One wonders how many of the Raw stars will visit the other side this week.
Well, you know me. I’ll cover it all, including an unusual addition to the distinguished Downsiders section.
Tonight for the first time, I’m giving the Headliners section to both rivalries for championship gold, for on this night we saw both the bearers of the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship belts – and their hopeful successors.
The night started with, of all people, World Heavyweight Champion Batista who came out to a big pop and dressed to fight. He said it was good to be back on Raw, even if he had grown fond of his home on Smackdown. The champ explained that he had been invited tonight by Raw General Manager William Regal to “take on some Raw competition,” an invitation Batista called a huge mistake.
Batista said he was “a little messed up” right now, getting himself mentally geared up for Survivor Series and his Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker. “So, before my victim comes out I want to say this to the Undertaker,” says Batista, but he doesn’t get the chance to finish.
Out go the lights and out comes The Dead Man. The rivals ended up face-to-face and looked ready to fight, but Regal’s music interrupted them.
Regal explained that he had invited them both to compete tonight, but not against each other. Rather, they two would be partners in facing the “finest tag team on Raw,” the World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
Taker attacked Cade immediately, putting him in the corner with those patented strikes. Taker locked in an arm bar, hit a few shoulder blocks and then quickly went Old School putting Cade down hard. He then raised his hand preparing for a choke slam, but his partner for the evening, Batista, tagged it to bring himself into the match.
Batista drive his shoulder into a cornered Cade several times, then whipped the tag champ into the opposing corner and charged – right into Cade’s boot. Cade took the opportunity to put Batista shoulder-first into the ring post and tag out.
Murdoch jumped on quickly, hitting a kick and clothesline for a near fall. A tag to Cade saw the pair double team as Cade picked Murdoch up to drop him on a fallen Batista for another near fall. But Batista recovered quickly and hit a spinebuster. He then went to his “Warrior” rope shaking, which Undertaker used to return the favor and make a tag.
Taker hit the choke slam on Cade and went for the pin, but Murdoch broke it up, getting a spear from Batista for his trouble. Undertaker then hit the Tombstone piledriver on Cade, and that was all she wrote.
Not to be outdone by his opponent next week, Batista picked up Murdoch and planted him with a Batista bomb. Afterwards, Batista held his belt high and Taker’s eyes rolled back as he made the throat-slitting motion.
Now to the other rivalry – WWE Champion Randy Orton and his challenger Shawn Michaels had a “moderated” face-off tonight. You know that’s not going to end peacefully.
Vince was out to do the intros, bringing out HBK followed by Orton. After reminding each other of the rules regarding their Survivor Series match – no Sweet Chin Music for Shawn and Orton loses the title if he’s disqualified – Michaels said that the reason Orton got the superkick banned is that for the last five weeks he’s feasted on nothing but Sweet Chin Music, he knew number six was coming and when it landed the WWE title was coming to HBK.
Orton says that to Michaels, this match wasn’t about the title but about revenge – and that’s why Orton was going to win.
Shawn went into a speech about his patented move and what he was without it. “For years I’ve heard people say, ‘If Michaels can hit the kick, he can beat anybody.'” He wondered if it was a compliment or criticism, and if everything he’s accomplished in his career was a fluke.
“What a novel idea, to win with a wrestlin’ move or submission hold,” he sarcastically observed. He then asked Orton how it was going to feel to be the only guy to lose a championship to HBK Shawn Michaels when he didn’t have the option of the kick.
Then, Michaels said he doesn’t need it and all he needed was the memory of what Orton did to him six months ago when he tried to end his career with the kicks to his head – the memory of his wife’s tears and his children wondering if their father would ever work again.
Orton told HBK that he could tell his wife and children to expect to have the same feelings this Sunday after Survivor Series, to which Michaels looked ready to attack. Vince held Shawn back as he geared up his leg for a superkick on Orton, then Shawn looked to be going for one to Vince but Orton took out Michaels’ plant leg and began to pummel him.
Orton measured up for his field-goal kick, but Vince stopped him telling him he could do that on Sunday. Orton then dished out an RKO instead, making the score 5-1 in the who-laid-out-who count.
WWE writers have built up these rivalries and now it’s time to see what they’re going to do with them. This being the final Raw before these two big matches, I’ll even throw a couple of predictions at you.
First, Undertaker will defeat Batista for the title. We all remember Edge showing up with the Money in the Bank to steal the title from Undertaker, and now Edge is poised to make his return. Who better to have him feud with than the man who has a score to settle – and that man needs the title around his waist to make the storyline all it can be.
The second one is harder to predict, because there are some good storyline possibilities either way. If Orton wins to retain, I foresee a feud renewed with HHH in the near future. If Michaels wins, HHH could regain his full-heel status by turning on his DX partner in crime. Hmmmâ<80>¦ as much as I think the second story would be more fun, I’m betting they let Randy keep the strap a while longer.
Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing these bouts Sunday and hope they live up to all the expectations.
Making her premiere in The Downsiders is Mother Nature. You see, I’m a satellite man. It usually holds up pretty well, but tonight the heavy storms rolled in just in time to knock out my signal for the HHH vs. Umaga match. I got back in time for probably about the last half of the match, but it still sucked. (Losing the signal, not the match.)
I was also quite bored during the whole Hornswoggle training bit. For those that missed it, they showed footage of Regal training the little guy for his match with Khali, with Coach posing as Khali and forbidden to act as anything but a training dummy. Well, he got his arse kicked.
Although delays tonight have kept me up late enough that I’m not going to detail the whole match, tonight’s High-fliers distinction goes to the six-man tag match featuring Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio taking on Finlay, Mr. Kennedy and MVP.
Even with what looked like a couple of miscues, this was a fun match to watch that pumped up the Survivor Series match between these men, with a few more teammates of course. A fast-paced ending saw Jeff Hardy nail the Whisper in the Wind, Mysterio hit the 619 on both Kennedy and MVP at the same time, and then a Swanton bomb from the “Rainbow-haired warrior.” Good guys win.
– Two of the SAVE_US promos aired tonight, and it’s obvious that WWE has given in to the fact that the secret is out. BREAK_THE_WALLS was even seen in these, and a time countdown leading to next week’s Raw. See you then, Jericho!
– Beth Phoenix beat up Maria, but at least they let Maria get in some offense before she succumbed to the Glamazon. My only regret is that I wasn’t the ref getting between these two Divas.
– Santino Marella came out and demanded an apology for last week’s antics by Stone Cold Steve Austin, calling him out. Of course, he wasn’t there, so Marella demanded the apology from Austin’s friend JR. Jerry Lawler stood up on behalf of JR, was goaded into the ring by Marella who promised Lawler the first punch, and then delivered the blow, knocking the Italian silly and sending him scurrying. Later, after Marella challenged King to a match, Lawler rolled up Marella for the win then sat back down at the announcer’s table to discuss the previous Divas match as though nothing had happened.
– Melina, Jillian Hall and Layla took on Mickie James, Michelle McCool and Kelly Kelly. Best part of the match? Watching James plant a big kiss on Layla before laying her out with a kick to the head for the win.
– As I said earlier, I got my satellite signal back in time to see the last part of the HHH vs. Umaga Lumberjack match, which ended when Finlay jumped in to attack HHH. The night ended as I haven’t seen in a long time, with a crowd of wrestlers brawling as Jim Ross says goodbye to the audience. You know, I miss those endings.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!