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Raw: A last, frantic build to Mania
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


This is it. The last RAW before Wrestlemania, and according to Vince McMahon; it will be the biggest RAW of the year. I beg to differ, since the main event is the same one from No Way Out.

Jonathan Coachman is in the ring, much to the chagrin of the Chicago crowd, and announces the match between Lashley and Mr. McMahon is now a "No DQ match." He also adds any unauthorized outside interference will result in a fine and suspension. Stone Cold Steve Austin makes his way to the ring. Austin apologizes for interrupting, but he has a story to tell. Over the weekend Stone Cold received a truckload of gifts from Donald Trump. Coach interrupts Austin, saying Vince would never do anything like that. Austin says he told the driver to take everything back to New York; but it turns out the gifts came from Stamford, Connecticut. Coach tries to apologize, but Austin wants to DQ Vince on the spot. Coach stops him, and says he sent all those gifts, not Vince. Coach says he's sorry. Austin explains he will stomp anyone who doesn't listen to his instructions. Austin starts to leave, but Coach has one more thing, saying bald in beautiful. Austin leaves, but not before giving Coach a stunner, and downing some beers.

Austin heads to the back and gets in his truck to leave. His path is blocked by a limo. As the two vehicles pass, Vince sticks his head out of the sunroof, and starts to rant, until he sees it is Austin. Stone Cold gives Vince the one finger salute. Vince pulls his driver out of the car, and fires him on the spot.

Match #1 -- Melina, Victoria, Jillian Hall vs. Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, and Ashley

JR announces that the Women's title Match at Wrestlemania is now a Lumber-jill match. (So far the biggest RAW isn't living up to its standard. The one good thing is that I've been experiencing technical difficulties all night, and have missed most of this match.) Ashley hits hurricanrana on Victoria, and then goes after Melina. Ashley ducks a back handspring elbow from Jillian and rolls her up for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, and Ashley

Match #2 -- CM Punk vs. Kenny Dykstra

Dykstra hammers away at Punk to start the match, but Punk fights back with a back breaker. CM leaps to the top rope, but is cut down by Kenny. (Nice, someone just went commercial mid match. Thanks Comcast.) Punk knees Dykstra, and follows with a flying clothesline. Punk nails a bulldog, but cannot get a three count. Punk sets up a fireman's carry, and then catches Dykstra with a knee to the jaw.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Edge sarcastically celebrates Punk's win, and tells him to savor the win, because it won't happen on Sunday. He tells Punk he can respond on the Cutting Edge, tonight.

Seven of the eight participants in the Money in the Bank match are in the ring. Edge comes down to host his show. Edge says he won ladder matches at WM 16, 17, and 21, but Edge wants to know why his opponents think they can win. Everyone says their piece. Edge shoves Punk into the crowd, and a fight ensues. Edge scurries from the ring. Finlay smashes Matt into the ladder, as Edge laughs from the ramp. Matt turns the tables on Finlay, tossing him from the ring. Edge claps as the Hardys and Punk clear the ring, but then they take off up the ramp after Edge.

Maria interviews WWE Champion John Cena. The champ says years from now no one will be talking about who was friend with who; they will be talking about who was the best, and one man who had his hand held high with championship in hand.

Match #3 Vince McMahon vs. Bobby Lashley -- No Disqualification

Vince comes to the ring in a sweat suit. Vince has the bell rung, and slips from the ring. Cade and Murdoch hit the ring. Lashley dispatches both men. Chris Masters runs in, but once again is no match for Lashley. Johnny Nitro is next up, and next down. A running powerslam takes care of Nitro. Vince calls for more backup, and Umaga walks down the ramp. Both men exchange punches. Lashley has Umaga reeling, but a low blow from Vince stops Lashley in his tracks. Umaga hits a Samoan drop, allowing Vince to get the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Vince McMahon

After the pin, Umaga climbs the turnbuckle and hits Lashley with a splash. Estrada has Umaga beat on Lashley in the corner, and then hits him with a butt splash, not once, but twice. Lashley then gets the Samoan Spike. Vince covers Lashley and pins him again. Umaga picks Lashley up, and gives him another Samoan Spike.

Todd Grisham gets a word with Mr. McMahon backstage. Grisham says the win was a little controversial. Vince says he promised he would pin Lashley, and he did. Vince bullies Grisham into saying he believes Vince will win. Eugene is dressed like Donald Trump, and Vince rips his wig off to reveal a bald head.

Match #4 -- Ken Kennedy and Randy Orton vs. The Hardys

Matt Hardy and Orton start things off. Hardy hits an elbow off the middle turnbuckle. Kennedy tags in and throws Jeff Hardy from the ring. Orton tags back in, and clubs away at Jeff in the corner. Kennedy sets Jeff up on the top turnbuckle; Hardy fights off Kennedy, and hits a whisper in the wind. Matt gets the hot tag, and hits a double bulldog on Orton and Kennedy. He then follows with a side effect on Kennedy, and hits Orton with one too. Orton kicks out of a pin. Jeff joins the fray, hitting poetry in motion on Orton, but misses the attempt on Kennedy. Matt tries for a Twist Fate on Kennedy, but has it blocked. Matt is pushed into Orton, who hits him with a RKO. Orton covers for the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Ken Kennedy and Randy Orton

The newest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is good ol' Jim Ross! (This tribute gave me goosebumps, and the Chicago crowd gave him a standing ovation.)

Match #5 -- The Great Khali vs. Ric Flair

Flair tries to chop away at Khali, but instead gets tossed around like a rag doll. Khali tries to slam Flair into the ring step, but Carlito runs down to make the save. Khali tosses Carlito into the ring, and chokeslams him to the mat with both hands. Kane hits the ring with chain and hook in hand. Kane beats down Khali, and the big Indian slips from the ring, and escapes through the crowd.

Winner via DQ: The Great Khali

Another look at The Condemned.

Shawn Michaels weighs in on John Cena. He says the champ represents everyone he has been in the ring with. HBK says he has Cena's back.

Match #6 -- John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista and The Undertaker

(Well, if you missed this match at No Way Out, too bad. I'm just going to cut to the chase, since my cable has been acting up.)

The Undertaker walks out on Batista. Cena slams him to the mat, and HBK drops the elbow off the turnbuckle. Cena and HBK hit a double five-knuckle shuffle. Cena celebrates, and turn right into a super kick from HBK. Michaels stands in the ring, as Batista crawls over to get the pin on Cena. HBK gives Cena the "you can't see me" and then gives him a crotch chop.

Winner via pinfall: Batista and The Undertaker

After a quick commercial, JR recaps what just happened. And the show goes off the air.

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale would like to let Nick Tylwalk know he has his back covering Wrestlemania this Sunday.