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Thread: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

  1. #381
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    Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    - Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship in not just any regular match but a 2 out of 3 Falls Match for the title...we can finally find out just who the better man really is once and for all. This match type more or less settles that dispute if you really think about it. I just love Jericho because of the fact when he makes his promos as soon as he comes out in his entrances especially to no music at all especially to get his point across...just a stroke of genius but Jericho is right about not just Eric Bischoff he is right about so many superstars too and Michaels is probably the worst hypocrite of them all.

    - Orton had the match won anyway against RVD had it not been for his Evolution teammate one half of the World Tag Team Champions Christian getting involved. Orton more or less gets the win but still Orton is not happy about it as he goes off on Christian and pushes him but then just as soon as Evolution are about to pounce on RVD some more...here comes Booker T with steel chair in tow to even the odds for RVD making the save as Booker T comes out on fire and Evolution in retreat...it makes me wonder if RVD and Booker T become a tag team after this?

    - Conway beats HHH all be it by DQ but still HHH's temper more or less got the best of him here. I mean he had the match won more or less and dominated Conway the whole way through but because of Coach being the Special Guest Referee he screws HHH more or less. Big mistake as HHH pedigrees not only Coach but pedigrees Conway too on top of it...I mean where is Evolution here? I mean I would have expected Flair, Batista, Orton and even Christian to have their leader's back but no they don't and why is that?

    - This WWE Women's Championship tournament is actually gotten underway and honestly I am loving the matches thus far. I mean here you have Jazz a former WWE Women's Champion move on to the semis by beating a former WWE Women's Champion in her own right Ivory and then you have Molly Holly beat Victoria to move on to the semis...so it makes me wonder if the first semi final will end up being Jazz vs Molly Holly?

  2. #382
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    Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    February 5 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio



    After our usual pyro, crowd shots and announcer welcome (with them putting over the huge 6-man elimination last week, plus how Benoit and Eddie will be forced to team tonight to take on Rhyno and the Number One Contender Brock Lesnar in tonight’s main event, and how The Undertaker is making his first appearance tonight on Smackdown since his return), the music dies down…


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    And there’s a big pop for the WWE Champion! EDDIE GUERRERO makes his way to the ring, title belt slung over his silk-shirt covered shoulder, and gets in the ring.

    ”ORALE!” he yells, to a big pop from the crowd. ”It feels man good to be here in Cleveland, Ohio, ese!”

    He gets the requisite cheap pop.

    ”Y’know, we’re just over a week away from No Way Out. To be honest with you all, I was kinda hopin’ that Chris was gonna win the match last week, if only to put all this stuff to bed with us. But Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar’s a pretty good Plan B, man. Y’see, Brock’s been runnin’ his mouth for too long about how me beatin’ him was some kinda fluke. And that’s an easy thing to say, man. It’s easy to stand there and say someone got lucky without doin’ anythin’ about it… but in just over a week at No Way Out… he’s gonna have to do somethin’ about it, man. And when I beat him… 1, 2, 3 - for the second time – there ain’t gonna be any doubt that Brock Lesnar can’t handle my Latino Heat!”

    Pop from the crowd.

    ”But that’s not why I’m out here tonight. I’m out here, because-“


    *** THIS IS EXTREME ***


    Eddie is interrupted, frustratingly, by PAUL HEYMAN marching to the ring. He climbs in, grabs a mic, and stares at Eddie, eyes wide, mouth agape, looking stunned at something.

    ”If you’ve got somethin’ to say, ese, I’d get it done.”

    Heyman shakes his head, as if to shake the shock from it, and slaps himself lightly on the cheeks. ”I… I can’t believe it. I… I underestimated you, Eddie.”

    Eddie rolls his eyes, knowing we’re about to go down the route of a barely-related Heyman monologue.

    ”You, Eddie… you’re good. We all know that. I knew that when I brought you to the US with ECW. No, I didn’t just know you were good… I knew you were great. But there was something else I knew about you, too. I knew, from pretty much day one… that you’re a liar, a cheat… and a thief. I knew that straight away. You’ve never hidden it. It is who you are.”

    Eddie nods.

    ”But that’s not all you are, is it? I always saw it that you were a loveable scamp of a character. Your lying… it was endearing. It almost made you harmless. But you’re not harmless, are you?”

    “What you gettin' at, Paul E?”

    “What am I getting at? You know full well what I’m getting at, don’t you Eddie?”


    Eddie shrugs.

    ”Okay, Eddie, play dumb. Make me be the bad guy. Make me be the bearer of bad news. Because you did a great job, Eddie. Really, you did. You pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. You even fooled me, and I’m a very hard man to trick. But, you see, I was watching the tape back from the Rumble… scouting for Brock. Filling him in on any weaknesses I found. And you know what I saw? I saw you knock Chris Benoit’s foot off the rope to retain the title.”

    “It was mistake, man, I didn’t even know-“

    “Oh, sure, you claim it was a mistake. Poor little Eddie…”
    he makes exaggerated Dr. Evil style air quotes, accidentally cheated to beat Chris Benoit. Does that not seem unlikely to anyone else? You pretend that your cheating is just a fun thing you do to guys you don’t like… but it’s a way of life for you, isn’t it? And while you can get away with that cartoonish cheating you so love… you’re capable of something a little more sinister, aren’t you? You didn’t accidentally knock Chris Benoit’s foot off the rope at all. You knew exactly what you were doing. Who better than you to make it look like it was an accident? That’s a next level of cheating, isn’t it? Because you’re not just a liar, a cheat and thief… you, Eddie… are a manipulator.”

    “You need to watch your mouth, ese.”


    Heyman throws his hands up in exaggerated surrender. ”I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t hurt me! Because you would, wouldn’t you? You’d make me pay for what I just said, wouldn’t you? You’d think nothing of it. Because you, Eddie… you succeed at whatever the cost. That is who you are… not the loveable scamp you does his funny little cheating… you… are a born… winner. And you win… however… necessary.”

    Eddie shakes his head, growing frustrated that Heyman is still going.

    ”You’re capable of anything,” Heyman continues. Anything. If you’re capable of cheating to beat your own best friend… and convincing people you didn’t… what else are you capable of? And then it occurred to me. That answer we’ve all been waiting for. A question lingering over Smackdown for the last few months. Careers have been ruined based on this unanswerable question… until now. Because I, Paul E. Heyman… have the answer. An answer to the question…”

    He pauses.

    ”To who… attacked… The Undertaker.”

    That gets Eddie’s attention.

    ”Yeah, I thought you might get interested now,” Heyman says. ”That’s the question everyone has been asking, but I have the answer. And the answer is… it was you, Eddie. You… attacked… The Undertaker.”

    Eddie remains stoic.

    ”Think about it,” Heyman says, going for the jugular. ”Who benefited more than you from The Undertaker being taken out? It was you, Eddie. The night he was taken out, the Survivor Series… was the night you became the Number One Contender. After fifteen years you finally got a chance at the top prize. That has to eat away at a man. Fifteen years scrapping, clawing, fighting to make it the top, just to be held down time and time and time again. That must be devastating. To sit back and watch people like The Undertaker get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, and yet you are left watching on from the sidelines. It’s not right, is it, Eddie? Even I know that’s not right. You deserve better.”

    “And so came the Survivor Series. You finally earned a shot at the WWE Title. Finally you were getting what you needed. And in the main event… The Undertaker. If he lost, he wouldn’t get another shot at the title as long as Brock was champion. But that wasn’t ever going to happen, was it? The Undertaker wouldn’t just step to the side and let you through. It’s not who he is. No, you knew, as long as The Undertaker was on the scene, you would never get the opportunity you needed. So you, Eddie, an admitted cheater, a liar and a thief… took… The Undertaker… out. You brutally attacked him, leaving him a shell of who he was, and left the door open for yourself. And in his absence, you climbed to the top of the mountain. With no Undertaker in your way you became the WWE Champion for the first time.”

    “But then what? Questions would be asked once the crime was committed. Investigations would take place. Everyone on the roster would be quizzed. There would be witnesses, suspects, CCTV. For someone to attack one of the participants in the main event of a WWE Title match at a major pay-per-view… to put one of the biggest stars in WWE history on the shelf… and get away with it… it seems awfully unlikely, doesn’t it? It would take quite the manipulator… quite the liar… to be able to cover their tracks. It would take someone with a track record of committing crimes and getting away with it. And that’s exactly who you are, isn’t it, Eddie? Because you aren’t just a loveable rogue with a heart of gold. You, Eddie Guerrero, will do whatever it takes to succeed… and that’s why… you… took out… The Undertaker.”


    Heyman finally stops, and lets the moment breathe.

    Eddie, after a few moments, sombrely drops his head. ”Okay,” he mumbles, ”you’re right. It was me.”

    Gasps from the audience!

    ”HA!” Heyman exclaims. ”I knew it! You… you cheat! You thief!”

    Eddie nods. ”Yeah… and you know what else I am?” he pauses, still head hung. ”I’m a liar, ese!” he exclaims, leaping to life. ”And guess what… I just lied about attackin’ The Undertaker! Of course it wasn’t me! What do you think, I’m some kinda idiot?!”

    The crowd pop, relieved it wasn’t him. Heyman isn’t impressed, however.

    ”No, Eddie. I don’t think you’re an idiot. I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. In fact… you’re kind of a genius. To have done what you have done takes remarkable intelligence. So play your little games, makes your jokes, whatever you want. But I know the truth. I know you intentionally cheated to beat Chris Benoit at the Rumble… and I know… that you… attacked… The Undertaker.”

    Eddie laughs it off.

    ”Sure, laugh it off. Laugh as much as you want. But I see through you, Eddie. I see what’s happening. You’re making light of it, but you know I’m right. And I see… that there’s a weight on your shoulders, Eddie. I’ve known you for a long time. You cover things up with a laugh and a joke… but deep down you’re hurting. This…” Heyman starts prodding the title on Eddie’s shoulder with his finger, ”this brings pressure. You can’t understand it unless you’ve held it. Just over a week ago at the Rumble, you saw 15 Smackdown superstars competing for a shot… against you. You have a big old bullseye right in the middle of your chest… and it weighs heavy, doesn’t it?”

    But not as heavy,”
    he continues, ”as your conscience. And boy is there a lot going on there. You have to carry the knowledge that you won Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title without really deserving it. You have to carry the knowledge that you cheated to beat your own best friend… you humiliated him and tore his lifelong dreams from his grasp… and lied about doing it as well. And you have to carry the knowledge that it was you who attacked The Undertaker… and now he’s back. He’s back with a shot at the WWE Title at Wrestlemania, no less. He’s coming for you, Eddie. It’s out there now. Everyone knows what you did… including The Undertaker… and he’s back, this week, looking for answers… with a guaranteed Wrestlemania match against the WWE Champion… which happens to be you.”

    Eddie still tries to remain stoic.

    ”But it’s okay,” Heyman says. ”It’s all okay. It’ll all… be… okay. Because in just over a week at No Way Out… Brock Lesnar’s going to make it all go away. He’s had to wait weeks for his rematch at the WWE Title… but it’s coming. At No Way Out, he finally gets the shot he deserves… and he’s going to destroy you, Eddie. This was your dream to be the champion. You fought your whole career for this… only to find out… that your dream… was a nightmare. But you can wake up, Eddie. You can wake up, and it’ll all be over. And it’s going to be over… at No… Way… Out. And when Brock Lesnar has destroyed you… when he proves just how much better he is than you… and when he takes back what is so clearly rightfully his… maybe you’ll thank him. Thank him… for making this nightmare… end.”

    Heyman drops his mic and leaves the ring, leaving Eddie to watch on, dumbfounded at what to say.

    ”I… I don’t believe it!” Tazz exclaims on commentary. ”Eddie Guerrero was tha one that took out Tha Undertakah!”

    “You can’t honestly believe that’s true!”
    Cole says.

    ”But ya heard what Paul Heyman said! It makes so much sense!”

    “Just because something makes sense doesn’t make it true, partner.”




    Six Person Intergender Tag Match
    Basham Brothers & Shaniqua vs. Filthy Animals & Torrie Wilson


    As a feud which has been carrying over since November, it should come as no surprise that this one starts fast and furious. When Rey and Billy get the better of the twins, Shaniqua looks to intercept, only for Torrie to cut her off with a Clothesline for a big pop. That allows Cole to talk about what a difference Torrie has made since her return at Tribute to the Troops, with Tazz suggesting she’s maybe been a bigger positive influence than Kidman…

    When the Bashams and Shaniqua return to the ring, a cheapshot on Kidman allows them to take over, and he’s left isolated from his partners. Torrie and Rey try to get the crowd behind him, but every time he gets close the smooth tagging operation that is the Bashams manage to prevent it. When Danny comes off the top Kidman intercepts with a Dropkick and crawls to the corner… but Danny grabs his leg! Kidman gets up to one foot… and hits an Enziguri! He tags in Rey!

    Rey leaps in and immediately goes to town on the Bashams, sending them both sprawling, including sending Danny in to his own corner… where Shaniqua tags in!

    And now Torrie is calling for a tag! Rey looks from Torrie to Shaniqua and back again… and makes the tag! Here comes Torrie! She rushes in to the ring… and takes Shaniqua down with a Spear! Torrie is lighting up Shaniqua!

    Danny looks to interfere… so Rey Headscissors him out of the ring! Kidman gets to his feet against the ropes, so Rey charges… AND KIDMAN BACK BODY DROPS HIM TO THE OUTSIDE! Double team Somersault Plancha! Doug tries to attack Rey… so Kidman cuts him off with a Suicide Dive! It’s down to just Shaniqua and Torrie in the ring!

    Shaniqua manages to power out and looks to take over on Torrie, clubbing her down to the mat, picking her back up and slamming her back down. She then indicates at a Big Boot, and charges… but Torrie Drop Toeholds her in to the second rope… AND CALLS FOR THE 619! Is Torrie going to try one of Rey’s most popular moves?!

    She bounces off the ropes…

    … but is cut off by a vile clothesline from Danny Basham! He pulls her up her up and in to a Russian Legsweep Position as Doug rolls back in the ring as well… bounces off the ropes… LEGSWEEP LARIAT! Brutal impact from the Bashams on Torrie!

    Shaniqua scurries over and hooks the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winners: Basham Brothers & Shaniqua in 7:46


    The bell rings, and the Bashams and Shaniqua immediately roll to the outside to celebrate. That’s a huge win for them after months of scrapping with the Filthy Animals, and even though the ending of the match involved the women, may have gone some way to get them the tag title shot they’re looking for.

    Perhaps the real story here, though, is Torrie down in the ring. As we cut back to a replay to see the Bashams using the steel steps and ringpost to dispatch with the Animals, and then a replay to see the vile impact on Torrie, Rey and Billy roll back in to the ring, groggy, and check on her. Cole is understandably furious at the man-on-woman violence as Kidman cradles Torrie, trying to check if she’s okay, as Rey points down the ramp to the fleeing villains, promising that this isn’t over.



    We then transition backstage, to where WILLIAM REGAL sits in his office. He’s filling in paperwork with a fountain pen, which he tops up the ink on with his little pot at the side of the desk. Stood behind him, arms crossed in a far too tight suit, is A-TRAIN.

    Suddenly, THE BIG SHOW storms in. Regal, however, doesn’t look up.

    ”I’ve been expecting you, Master Show.”

    “You know why I’m here, Regal. I… WANT… CENA! He messed… with the wrong… giant!”


    Regal lifts up the paperwork and blows the ink dry. ”Oh, I’m quite sure you do.”

    Feeling that Regal isn’t taking his problems seriously, Big Show slams his hands down the desk in frustration… so A-Train stands up to him! Regal’s bodyguard isn’t going to take those kind of threats without reacting!

    ”What’re you goin’ to do about it?” Show says to the hairy monster. ”Lose to John Cena again? Get outta my way.”

    Train snarls and refuses to move… so Regal gets up from behind his desk and places a hand on Train’s shoulder, easing him back.

    ”It’s okay, Master Train. Big Show here is just a little frustrated.”

    “You’re God damn right I am! It was your idea to take Cena out last week, and look what it cost me!”

    “I thought you wanted revenge for how he stood up to you at the Rumble?”

    “But not that way! Not in return for me being screwed outta the WWE Title!”


    Regal takes a sip from his antique teacup and picks up the paperwork he was signing as Show walked in. ”Well, luckily for you young man, I’ve managed to get you a different kind of title shot. How would… a shot at the US Title at No Way Out sound to you?”

    Show starts to smile. ”I’d like nothin’ more than takin’ Cena’s title when I’m done crushin’ him.”

    “That’s what I thought. This here is a contract for that very match, just signed off. I’m not surprised you’re angry that John Cena screwed you out of the WWE Title. I would be too. So use that anger. Destroy him at No Way Out. Make it abundantly clear to him that no-one crosses The Big Show… and no-one crosses William Regal. Got it?”


    Show confidently nods. Got it.”

    “Splendid,”
    Regal says. ”But No Way Out isn’t for another ten days. How about before then we have Master Train here take part in a little US Title warm up?”

    Show nods. ”As long as he leaves something for me.”

    “Oh, don’t worry about that, dear boy. I wouldn’t want to take away your fun of destroying John Cena at No Way Out. I’ll make quite sure there’s enough left for you for then, don’t you worry.”


    Show nods again and exits the room, leaving Regal in the office with Train. As his bodyguard remains stoic in the background, seemingly nonplussed at being used as a pawn in Regal’s games with Cena once again… a wry smile creeps across Regal’s face! It looks like he may have manipulated this whole situation to get exactly what he wanted!

    ”For the love of God!” Cole exclaims on commentary. ”How many times is John Cena going to have to face A-Train before Regal accepts who the better man is?!”



    We then cut to a dark corner of the backstage area… where DAWN MARIE’s face is illuminated by a green light shining from a fire exit. Standing in front of her are TAJIRI and JUVENTUD

    ”Things need to change,” she says. ”These last few weeks… they’ve been unacceptable. Losing the Cruiserweight Title last week was bad enough… but last week… Chavo Guerrero… embarrassed us. That… does not happen… to us. Do I make myself clear?”

    Tajiri and Juvi nod.

    ”So things change, you hear me? That Chavo Guerrero is getting the shot at Jamie Noble at No Way Out… is a travesty. And, gentlemen… you can not… allow this… to stand.”



    Shelton Benjamin w/Charlie Haas vs. Funaki

    A rare singles outing for one of the World’s Greatest Tag Team, with Shelton getting the opportunity to show how he’s progressing against the veteran Funaki. The early parts of the match are even, with Funaki surprisingly managing to keep up with Shelton’s mat wrestling, but eventually Shelton starts to pull away. Funaki does his best to battle back in to it, but as he tries to gain momentum a kick to the gut is caught, and Shelton blasts him in the face with the Dragon Whip for the three.

    Winner: Shelton Benjamin in 3:02


    Charlie rolls in to the ring and raises Shelton’s arm, with the tag champions looking smug at how good they’ve been for the last… what? Year? They raise their title to the air…


    *** PROTECTION ***


    … when they’re interrupted by the arrival of BRADSHAW and RON SIMMONS. They salute the fans as they walk down to the ring, giving Cole the opportunity to remind us that the next tag match they lose together they’ll be forced to disband, and get in to the ring. Haas and Benjamin drop their belts and get ready for a fight, but Bradshaw merely pulls out a microphone.

    ”Relax,” Bradshaw says, holding his hand out in front of him. ”We ain’t here t’ kick your ass. Not yet, anyway. We came out here with a proposition”

    “Whatever it is we aren’t interested!”
    Haas yells at them.

    ”Hold up a minnit an’ hear me out, okay? Y’see, Billy Regal’s decide t’ screw me and Ron over. Everyone knows all about that. Ev’ry time we step in th’ ring, we’re puttin’ our whole future as a team on th’ damn line. And lemme tell ya this… we don’t like it. We don’t like it one bit.”

    The crowd boo, and Cole on commentary agrees that it sucks.

    ”And lemme tell ya this, son, that ain’t th’ way we’re goin’ out. That ain’t how we do things. After ev’rythin’ that Ron and I have been through, there ain’t a chance in hell that we’re gonna go out losing some nothin’ match halfway down th’ crowd. That ain’t who we are, and that ain’t what we’re about.”

    “Then don’t lose!”
    Haas yells with a smirk. ”We don’t!”

    “Naw, that ain’t how it’s gonna be. If we’re goin’ out… we’re goin’ out… on our terms. We’re goin’ out puttin’ it all on th’ line. We’re goin’ out… fightin’ for those… Tag… Team… Titles.”


    Shelton shakes his head and grabs a mic. ”Now, wait just a minute there, Bradshaw. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we beaten you, like, every time we’ve faced you? As far as we’re concerned, you’re a long way down the list of people we’re gonna face. And, frankly… maybe if you two didn’t suck quite so much, you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. As far as me and Charlie seen it… William Regal is doing everyone a favour by putting you two out to pasture.”

    Haas laughs, and he and Shelton high five…

    … so Bradshaw marches towards them! Shelton and Charlie back up against the ropes, so Bradshaw points straight in their faces. ”Now listen here you sorry sons-a-bitches! You might be th’ latest hot thing in th’ division, but we’ve seen people like you come an’ go a thousand times, and guess what? We’re still here! We’re still fighting! I’ve been in this company… for eight… damn… years. Y’know who was in th’ tag division then? Th’ Smoking Gunns and Th’ Bodydonnas. Since then, I’ve seen ‘em all come in. Th’ Legion’a Doom… Th’ New Age Outlaws… Th’ Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection… Th’ Hardyz… Th’ Dudleyz… Edge ‘n’ Christian… Brothers of Destruction… I’ve seen ‘em all… and we’ve outlasted them all.”

    “And Ron, here?”
    he continues. ”He… was a World… Champ’n… in 19… 9…2! You were still in school when he was a World Champ’n… and he’s still goin’! He… was the first… African… American… World Champ’n in hist’ry! That you get to even be here is ‘cos people like Ron paved th’ way for you, boy, so you need t’ start showin’ some damn respect! And lemme tell you boys this… you might be on top-a th’ world now… but that’ll come t’ an end eventually. You’ve been champions for what? Six months?”

    “Eight,”
    Shelton smirks.

    Bradshaw nods, impressed. ”Not bad… not bad. You’re th’ top team in th’ world right now, neither of us can argue with that. But all those teams I mentioned earlier… where are they now? Ev’ryone’s times come an’ go eventually, son. An’ one-a these days, some sorry son-of-a-bitch General Manager is gonna make you fight your futures, and you’ll be exactly where we are!”

    Shelton and Haas look out at the veteran team standing in front of them; Simmons in front of Shelton, Bradshaw in front of Charlie, and in that moment, possibly see a vision of the future.

    ”Ai’ght,” Shelton says, ”what d’ya want?”

    “What we want,”
    Bradshaw says, ”is t’ go out fightin’. We ain’t witherin’ an’ dyin’. That ain’t th’ A.P.A. way. It never has been… and it never… will be. If we’re goin’ out… we’re going out… with those Tag Titles. We ain’t riskin’ our futures fightin’ nothin’ matches no-one cares about. If our future is on th’ line… so are th’ Tag Titles. We want… you two… at No… Way…. Out.”

    The crowd cheer.

    ”But lemme tell ya this,” Bradshaw says. ”This ain’t no retirement tour. You take this match at th’ pay-per-view… we’re comin’ for your asses. We ain’t takin’ no prisoners. We are fightin’ for our lives. If we face you in ten days at No Way Out… we will take those titles you’ve had for th’ last eight months… and then ev’ry time we step in th’ ring after that… we’ll be defending our future as a team… and the WWE Tag Team Titles.”

    With his pitch over, Bradshaw and Simmons step back, allowing the champions to mull it over. They lean over to whisper to each other for a few moments, debating it, before turning back to the veteran team.

    ”A’ight,” Shelton says. ”You want us at No Way Out for these belts? You got it, man, we’ll put in a word with Regal and get it signed off.”

    Decent little pop from the crowd.

    ”But lemme make one thing perfectly clear,” Shelton says, ”the only reason we’re doing this… is because we want to be the ones… that end… the A… P… A.”

    Bradshaw nods. ”I’d expect nothin’ less from two punks like you.”

    He drops his mic and he and Simmons head over to the champions, who get ready for a brawl…

    … but the A.P.A. offer a handshake!

    The champions look tentative, trying to work out what the trick might be… but seeing none… they accept! The two teams shake hands!

    ”We’ll see you at No Way Out,” Bradshaw says, and they leave the ring, having gotten what they wanted (subject to General Manager approval, of course…)



    We then cut backstage, to where Josh Matthews is standing by with the WWE Champion, EDDIE GUERRERO.

    ”Eddie, earlier tonight we heard Paul Heyman make some pretty serious allegations about you. Now you’ve had about an hour to process them, do you have any comments?”

    “Y’know what, ese? I don’t have a damn thing to say about Paul Heyman. Everyone knows Paul Heyman wants to get in people’s heads, and that’s exactly what he’s doin’ here. If he thinks sayin’ this kinda stuff about me is gonna make it any easier for Brock at No Way Out, he’s-”


    ”Eddie, Eddie!” a BACKSTAGE WORKER interjects, rushing in to shot. ”It’s Hardcore Holly!”

    “I don’t care about Hardcore Holly,”
    Eddie says, frustrated at being interrupted for the second time tonight.

    ”You need to see this! Quickly!”

    The worker rushes off, so Eddie sighs and follows after him through a corridor…

    WHERE HARDCORE HOLLY IS BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF CHRIS BENOIT! What the hell?!

    A gang of security guards desperately try to pull Hardcore away, but he clings to Benoit, punching him over and over… AND BENOIT IS BUSTED WIDE, WIDE OPEN!

    Eddie tries to pull Hardcore away, eventually managing… and he starts firing off big right hands to Hardcore! Now security are having to separate them!

    ”What the bloody hell is going on here?!” WILLIAM REGAL exclaims, rushing over to see Eddie and Hardcore being held apart, and Benoit a bloody mess on the floor.

    ”I warned you!” Hardcore barks. ”I warned all of you! You get in the way of me and Lesnar, and you’ve got me to deal with!”

    Regal looks from the argument to Benoit’s bloodied body, and back. ”But… but the main event! He was in a match tonight!”

    “I don’t give a damn about your stupid matches, Regal! I’ll take out every person in this damn comp’ny if it means gettin' my hands on Brock!”


    Regal’s still stunned at what he sees as he tries to work out a solution. ”You know what, I don’t have time for this. Benoit clearly isn’t in any shape to wrestle… so you’re going to have to be Eddie’s partner tonight!”

    Eddie furiously tries to fight through the security holding him back. ”No way, man! I’m not teamin’ with him!”

    “My decision is final! Now get these two animals out of my sight… and someone get some ruddy medical assistance to Master Benoit!”




    From there, we transition to a graphic that says Wrestlemania XX (Where It All Begins Again), is just 38 days away. Cole then sets us up for the latest Wrestlemania flashback, and the last time Wrestlemania returned to the home of the WWE, Madison Square Garden.

    We then see footage from the event ten years ago, starting with LITTLE RICHARD singing “America The Beautiful”, and seeing some of the special guests, such as DONNIE WAHLBERG and BURT REYNOLDS.

    Although we do see clips of matches such as RANDY SAVAGE versus CRUSH and YOKOZUNA versus LEX LUGER, much of the footage focuses on the first and last matches, both of course involving BRET HART. We see him narrowly lose to his brother OWEN HART, followed by him winning the WWE Title against YOKOZUNA, and him being lifted on to the shoulders of those who came to celebrate with him. While the likes of CHRIS BENOIT and CHRISTIAN talk about the amazing performances he put on that night, SHAWN MICHAELS notes that, for as good a night as it was for Bret, that was kind of as good as it got for him. Whereas for HBK, it was just the start of something.

    That, of course, leads us to what the footage seems to indicate was the most important match of the night, the Ladder Match between SHAWN MICHAELS and RAZOR RAMON. People who are now Ladder Match experts, such as CHRISTIAN, CHRIS BENOIT and BUBBA RAY DUDLEY, talk about the impact the match had, whereas HBK focuses more on the toll it took on his body, and how he used it to springboard to even greater heights (seemingly overlooking the fact that he lost).

    TRIPLE H also gave his thoughts for some reason.



    Kyo-estro (Tajiri & Juventud) w/Dawn Marie vs. Chavo Guerrero & Jamie Noble w/Nidia

    Perhaps owing to their inexperience at working together, an initial flurry from Chavo and Noble is cut off by Kyo-estro, allowing them to take out their frustrations on the Cruiserweight Champion as Chavo is left stranded on the apron. That allows Tazz to question whether Chavo is really the most deserving person of the Cruiserweight Title shot at No Way Out, citing alternatives such as former champion Tajiri, Rey Mysterio, Brian Kendrick or Paul London (but not Billy Kidman). Cole tries to explain that Chavo’s been hugely successful for a number of years and picked up a couple of big wins over Juventud before the Rumble, but Tazz isn’t convinced. As far as he sees it, Chavo has “stolen” a title shot from other, more deserving contenders.

    Leaving the No Way Out match to one side, this one sees the evil Kyo-estro ramp up their viciousness to a whole new level. Chavo tries to call for Noble to make the tag, but he can’t get in there. Eventually he grows tired of waiting and tries to interfere… SO TAJIRI SPRAYS HIM WITH GREEN MIST! Chavo falls to the mat clutching at his eyes! Referee Brian Hebner yells at him about what he’s doing… so Tajiri shoves him down! He doesn’t care! Juvi comes in from the apron and, right in front of the referee, flips Noble upside down… JUVI DRIVER!

    Kyo-estro are completely getting outside Hebner’s control… so he calls for the bell!

    Winners: Chavo Guerrero & Jamie Noble by disqualification in 5:14


    A victory for the champion and Number One Contender, but not that it looks like it right now. Dawn Marie had promised that things would change, and who better to make the statement against?!

    They lay the boots to Noble, before turning to the temporarily blinded Chavo…


    *** DRAGON ***


    But here comes the cavalry! It’s ULTIMO DRAGON! He steps out on to the ramp, calmly knowing that his presence alone will have stopped Kyo-estro from targeting Noble and Guerrero, and gradually makes his way to the bottom of the ramp… where he stops… and points back to the stage…

    … where AKIO walks out! We haven’t seen him for over a month!

    The crowd give a hearty reaction to the returning rookie, who, black hoody pulled up as always, follows the lead of his mentor in slowly making his way down to the ring… removing his hoody…

    AND AKIO AND ULTIMO BEAT THE HELL OUT OF KYO-ESTRO! Tajiri and Juvi may have planning on making a statement, but they’re no match for the vengeance-filled D.N.G.!

    They quickly rid Kyo-estro from the ring and leave them on the ramp, forcing Dawn to tell them to retreat lest they do any damage to their reputation. Akio and Dragon beckon for them to return, still wanting revenge for the sickening attack on Akio last month, and for the general double-teaming and numbers game.

    Dawn, however, wants no part of it. She furiously sends her clients to the back, but not before shrieking her disappointment at them for letting her down again. But, either way…

    … Akio is back!



    From there we again return backstage, to where Josh Matthews is standing by this time with SHANIQUA, who is flanked over each shoulder by the BASHAM BROTHERS.

    ”Shaniqua, an impressive victory earlier tonight, and one that will surely do a great deal to propel your clients up the list of Tag Title contenders?”

    “You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”
    Shaniqua responds. ”I mean, you’d think that they’d already be top of that list. For six months now we have proven time and time again that we are by far the greatest tag team in the world. No-one… no-one… has stood up to us yet. No-one can overthrow us. But where are our Tag Title shots, huh? What more could these two men possibly do to earn a shot at the belts?”

    “From that I presume that you are disappointed from the news we are just hearing, that the A.P.A. have been granted their shot at the Tag Titles at No Way Out?”


    Shaniqua shakes her head. ”You know, I’m starting to wonder if there’s some kind of conspiracy going on here. The A.P.A.? How many times have Doug and Danny beaten them? Honestly, I’ve lost count. And yet because they ask for a shot at the titles… they get it? Can someone explain that logic to me?”

    “Well, I’d guess that the stipulation that the A.P.A. have to disband-“

    “I don’t care about the answer, Josh, because it makes no sense. Despite being nigh-on unstoppable, Doug and Danny are left waiting for a shot at the belts, while has-beens like the A.P.A. are given shots, or never-weres like the Hooliganz are being floated as possible contenders. Well, Josh, I guess we clearly haven’t sent our message clearly enough. But we can change that. And when we do… there will be no doubting… that there is only one team… deserving of a shot at the Tag Team Titles.”




    We then transition… to an image of BILLY GUNN! It looks like we’re about to get episode two of the Best of Billy Gunn!

    ”Hi, I’m the legendary Billy Gunn, and I want you,” he points directly down the lens, ”to come with me on a trip through my very best moments.”

    He marches off the screen, and a title card appears on the screen saying ”The Very Best of Billy Gunn,”, with the subtitle underneath of ”Episode Two: The Ass Man.”

    As with last week, we see Billy sat in front of a projector, split screening with what he’s watching, as we hear him narrate the footage.

    We start by seeing him in his tag team with Road Dogg…

    ”So, see here, I used to go by “Badd Ass” Billy Gunn. A badass is like a real rebel, you know, like a crazy awesome person who beats to the tune of their own drum. People have always called me a bad ass, so it made sense as a nickname, you know? The problem was… I actually have a great ass. And I was worried that by calling myself “Badd Ass” people would think I have a bad ass. And so, Mr. Ass was born.”

    ”I’M AN ASS MAN!”

    We see footage of his Titantron, which makes him lean back and laugh.

    ”Music is really important in wrestling, you know. It’s something which gives a real connection to the fans. Good entrance music gets the fans pumped unlike anything else. You know, think about it. You hear the glass shatter,” he does an impression of glass shattering, ”and you just wanna get off your feet and cheer. Or…” he starts singing, ”IF YA SMELLLL”… it just gets you up, you know.” He nods along with his own point, then starts to sing… ”I’M AN ASS MAN!” He nods, grinning smugly. ”Guaranteed to get the fans on their feet.”

    We then see footage of him winning the King of the Ring in 1999.

    ”What a pay-per-view that was. Unforgettable. Probably one of the greatest events in company history, I’d wager. And headlined by yours truly too. Wow. Y’see, King of the Ring as a tournament was… it was kinda dead at that point. There’d been a few duds as winners. It probably hadn’t meant anything since… I dunno… probably about 1995. Before, people used it as a real stepping stone, you know? Like winning the King of the Ring would make them a star. But I thought… I don’t need King of the Ring to help me… but King of the Ring… needs me… to help it.”

    With that the image changes to Billy Gunn, pre-injury, posing on the turnbuckle, as the message is relayed… ”Billy Gunn… returns soon.”



    We return to the ringside area…


    *** DERAILED ***


    There’s a decent amount of heat for A-TRAIN, although that only ramps up when we see he is being joined by WILLIAM REGAL and THE BIG SHOW.

    ”Well, would ya look at this!” Tazz exclaims. ”Looks like we’re gonna have tha GM and tha Number One Contendah to tha US Title gracin’ us with their presence.”

    “They’re coming out here to screw John Cena again, that’s what they’re doing”
    Cole whines. ”And I for one am growing tired of Regal manipulating everyone around him just to get one over on John Cena. And don’t think for a minute that this whole situation isn’t exactly what Regal expected to happen. It wouldn’t shock me for a second if we found out Regal made Big Show attack Cena last week, knowing full well Cena would retaliate and cost Show the WWE Title shot.”

    “And why in tha hell would he do that?”

    “To manipulate him! He does it to everyone around him! This way Big Show thinks he’s facing Cena out of his own need for revenge instead of just doing Regal’s dirty work, which we all know is what he’s doing!”

    “Ya know what, you’re sick, ya yambag. You’re obsessed with our GM, and it’s makin’ ya a little sick in tha head.”


    Train gets in to the ring, followed by Regal and Show, and the GM grabs a mic.

    ”Now, before we start this little US Title warm up match, I have something to say. I have something to say… to you, A-Train.”

    Regal points at his bodyguard, who looks surprised to be the focus of attention ahead of this warm up match.

    ”You, young man… have been a terrible disappointment to me. I saw such great things in you. Really, I did. I foresaw you and I being quite the wonderful tandem. But time and time again you’ve let me down, haven’t you?”

    Train is stunned, unsure how to respond.

    ”What, don’t believe me? Look at the evidence. Firstly you lose to Master Cena at Tribute to the Troops. Then you lose the number One Contenders match for the Rumble – a match you certainly didn’t deserve to be in, but I gave you the opportunity, nonetheless. Then you failed to qualify for the Rumble. But, that’s okay, I’m looking out for you. I added you in to the match anyway, even though you didn’t earn your place… and you got eliminated straight away with John Cena anyway. And that’s to say nothing of that ghastly incident with the shaving in the back hair.”

    Train tries not to react in the face of a pretty damning report.

    ”So, Master Train, I fear I haven’t been entirely clear up until now. You see, it’s not John Cena who is getting the warm up before No Way Out. It’s… The Big Show.”

    Train’s jaw drops as he turns around… IN TO A BIG RIGHT HAND FROM SHOW! Train goes down… and Regal insists the bell is rung!


    WWE United States Title Warm Up Match
    A-Train vs. Big Show w/William Regal


    Train gets back to his feet… so Show headbutts him right back down! Train’s up again… another headbutt! Train staggers up… so Show grabs him by the throat… CHOKESLAM!

    But he doesn’t go for the cover! Regal’s yelling at him to ”send a message!” Show grabs him by the throat and yanks him off the mat…

    AND SPLATS HIM WITH ANOTHER CHOKESLAM!

    But still no cover! He pulls him up one more time…

    A THIRD CHOKESLAM!

    And now he makes a pinfall attempt, placing a hand on Train’s chest…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner: Big Show in 2:08


    With that, referee Charles Robinson tries to raise his hand in victory, but Show swats the referee away and intimidates him out of the ring. Still obviously furious from last week, Show prowls the ring sneering, so Regal gets in there and joins him, and raises his arm in victory…

    WHEN JOHN CENA JUMPS SHOW FROM BEHIND!

    Show slumps in to the ropes, so Cena follows over and pounds the shit out of him…

    … so Regal spins Cena around…

    … and Cena threatens to hit Regal! Regal backs away, realising he has perhaps unwisely gotten the attention of Cena… Cena stalks him…

    … until Big Show spins him around… and grabs him by the throat! CHOKESLAM!

    Regal, having successfully used Cena’s hatred for him to create a diversion, half sneers and half smirks as only he can. Again he grabs Show by the wrist and raises it in victory, before bending over Cena…

    … and making the “You Can’t See Me” gesture!



    We then transition to this week’s Raw Rebound. Unlike many editions which focus on something crazy that’s happened, this one focuses on hype. We see the contract signing at the end of Raw between CHRIS JERICHO and SHAWN MICHAELS, but it’s more about setting the scene for this coming Monday’s HUGE main event… Chris Jericho… Shawn Michaels… Two out of Three Falls… for the World… Heavyweight… Championship.



    When we return from the hype for Monday’s show, we see an empty ring…


    *** MEDAL ***


    And there’s a big reaction from the crowd! It’s somewhat mixed, with fans clearly torn between his apparent unravelling and yet great displays in the ring, but KURT ANGLE doesn’t seem bothered either way. He storms out, sans pyro, dressed in his usual red tracksuit, and grabs a microphone.

    ”Okay,” he sighs. ”We all know how this is going to go. Apparently The Undertaker is here tonight.”

    The crowd pop, and Angle shakes his head in disappointment.

    ”As I was saying,” he continues, with a half-sneer on his face, ”The Undertaker is supposed to be here tonight. But we’re… what? Over halfway through the show… and nothing. But we all know what to expect, don’t we? He’s going to make sure he comes out at the exact moment which makes him look best. And he’s not going to just come out here and offer a match to a young up-and-comer. He’s not going to make someone ‘famous’. No, the only person he wants to be famous is himself. He’s not going to offer a match for his ‘Mania title match, either. He knows he had an unfair advantage at the Rumble by being unannounced, but it won’t be that. Heck, he won’t even come out here, thank the fans for their support, and leave again. Oh no, that’s not how ‘Taker rolls. He’s going to wait wherever the hell he is, and when the time is right… when it’s the most dramatic, high-profile moment possible, no matter how late in the show it is or how long his fans have been waiting for him… then he’ll show his face. Because that’s how it works, isn’t it? ‘Taker doesn’t do anything… unless he comes out of it looking like the ‘biggest dog in the yard’.”

    Again Angle shakes his head. ”Well, not anymore. Not on my watch. I say we get it out the way. Let’s not keep these people waiting any longer. How about you bring yourself down to this ring right now, Deadman? How about you come down to the ring… and look me straight in the eye. No tricks. No playing up to the fans at home. No making it all about you. If you’re here… come out here… and listen to what I have to say… to your face.”

    Angle waits… but there’s no response.

    ”Of course,” he laughs to himself. ”Of course he won’t do things on someone else’s terms. Always got to look out for number one, haven’t you, ‘Tak-”


    * LIGHTS OUT *


    Big pop!


    * GONG *

    * GONG *



    A bolt of lightning strikes the stage!


    * LIGHTS UP *


    And THE UNDERTAKER is in the ring! There’s a massive pop from the fans as The Phenom has appeared in the ring, behind Kurt Angle! As with the Rumble, he’s wearing a long, black trenchcoat and a black Stetson… and is staring straight at Angle.

    Kurt, meanwhile, is still facing the ramp. He doesn’t seem to know what is going on…

    … until he suddenly laughs!

    ”Of course,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief, having realised what’s going on. ”Always the showman, huh, ‘Taker?”

    He turns around to face The Undertaker, who still hasn’t moved.

    ”Welcome back,” Angle says, dryly. ”Allow me be the first to say…” he pauses for a few moments…

    ”… that no-one missed you when you were gone.”

    Big boos for that!

    Predictably ‘Taker doesn’t respond, but that doesn’t stop Angle from continuing. ”So at last we come face-to-face… and this time you can’t sneak up announced like at the Rumble, or attack me from behind like Survivor Series. At last it’s me and you, alone, in the centre of the ring. And at last… I get to tell you exactly what I think of you… right… to… your… face.”

    Still no reaction from ‘Taker, so Angle continues. ”You… ‘Taker… it’s all got to be about you, hasn’t it? Always got to be whatever it takes to make sure you look as good as possible, no matter who you harm along the way. I’ve spent these last few months trying to be a good person… trying to do the right thing… but it means nothing to you, does it? At Survivor Series, as long as it was you in the match and me gone, you thought nothing of taking me out from behind. And at the Rumble, if it meant you going to ‘Mania and me not, then who cares if you were unannounced, right? But you know the irony of it all? For someone who makes such a big deal about doing things on his terms… to try and make himself as memorable as possible… you weren’t missed. At all. Honestly, if your absence hadn’t made my life a living hell… for reasons completely outside my control… I wouldn’t have even noticed that you’d gone. This place was a lot better without you here, that much is for sure.”

    Again, boos for Angle.

    ”And I’ve waited a long time to say this to you, ‘Taker. I am glad that you’re back in one way, because it means I can finally tell you exactly what I think of you. And I can finally tell you that, while you were having your little break, it was left to people like me to carry this show, just as I’m always expected to do. And because of you, I was treated like a common criminal… all for something I didn’t do. But I stayed true to who I am. I didn’t waver. I… am a good… person. When people threw baseless accusations at me I didn’t change. I was being set up to fail, over and over and over again… but I fought it. I stayed on the straight and narrow, took no shortcuts, and earned my way to the top, just as I always have. Despite insurmountable odds I scratched and clawed and earned my place at the Royal Rumble… and there you were.”

    Angle shakes his head in disbelief. ”Something of a pattern, isn’t it? I work hard, do everything by the book, exactly as you should, and get this close to achieving my dreams… and then you come along… having done nothing to earn anything… and take the glory.”

    Still The Deadman doesn’t move.

    ”You see, everyone wants to talk about what happened to you at the end of Survivor Series, but the bigger crime was earlier in the match. Earlier… when I took out Brock. I had him exactly where I needed him. Ready to finish him off, and leave it to me and you, leave it to see who out of me and you really is the better man. But you couldn’t let that happen, could you? You took me out behind my back, eliminating me from the match like a coward, all so you could get the credit of beating Brock.”

    Angle runs his hands over his face, growing more frustrated as he says everything he’s been bottling up for months.

    ”That was where it all started for me. That moment, where I saw my dreams slip through my fingers because you decided to attack me from behind, rather than face me like a man. And just when I thought I’d overcome all of that, there at the Rumble… there you are… number thirty. I outlasted twenty-eight other people… and yet it was you who got the win. It’s you who is going to Wrestlemania. And let me tell you this, ‘Taker. It makes me sick.”

    “And let me tell you this as well,”
    he continues, pointing an accusatory finger at The Phenom, ”for months I’ve had people accuse me of being the one to take you out. Even though I had a chance to, and I didn’t. Even though I stuck to my principles. Even though every fibre of my being wanted to make you pay, I stayed out of the way and left you to try and win the belt. I did… the right… thing. And yet still people questioned my integrity. So now you’re here, ‘Taker, let me put it in no doubt for you. Let me tell you to your face, that the person who attacked you at Survivor Series…”

    He pauses.

    ”… wasn’t… me

    ‘Taker remains stoic.

    ”But God damn it I wish it was,” Angle sneers.

    Big reaction from the crowd!

    ”But let me tell you this, ‘Taker. Just because I didn’t take you out then… doesn’t mean… I won’t do it now. These last few months have been a living hell for me, I can’t change that. But I can change the future. I can make sure that no-one ever doubts me again. I can face you, like a man, face-to-face… and beat… you. And when I do, everyone will know that I’m the better man… and that when I take you out… I don’t do it in darkness. I don’t do it when you don’t expect it. I do it… to your face. And I want that, ‘Taker… at No… Way… Out.”

    The crowd pop for the thought of that match happening in just over a week at the PPV.

    ”So what do you say, Deadman?” Angle asks of the still stoic Undertaker. ”Are you man enough to take me on to my face for once? You man enough to face me in ten days at No Way Out?”

    Having remained still head bowed, hidden under his hat, finally The Undertaker looks up… and he’s staring straight at Angle! He stands there, staring at him for a moment…

    AND RUNS HIS THUMB ACROSS HIS THROAT! HIS EYES ARE ROLLING BACK IN TO HIS HEAD! The crowd pop for what is surely an acceptance of the match!

    Kurt nods, not reacting to The Phenom’s silent message. ”But I’ve gotta warn you, ‘Taker. I’ve waited months for this. All I’ve wanted is to show you… show the world… show myself… that I don’t need to attack you from behind. When it’s me and you in the ring… one-on-one… there will only be one winner. And you, ‘Taker… when you go one-on-one with me… you really will be… a dead man.”

    Angle drops the mic and squares up to ‘Taker. The Deadman, who hasn’t moved from his one spot in the ring, obviously doesn’t back down, and they stand a few inches apart… as we fade to commercial.



    We return from commercial…


    *** SEARCH FOR: MATT HARDY ***
    *** ENTER KEYWORD: VERSION 1.0 ***
    *** CONNECTING... ***


    ”OHHH YEEEAAAAHHH!”


    Matt Fact: Matt has never been accused of being a hooligan


    From the back bursts MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0), mirrored on his way to the ring by SHANNON MOORE, with SEAN O’HAIRE following from the back as always. Matt gets in to the ring and, predictably, grabs a mic.

    ”Matt Fact Number 46,” Matt begins. ”’You want a job done right, do it yourself’. And so, once again I’m left to recover a little dignity after Sean and Shannon mess up.”

    Shannon shakes his head, saddened by his “mistake”, while Sean tries not to get riled up.

    ”But that’s okay. Honestly, it’ll be a pleasure to take on Brian Kendrick tonight. He thinks he can show up Mattitude? Please. I haven’t seen someone so Mattitude-inally challenged since Shannon! He doesn’t even know how to spell the plural of Hooligan! And trust me, I would never misspell a plural in a tag team name. So bring yourself out here, Brian. People may talk about you and your little friend as someone of the future of the tag division, but as a unit you are nothing compared to the power of Mattitude. But don’t worry, because when I embarrass you in the ring, I’ll be sure to explain exactly where you went wrong in my upcoming book, ‘Mattitude: How To Make Friends And Be A Better You, Even if You Seem To Have Little To Offer To Anyone And Are Mostly A Disappointment To Everyone You Know.” He shoots Shannon a look, before putting on a fake smile and facing the fans. ”Thank you!”


    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) w/Shannon Moore & Sean O’Haire vs. Brian Kendrick w/Paul London

    Kendrick sprints down to the ring with Paul London in tow, as always, and slides straight in to taking Matt on. The speed of his offence leaves Matt dazed, but Matt’s a veteran and manages to make his way back in with a timely Clothesline. He starts to dominate Kendrick, making sure to comment to Shannon about how much better a job he is doing than Shannon last week, and even goes to the extent of explaining what he will do before he does it, to help Shannon learn…

    … which, obviously, Kendrick hears, and is able to block and go on the offence himself! He knocks Matt down and goes to the top rope… but Matt shoves Nick Patrick in to the ropes… and Kendrick lands crotch first! Matt climbs to the top with him…

    SUPERPLEX!

    No! Kendrick countered in mid-air… AND LANDED IN A COVER!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner: Brian Kendrick in 6:10


    Kendrick has done it! He’s picked up another win!

    Matt can only look up at the referee, eyes bugged, unable to comprehend what in the hell just happened! He asks Nick Patrick how exactly that was a three, but it was clearly a good count! Matt lost focus, and Kendrick made him pay!

    Kendrick raises his arms in victory, delighted at the win…

    … so Matt charges to take him out!

    But Kendrick sees him coming… and Back Body Drops him on to Shannon and Sean!

    Matt struggles up his feet and looks to dive back in to fight with him again… but Paul London slides in and stands alongside Kendrick, beckoning for him to try them! Matt doesn’t want any part of that… so the Hooliganz get one over on them again!

    Matt yells at them in the ring, furious that Mattitude are repeatedly being shown up by the youngsters, but London and Kendrick don’t care. They pump their fists in celebration to the crowd…

    WHEN THE BASHAM BROTHERS JUMP THEM FROM BEHIND!

    The team who were complaining earlier about being overlooked lay the boots in to the Hooliganz, so Matt grabs Sean and Shannon off the floor… and tells them to get a piece of it! Sean and Shannon roll in to the ring and look to join in (while Matt safely waits on the outside of course)…

    … but the Bashams don’t want them involved! They tell the Mattitude followers to stay out of their way so they can get a piece of the Hooliganz on their own…

    SO OUT COME THE FILTHY ANIMALS! Kidman and Mysterio want revenge on the Bashams for earlier tonight!

    The Bashams and Animals brawl in the ring, with Kidman and Mysterio getting the better of it… and they Clothesline the Bashams out of the ring!

    But that allows Shannon and Sean to attack them! This is chaos!

    Sean and Shannon line the Animals up for Stereo Superkicks…

    … but they’re interrupted by the Hooliganz… WHO HIT STEREO DROPKICKS! Sean and Shannon roll to the outside, leaving the Hooliganz and the Filthy Animals in the ring, standing tall.

    ”Enough!” we hear…

    … as WILLIAM REGAL marches out from the back!

    ”Enough, okay? I’m sick of this! All I ever hear is ‘I deserve the titles’, ‘we’re better than them’, ‘why are they getting a shot and we’re not?’ Danny, Doug, you complain all the ruddy time about a lack of shots, but I’m not seeing you reach up and take one. I’m not seeing any of you reaching out and grabbing a bloody title shot with both hands.”

    Shaniqua yells at Regal, but he ignores her and continues.

    ”If you four team have a problem with it, here on Smackdown we deal with it in the ring. And if you all think you deserve a shot at the Tag Titles… prove it. I want you to reach out there and grab that opportunity… and I’m going to give you the chance to do so at No Way Out. Because in ten days at No Way Out, it will be the Basham Brothers… versus Mattitude, Inc…. versus the Hooliganz… versus the Filthy Animals… and the winner… will go to Wrestlemania… and face the WWE… Tag… Team… Champions!”

    The crowd give a warmish pop, and every one of the teams seems satisfied by the opportunity.

    ”Oh,” Regal continues, ”and to help you ‘reach out’ and grab that opportunity… that match… will be a four team… Ladder Match!

    Big pop!

    The Hooliganz actively celebrate the announcement, clearly excited at the opportunity, while the Bashams nod, perhaps appreciating the opportunity more than the match type itself. Matt looks to Sean and Shannon and sighs, clearly not liking their chances, while Rey looks delighted that he and Kidman can get back on track…

    … Kidman, however, doesn’t look so sure. Rey pats him on the shoulder and pumps his fists, but Kidman seems to be seeing the risk more than the reward…

    ”Oh my!” Cole exclaims. ”Filthy Animals! Basham Brothers! Hooliganz! Mattitude, Inc.! A four team Ladder Match at No Way Out… and the winners go to Wrestlemania!”



    We then transition to a video of KURT ANGLE sat on a bench backstage, head bowed, as the WWE Production song ”Abattoir Field Trip” plays…



    … and we continue to look at Kurt, head bowed, as a deep-voiced narrator speaks.

    ”We are all prisoners…”

    We see Kurt gradually losing his mind over the last few months.

    ”Prisoners… to our own minds…”

    We see Kurt losing at Survivor Series, pinned by The Undertaker and ready to snap.

    ”Prisoners… to our beliefs…”

    We see Kurt backstage, growing frustrated as he’s continually quizzed about The Undertaker. ”I… did not… attack… The Undertaker,” we hear him say.

    ”We are who we are…”

    We cut to Angle still sat on the bench, before transitioning to Angle growing angry before the Rumble, and using that anger to flip Rikishi inside-out with a Lariat.

    ”There is no breaking from our chains…”

    We see him grabbing an Ankle Lock on Brock Lesnar at No Mercy, practically frothing at the mouth, as we hear him say, ”I… am a good… person!”

    ”There is no fighting it…”

    Still he sits on the bench, and we see the staredown between Kurt and The Undertaker at the Rumble, and the anger in his eyes.

    ”We are all prisoners…”

    We see him pull down the straps.

    ”And there is…”

    The footage speeds up as we see him at his aggressive best, nailing Angle Slam after Angle Slam.

    ”No…”

    We see him lock in another Ankle Lock…

    ”Way…”

    We return to the bench, and he looks up and down the lens of the camera.

    ”Out.”




    *** NEXT BIG THING ***


    Big boos as we get ready for our main event, with PAUL HEYMAN leading out the team of RHYNO and BROCK LESNAR. Rhyno, clearly with no interest in who enters to what music, is only too happy to follow behind Brock, knowing full well that he is imminently going to get what he wants the most; another victim.

    Brock, however, has a spring in his step. After winning last week, he’s finally getting the rematch for the WWE Title in ten days, and he smugly prowls the ring, awaiting the champion to show him…

    WHEN HARDCORE HOLLY SPRINTS OUT FROM THE BACK! He’s not even waiting for entrance music, he can’t wait to get his hands on Brock!

    He slides in to the ring… and tackles Brock to the mat! Hardcore’ beating the hell out of the Number One Contender!

    Naturally, Rhyno pulls him away… so Hardcore starts lighting him up too! As we already know, he won’t be held accountable for what he does to anyone who gets in his way of vengeance against Brock!

    But Brock jumps him from behind! The 2-on-1 disadvantage left Hardcore easily caught out, and that allows Brock and Rhyno to double team him…


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    But the crowd come alive to the appearance of EDDIE GUERRERO! No lo-rider in tow today, instead he runs out from the back… and goes straight for Brock! Eddie’s all riled up from the Hardcore/Benoit business earlier, and he’s taking it out on the Number One Contender!


    Brock Lesnar & Rhyno w/Paul Heyman vs. Eddie Guerrero & Hardcore Holly

    With our four participants in the ring, the bell rings and we get underway, even with things an absolute clusterfuck. With Eddie going for Brock, Hardcore is able to battle back against Rhyno. He Clotheslines him over the top… and returns to Brock! Hardcore pulls Eddie away… and shoves him to the mat! He doesn’t want Eddie getting in his way! Eddie gets back to his feet… and shoves Hardcore away! After what he did to Benoit earlier, these teammates are going to explode any minute!

    Double Clothesline from Brock! Eddie and Hardcore distracted each other, and that allowed Brock to take them out! He grabs Hardcore from behind… and launches him out of the ring! Brock wants to prove his dominance over the WWE Champion more than he wants to face Hardcore!

    Holly gets up on the outside and looks to return to the ring… but Charles Robinson stops him! He tells him to wait on the apron! Hardcore tries to fight his way through, but Robinson makes sure to hold him back! He’s insistent he stays on the apron!

    Brock, meanwhile, is pounding on Eddie, but Robinson is distracted by Holly… SO EDDIE KICKS BROCK BETWEEN THE LEGS! Cheat to win!

    That brings things Eddie’s way, with the announcers getting a chance to debate to what lengths is Eddie willing to cheat (mentioning both Benoit and ‘Taker), and eventually Holly reluctantly settles down on the apron. With Brock down, Hardcore barks at him to tag him in, so Eddie offers his hand… and moves it when Holly swipes for it! He lied!

    Holly again nearly freaks out on the apron, again causing the ref over… so Eddie chokes Brock against the rope! No-one cheats like Eddie Guerrero! Hardcore again eventually calms down, allowing Eddie to get the better of Brock… until he drives a knee in to Eddie’s gut… and tags in Rhyno!

    Rhyno charges in and starts to take over on Eddie, isolating him from his partner. Now Eddie wants a tag to get out of there, but Rhyno doesn’t let him, keeping him on their side of the ring and eventually bringing Brock back in. Hardcore paces the apron like a caged animal, desperate to unleash on the man who broke his neck, but every time Eddie crawls to the corner he’s stopped before he can make the tag. Rhyno, now the legal man, seems ready to finish things off, so he backs up and waits for Eddie to return to his feet…

    GORE!

    No! Eddie leapfrogged… and Rhyno crashed in to the turnbuckle!

    The crowd start willing Eddie on, hoping he can get to his corner and get some rest bite from the match… he’s inches away…

    … so Brock runs in and knocks Holly off the apron! He drags Eddie back to his corner… and tags himself in! Brock just prevented Eddie from making the tag, and he’s ready to take over again!

    But Holly can’t take it! As Brock stomps on Eddie, Hardcore storms over to the timekeeper’s table, grabs a chair and rolls in the ring… Heyman yells at Brock to look out, but he hasn’t seen him… Brock turns around…

    IN TO A CHAIRSHOT TO THE FACE FROM HOLLY! Charles Robinson calls for the bell!

    Winners: Brock Lesnar & Rhyno by disqualification in 7:50


    Rhyno, still groggy from the Gore to the turnbuckle, gets up to confront Holly about his attack on Brock…

    SO HARDCORE CRACKS THE CHAIR OVER HIS HEAD TOO!

    Charles Robinson tries to calm him down…

    … so Holly swings back…

    … and Charles Robinson gets the hell out of there! He doesn’t want to be anywhere near Holly when he’s in this kind of mood!

    Holly looks over at Brock, out cold, on the mat… AND STARTS SMASHING THE CHAIR OVER HIS FALLEN BODY!

    But Eddie gets back to his feet and, having heard the announcement that his team lost, grabs Hardcore by the arm and spins him around… and asks him what the hell he’s doing! Holly tells him to stay out of his way, but Eddie doesn’t budge, telling him that they’ve got a problem…

    SO HARDCORE NAILS EDDIE WITH THE CHAIR AS WELL! Holly has taken out everyone in the match!

    But that’s allowed Heyman to grab Brock and help him from the ring, pulling him to safety before Hardcore can attack him any further. Brock’s clearly in a bad way, and they hobble down the ramp to safety.

    ”I’m still comin’ for you!” Hardcore yells. ”I ain’t done with you yet! Not by a long way!”

    ”I don’t believe what I’m seeing!” Michael Cole exclaims on commentary. ”Hardcore Holly will do whatever it takes to get his hands on Brock Lesnar! He took out Chris Benoit and took his place in the match! He’s taken out Rhyno… and he’s taken out… Eddie… Guerrero! Hardcore Holly is a man possessed!”


    * END OF SHOW *



    Confirmed for next week

    Just added! Non-Title Match

    Hardcore Holly vs. Eddie Guerrero

    Eight Man Tag Match
    The Basham Brothers & Mattitude, Inc. vs. The Filthy Animals & The Hooliganz

    Singles Match
    Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi

    Singles Match
    Tajiri vs. Akio

    Singles Match
    Nunzio vs. Chavo Guerrero





    WWE Championship Match
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    WWE United States Title Match
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    WWE Tag Team Titles Match – If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The World’s Greatest Tag Team (c) vs. The A.P.A.

    WWE Cruiserweight Title Match
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    Singles Match
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    Fourway Ladder Match for the Number One Contendership of the WWE Tag Team Titles
    The Basham Brothers vs. Mattitude, Inc. vs. The Hooliganz vs. The Filthy Animals

    Just announced! Tag Team Match
    Kyo-estro (Juventud & Tajiri) vs. D.N.G. (Akio & Ultimo Dragon)

  3. #383
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    Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    SmackDown! Feedback

    Totally loved this back-and-forth with Eddie and Paul E. You write the two very well consistently and this promo hit just about every possible mark. Love the fact that you played up what happened at the Rumble between Eddie and Benoit. Heyman calling Eddie a manipulator when Heyman is the one doing the manipulating is just sooooooo very Heyman. Also, him accusing Eddie of attacking Taker... whew, Lord. Especially since Heyman painted that picture of Eddie being the one to benefit. This is only going to get more fascinating as time plays on and you're doing a great job keeping intrigue with this WHODUNNIT storyline.

    Nothing much to say really about the six-person intergender match. Just basic mid-card stuff. Playing up the man-on-woman violence thing is very 2004 so that wasn't surprising at all.

    Fun little dynamic between A-Train, Show and Regal. I still really enjoy your usage of Regal here and he was hilarious without being overtly funny here honestly.

    This tandem of Dawn, Juvi and Tajiri is wild, man. It's working, but it's wild.

    Shelton getting a solid win here over Funaki makes sense. Dominant performance for him. Promo afterwards with The APA caught my attention very much. Now, I'm almost SURE that The APA are going to lose here and Bradshaw's gonna turn on Faarooq, clearing the way for JBL to finally arrive here. But maybe it won't. Who knows!? This was a great promo though from Bradshaw. Really liked it.

    Wow, I did not expect that turn of events to go down. Holly beating up Benoit makes perfect sense obviously considering why he'd be mad. But that was a twist I was not expecting. Definitely unsure of how the main event's going to go now but this has me intrigued.

    I just lost it at "Triple H also gave his thoughts for some reason"

    Very fun post-match segment to this match with Akio making his return and going after Ko-estro with Ultimo Dragon. Fun stuff here.

    The Bashams want in on the Tag Titles Match. Welp, we'll see how this goes.

    LOL at this vignette for Billy Gunn This is very Bruce Prichard-level stuff here with this kind of vignette.

    Wow, there's another twist! Train getting derailed, literally and figuratively, by Show here was not what I had expected. Good post-match stuff also with Cena getting dismantled. I sense he's going to return but this will probably be ugly for him at first.

    HELL of a segment here with Angle and Taker. Good Lord. Kurt's promo whipped so much ass and I loved the "God damn it I wish it was!" line that you had him say. I am all the way hyped for them to tangle at No Way Out now. I don't even know if I need any additional hype. This is gonna be fun.

    Nice win for Brian Kendrick here. Post-match stuff was all good and well. The tag division's got some interesting stuff going here. Like that you're doing a contenders match at No Way Out with the winner going to Mania. Simple stuff with stakes. Oh, and it's a ladder match. Dope!

    Alright, yup. That ending make sense. Holly's so pissed off right now that naturally he goes with the chair and takes out EVERYBODY. He'll likely take an L next week to Eddie but good showing for him nonetheless.

    This was a really fun SmackDown, Keef. It's easy to see why you remain one of the top bookers around here. I'm so, SO sold on Angle-Taker and that promo was just very chf's kiss worthy. Love what you've got here and I'll keep on reading and following.


  4. #384
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    Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Smackdown Review:

    First thing first is I love how when I read the opening everyword coming out of Eddie I could see happening.

    I love that Heyman tried to use Eddies persona too get him to be the man who attacked Taker you really had me when Eddie said yes and then hes like I lied and it made me smile from ear to ear. Heyman made a good case tho.

    APA vs. WGTT looks great and the respect between them was shocking however I dont see them going out yet I think you give APA titles and turn bradshaw heel at mania.

    Sick attack by The Bashams and its pretty wild to see them with any sort of chrisma.

    I think one of my fav things in your btb is Hardcore Holly and him wanting to get his hands on Lesnar I love this angle and seeing Holly destroy anyone who gets in his way bravo dude.

    Angle vs. Taker at NWO its a good warm up and I feel like we will find out Takers attacker at the show.

    Regal comes off very well in your btb as GM alot better writting wise then mine and you do him justice.

    Good show great opener.


    Spoiler:


    CWA World Heavyweight Champion
    Brayden Bridges




  5. #385
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    Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    - APA vs WGTT for the WWE Tag Team Championships...I just have a feeling that APA will end up losing the match and Benjamin & Haas will retain their titles but Bradshaw right after the match will turn heel on Ron Simmons and Bradshaw will become the "JBL" character right after.

    - Hardcore Holly wanting Brock in the worst way...why do I get the feeling that at No Way Out Holly will cost Brock the title? Or that Hardcore Holly will end up getting added into the match to make it a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship?

    - I have a feeling Angle is Taker's attacker even though he wouldn't come right out and say it...him saying he wishes it was him well something tells me that Angle is lying right through his damn teeth and that he was the one who took out Taker back at Survivor Series and Angle had the most to gain from it

    - Either way Taker is in the main event at WrestleMania 20...he gets himself a title shot at WrestleMania 20 so at this point does his attacker really even matter at this point?

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    February 9 2004
    Portland, Oregon




    We open the show with a big time pyro display, a few shots of the crowd, and settle on the announce team for the evening.

    ”Welcome, ev’ryone, t’ possibly th’ most momentous night in WWE Raw hist’ry! 10,000 fans are packed in t’ th’ Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon, and King, it’s all about th’ main event tonight.”

    “It’s the biggest main event in Raw history! Chris Jericho… Shawn Michaels… World Heavyweight Title… in a Two out of Three Falls Match! It doesn’t get any bigger than that!”

    “Indeed it doesn’t, King. Alongside th’ main event we’ll also have two Women’s Title Tournament Quarter Finals, plus Kane is in action, and Booker T and Rob Van Dam face Mark Henry and Maven-“



    *** TIME TO ROCK AND ROLL ***


    ”But we’re gonna kick it off with th’ Women’s Tournament!”


    WWE Women’s Title Tournament Quarter Final
    Jacqueline vs. Trish Stratus


    With Molly Holly and Jazz having booked their places in the Semi Final, the pressure is all on Trish in this one. Not that you’d know it, though. Showing a focus we’ve rarely seen from her as of late, she comes in to this one refusing to be held down. Jacqueline tries to put up a fight, but Trish easily powers through, nails an early Stratusfaction, and picks up the three in less than two minutes!

    Winner: Trish Stratus in 1:52


    ”Whoa!” JR exclaims. ”What a performance that was from Trish Stratus! Maybe she’s heard what April said about her chances in this tournament and is tryin’ t’ prove a point!”

    “I can’t remember the last time I saw Trish quite so ruthless, JR! If she carries on like this, we might be looking at the Number One Contender for Wrestlemania!”

    “It was a fine effort from Trish, I can’t deny that, but she’s goin’ t’ have t’ step it up again next week when she goes up against her old rival Jazz in th’ Semi Final.”




    As Trish makes her way down the ramp, a graphic for Wrestlemania XX – Where It All Begins Again – appears on the screen, and we see that we are just 34 days from the big event. From there, JR and King introduce us to the latest in the series of Mania flashbacks, and this time, we’re on Wrestlemania XI.

    We then transition to footage from the eleventh edition of the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, seeing THE UNDERTAKER continue his undefeated streak against KING KONG BUNDY, and see OWEN HART and YOKOZUNA winning the Tag Titles.

    Most of the focus, though, is on the double main event. We see LAWRENCE TAYLOR defeat BAM BAM BIGELOW, with talking heads from the likes of JIM ROSS making it sound like this was a bigger mainstream deal than it was.

    It’s SHAWN MICHAELS versus DIESEL, with JENNY MCCARTHY and PAMELA ANDERSON at ringside, that is made out to be the real main event, though. We hear from HBK, and he explains how the loss that night fired him up to get back to that spot again the next year, and how it continues to motivate him to this day.

    TRIPLE H also has an opinion on this.


    With the video over, we return to ringside and the announcers.

    ”That right, folks,” JR says, ”we are just 34 days from th’ Granddaddy Of ‘Em All… Wrestlemania… Twenty! But while we’re full steam ahead here on Raw, on our sister brand we’re just six days away from their last pay-per-view before Mania… No… Way… Out!”


    ”We may not always get along with our brothers and sisters on th’ blue brand, but King, it’s one helluva card shapin’ up for this Sunday.”

    “I’ve gotta give them credit, JR… it’s gonna be something else! The Undertaker’s back in action against Kurt Angle! John Cena defends the US Title against Big Show! And Eddie Guerrero defends his WWE Title… against Brock Lesnar! It’s gonna be great!”

    “Not only that, King, but we’ll have a four team Ladder Match t’ see who’ll face th’ Tag Champs at Mania, th’ A.P.A. put their future on th’ line to face th’ World’s Greatest Tag Team, Chavo Guerrero goes for th’ Cruiserweight Title… and like ya say, Brock Lesnar… and Eddie Guerrero. Folks, whatever ya do, you are not gonna wanna miss this one. That’s live, this Sunday… No… Way… Out!”




    From that quick shill, we head backstage to see TRISH STRATUS walking the corridors…

    … when she’s cut off by LITA! Big pop from the crowd for the first appearance of Lita since the Royal Rumble! Lita stares Trish down for a few moments…

    ”Lita!” Trish exclaims. ”Great to see you, I hope-“

    Lita barges past Trish!

    ”Wait!” Trish says… and grabs Lita by the arm!

    Lita returns to Trish. ”Can I help you?”

    Trish looks offended. ”Have I upset you?”

    “No, you haven’t,”
    Lita defiantly states. ”But I don't have a thing to say to you. As long as you’re in the Women’s Title Tournament… as long as you’re between me and getting my hands on April… you’re no friend of mine. After Wrestlemania… after… I’ve beaten April… and after… she’s been made to pay for everything she’s done… then… we’ll talk. But until then… this is about me… and revenge.”

    Lita frees her hand from Trish’s grasp and storms off, ready for her match.



    But instead of heading to the ring, we transition to footage… of a house?

    Despite the darkness of this cold February evening, we can see this place is clearly in a decent neighbourhood, and with the well-manicured lawn and white picket fence, the house is clearly obviously of some value. Perhaps not the kind of place Vince McMahon would live, but whoever lives here is doing pretty well for themselves.

    After a few moments of the camera pointing straight at the house, in front of the lens steps…

    RANDY ORTON!

    ”Terry Funk?” he says, looking down the lens of the camera, dressed to the nines in a tailored suit and concealing something behind his back. ”Check. Tommy Dreamer? Check. Rob Van Dam? Check. Every single one of those bingo hall losers has looked down on me. Each of them thought I wouldn’t belong alongside them… and yet it was me… who came out on top. But there is one… one… who refuses to play ball. Everyone can see that I’m the New Hardcore Legend… but a cloud hangs over it. There is one man who refused to fight me… on my terms. And no matter who I beat. No matter how badly I beat them… that taste lingers in my mouth. It’s not enough. It’s not enough… until I truly… really… beat… Mick… Foley.”

    Orton steps away, thinking about the situation, before returning to the camera. ”I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. All those other ECW nobodies were only too happy to face me. Except him. And I need to know why. What he said about leaving that life behind… I don’t believe it. Having tasted that world… it’s addictive. The pain you inflict on others… it’s overwhelming. It makes you feel alive. And I can’t believe someone would willingly turn away from that. It doesn’t make sense to me. I need answers…” He turns to the house, and then back to the lens. ”… and I think this is just the place I will get them.”

    Orton walks on ahead, over the lawn, with the camera following in tow. He knocks on the front door…

    … where COLETTE FOLEY answers.

    ”I… uh…” she stammers, clearly recognising her guest and why he’s there. ”Can I help you?”

    “Colette, right?”
    Orton asks, and pulls out a bunch of flowers from behind his back. ”I’ve heard so much about you. And can I say… what an honour it is to meet you.”

    Orton kisses her hand… and then barges his way in to the house!

    He whistles, impressed. ”Now this… this I did not expect. Quite a place Foley has here, huh? I guess he really was a good saver on the road all those years.” He pokes his head around the door of a room, and nods. Very nice. Good to see such a stand up guy doing so well for himself.”

    “What the hell are you doing here?”
    we hear…

    … and pan up to see MICK FOLEY standing at the top of the stairs.

    ”Now is that any way to greet a guest?” Orton asks.

    Foley limps down the stairs and grabs Orton by the arm. ”Get out of here! Now! How dare you!”

    Orton snaps his arm back, freeing himself from Foley’s grasp. ”So you can get physical, then?”

    Foley freezes, and looks over to Colette.

    ”Mom?” we hear from the top of the stairs…

    … and pan up to see DEWEY, twelve, cradling little baby HUGHIE. Standing next to Dewey is NOELLE, ten, who is holding hands with MICKEY, three.

    ”Take the kids to bed,” Foley says to Colette, who dashes up the stairs and leads the children out of sight.

    ”Handsome family you have, Mick-“

    FOLEY GRABS ORTON BY THE COLLAR AND SHOVES HIM AGAINST THE WALL!

    ”Who in the hell do you think you are? Coming in to man’s home? What’s wrong with you?”

    Orton smirks. ”I knew it. It’s still there in you. That anger. It’s not gone anywhere, has it?”

    Foley seethes, breathing heavily… but gradually calms… and releases the youngster.

    ”I need to ask you to leave,” he says, opening the front door.

    ”But I only just got here.”

    “This isn’t a joke, Randy. This is my home. Those are my children. Please leave.”


    Again a shit-eating grin forms across Orton’s face. ”Or you’ll what?”

    Foley tries not to snap. ”Or I’ll call the cops.”

    Orton shrugs. ”Be my guest. A night in jail would be plenty reward for seeing who you truly are.”

    “I’ve told you who I am. This isn’t a game to me, Randy. This is my life. I’m happy. I’m not the guy you think I am. And to come in to my home and-“

    “Oh, you’re exactly who I think you are, Mick. Tonight has proven it. That rage that burns inside you… that fire hasn’t gone out. It’s still there. But you’re keeping it down. You’re keeping it down… because you’re a coward. You’ve seen what I can do. To your friends, too. To Dreamer… Van Dam… and even… to dear old Terry. You will have seen what I did to them. But even now, with me in your home… you’re still too scared to do anything, aren’t you?”


    Foley says nothing.

    ”Yeah, like I thought. I wonder how Colette is getting on putting the kids to sleep? Maybe I should help put them to bed?”

    “Those are my children, you son of a-“

    “And then maybe I can check out the Master Bedroom with Colette? I saw the way she looked at me, Mick. You’d kill for her to look at you like that, wouldn’t you? That looks she just gave me… that’s the face of a woman who hasn’t been satisfied in years.”


    FOLEY GRABS ORTON BY THE COLLAR AGAIN!

    ”Go on, Mick. Do it. Whatever it is that’s in that sick, twisted brain of yours… do it.”

    Foley’s breathing intensifies, veins bulging in his forehead.

    Leave Foley growls.

    Orton throws his hands up in surrender. ”Okay, okay, fine. Man, you are not a good host. Given everyone seems to think you’re nothing but a giant, useless teddy bear these days, I thought you’d be nicer.”

    Foley opens his mouth to speak…

    ”Yeah, yeah,” Orton interrupts before he can, ”I’ve got it. You want me to go. I’ll go. I’ll get out of your hair.”

    Orton adjusts his shirt and heads to the front door.

    ”Oh, but one more thing,” Orton says, turning back. ”One of these days… you’re gonna have to grow a pair, Mick. I just walked in to your house, unannounced. Made googly eyes with your wife. Threatened to tuck your children in. And you did… nothing. Consider tonight a warning. I’ve given you a glimpse of what I can do… but I stopped before I got too out of control. Because I can, you know? I’m the New Hardcore Legend. I’m pretty sick myself these days, Mick. Ask Uncle Terry. Tonight, I walked away. But another night… I might not be so kind. And you’d only have yourself to blame. Sleep well, Mick. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”

    Orton walks away, leaving Foley to angrily watch from his front door… before slamming it closed behind him.



    WWE Women’s Title Tournament Quarter Final
    Gail Kim vs. Lita


    With Lita making her first appearance since the Rumble, this should be a big contest… but you wouldn’t know it from JR’s commentary. During the entrances and first few moments of the match all he can talk about is Randy Orton, and what a ”sick son of a bitch” he is. Eventually he catches himself, though, apologising to the fans at home, and promises to be a professional and to focus on the match in hand.

    The match itself starts off particularly one-sided. Lita, fresh off losing her Women’s Title, is full of pent up rage, refusing to give Gail even the slightest inkling of a way in to the match. Gail, however, has come a long way in the last year, and her alliance with Molly has taught her how to be as intelligent as anyone. Clearly having done her research, she borrows from April’s plan at the Rumble and snaps Lita’s neck off the top rope, and we see that perhaps Lita isn’t as fully recovered as she might want us to think.

    Gail looks to have the match in order and heads to the top rope… she dives off… HURRICANRANA!

    No! Lita caught her coming up… POWERBOMB! Lita just destroyed Gail!

    She peels her off the mat and shoves her head under her arm… TWIST OF FATE! She hooks both legs to be sure…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner and progressing to the Semi Final: Lita in 4:48


    The crowd pop as Lita’s music plays, but she doesn’t get back to her feet. She remains on her knees, and raises one arm to the sky in celebration, with the other cradling her neck. Clearly she isn’t physically ready for this yet, but with a chance at getting her hands on April at Wrestlemania on the line, she isn’t about to step aside and let it pass her by.



    We head backstage to the office of ERIC BISCHOFF. He’s talking to a BACKSTAGE WORKER.

    ”Go tell them that the match is up next, okay? With potential of three falls, I want plenty time left for a winner, you understand me? This needs to end, tonight. And makes sure that Hebner knows I wanna see relaxed rules, okay? This isn’t ending on a DQ or something. Got it?”

    Before the backstage worker can respond, in walks ROB CONWAY. Dressed as always in a stars-and-stripes-themed zubaz with a t-shirt emblazoned with a bald eagle, he marches over to Bischoff.

    ”Haven’t you heard of knocking?” Bischoff asks.

    ”I’m American, Eric. I don’t need to knock.”

    Bischoff sighs and gestures for the worker to leave. ”Make it quick, okay?”

    “You’ve got it, boss man. I don’t need to take up too much of your time at all, because my request is an easy one. I want the winner of Chris Jericho versus Shawn Michaels…at Wrestlemania.”


    Bischoff smirks, unimpressed. ”I’m sure you do.”

    “I do. It makes sense, right? Smackdown’s title match at Mania is sorted now ‘Taker has won the Rumble. But Raw? You’re throwing your big match out tonight. You need a challenger for whoever the champion is. And, given I beat Triple H last week, who better?”

    “You beat him by disqualification.”

    “Hey, a win’s a win. I don’t make the rules, I just abide by them, like a good American citizen. And the rules say… I won.”


    Bischoff seems to mull it over for a moment. ”Okay, I have an answer for you… get the hell outta my office.”

    Conway’s eyes bug, stunned at the answer. He quickly regains his composure. ”Okay, I get it. You’re not a patriot. You like the champion of America’s premier wrestling brand being a Canadian. Fine. In that case, trade me to Smackdown.”

    “Rob, I-“

    “But I have a demand for the contract. In order for me to move to Smackdown… I need a shot… at John Cena… and the United…States… Title.”

    “Rob, I don’t want to lose you to Smackdown. But even if I did, I can’t insist you get a title shot over there. I have no power over what Smackdown do.”

    “But you should do. Or have you forgotten the travesty of the Royal Rumble? John Cena eliminated me… during the National… Anthem. And he calls himself the United States Champion? Surely we can’t allow that?”

    “ENOUGH!”
    Bischoff yells. ”I don’t need this right now, okay? We’re minutes from a World Heavyweight Title match and I have to deal with this? Okay, Rob, here’s your answer. You want a match so badly?”

    “Heck yes I do-“

    “Good! Then I’ll give you a match. But it won’t be at Wrestlemania, and it won’t be on Smackdown. It’ll be here on WWE Raw, next week… when you go one-on-one… with… Triple… H!”


    Conway’s jaw drops. ”But… but I already beat him once?”

    “Yeah, and next week, you’re gonna have to do it again. And if you can beat him again… and preferably not by disqualification this time… then we will talk about title matches. Now get the hell out of my office, we have a World Title match coming up.”




    We return to ringside, where JR and King face the camera.

    ”Folks, comin’ up next is th’ World Heavyweight Title Match between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels…”

    A graphic flashes up on the screen.

    ”… and as we just heard, given this one is two outta three falls, we have no idea how long this one might last. T’ ensure we get a result, we’re startin’ this one nice ‘n’ early. Don’t forget that we still have Kane in action and th’ tag match between Booker T and Rob Van Dam versus Thuggin’ & Buggin’ Enterprises, but before then, it’s th’ big one. It’s Chris Jericho… Shawn Michaels… World Heavyweight Title… and it’s one year in th’ makin’. Let’s see how this one came about.”


    As we did last week, we then transition to the WWE production theme ”Helpless”



    (0:00 – 0:43)

    … and see CHRIS JERICHO and SHAWN MICHAELS squaring off at the end of the Team Bischoff versus Team Austin match at the Survivor Series in November.

    ”And we are down t’ two!” we hear JR exclaim.

    The two men come together, and we see highlights of their back-and-forth. As we do, we hear from a promo Shawn gave before Armageddon.

    ”They all say Aitch Bee Kay is past it. They say it’s just not in me anymore. But they’re wrong (…) I ain’t done… not… by a long… long… way. I’ve got in in me t’ be th’ champ again… and I’m gonna prove it.”

    We see the end of the contest, with Jericho trapping Michaels in the Walls of Jericho, and HBK passing out to hand victory to Team Bischoff.

    We then move on to the Triple Threat Match at Armageddon, with GOLDBERG defending against Jericho and Shawn. We see all the key moments Shawn was involved in, including him cutting off a Walls of Jericho on Goldberg with Sweet Chin Music. As that footage plays, we hear from Shawn the night after Armageddon:

    ”I’m no failure, Chris. Ya may sneak through multi-man matches… ya may let ya mouth get ya in positions your skill takes advantage of… but you’re not unbeatable. I know I can beat ya. I know it… ‘cos th’ last time we went one-on-one… I did. So come up with all the excuses ya want… but ya know what this is. Ya don’t wanna face me… ‘cos ya know that'll happen if ya do.”

    By the time that promo has ended, we’ve seen the end of the Armageddon match, where Jericho kicks Goldberg out of the ring and takes advantage of his Spear on Michaels to hit a pair of Consultation for the win, and the World Heavyweight Title.

    We then change footage to the Royal Rumble, where Michaels gave it his all. We see him enter at number eleven, and the things he had to deal with. He survived the Evolution dominance, the Brock onslaught, the never ending parade of monsters, from Kane to Big Show to Vader, and saw him be the only one to truly stand up to the returning Undertaker, only for Kurt Angle to toss him out at the end.

    And as we see all of that, we hear his promo from two weeks’ ago…

    ”I gave it a good go. Here on Raw… I was th’ last man standin’. But that ain’t th’ same as winnin’, and I know what people will say (…) I should admit that I jus’ can’t do it, and step t’ one side… and I will do that… after one… last… shot. (…) This is about me… deep down in my soul… knowin’… that I… can beat… Chris… Jericho. So that’s why I want it (…) One-on-one… no-one else in th’ match. Not a Survivor Series match… not a Triple Threat Match… jus’ me… and you, Chris (…) So what d’ya say, Chris? One final time… for the World… Heavyweight… Title.”

    (0:43 – 1:23)

    With the first heavy beat of the music, we see Jericho nail Michaels with the title belt two weeks ago on Raw, busting him open, and with each subsequent heavy beat, a different angle. We also see all the times Jericho has jumped HBK, even back to when he kicked him between the legs at Wrestlemania. Through all the violence he has enacted on not only Shawn but anyone else he considers to be a ‘part of the problem’, we hear his promo from two weeks ago, after he took out Michaels:

    ”I’ve made a huge mistake when it comes to you. I thought that you’d get the message, but I was wrong. Me trying to educate you was wrong. You don’t learn lessons. (…) So that leaves me with no choice. (…) I have to make you understand just how worthless you really are. And the only way I can do that… is by accepting your challenge. I don’t want to fight you, Shawn. I have nothing to prove. You… are not… on my level. But the only way I’m going to take care of this problem… the only way I’m going to rid the WWE of his infestation (…) is by taking… action. So, Shawn… consider this… challenge… accepted. (…) it’s going to be me… versus you… for this… World… Heavyweight… Title. Not because you deserve it… but because I need to show you… how little… you… deserve… anything.”

    (1:23 – end)

    But as the music ramps up, we start to see Shawn Michaels at his best. Because while there is an element of truth in what he says about HBK, he’s missing a key fact – he’s good. Really good. In fact, there may not be anyone better in history. We see Shawn at his absolute best; winning the World Title at Wrestlemania XII, the zip-line to the ring at the same event, him dancing with the DX Band at Wrestlemania XIV, diving off the top rope to the outside and through a table at Summerslam 2002 and winning the World Heavyweight Title at Survivor Series that same year, and of course, countless Sweet Chin Musics. As we do, we hear some of the infamous lines of commentary about him…

    ”The boyhood dream… has come true… for Shawn Michaels!”

    “No-one… has evah outperformed Shawn Michaels… in a big match environment!”


    But we also see what Jericho is capable of, with repeats of the title shot from two weeks ago, and kicking Michaels between the legs at Mania, making him pass out at Survivor Series and pinning him at Armageddon.

    ”The Era of Chris Jericho… has begun!” JR exclaims.

    Then, with the music hitting it’s crescendo the footage speeds up, quickly showing everything that has happened between them, until we finally settle on them staring down…

    ”It’s gonna happen!” JR yells on commentary. ”It’s gonna be Chris Jericho… versus Shawn Michaels… for th’ World… Heavyweight… Title!”



    We return to ringside…


    *** SEXY BOY ***


    And there’s a BIG reaction for SHAWN MICHAELS! He bounces out from the back, feeding off the fans for what will likely prove to be one of the most important nights of his life, and gets in to the ring, setting off pyro on the way.

    Unlike usual, Michaels makes sure to climb to each turnbuckle and salutes the fans, trying to rile them up and get them on board for the forthcoming match. Even JR and King mention how he seems to be trying to get the crowd on board, knowing that he’s going to be the overwhelming favourite of the fans here in Portland.

    After jogging around the ring, applauding the crowd, he eventually settles down, and his music dies…



    … and out walks CHRIS JERICHO… without a promo! For the first time in forever, Jericho isn’t promoing his way to the ring!

    As he heads down the ramp, face like thunder, JR speculates that he’s feeling more than a little nervous about the forthcoming match, whereas King tries to play it off as the best wrestler in the world trying to focus. Either way, the crowd heartily boo him as he makes his way to the ring, music-less, and climbs in to the ring to get this one underway. We get the big match introductions from Lillian Garcia… and the bell rings to get us underway!


    Two out of Three Falls Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
    Chris Jericho (c) vs. Shawn Michaels


    But they don’t go for one another! Both men stay perfectly still, staring at the other, waiting for the other to be the first to react. It’s mind games already as they stare at one another… when Jericho flinches first!

    ”Give it up, Shawn!” he yells across the ring. ”Your career is over! You don’t belong any more, save yourself the embarrassment!”

    Michaels refuses to react, and instead calls for a tie up. Jericho heads over for the tie up… but stops before contact… AND FLIPS MICHAELS OFF! Pure disrespect!

    Michaels, though, manages to keep his composure. He runs his hands over his face, walks it off, and calls for him to tie up again… Jericho leans in… AND SLAPS MICHAELS AROUND THE FACE! What did HBK expect?!

    Jericho laughs…

    … but Michaels gives chase! He can’t keep it under wraps any longer!

    Jericho rushes to safety on the outside… but Michaels follows him! The chase is on! Jericho runs around the ring and slides in, with Michaels following… so Jericho cuts him off with a Dropkick, just as he did to Goldberg at the Rumble!

    But Michaels catches it! He did his research! He holds on to the legs and pulls them in… AND GRABS A WALLS OF JERICHO! Michaels is going for the champion’s own move!

    But Jericho makes the ropes! Referee Earl Hebner forces Michaels to release the hold before he’s really managed to get it locked in, but Jericho looks furious that Michaels even tried it.

    ”Looks like Chris Jericho might not be th’ only one able t’ play mind games,” JR says.

    Jericho gets back to his feet, scowling furiously… and calls for a tie up! Perhaps he realises his mind games won’t work! They come together, cleanly this time… but Michaels gets the better of the exchange! Jericho continuously reverses out of whatever Michaels throws at him… but Michaels has a counter for the counter! Eventually Jericho’s left no choice but to grab the bottom rope for safety… SO MICHAELS MAKES HIS TRADEMARK POSE! The message is clear – don’t underestimate the Heartbreak Kid!

    Frustrated, Jericho again calls for a tie up… but this time grabs a Headlock before HBK gets the chance! He pulls tight on it, trying to drain the momentum out of the challenger… but Michaels reverses with a Back Suplex! He makes the cover… gets two… and goes for it again! Another two! And again! Another two! Jericho gets to his feet and swipes for him… but Michaels pulls him in… Backslide Pin! Another two! Jericho’s back up… Michaels takes the legs… and grabs a Jacknife Pin! Another two count!

    Jericho, flustered from the relentless onslaught, rolls to the outside as the crowd pop for Michaels’ flurry, but the challenger isn’t done there. He rushes across the ring, grabs the top rope… AND VAULTS OVER THE TOP! PLANCHA!

    Misses! His strategy had been perfect up to that point, but he was too eager and it’s cost him… and he’s holding his previously injured back in pain!

    Jericho, sensing the challenger’s old injury is flaring up… starts stomping on the back! Just as he did with Goldberg’s shoulder at the Rumble, he’s sensed a weakness and he’s going right for it! He pulls Michaels up… and launches him back-first in to the barricade!

    ”Folks, ya may have noticed that Earl Hebner isn’t countin’ ‘em out here. As we heard earlier tonight from Eric Bischoff, this one is gonna be contested under ‘relaxed rules’, meaning it’s going t’ take more than a little scrap on th’ outside for this one t’ be thrown out by th’ referee.”

    Jericho’s not done with just throw in to the barricade, though. As Michaels cries out in pain on the floor, Jericho heads over to the barricade… and rips off the protective covering on the top! With the steel underneath exposed, Jericho pulls Michaels up… AND SIDE SLAMS HIM ON THE EDGE OF THE BARRICADE! Michaels is bent over backwards over the edge… SO JERICHO PUSHES HIS KNEE AND HEAD DOWN! It’s basically a Bow-And-Arrow Lock… OVER THE BARRICADE! And Michaels is screaming in pain already!

    Jericho eventually releases, Hebner still not counting them out, and pulls Michaels up… and whips him back-first in to the ring apron! He’s a man possessed! He rolls back in the ring, grinning smugly, leaving Shawn Michaels to curl up in a ball on the outside, holding his injured back.

    ”I have t’ say,” JR says, ”this one is not goin’ as I thought it would.”

    “And it’s going exactly as I thought it would!”
    King adds. ”Chris Jericho is the best wrestler in the world today, I keep telling you that!”

    Michaels struggles to pull himself up, using the outside of the ring to do so, and gradually rolls on to the apron…

    … Jericho rushes across the ring…

    SPRINGBOARD DROPKICK! Michaels is sent sprawling off the apron… and crashes in to the barricade once again!

    ”C’mon, Shawn!” Jericho yells at him as he again struggles to get back up. ”You’re embarrassing yourself! You can’t even get in the ring!”

    Michaels again gradually rolls on to the apron, so Jericho again leaps on to the second rope…

    … but misses the Springboard Dropkick! Michaels moved at the last second… and Jericho crashes in to the canvas! Michaels pulls himself up the ropes to the top… AND DIVES OFF WITH A DOUBLE AXE HANDLE!

    Jericho goes down but bounces straight back up… so Michaels DESTROYS him with a chop to the chest! That sounded like a gunshot! And another! And a third! Jericho’s up against the ropes, so Michaels whips him across the ring… Jericho rebounds… and Michaels sends him flying through the air with a Back Body Drop!

    So Jericho rolls to the outside again! Every time Michaels builds up a little steam, Jericho gets the hell out of there!

    Michaels, though, won’t let him rest. He sprints across the ring… Baseball Slide!

    No! Jericho backed up… and sends Michaels crashing to the floor in a Powerbomb-like move! Right on the back again

    … so Jericho grabs the legs…

    AND TURNS IT IN TO A WALLS OF JERICHO! It’s the Walls on the outside!

    Jericho wrenches back, causing Michaels to scream in agony again. Michaels impotently flails around trying to find a way to break it up, but it’s not in the ring! There’s no rope break to be had!

    Referee Earl Hebner leans through the ropes and tries to tap on Jericho’s shoulder. ”C’mon, Chris! It’s not Falls Count Anywhere, bring it back in the ring!”

    But Jericho doesn’t listen! He leans back even further… so Earl Hebner starts counting them out!

    And that forces Jericho to release from the hold! He rolls in the ring and squares up to Hebner, forcing him back. He argues about why he now chooses to count them out, but Hebner says it’s not ‘no rules’, it’s ‘relaxed rules’, and he’ll referee it as he sees fit. Jericho gets up closer to intimidate him…

    … but Earl Hebner squares up to him as well! Earl Hebner won’t back down!

    Having failed to intimidate the referee, Jericho turns back to the outside, and sees Michaels is up on the apron again. He rushes over… but Michaels cuts him off with a shoulder to the gut! Jericho wasted too much time arguing with Hebner! Michaels braces himself as Jericho doubles over… he flips over the top… and grabs a Sunset Flip!

    But Jericho hangs on to the ropes… and drops down in to a pin of his own! It’s the Davey Boy counter! Earl counts…

    ONE…

    Jericho grabs the second rope for leverage!

    TWO…

    Earl sees the cheating! He refuses to count to three!

    Jericho is forced to release the pin and get back to his feet… and squares up with Earl Hebner again! Jericho is accusing Earl Hebner of bias!

    But that’s allowed Michaels to get back up again! Jericho turns around… in to another Chop form Michaels! And another! And another! He lifts Jericho up… Scoop Slam! And he’s climbing to the top! Michaels has his back to the ring, ready for the Moonsault Press, looking for a big move to bring this first fall back his way…

    … Jericho gets to his feet… and shoves Earl Hebner in to the ropes! Michaels loses his footing… AND LANDS CROTCH FIRST ON THE TOP ROPE!

    Hebner yells at Jericho, promising he will DQ if he pushes it too far, but Jericho ignores him. With Michaels straddling the turnbuckle, Jericho climbs to the second rope and lifts him up…

    AND DROPS HIM BACK FIRST ON THE TURNBUCKLE! TURNBUCKLE-ASSISTED BACKBREAKER! Sickening impact… and Michaels topples to the outside!

    Jericho heads back to Earl Hebner. ”Well?! Are you going to count him out?!”

    “I’ll count him out when I’m good and ready!”


    Jericho squares up to him again… sneers… and heads to the outside! Michaels is still struggling on the floor, so Jericho walks over to the steel steps… and takes them apart! He tosses the top bit down the ramp, leaving the flatter, bottom steps open… he pulls Michaels up…

    SIDE SLAM ON TO THE STEEL STEPS!

    Jericho gets back in the ring. ”Well, Hebner?! That good enough for ya?!”

    Hebner shrugs… and given Michaels is showing any sign of a fight… starts counting!

    ONE… TWO… THREE… FOUR…

    Michaels struggles back to his feet, holding his lower back…

    FIVE… SIX…

    Michaels rolls back in the ring!

    ”For th’ love-a God, Shawn!” JR exclaims. ”I know you want th’ title, but think about your career!”

    “If he doesn’t win tonight, he doesn’t have a career, JR!”


    Even though he’s in the ring, Michaels doesn’t show a great deal of fight. Jericho peels him off the mat… Suplex! He makes the cover… and gets two. He pulls him up again… Back Suplex! Again he gets two. Michaels is fighting, but Jericho is wearing that injured back out – a back that was previously so injured he had to retire for four years, no less – and it’s giving HBK nowhere to go.

    Jericho picks him up again and shoves him in to the corner… and lifts him up to the top rope! Jericho follows him… and hooks the arm! He’s looking for a top rope Superplex!

    But Michaels is fighting back! He punches away at Jericho, loosening the grip… and Jericho falls off the top! Jericho crashes and burns! Michaels pulls himself to the top…

    DIVING ELBOW DROP!

    Misses! Jericho moved at the last second… and Michaels crashed in to the canvas!

    Jericho takes a moment to recover from his own crash landing… and starts smirking! He’s getting cocky! He pulls Michaels off the mat and looks for a Back Suplex…

    … but Michaels flips out! He lands on his feet! He charges at Jericho…

    IN TO A TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER!

    Every time Michaels looks like he might build the slightest bit of momentum, Jericho goes right for the back!

    Michaels is flat on his back, clearly pained, so Jericho looks across the ring… suddenly dashes…

    LIONSAULT!

    No! Michaels got his knees up! These two know each other too well, they’ve got a counter for everything!

    Jericho gets to his feet, holding his ribs, so Michaels struggles up… and nails him with a Chop! And another! And now a big right hand! And another! He looks to whip Jericho across the ring… reversed… Jericho with the big right… ducked by Michaels… he dives behind… Back Suplex to Jericho! Both men are up… Atomic Drop from Michaels! Jericho staggers around the ring, so Michaels bounces off the ropes… Flying Forearm!

    KIP UP! There’s still life in HBK yet!

    He stumbles to the corner… and climbs to the top! This is it! The momentum is building! He pulls himself to the top rope…

    DIVING ELBOW DROP CONNECTS!

    But Michaels doesn’t go for the cover! He wants to make sure… so he rolls to the corner and pulls himself up…

    … and slams his foot down on the canvas! HE’S TUNING UP THE BAND!

    Jericho slowly uses the ropes to pull himself up as Michaels builds the tempo, the crowd clapping in time…

    … Michaels hops out of the corner for Sweet Chin Music...

    IN TO THE STEP UP ENZIGURI FROM JERICHO!

    Jericho caught him out of nowhere… and he flops on top of Michaels practically before he’s even hit the mat!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Michaels kicks out!

    But it was too late!

    Hebner’s hand had hit the mat for a third time… and Jericho has won the first fall!

    Winner of the first fall: Chris Jericho in 15:04


    Jericho rolls off the cover and in to the corner, smirking, as Michaels looks up to Hebner… and he’s stunned! Jericho hit the move out of nowhere, and he just kept him down long enough for a three count!

    ”I…” JR stammers, ”I don’t believe it! Jericho hit that Enziguri outta nowhere… and it was just enough t’ keep Shawn down! That’s all it takes, three seconds!”

    “And what a ring general Chris Jericho is, JR! He wasted absolutely no time in making that cover, and that can be the difference between a two-count and a three-count!”


    Michaels sits up in the corner, eyes wide at having lost the first fall in a wall he could never have imagined, and looks across at Jericho… who’s sporting a massive grin on his face! Jericho has Michaels exactly where he wants him!

    ”I told ya, Shawn! You’re finished!”

    Shawn rubs his hands over his face and pulls himself up, trying to shake off the shock at having lost the first fall in such an unlikely manner, and starts pacing the ring. Jericho pulls himself up too, so Michaels calls for him to tie up… Jericho leans in…

    … but Shawn ducks underneath… and cracks another Chop off Jericho’s chest! A little unsportsmanlike, but desperate times call for desperate measures! He tees on Jericho, knowing he can’t afford to lose another fall, and tries to overwhelm the champion. Jericho covers up, so Michaels throws lefts and rights over and over, the crowd growing in volume with every wild swing, until Jericho has curled in to a ball in the corner of the ring, trying to protect himself from the barrage.

    ”Would ya look at Shawn Michaels go! He will not be beaten!”

    “He already is, JR! He’s a desperate man… but it’s all for nothing!”

    “Not if HBK has anythin’ t’ do with it! His dream is on th’ line here! He wants t’ go t’ Wrestlemania as th’ champ’n! And I wouldn’t bet against him!”


    With Jericho down in the corner, Michaels buries his foot in to his throat, forcing Hebner to make the count… one… two… three… four… five!

    But Michaels doesn’t release! It’s relaxed rules, and he’s choking the hell out of the champion!

    ”Give it up, Shawn!” Hebner yells, trying to pull him away. ’I will disqualify you if I have to!”

    Shawn releases the choke! Even in relaxed rules, he can’t risk throwing away another fall!

    He grabs Jericho by the feet and tries to pull him away… but Jericho hangs on to the bottom rope with both hands! He won’t let go! Michaels tightens his grip on his ankles… lifts him up… and slams him back down! Now Jericho is out of the corner!

    Michaels towers over him… and drops an elbow! He bounces up… and drops another! And a third! Forth! Fifth! Sixth! Seventh! Eight! Ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth! Michaels is a mad man!

    The crowd pop again for Michaels’ onslaught, and he pumps his fists, knowing he needs them on his side. He climbs to the top rope, again going to the high risk/high reward, as Jericho gets to his feet, rubbing his chest… Michaels dives off…

    … Jericho catches him…

    AND NAILS HIM WITH A BACKBREAKER IN MID-AIR!

    Sickening impact! Jericho makes the cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THR…


    Kick out! Michaels is still going… but that previous flurry is well and truly over!

    Michaels is again favouring the injured back… so the smirk returns for Jericho! He lifts Michaels up… Suplex! ARROGANT PIN!

    ONE…

    TWO…


    Kick out! Obviously a boot to the chest wasn’t anywhere near enough to get the three, but that wasn’t Jericho’s intention. He’s mocking Michaels, knowing his dream of main eventing Wrestlemania is slipping away in front of our very eyes.

    Jericho picks Michaels up… hooks the arm and twists a leg… AND GRABS AN ABDOMINAL STRETCH! This is a masterclass from the champion!

    He wrenches back, with the twist on Michaels’ spine again causing him to yell out in agony, with Hebner getting right up in to his face to ask if he wants to quit. Michaels grits his teeth, refusing…

    … so Jericho grabs the top rope for leverage! And Michaels ROARS in pain!

    But Hebner has seen it! He tells Jericho to release the hold, but he refuses, still clinging to the top rope…

    SO HEBNER KICKS HIS ARM OFF THE TOP ROPE!

    Michaels uses the momentum to Hip Toss his way out of it! Jericho rebounds up, so Michaels hits the ropes… FLYING FOREARM! Jericho’s up again, so Michaels bounces off the ropes for another…

    … but he’s intercepted by a Dropkick from Jericho!

    That cuts off the attempt at a comeback from HBK… but Jericho has no interest in the challenger! He heads straight for Earl Hebner… AND GRABS HIM BY THE SHIRT!

    ”Touch me again and I’ll kill you!” Jericho yells, uncharacteristically fired up… AND TOSSES HEBNER ACROSS THE RING!

    ”Now what in th’ hell was that?” the incredulous JR asks.

    ”What do you think it was?! Earl Hebner put his hands on him! And you never put your hands on the champion in a title defence!”

    “I can’t argue that Earl Hebner perhaps overstepped the mark there, but that’s no excuse for treatin’ an official that way if ya ask me.”


    Hebner skids across the canvas but isn’t knocked out. Instead, Jericho sees Michaels starting to recover and climbs to the top…

    … but Michaels rushes over…

    … and crotches him on the top rope! Revenge for earlier! Shawn gradually pulls himself up there alongside Jericho… hooks his arm over his neck…

    SUPERPLEX! What a move by Shawn Michaels!

    But he can’t capitalise! In fact, it may have taken more out of Michaels than it did Jericho! But at least, as JR explains, it was enough to slow Jericho down.

    With both men down, trying to recover, JR speaks up. ”Folks, I’m just hearin’ now that, due to the length of this match, we’re unfortunately havin’ to delay Kane’s match with Rico until next week, but I’m sure ya understand why we’re stickin’ with this one ‘til th’ end.”

    “I don’t know why we’re postponing matches, JR, this one’s nearly over! Shawn Michaels has nothing left!”


    Earl Hebner avoids counting them down, not wanting to finish the match on a count out, and both men gradually stir. Jericho is the first up, but even he is having to use the ropes to pull himself up now, which Michaels gingerly does too. They come together in the centre of the ring… Forearm from Jericho! Chop from Michaels! Forearm from Jericho! Chop from Michaels! Forearm from Jericho…

    … no! Michaels ducked under and slips behind… Manhattan Drop! Jericho staggers around, so Michaels pumps his fists, trying to get the crowd behind him, looking for a desperately needed second wind… Jericho stumbles towards him, so Michaels grabs him by the head and leaps on to his shoulders… for a Hurricanrana! Old school HBK!

    But Jericho doesn’t go down! As Michaels tries to flip back, Jericho holds firm… adjusts his arms to wrap around Michaels’ legs as he hangs upside down…

    AND GRABS THE WALLS OF JERICHO!

    The crowd pop for the reversal, even if it is Jericho doing it… and Jericho leans back! Jericho’s got it locked in… in the centre of the ring!

    Michaels screams in agony. His back is shot to pieces after being targeted all match. He immediately raises his hand to tap out… but catches himself before he does. He can’t afford to quit here. He’s already lost one fall. Losing another… losing in two straight falls… that’s not the kind of thing you come back from. Over and over he has insisted that he has it in him to beat Jericho and become World Champion again, but if he quits now and loses 2-0, Jericho will be proven right.

    Michaels pushes up on his arms and tries to drag himself to the ropes. He desperately reaches out, but they’re too far away. Inch by inch they gradually get closer and closer to the ropes… but Jericho leans back even further!

    ”Give it up, Shawn!” JR yells. ”This ain’t worth it! This ain’t worth losin’ your whole career over!”

    “What career?!”
    King asks. ”If he loses in two straight he’s finished, JR! Shawn Michaels would sooner break his back all over again than lose two straight, even if it finishes his career there and then!”

    Indeed Michaels roars in pain, but he refuses to quit. It’s not that he doesn’t want to; he simply can’t. He can’t give it all up. He can’t give the satisfaction to Jericho. He screams out again and forces himself up on to his arms… and walks them to the ropes! Jericho tries to fight it but Michaels is dragging them across the ring…

    AND MAKES THE BOTTOM ROPE!

    Big pop from the crowd… but what did it take out of Michaels? As Jericho accuses Earl Hebner of ignoring a non-existent submission, Michaels holds his lower back and grimaces. He saved the match in that moment, but surely he’s done here. Surely this is game over.

    Jericho stops arguing with Hebner and looks over to Michaels, who still hasn’t been able to peel himself off the mat. Jericho looks down at him… and smirks. Perhaps for the first time in months, Jericho is actually smiling. He’s enjoying this! He backs in to the corner, still looking at Michaels…

    AND STARTS TUNING UP THE BAND!

    ”C’mon, Chris!” JR says. ”Not this way! Ya don’t have t’ humiliate th’ guy by beatin’ him with his own move!”

    Jericho taps his foot on the mat as the crowd boo, waiting for Michaels to slowly pull himself up… Michaels is back on his feet, so Jericho dashes across for Sweet Chin Music…

    … but Michaels sidesteps… and Jericho crashes in to the turnbuckle! Michaels grabs him from behind… O’Connor Roll!

    But Jericho rolls through… AND LOOKS FOR THE WALLS AGAIN!

    But Michaels fights it! He knows he can’t possibly survive that hold again! He wriggles wildly to try and fight his way out of it as Jericho tries to lock it in… and Michaels kicks him away! Jericho falls back in to the corner!

    Michaels pulls himself up and, knowing the time to strike is now, sprints across the ring…

    … but Jericho moves… and it’s Michaels who crashes in to the turnbuckle this time! Both men’s gameplans are going out of the window! Michaels staggers out, so Jericho bounces off the ropes… ONE-HANDED BULLDOG! Jericho leaps on to the second rope…

    LIONSAULT!

    But Michaels moved!

    But Jericho landed on his feet! Great balance from the champion to not crash and burn once Michaels had moved-

    SWEET CHIN MUSIC!

    Michaels hit it out of absolutely nowhere! Jericho landed on his feet from the Lionsault, but Michaels was already back on his!

    But Michaels can’t capitalise! He’s absolutely spent! Jericho is flat out on the mat… but so is Michaels!

    After what feels like an age, we finally see Michaels grit his teeth and start to drag himself towards Jericho… but Jericho is moving again as well! It took Michaels so long to recover he couldn’t even get a pinfall attempt off his biggest move!

    ”You see that, JR?!” King asks. ”Shawn Michaels has been looking for that move for half an hour, and when he hits it… he can’t make the most of it! Chris Jericho has wrestled a masterclass here!”

    “I have t’ agree that Shawn is gonna be very frustrated t’ have not been able t’ capitalise on that big move, but it just goes t’ show th’ importance of gettin’ a quick pin. Jericho got a three off that Enziguri ‘cos he made a quick cover. Michaels hit one-a th’ deadliest moves in wrestlin’ but was too slow to make the cover, and that can be th’ difference between success and failure in mah eyes.”


    Michaels again struggles to pull himself up, still favouring the back, as Jericho also pulls himself up. What does Michaels even have left in the tank after all of that? Jericho turns around, suffering from the kick to the jaw, so Michaels lines him up… another chop to the chest! He falls in to Jericho, absolutely exhausted from all the punishment he’s been put through, but peels himself away from the champ… and hits another chop! And a third! Jericho is staggered, so Michaels tries to build up a little momentum by running off the ropes… but Jericho intercepts him…

    WITH A TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER!

    But Michaels spins straight out of it!

    But Jericho cuts him off with a kick to the gut… AND LOOKS FOR A POWERBOMB!

    He lifts Michaels up…

    … but Michaels leaps off his shoulders and behind! He’s giving it everything he’s got to not get caught again! He looks for the kick to the gut…

    … but Jericho catches… DRAGON SCREW!

    IN TO THE WALLS OF JERICHO!


    But Michaels fights it again! He refuses to be turned over! Jericho tries to get a hold of the legs, trying to power through and turn Michaels on to his back… he knows if he can just get it locked in one more time Michaels won’t be able to fight it again… Jericho leans in closer, trying to force it…

    … but Michaels grabs him by the hair… AND PULLS HIM IN TO A SMALL PACKAGE!

    ONE…

    Jericho tries to kick out…

    TWO…

    But he’s trapped!

    THREE!

    Winner of the second fall: Shawn Michaels in 32:53


    And the crowd explode!

    At the count of three, Michaels releases the pin and flops on to his stomach… AND JERICHO CAN’T BELIEVE IT! He became too obsessed with getting the Walls of Jericho locked in, and Michaels was ready for it! Jericho went to the well too many times and Michaels took advantage!

    Earl Hebner signals to the crowd it was a three count, and Lillian Garcia makes the announcement. Jericho, however, still hasn’t closed his mouth. He gets back to his feet and marches over to Hebner, screaming at him that it was a fast count and he’s trying to screw him. Earl Hebner argues his case, with JR backing him up on commentary and saying there was nothing wrong with the count, but Jericho is insistent. He gets right up in Hebner’s face, so Earl points behind Jericho and tells him to turn around… Jericho gradually looks over his shoulder…

    … where Michaels is back on his feet… pained… exhausted… and beckoning him over for the fight! Michaels has managed to get it back to one fall a piece… and he’s ready to go again!

    Jericho turns away from Hebner, snarling at Michaels and marches over… and nails him with a Chop! Chop from Michaels! From Jericho! Michaels! Jericho! Michaels! These two are chopping the shit out of each other! Jericho gets the better of it and Chops Michaels in to the corner where he lines up for a big one… but Michaels ducks under… Jericho stumbles in to the corner… and Michaels sends a flurry of Chops to Jericho’s chest! Jericho can’t defend himself as the speed of the Chops get quicker and quicker… Michaels backs up… AND HITS A FINAL DEVASTATING, CRACKING CHOP AGAINST JERICHO’S CHEST! And Jericho slumps down to the mat! Michaels is still absolutely in this contest!

    Michaels fires up the crowd, again pumping his fists, letting everyone know that he’s not done with yet. He turns back to face Jericho… who is on his knees… BEGGING OFF! Jericho, after everything he has said and done to Michaels, is pleading for mercy! Michaels looks at him… looks at the crowd… and charges straight for Jericho! CLOTHESLINE OVER THE TOP ROPE!

    Michaels isn’t done there, though. He grabs the top rope and vaults over… PLANCHA! And unlike the start of the match, this time it connects!

    Needless to say, that high impact move took a lot out of Michaels as well as he clutches his back, but right now it’s the adrenaline that’s seeing him through. Earl Hebner doesn’t bother counting, the relaxed rules allowing these two incredible athletes do whatever they need to do to win the belt. With Jericho and Michaels both trying to recover and Hebner not making a count, JR speaks up…

    ”Folks, I regret t’ inform ya that, due t’ th’ length-a this one, we’ve had t’ postpone th’ Booker T and RVD versus Mark Henry and Maven match t’ next week as well. I for one was lookin’ forward t’ seein’ those four come together, but I’m sure ya understand why we’re stickin’ with this one t’ th’ bitter end. And lemme tell ya this, folks, however long it takes, we will stay with this one ‘til there’s a winner.”

    With that public service announcement taken care of, Michaels eventually uses the barricade to pull himself up, and checks to see where Jericho is…

    AND JERICHO IS CRAWLING AWAY UP THE RAMP! Michaels has his number and Jericho knows it! Michaels limps over and pulls Jericho up… AND SUPLEXES HIM ON THE STEEL RAMP! It’s all Michaels in this third fall!

    It’s now Jericho’s turn to yelp in agony, but Michaels isn’t about to show him any mercy. He pulls him up again and drags him to ringside, where he lines up an Irish Whip in to steel steps… but Jericho reverses… Michaels careers towards the steps…

    … but leaps on to them…

    MOONSAULT PRESS OFF THE STEEL STEPS! Michaels has an answer for everything!

    He throws Jericho back in the ring…

    … but Jericho keeps on rolling… all the way back out the other side!

    ”Now what in th’ hell is this?!” JR asks. ”Our so-called champ’n is tryin’ t’ run away like a scolded dog!”

    “He’s just trying to take a break, JR, it’s been a long match!”

    “Takin’ a break my Oklahoma ass, King! He’s got a yellow streak right down his back!”


    Michaels rolls in to the ring, but seeing Jericho roll straight back out the other side, follows over to where the champion tries to hold himself up on the announce table. Michaels climbs out there and pulls him up by the hair…

    SO JERICHO POKES HIM IN THE EYE! Pure desperation from the champion! Michaels staggers back, so Jericho slides in next to him and lifts him up…

    BACK SUPLEX… ON TO THE RING APRON! Brutal impact on the injured back!

    Michaels crumbles to a heap on the floor, again holding his injured back, that flurry having been ruined again by Jericho. The champion looks in to the ring where Hebner idly stands by… and tells the referee to start counting Michaels out! Jericho wants the count out!

    But Hebner refuses! He says he wants a definitive winner!

    ”You want definitive?!” Jericho barks at him, scowling at having had Hebner get in the way of his plans again. ”You want definitive? Then let me show you ‘definitive’!”

    Jericho turns around... AND PULLS THE MONITOR FROM THE ANNOUNCE TABLE!

    ”Now what in th’ hell is this?” JR yells.

    ”It’s relaxed rules, JR!” King excitedly replies. ”Jericho knows Hebner wouldn’t dare disqualify him now!”

    Jericho grabs the monitor in both hands and lines Michaels up as he slowly gets to his feet… he charges…

    IN TO A BACK BODY DROP FROM MICHAELS! Jericho splats on the protective mats on the floor!

    Both men are down, Michaels as much from exhaustion as the Back Suplex to the apron, whereas it’s Jericho’s turn to now hold his lower back in pain. Jericho begins to pull himself up using the announce table, while Michaels uses the ring apron to help him up. Jericho’s clearly in pain, using the announce table to keep himself propped up, so Michaels looks over to him…

    … but sees the monitor on the floor! He looks at the monitor, then Jericho, then the monitor, then Jericho… and sneers! Jericho was just about to use this weapon on him… so maybe he should use it on Jericho! Michaels picks the monitor up to a huge pop from the crowd…

    AND BLASTS JERICHO IN THE FACE WITH IT! Jericho’s been knocked clean out by the monitor, and he’s laying stricken across the announce table!

    ”What the hell was that, Hebner?!” King yelps. ”Disqualify him!”

    “I thought it was relaxed rules, King?”

    “There’s relaxed rules, and there’s cheating… and that was cheating! Earl Hebner has been screwing Jericho all match!”

    “Well, Jericho wanted t’ use th’ monitor first, he was th’ one who brought it in t’ th’ match, and ya know what they say… turnabout is fair play.”


    Michaels drops to his knees, still clearly struggling, taking this chance with the champion unconscious to regain a little strength. He eventually pulls himself up and looks over to Jericho, completely out across the announce table…

    … and then slowly looks over his shoulder…

    … to the top rope!

    And the crowd absolutely erupt!

    Michaels pulls himself on to the apron and in to the ring, and looks out to Jericho on the announce table one final time… AND STARTS CLIMBING! Michaels is going for the all-or-nothing!

    He slowly pulls himself to the top… Earl Hebner yells at him to climb back down, but Michaels ignores him… the crowd buzz in excitement as Michaels tries to balance on the top… he takes a deep breath to compose himself…

    AND LEAPS OFF THE TOP WITH THE FLYING ELBOW DROP… THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE!

    BUT JERICHO MOVED AT THE LAST SECOND!

    SHAWN MICHAELS JUST CRASHED AND BURNED!


    The crowd absolutely explode on impact, but it was all Michaels taking the impact! Jericho waited it out and played possum, and allowed Michaels to take the big risk… and it did NOT pay off!

    Still the crowd buzz from the huge impact, with Michaels buried deep in the announce table remnants, as Jericho lays out on the protective mats. He eventually crawls across the outside and pulls himself on to the apron and under the bottom rope… and in to the ring!

    ”That definitive for ya?!” he barks at Hebner. ”He’s not getting up! Count him out! It’s over! Count him! Do it!”

    Earl Hebner looks to the outside, where Michaels still hasn’t moved from the impact… he shrugs… and starts the count! He agrees that this is definitive!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Michaels starts to stir! How is he doing this?!

    FOUR…

    FIVE...


    He fights through the shards of table…

    SIX...

    ”Quicker!” Jericho yells at Hebner.

    SEVEN...

    Michaels pulls himself across the floor…

    EIGHT...

    But it’s not going to be enough! He’s not going to make it!

    NINE...

    Michaels suddenly bursts to life… and throws himself back in the ring!

    ”Michaels is still alive!” JR exclaims. ”Shawn Michaels… will… not… die!”

    Having used the very last ounce of energy he has getting back in to the ring, Michaels is again out…

    … and Jericho can’t believe it! He grabs Earl Hebner by the throat!

    ”You’re screwing me, Earl! That was a slow count! He hit me with a damn monitor and you didn’t disqualify him! Stop protecting him! He’s done with! Stop screwing me!”

    Hebner tries to plead his innocence, claiming to just referee the match as he sees it…

    Jericho backs up, shaking his head…

    AND NAILS HEBNER WITH THE STEP UP ENZIGURI! Jericho just took out the referee!

    ”What th’ hell?!” JR screams. ”What in th’ name-a God was that for!”

    “Isn’t it obvious?! Earl Hebner has screwed Jericho all match… and Jericho isn’t going to take it anymore!”

    “Screwed my ass, King, Jericho can’t beat Shawn Michaels and he knows it!”


    Jericho looks down on Hebner, sneering, and slowly turns back around…

    IN TO SWEET CHIN MUSIC!

    Again Michaels hits it out of nowhere…

    AND HE FALLS ON TOP OF JERICHO! He’s barely conscious, but he’s slumped right on top of the champion in to an unwitting cover!

    But there’s no referee! There’s no-one to make the count! Michaels has the title won and there’s no-one there to count it down!

    So out runs MIKE CHIODA!

    The referee slides in the ring and makes the count…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!




    NO! Jericho got the shoulder up at the very last second!

    ”Was that it?!” King shrieks.

    ”I don’t think it was, King. Chris Jericho just got th’ shoulder up! And if he hadn’t taken Earl Hebner out ya have t’ think we’d have a new champ’n right about now! That wait for a referee might-a made all th’ difference!”

    “Yeah, but if Earl Hebner hadn’t kept screwing Jericho over this one would be over already!”

    “That’s your opinion, King, and it’s not one I agree with. But be that as it may, that’s now th’ second time Michaels has hit Sweet Chin Music, but both times circumstances weren’t right for Michaels t’ get a three count from it. These are th’ small margins between success and failure, right here.”


    Despite having kicked out, Jericho doesn’t seem particularly ready to fight back. He stays slumped on the mat, the two Sweet Chin Musics and the shot to the face with the monitor clearly now taking their toll forty minutes in to the match.

    Michaels, though, might be in an even worse shape. All match his back has been targeted, and that missed Elbow Drop through the announce table must have done unspeakable damage. Even with that near count, he’s nowhere near ready to capitalise.

    Eventually both men look to get to their feet; Jericho on one side of the ring, Michaels on the other. Jericho pulls himself up and shakes the cobwebs loose, as Michaels gradually gets up too…

    … but drops back down to his knees! Even using the ropes can’t keep him on his feet anymore! That Elbow Drop has finished him, and he knows it. He grimaces, but there’s nothing left in the tank.

    Jericho staggers over, but Michaels isn’t getting back to his feet. That Sweet Chin Music was the last chance he had. Jericho shuffles over and looks down on Michaels…

    WHO BECKONS HIM ON! He can’t even get to his feet, but he’s still not backing down! Jericho storms over…

    AND SLAPS HIM RIGHT ACROSS THE FACE! And Michaels slumps to the mat!

    ”C’mon, Shawn!” Jericho yells, standing over him. ”I thought you still had it?! I thought you still belonged?!”

    Michaels grabs Jericho by the tights and uses them to pull himself up. He leans his head on Jericho’s thigh, and slowly uses the champion as something to balance on as he gets to his feet. Bit by bit Michaels eases in to a standing position, now leaning on his shoulders… before pushing off… and standing up under his own weight! Michaels is back on his feet!

    Jericho steps back and shakes his head, unable to comprehend how Michaels keeps on fighting, before charging over…

    STEP UP ENZIGURI!

    Misses! Michaels dodged at the last second, and Jericho crashes in to the canvas! Jericho didn’t capitalise when he should have! How is Shawn still going?! He leans against the ropes as Jericho gets up, so HBK grabs the arm… twists it… puts a leg on Jericho’s neck…

    ROCKER DROPPER!

    Shawn just stole his old tag partner’s finisher! He slumps an arm over Jericho’s chest!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THR...


    Jericho kicks out again!

    And now it’s Michaels’ turn to be shocked! He falls back in to the corner of the ring, sat against the turnbuckles, eyes bugged that it wasn’t enough to get the three. He holds three fingers up at Mike Chioda, asking if it definitely wasn’t three, but it’s more out of desperation than anything. He looks at Jericho, who, like Michaels, just keeps on going even when it seems to be beyond him, and shakes his head. He’s nearly had it won countless times… and he’s nearly had it lost countless times too. But he can still get it done. It’s still there. He reaches his arms to the top rope… and pulls himself up! No more slowly pulling himself up! He grimaces in pain, clearly having done more damage just by that action, but he isn’t about to be denied. He needs to fight through the pain barrier and see this through. It’s right there if he wants it. Jericho is starting to stir and pulls himself up, so Michaels leans against the top turnbuckle…

    AND SLAMS HIS FOOT AGAINST THE CANVAS! SOMEHOW… SOMEWAY… HE’S TUNING UP THE BAND!

    The crowd clap along as Michaels tries to build up to it. He hit it once, but was too hurt to capitalise. He hit it twice, but there was no referee. But a third time… one final time… and that will surely be it. There will be nowhere else for Jericho to hide.

    Jericho is up… so Michaels bounds out…

    SWEET CHIN MUSIC!

    Caught! Jericho catches the leg… sweeps up the other…

    AND GRABS THE WALLS OF JERICHO!

    But again Michaels furiously fights it! He’s made it through the hold once, he knows he won’t survive a second time! He tries to wriggle free, so as with last time, Jericho leans in for a better grip…

    … so Michaels grabs his neck for the Small Package again!

    But this time Jericho is ready for it! He releases the hold and punches Michaels in the face, causing Shawn to release the neck… Jericho grabs the legs again, but doesn’t look for the Walls… he pulls the legs up…

    AND CATAPULTS SHAWN IN TO THE TURNBUCKLE!

    Shawn slumps out… Jericho kicks him in the gut…

    POWERBOMB! Jericho just absolutely splatted him on the canvas with the Powerbomb…

    AND IMMEDIATELY GRABS THE WALLS OF JERICHO… AND TURNS HIM OVER! HE’S GOT IT LOCKED IN! Michaels was flat on his back, legs in the air, too hurt to fight back… so Jericho finally got it locked in again!

    Michaels impotently flails, hoping to find himself in the ropes, but he’s bang in the centre of the ring! He has tried over and over and over again to avoid being in this hold, and every time Jericho has gone for it since that first attempt Michaels has found a way to avoid it. But now… nearly forty-five minutes in to the match… it’s locked in again… and there’s nowhere to go!

    Michaels tries to reach out, gritting his teeth as he tries to fight a final time…

    … but Jericho adjusts his feet… he twists Michaels body to the side…

    AND TURNS IT IN TO A LIONTAMER! Michaels’ back is being torqued at an unholy angle!

    HBK screams in pain! He’s taken Jericho to the very edge! He has fought back time and time again when it seemed like there was nothing left… but it’s all going to be for nothing! Jericho leans back, twisting Michaels’ body even further, as Michaels tries to fight it… he wants to fight it… he came in to this one wanting to prove he can still belong at the very top… he wants to prove he can still be a champion in 2004… but he can’t fight it any longer! The Liontamer is locked in and there’s nowhere to go!

    Shawn’s hand hovers over the mat… he grits his teeth and tries to fight through it a final time…

    … but it’s no good!

    MICHAELS TAPS OUT!

    Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Jericho in 46:18


    As always, there’s no music to play out Jericho’s victory. Instead, we’re left with the silence from the deflated crowd, as Jericho releases the hold and slumps on to the mat. Mike Chioda gathers the World Title and tries to hand it to him, but Jericho doesn’t have enough fight to even take it from him. He just stays, perfectly still, lying down on the canvas, looking up at the lights. He had wanted to prove that he was the better man, and that Michaels didn’t belong… and he picked up the victory. Whether it was the dominant victory he wanted doesn’t matter right now. All that matters is he won… and he’s still the World Heavyweight Champion.

    Chioda places the belt over Jericho’s chest, and finally the champion takes it and holds it tight, hugging it for dear life. Whether he means to or not, in this moment of exhaustion he’s saying more than he ever could with a long-winded pre-match monologue. Shawn Michaels took him to the absolute edge… and Jericho knows he is lucky to leave as the champion.

    Finally he rolls off his back and, with Mike Chioda’s help, gets to his feet. The crowd start to applaud the efforts of both men, but Jericho doesn’t pose for them. He continues to hold his title tight, and slowly climbs from the ring and returns up the ramp. Halfway down, he turns back, and sees Michaels, still too hurt to move, and shakes his head. But not how he has before. Again, his body language again lets on more than he might want. This shake of the head isn’t the destain that came before tonight. It’s reluctant respect. Whether he’ll admit it or not after tonight, Jericho can’t believe that, after everything Michaels went through, he still took him to the absolute edge. Jericho shakes his head a final time… turns away… and walks up the ramp and out of sight.

    With Jericho gone, medical personnel head to the ring to check on Michaels, and a stretcher is brought down for him. They slowly move him out of the ring, careful not to add any damage to what has to be a desperately injured back, and look to attach him to the stretcher…

    … but Michaels shoves them away! He doesn’t want to go out that way! The mere action of shoving them away sends him back down to his knees, but he’s not leaving this arena on a stretcher. Not tonight. He uses the barricade to pull himself up, and slowly limps back down the ramp to the applause of the crowd… and does so on his own terms. After everything he put his body through, he’s still walking out under his own steam. He wanted to prove he still belonged, and you could argue he did exactly that tonight. But what he didn’t do was win the World Heavyweight Title.

    And as we watch Shawn limping up the ramp with his back to the camera and the crowd applauding... we fade to black.


    * END OF SHOW *



    Confirmed for next week

    WWE Women’s Title Tournament Semi Final Match

    Molly Holly vs. Lita

    WWE Women’s Title Tournament Semi Final Match
    Jazz vs. Trish Stratus

    Singles Match
    Rob Conway vs. Triple H

    Rescheduled! Tag Match
    Thuggin’ & Buggin’ Enterprises vs. Booker T & Rob Van Dam

    Rescheduled! Non-Title Match
    Kane vs. Rico

    Tag Match
    Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade vs. The Dudley Boyz

  7. #387
    Mid-Card Champion

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    Raw Re: July BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    - Trish Stratus moving on to the Semi Finals of the WWE Women's Championship tournament in dominating fashion by beating Jacqueline...I would have never have called this match a dominating match for Trish that's for sure considering Jacqueline is a former WWE Women's Champion in her own right but also because of the fact that Jacqueline is a veteran every bit as much as Trish is. However, Trish going over ultimately makes sense given what her former friend now turned bitter rival April Hunter the WWE Women's Champion had to say about Trish as far as winning this tournament goes...I just have a feeling Trish will get to the finals either way

    - Trish running into Lita...I just have a feeling it will be Trish/Lita in the Finals of this tournament and in the Finals there won't be a winner because it will either end in a Double DQ or a Double Countout somehow and it will end up being a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 20 that April will have to defend her title against both Lita and Trish in a Triple Threat

    - The whole Home Invasion angle for me if anything is played out but at the same time it more or less served its purpose for Foley/Orton...and as personal as this feud has become...it makes all the more sense for Foley/Orton to happen at WrestleMania 20 but in what kind of match? For me personally, Foley/Orton given how personal this feud has already become...at WrestleMania 20 this match has to be an I Quit Match, Last Man Standing Match or Hell in a Cell. I would go Hell in a Cell for Foley/Orton because that way you ensure no one interferes inside the Cell and not to mention given how huge and how personal it has become...there's no better way to do it if you ask me

    - I knew Lita would move on to the Semi Finals and now that she has by beating Gail Kim...it makes me wonder who Lita will face in the Semi Finals? She will most likely face Molly Holly and Trish will end up facing Jazz in the Semis to set up Trish/Lita for the Finals

    - Rob Conway...for me this new gimmick of his...just him in general he is nothing more than a big joke to me...a fluke...a nothing-happenin superstar who just can't hack it and him beating HHH was nothing more than a fluke because it was by DQ and him being in the ring with the likes of HHH or even Cena or anyone else in general is a damn insult

    - As far as the main event for the World Heavyweight Championship...Chris Jericho more or less beats Shawn Michaels yet again in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match with the title on the line by beating him 2 falls to 1...this should mean that Michaels is done...he gets no more title shots after this. I mean Jericho beats HBK and Goldberg back at Armageddon...beat Michaels back at Survivor Series and then beats him here...yeah Jericho should be done with Shawn now. Shawn should go to the back of the line and someone else should get a title match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Who better than The Undertaker? Yeah Taker may be a Smackdown superstar but Taker won the Rumble didn't he not? Taker could easily jump to RAW and challenge Jericho for the title and Taker would be well within his rights to do so...because as the winner of the Rumble it doesn't specify which champion that winner faces meaning it is the Royal Rumble Match winner's choice of which show...which title to go after. At least with Undertaker on RAW challenging for the World Title it gives Jericho a fresh opponent rather than him facing the same old superstars. Then for the WWE Championship it would more or less be wide open meaning Guerrero would have his fair share of challengers to choose from.

  8. #388
    R.I.P. Lionheart
    Chaddes's Avatar

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Raw Review

    Trish predictably dominates Jacqueline to advance to the semis, no surprise there. I'll be rooting for Stratus, Trish vs April is the money match imo and while Lita winning to get a rematch would be a nice story, Stratus has aaaaalllllll the momentum atm.

    That Orton promo.....Fuuuuuuck man it was so good! Orton has already proven he's a unmerciful shitebag, but turning up at Foley's house? Fuck man that's cold. I love how Randy is kind of just feuding with everyone. He has his Foley feud, he has problems with RVD & Booker, but it doesn't feel convoluted. You're doing a great job with him here. I'm counting down the days till Foley returns.

    Lita beats Gail, again, no surprises there, but there doesn't need to be so it's all good. That Powerbomb reversal sounds BRUTAL, god that would suck to be Gail.

    Conway vs Triple H II? Okay, Chaddes has a problem. Rob Conway is art LEAST Stone Cold levels of popularity in this, and you're giving away the most watched match in Raw history for free? Nah mate. Not happening.

    In all seriousness though, I ADORE Conway's patriot gimmick, it's amazing. Him vs Hunter again is going to be a snuff movie and I can't wait to read it.

    Finally the main event......Pure shit.













    Spoiler:

    HAAAAAAAA JUST KIDDING!!! Incredible!!! You can tell from reading you had a BLAST writing this! I won't go into detail on every single part of the match, but I adore how every fall felt like it's own little match. Matches getting moved to next week is a nice touch too, but Maven & Mizark vs Booker & Van Dam was going over the WORLD TITLE? Main Event Maven fuck yeah! Jericho constantly talking shit during the match is a nice touch too, reminds me of Kevin Owens in his matches a lot. The Earl interactions were fun and the finish to the first fall was a nice throwback to the Owen Hart concussion storyline in 1996. Fantastic finish with the Powerbomb into the Walls into the Liontamer, you made Shawn look great while also making Jericho come across as a killer.


    I assume you're still going to build towards HBK vs Jericho at Mania, and if the WM20 match is anywhere NEAR as good as this, it'll defo be a shoe in for MOTY come December my friend!

    Impact 2014: Rebranding When It Mattered
    Vinny Ru's Black & Red Kru: WCW 2000.....Help.

  9. #389
    I’m Not Booked!
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    February 12 2004
    Tacoma, Washington

    NO pyro.

    NO opening video.

    We open to the ring, where EDDIE GUERRERO is already pacing, as though he’s been there a while.

    ”C’mon, Hardcore!” he yells. ”I haven’t got all day, man! Get your ass out here!”

    He continues to pace awaiting the man who hit him with a chair last week.

    “Hello everyone.” Michael Cole says on commentary, ”and welcome to Smackdown! And welcome to a rather unusual start to the show! Eddie Guerrero has come out here before the show even started, demanding Hardcore Holly comes out here and pays the consequences of his brutal attack on Chris Benoit last week, and then hitting Eddie with a chair. So far Holly isn’t answering, and I’m getting word he hasn’t arrived yet.”

    “Our champs gonna hold up tha whole show, Cole!”


    Still Eddie paces. ”C’mon, Hardcore, I won’t-“


    *** THIS IS EXTREME ***


    There’s an audible groan from the audience as PAUL HEYMAN marches out from the back, no doubt again looking to get inside Eddie’s head. He gets in to the ring and takes a mic.

    ”Oh, Eddie,” he says, shaking his head. ”If only you could see what all of us can see. This is no way to spend your final three days as champion, is it?”

    “I swear, ese, I’m not in the mood.”


    Heyman throws his hands up to plead innocence. ”I’m not here to make things worse, Eddie! I’m here to help you. To tell you that it’ll be okay. And it will, Eddie. I promise you, it’ll be okay. Because this,” he says, pointing up and down Eddie, ”this isn’t a good look for you. The pressure… it’s radiating off of you, ese. Your Latino Heat is bubbling over. And I get it, I do. I understand why you feel this way. You’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, I can see it. You’re the WWE Champion, and that’s a pressure not everyone can handle. Plus you screwed your own best friend at the Royal-“

    Eddie heads straight for Heyman! Heyman flings himself out of the ring and to safety on the ramp, leaving Eddie about to boil over inside the ring.

    ”You screwed your best friend,” Heyman continues, not allowing that threat of violence stop him. ”Chris Benoit doesn’t trust you, and nor should he. So you have to carry that as well. Now you’ve got Hardcore Holly hitting you with chairs and muddying the waters. And, of course… you… took… out… The Undertaker.”

    “I swear, Paul, I-“

    “You took out The Undertaker, and he’s back… and he’s coming for you, Eddie. We all know it. You have to deal with all of that, and it’s too much! It’d be too much for anyone, and it’s making you crack, I can see it. I feel bad for you, Eddie. You don’t deserve this. Really, you don’t.”


    Eddie turns a deeper shade of red, ready to explode.

    ”And. Let’s face it,” Heyman continues. ”This couldn’t be coming at a worse time. All of those things to worry about would be too much for anyone… and at any time… but right now… all of your focus… should be… on Brock… Lesnar. You see, Eddie, January 1st this year, the night you won that title… that’s what we call… a 1 in 1,000 moment. You know what they’re like. One of those very rare moments when the stars align and the impossible becomes the possible. It’s like a solar eclipse, blocking out the sun and causing pure darkness during the day. It seems unlikely… but it can happen. Anything can happen… in those 1 in 1,000 moments.”

    “But here’s the problem with those 1 in 1,000 moments… they’re rare. For 999 times out of 1,000, the status quo exists. The daytime is made of daylight. The moon doesn’t block out the sun. And this Sunday at No Way Out, Eddie… it’s one of the 999. You’ve had your 1 in 1,000. It got you to attain something otherwise impossible on any other day, in other moment. But the status quo… always… wins. And for you, Eddie… seeing you right now, ready to burst… that’s a good thing. The status quo… works.”

    “And all these things pushing you down. ‘Taker coming for revenge for what you did to him. Your best friend not touching you. A madman hitting you with chairs. I can’t do anything to help with those pressures, Eddie. I’m sorry, I wish I could. But what I can help you with… is that WWE Title. It weight heavy on your shoulder, Eddie, but it’s okay. It won’t be your problem anymore. In three days you will face the most unstoppable force in wrestling, and this daily nightmare you are living… it’ll end. The dream of being WWE Champion… the dream that became a nightmare… it’ll go away. You’ll wake up. And this Sunday at No Way Out, you’ll be a million miles from January 1st. On that night, for that split second, the impossible became possible. But this Sunday… the impossible… stays… impossible. And after Brock Lesnar has proven just how superior he is to you… and once he’s taken away that WWE Title that weighs so heavy on your shoulder… when you lay your head down to sleep that night… you might just smile. You might sleep well for once… safe in the knowledge that for all your problems… being WWE Champion… will not be… one of them.”


    Heyman drops the mic and marches to the back, feeling contented that he’s done his bit in getting in Eddie’s head, and leave the champion to stew in the ring, ready to flip.



    Tajiri w/Dawn Marie & Juventud vs. Akio w/Ultimo Dragon

    Fresh off his big return last week, Akio comes in to this one all kinds of fired up against one half of Kyo-estro, not giving the former Cruiserweight Champion an inch to move. Even though Akio will get his hands on both Tajiri and Juvi this Sunday in their tag match, he shows no signs of going easy here. Perhaps armed with a new fire after that vicious post match beatdown that cost him over a month of his career, Akio pumps the crowd up with his fast-paced, high-octane offence to keep Tajiri at bay.

    For a while, at least. Tajiri has by far the experience advantage, and as we’ve seen plenty of times over these last few months, is willing to do whatever it says to come out on top. He gets back in to the contest and works Akio over, frustrated the youngster and his mentor on the outside. Tajiri has things in hand, so looks to whip Akio across the ring… but Akio reverses… Tajiri Handsprings off the ropes… but is cut off with a Dropkick by Akio!

    From the outside Ultimo yells at him to finish the job, but Akio waves his mentor off and climbs to the top… perhaps a rookie mistake here… he waits for Tajiri to get back to his feet and dives off…

    … but is met in mid-air with a kick to the face from Tajiri! He makes the cover…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Kick out! How did Akio kick out of that after the major concussion he suffered a month ago?!

    Tajiri angrily holds up three fingers to the ref, indicating that should have been enough for a pinfall, but returns to Akio and pulls him up…

    DDT! Tajiri spiked him right on his head! He’s targeting the old injury!

    Ultimo Dragon starts yelling at Tajiri to cut it out (I presume, I don’t speak Japanese), and even the ref tells him this is out of line, but Tajiri dives in to another cover nonetheless…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Akio kicks out again! Previous injury or not, the rookie is refusing to stay down!

    Tajiri lines him up as he gets to his knees…

    BUZZSAW KICK!

    No! Akio ducks… Tajiri spins around… Enziguri! How is this kid doing this?

    But Dawn Marie has seen enough! She yells at Juvi to get in there!

    Ultimo tries to slide in, but Dawn grabs his leg… Juvi pulls Akio up… JUVI DRIVER! The referee calls for the bell!

    Winner: Akio by disqualification in 6:02


    Ultimo finally wriggles free from Dawn and tries to rush over to Juvi…

    … but is cut off by a kick to the face from Tajiri! Ultimo slumps to his knees, so Tajiri lines him up for the Buzzsaw Kick…

    … but Juvi pulls Dragon up before he can… JUVI DRIVER! Juventud has laid out both the mentor and protégé!

    Dawn gets in to the ring to raise Juvi’s arm…

    … but Tajiri cuts it off! He’s furious that Juvi both got him DQ’d and took away his opportunity at a post-match attack!

    Dawn eases Tajiri back in to the corner, trying to calm him down.

    ”Good!” she says, picked up by the nearby camera. ”You’re angry, and you should be. Channel it! Use it!”

    Tajiri nods, his eyes manic and wide. He drags Ultimo Dragon off the mat and tosses him to the outside, following him out there.

    ”Oh, come on!” Cole exclaims on commentary. ”Not this again! What is with these two?!”

    “They’re all about pain, Cole, haven’t ya heard ‘em say it?!”


    Tajiri pulls Dragon off the floor and pulls him under his arm. Inside the ring Akio is coming to and is seeing what’s happening to his mentor, so he tries to crawl over to help him, only for Juvi to shove him throat-first in the ropes and force him to watch. Tajiri lifts Ultimo up…

    BRAINBUSTER ON THE OUTSIDE! Sickening impact again from Kyo-estro!

    Akio tries to reach out for his mentor, but it’s in vain. He’s left watching helplessly on inside the ring, forced to look directly at Tajiri’s sick, twisted grin at the devastation he’s caused, as we head to the back...



    Backstage, we see BRADSHAW and RON SIMMONS in their “office”, playing cards and drinking beer.

    ”Read ‘em and weep,” Bradshaw says, cigar hanging out of his mouth, and laying his cards down.

    ”Well, I’ll be damned!” Simmons barks, and slams his cards on to the table, allowing Bradshaw to scoop up his winnings.

    ”Yo, yo, yo!” we hear…

    … and in walks JOHN CENA!

    ”What’s happ’nin’, fellas?” he asks, and offers a fist bump to Bradshaw. Perhaps never having seen one before, Bradshaw shakes his fist, and pulls out a chair for the US Champ.

    ”How’re ya doin’, John boy?” Bradshaw asks, and cracks open a beer. ”Here, have a drink on us.”

    Cena takes a swig, and looks at the table. ”Texas Hold ‘ Em, huh? A’ight, yo, send some card this way, I got a burnin’ for ya paper, ya heard?”

    Bradshaw looks confused to at Ron Simmons. ”He wants to be dealt in,” Simmons says.

    ”Well, why th’ hell didn’t ya say so?!” Bradshaw exclaims, and deals in Cena. ”So tha three-a us are teamin’ tonight, huh? Benjamin, Haas an’ Big Show. You ready for it?”

    “Homie, I’ve been buggin’ ta step ta that fuzznut for a long ass time.”


    Bradshaw again turns to Simmons.

    ”He’s ready,” Simmons says.

    Bradshaw nods. ”Well that’s exactly what I wanted t’ hear! This is a big week for me and Ron, ya know that, right?”

    “Man, don’t even talk ta me ‘bout what Regal’s got ya doin’. Takin’ tha two-a you and makin’ ya fight for ya future ev’ry night? Homie, I thought it was ovah tha line when he made me defend my title in ev’ry match I have, but this? I ain’t goin’ for it, yo. But lemme holla at ya on this… ya can beat Chucky Haas and his boyfriend, ain’t no doubtin’ that. I’m pullin’ for ya ta win those titles this Sunday, ‘cos anythin’ that pisses off Billy Regal’s a’ight by me.”

    “I can’t understand a word your sayin’,”
    Bradshaw says, ”but you’re alright by me, Cena. But lemme tell ya this, son… this’ll happen t’ you one day too. When I was in your shoes I din’t think I’d ever be here. When you’re top -a th’ world it feels like nothin’ can slow ya down. But when things go against ya… that’s when ya realise who ya really are. Who ya wanna be. Ain’t no hidin’ when you’re up against it. And who me and Ron are? We’re fighters. We don’t back down from nothin’. Regal wants t’ make us put our future on th’ line? Bring it on. We’ll just do it as Tag Champions. I don’t care if those kids have been th’ champions for eight months or eight years… this Sunday… there ain’t no stoppin’ us. ‘Cos in a choice between no longer taggin’ with Ron or anythin’ else… I’m takin’ anythin’ else.”

    He and Simmons clink beer cans.

    ”I can respect that, yo,” Cena says. ”Tonight, you show Haas and Benjamin what ya made of… and leave that giant pain tha ass to me, ya heard?”

    Bradshaw offers his can, and they clink. ”You’ve got yaself a deal, son.”



    We then head elsewhere backstage, where BILLY KIDMAN is sitting pensively on a bench. Over walks REY MYSTERIO, and they bump fists.

    ”What’s goin’ on, man?” Rey asks. ”Ready for this Sunday?”

    Kidman sighs. ”No, Rey, I’m not. Look, I dunno if I’ve just been too subtle for you, but I’m really not feelin’ it at the moment.”

    Rey laughs. ”No, man, you’ve not been subtle at all. Just, honestly? I figured it’s one of those things that happens. This is a tough industry. We all go through rough patches.”

    “Really? Even you? Even Mr. Final Four in the Rumble, second in the Rumble qualifying table, Semi Finalist in Regal’s Gold Rush?”

    “Man, would you get over all of that? So what if I’ve done alright lately? I’m on a hot run, what can I say? Doesn’t mean that you can’t be as well.”

    “I dunno, Rey Rey, I think it does. You’re doing so much lately, you don’t need to be worrying about me. And this Sunday, in a Ladder Match? I dunno. I really think you should find another partner. Someone you won’t have to carry.”


    REY SLAPS KIDMAN AROUND THE FACE!

    ”Would ya snap outta this?” Rey says. ”I’m sick of it. You’re Billy freakin’ Kidman, man. You’re one of the greatest Cruiserweight Champions in history. Me and you have too much history for me to just walk away now. I believe in you, Billy. I do. We are this close to gettin’ that rematch against Benjamin and Haas that we’ve been waitin’ months for. Every time we thought we’d get it somethin’ happened. But not anymore. We win this Sunday, and we’re goin’ to ‘Mania, man. So are you gonna stand up and be counted? ‘Cos lemme tell ya this, Billy. We all go through this. Honestly, we do. But the answer ain’t givin’ up. Ya wanna come out the other side? Then keep on goin’. Fight through it. Show the world that you… you… can get the job done. And if ya get the job done this Sunday in the Ladder Match? Then we’re goin’ to Wrestlemania, man. I believe in you, man. I believe in us. But the question is… do you?”

    Kidman drops his head to the floor, takes a deep breath…

    … and leaps to his feet!

    ”Alright, Rey Rey. You’ve got it. This Sunday, I’ll give it everything I’ve got, I promise you that. And if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. But if we don’t win, you need to go it alone from now on, okay?”

    “Man, don’t be talkin’ like that-”

    “I mean it, Rey. If we can’t get a shot at the belts at Mania… we’re through. I’m not draggin’ you down anymore. All or nothin’, okay?”


    Rey nods. ”Okay, Billy. All or nothin’. Let’s just make sure we get that win. I wanna go to ‘Mania… and I want those Tag Titles.”

    Kidman nods. ”Me too, man. Me too.”



    Nunzio w/Chuck Palumbo & Johnny Stamboli vs. Chavo Guerrero

    After spending a lot of time in the tag ranks, this here is an opportunity for Chavo to show that he can still hang with the best (*cough*) of the Cruiserweight division. He starts off totally schooling the leader of the prestigious (*cough*) F.B.I., only for a grab of the ankle by Chuck bringing things back Nunzio’s way, and he works Chavo over from there, demonstrating his strong mat skills.

    As he does, we hear from Michael Cole that, due to Kyo-estro’s actions earlier tonight, the Akio/Ultimo Dragon versus Tajiri/Juventud match scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed until next week on Smackdown, with William Regal hoping that by taking away Tajiri, Juvi and Dawn’s PPV bonus, maybe that’ll help them see the error in their ways.

    Meanwhile, the match is still going on, with Nunzio in control, only for Chavo to start to fire back…

    … so Chuck climbs on the apron! Chuck’s distracting the referee!

    Brian Hebner yells at him to get down, with Chavo joining in… but Chavo keeps glancing over his shoulder, knowing something is going down…

    … so when Johnny Stamboli comes in to the ring with a small, concealed steel pipe, Chavo sees him coming… and pulls the referee in the way! Stamboli freezes before he accidentally strikes the ref… so Hebner ejects Stamboli from ringside!

    But Chavo has snatched the pipe out of Johnny’s hand! The referee is busy facing Johnny… so Chavo strikes Chuck in the head with the pipe! Palumbo is down! Nunzio staggers up… Chavo nails him as well! He throws the pipe to the outside, rushes over and bundles Stamboli out the ring, and climbs to the top…

    FROG SPLASH TO NUNZIO! He hooks the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!

    Winner: Chavo Guerrero in 4:02


    With all three members of the F.B.I. having been taken out, Chavo gets his hand raised by the oblivious referee, and celebrates a big win going in to No Way Out in three days.

    ”What a victory for Chavo Guerrero!” Cole says. ”And maybe that’ll quieten some of those doubters of whether Chavo is the most deserving challenger this Sunday. And let me tell you, Jamie Noble’s going to have to be wary at No Way Out, because someone with as much experience and success in his career as Chavo should not be taken lightly.”

    “He’ll be wary alright,”
    Tazz adds, ”he’ll be wary of Chavo cheatin’ like he did here tonight!”

    “Hey, the F.B.I. started it!”

    “What’re you, eight? Tha F.B.I. tried ta screw Chavito, no doubt, but Chavo used that to his advantage and cheated ta win.”

    “It’s a family tradition!”

    “Yeah, and as we know from Eddie, there ain’t many lengths tha Guerreros won’t go to ta win a title. Jamie Noble should be worried.”




    From the ring we transition to a graphic for Wrestlemania XX: Where It All Begins… Again, and see that we are now just 31 days from the big show. And with that we head to our latest in the series of Wrestlemania flashbacks, as we look at ‘Mania XII.

    Unlike many of the previous editions of this flashback, we don’t look at any of the celebrities that were in attendance (probably because the WWF wasn’t cool enough to attract any good ones at the time). Instead, we look at the in-ring stuff. We see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN’s Wrestlemania debut in his victory over SAVIO VEGA, although, due to being forced out of the WWE last year by Chris Jericho, unfortunately can’t provide a talking head about it. We also don’t hear from GOLDUST, who, despite featuring heavily on the show with his Hollywood Backlot Brawl with RODDY PIPER, is just too weird to provide a talking head, and nor do we hear from THE UNDERTAKER, as undead zombies don’t make for great interviewees, even if he did beat DIESEL at this show.

    That leaves us with a focus on the main event. We see how SHAWN MICHAELS’s boyhood dream came true as he overcame BRET HART in a 60-minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Title. Needless to say all the talking heads – CHRIS BENOIT, CHRISTIAN and RIC FLAIR among them – put over the match as one of the greatest in history, as per the WWE’s rhetoric. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter in these kinds of things. And, of course, we hear plenty from Shawn, who is only too happy to put over his own performance at the expense of Bret, and the Hitman was never the same after this match, which is probably why he ”quit” the WWE (he said with a knowing smirk).

    We also hear plenty from TRIPLE H, of course. Oddly, though, we don’t see any footage of, or hear anyone talk about, the fact that he got squashed by THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR at this show.



    We return from the recap To the ring, where we see MICHAEL COLE standing by with a microphone.

    ”Ladies and gentlemen,” he announces, ”please welcome to the ring… Hardcore… Holly!”


    *** HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? ***


    And the reaction is entirely negative! Any lingering sympathy the crowd may have had for everything HARDCORE HOLLY has been totally eradicated these last few weeks. Wearing a Wrestlemania-branded t-shirt and jeans, he marches down to the ring to join Cole.

    ”Hardcore,” Cole begins, ”after last week William Regal has asked me to interview you to understand your recent motivations. Now, I think I may know the answer to this, but do you have any regrets over what you did to Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit last week?”

    Holly shakes his head. ”If you know the answer, why in tha hell would ya waste my time and ask it?”

    Cole gulps. ”I just thought that after last week you may have had time to reflect and-”

    “D’ya think I regret it?”
    Holly interjects.

    ”Uh… no, Hardcore, I don’t think you do.”

    “Correct answer. Now what’s your next dumb question?”


    Cole is a little taken back by such a hostile reaction from his guest. ”Well, I… uh… I...”

    “I… uh… I...”
    Holly mimics, and snatches the mic from Cole’s hand. ”This tha best ya got, Cole? Quit wastin’ my time and listen, ‘cos clearly I ain’t been makin’ myself clear. All-a this? It’s about one man? And who’s that man, Cole?”

    Holly holds the mic out for Cole to speak, but snatches it back before he can. ”That’s right, Brock Lesnar. I’ve said it a hundred times now, but y’all seem too stupid ta get it. I ain’t playin’ games. I ain’t gonna rest ‘til Brock Lesnar’s neck is broken. He takes eighteen months outta my career… and I do tha same to him. So if Chris Benoit takes me out while I’m in tha middle-a kickin’ Brock’s ass… I’m-a take him out. If Eddie Guerrero stops me from layin’ a beatin’ on him with a chair… I’m takin’ him out too. I’ll take this whole damn comp’ny down as collateral if I have ta. If ya ain’t helpin’ me break Brock’s neck… then you’re part-a tha problem. And that means you’re gonna have me ta deal with..” He turns back to Cole. ”That all ya questions? Good.”

    He shoves the mic back in to Cole’s chest and storms off…

    ”Actually,” Cole says, ”there was one more question I was told to ask you, if you don’t mind?”

    Holly, halfway towards climbing through the ropes to leave, turns back disbelievingly… and marches over to Cole! He storms over, forcing Cole back in to the corner, so Holly gets right up against him, forcing him in to shrivelling in the corner.

    ”Go on, Cole!” Holly yells. ”Ask me another question. Go on, I dare ya. I dare ya.”

    Cole cowers away in the corner, too scared to speak up now Holly is squaring up to him in the corner.

    ”For tha love-a God,” Tazz says on commentary, ”I know Cole can be annoyin’, but what does this prove?”

    “C’mon, Cole!”
    Holly yells again.

    ”Don’t make me go in there for Cole,” Tazz sighs, realising his partner needs him…


    *** WHATEVER ***


    But he may not need to, as here comes CHRIS BENOIT! The Wolverine marches down the ramp towards the man who screwed him two weeks ago and took him out last week. Holly sees him coming (the entrance music was probably a giveaway) and waits for him to get in the ring, allowing Cole to slink out of the ring to safety.

    Holly holds his hands out, asking what Benoit wants…

    … but Benoit tackles him to the mat! He’s not here to talk, he’s here to fight!

    He takes Holly down and fires off a series of right hands… but Hardcore starts to fight it… and turns him over! Now it’s Holly firing off! But Benoit fights that… and now it’s his turn!

    Hardcore manages to shove him away and they both get to their feet… Holly swings… but Benoit ducks it… AND TAKES HOLLY DOWN IN TO A CROSSFACE! He’s got it locked in!

    Hardcore tries to fight it, but he’s absolutely trapped in the centre of the ring! Benoit’s not messing around, he pulls right back… and Hardcore starts to roar in pain!

    So here come the REFEREES!

    They dive in to the ring and try to pull Benoit away…

    … but they can’t! Benoit’s got it locked in tight, and he won’t let go!

    So the referees call for back up!

    Here come the SECURITY GUARDS! Half a dozen of them rush down to the ring and join the refs in prising Benoit away. Eventually they manage it and pull him in to the corner…

    … which allows Hardcore up…

    … and he dives at Benoit!

    Now it’s Hardcore who needs to be restrained!

    Eventually, between the four referees and six security guards, they manage to bundle Hardcore Holly out of the ring, while leaving Benoit pinned in the corner. They force Holly up the ramp, ensuring that there’s no way either man can get at one another again.

    With that, out walks WILLIAM REGAL, scowling and shaking his head.

    ”Gentlemen, gentlemen! There’s no need for this kind of yobbish behaviour, is there? If the two of you have a problem with one another then all you had to do was ask for a match! Because here on Smackdown… we deal with our problems in the ring. And seeing as the two of you seem so pent up, how about this Sunday at No Way Out we see the two of you go one-on-one?”

    Decent-ish pop as the two men nod in agreement.

    ”That’s right,” Regal continues, ”this Sunday it’ll be Hardcore Holly… versus Chris Benoit… and seeing as how you’re both so keen for a scrap… why don’t we make this… a Street Fight?!”

    Bigger pop.

    ”What a rocketbustah!” Tazz exclaims on commentary, with Cole still not settled back in yet. ”Holly and Benoit this Sunday… and it’s gonna be a Street Fight!”



    Six Man Tag Match
    Big Show & The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The A.P.A. & John Cena


    When we return from commercial we join just in time for this contest. Luckily (I think?) Michael Cole has managed to compose himself enough from that previous segment to continue with his job, allowing us to focus on this match, which of course has huge repercussions for this Sunday.

    The A.P.A. and Cena, both fired up from their recent interactions with William Regal these last few weeks, smash through the World’s Greatest Tag Team with some ease, and even manage to work together to take Big Show out of the ring. Things are looking rosy for the unlikely trio, but once things settle down in to a standard tagging format, that’s where Benjamin and Haas come in to their own.

    As we’ve seen them do in this environment before, they choose to wrestle the bulk of the match between themselves, making quick tags between them, and only bringing in their third, monstrous partner for a big hit, and tag him back out again. It keeps Show fresh and hitting big, while allowing the champs to own the ring as they so often so, and is yet another example of why they’ve been nigh-on unbeatable for these last eight months.

    Bradshaw, the man who had unfortunately been isolated from his partners, looks to be in a bad way when Shelton springboards in to the ring after a tag… but Bradshaw catches him! An uncharacteristic mistake from the champions! Maybe they can be beaten! Bradshaw carries Benjamin across the ring… Fallaway Slam! He crawls to his corner, with the crowd getting behind him as he reaches for John Cena… Benjamin dives to his corner to tag in Charlie…

    … but Bradshaw makes it to Cena! The champ is here!

    Cena rushes in to the ring, ducks a Clothesline and hits a Shoulder Block, followed by one to Benjamin, and another to Charlie. He pulls him up… Fisherman’s Suplex! Cena’s a house afire! He pulls Charlie up by the singlet and tosses him in to the opposing corner…

    … and points at Big Show! He wants Show to get in the ring!

    The giant snarls and slaps Haas across the back, and comes in to the ring to battle with the man holding the title he’ll be challenging for this Sunday. He asks if Cena really wants a piece of him…

    … but Cena cuts him off with big right hands before he can finish! Cena’s wasting no time trying to get revenge!

    But Show is unmoved! Cena’s firing off on him, but it’s doing nothing to Show! Cena realises and rushes off the ropes for a Shoulder Block… but Show lifts him up… and slams him right back down again! There goes Cena’s fight! Show steps on Cena’s back, and slows things down to his pace. Cena is left unable to fight back, so eventually Show, after several headbutts that knock Cena down, grabs him by the throat for a Chokeslam…

    … but Cena rakes his eye! Cena’s not above a dirty trick to get ahead!

    Show staggers around the ring… SO CENA LOOKS FOR THE FU!

    But his back gives out! Over and over Cena has tried to lift the Big Show up in the last few weeks, and every single time he’s not had the strength to do it!

    Both Cena and Show stagger back in to their corners, so Benjamin blind tags on Show, and Bradshaw on Cena… neither Show or Cena have noticed though, so Cena holds himself up on the top rope, holding his back from trying to lift a 500lbs giant. Show sees him and charges…

    … but Cena pulls the top rope down… sending Show tumbling to the outside! Cena gets on to the apron and flies off on to Show…

    … but Show catches him! Show holds him up… and slams him back down on the protective mats on the outside! Right on the injured back!

    That leaves Bradshaw and Benjamin to get in the ring without Show or Cena to worry about, and Bradshaw fires off on Shelton. He gets the better of him… only for Haas to jump him from behind! So here comes Ron Simmons to make the save! Ron, who has barely been involved this match, tees off on Haas until Haas is down… he turns around…

    … in to a Rolling Heel Kick from Benjamin! Benjamin then turns around…

    IN TO A CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL FROM BRADSHAW!

    He makes the cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner: The A.P.A. & John Cena in 7:11


    Whoa! The threat of being made to disband seems to have fired the A.P.A. up… and they just beat the unbeatable Tag Champions! Haas, holding his face from the right hands from Simmons, pulls Benjamin to the outside, and together they look in to the ring, absolutely stunned. Bradshaw helps up Simmons and they hug, before having their arms raised in victory by Charles Robinson. The champions, perhaps expecting an easy contest this Sunday, can’t believe what they’re seeing, and with Bradshaw’s Clothesline From Hell so devastating, perhaps they now realise that this one might not be the walk in the park it may have seemed.

    On the ramp, however, the picture looks rather different.

    Cena is still favouring his injured back, and tries to pull himself up on the guardrail, but Show still looms over him. As soon as Cena is up, Show clubs him in the back, knocking him back down.

    ”How’d ya like that, champ Show barks, spit flying from his mouth. ”Ya wanna stand up to me? Ya think ya can take me on? I’m a giant! You don’t stand a chance!”

    Still, though, Cena tries to pull himself up, and staggers across the ramp in pain, so Show lines him up…

    … and grabs him by the throat! Tell me he’s not going to do this!

    He lifts Cena up…

    CHOKESLAM ON THE STEEL RAMP! Again on the injured back!

    ”What the hell is this?” Cole exclaims. ”How is this fair? Not only has John Cena got to face a seven-foot giant this Sunday, now he’s got to do it with an injured back!”

    “There’s a lesson ta be learnt here, Cole: don’t piss off Tha Big Show!”




    We then transition backstage, to an office door marked ”Mattitude, Inc. Worldwide Headquarters.”

    Inside, we see MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0) standing in front of SEAN O’HAIRE and SHANNON MOORE. They are sat on chair looking up at him as he stands by a flipchart, clearly giving a presentation. On the flipchart is a diagram of a ladder with a belt hanging above it, no doubt in preparation for Sunday’s Ladder Match.

    ”And then,” Matt says, circling a rung on the ladder, ”the final rung. In many rungs this rung is similar to the ones that came before. It’s much the same technique for climbing it. By this point you may be growing fatigued and that last step could tire you out, so it’s important that your cardio is in optimum condition. And that concludes my 90 minute presentation on how to win a Ladder Match from the greatest Ladder Match participant of all time.”

    Shannon, who had been furiously scribbling notes throughout, gives a hearty round of applause.

    ”Questions?” Matt asks.

    Shannon shoots his hand up, and flips through the pages of his notebook.

    ”Yeah, I’ve got a question,” Sean jumps in. ”Which one of us is in the match?”

    “What do you mean?”
    Matt asks.

    ”Regal said Mattitude, Inc., right? He didn’t specify which of us would be in it. So I guess it’s our choice.”

    Matt shakes his head. ”Oh, Sean. You’ve clearly been spending too much time with Shannon, your questions are growing as inane as his usually are. It’s me and you in the match. Obviously.”

    Sean rolls his eyes at Matt’s continued disrespect of his follower.

    Shannon fidgets in his seat.

    ”You look like you have something to say,” Matt says to Shannon.

    ”Yeah, I… I… well, you see… that presentation, it was-“

    “Spit it out, I don’t have time to waste,”
    Matt says, probably tired from his 90-minute explanation of how to climb a ladder.

    Shannon clears his throat. ”I’ve been thinking… and I don’t know if you’d like this idea… but it’s been on my mind, and… you obviously know best, but…”

    Matt taps his watch, indicating for Shannon to speed up.

    ”Okay… I understand why you want to team with Sean this Sunday… but do you think… I dunno… maybe I could… maybe I could get the chance?”

    Matt stares wide-eyed at his follower. ”What?”

    Shannon shrugs. ”I dunno… I just thought… you know… sometimes you’re disappointed in me… sometimes maybe I don’t do as good as you’d like… but I feel ready for it. I’m pretty sure I can do this.” He looks to Sean, who gives him a reassuring nod, saying it’s okay. ”I can do this,” Shannon reiterates.

    Matt stares at his follower for a few moments…

    … before bursting in to uproarious laughter!

    ”Oh, man, that was a good one,” Matt says after far too long, wiping a tear from his eye. ”I obviously wasn’t nervous about this Sunday – Matt Fact #16: Nerves Are For Losers – but they’re dangerous matches and… man, I needed a good laugh. I feel much better now, thanks Shannon. You’re a funny guy.”

    Matt pats Sean’s shoulder, indicating for them to go. ”C’mon, we have the eight man tag match coming up. It’s important we do well there so we’re all set up for this Sunday. I know you won’t let me down, Sean.”

    Sean gets to his feet, but doesn’t follow Matt.

    ”No,” O’Haire definitively states, taking his leader aback.

    ”What do you mean, no?”

    “I mean, I’m not the guy to do this. Shannon makes a good point. He’s ready. He’s earned it. Give him a chance.”


    Shannon smiles sweetly at Sean’s gesture.

    ”But…” Matt stammers. ”But… Shannon? He’s so… you know… Shannon-y.”

    Sean stares sternly at Matt, so Matt looks over to Shannon. Shannon smiles, so Matt turns back to Sean, who nods.

    ”Ugh, fine,” Matt grunts, and waves a dismissive hand at Shannon. ”You be my partner. Don’t let me down, okay?”

    “I won’t!”
    Shannon excitedly exclaims.

    ”You’re a good leader,” Sean says, patting Matt on the arm.

    ”Thank you, Sean. I know. Now listen up, I’ve got a plan for this Sunday. And trust me, this one is something else, even by my standards...”

    Matt trails off as the cameraman departs from the locker room, leaving us none-the-wiser to what this great plan is.

    ”Ya hear that, Cole?” Tazz says. ”Matt’s got a plan for tha Ladder Match! What d’ya think it is?”

    “If it’s anything like any of his other plans, I don’t think I want to know.”




    We then transition… to an image of BILLY GUNN! It looks like we’re about to get episode three of the Best of Billy Gunn!

    ”Hi, I’m the legendary Billy Gunn, and I want you,” he points directly down the lens, ”to come with me on a trip through my very best moments.”

    He marches off the screen, and a title card appears on the screen saying ”The Very Best of Billy Gunn,”, with the subtitle underneath of ”Episode Three: Constant Reinvention.”

    As with the previous two editions, we see Billy Gunn in a theatre, watching footage of himself in front of a projector, and we split screen along with what he’s watching.

    ”I’m easily bored,” he says, seeing footage of him as Mr. Ass. ”I’m never satisfied. No matter how much success I have – and I’ve had a lot - no matter how much I push boundaries – again, a lot - I always want more. I’ve always been seen as someone who changes how people think. Like before me and Bart, no-one knew cowboys could be cool. Then me and Honk got together, and people were like, “huh, this music stuff is pretty good”. And then I came up with DX and pushing boundaries and getting unprecedented success in the tag ranks… but then I decide I didn’t want to be part of a two anymore. I wanted to be… The One.”

    We hear his terrible “I’ve Got It All” theme song, and see his “highlights” as The One…

    ”Intercontinental Champion? Done. Helped the WWE win the Invasion? Done. But I still wasn’t satisfied.”

    ”YOOOU… LOOOOOK… SOOOOO… GOOD TO ME!”

    We see Billy’s tag team with Chuck, with them winning the titles, along with some of their more notable moments…

    ”Listen, lemme make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not gay. Not even remotely. I’ve never even met a gay person before. But I was watching TV and I thought… there’s money to be made in this gay stuff. So I saw another boundary to be pushed. And… again, I’m definitely not gay… but I made people realise that the gays were okay. We broke records with our gay wedding, which was actually a publicity stunt between two very straight men… I mean, I didn’t even really like Chuck as a friend… but I’m all about pushing boundaries. Changing the dynamic. And no matter how not gay I am, it gives me enormous pride to think what a huge difference I made to the gay community… which I am not a part of. From now on, thanks to me – very much a straight man – people know that it’s okay to be gay. If you are gay. Which I’m not. And it gives me pride – straight pride - that other straight people like me may have a little more time for the gays, thanks to everything I’ve achieved. All about those boundaries, man. All about those boundaries.”

    With that the image changes to Billy Gunn, pre-injury, posing on the turnbuckle, as the message is relayed… ”Billy Gunn… returns soon.”



    Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi

    With just three days to go until he finally gets a proper match with The Undertaker, Kurt comes in to this one looking more focused than ever. The announcers put over how this new, intense version of Angle seemed to be kicked off right before the Rumble, right after he received a Stink Face from tonight’s opponent Rikishi in the Last Chance Battle Royal. It is perhaps for that reason why Angle is quite so aggressive from the start, managing to outwrestle the huge Samoan. Rikishi tries to overpower him but Angle is just too “on it”, and it takes him little time to grab the Ankle Lock, wrap the grapevine, and pick up the impressive submission victory.

    Winner: Kurt Angle in 2:23


    Angle’s music plays… but he doesn’t release! Still he hangs on, ripping and tearing at Rikishi’s ankle as the Samoan desperately tries to tap out to get him to release.

    After a few moments, referee Charles Robinson manages to pull him away well enough that Angle releases, only for the Olympian to shoot Robinson a crazed look that sends him rushing out of the ring in fear. Rikishi cries in pain as he holds his ankle, possibly with it broken, but Angle doesn’t care about the damage he’s caused. Instead, he calls for a microphone.

    ”You see this, ‘Taker? This is your future, right here. This is going to be you in three days at No Way Out. I’m a nice guy… I do things the right way… but believe me… I can get as vicious as anyone. You don’t wanna cross me… but it’s too late for you to get that message now. You’re on my radar, ‘Taker. And this Sunday, me and you, one-on-one… you’re going to wish you’d never came back. You’ll wish you’d have stayed at home… because I’m gonna break your God damn ankle.”

    He tosses the microphone to the side – no catchphrases or sign off – and storms to the back, leaving Rikishi in the ring in pain.



    We then head to the back, where Josh Matthews is standing by with JAMIE NOBLE, who has NIDIA standing next to him, holding his Cruiserweight Title.

    ”Jamie, earlier tonight we saw the lengths Chavo Guerrero will go to to win a match. Are you fearful at all that he might take the title from you this Sunday at No Way Out?”

    “Listen here, Josh. I ain’t scared-a no-one in th’ WWE. After ev’rythin’ me and my Nidia have been through these last few months, I’ll take on anyone… anywhere. And if Chavo wants t’ bring all his games, I say bring it on. I don’t give a damn what Chavo does this Sunday… or anyone else for that matter. ‘Cos lemme tell ya this, Josh… it’s gonna take more than Chavo Guerrero’s cheatin’ t’ prise this title outta my hands. Tell him, Nidia.”


    Matthews holds the mic up for Nidia. ”I’ve heard a lotta people questionin’ whether Chavo deserves th’ title shot. Is he a worthy challenger? Ya wanna know what our answer is? We don’t give a damn. Jamie Noble is a fightin’ champion, and he’ll take on anyone. But Chavo, a word-a warnin’ for ya. If ya bring all your bag-a tricks… all you’re gonna do is piss Jamie off. And lemme tell ya… ya don’t wanna do that. Ask Tajiri.”

    Nidia gives Noble a peck on the cheek, and they walk off together.



    We then move elsewhere, where we see EDDIE GUERRERO pacing back-and-forth in his locker room…

    … when CHRIS BENOIT walks in.

    ”Chris, man,” Eddie says, ”what Hardcore did last week, ese… it makes my blood boil. Takin’ you out like that-”

    “Save it, Eddie. I don’t buy any of this. You can pretend that you’re doing this to defend my honour or whatever, but I’m not interested. I can take care of myself, and I will this Sunday against Holly. So you can forget all this playing around like you give a damn. I know what you’re doing.”

    “Chris, man, you’ve got it all wrong-”

    “No, I haven’t. I bought in to your lies before, but I won’t again. And what Paul E. said about ‘Taker? Maybe he’s right. I didn’t think you’d be capable of something like that before… but now I’ve seen who you really are… maybe I could see it. You’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead. Who knows where the limits are?”

    “They ain’t there, ese! That’s way over the line, you know I wouldn’t do that. Me and you, we’re a team, man, I-”

    “No we’re not, Eddie. I thought we were, but you’re on your own team. You always have been. And from now on… so am I.”


    Benoit goes to leave, but turns back before he does.

    ”Good luck on Sunday,” he says. ”If… if... you make it out against Brock… you’re gonna have me coming for that belt again. And this time, I won’t be so naive.”

    Benoit storms out, leaving Eddie to stew over yet another thing going wrong for him at the moment.



    Eight Man Tag Match
    The Basham Brothers & Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore) w/ Shaniqua & Sean O’Haire vs. The Hooliganz & The Filthy Animals


    A preview of this Sunday, albeit with the battle lines blurred. While it will be each team for themselves at No Way Out, here they’re forced to work together. The Hooliganz and Animals have no problem working with each other due to their mutual respect, but the same can’t be said for the Bashams and Matt Hardy. The Bashams, long feeling like they’ve been overlooked, refuse to work with the egotistical Hardy, who in turn thinks he’s too good to work with anyone who isn’t his followers. The result is the Bashams leaving Matt out there to die against the babyfaces, which forces Shannon to come to his aid, and Shannon taking a beating.

    The Bashams do tag in eventually, though, and that’s enough to set the Filthy Animals off. After taking out Torrie Wilson last week (hence her lack of presence at ringside), the mere sight of the Bashams riles Rey and Kidman up, and it leads to Mysterio getting taken over on. He does manage to tag out to Paul London, only for the youngster to then be double teamed.

    Matt Hardy, seeing his team doing well, wants in to the match, but the Bashams refuse… so Matt tags himself in against their will! He takes over on Paul London… but the Bashams are furious that he’s forced himself back in! It leads to an argument between the four teammates… and allows Paul London to Dropkick them all in to each other! He scurries across the ring… and tags in Billy Kidman!

    Despite his recent confidence issues, Kidman has no problem rushing in to the ring and punching at anything that moves. Dropkicks follow – including one to the interfering Sean O’Haire – and Back Body Drops come after that. Kidman is absolutely feeling it out there, looking better than he has done for a while… until Doug cuts him off with a knee to the gut! He looks for a Powerbomb…

    … but you can’t Powerbomb Billy Kidman! He shockingly counters with a Facebuster! Danny charges… but is met with a BK Bomb! Kidman is killing it! Kendrick, London and Mysterio make sure to rid the ring of the Bashams, leaving Kidman alone with Matt Hardy, the legal man. He pulls him out of his corner and looks for a Suplex variation…

    … only for Shannon Moore to grab him from behind… and roll him up!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winners: The Basham Brothers & Mattitude, Inc. in 6:52


    What the hell?! Shannon wasn’t the legal man?!

    Shannon doesn’t seem to care, though, rolling straight out of the ring and celebrating on the ramp. Sean O’Haire joins him, and looks genuinely pleased for his fellow Follower for picking up the win. Kidman asks the referee what happened, stunned at how he was doing so well only to have it slip through his grasp, but the referee indicates a tag had been made… and lo-and-behold, we see a replay of Shannon blind tagging his way in when everyone else had their back turned! What great ringsmanship from Shannon!

    Rey returns to the ring to ask Kidman what happened, but Billy doesn’t answer him. He shakes his head and turns away, back to the ring, unable to comprehend how he continually gets so far, and yet falls at the very last moment.

    Shannon, however, is overjoyed on the ramp. Matt rolls out there to join them, tells Shannon ”you’re welcome,” as though he somehow helped, and makes Shannon raise his arm in victory. Sean lifts Shannon’s to make sure he gets some kind of recognition, but with three days to go until the huge Ladder Match… is the decision to run with Shannon Moore in the match actually going to pay off?!



    We then transition to a video of KURT ANGLE sat on a bench backstage, head bowed, as the WWE Production song ”Abattoir Field Trip” plays…



    … and we continue to look at Kurt, head bowed, as a deep-voiced narrator speaks.

    ”We are all prisoners…”

    We see Kurt gradually losing his mind over the last few months.

    ”Prisoners… to our own minds…”

    We see Kurt losing at Survivor Series, pinned by The Undertaker and ready to snap.

    ”Prisoners… to our beliefs…”

    We see Kurt backstage, growing frustrated as he’s continually quizzed about The Undertaker. ”I… did not… attack… The Undertaker,” we hear him say.

    ”We are who we are…”

    We cut to Angle still sat on the bench, before transitioning to Angle growing angry before the Rumble, and using that anger to flip Rikishi inside-out with a Lariat.

    ”There is no breaking from our chains…”

    We see him grabbing an Ankle Lock on Brock Lesnar at No Mercy, practically frothing at the mouth, as we hear him say, ”I… am a good… person!”

    ”There is no fighting it…”

    Still he sits on the bench, and we see the staredown between Kurt and The Undertaker at the Rumble, and the anger in his eyes.

    ”We are all prisoners…”

    We see him pull down the straps.

    ”And there is…”

    The footage speeds up as we see him at his aggressive best, nailing Angle Slam after Angle Slam.

    ”No…”

    We see him lock in another Ankle Lock…

    ”Way…”

    We return to the bench, and he looks up and down the lens of the camera.

    ”Out.”



    After the promo video, we return to ringside, where Cole and Tazz face the camera.

    ”That’s absolutely right, folks, we are just three days away from one of the biggest nights on the calendar. It’s the final stop on the Road to Wrestlemania… and this year is bigger than ever!”



    ”And this is one that, quite frankly, could be headlining Wrestlemania if you ask me, Tazz. The Undertaker returns to one-one-one action for the first time since he was taken out, and it’s against the number one suspect, Kurt Angle.”

    “Ya can’t seriously still think Kurt’s tha man who did it, can ya? What about Eddie?!”

    “I’m not going through this with you again, Tazz, and I want to focus on this match. Kurt Angle has seemed more fired up than we’ve ever seen him coming in to this match.”

    “Ya damn right he has, Cole! Kurt’s been fingered for a crime he din’t commit for too long, and he blames Tha Deadman! ‘Taker’s gonna wanna be careful this Sunday if he wants ta make it ta Wrestlemania!”

    “I almost hope Kurt does pick up the victory this Sunday, if only for his mental well-being.”




    ”You want to talk about mental wellbeing,” Cole continues, ”what the hell is going on in Hardcore Holly’s head at the moment?”

    “He’s a sick cat, Cole, he always has been, but that broken neck’s put him ovah tha edge. He’s so obsessed with takin’ out Brock Lesnar that he’s ended up pissin’ off Chris Benoit… and lemme tell ya… ya do not wanna piss off Tha Wolverine.”

    “When this one rolls around you might want to put the kids to bed. A Street Fight between Chris Benoit and Hardcore Holly? This one is not going to be pretty.”




    ”It’s not going to be pretty in this one either. Mattitude, Inc… The Bashams… the Hooliganz… and the Filthy Animals… in a Ladder Match!”

    “This one’s gonna be off tha hook, Cole, I can feel it! And don’t forget… Matt Hardy’s got a plan!”

    “I think you’re putting a little too much emphasis on Matt Hardy’s strategic abilities, partner. But be that as it may, with these eight men in the ring you have to think there’s going to be one hell of a lot of carnage, but it’s all for a purpose… and it’s a place at Wrestlemania to face the WWE Tag Team Champions.”




    ”But who will the champions be going in to Madison Square Garden? We’re going to find out this Sunday when the World’s Greatest Tag Team defend their belts against the A.P.A… and if Bradshaw and Ron Simmons lose… they have to disband!”

    “I like Ron and Bradshaw, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all comin’ to an end this Sunday for ‘em! Eight months Benjamin and Haas have been tha champions, and I don’t think there’s a team in tha world right now who can beat ‘em!”

    “Perhaps you’re right, partner, but earlier tonight we saw how quickly that Clothesline From Hell can turn things in Bradshaw’s favour. The champions have been great these last few months, but there’s a hell of a lot on the line for the A.P.A., and they’ll be more fired up than ever.”




    ”The Cruiserweight Title is also on the line, when Jamie Noble defends his championship against Chavo Guerrero!”

    “I don’t think tha Tag Titles are goin’ anywhere, but I sure think tha Cruiserweight belt is! Jamie Noble’s come back with a lotta fire since he went away, but against a Guerrero? They’ll do whatevah it takes ta win, Cole, lemme tell ya!”

    “Yes, and you have told me several times. But if we can put your apparent distrust in Eddie to one side, his nephew has a huge opportunity here. Chavo has shown that he occasionally will bend the rules-”

    “Like his uncle!”

    “- but underneath all that is an incredibly legitimate Cruiserweight competitor, and Jamie Noble will have to be at his best if he wants to walk out of No Way Out with the belt.”

    “Here’s a question, d’ya think Eddie got Chavo ta help out with takin’ out Tha Undertaker?”

    “Please stop.”




    “Ya know how I predicted a new champ’n in tha Cruiserweight Match? Well, I’m flat out guaranteein’ one here! Big Show is gonna be our new U.S. Champ!”

    “He’s quite the competitor, and has only been more focused since he aligned with William Regal, but you can’t count out John Cena.”

    “Ya can when he’s facin’ a 500lbs giant and has an injured back ya can! William Regal’s been achin’ ta get tha belt off Cena for some time now, and this Sunday, he’s gonna get his wish, I’m tellin’ ya.”




    ”And Finally, it’s the big one. Eddie Guerrero versus Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title… Part Two.”

    “Paul Heyman’s already said it for me, Cole! January 1st was one-a them once in a lifetime moments, where tha stars align it all comes togethah for someone. But this Sunday at No Way Out… normal business… will resume.”

    “It took a gargantuan effort for Eddie to win that title in the first place, and now he’s got to defend it against the man he beat for it… and it’s a tall order, I have to say.”

    “Winnin’ tha title is one thing, keepin’ it is a whole ‘nother… and when ya add on all tha other pressure’s on Eddie’s shoulders, I don’t see how he can keep tha gold.”

    “That pressure is coming purely from Paul Heyman and you know it! He’s the one who got in Chris Benoit’s ear, he’s the one accusing Eddie of that Undertaker business, and he’s the one riling Brock Lesnar up!”

    “Defend him all ya want, Cole, but I know tha truth… and tha truth is that all that pressure is mountin’ on Eddie… and tha last person ya wanna face when that’s happenin’ is Brock Lesnar. New WWE Champ’n, Cole, I can feel it.”

    “Well, either way, this is an event you are absolutely not going to want to miss. It’s this Sunday… live on pay-per-view… No… Way… Out!”


    As always, a massive, massive thanks to Ranthellacious for his brilliant match graphics


    Non-Title Match
    Hardcore Holly vs. Eddie Guerrero


    With that, it’s time for our main event for the evening.

    Hardcore, with a slightly swollen eye from his skirmish with Benoit earlier, comes down to the ring first, followed by the champion. Eddie, though, doesn’t come out with his usual low rider. Instead, he walks to the ring, looking deeply focused, as the announcers speculate that maybe all the pressure mounting on the WWE Champion is taking away from his usual upbeat mentality.

    Eddie climbs in to the ring… where he’s cut off by Holly! Hardcore’s wasting no time, he’s already firing off on Eddie… and Eddie fires back! This one is a straight up battle from the opening bell.

    With Eddie possibly distracted with everything else going on at the moment, Hardcore gets the better of the early exchanges, holding absolutely nothing back as he tries to unleash eighteen months of frustration. Eddie is trying to do right by his friend here, but he’s left himself in a terrible position, which causes Tazz to go off on a tirade about how senseless it is to insist on a match against someone like Hardcore Holly when you’re so close to a WWE Title match with Brock Lesnar in a few days. Eddie does his best to try and fight his way back in to it, but every time he does he’s immediately cut off by the brutal, relentless psychopath that is Hardcore Holly.

    With Hardcore having gotten by far the better of the contest, he drops Eddie throat-first on the top rope, then lifts him up any the ankles as he dangles over the top… and kicks him in the gut! Classic Holly! Eddie slumps down to the mat but pulls himself back up, wanting to keep fighting… so Holly pulls him in for a DDT!

    No! Eddie spins out… kick to the gut… Suplex! He swivels the hips… another! And a third! The Three Amigos! And now he’s going to the top!

    Eddie climbs to the top rope, takes a deep breath and leaps…

    FROG SPLASH!

    Misses! Hardcore moved at the last minute! He gets to his feet and pulls Eddie up with him… and looks for the Alabama Slam!

    But Eddie slides down the back… and rolls him up!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    TH...


    Holly kicks out! This one is relentless!

    Even being just three days away from them both having big pay-per-view matches, they still don’t wait to catch their breath. They get back up… Hardcore swings… Eddie ducks… and looks for an O’Connor Roll… but Holly rolls straight through… and grabs a Full Nelson!

    But Eddie spins put of that! There’s no way he’s going to allow himself to lose this close to a major title defence! He spins Holly around and pulls him in… and looks for the Brainbuster!

    But Hardcore slides out the back of it! He lands behind Eddie and, grabbing a waistlock, charges in to the corner… where they clash heads! Nasty impact there!

    Both men are down as referee Nick Patrick makes the count…

    … but they make it up before ten! And now they’re exchanging big right hands! They’re leaving absolutely nothing at home! Eddie gets the better of it and starts firing off a series of right hands…

    … when BROCK LESNAR clatters through both of them with a Double Clothesline! He came out of nowhere… and the ref calls for the bell!

    No contest in 6:22


    The crowd rightly boo that BS finish, but Nick Patrick doesn’t wait around to hear their frustration, instead sprinting as far away from Brock as he can. Brock, of course, has PAUL HEYMAN with him, and Heyman is carrying a microphone. They stand together for a few moments, staring at the downed men on the canvas… when a smirk grows across Brock’s face...

    ”Okay...”, Heyman screeches, ”FINISH… THEM!”

    On orders, Lesnar pulls Eddie off the mat… F5! He then turns to Hardcore… and pulls him between his thighs! Tell me he’s not going to do this after what Hardcore has been through…

    POWERBOMB! Brock Lesnar just Powerbombed Hardcore Holly on his injured neck…

    … and he’s not letting go! He pulls him up again… ANOTHER POWERBOMB! No matter what you think of Hardcore Holly’s latest actions, this is sick!

    Eddie tries to pull himself up, staggered from that F5, and holds himself up on the ropes.

    ”What’s the matter, Eddie?!” Heyman screeches. ”You getting the message yet?”

    Brock pulls Eddie in… ANOTHER F5!

    ”No!” Heyman yells. Not enough! He’s been overlooking you, Brock! This man stole your title, and he’s worried more about Hardcore Holly! Do you think he should be worried about Hardcore Holly?!”

    Brock pulls the lifeless Hardcore up this time… AND NAILS HIM WITH AN F5!

    With Hardcore well and truly laid out after the Double Powerbomb and F5, Heyman climbs to the outside and snatches the WWE Title off the timekeeper’s table, and gets back in the ring. He breathes hot air on it and wipes it with his sleeve, and offers it to Brock.

    ”What d’ya say, Brock? Do you think Eddie’s getting the point yet?”

    Brock takes the belt from Heyman and stares in to it, the first time he’s held it since he lost it nearly two months ago… and takes a step back. Eddie is barely conscious, but tries to pull himself to his feet using the ropes.

    ”Oh, Eddie,” Heyman says. ”Surely even you know this is just foolish. Why upset Brock Lesnar like this? With everything going on with you right now. With Undertaker knowing what you did. With Chris Benoit knowing you screwed him at the Rumble… where is Chris, by the way? He’s not coming, is he, Eddie? He knows what you did, and he’s leaving you out here to be taken out. Even with all of that… and a WWE Title match in three days time… you still can’t take a hint, can you? You’re going to make Brock Lesnar hurt you, aren’t you? Aren’t you?”

    Eddie tries to get to his feet… but collapses back down before he can.

    ”Stay there, Eddie,” Heyman says. ”Don’t bother fighting it. Just let it happen. Just like this Sunday… allow the inevitable to happen. Allow Brock Lesnar to-”

    Heyman is cut off by a cheer from the crowd…

    … as CHAVO GUERRERO sprints to the ring! Even with a Cruiserweight Title match this Sunday, he can’t stand by and watch his uncle be taken out like this!

    SO BROCK NAILS HIM IN THE HEAD WITH THE TITLE BELT! Chavo ran straight in to it!

    Eddie, seeing his nephew down, tries to crawl over to help him…

    … so Brock steps on his outstretched arm!

    ”Maybe now… now… you are starting to get it,” Heyman says. ”Maybe now you are seeing… that this is a war… that you can not win. You stretched yourself too thin. You tried to prove you’re something you’re not… and all that time… your focus should have been… on this man. This man is going to destroy you this Sunday, Eddie… and there’s nothing you can do to stop him.”

    Brock pulls Eddie up and shoves his barely conscious body in to the ropes so he rebounds out…

    AND CLOCKS EDDIE IN THE HEAD WITH THE BELT!

    AND EDDIE IS BUSTED OPEN!


    With that, there’s no getting up for Eddie. He’s out, bloodied and broken, and unable to move on the mat. Brock lands over him, still clutching the WWE Title, so Heyman kneels down next to the bloodied champion.

    ”It’s okay, Eddie… it’s okay. This is all coming to an end. This dream of yours of being WWE Champion… this dream that became a nightmare… you’re about to wake up from it, Eddie. If you can with everything going on, try to enjoy these last few days with the belt… because this Sunday at No Way Out… your WWE Title reign… is... over.”


    * END OF SHOW *














  10. #390
    Little bitta the bubbly!

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    I’ll try and mix in a few comments from last weeks show as I go along segment by segment with Smackdown, but before that, just a few quick comments on Raw-

    Firstly, bravo on the Jericho/Michaels match. I’ll be totally honest though, and say I haven’t been able to read through it in full, but it looks like an incredible write up, and another major win to further consolidate Jericho’s position heading into WrestleMania. Little touches like Bischoff bringing the match forward, and the match going long resulting in scheduled matches being pushed back a week are the minor things that I love seeing. I’m fascinated as to where Michaels goes. There’s no obvious opponent for him at the moment, so I’m blanking on who he could go up against at this point, leading me to think there’s a major name returning for some kind of dream match. That’s the only Michaels worthy match that comes to mind anyway right now.

    Lita is a bitch. Trish didn’t deserve that response at all, and I hope she Chick Kicks her stupid face off. No surprises they both won their matches here, and the likely triple threat is still on the cards, surely, at WrestleMania.

    I really liked the idea of Orton turning up at the Foley house, and I thought the execution was absolutely great too, without being campy (which this sooo easily could’ve been if not handled correctly), but this was an unexpected development. Almost out of the blue, and it makes me think that you could’ve done more to ramp up Orton’s interest in Foley over the last two weeks before this. I’ve been waiting for this angle to pick up for a few weeks, but this went from like 0 to 60, which is more frustrating, considering you had a chance to tease this or build toward it for a few weeks before this step, but instead had the Dreamer/RVD stuff go on for a few extra weeks. There was the pointed comments aimed at Foley last week, but nothing that even hinted at Orton calling him out or teasing him to come back. Just feels like there was a gap in the story missing between the name drops then jumping to the house visit.

    But, onto Smackdown;

    I loved the way you opened with Eddie already in the process of calling Holly out after the way you concluded last weeks show. Man, I know I’ve championed April as a major contender for best booked individual in the entire section, and there’s obviously Rhino for Stojy, Jake Roberts for BattleTank etc, but Eddie Guerrero is right in that mix too. While I thought Heyman’s promo was a bit overly long both this week and last week, the message he delivered then, and hammered home here, was perfect. Heyman bringing together everything just getting on top of Eddie at the minute (including levelling accusations at him over the Taker business), and the pressure of being champion was just magnificent. You’ve not had any time to really promote an issue between Lesnar and Eddie, so selling the match in this way is a great idea.

    Without the Cruiserweight title in their possession, it does feel like Kyo-Estro are kind of just there now. That’s not fault of yours, as you’re obviously in the process of trying to heat them up again following the Rumble loss, but them having another go-around with Akio & Ultimo and taking them out doesn’t do much for me, right now. I expect them to get involved at No Way Out, and set up some big multi man match at WrestleMania for the title, most likely at this stage. With that tag match being removed from the No Way Out card – and Regals supposed thinking behind it – I see them absolutely getting involved in the title match and ruining it as a response.

    The progression of the APA angle was to be expected. Pretty much anyone that’s commented in this thread over the course of the last year has probably at some point mentioned the potential of a JBL switch for Bradshaw, and this current angle sets that up perfectly. That final paragraph in the Poker segment with Cena was very pointed imo, and could easily be used in a different context by Bradshaw after the fact, to explain why he either turns on Ron or leaves him high and dry, cutting some kind of deal with Regal. This could’ve been a really corny segment too, but I found it entertaining with Bradshaw unable to understand any of Cena’s chatter.

    I hated the announcement of the random ladder stipulation for the #1 Contender tag match last week. It’s just seems tacked on for no reason other than to have a showstealer type match on the show, imo with no real reason for it to be a ladder match, apart from; tag team ladder matches are good, here’s one. If the story coming out of it ends up being the heel teams complaining that Rey and Kidman won despite not winning a straight tag match in months, and they have to beat the Bashams etc on the way to WrestleMania, then I guess it’ll at least have some worth in the long run. But as it is right now, it’s the first time I can recall you just throwing out a major stipulation match like that without any real reason, and while I’d probably give others a pass, I hold you to a higher bar, and from everything I’ve seen from you in the past, this just strikes me as something I wouldn’t expect from you.

    The win for Chavo sets him up nicely for No Way Out, but given the lack of development in any issue between him and Noble, I’m not expecting any decisive outcome. Feels like this is the beginning of something, or, as I mentioned earlier, a spot for Kyo-Estro to involve themselves. Nice use of the family tradition too, putting that out there as a possible route to victory for Chavo heading into the match. The Noble interview later in the show was fine too, and probably necessary to give the match some kind of momentum.

    I’ll sound like a jerk here, but the only thing that is annoying me about Hardcore Holly’s return thus far was him not chasing after Lesnar at the Rumble once Brock was eliminated, and it sticks with me when I read him kill Benoit last week, and take out Eddie with the chair. Aside from that one flaw, his booking has been flawless, tbh. He’ll never be a tippy top guy, but bloody hell, he’s going to be a great TV opponent for your top guys in the near future. You still have to pay off the Lesnar obsession, but he’s also got Benoit and Guerrero set up as adversaries here, and I actually think if I was legitimately watching this, I’d be keen to see what Holly is getting up to on a week by week basis right now. It’s tremendous.

    To a lesser extent than my dislike of the ladder match stipulation, I don’t like the Streetfight for Benoit and Holly. At least here, it’s warranted, but I’d much sooner just see them in a straight up match beat the shit out of each other without the need for weapons. Also find it slightly weird that this’ll be the second or third match in the thread that Benoit of all people will be in a hardcore style match!! Personally, I don’t think the gimmicks add anything to either match, and from my vantage point, feels more like you feeling you need to dress some of these matches up for a ‘B’ PPV, when, imo, with Eddie/Lesnar and Taker/Angle (Takers first advertised match back as the Deadman) you’ve got more than enough star power to sell the PPV.

    Gotta say though; I love Regal referring to Holly and Benoit’s actions as “yobbish” lol.

    No issues with the six man tag. Solid match to send you into the two title matches at No Way Out, and giving the APA the win here was a good idea too, I thought, in order for them to look credible and fired up, given what’s at stake for them. Cena was up against it already, but the back injury going into the match with Show – and no doubt some shenanigans from Regal to come too – will stack the deck against him further. All solid stuff to add further intrigue into the two matches for No Way Out. I didn’t like the segment between Show and A-Train last week, as I think A-Train is officially dead now as any kind of threat, but this was much better, and you’ve got Big Show back to looking like a major threat.

    Thought you done a good job to get to having Moore as Matts partner for the ladder match. Even though he’s the obvious choice ahead of Sean for a match like this, from a logical standpoint, it was something that would’ve needed explaining, given Matt’s lack of faith in his MF’er, and you did that here. No doubt that Matt will screw it up and find a way to blame the loss on Moore. Because … of course.

    Helped the WWE win the Invasion” ROFL. Billy Gunn = Not Gay. Got it.

    I’m delighted that this was all we got for Angle/Taker. You didn’t need any lights flickering, or creepy graveyard promos etc, as you sold the match on last weeks show. That segment last week was terrific btw – seriously, one of the best promos I’ve read of yours. Angle had some awesome lines like not missing Taker and wishing he was the one that took Taker out at the Survivor Series. And doing that all without Taker saying a word – just brilliant. I thought it was perfect. Tremendous work.

    Obviously, there’s unfinished business between Eddie and Benoit. WrestleMania seems the perfect place to settle it. Good idea to have this meeting, just to keep that issue bubbling and in our minds. Not that I’d have forgotten about it. I’m still annoyed I got my Rumble pick wrong, lol.

    Eight man tag was the no-brainer match to make for this show, but I LOVED the booking. Putting aside my irritation at the superfluous ladder match stip, you’ve got a couple of great stories to tell going into No Way Out. Kidman loses again, at the expense of Moore, who shows himself to be more than worthy of getting the chance with Matt. The Bashams and the Hooliganz will be there too, but you’ve got your two big stories for the match all nicely set up, and the post match was great too. Typical of Matt to take the glory, and credit to you also for not being heavy handed with Kidman too, and just being frustrated at himself without, I dunno, lashing out or having some kind of tantrum etc. Felt subtle.

    Main event was more about the post match, but I think you did the right thing in not having Holly take a loss just yet – even though losing to the champ wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world – saving that for Benoit feels like a better idea. Lesnar having reason to attack both men makes the run in feel more natural, as opposed to Brock beating up Eddie (for obvious reasons) and A.N Other just “because he was there”, so again, full marks on putting this match together especially to allow this to play out the way it did.

    Segment was completely designed to make Lesnar look like an unstoppable beast, which he needed after getting taken out by Holly and fleeing last week. Throwing Chavo into the mix was a good idea, I thought, to add another victim to the list, and also, because of course Eddie’s nephew would try and help him out here. The blood was a nice way to close out too, making it look as if Eddie is doomed at No Way Out, and making Lesnar look like an absolute monster, with three bodies left laying. Nothing fancy about this, nothing cute – this was just a standard beatdown, and I mean that as a compliment, because, for me, it 100% worked.

    Really solid go-home show, I thought. I haven’t loved this 3 week period, but there was a sizeable jump, given the attention on Jericho/Michaels on Raw, and the focus being on shilling the No Way Out PPV. The 3 week turnaround is tough, but you’ve got a really great card here – even if I think the ladder match and streetfight stips are unnecessary add ons – and this show done it’s job of selling the PPV. Top work, imo.

  11. #391
    I’m Not Booked!
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again



    Preview



    What do I need to know?


    • After earning a title shot at the Survivor Series, Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship on the January 1st edition of Smackdown.
    • With Chris Benoit having already been announced as the Number One Contender, Brock was forced to earn a title shot in the Royal Rumble. He dominated Evolution, but was eliminated by Triple H. Both Brock and Triple H have been banned from appearing on each other's shows to prevent the conflict boiling over.
    • Brock, however, earned a title shot at No Way Out in a Six-Person Elimination Match, last eliminating Kurt Angle
    • Paul Heyman has since piled on the psychological pressure on Eddie, accusing him of being the one to have taken out The Undertaker, and to have intentionally cheated to beat Benoit at the Rumble
    • With Eddie ready to burst, Brock took the opportunity to bloody the champion up on the last edition of Smackdown, and promised to take his title






    What do I need to know?

    • John Cena won the US Title from Eddie Guerrero at No Mercy
    • At the Survivor Series, he was forced on to General Manager William Regal's team, and at the end of the match, gave him an FU
    • Since then, Regal has done everything he can to undermine the US Champion, including enforcing a rule where Cena has to defend his title in every match he participates in
    • The Big Show, having lost in his WWE Title Match at Survivor Series, was taken under the wing of Regal, and manipulated in to focusing his attention on the brash champion
    • Cena seems to be the only one able to stop Show, having stood up to him at the Rumble cost him a shot at the WWE Title on Smackdown, but it's largely been all Big Show in the build
    • Cena has now twice tried to lift Big Show for an FU, but his back has given out both times. That's allowed Show to target the back, including a Chokeslam on the steel ramp on this last edition of Smackdown.






    What do I need to know?
    • The World's Greatest Tag Team have been champions for eight months, and have so far appeared nigh-on unbeatable.
    • The A.P.A. have been going through a rough period, but with Bradshaw showing signs of singles success.
    • After helping John Cena one week, William Regal decided to punish the A.P.A. by forcing them to fight for their future every match they have. Next time they lose, they disband.
    • Refusing to go out on Regal's terms, they have convinced the World's Greatest Tag Team to put their belts on the line at No Way Out, saying that if they have to put their future on the line, they want to do it as Tag Champions.






    What do I need to know?

    • After his girlfriend Nidia was blinded by Tajiri in September, Jamie noble took time off to care for her. He returned in time for the Royal Rumble, and beat Tajiri for the Cruiserweight Title.
    • Chavo Guerrero returned from his own injury in October, and was on a fine run of form until his uncle won the WWE Title. Since then, his form has been a little sketchier.
    • Chavo "earned" the title shot by saving Jamie Noble from a beatdown from Tajiri & Juventud, and Noble offering him the shot.
    • Noble and Nidia seem convinced that he's playing some kind of Guerrero game, but welcome the challenge. Chavo, however, promises he's playing this one straight.






    What do I need to know?
    • In the story that has dominated Smackdown for the last four months, The Undertaker was taken out by a mystery assailant during a WWE Title Match at Survivor Series.
    • He surprisingly returned at the Royal Rumble in his old Deadman persona, entering at Number 30 and winning the whole thing, last eliminating Kurt Angle.
    • Angle has been considered the prime suspect for the crime, and has slowly unraveled under the pressure of trying to maintain his composure during the accusations.
    • Continually insisting he is "a good person", Angle has outright denied that he is responsible for the attack, "but wishes it had been him".
    • 'Taker, on the other hand, will be looking to find out the truth in the ring.






    What do I need to know?
    • Hardcore Holly returned after eighteen months on the shelf with a broken neck, swearing vengeance on Brock Lesnar and promising to take out anyone who gets in the way of that goal.
    • During a Number One Contenders Match on Smackdown, Chris Benoit eliminated Holly just as he was about to get his hands on Brock. Hardcore, furious with rage, took out Benoit, eliminating him from the match.
    • The next week, Hardcore took out Benoit again backstage and took his place in a tag match against Brock Lesnar, and hit everyone in the match with a chair.
    • Benoit came looking for revenge the next week, and the two men were pulled apart by security. Knowing that Hardcore will ruin any match he's in, Regal opted to remove the rules of their No Way Out contest, turning it in to a Street Fight.






    What do I need to know?

    • For months, the Bashams, Hooliganz and Filthy Animals have been trying to prove they are the most deserving team to face the World's Greatest Tag Team for the WWE Tag Team Titles.
    • The Bashams had seen to have the number's advantage over the Filthy Animals with Shaniqua helping them out, so they enlisted the help of Torrie Wilson.
    • Torrie, though, was taken out by the Bashams two weeks ago on Smackdown.
    • Coupled with that, Billy Kidman has been going through a crisis of confidence, and considers himself to be the weak link of the team that needs carrying by Rey Mysterio (who has been on the run of his life). Rey insists that isn't true, but Kidman's not buying it.
    • The wild card in all of this are the boys from Mattitude, Inc. Matt has constantly belittled Shannon Moore and favoured his new recruit Sean O'Haire.
    • On Sean's recommendation, though, Matt has been encouraged to put Shannon in to the match with him. But who else is in the match may not matter when Matt has carried out his special plan...




    The Card

    WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)



    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer)
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer)
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer)
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer)
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer)


    As I said on Smackdown, a huge amount of thanks to Ranthellacious for his consistently awesome match graphics!

  12. #392
    R.I.P. Lionheart
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    The Card

    7: WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    5: WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    3: WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    2: WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    6: The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    4: Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    1: Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)

    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? Done
    What order will the matches be in? Done
    What will be the longest match? Angle vs Taker
    What will be the shortest match? APA vs WGTT
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them Triple H

    Impact 2014: Rebranding When It Mattered
    Vinny Ru's Black & Red Kru: WCW 2000.....Help.

  13. #393
    Little bitta the bubbly!

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    No Way Out Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    7. WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)
    Despite everything going on in his head right now, Eddie Guerrero is coming out of this with the title still in tact. Given Lesnar’s direction coming out of this show being obvious, he doesn’t need the belt for that program, nor should he have it (though I’m sure Triple H would be making a case for him to win it here, lol). I don’t see it being a clean finish, and I suspect that Lesnar’s WrestleMania opponent winds up costing him in some fashion here, leading to Eddie retaining.


    4. WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)
    I think we got a glimpse into Cena’s direction for WrestleMania with his Royal Rumble interaction. Bit surprised there hasn’t been more mention of it between times (maybe on the first Smackdown after the Rumble, but I’m foggy atm), but regardless, I think there’s more heat in that feud if Cena is still U.S Champion. John Cena slays the Giant here, leaving Regal to search high and low for the guy to dethrone him.


    3. WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    This is a perfect case of the obvious outcome being the right outcome. Everyone is ready to see Bradshaw branch out and become JBL, and the APA gimmick in 2004 had grown pretty stale. A fine match to run on a B PPV with big stakes, rather than it being on say, the Rumble or Mania, as it gets lost in the shuffle. Most interesting aspect here will be whether Bradshaw screws Simmons or maybe just attacks him after – or neither – but regardless how it happens, The Worlds Greatest Tag Team get the win and bring an end to a legendary team.


    2. WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)
    There hasn’t been a whole lot to get invested in, and I think that might be by design. Tajiri and Juvi get involved here, resulting in a No Contest type finish, and instead starts to lay foundations for WrestleMania.



    6. The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
    I already gushed about how much I loved this build up. Simple and effective. And it’s the match I’d most want to see. No goofy angles, no silliness like Angle being scared of his own shadow, or stealing an urn. That one promo on Smackdown sold this. Much like the WWE and Tag title matches, the outcome is obvious (to me – but I said the same at the Rumble and got almost everything wrong) but there’s plenty of wiggle room for surprises. I’m gonna say we have to wait for at least 24 hours before the reveal of who actually took him out, but either way, The Undertaker needs to be winning this.



    1. Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit
    As much as I’ve enjoyed the hell out of Hardcore Hollys rampage over the last few weeks, he has no business winning this match. It’ll be competitive, obviously, but given where I expect to see Chris Benoit at WrestleMania, he HAS to be winning this match.



    5. Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)

    No need to complicate this. Billy Kidman gets his big moment, grabbing the briefcase/contract(?) to send the Filthy Animals to WrestleMania. If they fail here, it ends up being overkill, and Kidman goes from an unlucky loser to just a loser.




    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer) DONE
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer) DONE
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer) TAKER/ANGLE
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer) TWGTT/APA
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer) KYO-ESTRO (if they count) TRIPLE H … and … I’ll play it safe and not say any others at the risk of losing a point, but there’s one I was tempted to go with in the Taker match.

  14. #394
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    Prediction Contest

    7
    WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)


    1
    WWE United States Title
    Big Showvs. John Cena (c)

    4
    WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A.
    vs.The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    3
    WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    6
    The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    2
    Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly
    vs. Benoit

    5
    Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)


    Who will win each match?
    Done with the prediction

    What order will the matches be in?
    done with prediction

    What will be the longest match?
    Eddie vs. Brock

    What will be the shortest match?
    Chavo vs. Noble

    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them
    yeah im going with Triple H though I think Hardcore Holly is going to be in the Main Event somehow to interfere.



    Spoiler:


    CWA World Heavyweight Champion
    Brayden Bridges




  15. #395
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again



    Preview



    What do I need to know?


    • After earning a title shot at the Survivor Series, Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship on the January 1st edition of Smackdown.
    • With Chris Benoit having already been announced as the Number One Contender, Brock was forced to earn a title shot in the Royal Rumble. He dominated Evolution, but was eliminated by Triple H. Both Brock and Triple H have been banned from appearing on each other's shows to prevent the conflict boiling over.
    • Brock, however, earned a title shot at No Way Out in a Six-Person Elimination Match, last eliminating Kurt Angle
    • Paul Heyman has since piled on the psychological pressure on Eddie, accusing him of being the one to have taken out The Undertaker, and to have intentionally cheated to beat Benoit at the Rumble
    • With Eddie ready to burst, Brock took the opportunity to bloody the champion up on the last edition of Smackdown, and promised to take his title






    What do I need to know?

    • John Cena won the US Title from Eddie Guerrero at No Mercy
    • At the Survivor Series, he was forced on to General Manager William Regal's team, and at the end of the match, gave him an FU
    • Since then, Regal has done everything he can to undermine the US Champion, including enforcing a rule where Cena has to defend his title in every match he participates in
    • The Big Show, having lost in his WWE Title Match at Survivor Series, was taken under the wing of Regal, and manipulated in to focusing his attention on the brash champion
    • Cena seems to be the only one able to stop Show, having stood up to him at the Rumble cost him a shot at the WWE Title on Smackdown, but it's largely been all Big Show in the build
    • Cena has now twice tried to lift Big Show for an FU, but his back has given out both times. That's allowed Show to target the back, including a Chokeslam on the steel ramp on this last edition of Smackdown.






    What do I need to know?
    • The World's Greatest Tag Team have been champions for eight months, and have so far appeared nigh-on unbeatable.
    • The A.P.A. have been going through a rough period, but with Bradshaw showing signs of singles success.
    • After helping John Cena one week, William Regal decided to punish the A.P.A. by forcing them to fight for their future every match they have. Next time they lose, they disband.
    • Refusing to go out on Regal's terms, they have convinced the World's Greatest Tag Team to put their belts on the line at No Way Out, saying that if they have to put their future on the line, they want to do it as Tag Champions.






    What do I need to know?

    • After his girlfriend Nidia was blinded by Tajiri in September, Jamie noble took time off to care for her. He returned in time for the Royal Rumble, and beat Tajiri for the Cruiserweight Title.
    • Chavo Guerrero returned from his own injury in October, and was on a fine run of form until his uncle won the WWE Title. Since then, his form has been a little sketchier.
    • Chavo "earned" the title shot by saving Jamie Noble from a beatdown from Tajiri & Juventud, and Noble offering him the shot.
    • Noble and Nidia seem convinced that he's playing some kind of Guerrero game, but welcome the challenge. Chavo, however, promises he's playing this one straight.






    What do I need to know?
    • In the story that has dominated Smackdown for the last four months, The Undertaker was taken out by a mystery assailant during a WWE Title Match at Survivor Series.
    • He surprisingly returned at the Royal Rumble in his old Deadman persona, entering at Number 30 and winning the whole thing, last eliminating Kurt Angle.
    • Angle has been considered the prime suspect for the crime, and has slowly unraveled under the pressure of trying to maintain his composure during the accusations.
    • Continually insisting he is "a good person", Angle has outright denied that he is responsible for the attack, "but wishes it had been him".
    • 'Taker, on the other hand, will be looking to find out the truth in the ring.






    What do I need to know?
    • Hardcore Holly returned after eighteen months on the shelf with a broken neck, swearing vengeance on Brock Lesnar and promising to take out anyone who gets in the way of that goal.
    • During a Number One Contenders Match on Smackdown, Chris Benoit eliminated Holly just as he was about to get his hands on Brock. Hardcore, furious with rage, took out Benoit, eliminating him from the match.
    • The next week, Hardcore took out Benoit again backstage and took his place in a tag match against Brock Lesnar, and hit everyone in the match with a chair.
    • Benoit came looking for revenge the next week, and the two men were pulled apart by security. Knowing that Hardcore will ruin any match he's in, Regal opted to remove the rules of their No Way Out contest, turning it in to a Street Fight.






    What do I need to know?

    • For months, the Bashams, Hooliganz and Filthy Animals have been trying to prove they are the most deserving team to face the World's Greatest Tag Team for the WWE Tag Team Titles.
    • The Bashams had seen to have the number's advantage over the Filthy Animals with Shaniqua helping them out, so they enlisted the help of Torrie Wilson.
    • Torrie, though, was taken out by the Bashams two weeks ago on Smackdown.
    • Coupled with that, Billy Kidman has been going through a crisis of confidence, and considers himself to be the weak link of the team that needs carrying by Rey Mysterio (who has been on the run of his life). Rey insists that isn't true, but Kidman's not buying it.
    • The wild card in all of this are the boys from Mattitude, Inc. Matt has constantly belittled Shannon Moore and favoured his new recruit Sean O'Haire.
    • On Sean's recommendation, though, Matt has been encouraged to put Shannon in to the match with him. But who else is in the match may not matter when Matt has carried out his special plan...




    The Card

    WWE Championship
    (7)

    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    WWE United States Title
    (3)

    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    (4)

    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    WWE Cruiserweight Title
    (2)

    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    The Phenom Returns!
    (5)

    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    Street Fight
    (6)

    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    (1)

    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)



    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (Winners in bold)
    What order will the matches be in? (DONE)
    What will be the longest match? (Kurt Angle vs The Undertaker)
    What will be the shortest match? (WWE Cruiserweight Championship- Noble (c) vs Chavo)
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them- (TRIPLE H from RAW shows up on a Smackdown PPV and interferes in the WWE Championship match at No Way Out costing Brock the title; Taker's attacker will show up post-match but not during the match but will show up after Taker beats Angle)

  16. #396
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    7. WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    5. WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    3. WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    2. WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    6. The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    4. Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    1. Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)



    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer) Done
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer) Done
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Angle/Taker
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Cena/Big Show
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer) Tajiri, Juventud, Dawn Marie (if we have to count them separately) & Triple H






  17. #397
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    7. WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    4. WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)

    6. WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    3. WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    6. The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    5. Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    1. Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)


    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer) Above
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer) Above
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Lesnar/Guerrero
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Cena/Big Show
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer) Triple H



  18. #398
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    WWE Championship
    7 Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)
    As much as I love your booking of Brock in this thread, I think the smart money is on Eddie retaining. Now, you have slow played Lesnar/HHH since what feels like forever, so I am really thinking that HHH interferes in some sort of capacity to set the stage for their inevitable WMXX showdown. However, it would make perfect sense for Brock to win and set up a legendary match with Undertaker at WMXX, but I don’t think that’s happening. I could also see Eddie cheating his way to a victory if HHH isn’t involved. Either way, Eddie retains.

    3 WWE United States Title
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)
    I am gonna go out on a huge limb here and say the title changes hands. Regal gets involved and costs Cena the title, which gives Cena a redemption arc going into a re-match at WMXX. (On a side note, I know I sound like a broken record talking about WMXX but it happens to be one of the fondest memories of my childhood attending it live. The reaction Cena got coming out first is something I will never forget. I really think that night solidified his spot at the top of the card forever.)

    6 WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)
    I really like how you’ve set up the eventual JBL character, and this gives him an out so you can start early. Also, WGTT are very formidable champions, and will no doubt be putting on one of the matches of the night at WMXX against the winner of the Ladder Match.

    2 WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)
    This is a true toss up, but I am thinking Noble retains here. Again, there is so much you can do with the Cruiserweights and your handling of them thus far has been spectacular. Really looking forward to this one.

    5 The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
    The Undertaker winning the Royal Rumble was truly a shocking surprise for me, but you were able to pull it off very nicely. So now Taker gets to exercise his demons leading into WMXX, and Angle really won’t be hurt with a loss to the hottest guy on SD besides Eddie right now. Taker wins in an absolute banger, and I am very excited to read this match.

    4 Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit
    Benoit is in a weird spot here. On one hand, he was just screwed out of the title against Eddie, but on the other hand, Eddie has all the momentum and I commend you for shaking things up and going on an alternate path than what we saw in real life. You are a lot like me booking in the sense that I also try to never duplicate the same match that happened in real life at that event. So, enough rambling, Benoit wins in a brawl. I really don’ know what’s next for Benoit- possibly a match with Angle, or an inter-promotional battle.

    1 Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)
    I am really looking forward to this match regardless of the winning team, but I am going to say the Filthy Animals win this one. I expect tons of crazy spots here. You really can’t go wrong with the winners, as all four teams match up nicely with WGTT.

    Overall man I am very excited to see this one unfold. It feels like I’ve been pumped up for the Road to WMXX for a long time now, and I am very intrigued to see how everything plays out at this PPV. As always, you produce top notch quality work and this will certainly not disappoint. Good luck writing brother!


    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer) Done
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer) Done
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer) The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer) HHH

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    7. WWE Championship
    Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)

    Eddie's reign doesn't end here, and I'll echo other folks' sentiments stating Triple H costs Lesnar the match/setting up WrestleMania.

    3. WWE United States Title
    Big Show
    vs. John Cena (c)

    Tough one to call. Big Show wins to set up an obligatory WrestleMania rematch?

    4. WWE Tag Team Titles: If The A.P.A. Lose, They Disband
    The A.P.A. vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team (c)

    It's the end of the line for The A.P.A - but not for Bradshaw. JBL here we go!

    6. WWE Cruiserweight Title
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)

    Juvi and Tajiri can't keep their noses out - I see a eight-pack challenge (throwing in Hardy, Moore, Akio & Dragon).

    5. The Phenom Returns!
    Kurt Angle
    vs. The Undertaker

    So, here's the punt in the dark. Angle BEATS 'Taker, thanks to... Chris Jericho. It was Jericho all along who taken out 'Taker (matches his current gimmick with the same people given all the chances in the company) which sets up Rumble winner Undertaker versus Unstoppable Champion Jericho in the Main Event of WrestleMania 20. Angle, after defeating the Rumble winner, ends up with a Title shot (Angle/Benoit/Guerrero) in New York.

    2. Street Fight
    Hardcore Holly vs. Chris Benoit

    Benoit wins - gives him momentum before WrestleMania.


    1. Four Team Ladder Match To Determine The Number One Contenders to The WWE Tag Team Titles At Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) vs. Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore)

    The most plausible team of them all to take on The WGTT in the Garden. Leads to the betrayal from Kidman to Mysterio, costing them the Gold at 'Mania.



    Prediction Contest

    Who will win each match? (3 points per correct answer) Done
    What order will the matches be in? (1 point per correct answer) Done
    What will be the longest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Lesnar/Eddie
    What will be the shortest match? (1 point for the correct answer) Noble/Chavo
    Will there be any surprise/unannounced appearances? If so, name them (2 points for a correct answer, minus 1 point for an incorrect answer) Tajiri, Juventud, Ultimo Dragon, Akio, Triple H & Chris Jericho.

    Looking forward to the show, mate!
    Last edited by GJCLS; 09-18-2019 at 08:26 AM.

  20. #400
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    February 15 2004
    San Francisco, California


    We open to the WWE Production theme ”Mission Objective”...



    … and an extreme close-up of BROCK LESNAR’s face.

    ”This man...” we hear PAUL HEYMAN say as way of a voiceover, ”is un… beatable!”

    We see clips of Brock taking out THE ROCK, THE UNDERTAKER, BIG SHOW, KURT ANGLE and even HULK HOGAN, and all the while, still hear Heyman’s voiceover.

    ”This man… has faced anyone who’s anyone in this business… and won. This man… is the youngest… WWE Champion… in history. This man… killed… Hulkamania.”

    We see Brock Lesnar destroying the likes of EDDIE GUERRERO, CHRIS BENOIT and CHAVO GUERRERO in recent months.

    ”This man… shies… from nobody. There has never been anyone as strong… dangerous… and successful… as this… man.”

    The footage then changes to that of EDDIE GUERRERO busted open on the last episode of Smackdown, interspersed with other imagery of Eddie in pain over the last few months, and Brock Lesnar hitting him with the title belt on Smackdown.

    ”But you...” Heyman continues. ”You... are none of those things. You… are a liar. You… are a cheat… and you...are a thief. You are good… but you are not… Brock… Lesnar.”

    We then cut to footage of Eddie celebrating with the WWE Title on the January 1st edition of Smackdown.

    ”And yet somehow… you… are the W… W… E… Champion.”

    The footage changes to a crazed look on Brock’s eyes, as we quickly jump between some of his more brutal moments throughout his career.

    ”But tonight… that… changes.”

    We see a montage of all the dastardly things Brock has done to Eddie these last couple of months.

    ”Anyone can get lucky once… but getting lucky twice… is impossible. Tonight… the natural order… is restored.”

    We see footage of Eddie earlier in his career, fighting with his brothers in Mexico, his battles in ECW and WCW, his arrival in WWE, all the way through to winning the belt in January.

    ”All your life… you dreamed of this. This is what it was all about. This was the dream that made all the pain… all the suffering worthwhile. The dream… of being… the W… W… E… Champion.”

    The footage snaps back to Eddie being decimated by Brock.

    But this is no dream! You don’t know what you’re getting in to… and it doesn’t end well for you. You are stepping in to a world you don’t understand. You took something which is very precious to Brock Lesnar… and he wants it back.”

    The footage ramps up, with more shots of the numerous F5s Eddie has taken, the belt shot from Smackdown, as the voiceover from Heyman goes in to the final push…

    ”No, Eddie, this is no dream. This… is a nightmare. There will be no waking up...”

    We see Eddie’s busted open face from Smackdown.

    And there will be… No… Way… Out.”

    The footage changes to Brock Lesnar smirking and holding the title high above his head… as we fade out.



    ”And now… THQ and WWE Smackdown present… No… Way… Out.”

    Pyrotechnics engulf the arena as ”Crossing Borders” by Smackdown’s own Rey Mysterio pumps out of the sound system, drowned out by the rabid cheering of the Californian fans that pack out the Cow Palace. We get the usual shots of the cheering crowd holding their signs way above their heads, before settling on the announce team for the evening.

    ”Hello, everyone, and welcome to the final stop before Wrestlemania XX… No… Way… Out! I’m Michael Cole, alongside me as always is my broadcast colleague Tazz, and Tazz, what a night we’ve got ahead of us.”

    “No doubt, no doubt! No Way Out’s a good name for it, ‘cos there’s a tonne-a guys who’ve got no way out-a tha holes they’ve been diggin’ for themselves if ya ask me!”

    “Seven matches on the card, four title matches, but perhaps none bigger than the WWE Title match between Eddie Guerrero and Brock Lesnar!”

    “And that’d exactly what I’m talkin’ about, Cole. Eddie’s pulled tha wool over ev’ryone’s eyes for a while, but tonight he gets found out by Brock, I’m tellin’ ya.”

    “We’ll also have the United States Title on the line between John Cena and Big Show, and The Undertaker is in his first singles match since his return against Kurt Angle, but before we get there, let’s send it up to Tony Chimel.”



    *DING DING DING*


    We cut to TONY CHIMEL standing in the centre of the ring.

    ”Ladies and gentlemen, the following… is a FOUR… TEAM… LADDER MATCH!”

    Big pop from the fans.

    ”Hanging above the ring is a briefcase. The winners of the match are the first team to obtain the briefcase, which contains a contract for a WWE Tag Team Title Match… at Wrestle… Mania… 20!”

    Another pop.


    *** SEARCH FOR: MATT HARDY ***
    *** ENTER KEYWORD: VERSION 1.0 ***
    *** CONNECTING... ***

    ”OHHH YEEEAAAAHHH!”



    Matt Fact: Matt won the first ever Tag Team Ladder Match at No Mercy 1999


    From the back bursts MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0), with SHANNON MOORE and SEAN O’HAIRE following behind. Matt poses for the fans, with Shannon copying his every move, and they make their way down the ramp and in to the ring.

    ”Well, would you look at that,” Cole says as they make their entrance, ”that Matt Fact is actually correct.”

    “Of course it is, Cole”
    Tazz says, ”they always are! And ya know what else is a fact… Matt Hardy’s got a plan for tonight… and that makes them red hot favourites in this match. Ya can’t beat a Matt Plan!”

    “You’re absolutely right that we heard Matt has a plan for he and Shannon in this match, although we don’t know what it is. But if it’s anything like his usual plans, it’s probably total grabage, and probably means a long night for Shannon Moore.”


    The music dies down…


    *** NEW ROCKERS ***


    There’s a hearty pop for the arrival of PAUL LONDON and BRIAN KENDRICK of The Hooliganz! Showing absolutely no fear, the sprint straight down to the ring and pose for the fans, as we await our next team…


    *** BASHAM ***


    That quickly turns to heat, though, as SHANIQUA strolls out from the back, flanked by the somewhat anxious looking DANNY and DOUG BASHAM. They stand at the top of the ramp with Shaniqua barking orders at them and pointing at the briefcase above the ring…

    … then walks away! She’s walking to the back!

    ”Wow!” Cole exclaims. ”If you wanted a symbol of the chaos we’re about to see, I think for the first time Shaniqua is refusing to stay at ringside with her clients!”

    “I don’t blame here, Cole, I wouldn’t wanna be in there either, and I’m a very brave man.”


    The Bashams make their way to the ring on their own, and their music dies down…


    *** 619 ***


    And there’s a huge pop for the team of REY MYSTERIO and BILLY KIDMAN! Perhaps tellingly they head to the ring to Rey’s music, and they come out without Torrie Wilson, who was taken out by the Basham Brothers just over a week ago on Smackdown. They head down the ramp and slide in to the ring… and immediately go for the Bashams! This one is underway!



    Four Team Ladder Match for the Number One Contendership of the WWE Tag Team Titles at Wrestlemania
    Basham Brothers (Danny & Doug Basham) vs. Mattitude, Inc. (Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) & Shannon Moore) w/Sean O’Haire vs. The Hooliganz (Brian Kendrick & Paul London) vs. The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio)


    With the Animals and Bashams consumed by their hatred, the Hooliganz rush to the outside… and immediately go for a Ladder! They’re not wasting any time… and they want to capitalise while the other teams are distracted! The Bashams and Animals quickly realise, though, and head to the outside to cut them off, and a huge scrap plays out on the outside…

    … leaving Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore alone in the ring! Matt pats Shannon on the chest, telling him now is the time… AND CLIMBS ON SHANNON’S SHOULDERS! He’s trying to reach the briefcase without a ladder!

    Of course, he’s hopefully far away… and the teams on the outside realise what’s going on! As Michael Cole comments that he ”hopes that wasn’t Matt’s big plan from Smackdown”, the other teams climb in to the ring, ignoring their own personal beef, with Matt stranded on Shannon’s shoulders...AND START KICKING AT SHANNON! He can’t defend himself while carrying his leader on his shoulders! London and Kendrick takes a step back… Double Dropkick to Shannon, knocking him down… AND FORCING THE MATTITUDE FOLLOWER TO ACCIDENTALLY ELECTRIC CHAIR DROP MATT!

    Both members of Mattitude, Inc. are down, so the Bashams jump the Hooliganz from behind. They throw Kendrick along the mat… and cause him to slide across the canvas… and splat on the floor on the outside! They’re then jumped by Kidman and Rey, but reverse to throw them over the top rope by where Kendrick is down… but the Animals land on the apron! The Bashams charge… Rey and Kidman pull the ropes down… and the Bashams tumble to the outside!

    But Rey and Kidman are still on the apron… and Paul London is in the ring! He charges for them… they sidestep… and London Suicide Dives on to the Bashams on the outside!

    London gets back to his feet, so Rey leaps up… picture perfect Asai Moonsault to the outside! Kidman then climbs to the top rope, looking to follow him out with a high spot in this furiously paced opening encounter…

    … but Matt stops him! Matt carries him on his shoulders in an Electric Chair position, just as he was in earlier… and Shannon Moore is climbing to the top rope! DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Well, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best!

    The crowd boo Matt from preventing Kidman’s high risk move to the outside, but he and Shannon don’t seem bothered. They high-ten and hug at having gotten Kidman down…

    … but Matt suddenly grabs Shannon by the neck and tights…

    AND LAUNCHES HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE… FORCING HIM IN TO A SOMERSAULT PLANCHA ON TO THE GUYS ON THE OUTSIDE! Not sure how much Shannon knew about what they were doing, but it was sure effective! Matt turns around…

    … in to a BK Bomb from Kidman! The Doomsday Device wasn’t enough to keep him down for long! He climbs to the top as everyone on the outside pulls themselves up…

    SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE OUTSIDE! Almighty pop from the fans!

    And with that, there’s no-one left to hit a big move to the outside, allowing us to settle down from the most frantic beginning. Kidman, the only one not taken out, grabs the ladder and slides it in to the ring, and sets it up under the briefcase. He starts to climb… but Matt’s back on his feet… and punches the back of Kidman’s knee! He grabs Kidman from behind… Back Suplex off the ladder! Rey rolls in to help… but before he can attack, Matt kicks his knee! Not very extreme in this kind of environment, but if it gets the job done…

    Shannon’s now able to roll in the ring, and with Matt standing tall and the Filthy Animals down, Matt slaps him on the chest. ”You remember the plan?” he yells to his underling, and Shannon nods. ”Good! Now’s the time! Go!”

    They separate out to each of the Filthy Animals… and start stomping on their knees! Are they targetting the legs?! The Hooliganz, groggy from absorbing all those high risk moves, climb to the apron, so Matt points them out to Shannon and they charge… and Dropkick their knees from underneath them… sending them back out to the outside! They are targetting the knees!

    ”I...” Cole stammers, ”I don’t believe it! Matt Hardy’s plan was to target the knees so their opponents can’t climb the ladder… folks, I can’t believe I’m saying this… but Matt Hardy’s plan is actually a good one!”

    With the Hooliganz and Animals feeling their injured knees, that allows Shannon and Matt to climb… only to be cut off by the Bashams! They pull them down and attack in opposite corners, so Danny grabs the ladder… and throws it in Matt’s face! Big ”ooohs” for that one! With the ladder resting against Matt in the corner, Danny backs up and charges… but Matt moves… and Danny charges face-first in to the ladder! Matt rushes across the ring… and Chop Blocks Doug! Back to the knee again! He then grabs Shannon’s attention and drops to his knees in front of Danny, who is resting against the ladder in the opposite corner… and signals for Shannon to come over! Shannon sprints across the ring… leaps off Matt’s back… POETRY IN MOTION AGAINST THE LADDER! Straight out of the Hardyz playbook! Matt then holds the ladder against Doug’s leg in the other corner… Shannon rushes over… and Dropkicks the ladder against the knee! Matt then signals to Shannon… and they grab Stereo Leg Locks! And again Cole can’t believe that Matt actually put together a coherent plan!

    With the Bashams locked in the holds, Matt and Shannon wrench it in… but they’re exposed on the mat! The Hooliganz climb on opposite turnbuckles and leap off… and splash Matt and Shannon while they’re delivering the Leg Locks! Innovative stuff from London and Kendrick! They get to their feet…

    … and see Kidman and Mysterio waiting for them! The more experienced team wave on the Hooliganz, so the two teams fist bump out of respect… and immediately start pounding the shit out of each other! The Animals are whipped off the ropes, but they duck… Tandem Hurricanranas! The Hooliganz are out and lying next to each other, so Rey does a backwards roll in to a Wheelbarrow from Kidman… and he slams Rey down on Kendrick and London! Innovative stuff from them as well!

    They grab the ladder off the mat, but rather than set it up to climb they place it in the corner of the ring, balancing it on the second rope across the corner… but are immediately jumped by Matt and Shannon! They didn’t even get a chance to use the ladder for whatever they were planning! Shannon and Rey fight in one corner, so Matt tries to slam Kidman’s face off the balancing ladder in the corner… Kidman elbows out… and looks for a Suplex on to the ladder balancing on the second rope! But Matt fights it… he lifts Kidman up… AND HITS HIM WITH A SHINBREAKER… ON TO THE LADDER! Matt keeps targetting the leg… and it keeps working!

    He then rushes across the ring to where Rey is teeing off on Shannon… and Chop Blocks him again! He lifts Rey up and looks for another Shinbreaker on to the ladder…

    … but Rey lands on the ladder… and mule kicks Matt away! Rey managed to avoid it! Matt stumbles back, so Rey, standing on the balancing ladder across the corner, leaps on to the top rope and dives off… AND HITS A TORNADO DDT ON MATT! Another pop from the crowd!

    But the Hooliganz jump Rey straight away! They take turns kicking him… then hit a Leg Sweep/Spinning Heel Kick combo… knocking Rey out of the ring! With the ring cleared, London and Kendrick look at each other… and head outside the ring! They lift up the apron… and pull out another Ladder… AND A TABLE!

    ”What tha hell’s this?!” Tazz yells.

    ”Everyone knows these kids are big fans of the WWE, partner, and they must be wanting to make their first ladder match as memorable as possible!”

    “Here’s how ya make it memorable… win tha damn match!”


    The excitable rookies obviously don’t pay attention to that, though. They throw the ladder and table in to the ring… they lay the ladder against the top rope… but are jumped by the Bashams! Tazz can’t believe they wasted valuable time trying to mimic their favourite teams from the past, but the lesson is lost on them as the Bashams stomp them down. The Hooliganz can’t fight back… so Shannon comes out of nowhere and takes the fight to the Bashams! No! The Bashams knee him in the gut to cut him off and whip him off the rope… AND BACK BODY DROP SHANNON ON TO THE LADDER RESTING AGAINST THE TOP ROPE!

    Danny gets to his feet… but is hit with a Spinning Heel Kick from Brian Kendrick! Kendrick then grabs Doug… and looks for Sliced Bread #2!

    No! Doug hangs on… AND THROWS KENDRICK ON TO SEAN O’HAIRE ON THE OUTSIDE!

    But Sean catches him! Great strength from the big man! Sean hangs on to Kendrick as London charges across the ring… Baseball Slide to Kendrick’s back… knocking Sean down! He then slides back in to the ring… but Doug has picked up the ladder resting on the top rope… and pokes it in London’s face! London goes down!

    Doug then heaves the ladder up… and places his head between the rungs! He’s going to helicopter with the ladder! Rey’s the first to stagger towards him… so Doug swings the ladder straight in to his face, knocking him down! Kendrick’s up next… BANG! Ladder to the face! Doug then sees London getting to his feet on the apron, struggling from the first jab… so Doug swings and clatters London in the face…

    FORCING HIM TO SHOOTING STAR PRESS BUMP TO THE FLOOR! London just got turned inside out!

    The fans pop big for that huge hit, but Doug isn’t finished… he lines up Shannon… but Shannon ducks under it… and Billy Kidman comes off the top with a Missile Dropkick… kicking the ladder in to Doug’s throat! Doug is down!

    But now Shannon jumps Kidman from behind! This one is still absolutely frantic! Shannon lifts him up for a Powerbomb… BUT YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB BILLY KIDMAN! Facebuster to Shannon!

    With everyone else down, Kidman grabs the ladder from the corner and sets it up under the briefcase, and (with an injured knee), tries to limp up…

    … but Matt Hardy jabs him in the knee with the other ladder! Every time he targets the knee, and every time it works! Matt sets up his ladder next to Kidman and climbs… he grabs him and pulls him in…

    SIDE EFFECT OFF THE LADDER! And another pop from the crowd!

    Matt pulls himself up using the ropes, starting to struggle after the relentless bumps all eight are having to take, and starts to climb the ladder… he edges closer to the top, bit by bit…

    … only to be cut off by Brian Kendrick! Kendrick tries to battle back… he climbs up there with Matt… but Matt kicks him off… and Kendrick flat-back bumps on to the canvas! Matt tries to climb again…

    … only for Paul London to roll in to the ring! How is this kid still going after everything he’s been through?! London’s in a really bad way, and struggles to get to his feet… and topples in to a punch to the kidneys of Matt! And again! He can barely support his own body weight, but he can sure swing wildly to stop Matt from reaching the briefcase! Matt is slowed by the punches to the lower back, and that allows London time to pull himself up the other side of the ladder from Matt… he climbs to the top… and slams Matt’s face against the top of the ladder! He then grabs Matt by the waist and braces himself…

    AND SUNSET FLIPS OVER THE TOP OF THE LADDER… AND POWERBOMBS MATT ON TO THE CANVAS! HUGE pop from the crowd!

    London lays out on the mat for a few moments, still recovering from that ladder shot to face… but rolls on to his knees… and pulls himself up again! How is he still going?! With the fans mightily behind him, London staggers around the ring, trying to fight through the unimaginable pain he must be feeling, and verrrrry slowly pulls himself on to the first rung of the ladder… then the second… then the third… and the fourth…

    … only for Sean O’Haire to slide in to the ring and club him in the back! He’s not even a competitor in the match, but he’s not about to let Paul London win… especially after he took him out earlier in the match! O’Haire slides his head between London’s legs… and looks for a Powerbomb!

    No! London adjusts… and Hurricanranas O’Haire over the top rope! Paul London just will not stay down!

    But Sean manages to hang on to the top rope and stay on the apron… he pulls himself up as London grabs one of the ladders in the ring… and charges for O’Haire…

    … no! O’Haire ducks… and drives his shoulder in to London’s midsection through the ropes… causing London to accidentally toss the ladder to the outside by the announce table! O’Haire grabs London… and looks for a Suplex from the inside of the ring to the outside!

    No! London lands on his feet on the outside! Great athleticism… only for O’Haire to kick him in the face from the apron! London’s locked completely loopy, so O’Haire hops off the apron and lines him up… Superkick! London slumps on to the Spanish announce table!

    But here comes Brian Kendrick to save his partner! He picks the ladder off the floor… and jabs O’Haire in the ribs with it! He then sets it up and climbs up for a better spot… and leaps off for a Tornado DDT on the floor!

    But O’Haire hangs on! He doesn’t let Kendrick go down as he hoists him up in the air… AND HITS A SPINNING SIDEWALK SLAM ON THE PROTECTIVE MATS ON THE OUTSIDE! O’Haire is beating the hell out of the Hooliganz… and he’s not even in the match! He surveys the damage he’s caused…

    … when he locks eyes on the ladder standing next to him… and he starts to smile! O’Haire’s got a sick thought running through his mind!

    He peels Kendrick off the floor and tosses him on to the announce table alongside London… AND STARTS TO CLIMB THE LADDER! Big pop from the crowd for whatever it is Sean is planning! He climbs up to the top, and faces the Hooliganz out cold on the announce table beneath him… he takes a deep breath…

    AND SOARS THROUGH THE AIR WITH A SEAN-TON BOMB THROUGH THE TABLE! If this was a decade later “holy shit” chants would be ringing out, but in 2004… the fans are just marking the fuck out!

    As the announcers play up how Sean just sacrificed his own body to take out one third of Matt and Shannon’s opponents, the cheers gradually die down… but with no-one left to in the ring to respond! Everyone has been taken out! There’s a lull as nothing happens…

    … when SHANIQUA runs down from the back! She slides in the ring and yells at Doug and Danny to get up, but the latter has been knocked loopy from the earlier kick from Kendrick, and the former just had a ladder crushed against his throat! Shaniqua tries to work out what to do…

    WHEN SHE STARTS CLIMBING THE LADDER HERSELF! Shaniqua’s going to grab the briefcase for her clients! She makes it to the top of the ladder… but her attention is drawn by a sudden pop from the crowd…

    … as TORRIE WILSON runs to the ring as well! She’s not been seen since the Basham Brothers laid her out two weeks ago! Shaniqua freezes in fear, so Torrie slides between her legs…

    AND POWERBOMBS SHANIQUA OFF THE LADDER! Even the valets are taking bumps!

    The crowd pop big for that as well, so Torrie looks to find Rey and Billy to encourage them to follow up…

    … only to see that the Bashams have gotten back in to the ring! She’s being stalked by the men who took her out two weeks ago!

    They slowly stride towards her, forcing her against the ropes… when Danny grabs her by the hair! He yells at Doug… and points at the table! Doug Basham is setting up the table the Hooliganz brought in to the ring earlier! Tell me they’re not going to do what they’re lining up for?!

    They line her up for a double team through the table…

    … but Billy Kidman dives on to them before they can! His knee must be in absolute agony right now, but he’s not about to let Torrie go through a table!

    Torrie uses that opportunity to roll out of the ring to safety, with Kidman taking on both Bashams on his own… they manage to outnumber him and beat him down, then whip him off the ropes for the same Double Flapjack they delivered to Shannon on the ladder earlier… they lift him up… but Kidman fights it in midair…

    AND BRINGS THEM BOTH DOWN WITH A DOUBLE DDT!

    Both Bashams instinctively get to their feet, so Kidman throws Doug to the outside... Danny is staggering around the ring… Rey Mysterio rolls back in… and Dropkicks Danny in to the second rope! He bounces off the ropes… 619! Danny staggers backwards, so Rey leaps on to the top rope… WEST COAST POP! Big pop from the California crowd for Rey Rey as Danny is absolutely spiked on the top of his head!

    With the Bashams taken care of, Kidman and Mysterio look to climb the ladder. Both have taken a lot of damage, so their climb is slow… and that allows Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore back in to the match! They pull them both down… Stereo Dropkicks to the knee! Still they stick with the plan!

    Kidman in particular cries out in pain, so Matt takes the ladder down… and puts Kidman’s knee in the fold! He barks for Shannon to climb, so he does… AND CANNONBALLS ON TO THE LADDER… SANDWICHING KIDMAN’S KNEE IN BETWEEN THE METAL!

    Again Kidman roars in pain, and rolls to the outside, no doubt having been taken out of the match like both Hooliganz and, seemingly (because we haven’t seen him since the West Coast Pop), Danny Basham. Matt then tells Shannon to set the same thing up on Rey, so he sandwiches his knee in the middle of the ladder… and Matt pulls himself up to the second rope… and yodels! He’s calling for his Leg Drop!

    But Rey suddenly springs to life! He pulls the ladder up with him… AND LAUNCHES IT IN TO MATT’S FACE… AND MATT FALLS ALL THE WAY TO THE OUTSIDE! Brutal bump from Matt… and now surely he’s out of the match as well!

    Shannon, though, is still in the ring, and charges at Rey for taking out his mentor… but runs straight in to a Drop Toehold… and lands in the second rope! Rey yells for the 619 again and charges across the ring…

    … right in to Doug Basham! Doug lifts him up…

    AND SPINEBUSTERS HIM BACK DOWN…

    … ON TO THE FUCKING LADDER
    !

    Crazy bump!

    Rey, like Kidman, Matt and the Hooliganz before him, is surely out of action now, leaving just Doug and Shannon in the ring. Doug heads over to Shannon… who cuts him off with big right hands! Shannon is still fighting! He sends a flurry of right hooks to the jaw of Doug… feeds the leg… and uses it to connect with an Enziguri… knocking Doug Basham tumbling on to the table set up in the corner of the ring! Doug’s out cold… and it’s only Shannon left!

    Shannon starts the long climb up the ladder, gradually pulling himself up closer and closer to the briefcase. There’s no-one left in the match, only him, and he climbs alone. He slowly pulls himself to the very top and reaches up for the briefcase…

    … but notices Doug Basham out cold on the table beneath him… and the crowd start to pop!

    Shannon looks out to the crowd, taken aback but the sudden swell of support (of people who want to see him do a reckless big spot), and grins! After all the abuse he’s taken from Matt, here are the fans willing him on to do something! Getting support and love for the first time in months, Shannon ignores the briefcase right next to him and lines up Doug beneath him…

    CORKSCREW MOONSAULT OFF THE LADDER THROUGH THE FUCKING TABLE! ANOTHER ENORMOUS POP!

    But Shannon took himself out in the impact! Doug Basham is out cold… but so too is Shannon! The crowd cheer wildly for the big move… but Shannon can’t capitalise…

    … and now Danny Basham is getting back in the ring! The only man who hasn’t taken a death-defying spot is left to roll in the ring… and Shannon’s out! He can’t stop him from climbing the ladder! Boos echo throughout the arena as Danny Basham slowly pulls himself up each rung towards the briefcase…

    … when Billy Kidman rolls back in to the ring! How the HELL is he still going?! He’s got a crazy limp going on, but still he manages to stumble in to the ring and fall on to the ladder… Danny Basham is stuck on the top as Kidman pushes it over…

    AND DANNY BASHAM FALLS ALL THE WAY TO THE OUTSIDE! Now Danny is taken out of action… and only Billy Kidman is left!

    He’s struggling terribly with his knee, perhaps having gone through more than anyone else up until this ending run of spots, but it’s just the man with the worst form in the company left standing! He straightens the ladder up in the middle of the ring… and starts climbing!

    ”Go on, Billy!” Cole yells from commentary. ”You can do it! Book yourself a place at Wrestlemania!”

    Kidman slowly, one rung at a time, pulls himself up the ladder. His progress is slow as he edges closer to the top… Matt Hardy emerges from the outside, slowly rolling in to the ring… he crawls towards the ladder…

    … but still Kidman climbs! He reaches the top as Matt claws at the ladder… but he doesn’t have the strength to stop him! Kidman reaches up to the top and lays his hands on the briefcase… Matt tries to reach up to stop him, but he’s nowhere near...

    SO BILLY KIDMAN UNHOOKS THE BRIEFCASE!

    Winners and Number One Contenders to the WWE Tag Team Titles at Wrestlemania: Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio in 16:20


    Kidman’s music pounds out through the sound system as Kidman collapses down to the canvas! The crowd cheer Kidman finally getting a win on his own, and one that carries more weight than any other match he’s been in for months.

    Matt Hardy remains on the canvas, still reaching up to where Kidman previously took the briefcase… and eventually slumps in to the mat! He looks up and over at Shannon… who is still barely moving from the broken remnants of the table from earlier… and Matt shakes his head! Shannon had the match won! Matt had a plan that actually worked, and Shannon managed to more than hold up his end of the bargain… and it all counted for nothing with one bad decision from Shannon! Matt shakes his head in disappointment at his follower... and eventually lets it rest against the canvas.

    That leaves Nick Patrick to climb in to the ring and help Billy Kidman to his feet. Kidman can’t put any weight on his knee, so Patrick holds him up and signals for Charles Robinson to join him in the ring… and Charles Robinson raises Kidman’s hand in victory! Big pop from the fans for Kidman overcoming his demons!

    Rey Rey finally manages to roll in as well, and stumbles in to Kidman and the referees. He presses his forehead against Kidman, who clutches the briefcase against his chest, and they have a quiet moment of congratulations with one another. Soon, Torrie Wilson returns to the ring… and lifts their arms in victory! The Filthy Animals are going to Wrestlemania!

    The Animals then head down the ramp to the back, with help from the referees. That allows the camera to pan across the devastation this match has left behind. O’Haire and the Hooliganz in the Spanish announce table, Shannon and Doug in the table inside the ring, Danny out cold on the outside. We see highlights of some of the bigger spots from the match as the fans start to applaud the efforts of these eight men, who put their neck on the line for a shot at the Tag Titles in four week’s time…

    … but ultimately, there was only one man left standing through it all… and somehow… it was Billy Kidman!



    As the injured Ladder Match participants are helped to the back, we see Michael Cole and Tazz sitting at ringside, just finishing putting over what a crazy match we just saw.

    ”But let me tell you this, folks,” Cole says, ”as chaotic as that match we just saw was, things aren’t going to let up at all as tonight progresses. We may have nine men and one woman on their way to a medical facility from this match… but if Eddie Guerrero has his way later on tonight, Brock Lesnar might be joining them. Last Thursday on Smackdown, things somehow got even more heated between these two men. Take a look at this…”

    We then change to footage from the end of Smackdown last week, where Brock Lesnar interfered in the Hardcore Holly/Eddie Guerrero main event. We see Brock hit Eddie with two F5s, and also busting him open with the title belt, and all the while Paul Heyman taunted him, of which we hear the ending:

    ”It’s okay, Eddie… it’s okay. This is all coming to an end. This dream of yours of being WWE Champion… this dream that became a nightmare… you’re about to wake up from it, Eddie. If you can with everything going on, try to enjoy these last few days with the belt… because this Sunday at No Way Out… your WWE Title reign… is... over.”

    We then come back from that action to see footage labelled as ”Earlier Tonight”, where EDDIE GUERRERO arrived at the arena. Unlike usual, he arrives not in a gaudy lo-rider, but in a plain black Cadillac. We see him step out of the car, bag slung over his shoulder and a plaster/band aid across the cut where Brock busted him open on Smackdown, and he marches through the parking lot with a face like thunder.

    As he walks, Josh Matthews rushes over to him. ”Eddie, Eddie! Tonight you defend your WWE Title against Brock Lesnar, and I’m sure what everyone is wanting to know is...”

    Josh trails off as Eddie continues to storm on ahead, stony faced and not acknowledging the interviewer, as he makes his way to the locker room.



    We then return from that footage to ringside…


    ”OOOH… CHAVO!”

    *** CHAVITO ARDIENTE ***



    There’s a decent reaction for the arrival of Eddie’s nephew, CHAVO GUERRERO! Honestly, the pop is somewhat muted from fans no doubt burnt out a little from the opening contest, but still Chavo slaps hands with the fans on the way to the ring, positively beaming at the opportunity ahead of him. Tazz suggests that he’s so happy only because he knows he’s “stolen” a shot at the Cruiserweight Title that someone else should have got, and if Jamie Noble isn’t careful, he’s going to steal the belt as well here tonight…


    *** TRAILER TRASHIN’ ***


    And there’s another strong reaction from the fans for the arrival of JAMIE NOBLE. Jamie, having overcome his demons in his victory over Tajiri at last month’s Royal Rumble, walks to the ring hand-in-hand with NIDIA, gives her a quick peck on the cheek, and heads in to the ring, where he holds the belt up for everyone to see, and we’re ready to get underway...



    WWE Cruiserweight Title Match
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (c)


    The bell rings and Chavo heads to the centre of the ring… and offers a handshake! Noble shakes his head, disbelieving that Chavo’s already with the mind games, but Chavo insists that he shows him respect ahead of their match. Noble sighs and shakes his hand…

    … so Chavo pulls him in… and rolls him in to a Small Package! He’s cheated with the very first move of the match!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Noble kicks out! He angrily swings for Chavo, who ducks behind… rolls him in to a School Boy… and grabs the tights!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Kick out again! Noble gets to his feet, furious, so Chavo hits him with a superfast Dropkick… and Noble spills to the outside!

    I told ya!” Tazz exclaims on commentary. ”I don’t care what tha Guerreros say, they’re always gonna look ta cheat!”

    “Well, I’m surprised that Chavo has gone to that well already, but I don’t think you can tar his uncle with the same brush.”

    “Absolutely ya can, ya yambag! Who d’ya think Chavito learned it from?! I ain’t complainin’, I just wish Eddie would own up ta who he really is!”


    As the announcers bicker about Eddie, Chavo very much seems to have the match in hand. With Noble on the outside, Chavo pulls himself over the top for a Plancha... but Noble sidesteps! But Chavo knew he would move and lands on the apron… and Cannonballs on to where Noble is now standing! Chavo’s always one step ahead!

    Knowing he can’t win the match by count out, Chavo quickly throws Noble back in and grabs a Headlock, but Noble pushes out of it, ducks under a charging Clothesline... and hits a Spinning Heel Kick on the challenger! Now it’s Noble’s turn to take control! He grabs the arm, spins… and grabs a La Magistral…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Chavo kicks out! Noble, though, being the technical wizard he is, slickly grabs Chavo by the wrist and pins his shoulders down to the mat for another pinfall…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Chavo kicks out! He digs his feet in to Noble’s stomach and lifts him up… Noble lands on his feet… so Chavo kips up while still being held by the hands! Noble, though, slides his shoulder in to Chavo’s midsection… and hits him with a Bridging Two-Handed Clutch Suplex!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Chavo kicks out again! Some of the more smarkish fans applaud the technical display we’re seeing… so Chavo pokes Noble in the eye! Enough of that technical shit, Chavo’s living the family motto! He rushes up behind Noble… Saito Suplex! He makes the cover…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Kick out again… but Chavo wastes no time in going back to work! He rolls behind Noble and wraps his legs around his waist and his arm around his throat, trying to prevent Noble from fighting back, before adjusting… in to a Surfboard! Great wrestling from Chavo as well!

    That painful hold manages to slow things down even further, and allows Chavo to keep things on the mat. He does a sound job of outwrestling the champion, allowing Cole to use this as an example of what a fine wrestler he is, and why it’s laughable for anyone to question whether he’s a deserving challenger (which Tazz naturally disagrees with, but I won’t get in to that squabble again). Nidia starts beating on the ring apron on the outside, trying to get the fans to rally behind her man, so the fans start clapping in time… which fires Noble up! He fights out of the current predicament and sends a series of right hands Chavo’s way, then whips him in to the turnbuckle… he charges after him…

    … straight in to a boot from Chavo! With Noble temporarily stunned, the challenger lifts himself to the second ropes and lifts off… Diving European Uppercut! And that kills any thoughts Noble might have had of a comeback!

    Chavo tries to ground things down with a Headlock on the mat, and pulls him up… Vertical Suplex! Noble instinctively gets back to his feet, so Chavo pulls him in… AND T-BONE SUPLEXES HIM IN TO THE TURNBUCKLE! Big time manoeuvre from Chavo! He hooks the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Noble kicks out again!

    Chavo questions the count, which allows Noble, arm wrapped around his injured neck from the impact, to back in to the corner. Chavo fires off some chops, then backs up and charges… Monkey Flip!

    No! Noble landed on his feet! Chavo turns around… in to a Dropkick! And then another! He whips Chavo across the ring… Chavo reverses and Noble bounces off the ropes… Chavo drops and rolls through… STRAIGHT IN TO A SINGLE LEG BOSTON CRAB! Great wrestling from Chavo there!

    He leans back, bending the knee, back and neck of the champion back and causing Noble to yelp in pain. He slowly drags himself across the ring… and makes the bottom rope! Brian Hebner counts to four… and at the very last moment before the count of five, drags Noble back in to the centre of the ring… and turns the Boston Crab in to an STF! He may have cheated to get to this position, but now he’s here he’s thoroughly outwrestling the champ! Again Noble cries out in pain, this time in a hold far harder to move in, and tries to push Chavo’s arms out of the way… but he can’t! He’s trapped! He gradually drags them closer to the ropes, but it’s taking too long! His hand hovers over the canvas… he’s ready to tap…

    … no! He fights through it, dragging them across the mat… and makes the bottom rope again!

    Again Hebner counts Chavo down for holding the STF in the ropes, and again he releases at the very last moment! He’s going to bend the rules as much as he can!

    Noble’s in a bad way from the two big submission holds, so Chavo’s able to climb to the top rope… he senses that the end may be in sight… he poises as Noble gets to his feet… Diving Crossbody!

    No! Noble rolls through… and lifts Chavo up! Crazy core strength! He holds Chavo in a Fallaway Slam position, before again heaving him up… and lifting him on to his shoulders! How deceptively strong is Jamie Noble?! He then powers Chavo up and in to the air… and meets him on the way down with a Fireman’s Carry Double Knee Gutbuster! Big ”ooohs” from the crowd from that one… and Noble’s back in the match!

    Despite his exhaustion from being put through the ringer, Noble climbs to the apron and to the top rope, looking for a high risk move of his own… Chavo struggles to his feet, holding his midsection… and shoves Brian Hebner in to the ropes! Noble is crotched on the top… and again when in doubt Chavo goes to the Guerrero handbook on cheating!

    With Noble crotched, Chavo climbs up there with him… he’s on the second rope, back to the ring but facing Noble… he hooks his arm over his neck… he’s looking for a Superplex! He tries to lift him…

    … but Noble fights it! He punches at the midsection injured from the Gutbuster…

    … and Chavo falls off the ropes! He gets to his feet as Noble lines him up…

    DIVING KNEE STRIKE RIGHT TO THE FACE!

    Chavo’s knocked loopy from the impact, so he bounces back to his feet, allowing Noble to tee off on him again… Noble whips him off the ropes… but again Chavo instinctively reverses… Noble bounces off the ropes… Corkscrew Forearm Smash! Down goes Chavo again… and Noble pumps up the crowd! He’s feeling it! He pulls Chavo up… Release Fisherman’s Suplex! Chavo’s out, so again Noble fights through the fatigue to climb to the top… pauses… and soars off…

    FLYING LEG DROP CONNECTS! He hooks the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO…


    Kick out!

    Noble doesn’t worry about that, though. There’s no arguing from him. Instead he looks out to the crowd… and calls for the Trailer Hitch! It’s the move that won him the belt! He grabs Chavo’s knee and twists… AND GETS IT LOCKED IN! THE TRAILER HITCH IS LOCKED IN!

    Chavo screams in pain, the excruciating hold tightly fastened near the centre of the ring. His hand hovers over the mat, ready to quit…

    … but he drags himself to the ropes! Just as Noble did before him, he fights through the pain to pull himself slowly but surely closer to the sanctuary of the bottom rope…

    … and makes it! Noble has to release the hold!

    What a battle this is for the Cruiserweight Title!” Cole says. ”And what guts from Chavo to keep on coming. You ready to take back what you said about him yet?”

    “I’ve never had a problem with Chavito, Cole,”
    Tazz says. ”He’s one-a tha best in tha world and has been for years, I ain’t disputin’ that. But he’s a liar, thief and a cheat, and we’ll do whatever it takes, and step on whoever he needs to ta get ahead… and he’s just like his uncle like that. They both take whatevah tha hell they want and don’t care about tha consequences, and it’s about time Eddie accepts that like Chavo and stops pretendin’ he’s somethin’ he’s not!”

    Despite the announcer disagreement at ringside, Noble doesn’t let the breaking of the submission hold bother him. Chavo’s given it everything he’s got, but there’s little fight left in him. Noble pulls him up… and hooks the arms! He’s looking for the Tiger Bomb! He lifts him up…

    BUT CHAVO REVERSES WITH A HURRICANRANA! Chavo’s still in this!

    He pulls Noble up… and looks for the Brainbuster!

    No! Noble charges forward, shoulder in Chavo’s ribs.. and drives him in to the corner! He shoulder thrusts him in against the turnbuckle… backs up… charges… but Chavo catches him coming in… and Flapjacks him on to the top turnbuckle! Right on the sternum!

    Noble wheezes for air, so Chavo goes for the kill. He pushes Noble up and on to the top rope, facing the ring, and gingerly climbs up there with him… he gradually repositions his feet either side of Noble as he catches his balance… he’s stood in front of the seated Noble… takes a deep breath…

    TOP ROPE FRANKENSTEINER!

    NO! Noble somehow hangs on with Chavo hanging upside down, legs wrapped around Noble’s neck… Noble heaves him back up...

    AND LEAPS OFF THE TOP ROPE WITH A SIT-OUT POWERBOMB! And the crowd explode at the impact!

    Both men are taken out by the impact, but Noble’s able to crumble in to a cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner and still WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble in 10:04


    Yeah, there was no getting up from that. The crowd applaud Noble’s effort in his first major title defence, and Nidia quickly rushes in to embrace him and raise his arm in victory.

    Chavo, meanwhile, has barely moved from the impact. It takes a few moments for him to roll on to his stomach, and with Brian Hebner’s help, returns to his feet. He watches on as Noble celebrates, posing on the turnbuckle with the belt held high, and shakes his head at coming so close, and yet ultimately falling short.

    As Noble leaps down off the top rope, Chavo stumbles forward to get in his way before he can climb another…

    … and offers a handshake!

    ”After all that cheatin’?!” we hear Noble say, as his music dies down.

    ”You won, okay? I can respect that.”

    Having already been tricked with a handshake at the start of the match, Noble waves it off and looks to walk away…

    … but Chavo spins him around!

    ”Shake my damn hand, Jamie. That match is over. You won.”

    Noble inspects his hand. ”This better not be a trick.”

    “It’s not.”


    Noble scowls, but slowly extends his hand… and they shake hands! There’s no trick from Chavo this time!

    Noble nods, and looks to head to the back…

    … but Chavo hangs on! He doesn’t release from the handshake!

    ”Next time,” he says, ”next time it’ll be different.”

    Noble nods. ”Next time… you’re gonna earn the shot like ev’ryone else does.”

    Noble snatches his hand away and his music plays again. Nidia smiles and nods at Chavo, appreciating the effort he put forward, and she and Noble walk back down the ramp.



    With that, we cut backstage, to where we see WILLIAM REGAL watching the feed on the television in his office. Standing with him is THE BIG SHOW.

    ”You see that, dear boy?” Regal asks. ”There’s a moral to that story. Cheaters… never… prosper. I hope young Chavo and his ghastly uncle learn that lesson sooner rather than later.”

    “I don’t give a damn about the Guerreros,”
    Show growls. ”Only thing that matters to me right now… is beatin’ the hell outta John Cena.”

    Regal smirks. ”Well, isn’t that delightful news? You know my only regret, Master Show? It’s that you and I couldn’t align our agendas sooner. You’re exactly the type of man I want as the United States Champion of my show. Not that ruddy scoundrel John Cena. To think that he laid his hands on me four months ago and is still walking around with that title? To think that he cost you a shot at the WWE Title a few weeks ago and is still walking, full stop? No, that won’t do. Tonight… I want you to destroy him, okay? Show him that no-one… no-one… messes with the Big Show… and no-one… messes… with William… Regal.”

    Regal gives a sadistic grin, and Show terrifyingly nods along, as we transition away from the office...



    … and to ringside, where we see Michael Cole and Tazz.

    ”You know, Tazz, it’s interesting to me that Regal insists that cheaters never prosper… because I was rather hoping it might be he who finds that out tonight.”

    “Gimme a break, Cole! All our William Regal wants is whatever’s best for Smackdown… and if ya ask me… I happen to agree with our General Manager that a man who lays his hands on his boss should not be champ’n.”

    “I can’t condone laying your hands on an authority figure, but if anyone’s asked for it it’s William Regal. He’s put John Cena through the absolute ringer these last four months… but he finally might be about to get his wish… and get that US Title away from John Cena.”


    The footage of Cole and Tazz in front of the camera fades out, and we fade in to a black-and-white video of WILLIAM REGAL in his finest suit, perfect posture, standing proudly at the top of the ramp, as we hear the classical tones of Der Zigeunerbaron” by Strauss playing…



    (Start at 3:51)

    The video is framed as an old-fashioned style propaganda film, still in black-and-white, as Regal waves politely to the fans and shaves hands with a whole host of wrestlers and backstage workers. Any clip of him doing good by the WWE and the fans is shown, including his announcements of making a qualification table for the Rumble, or Regal’s gold rush, or any number of other cool features he’s added to Smackdown. Noticeable by their absence, though, are the ways in which he’s treated John Cena, the A.P.A., A-Train or Eddie Guerrero, or how he’s manipulated basically everyone he’s dealt with.

    As we see another smarmy, self-indulgent piece of footage for Regal, the music and old-timely video cuts out, and is abruptly replaced by a (censored) version of ”American Psycho II” by D12...



    … and we see JOHN CENA at his rebellious best, smashing through every obstacle Regal has put in front of him, and developing an almost unrivalled support from the crowd in the process.

    We see some of Cena’s most crass moments, whether it’s pissing on a grave during his feud with Undertaker, getting the fans to chant along with a rhyme that ends in “fuck”, or hitting Regal himself with an FU…

    … when the music abruptly jump cuts again, this time back to the classical music and black-and-white footage of Regal. This time we hear him speak:

    ”I can not allow a man like John Cena be the United States Champion of any brand of mine!”

    The music cuts back to D12, and Cena making the “you can’t see me” hand gesture…

    ”Ya can kiss my nutsack, homie!”

    And back to the classical music, and Regal standing over a downed Cena...

    ”Every singles match you have from now on… will be… for the United...States...Title!”

    Back to D12, and Cena shaving “FU” in to A-Train’s back…

    ”Ya can keep linin’ ‘em up, but I’m-a knock ‘em right back down again!”

    Back to the classical music, and this time with BIG SHOW hitting Cena with a Chokeslam…

    ”Now The Big Show… he is exactly the kind of man befitting a title here on Smackdown.”

    Back to D12, and Cena laying in big right hands to the giant…

    ”Ya want some… come get some!”

    Back to the classical music, and Regal looming over Cena after Show took him out two weeks ago…

    ”You can’t win, young man!”

    Back to D12, and Cena hitting Regal with the FU at Survivor Series, which kicked this whole thing off…

    ”I’m-a do what I want… when I want… and yo’ sorry ass can’t stop me!”

    Back to the classical music, and Big Show laying waste to a whole host of names over the years…

    ”This… is your new… United… States… Champion!”

    Back to D12, and Cena kicking Show between the legs during the Rumble...

    ”It’s gonna take more than this giant piece-a crap ta take my title!”

    And finally, back to the classical music a final time, and Regal and Show standing over Cena’s fallen body on Smackdown.

    ”This, Master Cena… will not… end well for you.”



    ”WELLLLL… WELL IT’S THE BIG SHOW!”

    *** BIG ***



    Big time heat for the giant as BIG SHOW stomps his way out, filmed from a low angle to play up his size. He’s noticeably alone (i.e. no sign of William Regal), and the announcers put over John Cena’s difficulties in lifting the giant to this point, and the damage his attempts have done to his back. They also make sure to mention how focused and dangerous he’s been since his alliance with Regal, but there’s little time to waste as his music dies down…


    *** BASIC THUGANOMICS ***


    And an almighty pop for the arrival of the US Champion himself… JOHN CENA! Wearing a 49ers jersey and chain around his neck as usual, he bursts out from the back doing his “World Life” hand gesture, but there’s no microphone to be seen tonight. There will be no disrespectful verses aimed at the challenger here. Instead he heads down the aisle, eyes transfixed on the giant challenge ahead of him, and once in the ring, drops the jersey to the outside and the chain in the corner, and we’re ready for what will surely be Cena’s biggest challenge as US Champion so far...




    WWE United States Title Match
    Big Show vs. John Cena (c)


    The bell rings, and the two men circle each other… before going for a lock up?! That seems unwise on Cena’s part… but he’s actually getting the better of it against Show!

    That is, until Show powers out and absolutely launches the champion across the ring!

    ”A little naivety from the young champion in thinking he might be able to outpower a 500lbs giant?” Cole says on commentary.

    ”You call it nativity, I call it arrogance! Tazz says. ”He’s already proven he can’t pick him up, what makes him think he can win a lock up?!”

    Cena tries to shake it off… and again calls for a lock up! Has he learned nothing?! Show smirks and accepts the offer, leaning in… so Cena stamps on his foot! He did learn his lesson! Show hobbles on one foot, so Cena fires off a series of right hands to knock Show in to the corner, and tries to whip him in to the opposite corner… but Show powers through and reverses… and Cena crashes in to the turnbuckle! Show charges… but Cena sidesteps! Show goes sternum first in to the corner! Cena bounces off the ropes… Shoulder Block!

    But Show doesn’t move! Cena just bounced right off of him! Cena looks stunned that it didn’t work, and lines it up again… another Shoulder Block!

    But Show doesn’t go down again! That one did knock him a little off balance, but not enough to get him off his feet! Cena tries a third time…

    … but Show catches him coming in… and slams him down to the mat! Pure power from Show there! Cena clutches the injured back as he gets to all fours… so Show clubs him in the back! And again! Then a kick to the ribs! How’s Cena supposed to battle back against this man?!

    Show easily pulls Cena off the mat and throws him in the corner, and follows up with a big slap to the chest…

    … which Cena ducks… and he starts firing off on Show again! Cena won’t be held down for long! Over and over he punches, so Show starts to slink down a little against the turnbuckle. Cena climbs up to the second rope for more leverage… and starts the ten count punches! 1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6-

    No! Show powers through and shoves Cena all the way across the ring!

    But Cena roars back with a Clothesline in the corner! Show rebounds out… Dropkick from Cena! Great athleticism from the man for once finding himself as the smaller man in the contest! Again Show rebounds off the ropes (without going off his feet)…

    SO CENA LIFTS HIM UP FOR THE FU!

    No! Cena’s back gives out part way! Cena drops Show back to his feet and clutches at his back… Show lifts Cena up… BACKBREAKER! That’ll slow Cena down!

    With Cena out on the mat, Show takes things back to his pace… by standing on Cena’s back! That’s 500lbs! He drags Cena up… AND WHIPS HIM WITH GREAT VELOCITY BACK-FIRST IN TO THE CORNER! Cena’s back SLAMS in to the corner and he collapses to the floor! Show follows over and pulls him up… AND DOES IT AGAIN! Show’s got so much weight and power behind him, even an Irish Whip in to the corner is enough to wear you down! Show pulls him up again and looks for the third… AND CENA SLAMS BACK FIRST IN TO THE CORNER FOR A THIRD TIME!

    BUT SPRINTS OUT OF THE CORNER AND BEHEADS BIG SHOW WITH A RUNNING CLOTHESLINE! BIG SHOW IS DOWN… AND THE CROWD POP HUGE
    !

    Cena, having channelled everything he has deep inside to no sell that third Irish Whip, drops to a knee and grimaces with pain. Between the beating earlier in this match and the Chokeslam on the ramp on the last edition of Smackdown, Cena’s already suffering in a big way, but he tries to power through by getting back to his feet… and starts stomping Big Show right in the chest! He drives the sole of his shoe in to Big Show’s ribs…

    … when the crowd suddenly erupt in to boos…

    … for the arrival of WILLIAM REGAL! He walks down the aisle with one gentlemanly arm tucked behind his back, inspecting what’s going on in the ring as he watches on. Cena stops his beatdown of Show and checks what he’s up to, but Regal ignores Cena’s protestations and walks around the ring…

    … allowing Big Show to jump Cena from behind! A timely appearance from the General Manager!

    Regal continues to walk around the ring and eventually finds himself at the announce table, where he puts on a headset and takes a seat.

    ”What the hell was that?!” Cole exclaims, ”you just threw John Cena off his game!”

    “I’d like to remind you who is whose boss, young man. And I’m just here to add a little sophistication to the announcing job out here. It’s not my fault young Master Cena lacks the focus required to be a great champion.”

    “Well, I’m glad ta have ya here,”
    Tazz says, ”between me and you, Cole ain’t exactly bringin’ tha sophistication tonight, and he’s gettin’ kinda biased.”

    “Me biased?!”
    Cole exclaims, ”Regal just distracted the champion!”

    “It’s Mr. Regal to you,”
    Regal corrects, ”and I am merely a commentator on tonight’s proceedings.”

    With Cena having been clattered to the canvas, Show digs his knee in to the champion’s back and stretches Cena back, with Cole suggesting this is a strategy right out of Regal’s handbook (although of course Regal denies it). He then pulls Cena up… and Body Slams him back down! Real power from the giant, and as Tazz says, nothing overly-complicated for a man who even the most basic of moves can cause devastating pain. Cena tries to get up… Show goes behind him and grabs the arm…

    … and locks in an Abdominal Stretch! He wrenches back, stretching out the midsection of the champion, as William Regal praises the technical know-how of the challenger (making it more than abundantly clear that this was his plan). Cena yells in pain at the ease with which Show is able to bend his body at unholy angles, but he tries to fight through it, trying to power out… he fights his arm back against the arm of Show… he’s starting to break loose… and starts elbowing Show in the face! Show’s losing his grip… and Cena breaks totally free! He bounces off the ropes for momentum…

    … and runs straight in to a Side Slam! Cena’s brought back down with a thud!

    With the wind having been driven out of the champion, Show shakes off the grogginess from the elbows… looks down at Cena… AND STARTS TO CLIMB TO THE TOP ROPE?! What the hell is he thinking?!

    But wait! William Regal is standing up on the commentary desk, and waving furiously! He’s trying to get Big Show’s attention! Show notices him and looks over… so Regal wags his finger! He’s telling him not to go to the top… so Big Show climbs back down again! Big boos for Show not going for a high-risk move!

    ”I thought you were supposed to be impartial!” Cole exclaims. ”Impartial commentators normally don’t give wrestlers instructions!”

    “I don’t appreciate your tone, young man. And your accusations of bias are completely unfounded.”

    “Unfounded?! You’re telling me you don’t want Big Show to win?!”

    “Of course I ruddy well want Big Show to win, but I’m not playing favourites. I have a brand to run, which is a pressure a plebiscite like you couldn’t ever understand. And, quite frankly, Master Cena is quite some way short of the type of character I would want holding the United States Title.”

    “I think he’s been a great champion.”

    “Then you’re a bloody fool. You think it’s okay for a subordinate to physically attack their boss on numerous occasions?”

    “I can’t defend anyone laying their hands on a non-wrestler, but he’s been pushed-”

    “If you were to lay your hands on Tazz here, do you expect that to go unpunished too?”

    “He’s not my boss!”

    “Not yet, but he could be if you don’t keep these baseless accusations to yourself in the future.”

    “Gimme tha job, Regal!”
    Tazz says, ”I’ll keep him in shape!”

    “Can we concentrate on this US Title Match please?”
    Cole asks.

    As the announcers bicker, Show returns to inside the ring to face Cena. The champion is unable to get up after the earlier slam, so Show heads to his legs… lifts them up…

    BOSTON CRAB! Big Show’s going for the submission!

    ”Oh, come on!” Cole exclaims to Regal on commentary. ”Are you really trying to tell me this isn’t exactly what you told him to do? When have you ever seen Big Show go for a Boston Crab?!”

    “Master Show is a student of the game, young man, you shouldn’t be surprised to see him vary up his offence.”

    “Gimme a break.”


    Show yanks back on the submission hold, although without the mobility to really bend down and yank it in. What he can do, though, is overpower any of Cena’s attempts to push through for a ropebreak. Cena pulls himself closer to the ropes… so Show releases the hold… and drops an elbow on to Cena’s back… and goes back to the Boston Crab! This is right out of William Regal’s playbook!

    Cena won’t be beaten, though. He slowly pulls himself back towards the ropes, even as Show tries to drag him back. Cena pushes up on his hands and roars… and carries them both to the bottom rope! Great strength from the US Champion!

    Show is forced to release the hold, but he likely never expected a tap out from a man known for his resilience. The goal was all about wearing the champion down, and on that front, it’s absolutely job done. Cena struggles to pull himself back up, such is the pain in his lower back, and it allows Show to take a step back… and signal for the Chokeslam! Cena slowly gets up and staggers around… right in to a chokehold from Show! The giant lifts him up high over his head for the Chokeslam…

    BUT CENA REVERSES IN TO A DDT ON THE WAY DOWN! Cena takes the giant down… and finally it’s a chance to get on the offence! He flops his arm over Show’s chest for a cover…

    ONE...

    Regal tosses his headset to the side and leaps out from behind the announce table!

    TWO...

    Regal rushes to the ring apron…

    … but Show kicks out anyway!

    Regal breathes a sigh of relief and returns to the announce table, and puts his headset back on.

    ”And that’s normal behaviour for an impartial commentator, is it?” Cole says as Regal settles back down.

    ”How about you show some bloody respect, you insolent little toerag? Or have you missed the fine work Josh Matthews is doing on Velocity? Don’t think I won’t promote him if you carry on this way.”

    Show may have kept himself in the match with that kick out, but the momentum of the match is changing. He uses the ropes to return to his feet, but is immediately met with big right hands from Cena. Cena looks for the Irish Whip, but Show reverses as he’s done every time Show’s tried it… he bounces off the ropes… under a Clothesline… back off the other ropes… Leaping Shoulder Block! Show teeters but doesn’t go down, so Cena does it again… still Show stays up… Cena bounces off the ropes for a third time… AND FINALLY IT KNOCKS SHOW DOWN! It took five Shoulder Blocks through the match, but eventually they got Show down! Show struggles to his knees, so Cena bounces off the ropes… THROWBACK! Show’s face slams off the mat…

    AND CENA SIGNALS FOR THE FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE! He makes the ”you can’t see me!” hand signal, bounces off the ropes…

    FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE CONNECTS! Show’s knocked groggy from it, so instinctively pulls himself to his feet as we hear a cackle of static sound on commentary…

    CENA LIFTS SHOW ON TO HIS SHOULDERS FOR AN FU!

    NO!
    Cena’s back gives out yet again! He just can’t keep Show up there long enough to get it executed! He drops Show back down and staggers down in to the second rope…

    POWER OF THE PUNCH! William Regal got out from behind the announce desk and NAILED Cena in the face with the brass knux… AND THE REFEREE DIDN’T SEE IT! He was looking at Big Show!

    Cena slumps to the mat, totally out cold, and Regal slides the brass knux back in to his jacket pocket. This time he doesn’t return to the announce table, instead banging his hands on the mat to get Show’s attention, and points to the unconscious champion. Show pulls himself across the canvas and lies on top of Cena, his bodyweight pinning the champ to the mat…

    ONE...

    ”Not this way, damn it!” Cole exclaims.

    TWO...

    ”Kick out, John!”

    THRE...

    JOHN CENA GETS THE SHOULDER UP! Big pop from the crowd… and William Regal can’t BELIEVE it! He yells at Charles Robinson about the speed of the count, but the referee is insistent he did nothing wrong…

    … so Regal gets on to the apron! He’s furious with Robinson’s call!

    Or is he?! As he argues with the referee against the ropes, we see him subtly kick his brass knux in to the ring to Big Show! Show bends down to pick them up…

    BUT CENA KICKS SHOW IN THE FACE BEFORE HE GRABS THE KNUX… AND PUTS THEM ON HIS OWN HAND! Show rebounds off the ropes… SO CENA NAILS HIM IN THE FACE WITH THE BRASS KNUX! Show’s gone jelly-legged! Regal tries to tell the ref what’s happened…

    SO CENA HITS REGAL WITH HIS OWN BRASS KNUX! ENORMOUS pop for Cena nailing Regal again!

    The GM tumbles off the apron, so Cena places the brass knux in his jorts pocket as Show groggily stumbles in to the centre of the ring…

    SO CENA LIFTS HIM ON TO HIS SHOULDERS…

    … AND THIS TIME HIS BACK DOESN’T GIVE WAY!

    FU!


    AN EPIC POP FOR THE STRENGTH OF THE CHAMPION!

    Cena collapses in to a cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner and still WWE United States Champion: John Cena in 10:24


    And the crowd go wild! It appeared as though John Cena was put in the most unwinnable circumstances, and yet still he managed to get one over on William Regal! Neither the GM or the giant are moving, both no doubt out cold from the Power of the Punch, so Cena is free to have his arm triumphantly raised by the referee, and raises his title belt to the sky to celebrate!

    Gradually Regal comes around, and, seeing Cena celebrate with his music blaring, sneers as only he can and trudges around the ring and back up the ramp. He doesn’t check on Show or try to help him, because this was never about the Big Show to the GM. This was about getting the title off the shoulder of John Cena, and Big Show, like so many before him, failed in that task…

    … and as Regal looks on as he backs up the ramp, he sees Cena pull the brass knux out of his pocket… and puts them back on his hand! Only now does Regal realise that it was his own weapon that led to Cena keeping the belt! Despite William Regal’s best efforts to manipulate the situation to his advantage…

    … John Cena is still the U.S. Champion!



    We then head backstage, to where Josh Matthews is standing outside a door labelled “Brock Lesnar.” The interviewer says he’s hoping to catch a word with the challenger ahead of his World Title match tonight, and knocks on the door. After a few moments, the door swings open…

    … but it’s PAUL HEYMAN who answers. The camera tries to get a look inside the locker room, and we briefly catch a glimpse of BROCK LESNAR sparring against a punching bag, but Heyman uses his hand to push the gaze of the camera away from inside the room.

    ”Can I help you?” Heyman asks, closing the door behind him so as not to disturb Brock.

    ”I was hoping to get a word with Brock ahead of his WWE Title match tonight,” Josh says.

    ”’Brock’? You’re calling him ‘Brock’? What, do you think you’re his friend or something?”

    “No, I-”

    “He’s ‘Mister Lesnar; to you, Josh. Now would you like to ask to speak to ’Mister Lesnar’ again… and this time showing the adequate amount of respect for a man of his standing?”


    Josh sheepishly nods. ”Sorry Pau… Mister Heyman. Please may I speak to Mister Lesnar?”

    “No, you may not. Why do you want to talk to him?”

    “Well… he has a WWE Title match tonight, and-”

    “Exactly! Brock Lesnar has a WWE Title Match tonight. And you think Brock Lesnar is going to waste time during his preparations talking to you of all people? It is six weeks since Eddie Guerrero stole Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title from him. Do you know what it’s like to be a natural born winner like Brock Lesnar and be forced to wait six weeks to take back what is rightfully yours? Of course you don’t. You’re not a predator like Brock Lesnar. Brock Lesnar… is a dangerous… dangerous man. A caged animal. He’s not used to waiting for what he wants… what he deserves… because when you’re Brock Lesnar you can take whatever it is you set your eyes on. But he’s been made to wait… and now… Eddie Guerrero has seen what happens when you make a man like Brock Lesnar wait. Last Thursday on Smackdown… Brock Lesnar… destroyed… Eddie Guerrero. But that was just a taste. A hint at the sheer devastation that Brock Lesnar is willing to cause in order to get what is by all rights should already be his. On January 1st… the stars aligned… and somehow… somehow… Eddie Guerrero left with the WWE Title. But that does not make him the best wrestler on the planet. Brock Lesnar has proven night in and night out for two years what it takes to be the best in the world. Eddie picked up that one win, and I applaud that effort. It’s more than most men will ever have against Brock Lesnar. But those kind of things don’t happen twice. Tonight… reality… is restored. Now if you don’t mind… I have a client to prepare for the mauling you’re going to witness in the main event. Good evening.”


    Heyman turns his back on Josh and slams the door in his face, leaving the interviewer to impotently watch on.



    From there, we head back to ringside, where Michael Cole and Tazz tell us that we ”might want to put the kids to bed, because up next it’s the Street Fight between Hardcore Holly… and Chris Benoit.”

    We don’t get a full-on video package for a feud that has only been going a few weeks, but from the clips from Smackdown we see, it’s clear that these two men won’t back down from anything the other throws at them, especially since Holly blames Benoit for costing him an opportunity at revenge against Brock, and Benoit blames Hardcore for costing him a shot at the WWE Title (as well as brutalising him backstage the next week)...



    *** WHATEVER ***


    There’s a big pop for the arrival of CHRIS BENOIT, who marches to the ring with an intensely-focused face, gets in the ring and paces, with no posing or interaction with the fans…


    *** HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? ***


    … but he doesn’t have to wait long as here comes HARDCORE HOLLY! Unlike Benoit, who is dressed in his usual wrestling attire, Hardcore strides to the ring in a Wrestlemania XX t-shirt and jeans. He marches towards the ring, pointing at Benoit as he walks, ready for a fight…

    WHEN BENOIT CHARGES ACROSS THE RING… DIVES BETWEEN THE ROPES… AND TAKES HOLLY OUT ON THE RAMP! He’s not wasting any time to get this one underway!



    Street Fight
    Chris Benoit vs. Hardcore Holly


    Holly goes down from the impact, so Benoit fires off a series of angry, stiff right hands to the eye, trying to bust Holly’s eyebrow open. Hardcore shoves him away and gets to his feet… but Benoit tackles him to the floor… and fires off again! Holly again wriggles free and tries a few punches of his own… but Benoit fires back too! It’s a total hockey brawl on the ramp!

    Benoit gets the better of it and sends some stinging chops to Holly’s chest, followed by a huge headbutt which knocks Hardcore tumbling in to the barricade… Benoit charges… and Clotheslines Holly over the barricade and in to the crowd!

    Holly rolls away, patting his already somewhat swollen eyebrow, and tries to recuperate. Benoit, however, isn’t showing any signs of letting up, and leaps to the top of the barricade in a single bound… Air Pillman!

    COUNTERED IN TO A POWERSLAM… ON TO THE UNPROTECTED CONCRETE! Benoit dived in to the crowd, and Hardcore splatted him right back down on the floor!

    Now it’s Holly’s turn to mount Benoit, and he fires off a series of big rights to Benoit’s face in his revenge for that initial flurry. Just like the Wolverine, Holly holds absolutely nothing back from his punches, with the fans in attendance getting a close up view of just how stiff these two can work. Benoit manages to roll Hardcore over and, surrounded by masses of fans, sends in some punches of his own, but Hardcore rolls him over for some more of his right hands! This is a straight up fight! Benoit rolls him over again and tries to get some rights in, but Holly holds his arms up to block… AND SHOVES HIS FINGER IN BENOIT’S EYE! This is sick!

    Benoit’s left no choice but to roll off from Holly, so Holly gets up… and carries on punching! Benoit’s staggered, so Holly sends him a couple of chops… kicks Benoit in the gut… AND SNAP SUPLEXES HIM ON THE FLOOR! Right on the concrete! Benoit writhes around in pain, so Holly, now clearly in the ascendency after those two big moves to the concrete, pulls Benoit up… and slams his face off the metal railing running up the stairs! The surrounding fans go wild at their intimate view of this absolute brawl, as Holly again slams Benoit's face in to the railing, then uses it to choke Benoit out. Benoit crumbles on to the steps below, so Holly again presses his throat against the railing… lifts him up by the ankles… and kicks him in the gut! Classic Holly… but with a twist!

    Benoit tries to crawl to safety, needing a chance to recuperate after this brutal opening, but Holly follows him up the stairs, kicking him in the ribs and dragging him higher. Benoit uses Holly’s shirt to try and pull himself up… so Holly digs his finger in Benoit’s eye again! Benoit teeters back from the pain, so Holly grabs him from behind… AND TOSSES HIM BACK DOWN THE STEPS!

    At the bottom, Benoit crumbles in to a pile and grimaces at the agony of a match that hasn’t even gotten close to entering the ring yet. Holly follows down and kicks him in the ribs a couple of times, then pulls him up for a big right hand… but Benoit blocks! Chop to the chest! And another! Benoit’s fighting back! Holly staggers back in to the barricade, so Holly marches over… headbutt to the nose! And again! And again! A flurry of headbutts! Benoit’s not letting up! Holly’s knocked groggy, so Benoit backs up… charges… and Crossbodies them both over the barricade and back to ringside!

    Finally having returned to an area at least in the proximity of the ring, Benoit pulls Holly up and slams his face in to the barricade, and drags him along the outside to the announce table, where he slams his face off the wood. He then grabs Holly by the neck of the shirt and waist of the jeans… AND PROPELS HOLLY OVER THE ANNOUNCE TABLE TO THE FLOOR! Holly lands on Tazz and Cole’s lap! The announcers scurry to get out of the way as Holly slumps to the floor, so Benoit leans over to get him… but Hardcore punches him in the face! Both men refuse to stay down! Benoit stumbles backwards and away from the table… Hardcore gets to his feet… and lifts up one of the announce chairs!

    AND THROWS IT RIGHT IN BENOIT’S FUCKING FACE! These two are beating the shit out of each other!

    Benoit obviously goes down from the impact, which allows Holly to leans against the barricade, trying to regain his breath, and climbs on to the announce table as Benoit uses the apron to get up… FLYING CLOTHESLINE OFF THE TABLE TO BENOIT!

    As Cole and Tazz lose their minds at the straight up fight we’re seeing (one which still hasn’t gone in to the ring, or had any pin attempts), Holly pulls off his t-shirt…

    AND USES IT TO CHOKE BENOIT! Benoit tries to fight it, but Holly wraps it in tight! He then pulls Benoit up with the shirt around his neck… and Snapmares him to the floor using the t-shirt! Benoit tumbles to the floor! Hardcore rolls the shirt up in to a ball… AND SHOVES IT IN BENOIT’S MOUTH!

    Benoit manages to scramble free, but he’s naturally thrown by the offensive flurry of the hardcore-specialist. The Wolverine backs against the ring apron, so Hardcore drives his shoulder in to the midsection again the apron! He pulls him back… and does it again! And again! And agai…

    … no! Benoit holds firm… and with Holly trying to Shoulder Thrust him, Benoit starts kneeing Hardcore in the ribs! Hardcore loosens his grip, so Benoit heaves him up…

    GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB TO THE FLOOR! Hardcore completely splatted on the protective mats!

    But still there’s no cover! This one isn’t about wins and losses, it’s a fight over who’s tougher! Hardcore’s absolutely down and out from that huge move, so Benoit slowly pulls himself to the apron, feeling the effects of the toll this match has had on his own body, and stands tall over Holly’s body…

    AND SIGNALS FOR THE HEADBUTT! He opens his arms out wide and falls to the floor for the headbutt…

    … but Holly moved! Benoit crashed straight in to the floor!

    Holly uses the announce table to pull himself up… Benoit’s knocked loopy from the impact, so struggles up… he turns around…

    IN TO A SHOT TO THE FACE WITH THE MONITOR! Hardcore just absolutely clocked him!

    Benoit naturally collapses to the floor, and Hardcore’s knees give out as he falls in to the announce table. The brutality of the match has taken it out of both men as they sweat profusely, Hardcore’s eyelid started to swell up, Benoit’s eye bloodshot from Hardcore jamming his finger in there. They take a few moments to recover, but it’s not long before Hardcore gets back up, ready to enact a little more violence. He’s been back three weeks and not yet gotten the vengeance he needs on Brock Lesnar, so Benoit is going to have to do for now…

    … Holly gets to his feet… he holds his back from the Powerbomb but doesn’t let it stop him… AND STARTS RIPPING OFF THE PROTECTIVE MATS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE RING! He’s exposing the concrete floor!

    Benoit’s still not managed to get up, so Holly pulls him up by the shoulders… and shoves him between his legs! HOLLY’S GOING TO PILEDRIVE BENOIT ON THE CONCRETE! He lifts him up…

    … but Benoit fights it! He wriggles his feet so Holly has to put him back down! He beats his back, then tries again…

    … but Benoit fights it again! He manages to worm his way back to the floor…

    AND BACK BODY DROPS HARDCORE ON TO THE CONCRETE! What an impact!

    Again both men are down, unable to fight back after the tremendous strain they’ve put their bodies through after neglecting to have any of the match inside the relative comfort of the ring. Neither is able to take advantage of the slight lull in the match, so both are eventually able to get to their feet at the same time… they come together…

    … headbutt to the face by Benoit! Holly staggers back… then follows up with one of his own! Benoit with one of his! Holly with one of his! Benoit! Holly! They’re exchanging freaking headbutts! Benoit, more versed in slamming his head in to things, gets the better of the exchange, and knocks Holly back with a couple of unanswered headbutts… Benoit charges at him…

    SO HOLLY HIP TOSSES HIM IN TO THE STEEL STEPS! What more can these two men do to each other?!

    Benoit again writhes in pain on the floor, so Holly falls back in to the apron, trying to shake the cobwebs of those headbutts loose. His left eye is now almost completely swollen shut, with the tiniest trickle of unintentional blood running down from the bottom of the lid. He pats it a couple of times to check it’s okay, Benoit still unable to get back to his feet… so Holly picks him up…

    AND LIFTS HIM IN TO THE POSITION FOR THE ALABAMA SLAM! Holly carries Benoit on his neck… AND CARRIES HIM OVER TO THE EXPOSED FLOOR! HE’S LOOKING FOR AN ALABAMA SLAM ON TO THE CONCRETE!

    Holly looks to pull on the ankles… but Benoit’s fighting it! Again he tries to wriggles free, refusing to be flipped over Holly’s head… and starts to wriggle down his back…

    … in to a Sunset Flip! He rolls Holly to the floor as referee Jimmy Korderas slides in for the count…

    … but Benoit doesn’t want the pin! He gets to his feet and steps between Holly’s legs…

    AND TURNS IT IN TO A SHARPSHOOTER! Benoit’s got the Sharpshooter locked in on the floor! There’s no rope breaks, nowhere for Holly to get out of this! He’s stuck on the floor, back torqued at an unholy angle, as Benoit leans back…

    … but Holly refuses to quit! He desperately claws at Benoit’s ankle, trying to take him off balance and break the hold… he roars in pain as he grips on to Benoit’s leg… is he going to break the hold…

    … but Benoit suddenly releases the Sharpshooter…

    AND DIVES STRAIGHT IN TO THE CROSSFACE! Hardcore was too focused on the Sharpshooter, and left himself open to the Crossface! Benoit pulls back as hard as he can, interlocked knuckles pressing against Holly’s nose… he pulls to an angle, stretching Holly’s neck to the side as Benoit pulls back for all he’s worth… Holly flails, trying to find a way out…

    … but there’s nowhere to go! Benoit’s got it locked in tight on the outside of the ring!

    Holly’s hand hovers over the concrete, ready to give it up…

    NO! Holly refuses to quit! He didn’t go through eighteen months out of action with a broken neck to submit before he’s even gotten his hands on Brock Lesnar! He pushes up and roars, trying to fight through…

    … but Benoit’s not releasing! Hardcore can fight through the pain all he wants, there’s nowhere to go! Holly’s flailing arms grow tired and limp, gently patting at Benoit’s hands rather than doing anything close to breaking the hold… Benoit leans back again as the fight slowly drains from Holly’s body… he’s trying to fight, but his arms slowly tumble to the floor below… Jimmy Korderas pats the arm to check for life…

    … but he finds none…

    AND CALLS FOR THE BELL!

    Winner: Chris Benoit in 13:14


    There’s a big pop for the bell ringing and Our Lady Peace booming out from the sound system…

    … but Benoit doesn’t release the hold! Holly might be passed out, but Benoit’s leaving it locked in! He’s making a statement at Holly’s expense! Jimmy Korderas tries to yank Benoit free…

    … and eventually he lets go of the hold! Holly slumps to the concrete, and Benoit rolls to his feet! Korderas nervously tries to raise his arm in victory, but Benoit snatches it away, not wanting to bask in his victory. He came here for a fight, he came here to prove that he can go to whatever lengths necessary, and he’s resoundingly succeeded. Hardcore Holly is a dangerous, dangerous man… and even he couldn’t stop Chris Benoit today.

    As Benoit heads back up the ramp, not taking even a moment to celebrate the win, Cole and Tazz try to articulate the brutality that we just saw. There were very few actual wrestling moved to speak of, but it wasn’t about that. This was a straight up brawl between two tough, fierce individuals who hit each other as hard as they could until one of them couldn’t get up.

    There wasn’t a single pinfall in the match. They didn’t even get in the ring. But Chris Benoit took every sick thing Holly threw at him… and came back even sicker. Don’t piss off the Rabid Wolverine.





    ”Our days are finite...”

    We see TRIPLE H standing in the spotlight during his entrance, spraying water in to the air.

    ”We have to make the most of the little time we have...”

    We see KURT ANGLE standing on the ramp, arms raised to the sky, pyro exploding behind him.

    ”To create a future we can be proud of, and a past we will never forget.”

    We see CYNDI LAUPER and WENDI RICHTER jogging through the backstage area at the first Wrestlemania.

    ”Our bodies can not live forever...”

    We then see SHAWN MICHAELS screaming in agony as CHRIS JERICHO pulls back on the Walls of Jericho at Survivor Series.

    ”But the memories we leave may never die.”

    We see HULK HOGAN slamming ANDRE THE GIANT at Wrestlemania III.

    ”For we are not who we say are...”

    We see JOHN CENA, mid-freestyle.

    ”We are... what we do...”

    And then see ROB VAN DAM soaring through the air in slow motion, about to hit a Five Star Frog Splash.

    ”And what we do... can define... a lifetime.”

    We see EDDIE GUERRERO shimmying his shoulders, channelling his Latino Heat, with the crowd roaring behind him.

    ”Did we achieve all we wanted to achieve?”

    We see SHAWN MICHAELS on his knees at Wrestlemania XII, cradling the WWE Championship as the boyhood dream came true.

    ”Did we make the difference the world needed us to make?”

    We see JEFF HARDY hanging from the title belts during the TLC match at Wrestlemania X7, and EDGE diving off a ladder to hit a Spear in mid-air.

    ”Boys may become men...”

    We see RANDY ORTON standing on the stage, arms apart, posing as a curtain of pyro falls behind him.

    ”Girls may become women...”

    We see LITA standing on the top rope, signalling the fans.

    ”But only the great... can become legends...”

    We see SHAWN MICHAELS once more, this time splashing RAZOR RAMON off the ladder at Wrestlemania X.

    ”And only legends... can become... immortal.”

    We see HULK HOGAN and THE ROCK staring down at Wrestlemania X8.

    ”So did you give it everything you have?”

    We see KANE bring his arms down, igniting fire from the four turnbuckle posts.

    ”Did you refuse to quit when all hope was lost?”

    We see the iconic image of STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN locked in the Sharpshooter, bleeding profusely, but refusing to submit.

    ”Did you aspire to dream... when all others said it could not be done?”

    We see CHRIS BENOIT looking out at the crowd with a tear in his eye, having been given a standing ovation for his efforts against BROCK LESNAR on Smackdown.

    ”And when the time comes...”

    We see BOOKER T on one knee, staring at his hand before he rolls in to a Spinaroonie.

    ”Will you make it count?”

    We see RANDY SAVAGE and ELIZABETH’S tearful reunion at Wrestlemania VII.

    ”Will you make a difference?”

    We see CHRIS JERICHO hitting a picture-perfect Lionsault in slow-motion.

    ”And will you find the path...”

    We see THE UNDERTAKER’S entrance at Wrestlemania IV as he rides a cart to the ring to face Giant Gonzales, with an ominous-looking vulture perched next to him.

    ”To immortality?”

    We see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN celebrating winning his first WWE Title at Wrestlemania XIV.

    ”Wrestlemania XX...”

    We see BROCK LESNAR holding the title aloft after winning the belt in last year’s main event.

    ”Where it all begins...”

    We see HULK HOGAN and MR T celebrating together at the first Wrestlemania.

    ”Again.”





    We then transition backstage, to where we see BRADSHAW and RON SIMMONS watching that hype video, looking pensive. As we fade out, we see JOSH MATTHEWS standing with them.

    ”Bradshaw, Ron, as we saw there, we’re just four weeks from Wrestlemania XX. But the question you have to be asking yourselves is… will the A.P.A. even be a team by the time we make it to Madison Square Garden?”

    Bradshaw mulls it over for a moment, looking sombre and almost glisten-eyed. ”Lemme tell ya somethin’, son. That video we just saw ‘bout Wrestlemania? It’s all there. Ain’t a word of a lie in there. It means ev’rythin’, that show. Ev’rythin’. And th’ sacrifices ya have t’ make t’ get there… it ain’t no joke. It really is about bein’ th’ best ya can be, and makin’ ev’ry moment on this stage count.”

    He nods and drifts off, thinking it all over.

    Simmons gives him a pat on the back. ”You good, John?”

    Bradshaw snaps out of it. ”Yeah, Ron, I am. It just gets ya thinkin’. All this is a dream come true. Teamin’ with you, bein’ on this stage… and all dreams have t’ end eventually. Ya have t’ wake up in th’ morning. But y’know what, Josh?” he says, turning back to Josh Matthews with a new fire in his eyes. ”It ain’t mornin’ yet… and I ain’t wakin’ up from jack. Y’see, Billy Regal wants th’ A.P.A. t’ die. But we ain’t dyin’ on his terms. Nah… if we die… we’re dyin’ on our terms. And Shelton Benjamin… Charlie Haas…” he turns to the camera and points down the lens, ”you boys don’t know what ya gettin’ in to. I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again. We’ve seen ‘em all come and go in this business, and guess what… we’re still here. And after tonight… th’ A.P.A. will still be here… and we’ll be th’ WWE… tag Team Champions.”

    Josh offers the mic to Simmons to add something.

    ”Nah, kid, I ain’t got nothin’ t’ add t’ that. It ain’t a time for talkin’ no more… now’s time that someone gets their ass kicked.”

    The A.P.A. walk off, leaving Matthews alone in the interview pit.



    *** HEROES ***


    With that we return to ringside in time to see CHARLIE HAAS and SHELTON BENJAMIN make their entrance. Whereas Bradshaw and Simmons seem to be a whole host of emotions, the champions look their normal selves. And, as Tazz and Cole put it, after eight months as WWE Tag Team Champions, for them this is just another day in the office. But for the A.P.A… it’s about so much more than that.


    *** PROTECTION ***


    And there’s a hearty reaction for the arrival of BRADSHAW and RON SIMMONS! They storm out from the back saluting the fans on the way, knowing that this could be the last time they come to the ring to this music, and roll in the ring…

    … where the World’s Greatest Tag Team roll to the outside. Bradshaw yells abuse at them for leaving so easily, but then takes that opportunity to climb a turnbuckle and salute the fans just as Simmons is, and eventually, the champions return to the ring and we’re ready to get underway.



    WWE Tag Team Title Match – If the challengers lose, they disband
    The World’s Greatest Tag Team (c) (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs. The A.P.A. (Bradshaw & Ron Simmons)


    We start with Bradshaw and Haas as the legal men, and despite Haas wanting to turn it in to a quote unquote wrestling match early on, Bradshaw still manages to power through and dominate. Haas tags out, but Shelton gets much the same treatment, and when Simmons is tagged in, the veteran tag team run through a series of double teams to pop the crowd and remind us all of what a great tag team they were and are.

    Cole makes sure to put the A.P.A. over big time on commentary, talking about how focused they are on the task in hand and how William Regal may have accidentally fired them up to reach new heights. All is looking rosy for a while, but when a slick blind tag allows Haas back in and he tackles Simmons to the mat, the champions take the opportunity to grind it down to the canvas and where they feel more in control.

    From there, it’s all the World’s Greatest Tag Team. As always, they make good use of quick tags, cutting the ring in half to isolate Simmons from his fired up partner. Bradshaw paces along the apron, wanting to be brought in to level things out, but for all of Simmons’ desperate reaches for tags he just can’t quite make it. Bradshaw grows frustrated as he tries to reach in, but it’s all for nothing as the champions do what they’ve done every match for the last eight months as champions, and show why they’re considered the best team in the world right now.

    Despite having been thoroughly isolated, Simmons is still a former World Champion, and with his future as a member of A.P.A. on the line, he’s not about to keel over and die. He tries to fight back with a series of right hands to the stomach of Haas, leaving him to double over, so Simmons pulls him in… DDT! He crawls towards his corner, edging closer to Bradshaw… Haas also rolls towards his corner… and tags in Shelton before Simmons can get to Bradshaw! Shelton springboards to the top rope…

    AND DIVES ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE RING WITH AN INCREDIBLE ELBOW DROP! What athleticism from Shelton… and it stops Simmons dead in his tracks!

    And Bradshaw is apoplectic! Simmons got the big move in on Haas, and still they managed to get to him before he could make the tag! Benjamin drags Simmons back to the corner… and they continue to work him over!

    But Bradshaw’s had enough! He climbs in to the ring and, shoving Jimmy Korderas out of the way so he can get to the champions… and runs through them both with a Double Shoulder Tackle! He pulls Haas up… and launches him over the top rope! He grabs Shelton… Spinebuster! The World’s Greatest Tag Team are laid out, so Bradshaw grabs Ron Simmons… and drags him in to their corner… AND MAKES THE TAG! Bradshaw’s doing it all on his own!

    Shelton gets to his feet and cowers in the corner, terrified of what a refreshed Bradshaw might do. Bradshaw bounds over… and squashes Shelton in the corner! No finesse to that one! Haas rolls in the ring, but he’s still in a bad way, so Bradshaw rushes behind… Back Suplex!

    But he hasn’t seen Shelton get to the apron… Shelton springboards back in again… Springboard Crossbody!

    Caught! Bradshaw catches him in mid air and marches across the ring… FALLAWAY SLAM! That’s how you deal with Shelton “Spiderman” Benjamin!

    Shelton struggles up, so Bradshaw lines him up, rolling his shoulder ready for the big move… he charges… CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL!

    Misses! Shelton ducks at the last second… and Bradshaw crashes in to the corner! Shelton crawls across the ring and tags Charlie back in as Bradshaw suffers from the impact with the turnbuckle… so Ron Simmons tags himself back in! He’s had enough rest and he’s ready to go again!

    Charlie tries to rush over, but Simmons blocks a punch and fires off some of his own…

    … but Bradshaw can’t believe that he’s been tagged out! Referee Korderas tells him to get out of the ring, but Bradshaw’s absolutely dumbfounded that Simmons would tag himself in!

    Simmons pulls Haas up… Suplex! Simmons is going to win this… AND HE CALLS FOR A DOMINATOR!

    He shoves Haas between his legs…

    CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL

    TO RON SIMMONS! What the hell?!

    The crowd gasp, stunned, as Bradshaw looks down on his unconscious partner. Haas crawls on top of Simmons, staring up at Bradshaw over them, as Jimmy Korderas is forced to make the count…

    ONE...

    ”Not this way!” Cole yells!

    TWO…

    “Kick out, Ron!”

    THREE.


    Winners and still the WWE Tag Team Champions: The World’s Greatest Tag Team in 10:27. The A.P.A. are forced to disband


    The crowd are stunned in to silence at the turn of events. Haas, knowing they have probably gotten away with one there, scrambles out of the ring, barking for their belts to be handed over, and he and Shelton take off down the ramp, half hugging, relieved that they’re going to make it in to their tenth month as champions.

    The story in the ring, however, couldn’t be any more different. As Ron Simmons comes to, he looks up to see Bradshaw towering over him.

    Why?” Ron mouths.

    Bradshaw, though, merely shakes his head. There’s no signs of a follow up attack, but his face is riddled with frustration. After a few moments of staring at one another, Bradshaw flaps his hands out to his side.

    ”I gave up th’ best year’s-a my career for this?” he says, close enough to a camera for it to be picked up over the audio, and backs out of the ring, still shaking his head, and walks up the ramp, leaving Simmons on his own, still on the canvas, trying to work out what’s happened.

    ”I don’t understand it,” Cole says. ”After everything they’ve been through, why that? Why now? Why when they were doing so well?”

    “I’ve been sayin’ it for a long time now, Cole, Bradshaw’s been carryin’ that team for a while, and I guess he realises it now.”

    “I think that’s incredibly disrespectful to an athlete the calibre of Ron Simmons, to be honest.”

    “It’s tha truth! Bradshaw literally had ta drag him over for tha tag! If ya ask me, Bradshaw’s gonna be better off on his own.”

    “Well, I think it’s a sad way to see such a celebrated and loved team come to an end, if you ask me.”




    After that back-and-forth, with Bradshaw now having left the stage, we cut to footage of outside the Cow Palace.

    ”Well, folks,” Cole says, ”as stunned as I am by this latest turn of events here at No Way Out, the show must go on, and what a… a… noteworthy show it’s been so far, partner.”

    “These fans here in San Francisco don’t know what’s gonna happen next, and that’s exactly what I expect here on Smackdown.”

    “Indeed, it’s a beautiful if cold night here in the Golden Gate City, but we’re far from done here.”


    The footage then cuts to that of KURT ANGLE sitting in his locker room, looking pensive.

    ”Kurt Angle has been through absolute hell these last few months, and he’s going to have to step in to hell again in just a moment… when he takes on the returning Undertaker. Let’s see how these two came together.”



    We hear the WWE Production theme ”Angel Of Death”



    (0:00 – 1:13)

    … and see footage from Survivor Series last year, where THE UNDERTAKER seemed to be on the verge of winning the WWE Title… only for the lights to go out, and a MYSTERY MAN, under the cover of darkness, completely destroyed him, costing him the title and forcing him in to a hiatus.

    The prime suspect quickly became none other than KURT ANGLE.

    We firstly see footage of some of the issues that had brewed between he and ‘Taker, including The Deadman eliminating him at Survivor Series, and many of their backstage interactions. As we do, we hear Angle speak on the first Smackdown after ‘Taker was taken out…

    ”I don’t like ‘Taker. I never have (…) but no-one deserves what he went through. And let’s face it, had I wanted to screw ‘Taker out of the belt, I could have done it. I told you I’d do the right thing… and when it came down to it… I did.”

    Doing the right thing, though, seemed to count for little for Angle, as he went on a poor run of form, losing twice to Rhyno and once to Big Show, putting him on the verge of not qualifying for the Rumble…

    ”What the hell’s going on with Kurt Angle?” we hear Cole say on commentary. ”Ever since The Undertaker was taken out he doesn’t seem to be able to keep it together!”

    ”I… am a good… person!” we hear Angle say.

    He powered through, though, and by winning a Last Chance Battle Royal by lasting eliminating Rikishi…

    ”Kurt Angle has done it! Kurt Angle is going to the Royal Rumble!”

    At the Rumble itself, Angle arrives at number 23, and immediately shows that his poor form is (seemingly) behind him. We see him eliminate Hardcore Holly, and rather more controversially, Shawn Michaels and John Cena, and looking like a big time favourite to win the whole thing, as the music dies down in time for the end of the countdown for entrant number 30…

    * GONG *

    With that, the previous song ends, and is replaced by a different WWE theme, ”Damnation”...



    We see THE UNDERTAKER make his return as The Phenom, and he battles through the field, picking up the most eliminations and last eliminating Kurt for the victory.

    ”The Undertaker’s back!” JR exclaims on commentary, ”and he’s goin’… t’ Wrestlemania!”

    But with the intensely Gothic music bellowing out, we see how this loss impacted Angle. We see him smashing through Rikishi again on Smackdown, as well as some of his biggest and baddest moments over his career as we hear his fired up promo in his face-to-face with the Deadman two weeks ago...

    ”And I can finally tell you that, while you were having your little break, it was left to people like me to carry this show, just as I’m always expected to do. And because of you, I was treated like a common criminal… all for something I didn’t do. But I stayed true to who I am. I didn’t waver. I… am a good… person. (…) For months I’ve had people accuse me of being the one to take you out. Even though I had a chance to, and I didn’t. Even though I stuck to my principles. I did… the right… thing. And yet still people questioned my integrity. So now you’re here, ‘Taker, let me put it in no doubt for you. Let me tell you to your face, that the person who attacked you at Survivor Series… wasn’t… me… but God damn it I wish it was.”

    But through it all, we see the best of The Undertaker over the years. Not as the American Bad Ass or “Big Evil”, but as The Phenom. We see him take out every single person who has come and gone over the years. We see him crucify Steve Austin. Tombstone his own brother. Dive over the top rope to take out Shawn Michaels at In Your House: Ground Zero.

    Through it all, as the music ramps up, we hear the same saying Kurt has replied on over and over…

    ”I… am a good… person!”

    Still the music speeds up as we see both men as their violent best over the years, before finally settling on the two of them staring down two weeks ago on Smackdown…

    ”The Undertaker! Kurt Angle! No Way Out!” Cole says on commentary.

    And as the stare down fades out, that infamous refrain one final time…

    ”I… am a good… person!”



    *** MEDAL ***


    There’s a big reaction, albeit pretty mixed, for the arrival of KURT ANGLE. He walks on to the stage looking psyched as hell, setting off his pyro, and marching down to the ring. He goes through all his usual entrance movements, perhaps not wanting to show that ‘Taker is under his skin, but his eyes tell a different story. He barely blinks the whole way down to the ring and inside, and as his music dies down, he crouches down facing the entrance, ready to finally show who he really is...


    * LIGHTS OUT *

    Huge pop!

    * GONG *

    Again again!

    * GONG *

    *** REST IN PEACE ***


    Unlike the last two times we’ve seen him since his return, there’s no sudden bolt of lighting bringing the lights up. We stay with the gloomy, darkened blue-ish hue that hangs over the arena as the ramp begins to fill out with smoke…

    … and from behind the curtain comes THE UNDERTAKER! It’s the full old-school entrance for the first time!

    ‘Taker slowly makes his way on to the stage and down the ramp, the mind games already in full effect, and climbs the steel steps where he raises his arms…

    … and the lights come back up… AND ‘TAKER’S EYES ARE ROLLED IN THE BACK OF HIS HEAD!

    Angle tries not to react, shaking his head as he remains as focused as he can, so ‘Taker gets in the ring, slowly removes his trenchcoat and Stetson, and stares down the man who may well be guilty of taking him out at the Survivor Series...



    Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

    The bell rings and we’re underway… but ‘Taker doesn’t move! He remains perfectly stoic as he stares Angle down, unmoving, as Angle paces from side to side, looking to tie up…

    … but ‘Taker still isn’t reacting! Angle slowly walks over to him and starts yelling in his face, any pretence of him being focused going out of the window. He barks in his face, bits of spit flying in The Deadman’s unflinching face…

    SO ANGLE SLAPS HIM ACROSS THE FACE! ‘Taker’s eyes bug… he grabs Angle with both hands by the throat… and throws him in to the corner! Big right hands! Angle’s getting the tar beaten out of him already… and the crowd love it! ‘Taker whips him in to the opposite corner and rushes behind him… Clothesline in the corner! He lifts Angle up… Snake Eyes! Angle’s dazed, so ‘Taker bounces off the ropes and runs over… Big Boot!

    Angle tumbles to the outside of the ring! He gets to his feet and looks in the ring where ‘Taker’s still wild-eyed… and drags his thumb across his throat! Big pop for the Phenom!

    Angle adjusts his singlet on the outside, trying to regain his composure, and climbs back in the ring. This time he won’t rile the Deadman up, and looks for a tie up. ‘Taker reaches over, but Angle dives behind… waistlock! But ‘Taker elbows out… Angle staggers around… in to a big Uppercut from ‘Taker… again knocking Angle to the outside! Angle can’t get anything going here!

    Again Angle tries to compose himself as he gets back in the ring, and looks for another tie up… only to kick ‘Taker’s ankle! Cheap shot! ‘Taker hobbles from the kick, so Angle grabs a Heel Hook Takedown…

    AND LOOKS FOR THE ANKLE LOCK!

    No! ‘Taker kicks him away! Angle stumbles in to the ropes, so ‘Taker gets to his feet and charges… Angle sidesteps… and kicks ‘Taker’s ankle again! ‘Taker’s now against the ropes, so Angle rushes over… and Clotheslines the Deadman over the top rope to the floor! Finally a bit of offence for the Olympian!

    But ‘Taker lands on his feet! He grabs Angle inside the ring by the ankles and pulls him to the outside… and throws him in to the barricade! He grabs him by the back of the head… and slams his face off the steel steps! He rolls Angle in the ring but leaves his head dangling over the apron, his throat exposed… so ‘Taker drives his elbow in to his throat! And again! He climbs to the apron, Angle still lying prone… Ring Apron Legdrop! Angle rolls to safety in the ring, so ‘Taker follows in and starts working Angle’s arm over.

    ”You see that?” Cole asks on commentary. ”You might normally expect a cover from ‘Taker there, but it looks like he’s going right back to dishing out more punishment.”

    “That’s ‘cos it ain’t a normal match for tha Deadman! He’s lookin’ for whoevah took him out at tha Survivor Series, he ain’t lookin’ for an easy victory!”


    Undertaker twists and bends Angle’s arm… and transitions to a Stalling Elevated Wristlock! He holds Angle above his head… then slams him back down… but without letting go of the arm! He pulls Angle up again, twists it once more… and starts climbing to the top rope! He’s looking for Old School!

    He walks along the top rope, holding Angle’s wrist in place…

    … but Angle suddenly rushes over… AND CROTCHES ‘TAKER ON THE TOP ROPE! ‘Taker’s crotched on the rope, so Angle smells blood… AND STARTS KICKING THE EXPOSED ANKLE!

    Stuck on the top rope, ‘Taker can’t fight back, so Angle kicks him over and over, before grabbing the leg… and wrapping it around the second rope! Rope-assisted Leglock! Referee Brian Hebner counts to four and makes Angle break it up (which, being a “good person” he does)… then goes back to it again! So much for doing the right thing!

    Again he releases at four, and this time bounces off the opposite side of the ring, ‘Taker still stranded on the top rope… Running Dropkick to the ankle! And The Deadman topples back in to the ring… badly favouring his ankle! Angle’s surgically-precise targetting of the ankle is already paying off!

    With ‘Taker pained, Angle takes him to the ropes, places his ankle on the ropes and drops some elbows, before heading to the outside, dragging ‘Taker to the corner inside the ring, and slams his leg in to the ringpost a couple of times. ‘Taker cries out in pain, this very much not being in his plan for how his revenge would go, but Angle’s not stopping there… he grabs ‘Taker legs… AND GRABS A RINGPOST FIGURE FOUR! How smooth is Angle right now?!

    At risk of being counted out, he releases the hold and rolls back in to the ring. ‘Taker pulls himself up on the ropes, already unable to put any weight on his ankle, and hobbles around as Angle follows after him… so ‘Taker lands a big right hand! Pure desperation there, but what choice does he have?! He follows with another… then looks for a third…

    … but Angle ducks and goes behind… GERMAN SUPLEX! He hangs on and pulls them up… another! He’s looking for the Triple Germans!

    But ‘Taker elbows him in the jaw! And again! He swings wildly behind him, so Angle ducks and goes back to the front… BRIDGING NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    ‘Taker kicks out… but Angle goes right back to a Leglock!

    ”What a clinic Kurt Angle is putting on here!” Cole says.

    ”Yeah, ya know why? ‘Cos he’s Kurt friggin’ Angle, that’s why! Ev’ryone’s been underestimatin’ him and they’re forgettin’ he’s an Olympic Gold Medallist!”

    Angle tightens his grip, forcing ‘Taker to elbow his way out of it. Sensing he’s in range to break the hold, Angle gets to his feet while still holding ‘Taker’s injured ankle, dragging ‘Taker up on to one foot… he lifts ‘Taker up… and brings him back down with a Shinbreaker!

    AND TURNS THAT STRAIGHT IN TO A FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK!

    Woos echo around the arena as again Kurt focuses on that injured leg, digging in to a bag of tricks he wouldn’t normally call upon to keep the Deadman down. ‘Taker’s struggling, trying to turn Kurt over but unable to… so he tries to power through the pain by sitting up (but not the zombie sit up)… AND GRABS ANGLE BY THE THROAT… WHILE IN THE FIGURE FOUR LEGLOCK!

    ‘Taker squeezes, forcing Angle to release from the hold, and ‘Taker gradually brings them up to a standing position using only one leg for balance…

    … but Kurt stomps on the ankle again to break up the chokehold! ‘Taker limps back, so Angle whips him off the ropes… looks for a Clothesline… ‘Taker ducks and hits the ropes again… Jumping Clothesline! Down goes Angle!

    ‘Taker pulls himself up on the ropes, limping badly…

    AND LIFTS HIS HAND IN THE AIR! HE’S SIGNALLING FOR A CHOKESLAM!

    Angle gets to his feet and again ‘Taker grabs him by the throat…

    … but Angle drops to the mat… Drop Toeholds ‘Taker down with him…

    AND GRABS AN ANKLE LOCK!

    ‘Taker uncharacteristically yells in pain as Angle wrenches it in, jumping on the spot to inflict as much pain as possible. ‘Taker tries to turn around to kick Angle away, but Angle fights it and keeps it locked in… ‘Taker’s forced to drag himself across the ring towards the ropes…

    … and reaches the bottom rope! The hold needs to be broken!

    But Angle doesn’t let go! He keeps it locked in even with ‘Taker in the ropes!

    ‘Taker, though, wasn’t reaching the ropes to break the hold up through a technicality. He uses them to pull himself back up to a standing position, even with Angle holding on to the injured ankle… and the Deadman starts punching at Angle’s face! Angle tries to hang on…

    … but Undertaker punches him off! He’s broken the hold! ‘Taker backs in to the ropes and limps over to Angle…

    RUNNING DDT! Vintage Undertaker!

    Angle’s down and out from the big impact, so ‘Taker uses the chance to try and stretch his injured limb out… and starts punching at his own ankle! He’s trying to bring a bit of feeling back! He uses the ropes to pull himself up…

    AND SIGNALS FOR A LAST RIDE! Big pop from the crowd!

    ‘Taker pulls Angle up and shoves him between his legs… he heaves Angle up on to his shoulders and lifts him up in the air…

    … but Angle leaps out of it and lands behind ‘Taker…

    AND HITS AN ANGLE SLAM!

    But the momentum knocks ‘Taker out of the ring!

    Angle desperately dives for him to try and catch him before he does, but he’s too late! He’s hit his finishing move (after being able to avoid all of The Undertaker’s as well) but there’s nothing he can do about it! Surely this would be a three count… but The Undertaker isn’t in the ring!

    Brian Hebner starts counting The Undertaker out…

    … so Angle grabs the referee by the shirt!

    ”What the hell are you doing?” Angle yells, red-faced and invading Hebner’s personal space. ”He doesn’t get outta this that easy! I’m beating him in the middle of the ring! I’m the better man, ya hear me?”

    The ref, fearing for his life, backs away with his hands in surrender, leaving Kurt to do whatever he feels necessary. By now ‘Taker is struggling back up to his feet, so Angle climbs on to the ring apron… and leaps off at The Undertaker!

    Caught! ‘Taker caught Angle… and has him in a Bearhug position! Angle tries to fight it, but ‘Taker charges forward… and drives Angle backfirst in to the ringpost! He then adjusts Angle on to his shoulders, and (on one leg) drives Angle face-first in to the ringpost… THEN SNAKE EYES’ HIM ON THE BARRICADE!

    Undertaker, still clearly struggling from the focus on his ankle, rolls Angle back in to the ring and follows him. Angle pulls himself up… so ‘Taker meets him with a big right hand! And another! Angle tumbles back in to the corner, so ‘Taker follows over… more right hands! And then a left! Right! Left! Right! Left! The crowd come alive as ‘Taker unleashes an almighty flurry to Angle’s midsection, before taking a step back… big time Throat Thrust! Angle collapses to the mat… and the crowd love it!

    The Deadman isn’t done there, though. Just because he’s back in the contest doesn’t mean he’s about to slow down. He pulls Angle up again and lifts him on to his shoulders… another Snake Eyes to the turnbuckle! ‘Taker bounces off the ropes and looks for another Running Big Boot…

    … but Angle catches it! He sweeps the standing leg…

    AND GRABS ANOTHER ANKLE LOCK!

    But ‘Taker refuses to be turned over! He fights through it, perhaps knowing his ankle might not be able to survive another Ankle Lock attempt, he presses his feet in to Angle’s stomach… and kicks him away in to the turnbuckle! He’s broken the hold again!

    He pulls himself up with the ropes as Angle’s catching a breather in the corner… ‘Taker charges with a Clothesline… but Angle moves… and Undertaker crashes in to the turnbuckle! His sternum cracks against the padded metal, so he rebounds out…

    IN TO AN ANGLE SLAM!

    No! ‘Taker leaps out of it…

    AND GRABS ANGLE BY THE THROAT! CHOKESLAM!

    DEVASTATING IMPACT!


    But the injured ankle forces ‘Taker to crumble to the mat as well! Angle’s out, but ‘Taker can’t take advantage!

    He gradually pushes himself across the mat… and makes the cover!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THRE...


    Angle gets the shoulder up! At the very, very last second, Angle rolls a shoulder! If ‘Taker had gotten in to the cover even a second earlier that might have been it!

    ‘Taker eyes bug, crazed, furious that Angle managed to get out of that. He limps back on to his feet, though, and looks down at Angle…pulls him up…

    ... AND FLIPS HIM UPSIDE DOWN FOR A TOMBSTONE!

    But Angle slides out of the back!

    GERMAN SUPLEX! He hangs on… ANOTHER! AND THEN A THIRD! Triple Germans!

    Angle gets back to his feet and looks down at ‘Taker, the man he holds personally responsible for this spiral he’s been on for the last four months…

    AND DOWN COME THE STRAPS!

    ”I’M GONNA MAKE YOU TAP, YOU SON OF A BITCH! I DON’T NEED TO HIDE TO HURT YOU! I’M GONNA BREAK YOUR FUCKIN’ ANKLE RIGHT NOW-”!

    ’TAKER SITS UP!

    The crowd explodes at seeing the trademark ‘Taker move… and Angle looks like he soiled himself! His eyes bug, stunned that The Undertaker’s still going…

    … so ‘Taker grabs Angle by the loose singlet around his wait… pulls him in… and nails him with a big right hand from the seated position!

    Angle stumbles back off the ropes, so ‘Taker gets to his feet… another big right hand! And then a third! Angle bounces back the third time, so ‘Taker grabs his wrist… twists it…

    AND STARTS CLIMBING TO THE TOP ROPE! Even with one ankle he still manages to walk the top rope as he clutches Angle’s arm…

    OLD SCHOOL! And this time it connects!

    ‘Taker looks down on Angle, all fight having been drained from his opponent since the Zombie Sit Up…

    AND DRAGS HIS THUMB ACROSS HIS THROAT! Big pop!

    He pulls Angle off the mat and flips him upside down…

    AND DROPS HIM ON HIS HEAD! TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER!

    He crosses Angle’s arms across his chest for a cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner: The Undertaker in 16:55


    The crowd erupt at the victory!

    The announcers play up what a huge effort that was from Kurt Angle, and how for most of the match he seemed to have things in hand with his strategy of targeting the ankle… and yet despite throwing everything he had at it, he just… fell short.

    ‘Taker limps over to the ropes for support, still unable to rest on the ankle, and Brian Hebner looks to raise his arm…

    … but ‘Taker snatches his hand away! He doesn’t want anything to do with Brian Hebner! This wasn’t about wins and losses, this was about what happened at Survivor Series!

    He looks down at Angle, who is conscious but unmoving…

    … and shakes his head!

    ”Is...” Cole stammers, ”is that Undertaker writing Kurt Angle off as a culprit?!”

    “I dunno, Cole, but bein’ in a war with someone like that does give ya an insight in ta what they’re capable of, lemme tell ya. Either ‘Taker don’t think it’s Angle anymore, or he’s just stunned at how much of a fight Kurt put up.”

    “It was a titanic effort, I agree with you there, partner. But as has been the case so often with Kurt Angle these last few months, he got this close to victory, only to see it snatched at the last second.”


    With Angle still not moving, ‘Taker limps over to where he lies…

    … grabs Angle by the arm…

    … and pulls him up! Has Angle earned his respect, or is this a sign that he doesn’t believe Kurt is the guilty party?

    ‘Taker holds Kurt up…

    … so Angle snatches his arm away! He doesn’t want ‘Taker’s help standing up! He falls back in to the ropes, sitting leaning against the bottom two, and looks up at the Deadman… and sneers. He might have earned ‘Taker’s respect… but ‘Taker hasn’t earned his… even in victory!

    Angle rolls to the outside and struggles back up the ramp. He’s red-faced and sweating profusely, but it looks a little choked up at the loss. He promised a victory, he promised to show Undertaker (and the world) what he’s made of… and once again, it results in a loss.

    As Angle disappears out of sight, we’re left with just The Undertaker in the ring. He shakes his head at the disrespect, but gradually drops to a knee…

    … the lights dim to a blue/purple hue once again…

    … and Undertaker strikes his trademark pose! The Undertaker is back!

    The announcers put over the fine effort in his comeback one-on-one match, and how he’s heading to Wrestlemania with a huge amount of momentum from this victory-

    WHEN THE UNDERTAKER IS SUDDENLY CRACKED IN THE BACK WITH A STEEL CHAIR!

    ‘Taker flops forward from the classic pose and lands face-first on the mat. The house lights come up…

    AND WE SEE A MAN IN A BALACLAVA STANDING OVER HIM… HOLDING THE STEEL CHAIR!

    ‘Taker turns around to see the attacker behind him… he scowls and tries to get to his feet, facing the man who is no doubt his attacker from Survivor Series…

    SO THE ATTACKER SMASHES HIM IN THE FACE WITH THE CHAIR! Down goes the Undertaker!

    ‘Taker’s not getting up from that one, so the mystery attacker looms over him with the chair…

    … and tosses it to the side! He reaches up to grab the top of the balaclava…

    ...

    … he slllowwwly pulls it up…



    … to reveal…

    Spoiler:

    CHRIS JERICHO!

    Half the crowd pop at the sight of the man no doubt behind Undertaker’s attack all those months ago, but half are stunned in to silence.

    ”It’s...” Cole stammers, ”it’s Chris Jericho.”

    “Chris Jericho was tha won who took out Tha Undertaker!”


    Jericho remains unmoved, standing over the fallen Phenom… a sneer starts to grow across his face…

    AND HE SPITS ON THE UNDERTAKER!

    Some of the crowd boo, but others are still too stunned to respond. As always there’s no music to play over Jericho “triumphant” moment, so we’re left watching him standing in silence over The Deadman as we fade out, left only with a final question that hangs over us from Cole…

    Jericho?”




    We then hit a commercial for the forthcoming ”John Cena: Word Life” DVD that comes out on March 2nd, which then transitions in to a graphic for Wrestlemania XX: Where It All Begins… Again, coming to you live from Madison Square Garden in just 28 days.

    ”There we have it, partner,” Cole says over the graphic. ”Twenty-eight days until the Grandaddy of ‘em All… Wrestle… Mania… Twenty! But who is going to be the WWE Champion going in to Madison Square Garden? We’re about to find out.”

    The graphic disperses, and we’re left with footage backstage of BROCK LESNAR hopping on the spot, getting pumped for the upcoming title match as PAUL HEYMAN yells in his face about this being ”your moment, Brock! Destroy him! Make him pay for stealing your title! Make him wake up from this nightmare and take back what is yours!”

    We then change to footage of EDDIE GUERRERO sitting backstage. He’s alone in his locker room, holding the WWE Title in both hands, staring it with everything he’s got. He closes his eyes for a silent moment of prayer in an image completely different from the one elsewhere backstage, and the graphic for the WWE Title match appears on the screen.

    ”There it is. It’s Brock Lesnar… Eddie Guerrero… WWE Title… and it’s next.”



    We open to the WWE Production theme ”Betrayal”



    (0:00 – 1:17)


    … and see EDDIE GUERRERO staring down BROCK LESNAR at the start of their WWE Title Match on the January 1st edition of Smackdown.

    ”It’s the biggest opportunity of Eddie Guerrero’s fifteen year career!” we hear Cole say as the circle each other.

    We soon see clips of their contest, with Brock often dominating the contest, especially after the Fallaway Slam in to the barricade. With such a strength and size advantage, it came as no surprise as to how easy Lesnar could have found it to stay in control. And as we see Brock brutalise his challenger, we hear voiceovers from William Regal and Paul Heyman earlier in the night…

    ”You, young man, are just not that level of wrestler.”

    “You are good, Eddie Guerrero. Damn good. But what you are not… is Brrrrock… Lesssnarrrr!”


    But Brock wasn’t in there with just anyone. If there’s any defining trait about Eddie throughout his career, it’s that he doesn’t know when to quit. We see that, through everything Brock threw at him, Eddie somehow had an answer to everything. Time and again Lesnar looked for the Rear Naked Choke, but every time Eddie had an answer. Brock even ended up with help from Rhyno and William Regal, only to see that scuppered by Chris Benoit, Chavo Guerrero, Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio and John Cena.

    So in the end it ended up just the two of them. Despite Eddie taking Brock further than anyone thought possible, Brock ultimately ended up locking in the Rear Naked Choke, the move that had already beaten Eddie several weeks earlier. As Eddie faded, he found the WWE Title on the canvas by his barely-conscious hand, so used it to strike Brock in the face with the belt, climb to the top rope…

    ”Go on, Eddie!” Cole screamed…

    FROG SPLASH!

    He hooked the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    And the crowd went WILD!

    ”Here is your winner… and NEW… W… W… E CHAMPION… EDDIE… GUERRERO!”

    Eddie’s friends and family joined him in the ring for the tearful celebration, with him being hoisted on shoulders while holding up the US and Mexican flags…

    ”Eddie Guerrero has done it! It’s taken him fifteen years! People told him he’d never make it! He told himself he’d never make it! But here he stands… once and for all… as our… WWE… Champion!”

    We linger on the footage of Eddie atop everyone’s shoulders, tears streaming down his face, as we fade out…



    … and back in to the furious face of BROCK LESNAR, as the WWE production theme ”Adrenaline” starts up…



    … and we hear PAUL HEYMAN talking over it, even as the footage changes to Brock laying out Eddie, particularly on the last episode of Smackdown...

    ”Eddie, January 1st this year, the night you won that title… that’s what we call… a 1 in 1,000 moment. You know what they’re like. One of those very rare moments when the stars align and the impossible becomes the possible (...) Anything can happen… in those 1 in 1,000 moments. But here’s the problem with those 1 in 1,000 moments… they’re rare. For 999 times out of 1,000, the status quo exists. (…) And this Sunday at No Way Out, Eddie… it’s one of the 999. You’ve had your 1 in 1,000. It got you to attain something otherwise impossible on any other day, in other moment. (…) And this Sunday at No Way Out, you’ll be a million miles from January 1st. On that night, for that split second, the impossible became possible. But this Sunday… the impossible… stays… impossible.”

    But through it all, we see Eddie firing off in the matches he’s been in, including against Hardcore and even Brock himself.

    ”Eddie Guerrero… will… not… quit!” Cole yells on commentary.

    The action ramps up between both men…

    ”Brock Lesnar...” Heyman says during a previous promo, ”will… destroy… you!”

    We see clips of Eddie hitting that Frog Splash to win the title…

    ”I’m not afraid of Brock Lesnar, ese!”

    And we see the title belt shot that busted Eddie open on Smackdown, and hear again from Heyman on Smackdown…

    ”Maybe now you are seeing… that this is a war… that you can not win!”

    … and then a flurry of Brock offence on Eddie, all intercut with the image of Eddie busted wide open, finally ending on Brock standing over Eddie, clutching the blood-stained WWE Title, as Heyman says to Eddie’s unconscious body...

    ”Try to enjoy these last few days with the belt… because this Sunday at No Way Out… your WWE Title reign… is... over.”



    *** NEXT BIG THING ***


    We return to the arena to see BROCK LESNAR bouncing out from the back, his face a picture of pure concentration. In the match where he lost the title, it could be argued he came in too cocky, underestimating his challenger. The same can absolutely not be said here.

    Brock bounds down to the ring, and as always, is followed by PAUL HEYMAN.

    ”And there he is,” Cole says on commentary as they make their way to the ring. ”If Brock Lesnar is successful in regaining his WWE Title here tonight, then that man right there Paul Heyman will have earned that obscene commission of his ten times over. He’s done everything he can to get inside Eddie’s head these last few weeks, and it resulting in Brock leaving Eddie busted wide open on Smackdown.”

    “They’re a dangerous team, Cole, ain’t no debatin’ that!”

    “Paul Heyman is a manipulative narcissist, and there’s no debating that either! And are you going to apologise to Eddie Guerrero for slandering his name with all that Undertaker stuff? Now we know the true culprit are you gonna hold your hands up and admit your part in getting under the champion’s skin?”

    “I didn’t do nothin’, don’t tar me with that brush. Paul E made a very compellin’ argument and I bought it. I say it speaks more to Eddie’s personality that I thought it was possible!”

    “Give the damn guy a break already! He’s had his name dragged through the mud for nothing, and it’s all to help Brock Lesnar win back that title, as if he needs any more advantages in life.”


    By now Brock has made it in to the ring, and paces around as his music dies down…


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    And there’s a big pop for the arrival of EDDIE GUERRERO!

    He comes out from the back without the lo-rider – we saw earlier he arrived without it – and there’s no playing up to the fans. The camera zooms in on his laser-focused eyes, and we see the plaster/band-aid still covering the cut above his head from Smackdown. The camera then pans down to the WWE Title draped over his shoulder, and we see Eddie’s dried blood still staining the gold-plated front of the belt.

    ”And would you look at that?” Cole says. ”The blood of Eddie Guerrero is still on that title belt… and if you ask me, Eddie’s left that on there as motivation for what Brock and Heyman have done.”

    “It’s disrespectful to tha belt, is what it is! Who doesn’t clean dried blood?!”

    “A man who is focused on revenge, that’s who!”

    “Yeah, and ya know was anothah word for that is? Unfocused. Heyman knows that Eddie got tha bettah of tha opening exchanges in their last match by outsmartin’ Brock. Now who’s been outsmarted?!”


    Eddie, eyes fixed on Brock, strides down to the ring, gets in, and hands the belt over to referee Nick Patrick without even looking at it. Tony Chimel provides us with the big match introductions, Patrick holds the belt aloft… and the bell rings! We’re underway!



    WWE Championship Match
    Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Eddie Guerrero (c)


    Eddie immediately starts pacing the ring from side to side, waiting for an opening to get his hands on Brock. The challenger, however, just hops on the spot, making sure to keep himself warmed up, not diving in to anything too soon (which was his downfall in the early part of their previous match). Eddie paces from side to side, ready to attack…

    … but Heyman is following him on the outside!

    ”Give it up, Eddie!” Heyman yells. ”It’s over, just accept it! You got lucky once, it won’t happen again! You’re just delaying the inevitable!”

    Eddie, though, keeps his eyes on Brock…

    ”You got by cheating against Chris Benoit, but it won’t work here!”

    The mention of Benoit and the incident at the Rumble does it. Eddie half-looks to the outside to yell at Heyman…

    … so Brock charges… drives his shoulder in to Eddie’s midsection… and drives him in to the turnbuckle! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! He heaves him up on his shoulder and runs across the ring… AND SPLATS HIM BACK DOWN WITH A SPINEBUSTER! But still he hangs on… in to a Waistlock on the mat!

    ”I’ve got to hand it to you, partner,” Cole says, ”what you said about Heyman knowing Eddie managed to outsmart Brock in their previous match looks to be right on the money. Heyman’s got completely under Eddie’s skin, and it means Brock’s not got caught out like he did on January 1st.”

    And, true to what Cole says, Brock wraps in the Waistlock tight, before rolling on to his back and dragging Eddie with him… and pins Eddie’s shoulders to the mat!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out… but Brock hangs on to the hold! He adjusts his arms… and slips in to a Full Nelson! He rolls through… and again pins Eddie’s shoulders to the mat…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out… but falls straight on his back… where Brock leaps on top for another cover…

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Eddie powers out again… but as he does… falls straight in to the arms of Brock… WHO GRABS A BEARHUG! Eddie’s getting nothing here!

    Brock tries to squeeze the fight out of the champion, having used Heyman’s distraction and used his strength and amateur wrestling advantages to dominate these early goings. As Tazz argues that this has got a Paul Heyman strategy written all over it, Brock continues to squeeze… only for Eddie to start to fire up! He punches at the face of Brock…

    AND STARTS BITING HIS NOSE! Eddie will do anything to keep the belt!

    That forces Brock to release, and both men get to their feet for the first time since we began, as Eddie looks for a wild, uncultured right hook… which Brock ducks… he lifts Eddie up… and holds him over his head! He carries Eddie across the ring… AND PRESS SLAMS HIM TO THE OUTSIDE!

    ”Holy crap!” Tazz exclaims. ”Did ya see tha power on that?!”

    Eddie, having taken a hard landing on the outside, has nowhere to go. Brock looks to follow him out, but Nick Patrick tries to stop him, allowing Heyman to walk over to Eddie and rub the bottom of his shoe across his face.

    ”That’s what Brock thinks of you, Eddie! He thinks-”

    Eddie’s getting back to his feet! Heyman pushed it too far! Eddie looks to stalk Heyman…

    … so Brock clatters him from behind with a brutal Lariat to the back of the head! Eddie slumps to the floor, so Brock eventually pulls him up… lifts him off the floor…

    AND HITS A FALLAWAY SLAM IN TO THE BARRICADE! That’s the move that turned the January 1st match his way!

    Eddie’s slumped between the barricade and the floor, so Brock pulls him up again… ANOTHER FALLAWAY SLAM IN TO THE BARRICADE!

    But Brock’s not done there. Again he drags Eddie’s body off the floor and lifts him... THIRD FALLAWAY SLAM IN TO THE BARRICADE! And Eddie is out!

    ”And you have to think that’s again part of the strategy we know Heyman has laid out for Brock. That Fallaway Slam was a game changer when Brock hit it once in their previous match, so what’s the plan in this match? Hit it three times!”

    “Sometimes the simplest plans are tha most effective, Cole.”


    Brock uses that to drag Eddie up and roll him in the ring… and makes another cover!

    ONE…

    TWO...


    Eddie rolls the shoulder! But, after having been dominated in the early stages, those kick outs are already losing their power. He tries to get to his feet in the corner, but Brock’s on him straight away… more Shoulder Thrusts! Eddie’s not being given a second to get any kind of momentum going! Brock carries him out of the corner… Powerslam!

    But he doesn’t let go! As soon as Eddie bounces off the canvas he pulls him up again… another Powerslam! And still he hangs on! He carries Eddie around the ring, looking for a third successive Powerslam…

    … but Eddie slips out the back… and starts firing off with big right hands! Nothing cultured to this one, Eddie’s scrapping for everything he’s got! Each punch sends Brock topping backwards and in to the ropes, so Eddie whips him across the ring… Brock reverses… but doesn’t let go of Eddie’s arm! He pulls him back in… OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! Brock scurries over for another cover…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    TH...


    Eddie rolls the shoulder! But again there was very little power to the kick out, with Brock’s dominance having drained the energy out of Eddie already. And, as with the previous pinfall attempts, Brock leaps straight on to Eddie after the kick out, wrapping his almighty arms around his ribs and squeezing, not wanting Eddie to gain any kind of rest-bite. Eddie tries to power up, so Brock, still hanging on, adjusts his body so they’re both on all fours, and Brock drives his knee in to Eddie’s ribs over and over, before pulling Eddie up and off the mat without releasing… German Suplex… with a bridge!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THR...


    Eddie kicks out again… and still Brock refuses to let go!

    ”Brock’s like one-a them constrictor snakes!” Tazz exclaims, ”once he’s gotta hold-a ya, there’s nowhere ta go!”

    Again Brock knees Eddie in the ribs, trying to drive the air out of him, before again pulling them up… he’s behind Eddie holding a Waistlock… Brock charges towards… and drives Eddie sternum first in to the turnbuckle! Brock backs off… and again! And again! Brock then rolls back… O’Connor Roll!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    TH...


    Again Eddie kicks out… but still Brock’s holding on!

    ”Is this how you thought it’d go?” Heyman taunts from the outside. ”Your final match as champion and you’re getting nothing! Nothing!”

    Brock stays behind Eddie with his arms wrapped around Eddie’s midsection, squeezing ever tighter… so Eddie starts to elbow out! Eddie’s not done yet! He fires off a series of elbows to the jaw of Brock, jarring him with each one… the elbows come thick and fast… Brock’s grip loosens… so Eddie spins around… mounts Brock… and starts firing off punches! Brock covers his face with his forearms, but Eddie won’t be stopped! Lefts and rights! Over and over! The crowd buzz with excitement as Eddie flails wildly all over Brock’s face, weeks of frustration of how he’s been treated flooding out as he pounds Brock over and over…

    ”What’re you doing, ref?!” Heyman barks, ”stop him!”

    Nick Patrick tries to stop Eddie from the closed fists… but Eddie won’t stop! Patrick tries to drag him off of Brock (not wanting to end a match like this in disqualification if he can avoid it)…

    SO EDDIE SHOVES NICK PATRICK AWAY! The red mist has descended for Eddie!

    He turns back to Brock…

    … but Brock lifts him on his shoulders… and drives him down with another Spinebuster! That brief interaction with the ref cost Eddie valuable time, and Brock made the most of it! He slumps in to a cover…

    ONE..

    TWO…

    THR...


    Eddie kicks out!

    This time, though, Brock doesn’t go back to a Waistlock. He sits against the ropes, lighting touching his face to check with cuts or welts from that savage flurry of right hands from Eddie…

    … and a sneer starts to grow across his face!

    ”Uh-oh!” Tazz says, ”you just made tha monster angry!”

    Eddie, wind driven out of him from the Spinebuster, slowly tries to get to his feet…

    … Brock rushes over… AND NEARLY DECAPITATES HIM WITH A LARIAT! Eddie’s knees turn to jelly as he crumbles to the mat, but Brock’s still seething! Brock drags him to his feet by the arm and forces him in to the ropes, pulling him back in… ANOTHER LARIAT! He drags Eddie in to the corner by the arm, tossing him in to a seated position against the bottom turnbuckle… AND STARTS KNEEING EDDIE IN THE FACE! This isn’t a match, it’s a fight! He drags Eddie up by the hair, yanking it back so Brock can look in to his pained face…

    ”You think you’re a big man, huh?” Brock grunts, before grabbing Eddie’s arm… and whips Eddie so hard across the ring Brock tumbles on to the mat…

    AND SENDS EDDIE CRASHING IN TO THE TURNBUCKLE SO HARD HE BOUNCES OVER THE TOP ROPE AND TO THE FLOOR!

    Heyman cackles with glee at the way his client is manhandling the champion, and when Brock leaps to the outside with them Heyman makes sure to get in his face before he attacks Eddie again.

    ”This man stole your title, Brock! You can’t let him get away with this, can you?!”

    Brock barges past Heyman and pulls the winded Eddie off the floor, and drags him by the hair to the steel steps…

    AND SLAMS EDDIE’S FACE OFF OF IT!

    Eddie slumps backwards on to the floor as Heyman struggles to contain his excitement at the pure devastation from his client. Brock’s by now panting with anger, and turns towards Heyman in time to see him screech ”MORE! MORE!” Brock turns back to Eddie…

    AND EDDIE’S BEEN BUSTED OPEN AGAIN! That wound hadn’t recovered from Smackdown, and it’s broken open once more!

    Like a shark smelling, well, blood, Brock pulls Eddie off the floor… AND SMASHES HIS HEAD IN TO THE STEEL STEPS AGAIN! This time Eddie doesn’t fall back, instead left slumped over the stairs exactly where his face hit the metal. Blood runs down his head and on to the steel, dripping down the steps as Heyman grins maniacally. Brock pulls Eddie up by the blood-soaked hair once again… AND AGAIN DRIVES HIS FACE IN TO THE STEEL! This isn’t a contest, it’s assault!

    There’s no fighting back from that, so Brock rolls the unconscious Eddie in to the ring, blood running off the tip of his nose and on to the canvas. Brock climbs in with him… and starts hopping on the spot! Eddie’s a bloody wreck and Brock’s absolutely fine!

    ”BROCK!” Heyman screeches from the outside, FINISH… HIM!”

    Brock darts over to Eddie, who still hasn’t moved off the canvas, and pulls him up… AND ON TO HIS SHOULDERS!

    F5!




    COUNTERED BY EDDIE IN TO A TORNADO DDT! How the hell did he manage that in his state?!

    The crowd pop huge for the reversal (the first non-punch offence from Eddie in the whole contest), and both men lay out cold in the middle of the ring. Seeing no sign of movement from either man, Nick Patrick reluctantly starts counting them down…

    ”ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! FIVE!”

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”
    Heyman yells, climbing to the apron to cut off the count, and starts wildly protesting for Patrick not to do this, knowing full well that a draw does his client no favours. The referee argues his case, which gives both participants the opportunity to get to their feet without risk of being counted down. Eddie, somehow, is the first to pull himself up on the ropes, blood trickling down to his chest… he staggers across the ring…

    AND GRABS HEYMAN BY THE JACKET! Eddie’s going to get his hands on Heyman after everything he’s said about him!

    No! Lesnar pulls Eddie away… OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! He tells Heyman to get back to the floor and to safety, and pulls Eddie up… AND SLAMS HIS HEAD OFF THE TURNBUCKLE! Now even the turnbuckle covering is covered in blood!

    Eddie’s out again, so Brock scowls and pulls him up… and shoves him between his legs! He’s looking for the Powerbomb!

    No! Double Leg Takedown from Eddie...in to a Jacknife Pin!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THR...


    Brock kicks out!

    Both men to their feet… knee to the stomach from Brock! Gutwrench Suplex! Brock just keeps overpowering the champion! He pulls him up and shoves him between his thighs again, not willing to give up on the plan for the Powerbomb… he heaves him on to his shoulders and charges…

    POWERBOMB IN TO THE TURNBUCKLE! And Eddie’s head just whiplashed off the turnbuckle pad! Disgusting impact!

    Brock drags Eddie out of the corner by the boot and tightly hooks the leg…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THRE...


    EDDIE GETS THE SHOULDER UP! And Brock can’t believe it! Heyman barks at Nick Patrick over a slow count (even though it wasn’t), and Brock strides towards the referee, forcing him in to the corner. Still the blood from Eddie’s cut drips on to the mat, with any kind of fire left in him extinguished by that brutal impact against the corner. Brock finally gets himself together, turning away from the referee… and crouches down behind Eddie! He’s waiting for the F5!

    Brock slowly pulls himself up again the ropes, and staggers to the centre of the ring…

    … where Brock lifts him on to his shoulders! F5!

    But Eddie hangs on to the arm… AND COUNTERS WITH AN ARM DRAG! Brock slides across the ring and to his feet… Dropkick to the face by Eddie! Brock tumbles back in to the corner, so Eddie rushes over… Monkey Flip! Brock’s sent soaring through the air and on to his back!

    AND EDDIE’S SHIMMYING THE SHOULDERS! COVERED IN BLOOD, HE’S CHANNELLING HIS LATINO HEAT!

    Brock’s back on his feet, so Eddie kicks him in the gut… SUPLEX! AND HE SWIVELS THE HIPS! Eddie hangs on… ANOTHER SUPLEX! Another swivel… he’s going for the Three Amigos! Eddie holds him, ready to lift...

    … but Brock charges forward… and squashes Eddie against the corner! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! Shoulder Thrust! Brock’s an animal!

    Eddie’s well and truly had the wind knocked out of him, so Brock lifts Eddie up… places him on the top rope… and follows him up there! Brock’s going to the top rope with Eddie! He hooks his arm over his neck… and looks for the Superplex!

    NO! Eddie fights it off! He punches at the midsection, then at the face… AND PUSHES BROCK OFF THE TOP! Brock crashes to the canvas below!

    FROG SPLASH! Eddie leapt off the top after Brock!

    But Brock moved! Nothing but mat for Eddie! Both men are down!

    After a few moments of trying to collect themselves, both men struggle to their knees... and Eddie nails Brock with a punch! Brock hits Eddie! Eddie! Brock! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! He’s pounding the hell of Brock! Eddie gets to his feet and continues to fire off on him, so Brock is left no choice but to groggily stumble on to his feet and in to the ropes. Eddie looks for the whip across the ring, but again Brock reverses… hangs on to the arm… and looks for the Belly To Belly Suplex again!

    SO EDDIE STARTS HEADBUTTING BROCK’S FACE! Right on the bridge of the nose, over and over again… so Brock releases! There won’t be another Overhead Belly To Belly here! Brock staggers back, holding his face… and then charges at Eddie…

    CLOTHESLINE!

    But Eddie ducked…

    AND BROCK TOOK OUT THE REFEREE! Nick Patrick just got clattered in the top of the head by an errant Clothesline!

    Brock’s stunned at the accidental collision… Eddie drops to his knees… LOW BLOW! Eddie took advantage of the referee being out as soon as he hit the mat! Brock’s doubled over… SNAP DDT!

    Brock’s down alongside the referee… Eddie looks to the outside…

    AND ROLLS TO THE OUTSIDE! Eddie’s grabbing his WWE Title belt! He looks to climb in to the ring to use it on Brock…

    … but Heyman snatches it out of his hands!

    ”No!” Heyman barks. ”I won’t let you screw Brock like you screwed your best friend!”

    EDDIE STALKS PAUL HEYMAN!

    Heyman immediately begs off, pleading for his life as Eddie strides purposely towards him…

    … so Brock clatters him from behind! Again Heyman provided the distraction long enough for Brock to recover and strike! Brock pulls Eddie up…

    AND SLAMS HIS FACE IN TO THE STEEL STEPS AGAIN! And that’s it for Eddie’s ability to fight back!

    Brock rolls Eddie back in to the ring, but Heyman stops him before he follows in. He hands over the title belt like it’s handing over the Holy Grail.

    ”Take it!” Heyman screeches. ”It belongs to you! He took this from you! Now take it from him!”

    Brock nods and gets in to the ring. Eddie by now is crawling across the ring, his legs turned to jelly with the blood loss, and slowly pulls himself up ringrope by ringrope…

    ”C’mon, Eddie!” Brock taunts…

    Eddie slowly turns around…

    IN TO A BELT SHOT TO THE FACE!

    Brock tosses the belt to the side and hooks the leg… and Nick Patrick is slowly coming around! Patrick drags himself towards the cover, bit by bit, gradually easing himself closer…

    ONE...



    TWO...





    THRE...

    Eddie kicks out! How is he still going?!

    And Brock can’t believe it! He thought he had it there! He leaps to his feet and drags Patrick up by the collar, and berates the barely-conscious official for his call. Patrick of course isn’t with it enough to argue… SO BROCK TOSSES HIM ACROSS THE RING! That’s not going to help him count quicker next time!

    With Eddie still not getting up and the referee having been knocked silly again, Brock storms over to the corner… AND PULLS OFF THE TOP TURNBUCKLE PADDING! As if Eddie hasn’t gone face-first in to steel enough times this match already! The ref’s out of it, so Brock can yank Eddie up by the hair, getting Eddie’s blood on his hand, and pulls him to the corner… AND SLAMS HIS FACE OFF THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE! Eddie is OUT!

    ”This one’s ovah!” Tazz exclaims, ”if tha referee was awake he should end it on a stoppage, Eddie ain’t comin’ back now.”

    “If the referee was awake he would disqualify Brock Lesnar! That’s twice he’s used an illegal object… as if he needs it anyway!”


    With Eddie out cold, Brock again picks up the title belt and stares intently at it. He looks past the dried blood on the gold plate and processes what it all means. He looks at the name tag that reads “Eddie Guerrero” and snarls, and takes a step back… and waves for Eddie to get up again! He’s going to hit him with the belt yet again!

    ”This isn’t right!” Cole exclaims on commentary. ”Eddie Guerrero is being screwed out of his belt and no-one’s coming to save him!”

    Eddie’s barely with it enough to pull himself to his feet, but Brock poises behind him, title cocked and ready to nail in Eddie’s grossly bloodied face… Eddie has no idea what’s waiting for him as he tries and fails to get back to his feet…





    ”TIME TO PLAY THE GAME!”

    *** THE GAME ***



    And there’s an immense pop!

    ”WHAT?!” Cole yells. ”It can’t be! He’s been banned from any Smackdown events!”

    Whether the pop is actually for Triple H or just for someone standing up to Brock, the crowd lose their minds at the appearance of Triple H…



    … but Triple H isn’t there! Brock’s completely distracted by the music, ready to fight with the invader from Raw… but The Game isn’t coming out!

    Slowly, the music dies down… and the crowd boo! Brock laughs that The Game presumably doesn’t have the guts to come out here…

    WHEN EDDIE SNATCHES THE BELT OUT OF BROCK’S HAND… AND CLOCKS HIM IN THE FACE WITH IT! BROCK LESNAR IS OUT COLD! Triple H may not be here… but the distraction was enough to put Brock off and allow Eddie to recover!

    Eddie’s out on his feet, but he still manages to crawl to the corner and slowly pull himself up the ropes… he won the title with a belt shot and Frog Splash, and he slowly climbs to the top to do it again! He gets to the top and tries to not lose balance through blood loss…

    FROG SPLASH CONNECTS! Eddie slumps in to a cover… and Nick Patrick is edging over to make the count!

    ONE…



    TWO...



    THREE!

    ...

    NO! PAUL HEYMAN BREAKS UP THE COUNT BY NAILING NICK PATRICK IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD!

    Paul Heyman breathes a sigh of relief that he got there just in time…

    … but Eddie Guerrero is staring a hole straight through him! Like a scene out of a horror film, Eddie Guerrero’s covered in blood… and staring a hole right through Paul Heyman! Heyman’s put Eddie through hell these last few weeks, dragging Eddie and his family’s name through the mud all with the intention of giving Brock Lesnar a psychological advantage… and now he’s physically costing Eddie the win!

    Heyman gets to his feet, begging for his life as Eddie gets to his feet as well… AND HEYMAN TRIES TO RUN AWAY! But Eddie grabs him by the suit jacket! Heyman pleads sycophantically to be left alone, apologising for everything he’s said…

    … but Eddie isn’t in a forgiving mood! EDDIE PUNCHES PAUL HEYMAN RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES! FINALLY HEYMAN GETS WHAT’S BEEN COMING TO HIM FOR MONTHS!

    Heyman collapses to the mat, obviously knocked out with one punch to the face, and the crowd go wild for Eddie finally doing what people have been pleading for for months! Eddie turns back to Brock…

    WHO LIFTS EDDIE ON TO HIS SHOULDERS! F5!

    He makes the cover…

    … but Nick Patrick’s still out! He can’t make the count!

    So here comes CHARLES ROBINSON sprinting down the ramp and sliding in to the ring!

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THRE...


    EDDIE KICKS OUT!

    And Brock is apoplectic! Even if the wait for a referee was precious time lost, Brock can’t believe that Eddie JUST WON’T STAY DOWN!

    Eventually, though, Brock refocuses. That F5 might not have got the job done, but surely it won’t take much else now. The Fallaway Slams in to the barricade. All the face-first journeys in to the steel steps. The exposed turnbuckle. A belt shot. A Powerbomb in to the corner. An F5. Eddie Guerrero will NOT stay down… but for how long can that stay true?! Brock, breathing heavily and dealing with the consequence of twenty-five minutes of action and having taken more than his own share of big hits, crouches behind Eddie… and holds his arms out wide! He’s looking for the Rear Naked Choke!

    ”And Brock’s looking for it!” Cole yells. ”Perhaps the most feared hold in the whole company! Brock went for it too many times in their previous match and Eddie was able to counter them all to his own benefit, but Brock has waited patiently for the perfect time to lock it in here. There’s no way Eddie’s going to have enough fight left in him to get out of this!”

    Eddie starts to struggle up, so Brock follows behind him, ready to clamp it in… he passes by the WWE Title belt and, knowing that Eddie countered the Rear Naked Choke in their first match by using the belt to hit him in the face, kicks the belt out of the ring so it can’t be used… Eddie struggles up…

    AND BROCK LOCKS IN THE REAR NAKED CHOKE!

    He squeezes and twists around Eddie’s neck with severe force, blood from Eddie’s head dripping on to Brock’s forearm… Brock swings Eddie from side to side as he tries to drain the fight out of him… Eddie’s about to drop to a knee…

    … but Eddie suddenly fights through it… and rushes forward, dragging Brock behind him…

    … drops to a knee…

    AND SENDS BROCK CAREERING IN TO THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE! And Charles Robinson wasn’t in the ring when Brock stripped it earlier! He hasn’t realised what Eddie’s done!

    Brock rebounds out, but he’s groggy… Eddie kicks him in the gut…

    BRAINBUSTER! Brock landed right on the top of his head!

    Eddie stumbles in to the corner and pulls himself up the ropes… his legs nearly give way, but he fights through it… he pulls himself up and on to the top…

    FROG SPLASH!

    He doesn’t move from the impact, staying barely-conscious on top of Brock…

    ONE…

    TWO…

    THREE!


    Winner and still WWE Champion: Eddie Guerrero in 25:44


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    ”Eddie has done it!” Cole cries on commentary. ”Eddie Guerrero has fought through immeasurable odds… and Eddie Guerrero… has retained… his W… W… E… Championship!”

    Slowly, Eddie rolls off of Brock, the canvas stained with his blood, but the title firmly back in his grasp. Charles Robinson tries to help him up, but Eddie’s not going anywhere right now. Brock absolutely decimated him, but Eddie refused to quit even when Brock repeatedly broke the rules, and somehow fought through to keep his WWE Title.

    With Paul Heyman coming around from the right hand he took at the hands of Eddie, he slowly rolls to the outside of the ring, and drags Brock with him (the best he can). Brock’s eyes are glossy from the exposed turnbuckle and Brainbuster, so Heyman helps him up the ramp as they look on at Eddie, blood-soaked, but still the champion.

    ”How d’ya like that, Heyman?!” Cole yells on commentary. ”You thought you could get in Eddie’s head?! Ruin his reputation?! Do everything emotionally and physically to throw him off his game and hand Brock Lesnar the WWE Title?! Well, you forgot one thing… Eddie Guerrero… does… not… quit! Eddie Guerrero took everything the two of you had to throw at him… and he just… kept… going! Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar again… and this time there can be no excuses for Paul Heyman!”

    “No excuses?!”
    Tazz queries. ”What d’ya call that Triple H thing?! That cost Brock Lesnar tha title, right there!”

    “It didn’t cost Brock anything! He had plenty of chances to finish the match... it was he who insisted on using the belt and try to cheat to beat Eddie… and Triple H wasn’t even there! That music just stopped Brock from cheating any more, is what it did!”


    Finally, Eddie has enough strength to pull himself up, but he flops on to the top rope, unable to hold his own body weight. A team of medical personnel come down to check on his well-being and look at the gnarly cut on his head, but Eddie shrugs them away… and snatches the WWE Title out of Charles Robinson’s hands…

    … and holds the title to the sky! He stares down Brock and Heyman on the ramp… and starts pounding his reddened chest with one hand while holding the belt up with the other!

    ”And a picture speaks a thousand words!” Cole exclaims, his voice hoarse. ”Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are slinking away… while Eddie Guerrero stands tall! Bloodied… battered… but never beaten! Eddie Guerrero… is still… the WWE Champion!”


    * END OF SHOW *

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