO BACK INTO THE RING WITH THE ELECTRIC CHAIR DROP FROM UP HIGH!!! The crowd goes NUTS with the ridiculous impact, and now both men are motionless, as we get a couple of replays… unbelievable thinking from Edge!

Finally, Edge manages to move, shaking out his injured left arm a little, and gets up to his knees, swinging his straggled hair out of his eyes. Blinking, he turns his head to Del Rio, who is holding his back – and it’s a light bulb moment from the World Heavyweight Champion, who struggles up to his feet… and just SLAMS down with a Knee Drop into Del Rio’s back, then again, and a third time! That has Del Rio crying out in pain, and Edge isn’t done, trying to further weaken the back by stepping over Del Rio and applying the Camel Clutch! The Mexican Aristocrat’s pained yells are synchronised with Edge’s own yells of adrenaline, while John Cone slides beside Del Rio to ask him if he wants to tap. The challenger’s answer is “No!” through gritted teeth, but Edge is paying him back every dime for the targeting of the left arm earlier; however, that plays a part here, as half of the hold is locked in by that same arm, possibly weakening his grip… because it allows Del Rio to find his feet, forcing Edge into a Sleeper Hold variety – and Del Rio charges back into the ropes, WITH EDGE COLLIDING INTO THE STEEL CAGE IN THE PROCESS!!! The crowd groans as Edge is forced to release the hold, and now Del Rio sells his injured ribcage, both front and back, before he charges across the ring to rebound… BUT EDGE CATCHES HIM WITH THE BIG BOOT OUT OF NOWHERE!!!

Both men go down once again, and within seconds, they’re both clutching at their injured area – Edge his left arm, Del Rio his entire abdomen, the targets of their opponent’s finisher, as the commentators point out – before it’s Edge on his feet. He knows he needs to capitalise, so he stumbles back to grab Del Rio by the legs… he steps in… SHARPSHOOTER – NOOOO!!! Del Rio twists his body, spinning Edge out and away! The Rated R Superstar has to stop himself colliding with the steel cage, then turns back to see Del Rio on his feet, so they both charge in – SPEAR – no, leapfrog from Del Rio – he tries the ENZUIGIRI – but Edge ducks, and Del Rio staggers – EDGE-O-MATIC CONNECTS FROM THE WORLD CHAMPION, AND THE PIN…

ONE…

TWO…

THR – NOOO!!! KICKOUT!!! DEL RIO ESCAPES!!!

This match is set to continue, but as Edge rolls backwards to find his feet, he nearly falls again. He’s stunned that didn’t get the three count, while Del Rio holds his back on the way to the ropes. The Mexican Aristocrat steals a glance back at Edge, then tries to force his tired frame into action by climbing the cage… but the Rated R Superstar is having none of it, moving across the ring to pull him straight back to the canvas! The crowd cheers, and now Edge throws a few right hands to force Del Rio back to the corner, by the door – he hits a few more punches, then winds back… he goes for a Running Shoulder Block, but Del Rio moves, and Edge’s left arm SLAMS into the cage door, swinging it wide open! As the World Champion staggers backwards, crying out in pain, Rod Zapata keeps the door open on the outside at Del Rio’s request… and now the Mexican Aristocrat tries to worm his way through the ropes to the outside! The crowd screams in protest, but just as Del Rio’s hands touch the steel steps, Edge rushes back to tug him back in by the ankles! Zapata swings the door shut as Edge falls on Del Rio to throw half a dozen furious punches, letting him know that the ‘new era’ will come at a bruising cost for him, if at all!

When Edge is done throwing rights, including a few to the stomach, he stands up, and heads for the corner. He puts a hand on the steel mesh, as if considering the climb, then looks back to Del Rio, holding his ribs on the canvas. The Rated R Superstar then turns his attention to the crowd, all egging him on for a pinfall victory, then to Del Rio again… before he crouches – AND BEGINS TO BECKON DEL RIO TO RISE! The crowd goes wild as the Spear looms, and as Del Rio finds his way to his knees, Edge licks his lips – but Chavo Guerrero is banging on the cage wall! Boos can be heard from the crowd as Edge snarls and falls over the second rope to hurl trash talk at the Mexican Warrior on the outside, though it seems that’s distracting him… or is it? Del Rio struggles back to his feet just as Edge turns around again, and the Rated R Superstar charges for the SPEAR… NO! DEL RIO DROPKICKS HIM IN THE LEFT SHOULDER!!! Down goes Edge, holding his arm in agony once more, and at ringside, we see Chavo being congratulated by Ricardo and the trumpeter; Del Rio lands hard, however, and doesn’t look much better, still keeping an arm across his abdomen.

Despite his minor injury, Del Rio is first to his feet, having sustained less punishment than his opponent, and now Edge uses the ropes to get up as well. The World Champion’s eyes are glazed over, and he slumps against the ropes, even bending over in pain as he holds his arm… so Del Rio charges in – BUT EDGE STUNS HIM WITH A BACK BODY DROP, SENDING DEL RIO’S SPINE CAREERING INTO THE STEEL MESH!!! The crowd cries “OHHH!” in awe, and Del Rio crashes to the floor, under the ropes now, and we see some replays of Edge’s killer improvisation there to damage Del Rio’s ribs further. Of course, he can’t cover the Mexican Aristocrat, so he makes do with a few steps back… THEN HITS A BASEBALL SLIDE OF SORTS TO SLAM DEL RIO’S RIBS INTO THE STEEL AGAIN!!! It’s pure genius from Edge, who now frantically pulls Del Rio into the ring to make the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NO! DEL RIO KICKS OUT OF IT!!!

Edge looks to the skies – what more does he need to do? At ringside, we see the Administration applauding, bar Clay as usual, and Edge decides to up the gears, again sweeping his hair from his face… before he grabs Del Rio’s legs, steps in… AND APPLIES THE SHARPSHOOTER THIS TIME!!! The crowd cheers as loud as they can, with Del Rio’s torso being contorted as Edge applies it expertly, roaring with adrenaline all the while! The Administration are spread all about ringside, Chavo, Ricardo, Rosa, the trumpeter, all banging on the cage, telling Del Rio NOT to tap, it’s all the Mexican Aristocrat is only just able to take their advice – his face is the picture of agony, arms flailing about as he tries to find some respite... until finally, he manages to inch towards the ropes! A few boos can be heard, but Chavo, the man nearest Del Rio, is urging him on, telling him “Just a bit more, a bit more!”… AND DEL RIO GRABS THE BOTTOM ROPE – BUT IT DOESN’T BREAK THE HOLD! Del Rio knew this, but it’s still a frustrating twist, as he has to painstakingly pull himself up, with Edge’s grip loosening as he does – finally, the Rated R Superstar has to turn around, still holding his opponent by the ankle… BUT DEL RIO’S SUDDENLY CLIMBING THE CAGE!!!

Del Rio’s improvisation sees him up to the top rope, even wriggling his ankle free of Edge’s grip… but the World Champion comes right back after him, clambering up to the top rope and hitting Del Rio with a lethargic right hand to keep him where he is! Edge grabs his opponent by the head – OFF THE CAGE! Del Rio blinks in pain, then grabs Edge by the head now – OFF THE CAGE TOO! Edge returns the favour, then Del Rio sends his opponent into the steel once more, then again… and again, before he grabs the left arm – AND JUST SLAMS IT INTO THE STEEL FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME THIS MATCH!!! Edge falls back, only staying upright because of his right hand clutching at the cage wall, then swings back to slump against the mesh, eyes unfocused as he grits his teeth through the pain. Del Rio looks up to the steel struts, then to Edge, and manages to take a step around the World Champion to grab him by the waist… surely not… BEFORE HE THROWS EDGE BACK INTO THE RING WITH A RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX, SENDING THEM BOTH FLYING INTO THE CANVAS!!! The impact shudders through the Times Forum, with Edge’s eyes glazed over as he stares unwittingly at the ceiling – Del Rio isn’t much better, having taken a nasty impact to the injured back, and it’s only once we’ve seen four replays that Del Rio begins to move, crawling, craaaaawling across the ring to drape an arm over the lifeless Edge for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NEW CHAMPION – NOOOOOO!!! SHOULDER UP FROM EDGE!!!

The pop is HUGE in the Times Forum, and I don’t think a soul can believe that Edge isn’t down for the three count – not least Del Rio, who is on his knees looking at referee John Cone with an incredulous expression. Cone holds up two fingers, and Del Rio tilts his head to the ceiling, unable to comprehend Edge’s escape. Slowly, the Mexican Aristocrat struggles up, then beckons for Edge to join him; the Rated R Superstar is still sluggish and bruised from that move, but inevitably he finds his feet. Del Rio hits the ropes, then swings with a clothesline, but it’s a swing and a miss, as Edge ducks it – Del Rio rebounds off the other side, then comes back… INTO THE HALF-NELSON BULLDOG FROM EDGE!!! Del Rio’s injured ribs take another nasty hit, but Edge has to get up afterwards, and that wouldn’t be easy, were he not near the ropes – he uses them to pull himself up, then immediately scales them to find the steel mesh. He reaches up to the steel struts above him, wincing as he tries to use his left arm as well, and slowly, it looks like he’ll be able to find his way up to the top… but Del Rio forces himself to get up, and even through the pain in his abdomen, he has a goal of being World Champion, and that drives him up to the top rope… before he grabs the leg of Edge, now with a leg on either side of the cage at the top!

Edge is exhausted – he’s desperately trying to climb to the other side and win the match, but Del Rio is resilient, and holds the Rated R Superstar in place until slowly, he manages to join him at the top. The pair begin to exchange blows up high, one after another, until it’s Del Rio who capitalises with a punch to the left arm, inevitably, then tries to swing himself down to the arena floor – but no! Edge GRABS Del Rio by the hair before he can get a purchase on the outside mesh, and slowly forces him back up to the top! It’s back-and-forth from these two, with Del Rio now shoving Edge back... but he stops himself just in time with a grateful hand on the steel! Edge comes back with a right hand, looking to topple Del Rio, but the Mexican Aristocrat is desperate, pushing Edge by the leg to force him back down… the Rated R Superstar lands on the top rope, however, and before Del Rio can escape the cage, Edge just HAULS him back down to the top rope too… BUT DEL RIO LOSES HIS FOOTING AND CROTCHES HIMSELF ON THAT TOP ROPE!!! The crowd groans with sympathy for the challenger, whose face tells the whole story, and now Edge, balancing precariously on the top, pulls him back up – Del Rio’s feet find the rope, but he’s unable to fight back as Edge applies the front facelock… THEN BRINGS DEL RIO HURTLING DOWN TO EARTH WITH THE EDGECUTION, FROM THE TOP ROPE… AND EDGE LANDS ON THE INJURED ARM AS WELL!!!

The crowd goes wild there, but it’s a bitter-sweet move for Edge; while Del Rio takes a huge hit on to the injured ribcage, the Rated R Superstar’s awkward landing means it takes him a second to recover… before he begins to inch his way back across the mat to lay an arm across the challenger for the all-important cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NOOOO!!! KICKOUT BY DEL RIO!!!

Both men roll to the side – it’s equal levels of exhaustion in this late stage, but somehow they have the energy to continue, staggering up to their knees, then their feet. Edge looks to kill things off, going for the front facelock for possibly another Edgecution… but Del Rio spins out, then grabs the injured arm – DOUBLE KNEE ARM BREAKER! Edge gasps in pain here, stumbling across the ring clutching the weakened arm, then wanders inevitably into the path of Del Rio, who grabs it again… he twists around for the CROSS-ARM BREAKER – NO, EDGE SPINS OUT – THEN CUTS ALBERTO IN HALF WITH THE SPEAR!!! SPEAR HITS FROM EDGE!!! The Times Forum ERUPTS as Edge drives his right shoulder into Del Rio’s weakened ribs, and surely it’s only a formality as the World Champion slumps over Del Rio for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – BUT NOOOOOOOOO!!! DEL RIO SOMEHOW KICKS OUT!!! KICKOUT!!!

DEL RIO IS STILL IN THIS!!! The crowd sits in shock, but Del Rio may have just done the impossible; he kicked out of the Spear with that crucial abdomen injury! The Mexican Aristocrat is breathing heavily, but this match is still going, and the Administration are overjoyed at ringside, hugging each other, thanking the heavens, the whole routine! Edge is on his knees, straggled blond hair across his face, and he has to shrug it out of the way to ask the question of John Cone, who can barely believe it either! We catch a couple of replays – it’s close, but Del Rio kicks out at two and a half, if not narrower margins, and now Edge is forced to go the extra mile! The Rated R Superstar struggles back up once again, then tries to force Del Rio up by the head… but the Mexican Aristocrat shoves him away – AND DRILLS HIM WITH THE ENZUIGIRI OUT OF ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!!! THE CRACK ECHOES AROUND THE ARENA – WHAT A HIT!!! Edge goes down, the fans in shock all the while, and Del Rio launches forward for the cover, looking to stun us all…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – BUT NO, EDGE SAVES THE MATCH-UP!!! LATE KICKOUT FROM THE WORLD CHAMPION!!!

As the arena breathes a long sigh of relief, Del Rio looks up at Cone, who’s having to officiate a back-and-forth match of epic proportions here tonight. Slowly, Edge crawls away, but the furious Del Rio is up more quickly, and grabs his opponent – by the hair, no less – back to his feet… BEFORE HE SPINS AND LOCKS IN THE CROSS-ARM BREAKER BEFORE EDGE CAN HAVE A SAY!!! The crowd roars in protest as Edge roars, in equal measure, in severe pain, and as Del Rio wrenches on that injured arm, this could well be it! At ringside, Chavo and the gang are chanting “TAP!” at Edge, but the Rated R Superstar, for all the damage done, the sweat on his forehead, his expression of pure agony… he WON’T give up, shaking his head again and again! Del Rio is screaming “TAP, AMIGO! TAP OUT! COME ON!” like a madman, but Edge can’t bring himself to give up his World Title this way! The Canadian is in HELL, nowhere near the ropes… HIS HAND GOES UP – WILL HE TAP?!? The answer to that is NO, as he uses the hand to force himself up just a little, slowly… BEFORE HE MANAGES TO STACK DEL RIO ON HIS SHOULDERS, THE HOLD STILL APPLIED… IT’S A COVER…

ONE…

TWO…

ONLY FOR DEL RIO TO BREAK THE SUBMISSION RATHER THAN BE PINNED!!!

A big pop goes up as Edge survives the hold with pure experience reigning over youth here, but there’s also a sigh of disappointment – that could have been Del Rio pinned for three, but this bout is still going! Edge runs a hand through his hair, then begins to drag himself towards the apron, using the ropes to find his feet. Once on the outside apron, he heads for the turnbuckle next to the door, unable to use his left arm but using the right to find his way to the top… he begins to BECKON Del Rio to rise – IS HE THINKING SPEAR FROM THE TOP ROPE?!? This would be HUGE, and as Del Rio gets up, the crowd buzzes… BUT DEL RIO EXPLODES OUT OF THE BLOCKS, STEPPING UP TO THE SECOND ROPE AND CRACKING THE ENZUIGIRI INTO EDGE’S TEMPLE!!! THE WORLD CHAMPION’S HEAD COLLIDES HORRIFICALLY WITH THE CAGE… AND HE FALLS TO THE CANVAS, MOTIONLESS!!! The crowd gasps in horror as Edge lies unmoving on the deck, and referee John Cone falls beside the Canadian, who is lying face down, possibly preventing a cover…

…so Del Rio, also on the mat, asks for the door to open! Rod Zapata has no choice, and the boos that greet the door’s swing tell the entire story, as Del Rio begins to claw his way towards the edge of the ring… the boos swarm around the arena, mixed with a series of “EDGE! EDGE!” chants as they urge the World Champion to stop his challenger’s escape! Slowly, however, Del Rio slithers under the bottom rope… BUT SUDDENLY, THE LIFELESS EDGE STRETCHES OUT, AND GRABS DEL RIO BY THE CALF!!! The crowd goes BERSERK, and Del Rio begins to flail about, eyes wide as he desperately tries to haul himself from the cage… but Edge’s grip is like a vice! The World Champion won’t let his title go without a fight! Del Rio stretches furiously to the outside… MEANING NOW CHAVO GUERRERO, BRODUS CLAY AND RICARDO RODRIGUEZ FRANTICALLY HIT THE SCENE, GRABBING DEL RIO’S OUTSTRETCHED ARMS…

…AND YANKING HIM OUT OF EDGE’S GRIP, TO THE OUTSIDE FLOOR!!! DEL RIO STEALS IT!!! DEL RIO ABSOLUTELY STEALS THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

WINNER AND NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: ALBERTO DEL RIO VIA CAGE ESCAPE AT 25:15

*REALEZA*

Booker T:
Awwww, dammit!

It’s the loudest heat of the night, possibly of the YEAR so far, as Del Rio gets to his feet… and flashes the dirtiest, cheapest grin possible at the crowd. The boos around the arena drown out just about anything else, but through his exhaustion he manages to nod his head and talk a little trash before he raises his arms high and collapses against the outside of the cage. As Chavo and Clay keep him upright, Rosa Mendes brings him HIS new World Title, while the dazed Edge winces heavily as he watches… and Ricardo gets his filthy hands on a mic…

Ricardo Rodriguez:
EL NUEVO CAMPEON MUNDIAL PESO COMPLETO… ALBERTO DEL RIO, ALBERTO DEL RIO, ALBERTO DEL RIO, ALBERTO DEL RIO, ALBERTOOOOO – DEL – RIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOO!!!

Again, MASSIVE heat fills the Times Forum as Del Rio takes the World Title, and begrudgingly, John Cone leaves the ring to loft his arm into the air! Del Rio throws one arm around Rosa, then waits for Cone to return to checking on Edge so he use the other to raise his new title, grinning like a man who’s got away with murder! Chavo is applauding, the trumpeter playing a tune and Ricardo dancing about jubilantly, while Edge comes to terms with the ROBBERY we just saw in the ring, and the Administration begins to backtrack up the ramp. Brodus Clay just nods his head, impressed.

Josh Matthews:
When we thought the Alberto Administration couldn’t intervene in a Steel Cage Match, guys, it seems we were wrong, because that bit of improvisation from Chavo, Ricardo and Brodus has… well, it’s given us a new World Champion.

Matt Striker:
Very questionable means here tonight, Josh, and unfortunately, it seems like Alberto Del Rio’s going to get away with it, because that match was No-Disqualification. I suppose we can’t do anything but congratulate our new World Heavyweight Champion.

Booker T:
I am… I am just sick, dawg, I don’t know what da hell I just saw! Dat boi Alberto and his little Administration runnin’ up dat ramp, and hell, dey should be! Dat’s a damn steal right dere, somebody gotta do somethin’!

Josh Matthews:
Unjust though it may be, guys, I think Del Rio will argue he played to the rules – if there was ever an event where he could play that card, it was here tonight in Tampa. And folks, that means we may truly be about to see a ‘new era’ for SmackDown… Alberto Del Rio, no matter how he did it, is your new face of Friday nights.

In the ring, Edge is sat up against the ropes. His hair is straggled across his face, with his head in his hands, and now he turns his eyes up to the stage, where a THRILLED Alberto Del Rio is kissing his title amongst his partners in crime. As Del Rio raises the big gold belt into the air and the crowd chants “YOU SUCK!”, we slowly fade away…

---


TOMORROW NIGHT ON MONDAY NIGHT RAW – THE ROCK’S BIRTHDAY SPECIAL
2nd MAY 2011 | AMERICAN AIRLINES ARENA, MIAMI, FLORIDA

---

*VIDEO PACKAGE*

We open outside the St. Pete Times Forum with TODD GRISHAM holding a mic out to a fan, wearing sunglasses and a Buccaneers cap.

Fan #1:
Gotta go with John Cena. He just never gives up. Gotta make up for ‘Mania, y’know?

Cena taking the Rock Bottom to give The Miz at Wrestlemania.

John Cena:
Last night? I didn’t get beat by one guy, I got beat by three. So no, man. It might be time to forget about The Rock... but it is not time to forget about JOHN – CENA!

Cena pinning Alex Riley to win his title shot, then raising his ‘Word Life’ sign to the crowd, grinning.

But now we’re with another fan, a woman.

Fan #2:
I’ll say… Triple H.

Todd Grisham:
Any particular reason?

Fan #2:
Umm… well, he’s the Game, this is what he does best!

Triple H holds his head in his hands after he loses to The Undertaker.

Triple H:
So even if I lost to the Deadman, I’m not gonna feel sorry for myself, because feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. Kicking ass is what gets you places.

The Game’s Pedigree to The Miz as Special Guest Referee Cena watches on.

And now a third fan, a weird-looking smark kid. Is it TKOW? Who knows.

Fan #3:
The Miz. Most must-see WWE Champ of all time, man.

Can’t be TKOW. He would’ve picked Kane.

We see The Miz hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale on Randy Orton.

The Miz:
You are all living… in MY moment.

He raises the WWE Title high at Wrestlemania, then the same scene only six days ago.

Fan #4:
Triple H.

Fan #5:
Miz.

Fan #6:
Cena.

Josh Matthews over the top of flashing shots of all three men.

Josh Matthews:
It’s three men, just these three, this Sunday in Tampa, in an Extreme Rules match to decide the WWE Champion once and for all!

The Miz holding his title desperately to his chest.

The Miz:
Why... why is it that when I have all these people surrounding me, the WWE Champion, I don’t get the thrill from it?

He wanders through the backstage corridors.

The Miz:
I don’t get a rush because everything I ever dreamed this would be... is a LIE. The WWE is nothing like what I imagined... it’s a miserable, cold-hearted, fickle place.

The Miz being scorned, shoved and mocked in 2006, 2007.

The Miz:
But some day, I’ll get that thrill – somehow, I’ll do it, I... swear... it.

Miz hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale on Randy Orton to win the title in 2011.

Michael Cole:
MIZ! He got him! Miz is champion! MIZ – IS – CHAMPION!

The Miz:
And as for tonight... and every other night, until the night I retire, I will continue to smash boundaries, break clichés, make this show watchable – as the most must-see WWE Champion OF – ALL – TIME.

His trademark smirk at the top of the ramp.

The Miz:
Because I’M THE MIZ… AND I’M…

The shot flickers and fuzzes, however…

“BEHOLD THE KING…”

“THE KING OF KINGS…”

Triple H:
If I can’t beat the Streak, I’ll just get the next... best... thing.

Josh Matthews:
There is no-one who epitomises the WWE Title better than Triple H… a former eight-time Champion, the Cerebral Assassin, and he’s got some ground to make up.

The Game hitting Spinebusters, Pedigrees… sledgehammer shots. Then he stands with that same weapon in hand on Raw last Monday.

Triple H:
Last week, John, you made me realise what I need – to – do... to bring that belt back home to me. The man who wears that belt more proudly than anyone who’s ever set foot in that damn ring.

The look on The Miz’s face when he returns two weeks beforehand.

Triple H:
This Sunday… you’ll play the Game... AND YOU’LL LOSE.

Tripper and Cena in the ring in the main event; the submissions exchange, then Cena’s stunned expression that the STFU wasn’t enough.

John Cena:
Or maybe I’m just crazy, Hunter. See, ya gotta get in that kinda mindset when you’ve got an Extreme Rules match comin’ up... ya just gotta get a little – CRAZY.

Cena leaping over the crowd barricade to chase Alex Riley into the stands.

John Cena:
Extreme Rules is gonna be a powder keg, man. And unfortunately for The Miz... I’ve got a match. And I’m-a light that match all over Tampa in three weeks. ‘Cause I’ve been in my fair share of extreme matches. I’ve been at Extreme Rules before. Hell, I got thrown through a spotlight two years ago at Extreme Rules! I know what I’m doin’!

That exact moment with the spotlight.

John Cena:
But there’s just one problem, ‘cause I don’t have the WWE Title yet. Not – just – yet. But I want it. I want it SO... BAD. And when you put that – that intensity, that desire... when ya put that with my three rules...

“Hustle – Loyalty – Respect” on his shirt.

John Cena:
...ya know there can only be one outcome.

Cena waving the ‘You can’t see me’ to The Miz during his match with the Game.

John Cena:
I need to be ‘The Champ’ again.

A flash of The Rock’s face at Wrestlemania. The music speeds up.

The Miz:
You just... don’t... get it, do you Cena? Check the footage. Relive the moment. I – beat – you. One, two, three. The biggest match of the wrestling year, and you LOST, John.

Cena dejectedly realising The Rock has cost him the title.

Michael Cole:
We are witnessing MIZ-STORY!

Miz raises the WWE Title, spun upside down so it displays the ‘M’ instead.

The Miz:
Who do these guys think they are? There’s only one WWE Champion around here, and I don’t get the respect I deserve from Jerry Lawler; he just coops me up with whichever losers are first to put their hands in the air.

Triple H and Cena staring down at The Miz.

The Miz:
The fans, they cheer for men like John Cena, like Triple H – but in the end, I know there’s only man... making the headlines.

The Miz’s signature taunt as he raises the title into the air.

A group of fans.

Fan #7:
We can’t call it. Could be any of them!

Miz with the Skull-Crushing Finale on Cena.

The Miz:
Because I’m THE MIZ…

Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Triple H.

John Cena:
I don’t back down, I don’t quit, I don’t – give – up! That’s not who I am, Miz, and that’s why I’m standin’ here!

Triple H hitting Miz with the Pedigree.

Triple H:
I’ll go in all guns blazing, and I’ll come out the winner, whether you like or not.

And The Miz backing away from his challengers on Raw.

The Miz:
…AND I’M – AWWWWWESOOOOOOOMMMEEE!!!

Now the exact image we got to end Raw last Monday; Cena, chair in hand amongst the fans, HHH with his sledgehammer in the ring, and The Miz at the top of the ramp, hands locked around his title.

*END VIDEO PACKAGE*

It’s back to the arena now, where Justin Roberts is standing in the ring. The bell chimes.

Justin Roberts:
The following is a Triple Threat Extreme Rules Match set for one fall… AND IT IS FOR – THE WWE… CHAMPIONSHIP!

BIG pop for our main event. All eyes to the stage…

*MY TIME IS NOW*

The reaction is split down the middle, but it’s a MASSIVE reaction nonetheless for JOHN CENA as he comes charging out in his red merchandise. He stops on the ramp, with the camera sweeping in to his face so he can say “This is it, this is the big one” before he throws the salute, and sprints for the ring!

Josh Matthews:
Four weeks ago exactly, John Cena’s WWE Title hopes were dashed by the input of The Rock at the Grandest Stage of Them All, Wrestlemania Twenty-Seven. Tonight, he has a chance to put that right.

Matt Striker:
Indeed, Josh, but it won’t be easy – he’s got to go through the mill in one of the most dangerous matches the WWE has to offer. Not to mention, his opponents are both as determined as he is to leave with that title in hand.

Booker T:
You know it, dawg. Cena got a point to prove here in Tampa ta-night, and who knows what he goin’ have to go through to get da gold, become da Champ again!

Cena slides under the bottom rope, then immediately gives the crowd the ‘Word Life’ sign with a slight smile. He takes off his hat and throws it into the masses, and now his music dies down. He takes up a position in the corner, waiting patiently…

“BEHOLD THE KING…”

*THE KING OF KINGS*

THE TIMES FORUM GOES ABSOLUTELY NUTS!!! The green and red lights illuminate the entire arena, and we can see Cena looking up at the stage with a frown. Of course, through the flickering display of lights, steps TRIPLE H to a stunning ovation, hair drenched and holding a water bottle as always. For a moment, he stands stock-still…

“IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME…”

*THE GAME*

…and now he SPITS water out in front of him, before he begins to storm down the ramp! He takes another big swig of the bottle on his way to the ring, throwing said bottle into the crowd, then heads up to the apron. Cena never takes his eyes off the Game, who winds back… then spits the water into the air, ROARING out at the arena to another big pop! Having done that, he steps inside the ring, and heads to the turnbuckle, raising his arms high into the air.

Josh Matthews:
But as you just saw in that VP, folks – while Cena may want to ‘right the wrongs’ of Wrestlemania, Triple H has his own demons to banish. After failing to break the Streak last month, a win in this match may be exactly what he needs to help put that crippling loss behind him.

Booker T:
And I got da faith in da Game to do just dat, guys.

Matt Striker:
Same here. Triple H has made a career out of these big matches; he’s won thirteen World Titles, eight of which were the same WWE Title he’s competing for here tonight. It’s hard to bet against a man so experienced, so tried and tested in all arrays of matches, including No-Disqualification bouts like this one.

Hunter’s music dies down, and the lights return to normal. In the subsequent lull, the camera pans around ringside, showing a variety of weapons for this match; trash cans filled with street signs and kendo sticks, steel chairs strewn about the place, and even two tables either side of the ring, because… why not? We turn our eyes back to the stage, where the classic ‘AWESOME’ bubble letters have been set up again…

“AWWWWWWESOOOOMMMMEEEE…”

*I CAME TO PLAY*

It’s pretty deafening heat for the WWE CHAMPION, THE MIZ, as he bursts through the bubble letters (making ‘AWE – SOME’ in the process) and immediately taunts the Tampa fans with the classic ‘boo-hoo’ face. Wearing his usual bad-man longcoat for the pay-per-view, The Miz raises his title into the air with two hands, showing off the ‘M’ in the middle of the spinner belt, then begins to slowly pace down the ramp, keeping it raised all the while. Behind him, ALEX RILEY strolls through the letters as well, in his Varsity Villain jacket as usual here tonight.

Josh Matthews:
Well, I think it’s safe to call The Miz the ‘underdog’ here tonight, but don’t forget; this is a man who has held that WWE Title since November of last year, a man who has constantly been written off only to rise above. I hate to sound like Michael Cole here, guys, but even though The Miz’s tactics are often questionable, he gets results.

Matt Striker:
In some ways, Josh, you could almost say we’ve come to expect The Miz to retain his title on more than one occasion, just because he always finds a way. He’s got two former World Champions to contend with here tonight, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last five and a half months, it’s never count The Miz out.

Booker T:
Hell, you can tidy it up all ya like, man, but da way to describe da Miz is a – is a cockroach, he’s resilient and sticks around but dammit, dat don’t mean ya gotta like da guy, he really gets under mah skin.

The Miz heads to ringside, casting a glance over the nearby weapons before he sweeps up to the apron, turning at the end to show his title to the camera. As A-Ry applauds, the Awesome One steps inside the squared circle, and lumps his title over his shoulder to wait for the introductions. His music dies out, and now the crowd is split between “LET’S GO CENA!” and “TRIPLE H!” in duelling chants.

Justin Roberts:
Introducing the challengers… first, from West Newbury, Massachusetts, weighing in tonight at two hundred and forty pounds… JOOOOOOOHN – CENAAAAA!!!

The inevitable mixed reaction for Cena, who removes his shirt and throws it into the crowd, before lifting the ‘Word Life’ sign again.

Justin Roberts:
And from Greenwich, Connecticut, weighing in tonight at two hundred and fifty-five pounds… he is THE GAME… TRIIIIIPLE – ‘AIIIIIIITCH!!!

Thundering, unanimous pop for the Cerebral Assassin, who nods in acknowledgement.

Justin Roberts:
And finally, accompanied by Alex Riley…

A couple of boos as Riley raises an arm and says “Oh yeah!”

Justin Roberts:
From Cleveland, Ohio, weighing in tonight at two hundred and thirty-five pounds… he is the current W – W – E… CHAMPION… THE MIIIIIIIIIIZ!!!

The crowd follows that with a series of boos as the Awesome One raises his title one more time. He reluctantly hands it over to referee Mike Chioda, who raises it to show that it’s definitely on the line. We get a ‘WWE CHAMPIONSHIP’ graphic to solidify that, and now Roberts leaves the ring, meaning Chioda calls for the bell for our MAIN EVENT.



The buzz in the arena sweeps into the ring, where The Miz immediately crouches, watching for any sudden movements. Cena flexes out his fingers as he moves tentatively out of the corner, while Triple H remains stoic and still. Again, the crowd splits the chants between Cena and the Game, and now it’s Cena who EXPLODES forward at The Miz, battering him with early right hands! It’s almost a motion to get the crowd on his side, but some of the smarks inevitably boo that – Miz comes fizzing back with a couple of shots of his own, then a kick to the gut, and sends Cena across the ring. The ex-“Champ” hits the ropes and knocks The Miz down with a Running Shoulder Block, then turns to the corner… and beckons for Triple H to join the fray! The Game takes a deep, serious breath, then moves forward to face Cena – but Miz takes Cena down from behind with a Chop Block! We’re denied the Cena/HHH confrontation we’ve been waiting for since their No Contest on Monday night, and now The Miz begins to stomp all over Cena, even shoving him from the ring with the sole of his boot! As Cena slumps to the outside, The Miz turns to face Hunter, who stares out at the crowd, all now chanting his name. Taking their support to heart, he moves forward and engages The Miz in a lock-up; inevitably, the Game wins out, forcing the WWE Champion to the corner and hitting a couple of right hands… but then The Miz ducks under one, presses Hunter into the corner, and starts firing away with shoulder thrusts to the abdomen!

Each shot from The Miz elicits a groan of pain from Triple H, and now the WWE Champion looks to whip the Game across the ring – Tripper collides with the buckle, and Miz goes for the Corner Clothesline… NO! Triple H moves, and The Miz goes crashing into the turnbuckle! As usual, he’s leapt for impact, only to meet the ropes, and for a moment he’s stuck there until he collapses to the mat. Hunter turns to the outside, where he sees Cena emptying one of the trash cans! The nearby fans are cheering, as Cena grabs a kendo stick… and throws it over the top rope, into the hands of the Game! Triple H takes it in his right hand with a frown, wondering why Cena would help him, and now The Miz begins to crawl out of the corner, possibly looking to pull off a sneak attack – but Hunter turns, and as soon as The Miz is on his feet, the Game CRACKS him between the eyes with the kendo stick! The crowd cheers as The Miz staggers back into the turnbuckles, eyes unfocused, and now Triple H throws another shot – NO! This time, the WWE Champion sees it coming and dodges, leaving the cane shot to cannon off the turnbuckle… and The Miz capitalises with a boot to the back of Triple H’s knee!

The Game goes down, dropping the cane to the deck in the process. The Miz wastes no time, clubbing him down to the mat and going wild with aggressive stomps to the back, eliciting some wild heat from the crowd. For a moment, he tilts his head up to stare at the rest of the arena, smirking, then turns around… AND GETS WALLOPED WITH A STREET SIGN TO THE FACE BY JOHN CENA!!! The crowd gives a BIG ovation as The Miz goes down, and Cena throws the ‘Stop’ sign to the deck before he slides beside the WWE Champion for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

…BUT TRIPLE H PULLS CENA OFF THE COVER!

Cena and HHH stand across from each other now, having one epic staredown. The Times Forum splits down the middle, half for Cena, half for the Game, but Hunter pays no heed, instead pointing to the kendo stick and asking “What was that about?” Cena points to The Miz lying flat out in the corner as his response, but Triple H shakes his head, mouthing “You and I aren’t a team, Cena,” and Cena pulls his serious face… then does the “You can’t see me!” The Cena fans go WILD, and Hunter almost cracks a grin… and replies with the DX crotch chop! Now it’s Triple H’s fans who cheer in equal measure, and Cena shrugs, before he brings out a big right hand – the Game comes back with one of his own, and now the two exchange blows, until Cena sends his opponent to the ropes. Triple H grabs the top rope, stopping himself in the process, but that TABLE looms behind him on the outside, so Cena charges in TO CLOTHESLINE HIM OVER… NO!!! Hunter explodes back in reply, answering with a crunching clothesline of his own! Cena goes down, but is back to his feet, so Triple H snarls and knocks him off his feet with another clothesline! Meanwhile, The Miz is still recovering from the street sign shot in the corner, with Alex Riley muttering tactics to him… the WWE Champion tells him something, so A-Ry heads about ringside to find a steel chair, before he slides it under the bottom rope into The Miz’s hands!

Back to the action, where Triple H takes a dazed Cena to the corner, and begins to pepper him with right hands. Cena comes back with a headbutt, however, forcing the Game to take a knee, blinking a little. As he recovers, Cena steps up to the second rope, then leaps off – Hunter ducks, however, and Cena stumbles across the ring… where THE MIZ is waiting with that steel chair, and he rams the top of it into Cena’s gut! Cena groans in pain and falls to the mat, slumping to a seated position behind Miz at the turnbuckle – now it’s Triple H’s chance to try his luck, charging across at the WWE Champion… but The Miz darts to the side, and the Game slams into the turnbuckle, his knee into Cena’s face in the process!!! The crowd cries “OHHH!” as the babyfaces lie broken in the corner, pressed up against one another, and now The Miz will capitalise, passing the chair out to Riley and pointing to the corner. A-Ry holds the chair through the ropes, just in front of Triple H’s face, allowing The Miz to take several steps back… AND DELIVER A BIG BOOT TO THE CHAIR, MASHING BOTH CENA AND TRIPLE H IN A CAR WRECK OF STEEL AND BONE!!! The impact leaves both babyfaces looking worse for wear, and it’s Triple H who the champion drags back to the centre of the ring for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT NO! TRIPLE H KICKS OUT!

The crowd cheers with delight, but The Miz isn’t done, grabbing Cena out of the corner to press him to the mat instead now…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT CENA DOES THE SAME! KICKOUT FROM CENA!

The Miz sits back in disbelief, and already he seems a little frustrated. Pushing himself to his feet, he grabs the kendo stick nearby, and his eyes flicker between his two opponents, as if weighing up which man he’s going to hit first. Triple H is the first to find his feet, still clearly dazed from the chair-aided boot, and he hesitates to blink out the cobwebs, giving The Miz the time to set his sights… CRACK! Kendo stick right across the Game’s chest! Triple H reels back in pain, wincing, and The Miz lines up another shot – only to see his old rival, Cena, crawling up to his feet, too. Cena gets to a vertical base, only to take a shot from the weapon in The Miz’s hand! Cena has a hand on the top rope, trying to recover, but Miz bludgeons him with the cane until he falls to his knees. Noticing how broken the kendo stick has become, the Awesome One throws it to the outside, and moves across the ring to attack Triple H again… but the Game just TACKLES him to the deck, and fires away with right hands! The crowd comes alive yet again as Triple H brawls as only he can, and when he’s done, The Miz looks considerably worse for wear, rolling from the ring in exhaustion!

While Alex Riley helps The Miz recover, Triple H turns – and John Cena hooks him up out of nowhere… Fisherman Suplex! Both men up – another Fisherman from Cena, connecting perfectly! Cena springs up, beginning to rekindle his fighting spirit again, and when Triple H struggles up, Cena shoves him to the ropes… Sitout Hip Toss from the ex-“Champ”! Triple H stays down, and now Cena looks to the deck – the street sign! Cena scoops the ‘Stop’ sign up, and weighs it up in two hands, waiting for the Game to get up… when he does, Cena SWINGS – NO GOOD! Triple H ducks under the shot, and the sign drops from Cena’s grip as he turns around, bending down to send the Game up high with the Back Body Drop… BUT HUNTER COMES BACK WITH THE FACEBREAKER KNEE SMASH!!! Cena reels up in shock, eyes wide, and now Triple H grabs the street sign… BEFORE HE CANNONS IT OFF CENA’S LEFT SHOULDER WITH A GUNG-HO SHOT TO TAKE HIM DOWN!!! Cena falls flat, face wrecked with pain, and the Game throws the street sign from the ring before he hooks a leg…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT THE MIZ BREAKS IT UP WITH A CHAIRSHOT TO TRIPLE H’S BACK!!!

“OHHH!” cries the crowd, and Triple H rolls to the side, groaning out in pain! The Miz raises the chair up high, then turns his attention to Cena… CHAIR INTO CENA’S BACK! Miz turns back to the Game… AND HITS HIM WITH THE CHAIR AGAIN TOO! Miz seems to be enjoying himself, with Alex Riley applauding at ringside as Miz swaps steel chair shots between his opponents. He then dumps the chair to the mat, and with Triple H rolling from the ring, The Miz crouches beside Cena and talks some trash. Once the ex-“Champ” is up to his knees, Miz drags him towards the chair, looking for the SNAP DDT… BUT CENA SPRINGS TO HIS FEET… AND SCOOPS THE MIZ UP… ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT TIME – NOOOO!!! The Miz drops down behind Cena – SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE – NO!!! Cena struggles, then spins out – he tosses the WWE Champion to the corner… in comes the West Newbury native likes a freight train with the Corner Clothesline, then begins to unleash some nasty right hands, again and again! Cena lets rip on the man who stole a win at Wrestlemania away from him, then whips him across the ring. Miz hits the opposite turnbuckle, dazed, but as Cena tries to hit a Spear of sorts, the Awesome One darts from view – AND CENA PLANTS HIMSELF INTO THE RING POST!

The Miz falls to his knees for a moment, then turns his head sharply to the outside; he scowls and beckons at Riley… WHO SLIDES INTO THE RING! Immediate boos greet the involvement of A-Ry, as he and the WWE Champion pull Cena from between the turnbuckles. They set up either side of the ex-“Champ”… Double Suplex on Cena! The Miz nods, then motions to his apprentice so they can pull Cena back up… they throw him to the ropes, then knock him down with a pair of clotheslines. On the outside, Triple H is looking under the apron. Brave as always, Cena gets back to his feet, staggering a little, and he takes a clubbing left blow from The Miz… before Riley hoists him into the air for the Varsity Blues TKO… BUT HERE COMES TRIPLE H – WITH THE SLEDGEHAMMER!!! The crowd goes NUTS as the Game hits the scene, and it’s The Miz who cops the first thumping shot, right to the stomach! As the WWE Champion goes down in a heap, Riley dumps Cena to the mat, then throws a right hand… but Triple H ducks it, then deals A-Ry a shot of his own, then another, bringing the Varsity Villain to his knees! The Miz struggles to his feet, and he stalks the Game from behind… BUT JOHN CENA BLASTS A STEEL CHAIR OFF HIS BACK!!! Cena, having grabbed that aforementioned chair from the mat, sends The Miz tumbling from the ring with a clanging shot to the spine – Triple H turns to look at Cena, both men still holding their weapons…

…and now they look to Alex Riley, clutching his stomach as he gets up! Both babyfaces are breathing heavily, but Cena’s eyes light up as A-Ry gets to a vertical base. Riley looks between the two bigger men, trying to strike a deal – so Cena shrugs, and throws him the chair… Riley catches it… THEN TRIPLE H NAILS THE CHAIR WITH AN UNRESTRAINED SLEDGEHAMMER SHOT!!! Riley goes down, down, down, and in the momentary lull afterwards, in the midst of a thousand cheers and quiet “Holy shit!” chants in the distance, Cena turns to the Game and asks “You sure we’re not a team here?” with a jolly smile… but that vanishes as Triple H weighs the sledgehammer in his hands. Cena never takes his eyes off the Cerebral Assassin, as he pulls the sluggish Alex Riley to his feet… BEFORE HE HURLS HIM TO THE OUTSIIIIDE… THROUGH A TABLE!!! CENA THROWS RILEY THROUGH THE TABLE!!! The crowd screams their approval, and Cena turns back to Triple H… WHO SWINGS THE HAMMER – DUCKED!!! Cena ducks the deadly weapon – then scoops him up with that massive strength… THEN DELIVERS THE EMERALD FLOWSION!!! Huge impact, and now Cena lumps himself on top of the Game for the cover…

ONE...

TWO…

KICKOUT! TRIPLE H KICKS OUT!

A mixed reaction greets the unsuccessful pin, and now both men sit across from each other, showing inevitable signs of tiredness. Triple H has a hand on his back after the Flowsion, a big slam in its own right, but he doesn’t look as bad as Alex Riley, who hasn’t moved from the mess of wood and metal on the outside. As a couple of medics rush to ringside to make some attempts to remove the Varsity Villain, we see The Miz asking “What happened?” nearby, and now we head back to the ring. The sledgehammer is lying beside the ropes, the previous steel chair now bent and removed from the ring by referee Mike Chioda; Cena is the first to his feet, seeing no weapons other than the hammer, which he conveniently ignores, and instead goes to pull Triple H to his feet. He’s barely pulled the Game up, however, when Hunter suddenly shoots the Double Leg Takedown… steps in – “WOOOOOO!!!” – AND APPLIES THE FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK!!! The Times Forum comes alive, as just like this past Monday, Triple H uses the Figure Four to put Cena through hell, and the ex-“Champ” roars in pain, desperate not to tap out! Cena has sweat running down his face, and for a moment he raises a hand… WILL HE TAP… NO, BECAUSE THE MIZ BREAKS THE HOLD WITH A ROUGH BOOT TO THE SIDE OF TRIPLE H’S HEAD!!!

The Game slumps to the mat, as does Cena out of relief of being spared the submission – The Miz wasn’t going to risk Cena tapping, so he’s quickly broken it up, and now he’s back on offence, mounting Cena and firing away with his signature left hands. He then tries to pull the ex-“Champ” to his feet, hitting a couple more of those left hands to keep him dazed, then whips him across the ring… no, Cena sets his feet, so The Miz goes to the ropes instead – he rebounds, and Cena ducks the clothesline – so does Triple H, now standing, so The Miz hits the ropes again… Triple H sends him high… AND CENA CATCHES HIM ON HIS SHOULDERS WITH THE FIREMAN’S… NO! The Miz escapes yet AGAIN, then shoves Cena forward – so he collides with Triple H! Both Cena and the Game stagger away from one another, and The Miz lines up a Discus Elbow… but Cena ducks it, and the WWE Champion walks into a kick to the gut from TRIPLE H… PEDIGREE TIME… BUT NO, THE MIZ SENDS THE GAME UP AND OVER WITH THE BACK BODY DROP… BUT CENA GRABS TRIPLE H IN THE AIR AND COMPLETES A POWERBOMB!!! WHAT A SPOT!!! Triple H is down, eyes unfocused, and Cena gets to his knees… BUT THE MIZ DARTS IN – SNAP DDT TO CENA!!! The Miz scores with the Snap DDT, and now all three men are down, all just as exhausted as each other! The Miz is the first to move, crawling across the ring to put an arm across Cena for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT CENA KICKS OUT!

The Miz looks frustrated; the wait between move and cover may have cost him, so he turns his frustrations to Triple H, who is slowly edging his way across the mat towards the sledgehammer. Scowling, The Miz kicks the hammer from the ring, then pulls the Game to his feet. Still dazed from the mid-air Powerbomb, Hunter makes no effort to fight back, and The Miz drapes him over the second rope, before he puts a boot on his neck and just chokes him mercilessly! The crowd boos wildly as Mike Chioda stands helpless to stop the WWE Champion – but John Cena doesn’t operate the same policy, spinning The Miz around and sending him off to the ropes… The Miz stops himself by grabbing the top rope – Cena then CHARGES into the Awesome One’s raised boot – but Triple H detaches himself from the second rope, then takes The Miz by surprise… BY CLOTHESLINING HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE, BUNDLING THEM BOTH TO THE OUTSIDE!!! Cena is left in the ring by himself as The Miz and Triple H crumple to the outside floor by the announce tables, and the ex-“Champ” takes a moment to rub his jaw gingerly before he slides from the ring. The crowd splits between “LET’S GO CENA!” and “CENA SUCKS!” as usual, but for once he ignores them, instead walking between his opponents… and stripping the announce desk cover off! Matthews, Striker and Booker all look concerned as Cena throws the desk cover to the side, and tugs the monitors from their places as well. This is the commentators’ cue to step well back, removing their notes in the process, and now Cena turns around, setting his sights on The Miz first.

The WWE Champion begins to crawl away, but Cena pulls him back and rocks him with a couple of right-handed blows to the back before he yanks him up. Miz tries to fire back, but Cena answers that by chucking the Awesome One hard into the ring apron! The Miz groans in pain, and now Cena throws him on to the announce desk. As the WWE Champion lies flat, Cena moves in, but suddenly he gets CRACKED with a kendo stick – FROM TRIPLE H!!! Cena stumbles and falls down, shaking out the cobwebs in shock, and now the Game, having grabbed the cane from a nearby trash can, wears the weapon out on The Miz, blasting it against the WWE Champion’s chest! Miz nearly falls off the other side of the announce desk, but narrowly doesn’t, as Triple H throws the cane to the side, and looks for the trash can. He empties it, sending all sorts of merchandise cascading to the floor, then forces the trash can over The Miz’s head and torso! Things are looking much worse for the Awesome One, who lies still, allowing Triple H to fire some nasty shots to the stomach to keep him there… but we get the money shot from the cameraman, who spots JOHN CENA in the background behind Triple H – LIFTING THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE RING STEPS ABOVE HIS HEAD!!! The entire arena comes to life with a mixture of boos and cheers, but the Game turns a second too late… BECAUSE CENA HURLS THE STEEL INTO TRIPLE H’S FACE, ABSOLUTELY FLOORING HIM!!!

Triple H lies flat here, eyes glazed over, and it’s Cena who takes a moment to ponder what he’s just done, standing on the steel steps and looking down at the motionless Cerebral Assassin. Behind him, however, the sound of a trash can against the floor echoes, and Cena turns to see The Miz, now standing on the announce desk… and the WWE Champion jumps off, knocking Cena down with the Flying Axe Handle! Once again, it’s all three men floored, with the trash can and steel steps the nearby weapons, and the crowd occupies themselves with duelling chants between Cena and Triple H. Cena rises above the hate to find his feet, hands scrabbling against the top of the apron skirt to get up, but The Miz is using the announce desk to do likewise… the two turn to face each other – Cena moves forward – AND THE MIZ CLOCKS HIM IN THE TEMPLE WITH THE TELEVISION MONITOR!!! BRUTAL!!! Cena goes down in a heap, but pinfalls only count in the ring, so The Miz, exhausted though he is, has to force Cena’s dead weight back towards the apron. He manages to get the ex-“Champ” up to the apron itself, then roll him into the ring… but Triple H has a hand on The Miz’s ankle!

Frowning, the WWE Champion shoves Cena fully into the ring, then turns back to the outside. Triple H’s hair is a mess, his eyes barely seeing straight after being hit with the steel steps, but he might have saved the match, as The Miz turns his attention to the Game rather than the unmoving John Cena in the ring. The Awesome One pulls Triple H slowly back to his feet, then just SLAMS his head off the announce desk! Hunter slumps across the desk surface, groaning in pain, and The Miz looks to capitalise, turning around and finding that trash can from before. He raises it above his head, looking to strike with it, and as Triple H turns around, The Miz swings… but the Game darts to the side, and the WWE Champion drops the trash can to the floor by accident! The Miz turns ninety degrees… kick to the gut… AND TRIPLE H HOOKS THE ARMS, RIGHT BY THE RING STEPS!!! The weapon that nearly knocked Hunter unconscious moments ago may be his greatest ally yet, as he lines up the PEDIGREE… NOOOO!!! The Miz spins out, then hooks TRIPLE H’S ARMS FOR THE SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE… ONLY FOR THE GAME TO THROW HIM OVERHEAD WITH A SNAPMARE, RIGHT ON TO THE STEEL STEPS!!!

The Miz just yells in agony there, spasming about on the outside floor, and we get several replays of that horrible impact! The WWE Champion’s face is pressed against the outside mats, eyes wide in agony, and now Triple H staggers about ringside, picking up that trash can again. He takes a step towards The Miz, then pauses for thought and turns to the ring… BASEBALL SLIDE FROM CENA!!! CENA TAKES OUT TRIPLE H AND THE TRASH CAN WITH A BASEBALL SLIDE, QUICK AS A FLASH!!! The Game tumbles to the floor, stunned, and Cena kicks the bent trash can across ringside before he turns to The Miz, pulling the WWE Champion up by his hair, and throwing him lethargically into the ring. The Miz gets up to his knees, still holding his back from hitting the steps off the Snapmare, and Cena is quick to follow, fired up by adrenaline after the Baseball Slide. As soon as The Miz finds his feet, Cena grabs him and sends him across the ring… The Miz comes back from the ropes with a clothesline, but Cena ducks it, then as they turn to face each other, it’s a kick to the gut from the West Newbury native – Cena hits the ropes, then pulls out the One-Handed Bulldog! The crowd cheers as the WWE Champion goes down, and now Cena hooks the leg – is it time to make up for Wrestlemania?

ONE…

TWO…

KICKOUT! MIZ KICKS OUT!

Cena looks to the skies – what else does he need to do to right the wrongs? The Miz is crawling across the ring, putting his hands on the ropes, but showing no signs of recovering just yet. Cena is on his knees, but he slowly pushes himself up. He flexes out his fingers, then rolls to the outside – AND GRABS THE STEPS. A big pop goes up as Cena shoves them under the bottom rope, then looks to follow them in… but Triple H stops him with a right hand! Cena staggers away, collapsing on to the crowd barricade… so the Game picks him up, before HURLING him back into the barricade again! A few groans go up around the arena as Cena collides with the wall, face wrecked with pain, and now Triple H yanks him up, slamming his head off the ring apron before he shoves him back inside the squared circle. In the ring, The Miz immediately falls on Cena with some nasty left hands, face turning red with anger as he blasts away, but soon Triple H is up on the apron – that one wooden table is still behind him, and The Miz jumps at the chance to put the Game through it, leaping to his feet and trying a Shoulder Block… but Hunter stops him with a right hand! As the WWE Champion reels back into the ring, Triple H steps inside, away from the table on the outside, and beckons for The Miz to turn and face him, as Cena rolls to the corner… when the Awesome One finally turns, he walks right into the HIGH KNEE from Triple H, and the Game is quick to cover…

ONE…

TWO…

BUT CENA BREAKS IT UP!

The crowd reaction is split down the middle as Cena saves the match-up, and the ex-“Champ” looks to send Triple H out of the contest, picking him up and throwing him towards the table-side ropes… NO! Hunter stops himself, comes back with an elbow, and shoves Cena away… and The Miz catches Cena unawares with a club to the back! Down goes the CeNation leader, but there’s no time for taunting for The Miz, who sees Triple H moving in – BIG BOOT TO THE GAME’S SKULL!!! The huge impact has the crowd groaning in awe, and now The Miz grabs the nearby steel steps, just lugging them across the ring, adjacent to the corner. John Cena starts to get up, blinking out the cobwebs and holding his jaw in pain, so The Miz tosses him to the corner – Cena avoids the steps and hits the turnbuckle hard, and now the WWE Champion charges… HE USES THE STEPS AS A PLATFORM AND DELIVERS THE SWINGING CORNER CLOTHESLINE!!! It’s great thinking from The Miz, who throws Cena from the corner and takes just the briefest of moments to smirk through his fatigue… before he detaches himself, and moves towards Cena… ONLY TO WALK INTO THE DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER FROM TRIPLE H!!! The crowd goes NUTS as the Game lays The Miz out with the big move, but Cena is up against the ropes, and Triple H knows he’ll break up any cover despite his exhaustion. As such, he moves across the ring and pulls Cena to his feet… BUT CENA PULLS A DROPKICK OUT OF ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE!!!

As the commentators praise Cena’s commitment to the cause, Triple H looks dazed on the mat, eyes flickering over to The Miz, the cover he could have made. Cena, meanwhile, is trying to find the will to perform another move… and he makes the brave decision to step out to the outside! Through his exhaustion, Cena puts his hands on the top turnbuckle, and begins to sluggishly clamber towards the top rope, as Triple H uses the steel steps below to find his feet… Cena crouches up high, as the Game keels over in front of the steps – surely not – AND CENA LEAPS OFF WITH THE LEG-DROP BULLDOG, SLAMMING TRIPLE H’S HEAD OFF THE STEEL STEPS!!! MASSIVE IMPACT!!! The crowd roars with the pure audacity of that spot, and now Cena rolls Triple H off the steps, or should I say peels him off them, before he lumps himself over his opponent for the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NOOO!!! THE MIZ LEAPS IN TO BREAK IT UP!!!

The Miz wastes no time, booting Cena to the side, then grabbing Triple H – Backbreaker – then completes the Neckbreaker combo! Even after all this action, The Miz still has it in him to connect sweetly with that move, and as he rises, he sees Cena reaching from the ring, fingers closing around a steel chair – so The Miz grabs him by the ankle and pulls him back inside… before he mounts him and fires away with left hands until the chair falls out of Cena’s grip! The chair lies on the mat, with the steel steps across the ring, with a sledgehammer, table, announce table, trash cans and kendo sticks all still outside, but The Miz just sticks to the furious fists, trying to take the fight out of Cena. Remembering there’s a third man, The Miz gets up, and pulls a dizzy Triple H up to his feet on the other side of the ring… but the Game suddenly kicks him in the stomach, then HOOKS THE ARMS… NO! Again, The Miz escapes, then just SHOVES Hunter in the back – and he tumbles through the ropes to the outside floor! The crowd groans as the Game clatters down outside, and now The Miz turns back to Cena – Flying Shoulder Block connects! The Miz gets back up, only to take another Shoulder Block, and when they meet a third time, the WWE Champion throws a clothesline… but Cena ducks it, then hoists The Miz up for the SPIN-OUT POWERBOMB… and now that hand goes into the air, lighting the Times Forum up with a split reaction! Cena bends over, tells his enemy that “You can’t see me,” then hits the ropes… FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE FROM CENA!!! The CeNation pops big, and it’s all on Cena now, hooking a leg…

ONE…

TWO…

KICKOUT!!! MIZ KICKS OUT!!!

The Triple H fans cheer, but it’s sighs from the Cena support; Cena himself has to grit his teeth on his way back up, then crouches, and beckons for The Miz to get back up. Eyes lighting up, however, Cena forgoes the Attitude Adjustment attempt, and instead picks up the steel chair from before, pitching it against the mat in preparation! Slowly, The Miz finds his feet, and Cena raises the chair – but no! The WWE Champion LOW BLOWS Cena, forcing him to drop the chair to the deck, and now The Miz hits the ropes, sprinting back at the bent-over John Cena – KNEE LIFT – AND THE MIZ COMPLETES THE REALITY CHECK, RIGHT ON THE STEEL CHAIR!!! The Miz brings back the REALITY CHECK for one night only, looking to pull out all the stops in order to win, but now both men are down, and The Miz isn’t able to make the cover… that is, until he slowly, slowly begins to crawl across the ring, draping an arm over Cena’s chest… that’ll do it…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NOOOOO!!! SHOULDER UP FROM CENA!!! LAST GASP!!!

The Miz rolls on to his back – he can’t believe it! The WWE Champion looks to the outside for support, but Alex Riley was carted away long ago, so he turns his eyes up to referee Mike Chioda, who can’t help him. Scowling, The Miz gets to his feet, then audaciously tries to pick up the steel steps – unsurprisingly, he doesn’t have it in him, so instead he pulls Cena to his feet, and slams his head into the top turnbuckle pad! Cena’s eyes are unfocused, so The Miz pulls him back to the centre of the ring for the SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE – NO! Nobody can hit the decisive move, with Cena charging back into the turnbuckle to make The Miz let go, before he walks into the middle of the ring… AND GETS HIS HEAD TAKEN OFF WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER SHOT TO THE SKULL BY TRIPLE H!!! THE GAME ANNIHILATES CENA!!! Of course, Triple H has his hand over the actual steel of the hammer, but the impact is nonetheless jarring, as Cena goes down in a heap, and now The Miz charges in – BAM! Sledgehammer shot to the stomach, then Triple H just hurls him to the outside floor! Throwing the hammer to the outside floor, Triple H throws his straggled hair out of his eyes, then does something unusual… he grabs Cena, throws him to the corner, and lifts him up to the top rope, before he JOINS him up high! All eyes turn to these two big names up high, as Triple H fires a couple of right hands to keep Cena where he is… THEN HOOKS THE ARMS, SURELY FOR THE PEPSI PLUNGE PEDIGREE FROM THE TOP ROPE! The crowd comes alive with a mixture of cheers, boos and groans of awe, as Triple H lets out a huge roar of adrenaline… NO, CENA FREES HIS ARMS, AND SCOOPS THE GAME UP… THEN THROWS HIM TO THE OUTSIDE WITH THE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT – THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE DESK!!! CENA PUTS TRIPLE H THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE WITH THE SUPER ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!!! INSANE!!!

THE ST. PETE TIMES FORUM IS IN RAPTURES!!! That MASSIVE impact has the arena rocking, and no Cena hater can deny that was impressive – Cena can barely believe what he’s done, just standing alone on the top turnbuckle looking down at the WRECKAGE below… WHEN THE MIZ CHARGES UP TO THE APRON AND SHOVES CENA OFF… AND CENA CRASHES THROUGH THE ADJACENT WOODEN TABLE!!! CENA THROUGH THE TABLE NOW!!! IT’S ALL HAPPENING!!! The Miz can’t even find a smirk through his exhaustion, his disbelief, and here’s his problem – both his opponents are lying in table debris, meaning there’s no-one to cover! We have referees and medics rushing to ringside to check on both babyfaces, both who are awake, but in terrible pain, while The Miz watches in shock up on the apron! Finally, after we’ve seen half a dozen of replays of each incident, The Miz moves, shoving medics out of the way and ignoring Mike Chioda’s pleas to take a moment, pulling the barely-moving Triple H up out of the announce table wreckage, and lugging his dead weight slowly back to the ring! It takes him a good while to shove the Game into the squared circle, then slide in himself – he makes the cover, but doesn’t hook a leg, and Mike Chioda hesitates before re-joining the ring to count the fall…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – NOOOOO!!! SHOULDER UP!!! MIZ TOOK TOO LONG!!! WE’RE STILL GOING!!!

“NO! That was THREE!” roars The Miz at Chioda, but even the head referee is in a state of shock! How Triple H got a shoulder up is a mystery, but he did, and now The Miz heads to the outside again… and this time he pushes Cena’s attending EMTs out of his way so he can grab the ex-“Champ” and tug him back to the ring! All the medics are in protest, but The Miz has never catered to public opinion, and he shoves Cena into the ring, before he slowly follows him, and makes the cover…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – BUT NO!!! TRIPLE H GRABS MIKE CHIODA’S ARM AND STOPS HIM COUNTING!!!

The crowd goes WILD! Triple H, barely moving, has Chioda’s right arm, meaning the referee can’t count the fall! The Miz immediately looks up, furious, and falls on Triple H with a dozen left hands, hissing “Ruining my night, how DARE you…” while Cena begins to move, slowly crawling towards the ropes… then reaching to the outside… and pulling the apron… and finding HIS CHAIN!!! The infamous chain is back in Cena’s grip, just when he needs it most, and it takes all his effort to stretch himself back into the ring… he finds his feet, cameras showing his pure exhaustion, and now The Miz turns to face him – Cena wraps the chain around his fist – CHAIN SHOT TO THE FACE!!! The WWE Champion stumbles back in agony, touching the ropes and wobbling back – ON TO CENA’S SHOULDERS… ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT CONNECTS!!! CENA WASTES NO TIME, DUMPING THE CHAIN TO THE FLOOR AND MAKING THE COVER…

ONE…

TWO…

NEW CHAMPION – NOOOOO!!! TRIPLE H BREAKS IT UP!!!

We’re well over the pay-per-view boundary time-wise, surely meaning the WWE will get fined, but these men won’t rush! The crowd is split once again as John Cena is denied the recapturing of his title, and now it’s the sluggish, beaten-down Triple H who yanks Cena back up – ARMS HOOKED – PEDIGREE CONNECTS!!! The reaction is reversed, with the Game’s fans going wild this time, as the Cerebral Assassin presses Cena to the mat…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE – BUT THE MIZ BREAKS IT UP!!! NO GOOD!!!

The pace quickens here, with The Miz fighting through the fatigue to pull Triple H up, rocking him with a left hand – he looks for a weapon, skipping over the chain in the corner, the steps in the other corner, and picking the same chair he did the Reality Check on. Triple H throws a right hand, but The Miz hits the butt of the chair into the Game’s gut… THEN CRASHES IT OFF HIS BACK!!! Triple H goes down in a heap, and rolls to the side, so The Miz turns to find Cena… but he’s waiting in the corner, chain in hand, and he surprises the WWE Champion, taking out his legs! The steel chair falls to the side, and now Cena steps over… AND APPLIES THE STFU WITH THE CHAIN AROUND THE MIZ’S THROAT!!! The crowd roars in awe of Cena’s lethal submission, chain choking the air from The Miz’s lungs, and the WWE Champion immediately raises a hand as if to tap, eyes bulging from his head in agony, while Cena puts all fatigue to the side as he wrenches away, roaring with adrenaline! For a moment, The Miz puts his hand down, trying to edge towards the ropes – but Cena cranks up the pressure with the chain, and once again, the Awesome One has to consider how much he values the WWE Title! He raises his hand, clenches a fist, then opens it as if he’s going to bring it down… BUT TRIPLE H LEAPS IN TO BREAK UP THE SUBMISSION HOLD BEFORE MIZ CAN TAP!!!

Cena rolls to the side, but he’s quickly back to his feet, frowning through his tiredness, and we spot The Miz rolling from the ring, clutching his neck; Triple H, meanwhile, finds the chair that just moments ago was used against him. Cena moves in, trying to catch him off-guard, and THE GAME SWINGS – but Cena ducks, hits the ropes, and begins to pepper the Cerebral Assassin with right hands! Surprised, Hunter drops the chair to the mat, and Cena hits the ropes, looking for some momentum – BUT TRIPLE H DROPS HIM WITH THE DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER, DIRECTLY ON TO THE CHAIR!!! Cena just gets LAID OUT with that brutal move, and now Triple H gets to his feet, roaring to the crowd in his signature fashion, flexing his muscles! For a moment, he considers a cover, then decides to slide from the ring – TO GRAB THE SLEDGEHAMMER AGAIN!!! The King of Kings re-enters the ring, then pulls the steel steps across the ring, even draping Cena’s head on to the steel like an execution block… AND HE RAISES THE SLEDGEHAMMER, PREPARING TO MASH CENA’S HEAD LIKE A MELON!!!

DOWN GOES THE HAMMER… BUT CENA GETS OUT THE WAY!!! The clang of hammer on steel echoes around the arena, and now Cena wastes no time, fetching the steel chair from the canvas and SWINGING at Hunter – but the Game ducks it, kicks Cena in the gut and dumps the hammer to the deck before he hooks the arms… BUT AGAIN, CENA SCOOPS HIM UP – AND SCORES WITH THE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!!! The St. Pete Times Forum is divided yet again, and Cena kicks the chair from the ring, picking up the sledgehammer and removing it too, before he moves towards the lifeless Triple H, who’s lying beside the ring steps… BUT SUDDENLY, THE MIZ SLIDES INTO THE FRAY, AND HOOKS CENA’S ARMS… SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE INTO THE RING STEPS!!! THE MIZ DRILLS CENA INTO THE STEPS, KILLING THE CROWD – he boots Triple H from the ring, then rolls the motionless John Cena on to the mat, leaping over him for the cover… he roars “COUNT!” to referee Mike Chioda, who obliges…

ONE…

TWO…

THREE!!!

WINNER AND STILL WWE CHAMPION: THE MIZ VIA PINFALL AT 29:41

*I CAME TO PLAY*

Justin Roberts:
Here is your winner, and STILL WWE Champion… THE MIIIIIZ!!!

This heat is NUCLEAR as The Miz throws his arms into the air, screaming “YEEEEES!!!” as Mike Chioda grabs one of his wrists and points to him as the winner! The WWE Title is slid through the ropes by the ringside staff, and the Awesome One immediately scrambles across the ring to pick it up, hoisting it into the air and grinning like he’s won the lottery! On the outside, Triple H’s hair is across his face, exhausted and beaten, while John Cena is in the corner of the ring, just as he was at Wrestlemania, staring up at the victorious Miz as the WWE Champion celebrates atop the opposite turnbuckle.

Josh Matthews:
Folks, capitalising on the golden opportunities has been the motto of The Miz’s title reign, and once again, he’s made off with a victory here tonight!

Booker T:
Awwww hell dawg, dat boi Miz sure picked his moment right here ta-night. Ain’t no way John Cena was goin’ kick out of dat, dat was some nasty stuff.

Matt Striker:
(as we see a replay of the finish) Indeed, a brutal end to John Cena’s title challenge here tonight, guys, but you have to think – he had just hit the Attitude Adjustment on Triple H, and who knows… that could have been his moment.

Josh Matthews:
Well, ladies and gentlemen, The Miz is still top of the pile on Monday Night Raw, no matter how he did it tonight, and once again, the WWE Championship slips away from John Cena… I can only imagine we’ll hear from him tomorrow night on Raw, because – well, look at that.

Cena is on the ramp now, staring at The Miz’s title celebrations; the Awesome One is up on the steel steps now, the weapon that won him the bout, and he keeps that title raised above his head, smirking his face off. Cena looks sick to his stomach at how close he came, while Triple H is, likewise, still in severe pain on the outside. As Cena sells his jaw on the ramp, The Miz continues to celebrate in the ring, acknowledging the wild boos from this Tampa crowd…

Josh Matthews:
We’ve seen some intense action here tonight, folks – hell, we no longer have an announce desk – but those three men went through a war like none we’ve seen in a long time. I’m Josh Matthews, here with Booker T and your teacher Matt Striker… The Miz’s reign as so-called ‘most must-see WWE Champion of all time’ continues here tonight, but we still have questions to be answered – how will Cena and Triple H recover? We’ll see you tomorrow night in Miami, thanks for watching!

...and Extreme Rules fades to black.

END OF SHOW

---

About five months in the making, that. Well over a year since I first planned the card. I’d like to dedicate this to TKOW, who was probably more hyped for this than anyone, though he’ll deny it if you ask him.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:14 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

That Extreme Rules PPV may have been the best WWE ppv iv ever seen, and it's not even a real PPV lol. Amazing job dude!
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:40 AM   #95 (permalink)
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Extreme Rules Review


You know I was looking forward to this a great deal so here goes…

Solid opening video, did its job perfectly, almost Backlash esque like with the ‘take two’ and ‘scores being settled’ lines.

No better way than kicking things off with perhaps the most chaotic match on the card. Was glad to see Rhodes the aggressor from the off, normally the heels will be on the backfoot from the get go in a match like this. Barrett bringing the steel chair out early on was nice, emphasising the hardcore aspect so early on. Really good elimination there with Barreta, McIntrye taking advantage and showing his sadistic streak. Barreta was always gonna be number one to go but you did a good job in showing off his capabilities here. Haha fantastic stuff with Barrett here, reminds me of the kinda stuff when guys wander round the ring during a Rumble, great tactic from the champ. I liked that you brought up Rhodes and McIntyre’s former partnership, to be totally honest I even forgot about that. The Plancha from Rey was pretty innovative, the way you had Rhodes stalking him with the bat was kinda creepy in a good way. Big elmination here for Kofi, I was a little disappointed as I thought McIntyre had looked impressive, particularly his passage just prior to that with Kofi but I guess it made sense.

I’ll comment on the whole Barrett stuff here. Was very surprised he chose to head back into the ring at this stage, I thought he would’ve waited for one more to fall, perhaps Kofi and then tried to double team Rey with Cody but the way you had him eliminated was on the money. I predicted it would be a lights going out route you took but I didn’t expect it until the last elimination. I wasn’t too sure I liked this at first but now I’ve realised it was probably the right call as leaving Barrett til last would’ve made the ending a little predictable so kudos for this.

Was excited for some action between Rey and Kofi, the fan favourites were always gonna come toe to toe eventually and it was exciting for how long it lasted. The interjection of Rhodes was good and he looked very strong here, really taking it to both men. Was very surprised that it ended up being Mysterio eliminating Kofi, fully expected Rhodes to steal one and then these two rivals to go up against one another. Beautiful ending here, really loved it, the use of Rhodes mask before his line about the people not deserving to see him and then that devastating Cross Rhodes, loved it and Rhodes has come out of this looking like a star, from first minute to last. Look forward to seeing how you develop him now he has the belt.

Had a good laugh at bits during this Over the Limit promo, especially Sheamus.

Nice opening exchanges between Sheamus and JoMo here, displaying Morrison’s athleticism early on was a good way to go, that moonsault was sweet. Sheamus deciding enough’s enough and tagging in Melina was a good heel tactic. Took me by surprise having Eve take it to Melina like that but you really displayed Melina’s viciousness well following that. Eve showed some guts though, certainly did not expect to see her whipping out an enziguri like that. When Sheamus and JoMo came back in I expected a spell of dominance from the Irishman so I didn’t like Morrison dominating again, however you slowed the pace down well and it went back in Sheamus’ favour with that knees up to the Standing Shooting Star. Good ending with Morrison’s own move proving to be his downfall and that Brogue Kick was always gonna seal the deal. Good match up here and I don’t expect it to be the end for either rivalry just yet. Morrison looked very good in this and I think Sheamus needs one more definitive win over him to establish this reign.

Interesting idea for a Del Rio promo. It’s certainly different to the standard backstage interview and certainly up Del Rio’s street.

Really enjoyed this video package for the Christian-Swagger match. The fact you’ve used their storied past is a great touch. Very good way to get this underway with Swagger’s ambush. It’s been a heated feud and this displayed it nicely. Clever, really clever using that turnbuckle again, going all the way back to their stuff in 09. Cole getting involved was again, very smart, though I probably would’ve had him in Swagger’s corner right from the off. Really brutal stuff from both men here, Swagger’s assault using the ringpost was ouch, I think I felt that while Christian with the low blow and then the Kendo Stick chokeout was pretty nasty. Taking this thing backstage was unexpected which makes it all the better in my mind. Tarver texting . Wowwww, that German into the vending machine, good god. One thing I didn’t like was Christian’s relcutance to smash Cole’s brains in when they headed to the locker room. Cole has to be one of the most annoying men going and if you were Christian, you’d smack the shit out of him. Swagger again going after the ankle was smart, I knew it would play a huge factor and I’m glad it has done thus far. Ah there we go!! Cole gets his!! Albeit Swagger’s the one to do it with the fall off the stage but that was really well executed there.

Some more brutal action here, the use of the camera before the choke showed great intensity from Swagger. Things slowed down a little bit after Christian’s back body drop which was a shame but understandable considering the game of cat and mouse backstage and the beating both men had taken. Great stuff from Swagger with the prolonged ankle lock, Christian’s fighting spirit to come back then BAM, Gutwrench Powerbomb, excellent stuff. You’ve really done great in showing Christian’s never say die attitude yet Swagger’s sheer intensity in this. Hell of a match and the ending was more than acceptable for an I Quit match, Swagger was gonna either have to quit or get knocked the fuck out so wise move and both men look fantastic coming out of this. My favourite match so far, the fight shown by both, the use of that injured ankle as well as the unexpected twists, it was excellent and does wonders for both moving forward in my opinion.

Draft time should be good. Excited to see what you have in store with the switch ups.

Pretty standard interview from Orton here, did its job.

Great opening here with the smaller champions outsmarting the two giants, makes a whole lot of sense. No surprises that the big men start to turn the tide and dominate this one, it’s only natural. Expected a little bit of a longer spell of dominance from them but was pleased to see Slabriel come back into it, the Double Flapjack from them on Kane was beautiful, glad to see they weren’t just running away all the time in this. Wow, wow, wow that ending. Holy mackerel. You just established Justin Gabriel there and then, seriously. With Slater out of the equation I thought you were for some reason gonna let Show and Kane take this but for Gabriel to take both of them out, drag both of them onto the announce table and then do that? Unbelievable stuff.

5 hour Summerslam? I really hope you get to that, would be epic.

Much like Christian-Swagger, this video package was very well worked and showed all the history between the two very nicely indeed. Very back and forth opening to this one as both Punk and Orton looked in control only for you to shift it to the other man which is nice, keeps the reader wondering just who will be the first man to REALLY take control. First time I really found myself thinking ‘Oooooh’ or ‘Owww’ was when Orton nailed Punk with the snap power slam on the steps, maybe a little too long for the first big time moment in such a high profile match I felt. Loved the little passage of right hands being exchanged before that impact of Punk tossing Orton through the chair into the turnbuckles, wow. Really started to pick up now and the GTS onto the steel steps was just plain vicious from Punk, that sinister edge he’s had here has been shown really well. From this point I would’ve had Punk take control a bit, wouldn’t have expected Orton to recover so quickly, I mean yeah he had the count of 9 but I still think he’d have been somewhat dazed to regain control. In saying that, the Rope Hung DDT onto the chair was as Michael Cole would say, ‘Vintage Orton’. Brutal.

Again, much like Orton coming back strong from the GTS, Punk comes back strong here, being able to perform a Suicide Dive moments after that thunderous impact surprised me a little though the back and forth routine is going right the way through this one. Loved Punk and the Ring Bell here, such a smart move, a typical Punk move also. The fact you had both men bleed is a good choice also as it just highlights how vicious things have got between them in this rivalry. I thought the missed punt into a GTS might’ve been all she wrote but really displayed Orton’s resolve extremely well to come back from that. Wow, Super RKO!! Epic stuff there, really well delivered and timed but Punk doesn’t lie down!

Ending was so unexpected, really was. I honestly thought you were done with regards to the Nexus and hey, you still may be, this may just be some kind of new alliance but to have two guys the size of Mason Ryan and Skip Sheffield return and just tear into Orton shows them off to be nothing but animals. These two as a team or as accomplices for Punk will be a nasty piece of work and I look forward to seeing where you go with it. Right call having Punk win and a definite shock factor to boot. Match itself was strong, I preferred Christian/Swagger as this one started out a little slow but grew into a real battle, good job.

Slater is such a jackass, it’s brilliant. Him acting as though he won the thing on his own here almost was great. Showing Gabriel be a little pissed was a subtle little touch there. Barrett being furious was to be expected and the way you rbought up the burying was nice, reminds us of the whole reason this is taking place right now. Can’t wait to see how you do eventually bring the Deadman back.

Absolutely loved this before the Bryan/Ziggler match. Really unique idea which is what makes it so good to read, the use of Gail and Vickie in it as well, backing up their partners was nicely done. Onto the match itself…

Really nice action from the get go, as expected with two men of this calibre. The use of the ladder early on was pleasing as we all know what they can do in a straight up match but this is no straight up match. Oh wow, beautiful power bomb from D-Bry onto the ladder, again using that extremely well as a weapon. Strong comeback from Dolph though here, the fameasser onto the steel was nasty and I really liked the way you had his attitude change here from the cocky, smily arrognace to a more focused, determined arrogance, was nicely done. Stepladder being introduced was kinda weird but some nice use of it here, the tossing it to Ziggles before taking him down was funny. Great exchanges on top of the ladder, applying the sleeper from Ziggler was smart but then for Bryan to find the Surfboard stretch from up there was crazy. Wow, again the improvisation here from you in writing this and obviously Bryan as a performer was insane, a head scissors and armbar whilst on top of the ladder is unheard of. Was always gonna be high risk though and reading I was just waiting for them both to tumble sooner rather than later and here it is, makes for a nice breather though after some fine action.

To be honest, I’d rather keep Gail and Vickie out of the match, by all means have them on the outside but getting involved, not for me here. Hell of an ending to this one, incredible strength and athleticism from Ziggler in hanging onto that contract cord but pure viciousness from Bryan in taking Ziggler down and winning that contract. Really enjoyable stuff here and the right call in having Bryan win but much like Christian/Swagger from earlier, both these men have been elevated and look very strong coming off this.

Tarver here? You put that we all know anyway but I’m not that sure in all honesty lol. Tarver would be my guess though. Here’s hoping I don’t look like an idiot with that prediction. Mind blank.

Battle Royal this coming week on Smackdown? Yes please, great call there rather than a predictable, straight up rematch between Del Rio and Edge.

Very nice video package again here, highlighted everything pretty damn nicely. Really looking forward to this one. Good start to proceedings here, using the cage right from the get go was a good idea in my book. I liked the way you played Del Rio out here to be very methodical in what he does, the work on the arm emphasised that. Edge fought back well considering the one arm, the missile dropkick was sweet. Again, following this you displayed that calculated side of Del Rio with the arm work and that single arm DDT was perfectly placed. Wow, didn’t expect the Diving Senton from Del Rio after he shoved Edge off, probably not the smartest thing to do but was damn sure exciting, considering Del Rio’s all about getting down to business I would’ve expected him to attempt to make the escape here. Turning point again here and it was a nice execution with the Electric Chair, in a cage match it’s a solid way of turning the tables on someone escaping, great stuff. Loved the Spear attempt converted into a dropkick although Del Rio’s reactions would’ve had to be insane to pull that off! Beautiful improvisation here during the Sharpshooter, again smart, quick thinking from ADR. Some real big time action now going down here, the drama really picked up big time, the EdgeCution off the top rope would’ve been thunderous but the way you mentioned him landing on the arm was great again.

Holy Moses!! Del Rio kicks out of the spear?! Did not see that coming, I genuinely thought it was over at this point. Cross Arm Breaker time and again much like the Spear I sensed it may be over here with Edge’s weak arm and all but great improvisation once again with Edge finding a way out of it to his advantage. Del Rio wins it!!! Wow. HUGE call in having ADR take the gold. I predicted he would as you have endless opportunities with he and the Administration to take over Smackdown now. Really enjoyable match and some great work involved, the arm of Edge, the use of the cage at times was great also. Top notch effort here and a brave call. Look forward to where you go with this now.

Rock’s Birthday Special. Please, I beg of you, make it better than some of the garbage they pull out with Rock sometimes.

Main event timeeeee, as ever a good video package for this one, been impressed throughout with your effort regarding these. Miz looked pretty good in the opening here, only Cena bringing some weapons into this thing stopped his little roll of momentum. The Cena-Trips confrontation was well worked, the you can’t see me and the DX crotch chop would’ve no doubt got the fans riled. Clever using Riley to bring the chair in, makes sense to use him if he’s out there. Enjoyed the exchange between Miz and Cena of reversals from the AA and SCF, had me thinking ‘Oh has he got it?’ I didn’t like Riley getting into the ring and involved, I’d rather you just kept him on the outside getting involved slyly. However, the double team from Cena and Trips on him was great, really was, the chemistry you’ve shown between these two has been funny, Cena’s line about being a team had me laughing. The little period of action after this between the two was also enjoyable for as long as it lasted, wish it got a bit longer but Miz coming back was to be expected.

Wow, loved the back body drop into a power bomb, beautiful spot right there. Things spilling out towards the announce table, we’ve already had one broken tonight, not another surely?! Miz using the TV monitor to smash Cena’s skull was vicious, glad to see this ruthlessness from the champion. I thought Trips was starting to really take control here once he and Miz returned to the ring but Cena pulling out a dropkick from nowhere?! Didn’t see that coming before a devastating leg drop bull dog!! Smart stuff there from Cena and a crushing spot. At this point and then the Five Knuckle on Miz I thought oh no, here we go again, Cena overcoming the odds so I was pleased to see Miz pull one out the bag with the low blow. Holy shit, the sledgehammer shot to Cena and then an AA through the announce table!! Wow, that was incredible, really was, though I’m not sure Cena would’ve known where he was after a sledgehammer shot to the head like that but I will let that slide as this was unreal. Really, really fast paced stuff here towards the close, I thought Cena had it won, I thought Trips had it won and then AGAIN I thought this was Cena’s with the STFU alongside the chain. SCF onto the steps!! Beautiful and Miz retains!! Really enjoyable end to this one, things picked up a whole hell of a lot towards the end, the pace was quicker, the counters, reversals, break ups, weapons, just brutal stuff and the right call in Miz retaining. Thoroughly enjoyable
.

On the whole this was a sensational read Melvis. You made a whole host of superstars here, in just one night you made so many guys look legit and that’s something the WWE fail to do time and time again. Rhodes, Gabriel, Christian, Swagger, Bryan, Ziggler, Punk to an extent, Del Rio and Miz all come out of this looking a hell of a lot better than they did going into it and it’s great to see. I really hope you keep plugging away with this and keep building these stars as if this was anything to go by, we’re gonna be in for an even bigger treat come Over the Limit and moving further forward. Big pat on the back and hope to see you back again with Raw soon enough, well done!
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:55 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Yeah, this is probably ages late. But with work kickin' my ass and this Supershow that I've hit a snag on, figured I'd finish spreading some long overdue love


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DARK MATCH FTW~!!

Pretty solid opening package that I can see easily revolved around the whole ‘redemption ‘ theme. A take two, or perhaps in many of these cases, an “Act II” is somewhat necessary, but we’ll leave all that ‘til the end, shall we?

Intrigued by these gentlemen walking to the ring. Pretty standard for most of them, but obviously Barrett’s decision to not have Jackson back him is very interesting. Does ol’ Wade have it in him to go all through this without a bit of stable help behind him? Everyone separating into almost different matches seems like a good move to start off with, surprisingly avoiding the early clusterfuck. Barrett slamming the chair down with AUTHORITY~!! Excellent showcase of McIntyre/Barreta early on, especially Barreta pulling out some very nice spots. The more he gets, though, the more I’m guessing he’ll be the first one eliminated, especially once he hits his finisher very early here. Well, there goes my pick. You said you’d give some subtle character clues () but nothing subtle about the way the announcers put over Rhodes through this thing. Can pretty much tell Mysterio and Rhodes will be in the match a while the way they’ve been removed from everything a great deal to this point. Barrett is doing the same, but he’s catching my attention very much as so far having a really egotistical flair – first dismissing Jackson, and now the headset bit. Perhaps fooling himself into sanity? Love how you’re possibly blurring the lines of Rhodes’ heel character by dissing the tag team right here. As you’ve told me before, you and I seem to be fans of heels not teaming up just because they’re heels. Makes the characters seem much more real. McIntyre may be out, but he lasted a solid ten minutes and didn’t let up on any kind of ferocity. Jesus, your Rhodes is vicious and it really showed while he held the chair. Kingston, Rey, Barrett, and Rhodes had a terrific exchange going here, accumulating with the Trouble in Paradise. Great placement of the lights going out, fucking with Barrett yet again, and getting hit by combination finishers keeps him looking strong. Alabama Slam out of the sunset is pretty sick. Saving Kofi’s grace with the very near kick-out was solid as well. The finish between these two was expected, but goodness if Rhodes didn’t come out of this looking like a loose cannon. Also, props on keeping true to modern WWE and as tempting as it might have been, having no chair shots to the head. Rhodes should hold onto that baby for a little while I hope, but also as expected a cracker of an opener.

@ Over the Limit promo. Dafuq did I just read?

You capture Booker’s dialogue so well, it’s difficult to read and again, you capture 2011 Cole so well I don’t wanna read him at all.

Don’t have a whole lot of invested interest in this match with it’s last minute priority booking and whatnot, but we’ll see where it goes. Nice job establishing very early both Sheamus and Morrison’s respective strengths in their power games and legs, respectively. Morrison pulling off that moonsault is pretty sick, nice early spot there. Also enjoyed Melina bashing Eve and keeping her down in their initial early goings. Enjoyed the lead up to Morrison’s connecting Superkick, I’ve actually been trying to do more things like it lately (start move – counter move – end sequence with original move). Very solid showing for all involved, but some excellent booking for the most part – the women’s division at this point in time (and to the present) has never been given much longer than a few minutes to shine, and both Sheamus and Morrison are handicapped in in-ring ability somewhat (Sheamus’ being a small movepool at this time, while Morrison was a bit more spot-monkey at the time also), so the booking of this in general hides a vast majority of all involved’s in-ring flaws. Thought Melina looked the best here, and glad the titles are stuck on the heels.

Del Rio makes one last final bit at momentum? I dig it. Nice to see he’s gonna go this alone.

Solid package that’s not as much as the dramatized ones that can be put together, but also not as lazy as the simple recap. Nice median here. Can your Christian I Quit match measure up to mine? Let’s find out…

Oh wow, boomer in the opening fits a great deal in the story, especially considering Swagger’s actions on the take-home. Perhaps that’s what you want to integrate into his character, and from what I’ve picked up from the video package – he seems thoroughly obsessed with being a winner, like a super-serious athlete actually would. He may be a machine, but he’s not above dong the underhanded obvious because it’ll get him the W. The ridiculous early brawl was really something I could get behind, all that chaos and all. Surprised you pulled out the kendo stick literally minutes into the actual match itself. Love how you’ve also gotten the sense of ‘everyone is involved’ – you had a momentary focus of Patton/Chimel early in the description, and then now you have Cole sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, but I hope he stays so he can get decked in the face. No surprise that Swaggy goes right after the ankle early; really pushing in his dominance and ferocity. HUZZAH!! Cole gets decked in the schnoz! That in itself was built pretty well. I was just gonna note that Cole was getting far too involved for my taste, but then he got that. Shit, the stuff in the back is where it really heated up. Was half hoping that suplex onto the vending machine would, like, cave in the machine, but my hope is lost. Great psychology in Christian protecting that tender ankle at every chance. Truly a joyous moment when Cole got knocked the fuck out. Pulling a Cloverleaf out of the hat is a nice touch, making Christian dig even deeper than normal. Absolutely loved the buildup to the Ankle Lock here. It was literally built the entire match as the death note should it be applied and really gave Swagger the fell that he was actually inferior in the match itself, but could win it at any given point in time regardless. And when it was finally applied, the other worldly build of Christian’s resolve was gold. It wasn’t Supermanlike and he definitely didn’t no sell it, it was just a considerable amount of heroic will. The ending was superb, the threatening Con-Chair-To a great way to put a lid on this thing. Even though Swagger isn’t the most credible of opponents , the way he was built up this entire encounter was just fantastic, made both men smell like roses, and even boosted Christian into a position he hasn’t been in – possibility of being the top face.

Dat draft

Orton sounded really fed up here. Let’s see if it helps him out at all.

The hit-and-run offense imployed here by Gabes & Slates is terrific from a realistic standpoint. While guys running away a whole lot in the world of wrestling is usually a very shallow action that immediately gets people screaming ‘coward’, I didn’t see that here. Sure, they punched and GTFO’d quite a bit, but it’s actually a perfectly reasonable response by a pair of champions trying to retain gold against two behemoths. Pretty sweet tables match from then on out, the champs actually playing significant underdogs through the whole thing, not a whole lot jumping out at me until the moments towards the end of the contest. Holy shit. Just holy shit. This saddened me, really, because this sort of showed me that you probably won’t have The Corre be together for very long or don’t have long term plans for them to be together. I say that because Gabriel looked like a MILLION. FUCKING. BUCKS. You totally sold the fact that he felled two giants by his lonesome within a span of a few seconds, and then you let him execute an unbelievable finish (that legit made my jaw drop)…? Not even including his work against Show and Edge before this respectively, it’s no secret you’re high on this guy. But his work in this match showed me that your plans for him go FAR beyond a stable. And yeah, it’s fantastic that you have these guys retain after looking like a pretty legit tag team through the whole thing, but Gabriel was the popping and selling point of this contest. The way it looks like you’re building him, he’s almost veering towards what Wolfy’s done with Paul London. But that’s on down the road. Match was bon.

SummerSlam goes FIVE HOURS??? Don’t think I’ve ever read a FIVE HOUR event before, but shit, I’m more than willing to give it a shot. *Booker T voice* FIVE HOURS!! FIVE HOURS!! FIVE HOURS!!

Some sick back and forth from Punk/Orton here, the powerslam on the steel steps legit made me cringe. Good on you to highlight the fact that both men hate each other to an immense degree – Orton of course with Punk attacking him very personally, but Punk having more fuel than anyone for still harboring all those emotions from two years ago. You captured both men’s respective fuels very well. Around the Punk springboard clothesline, things really picked up in terms of the violence. I love it when there’s only really one weapon employed and used constantly to do a shitload of damage, this case being that one steel chair. Idk, just fancy that I suppose. Any shortage of blood in this match would’ve been a HUGE disappointment, so very good that both guys are gushing when this thing is over. Orton recovered a little bit too hastily after getting blasted in the head with three shots of the ring bell, I thought. Fucking brutal though, bro. These guys legit wanted each other dead and that was the huge selling point that you got through very well. The twist ending had me expecting more Nexus guys, actually, but I’m glad we got those two titans to accompany Punk and make him look like a true boss. Don’t see where Orton can go beyond here other than either some time off or…you could just make all those visions get to him and go crazy. But that’s only ‘cause I dig crazy characters. Most intense match on the card, as it should have been, the heaviest as far as story went and it delivered.

You noted the dichotomy of one of my tag teams, and I think you’ve got the same Low Jack dynamics here with Gabes & Slates. Gabriel just shuts his face, does his badass work…and Slater acts as though he’s done something worthwhile. Aahhh…there’s good ol’ mean Mr. Brit. I need him angry-driven mad, like, yesterday.

Very unique approach to the Bryan/Ziggles video package. Spotlighting FCW instead of acting like it doesn’t exist on screen is a great new outlook of it, and using it for storyline to boot. Had a very MMA/boxing feel to it, with the guys training and all that, gearing up for a big #1 contenders match.

Very much like the fact that this one was a wrestling clinic in the opening moments, really put across these guys athleticism early. Lots of really sick spots all the way throughout – that Surfboard on the ladder sounds absolutely killer. A shitload of athleticism and pure competition shown through this thing, picked up even more once the ladders showed up. The finish was a very reasonable way to look for the end of a ladder match with two smaller dudes. Might steal this finish from you at some point. Very impressive match, no real surprise Bryan gets the W here. I’m really curious how you might build a match between Bryan and whoever walks out with the title later, seeing as how every single one of them would be well-built or already well known.

Dammit. Was hoping to debut this guy soon too. Oh well. I guess this means the txting won’t go anywhere…?

Psssh. Battle Royals. So WWE.

Good on giving this match the epic, big-time feel with the postponed introductions. I’ve always thought that gives a really nice touch to a huge match. Was thinking maybe Del Rio would be alone given the promo he cut earlier, but I see that’s not the case, and why would it be. He’s a HEEL. Anyway, solid opening minutes with both men getting a taste of the cage, Edge managing to pop Del Rio’s cherry and properly introduce him to it. Holy schikies, a pinfall!! Missed those the last half of the card. Great emphasis on Del Rio’s methodical nature here – getting that weak point and literally picking it apart to a sinister degree. Love writing that kind of style. Woh, Edge missile dropkick? Hadn’t seen that in several years from him. Always think he might fall apart with all his injuries if he were to come up and do that. Diving Senton from Del Rio? Huh, pulling out some big stops here, I see. What’s really nice to see is that for a majority of this match, Edge was the one on constant defense, obviously being continually hampered by his injury. Some really quick paced, counter-to-counter stuff, I like it. German off the cage is super sick, always threatened that move with Kurt Angle but never managed to do it. The top-of-the-trapeze brawl was pretty sweet two, and I was hoping you’d pull that Super Edgecution out of the hat, but also love that it also cost Edge so much. Jesus, and still Del Rio won’t go down after the Spear. Really high tension finish here, and the way things ended up makes one literally want to hate Del Rio with every fiber of the being. Talk about slimy, underhanded, cheap ways to win a match – this takes the cake. A very violent cage match that was very well delivered. Ridiculous amount of heels have won tonight, haven’t they? Still, this does absolute wonders for Del Rio and given the way it was won, Edge doesn’t look bad coming out of this either.

Rocky’s birthday? Hoping you’ll make it a bit more interesting than in real life…

Sick WWE Championship package, best of the bunch tonight. Your packages before this one were pretty solid, more generic than anything, but this one really takes the cake and exemplifies Miz’s struggle more than anything. Great visuals all over this one.

Fiery opening there and this one looks to get brutal as hell with the early kendo introduction. Love those things. Again, the dynamic of faces not liking each other just for being faces come into play with Trips/Cena’s relationship, and its great. The taunt off was a small and nice touch to an otherwise pretty intense last round of matches (meaning everything from Christian/Swaggs on down). Good shot on having Miz take advantage of both men early and with the same stroke to both guys, really emphasizes what he wants here. Very nice display of the weapons usage here, though I thought Cena kind of no-sold his chair to the spine. at A-Ry getting his comeuppance considering how much pestering he’s done for Miz. Emerald Flowsion? Sounds more like the over-the-shoulder powerslam than the over-the-shoulder Piledriver is what you might’ve been going for. Some really intense spots here, that bit back body/powerbomb combo is something I’ve never seen before, but sounds a bit plausible and really nifty. After that and things picked up…not gonna lie, I sat here and just went through the rest of the match just cringing at every spot that came up for the next fifteen minutes. My word. I’ve been called a sick bastard for the stuff I come up with but this was extreme to the tee. Steel steps chunks, AAs through tables, spinebusters on chairs…just sheer sick stuff that wasn’t just for bit move purposes, but all flowed with each man’s story. Trips, especially on that referee count stoppage, proving that there is absolutely no depths to what he will do to get that title back around his waist. Cena provided a great deal of extreme offense, breaking his own limits, and even breaking out that chain of course all showing that there’s no bounds to him also wanting that title back at all costs. Then of course there’s Miz, the guy you didn’t pay to come see, but the guy you will undoubtedly be talking about when its all said and done whether you want to or not. Beautiful storytelling in an absolutely hellacious match that definitely made Miz earn his stripes, even if he had to come through in his very signature sneaky way.

---
Overall homie, this was a top-notch show. I think I noted earlier how many heels won, and at the very end, I did realize that every single title on your roster now is held by a heel, including three new ones, which hopefully spell some long title runs. I think that’s a huge key at this point in the ‘E – there weren’t (and to a degree, still aren’t) any true, legit, heels that you want the good guys to have to go over. I think you’ve taken a giant leap forward with the results tonight, with a heel going over in literally everything but two matches. And even in those two matches, you’ve lain a solid foundation for two great up and coming midcard heels in Swaggs and Ziggles. With all that said, this is a perfect place to now make even more driving stories to have the faces make their runs we like to get invested in – Christian and Bryan have legit claims to go after the titles now, Smackdown’s midcard and RAW’s Diva’s division both have new faces on top of them that’ll undoubtedly see a slew of face challengers for everyone’s character development, Gabriel and Barrett’s character progressions, and even what the big dogs have to do after this – Orton, Trips, and Cena all were on the short end and even the best of the good guys have to pave a new way. As for our little challenge…I dare say we may have a tie. Wait, no we don’t. I think you edged me out, my good king. All in all, a ridiculously great read that set you up for a shitload of options in the near future in true Act II fashion. And by near future, I mean get this thing back running before September
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:32 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Predictions Contest Results
R.K.O Peep: 7/14
FlyinStyles: 8/14
Kingpin: 5/14 (retirement has done nothing for you, jobber)
calum132: 6/14
cp954: 9/14
hebtheeagle: 9/14
ThatWeirdGuy: 7/14
SirTCO: 9/14
619IDH: 7/14

It’s a three-way tie between cp954, hebtheeagle and SirTCO, two-thirds of which apparently shows not following the thread from the beginning leads to knowing more about where I’m going with it. I’ll send each of you 250 credits, and next time I’ll set one of the questions as the ‘tie-breaker’ one. CP, you were closest on the match order, so that seems like a reasonable one – for when I post Over The Limit in 2014.

Raw is done, while SmackDown is still a work in progress, though I’d like to try to dish out some feedback if possible before I post one, anyway. Massive thanks to anyone who predicted, read or feedbacked on Extreme Rules, whether by rep or PM or in here, because I had plenty of really encouraging comments. I’m glad people liked/enjoyed/appreciated it – now let’s see if I can make it even better from here on out. #ActTwo

Following the theme of ‘realistic 2011 thread with a few tweaks’ that I’ve used so far, have a news post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 411mania.com
Vince raids the indies; new youth movement to kick in?
WWE have completed the signings of a plethora of new talent from the independent circuit, sources confirm following Extreme Rules. Some of these competitors had been on the radar for WWE’s scouts for some time, but others came as more of a shock.

Possibly the most prominent signings are the joint acquisition of one of Ring of Honor’s premiere tag teams, the Kings of Wrestling, Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli. They were added to the FCW Roster page under the names of Kenny Hero and Antonio Cesaro. Hero posted on in his Twitter account “Deal finally done! Pumped 4 throwing some elbows in the WWE! #BoutTime” while Castagnoli stayed silent as of yet. There’s no word on whether or not these two will compete as a tag team (considering the reports indicating a revitalised tag team division, they would be valuable additions), but either way, this could be the start of a good mainstream career for two very popular independent wrestlers.

Elsewhere, another dual deal was for the female pairing of the ‘Canadian Ninjas’, Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez. This was a much bigger surprise than the Kings, but these women, best known for their tag team exploits in SHIMMER, could boost the women’s division, which is already beginning to heat up again with the new Diva’s Champion in the form of Melina last night at Extreme Rules. Rumours of Awesome Kong’s impending debut and the superhuman push of Beth Phoenix on SmackDown point towards a healthier women’s division, which should only be boosted by the possible inclusion of Matthews and Perez. Both women were added to the FCW page this morning under the same ring names; as with the Kings, it is uncertain as yet whether these two will be competing in a tag team or completely separate from the other.

Former CZW, IPW and FIP Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley’s signing has been confirmed after rumours that surfaced several weeks ago. FCW’s Roster page lists him under the name Dean Ambrose, and he has likely already begun training with the FCW agents.

It’s understood that talks with TNA’s Brian Kendrick and ROH’s El Generico have fallen through within the past month of April following Wrestlemania Twenty-Seven.

Inside sources suggest the WWE creative team is trying to start an unofficial ‘youth movement’ once again; as the name implies, the team is aiming to build the characters of several wrestlers, both face and heel, for the sole purpose of making new stars and solidifying for the future. This news comes off the back of a variety of reports that suggest superstars like The Undertaker, Triple H, Kane, Big Show and even Edge could be cutting down on their schedules or even hanging up their boots for good. Creative’s current plan is for Summerslam to be the peak ‘hybrid’ point between the two eras, with at least one of those names competing for the last time in Los Angeles in August; this will be backed by a series of storylines to elevate the WWE’s more promising youngsters in the build to ‘the Biggest Party of the Summer’. At the moment, it seems almost a lock that Daniel Bryan will get his first World Title shot at Over The Limit against The Miz, whether it’s a major event or not, and expect this vein of young talent being pushed to continue, as the WWE tries to make sure they won’t be hit too hard when the aforementioned older competitors take their leave. Various members of the FCW roster are being considered for call-ups, and likewise, talented superstars in lower card positions will probably benefit from the next few months. It’s unlikely that Bryan will be the only youngster handed a chance to shine at the top level.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:17 PM   #98 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

cmon man!! When's Raw coming!!!??
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #99 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Wheeey, go me for the predictions

Very nice news and notes here. Particularly excited by the arrivals of Hero, Cesaro and Ambrose, would love to see what you do with all three of them. Not too sure with regards to who the women are but glad to see you making the effort with the division. Bring this badboy back soon please
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:45 AM   #100 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

6/14? My prediction's were way off.

Anyway's, pretty standard news and notes here. The signings of Hero and Claudio will no doubt add a lot to either the mid-card or tag team division, depending on the way you take it. Not too familiar with either Nicole Portez or Portia Perez, but new Divas to help out the division is always a step in the right direction. Will be very interested to see what you do with Awesome Kong, because only a handful of Divas on the roster atm, will seem like a credible threat in my eyes to her. As for the incoming youth movement, pushing younger talent is always a good thing, so looking forward to seeing who you decide to push and who you call up from FCW.
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