Re: WWE 2005: The Champ is Here
RAW April 4th, 2005
Jim Ross welcomes us to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the host for tonight's edition of Monday Night RAW. JR and his broadcast colleague, Jerry "The King" Lawler go through a quick rundown of tonight's card, announcing contests such as Christian vs William Regal, Edge vs Chris Jericho, and the main event handicap match pitting the new World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, against Triple H and "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
***I WALK ALONE***
The hyped up crowd frenzies as The Animal steps onto the stage, dressed in a white dress shirt with the top few buttons undone, gray slacks with a black belt, black loafers and a pair of sunglasses despite being indoors. Batista takes off his glasses at the top of the ramp and tucks them into the top of his shirt, locking his eyes on the World Heavyweight Championship belt that he holds in his left hand. The Animal sets off his pyro and takes his time going to the ring, enjoying every second of his inaugural entrance as the champion. He steps into the ring and acquires a microphone before silencing the crowd and speaking.
Batista: Damn this feels good!
Batista: You guys know I'm not a man of many words, but I can't explain how much it means to me to have the support of each and every one of you fans.
More cheap cheers.
Triple H has already heard enough out of Batista, apparently, as he comes out of the curtain alongside "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. The Cerebral Assassin makes his way down the ramp and to the ring in a timely manner, dismissing the mockery from the Hollywood fans. The Game steps through the ropes, followed closely by Naitch, then takes a microphone and stands across from the physically intimidating Animal.
Triple H: You know Dave, I hate to cut you off right during your moment of glory, I really do, especially seeing as it's going to be one of the very last times that you'll be able to call yourself the World Heavyweight Champion. You see, I've got something in my contract called a rematch clause. What that means, is that I get another shot at that title you've got over your shoulder.
Crowd gives a mixed reaction, booing Triple H for interrupting Batista but cheering the thought of a rematch.
Triple H: And while I could just take that belt back tonight I've decided not to, because I like you Dave, and I want you to get at least one month to shine. But at Backlash, that shine runs out.
Batista smirks to the crowd, then at HHH.
Batista: Well I'm flattered that you like me, Hunter, but that explanation just doesn't get it done. I feel like maybe there's something more to it. I feel like maybe, just maybe, you don't want another one of these on your forehead.
The Animal pokes the large white bandage on Triple H's forehead. HHH stays composed, but Flair begins to get confrontational. Batista doesn't offer a reaction, however, knowing that Naitch is all talk.
Triple H: That's pretty funny. I've given everything I have to this business, shortened my life and broken my body for this business and that damn title and you think I'm afraid of spilling my blood to get it back?! The last thing that I'm worried about is this cut on my forehead opening back up! Hell, go ahead, bust me open right now! See what I care! Just know that no matter how many times I have to watch, and feel, and taste my own blood running down my face and into my hands and all over my body, that it won't stop me, it won't slow me down even a little bit.
Triple H pauses momentarily to catch his breath, then continues on.
Triple H: Maybe I didn't teach this well enough when you were in Evolution, or maybe you're too damn stupid to catch on, but you don't get to the top of this business without being willing to lay everything you've got on the line every single time you step through those damn ropes. And through my hard work, through my determination I've found myself perched at the top of this business for 6 years. 6 damn years that I refuse to have taken from me by a lazy piece of crap like you who's got all the physical talent but not even HALF of the determination that I had!
Batista: Lazy? You think I'm lazy? I show up every day, and just like you I take care of business inside AND outside this ring. So if you think that the difference between you and me is that I'm lazy, you're wrong. The difference between you, Triple H, and me, is that every time I do what I expect myself to do and take care of business between these ropes, I don't come out here and gloat about it! I just come out the next week and do it again!
The audience rises to its feet while Triple H and Batista go forehead-to-forehead. The Game takes off his suit jacket and hands it to Ric Flair, who sets it atop one of the turnbuckles. Batista and Triple H talk trash to each other without the microphones present, so the camera picks up nothing more than what a lip reader can guess. Triple H rears back to swing, provoked to do so by the World Heavyweight Champion.
The Cerebral Assassin brings his fist forward, but he's blocked by Batista! The Animal connects with a kick to the stomach, and tucks Triple H into position for the BATISTA BOMB! As The Game is lifted for impact, Batista's grounded by a chop block from Ric Flair!
Naitch stays on the attack on Batista's knee, wounding it with stops and knee drops. Triple H rolls to the outside and grabs his trademark sledgehammer from beneath the ring, drawing a pop from the crowd. The Game rips his tie off as he steps back into the corner, pressing his back against the turnbuckle pads. HHH waits for Batista to regain a vertical base before charging towards him and driving the business end of the sledgehammer directly into Batista's injured right kneecap! The champion is down and in a bad way, rolling around helplessly on the mat. Flair and HHH leave the scene of the crime, looking back at the ring at the top of the stage while paramedics pour out of the locker room.
Jim Ross: That son of a bitch is trying to make sure Batista can't even make it to Backlash!
Jerry Lawler: Backlash? Batista might not even make it to tonight's main event!
Jim Ross: For Triple H and Ric Flair's sake, they better hope they don't have to get back into the ring with Batista tonight.
Jerry Lawler: What do they have to worry about? What's Batista going to do? Run over them with his wheelchair?
Jim Ross: I've gotta believe that he'll do a whole lot more than that if he gets his hands on those two.
When RAW returns, we're shown a recap of the Money in the Bank ladder match that took place at WrestleMania 21. The final shot is Edge on his knees at the top of the WrestleMania stage cradling the briefcase in his arms.
The Rated R Superstar storms through the curtain and the smoke of his entrance, being seen for the first time carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase. JR and King put over big time how important the contract within that case is. Edge removes his jacket and shows off his new gimmick to the crowd, still getting cheered despite his recent attitude towards fan favorite superstars.
***BREAK THE WALLS DOWN***
Next into the arena is one of Edge's opponents from the previous night and the inventor of the Money in the Bank match, Chris Jericho. Y2J poses at the top of the ramp as he always does, and draws a big reaction from the fired up fans. The Winnipeg native, now being billed from Manhasset, New York, enters the ring and the match gets underway.
Edge vs Chris Jericho
The match is slow at the start and both wrestlers are visibly sore following their match from WrestleMania the night prior. The action does go back and forth between the Canadian veterans, neither letting their opponent gain any kind of significant advantage. Y2J picks up the pace a little and wears Mr. Money in the Bank out with an onslaught of high-impact and high-speed attacks. Jericho gets energized with the help of the crowd, feeding off them to continue the beatdown on Edge.
About 5 minutes into the match, with Jericho in full control, Edge looks to take the easy way out. The Rated R Superstar grabs his new briefcase out of the corner and heads towards the curtain. However, Y2J won't allow it, dropping Edge from behind and bringing him back into the ring. Edge rolls into the ring with his briefcase in his hands, and launches it towards The Ayatollah of Rock 'n Rolla! But Jericho catches it! Fozzy's lead singer takes a swing at Edge with the briefcase, but Edge ducks under it and hooks Jericho, who's still holding the briefcase, in for the DOWNWARD SPIRAL! Jericho is planted face-first onto the briefcase! Edge goes for the cover!
Winner: Edge (5:51)
The Rated R Superstar takes his briefcase and quickly rolls out of the ring, celebrating his victory. Jericho pats his forehead with his hand, trying to mop up a few small drips of blood coming from a minor cut on his forehead, brought on by the Downward Spiral. Edge pins the briefcase tight to his chest as he kneels at the top of the stage, catching his breath from the intense contest. The crowd applauds Y2J's effort as he acknowledges their endearment before leaving up the ramp following Edge.
Jim Ross: It's starting to look like Edge's luck will never run out! I don't like that guy's attitude, but he just keeps getting it done in the ring.
Jerry Lawler: I don't see what's not to like! He's got it all going in his favor right now, and I love it!
Stepping out of the curtain and onto the stage now is Muhammad Hassan, accompanied by Khosrow Daivari. They're both clad in suits, along with grimaces on their faces. Hassan gestures angrily at the Los Angeles crowd, who's chanting "Ho-gan" at them because of The Hulkster's appearance at WrestleMania the night before.
Jim Ross: Well, we may not see eye-to-eye about Edge, King, but if there's anything we agree on it's that we both dislike these two.
Jerry Lawler: I'm not even sure dislike is a strong enough word! I can't stand these morons!
Hassan takes a microphone, then hands it to Daivari, who begins yelling in Arabic. This brings on jeers from the audience, while Daivari straightens up his tie and passes the microphone to Hassan.
Muhammad Hassan: How typical it is of you Americans to cheer for Hulk Hogan. Living in the past seems to be something that you people do best.
Muhammad Hassan: Hulk Hogan represents everything that I HATE about America. Drink your milk and take your vitamins? What about paying taxes and dropping your discriminatory attitudes towards the minorities in this country?
Hassan chuckles, as does Daivari, who is now given back the microphone, ready to speak with his phlegmy voice.
Khosrow Daivari: All of you people need to understand something about Hulk Hogan. He doesn't do what he does, for you people. Every time he returns to the WWE, he's doing it because it gets his paycheck signed. You think he gives a crap, about... about EUGENE?
"We want Ho-gan!" *clap clap clapclapclap* "We want Ho-gan!" *clap clap clapclapclap*
Khosrow Daivari: Chant all you want, but "The Hulkster" isn't here! Because he's smart enough to know, that he can't keep up with the superior athletic presence of somebody like Muhammad Hassan.
Hassan holds out his arms and turns up his nose, basking in the praise of Daivari. The crowd doesn't take kindly to Daivari's remarks, booing even harder than before.
Khosrow Daivari: Last night was the final night of Hulkamania! It is gone, never to be heard from aga-
The crowd rises to its feet, some even singing along with The Hulkster's iconic theme. Daivari and Hassan are livid, stomping around the ring.
"I gotta be a man, I can't let it slide..."
Out of the curtain steps... EUGENE? Hassan and Daivari's rage turns to laughter, as they grab their stomachs and point out at Eric Bischoff's nephew. The crowd's cheering dies down a bit, but they still appreciate the humor. Eugene is dressed in full Hogan attire: yellow trunks, yellow boots, red kneepads, even a red "HULKAMANIA" bandana and a fake blonde mustache!
"I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man..."
Eugene plays up to the crowd with all the typical Hogan mannerisms and then steps into the ring, cupping his ear at each side of the squared circle while he does so. Eugene takes a microphone and stands across from Hassan and Daivari.
Eugene: What you gonna do, brother, when Gene-a-mania runs wild on you?!
Hassan and Daivari are laughing hysterically now, but Eugene doesn't seem to be taking it as a joke.
Khosrow Daivari: What exactly is Gene-a-mania going to do?
Eugene: I'm going to kick your asses, BROTHER.
The King can't believe his ears, nor can Daivari or Hassan. Eugene nods his head to the crowd just as Hogan would do. In the meantime, Daivari and Hassan are removing their suit jackets and loosening their ties. Daivari swings at Eugene while the crowd cheers for Eugene. Daivari connects with a hard right hand, turning Eugene's head.
Eugene points at Daivari, he's... he's... he's HULKING UP!!!
The crowd goes wild, losing their minds for this moment! Eugene takes two more right hands from Daivari, and is completely indifferent to them. He backs Daivari into the corner, but he's jumped from behind by the bigger, more physically commanding Hassan! Hassan works over Eugene for a brief period of time, but he gets caught coming in with a BIG BOOT BY EUGENE!
Eugene bounces off the ropes, looking to finish Hassan off, but Daivari dives on top of his friend in order to protect him. Eugene points at the pile of bodies, gaining approval from the crowd before bouncing off the ropes and coming back with a LEG DROP!!!!
"Real American" plays again throughout the arena, as the crowd goes bananas. Eugene flexes the pythons for the Staples Center, who are absolutely in stitches.
Jim Ross: GENE-A-MANIA, IS RUNNING WILD KING!
Lawler is howling too hard to offer a response.
The first thing we see post-advertisements is a backstage view of GM Eric Bischoff speaking with Triple H and Ric Flair. Bischoff looks displeased, possibly indicating that tonight's main event will not happen. Next, we see Christian and Tyson Tomko standing in the interview area with Maria. Maria looks as though she's waiting for her cue that they're live, and delays momentarily before perking up and talking.
Maria: Christian... you didn't win last night in the Money in the Bank match.
Christian appears to be waiting for Maria to finish a question, but she just stands awkwardly. Captain Charisma raises his eyebrows, then gives up on getting through to the airheaded Maria. Christian shoots a look at Tomko before starting his part of the interview.
Christian: I don't know if that's supposed to be a question or an insult, but whatever. WrestleMania is just like the Super Bowl. And you know what happens in the NFL after the Super Bowl ends? There's a new season. And tonight is the first night of the new season in the WWE.
Tomko nods in the background while Christian collects his thoughts.
Christian: Since Los Angeles doesn't have a NFL team, Captain Charisma's going to give all his Hollywood peeps something to root for tonight. William Regal and Tajiri, myself and the Problem Solver, have our eyes on something that you two have.
Maria: The tag team titles!
Christian humors Maria by slowly nodding at Maria's notion that Christian was referring to Regal and Tajiri's tag team titles. Tomko pats Christian on the back and laughs menacingly as they walk away.
***AIN'T NO STOPPIN ME***
The Intercontinental Champion makes his way to the ring with his title dangling out of his right hand. Benjamin gets a pretty nice reaction from the fans, while JR and The King talk over a highlight package of Shelton's feats from the Money in the Bank ladder match. Benjamin enters the ring and holds up his belt on the middle rope and waits for his opponent.
Simon Dean rolls into the arena on a segway with his gym bag slung over one of the handlebars. The workout guru brings his gym bag into the ring and grabs a microphone while persuading Benjamin to let him get some words out.
Simon Dean: Look, Shelton. I know you're already an athletic guy, you're in great shape, but if you want to get jacked like Simon Dean, I've got the perfect recipe.
Simon reaches into his bag and pulls out a large container.
Simon Dean: Right inside this container, is pure whey protein powder. Pop a scoop of this stuff into some milk and give it a shake, and you've got yourself a formula for success! Here, let me show you.
Simon takes a shaker out of his bag and scoops a clump of powder out of the container. Simon looks up at Shelton, who takes a step forward. Simon Dean opens up the shaker and then THROWS THE POWDER IN SHELTON'S FACE! Benjamin goes sprawling as the referee calls for the bell.
Simon Dean vs Shelton Benjamin
Simon swiftly kicks all of his stuff out of the ring and rolls up Benjamin for a quick two count. Shelton still can't see, so Simon jumps all over the Intercontinental Champion in order to pick up a huge win. Simon puts the boots to Benjamin, who finally manages to regain his vision in the corner. The inventor of the Simon System doesn't let up though. He keeps annihilating Benjamin throughout the early goings of the confrontation, battering him with strikes and a few basic wrestling moves.
Shelton doesn't stay grounded for long, of course. The former teammate of Brock Lesnar strikes with a few big moves, including a wicked superkick that makes an incredible noise. Simon Dean looks completely incapacitated, but Shelton isn't done with him yet. The Intercontinental Champion drags Simon up by his puffy hair and brings him over to the corner. Shelton sits Simon on the top rope and steps up to the second rope himself. Benjamin hooks Dean for his finisher, and drives Simon Dean into the mat with a T-BONE SUPLEX OFF THE TOP ROPE!
Winner: Shelton Benjamin (4:12)
Shelton celebrates for the crowd while Simon rolls out of the ring, taking his gym bag back to the locker room with him.
Jerry Lawler: Simon, come back! I wanna try one of those protein shakes!
Jim Ross: You could use it, that's for damn sure.
Jerry Lawler: And you couldn't?
Jim Ross: I'm more of a barbecue ribs kind of guy.
Jerry Lawler: Trust me, we know.
In a hallway, The Hurricane & Rosey are preparing for their match coming up next by striking superhero poses and flapping their capes.
La Resistance is already in the ring when we get back from commercial and they're waving their obnoxious French flags in order to draw the ire of the crowd.
***EYE OF THE HURRICANE***
The Hurricane and Rosey quickly walk down the aisle and into the squared circle. They waste little time getting in the ring and starting the match.
La Resistance vs The Superheroes
The competition begins between Conway and The Hurricane. Hurricane uses his speed in the start of the match to frustrate Conway and make him whiff on all his attempts to attack Helms. The first contact of the match is made when Hurricane ducks under a clothesline and comes back with a springboard elbow off the second rope! Hurricane gets in a little bit more offense following that, but La Resistance gets themselves back on top after Conway plants Hurricane with a spinning side slam!
From this point, Conway and Grenier make quick tags back-and-forth, mostly keeping Hurricane trapped in their corner. Grenier and Conway bend the rules a little and both enter the ring while the referee has his hands full trying to keep Rosey on the apron. La Resistance lifts Hurricane up for a double suplex, but The Hurricane rolls out the other side! They both turn and go for a double clothesline, but Hurricane does a military roll under their attack and lunges into his corner to make the tag to Rosey!
Rosey flattens Conway and Grenier immediately upon becoming the legal man, and Grenier rolls out of the ring. Conway, La Resistance's legal man, regains his vertical base only to be leveled with a thunderous right hand that sends him frantically into the ropes. Conway bounces off and comes right back at Rosey, who takes down Conway with a scoop slam. The former 3-Minute Warning member stays on top of the competition even as Grenier interferes yet again. However, with Conway coiled around his legs, Rosey's finally brought down by a powerful shoulder block from Grenier. This leads to The Hurricane getting himself involved, and he does in a big way by driving Grenier over the top to the outside and then coming down on top of him with a plancha!
As the referee sorts out the action on the outside, Conway goes to grab one of the French flags. Conway takes a swing at Rosey, but Rosey catches it, pulls it away from Conway, and snaps it over his knee! The crowd loves it, but they get even louder when Rosey lifts Conway over his head and sends him back down to the mat with a GORILLA PRESS SLAM!
Hurricane gets back to the apron and is on the receiving end of a tag from Rosey with Conway completely out of it. Hurricane climbs to the top, and steps onto Rosey's shoulders! Rosey holds Hurricane's hands to keep him from falling, allowing Hurricane to come off his shoulders and splat onto Conway with a SUPERFLY SPLASH!
Winners: The Superheroes (6:44)
Hurricane and Rosey stick around for a little while to pose for the crowd, but the camera cuts backstage instead of hanging around with them.
In the backstage area, we're shown Chris Masters, who's doing curls with an exercise band. The Masterpiece bounces his pecs up and down a few times, then raises his head to see the beautiful Trish Stratus, who has her Women's Championship over her left shoulder.
Trish Stratus: Chris, you take such good care of yourself... have you ever thought about taking care of... me?
Masters laughs awkwardly, not quite sure what's going on. Before he can respond, though, Trish pulls herself close to The Masterpiece. She puts her hands on his pecs and looks straight up into his face. He drops the workout bands and puts his hands on her hips.
Trish Stratus: You see, Chris, if you did a couple of favors for me, I could do a couple of... "favors" for you.
Chris Masters: Favors? Like... what?
Trish Stratus: I think you know exactly what I want.
The Masterpiece smirks at Trish, and leans towards her, but she pushes herself away and out of the frame. Masters is left to contemplate their encounter, but he seems pleased with the outcome.
Jim Ross: What the hell was that all about?
Jerry Lawler: I don't know, but now I really need Simon Dean to bring some of those protein shakes back out here so I can look like Chris Masters! He's the luckiest man on the planet!
Jim Ross: Apparently so. In any event, we've got one half of the World Tag Team Champions, William Regal, taking on the man who calls himself "Captain Charisma", Christian. And that's next!
After a view of the area surrounding The Staples Center and some of the sights to behold in Los Angeles, we come back to the arena, where Christian is making his entrance.
***JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES***
Christian, in his entrance hood, is accompanied to the ring by his "Problem Solver", Tyson Tomko. Christian makes plenty of stops on his way to the ring so he can search for and subsequently point out his "peeps" in the audience. Christian beats his chest a few times at the bottom of the ramp, then steps onto the second rope in the corner from the apron, placing his hand above his eyes and searching for more peeps. Captain Charisma gets some motivation and a fist bump from Tomko as his music stops.
William Regal waves to the audience and pats his World Tag Team Championship belt when he steps onto the top of the stage. Tajiri walks mysteriously to the ring alongside Regal, and the unlikely duo gets a rousing reaction from those in attendance.
Christian w/ Tyson Tomko vs William Regal w/ Tajiri
Christian is hesitant to start the match out, so he dodges and avoids all of Regal's dangerous offense, then rolls directly out of the ring to consult the Problem Solver. After a quick word with Tomko, Christian slowly re-enters the ring. Regal remains the aggressor, charging roughly at Captain Charisma and dropping him to the mat with a hard forearm shiver. Christian rolls to the outside in frustration and regroups with Tomko once again.
Upon re-entering the ring, this sequence of events reoccurs twice more. After the final one, Christian is livid. He rolls to the outside once again, the crowd's boos louder than ever at this point. Captain Charisma gets back in, and decides to go on the attack. He charges at one half of the World Tag Team Champions, but Christian is absolutely devastated by a knee lift that catches him right on the jaw! The noise is incredible, and the impact causes Christian to crumble into the canvas. Regal is only able to garner a two count, but it doesn't seem to bother the bruiser from Blackpool, only because it means he can inflict more damage to Captain Charisma.
Regal tries out a few submissions on Christian, not really trying to achieve victory with them. Regal stretches out Christian's already sore body, and plays up to the crowd along with Tajiri. At one point, the Japanese Buzzsaw even gets up on the apron and has a conversation with Regal while Christian tried to regain his whereabouts, but is really just throwing punches at nothing.
Tomko is clearly distressed, watching Christian get decimated by Regal. Tomko gets so frustrated that he rolls into the ring and stands toe-to-toe with Regal, staring down at him. Regal doesn't back down at all, but he doesn't get an opportunity to fight the Problem Solver, because Tajiri steps in! Tomko chuckles at the Japanese Buzzsaw, but he's grounded by a stiff kick to the side of the kneecap! Now that they're the same height, Tajiri begins feeding Tomko kick after kick after kick, all to the ribs.
Christian gets his wits about him just in time to see this going on, and he leaps on Tajiri. The Japanese Buzzsaw goes flying out of the ring while Tomko exits on his own accord, except for a little help from the referee. Regal goes to pick Christian back up for more punishment, but he's caught off guard with a vicious low blow! Regal doubles over forward, burying his hands near his stomach. Captain Charisma jumps on the opportunity while the ref gets Tomko back outside the ring, by synching Regal into a SMALL PACKAGE!
Winner: Christian (8:07)
Christian scrambles out of the ring faster than he ever has in his career. On the outside, he's met by his Problem Solver, who played a big role in Christian's victory. Captain Charisma doesn't even hang around to acknowledge his peeps, he just gets the hell out of dodge.
Jerry Lawler: HE DID IT! CHRISTIAN BEAT REGAL!
Jim Ross: I don't know how anybody could be proud of winning that way!
Jerry Lawler: When are you going to figure out that a win is a win JR? Wins and losses are all that matters, and that was a win.
Jim Ross: All I know is that I sure wouldn't like to be Christian right about now, because Regal won't let that go unanswered.
Jerry Lawler: You're right about that JR, but I can't wait to see them get in the ring again!
***BURN IN MY LIGHT***
The Legend Killer makes his way into the arena and does his signature pose at the top of the stage, as golden rain comes down behind him. After Orton gets a few steps down the ramp, he stops, and "Cowboy" Bob Orton comes out of the curtain behind Randy. Bob grabs Randy's shoulders from behind, pats him on the back, and tells him to continue walking towards the ring. Reluctantly, Orton does.
Jim Ross: This was not scheduled, folks, but we're being told that Randy Orton's got an important announcement here tonight.
Orton's music fades out while Cowboy Bob obtains a microphone and hands it to his son.
Randy Orton: Last night, I was this close to putting a blemish on The Undertaker's perfect WrestleMania record. And after a night of deliberation and contemplation, I've figured out the reason why I couldn't beat The Undertaker last night.
Orton pauses to make the crowd guess what he'll say next.
Randy Orton: My shoulder. Last night, I sustained a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Now I don't know how much time I'm going to have to miss because of this, but I do know that I'm not going to let The Undertaker get away with this. He tried to end my career at WrestleMania.
Randy Orton: You people can cheer for The Undertaker as much as you want, that doesn't bother me. But, when I talk about sustaining a serious injury that's going to keep me from doing what I love to do, then we're going to have a problem. I am the Legend. Killer. And just because I couldn't put The Undertaker away once, doesn't mean I'm done trying.
The crowd clearly wants Randy out of the ring, so they boo louder.
Randy Orton: 'Taker, whatever coffin or morgue you're sleeping in right now, I want you to sit up and listen closely. You have not seen the last, of Randy Orton.
Cowboy Bob claps in support of his son, while the rest of the crowd tries to jeer him out of the ring.
Randy Orton: Because when I'm back at 100%, I'm going to RKO you straight to hell. I'm going to-
***REST IN PEACE***
The crowd rises to its feet at the sound of The Deadman's gong. Orton braces for Undertaker's appearance, but suddenly the lights come back on. Orton is still intact, and The Undertaker is nowhere to be found. Orton looks around the ring, and takes a big sigh of relief. He goes to walk out of the ring, but then he realizes...
COWBOY BOB IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!
Orton is mortified by the disappearance of his father, so he leaves the ring and goes running backstage to find him. When Orton reaches the top of the stage, the lights go off again, and Undertaker's gong strikes. When Orton turns around, Undertaker is back in the ring and the lights are back on. Not only is Big Evil in the ring, but he's got Cowboy Bob in position for a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER! The Deadman does a throat slashing motion towards Orton, then spikes The Legend Killer's father right on the top of his head! Orton hurries backstage while The Demon of Death Valley drops to a knee and poses over "Cowboy" Bob Orton's beaten body.
JR reads through the show's sponsors when the show comes back on the air. Stevie Richards is already in the ring, and his entrance music is fading out. Stevie gets only five or six seconds of camera time when his opponent's music hits and he makes his way down the aisle.
Enter The Crippler. The Rabid Wolverine comes out to a tremendous reaction, still clearly favoring his right arm after it was battered by Edge in the Money in the Bank match. Benoit hits his arm a few times to get the blood flowing upon stepping into the ring, and stares down his opponent as the match starts.
Stevie Richards vs Chris Benoit
Big Stevie Cool employs a sound strategy from the word go, pouncing on Benoit's injured arm and beating it down with an avalanche of strikes and holds. Stevie pins Benoit into the corner and pounds on his right shoulder some more, but The Rabid Wolverine manages to fight his way out of the corner with savage chops to Stevie's chest, turning it beet red. Back in the center of the ring, Benoit quickly breaks off a snap suplex and tries to end it quickly (so he can rest his shoulder injury) by putting Stevie in the Crippler Crossface! Stevie frantically crawls into the ropes, and makes it there before he's forced to tap. Benoit waits for Stevie to get back up, and he connects with a pair of German suplexes. as The Crippler goes to finish the third suplex, Stevie fights out with a succession of elbows to the injured shoulder!
Benoit relinquishes his grip around Stevie's waist to grip his shoulder, and Stevie immediately hurls himself into the corner. Big Stevie Cool takes a pair of hop steps in Benoit's direction, then unloads with the STEVIE KICK! But Benoit side-steps the attack and traps Stevie in the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE, right in the middle of the ring! Stevie taps out in no time at all, trying his best to avoid permanent injury due to the hold.
Winner: Chris Benoit (3:34)
Benoit doesn't savor the victory for long, as he simply rushes backstage to get some relief for his shoulder. The crowd applauds Benoit for competing through his shoulder injury, rather than getting surgery and missing a few months, like Orton.
Jim Ross: Benoit took care of business in a timely manner!
Jerry Lawler: Yeah, but with his shoulder in that condition he won't be able to handle stiffer competition!
Jim Ross: I wouldn't doubt Chris Benoit, King.
Jerry Lawler: Well he's in bad shape, but I think he's still doing better than Batista!
Jim Ross: Speaking of our World Heavyweight Champion, he's scheduled to compete tonight, and that's up next!
Jerry Lawler: Is he even here? Or did he leave in an ambulance? There's no way he can wrestle!
Once Benoit and Richards have cleared the ring, JR informs us that a pre-recorded message is going to be played from Shawn Michaels, who is not in attendance at the Staples Center tonight. The video sets as a still image on the Titantron, with a small graphic that says "Earlier Today" in the top left corner of the feed.
Shawn Michaels: Now I know everybody wants to hear ol' Hearbreak say something controversial about his match at WrestleMania, but I'm gonna keep it real simple. I left it all out in that ring, and came up just short against an Olympic Gold Medalist, and the best damn technical wrestler on the face of the planet. But the important part about last night, is that Mr. WrestleMania stole the show once again! That kind of match is the standard that I hold myself to, and I understand that not just anybody can hold up their end of the bargain in that department. That's why, for next week on RAW--and I WILL be there next week--HBK's issuing an open challenge. Anybody that wants to prove themselves, or, hell, I've pissed plenty of people off... so anybody that just doesn't like Shawn Michaels, can step inside that ring and get your licks in. But for anybody that's thinking about accepting, I just hope you're ready to get the very best of the Showstopper.
Pre-recorded Shawn Michaels proves he's the consummate pro by pausing for an applause break that he anticipated, which he actually gets.
Shawn Michaels: Because I took this night off to head back to San Antonio and shake the rust off of these fragile old bones, but when I'm in the ring next week, I'm looking to put on another clinic like I did with Angle last night, and I want someone who can carry their half of the load in there with me.
A graphic screen reading "HBK's Open Challenge: Next Week on RAW" shows on the screen over a picture of HBK doing his trademark pose.
Jerry Lawler: An open challenge? Oh boy JR, who do you think is gonna take him up on it?
Jim Ross: Well I hate to offer a guess, and I really have no earthly idea who it may be. Now it's time that we finish fulfilling our sponsorship requirements, then it's time for our explosive main event.
Jerry Lawler: Only if Batista makes it!
Jim Ross: Welcome back to RAW! We're about to have our main event-
Jerry Lawler: Maybe!
Jim Ross: ...Maybe. But it'll be uninterrupted, and here we go!
***ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA***
Here comes the 16-time World Champion, The Nature Boy, Ric Flair! Naitch, in his golden entrance robe, struts down the ramp and up the steps. The Dirtiest Player in the Game waits for his partner, The Game, to arrive.
Triple H goes through his whole long, drawn out entrance. In the ring, Triple H appears to be carefree and relaxed, chomping down on his gum and smiling with one arm around Naitch, who looks to be taking this more seriously than the former World Heavyweight Champion.
***I WALK ALONE***
The music plays, the crowd goes wild, but Batista doesn't come out. The Game and Flair both start laughing now, and Triple H nonchalantly snatches a microphone.
Triple H: What's the matter Dave? You finally decided to swallow your pride and sit backstage, hiding, instead of limping down to this ring and taking the ass-beating of your life? I think it's great that you finally came to your senses. Now what I want YOU to do-
Hunter points at the official standing in the ring.
Triple H: -is to raise my hand. And what I want YOU to do-
The Cerebral Assassin points a finger at Lilian Garcia.
Triple H: -is to announce myself and The Nature Boy here, as the winners of the match by forfeit.
Triple H tries to hand the microphone back to Lilian Garcia, but it's taken from his hand by Ric Flair.
Ric Flair: Hunter, you know I love ya to death, but that ain't how The Nature Boy wins matches.
The crowd is pleased by Naitch's sentiment. Triple H just looks perplexed.
Triple H: Well hell, Lilian, I guess your job just got easier. I want you to tell all these idiots in Los Angeles that Triple H is the winner by forfeit.
Lilian Garcia: Here is your winner, via forfeit, The Game, Tri-
Ric Flair: Whoa whoa whoa Lilian...
The crowd absolutely roars.
Ric Flair: I don't think Triple H got my hint. If you wanna be the man, WOO! You gotta beat the man! And Hunter, the man doesn't win by forfeit.
Triple H: Ric, you know I love and respect you more than anybody else that I've ever met in my entire life. You're my mentor and my best friend, but I don't know what part you're not understanding here. Naitch, he's not coming. His leg can't even support his upper body. Ric, he's NOT. COMING. OUT.
***I WALK ALONE***
The World Heavyweight Champion hobbles down to the ring with a purpose, while Triple H and The Nature Boy hustle to get ready for the fight that awaits them. Batista tosses down the World Heavyweight Title belt and rolls into the ring, where he's met immediately by stomps to the leg by his opponents, before the bell even has a chance to be rung. Naitch returns to the corner in order to get the match officially underway.
Triple H & Ric Flair vs Batista
Triple H dominates the leg for a majority of the match, prompting JR and King to question Batista's decision to return to the arena. The Animal mounts a few small comebacks, but each one is shut down by a different attack on the knee. Flair gets nice and cozy on the apron, not being tagged in despite requesting to get the tag a few times. Batista finally grounds Triple H with a crisp tilt-a-whirl slam. Batista and The Game both crawl towards their corners, even though Batista's got nobody to tag in to in his corner. Triple H and Batista both get back to their feet in their corners, but Triple H opts not to tag Flair into the match and goes back to the middle of the ring to hook up with the man that took the World Heavyweight Championship from him the night prior.
The fight is even now and Batista is going blow-for-blow with HHH. The Animal buys himself some time to recuperate by landing a thunderous spinebuster! But rather than capitalizing with a cover, Batista just rolls over onto his back and catches his breath. Flair is visibly begging for a tag from Triple H now, eager to get in the ring and prove that he can still get it on with the best of them. He's denied yet again, as Triple H rolls to an opposite corner and goes back to war with Batista. Nine minutes into the contest now, and Flair still has yet to enter the squared circle.
Triple H gets whipped off the ropes, but he comes back strong with a leaping knee. The Animal ducks it, however, and the referee gets the worst of the contact. Triple H takes down Batista with a kick to the kneecap of Batista, then signals for Flair to get something from out of the ring. Triple H feeds Batista a few right hands to keep him down, while Flair takes his sweet time running Triple H's errand. When Flair emerges from beneath the ring, it's revealed that he's holding the sledgehammer!
The Game takes the sledgehammer from Naitch, and admires it. Batista tries to get back to his feet, but he just can't do it with the intense pain in his knee. The Cerebral Assassin cocks back the sledgehammer to finish off the World Heavyweight Champion, but it's grabbed from him by Ric Flair! Naitch pitches an idea to Triple H, seemingly signalling that he wants to be the one to deliver the fatal blow to The Animal. Triple H hands off the sledgehammer to The Nature Boy, and pats his mentor on the chest.
Flair takes a swing, but Batista springs to his feet and drives Flair into the mat with incredible force in the form of a spinebuster! The sledgehammer goes flying, and Triple H goes after it. Batista reaches towards it, but he's crumbled to the mat, holding his knee. Triple H gets the hammer in his possession, but not for long. Batista gets back to his feet, keeping all the pressure on his left leg. Batista and Triple H each have their hands on the weapon, playing tug of war with it. Flair gets back to his knees, and clocks Batista with a low blow!
But Batista had just pulled Triple H in close to him by yanking on the sledgehammer, and Flair connected with The Game too! Both superstars go straight down into the canvas while Flair disposes of the sledgehammer. The referee has come to now, and he sees all three men in the ring, and only Flair standing. Somehow, Batista is up first. He approaches Flair, who is being reprimanded by the official for the suspected low blows. Flair is pleading his case to the official, who has his back turned to The Animal. Flair gets in a quick thumb to Batista's eye, which sends him backwards. Batista bends down to get his vision back, and he's hooked in position by The Game!
THE PEDIGREE... IS COUNTERED!
Batista back body drops Triple H, then collapses back to the mat and slides into the corner. Triple H, still upset over the low blow earlier, looks up at Flair and mouths "what the hell are you doing?" to him. Flair and The Game have a brief argument, but it's interrupted by a clobbering clothesline by Batista on Flair that knocks the Dirtiest Player in the Game to the outside. Triple H chop blocks Batista down. The Game catches his breath for a brief moment, then goes to apply some kind of leg hold to the Champ, but Batista uses his good leg to kick Triple H in the chest and shove him back-first into the turnbuckle. Batista gets back to his feet and gets The Game in position!
Batista works himself into a cover, not even able to hook the leg!
BROKEN UP BY THE NATURE BOY!
Flair dives on Batista's back to get him off Triple H, saving the match for his team and deflating the crowd. The Nature Boy goes to put Batista in the FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK! Batista can't tap out because Flair isn't the legal man, but it's plain to see that he's in an incredible amount of pain. Flair releases the hold so as to avoid being disqualified for being in the ring too long, and army crawls under the bottom rope to the floor outside the ring. Triple H sees Batista in a very vulnerable state, so he takes advantage.
The Cerebral Assassin holds himself up using the ropes, and waits for Batista to get back up like he always does. Right when Batista gets to his feet, Triple H moves in. He steps forward, landing a kick to The Animal's gut. He carefully hooks both of Batista's arms in position, making sure that he can't get out this time.
It takes all the strength that The Game can muster in order to roll Batista onto his back, but he gets there. The Game flops down and drapes an arm over the World Heavyweight Champion's worn out body.
Winners: Triple H & Ric Flair (14:03)
Flair helps The Game out of the ring. They don't even acknowledge the crowd, too exhausted to do so. Flair holds HHH up while they ascend up the ramp, leaving Batista lying in the middle of a sweat-soaked ring. At the top of the stage, a close-up camera angle shows Triple H look at Ric Flair, who saved The Game's ass in the previous match, with a very confused look on his face. Triple H distances himself from Flair and finishes walking through the curtain on his own, albeit with a limp. Flair is left with a smile on his face as the show goes off the air.
Big thanks to Praetorian Guard for the sig!