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Raw: Respect and the benevolent Mr. McMahon
By RICHARD KAMCHEN - SLAM! Wrestling


Welcome to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Raw’s acting cheese head Coach loiters in the ring.

Flanked by security at ringside, Coach announces he is suspending Randy Orton indefinitely for introducing handcuffs into last week’s beat down against John Cena’s father.

Coach introduces WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who does his bionic bowlegged strut to the ring before taking the mike to yak about respect. Vince veers the subject of lacking deference from Cena to HHH.

Still miffed about HHH’s delight at the discovery of Hornswoggle as Vince’s illegitimate child, Vince announces HHH will be the one to be embarrassed tonight. Vince announces a handicap steel cage match between HHH and Carlito with his partner… Vince himself!

Changing gears again, Vince says he owes an apology to someone and calls out Hornswoggle. On bended knee, Vince tells his boy he didn’t mean to say he was embarrassed to have Hornswoggle as a son and that he never wanted to see him again. Vince and Hornswoggle proclaim their love for one another and exchange a hug. Awwwww… I… I think I have something in my eye – the sewing needle I stuck into it.

Now that he’s a McMahon, Vince says he’s noticed how the ladies have been after Hornswoggle and that one in particular has shown her interest – Melina!

Melina comes out and Hornswoggle stands in the middle of the ring with his mouth hanging open. Well, really. Can you blame him?

Melina tells a bashful Hornswoggle that he’s really cute and asks “Horny” if he’d like it if the two of them got to know one another a little better. Looking for Pop’s approval and getting it, Hornswoggle turns and mauls Melina. Well, really. Can you blame him? After separating the two lovebirds, Vince tells them to go out on the town and have a beer.

“Remember what I said about the birds and the bees,” Vince calls after the departing couple. “Always use protection!”

Swell, dad.

Taking advantage of Vince’s apparent good mood, Coach asks for a favour – make him the permanent General Manager of Raw. That draws Cena and the ring fills with security. Cena throws a chair into the ring while Coach reminds Cena he can’t touch him or Vince. Taking no notice, Cena jumps in the ring and tackles both. As security pull him off, Coach and Vince make a quick retreat up the ramp.

Now a shade or two redder, Vince threatens Cena’s status as champion and announces a Championship Surrender Ceremony at which Coach will decide the fate of The Champ.

Match # 1 – Cody Rhodes vs. “Hardcore” Holly

A returning Holly tells Cody that with a name like Cody Rhodes, he “should be in a boy band and not in a wrestling ring.”

“If you want my respect, you have to earn it.”

Such a subtle theme tonight…

Rhodes gets Holly down a couple times but soon Holly starts whipping Rhodes with some stiff-looking chops and clubs to the back. A side-Russian-leg sweep gets Rhodes a near fall. A nice, high dropkick isn’t enough to keep Holly down either, and Holly gets the duke with an Alabama Slam. Holly leaves the ring staring and shaking his head at Rhodes: No respect for you.

Winner via pinfall: “Hardcore” Holly

Recorded comments from Randy Orton follow, in which Orton congratulates Cena on being “the biggest phoney in WWE history.”

Whoa – them’s fightin’ words.

Orton says Cena chickened out when he deliberately got himself disqualified at their match at Unforgiven, and he promised there will be nowhere for Cena to run at their Last Man Standing match at No Mercy.

He invites Cena to bring his father, who Orton criticizes as a bum living off his son, to Raw next week to discover just what he has up his sleeve.

Match # 2 – Santino Marella (with Maria) vs. Ron Simmons

“You talk about a guy who’s out-punted his coverage – there he is,” says Jim Ross of Marella.

A fairly crap match here. Marella seems less than enthusiastic to lock up with Simmons, and after getting a couple whacks, rolls outside for a breather. (Or “doing his best scalded dog impression,” as announcer Jim Ross puts it. Either or, really.)

Simmons gives slow pursuit; Marella slips back into the ring, and starts giving some shots to Simmons when he finally rolls back into the ring. A few forearm smashes to Simmons’s lower back aren’t overly effective and Simmons tries to make a comeback. Not keen on that, Marella takes his leave again, this time grabbing Maria and high-tailing it to the back.

I’ll let you guess what Ron Simmons had to say about that.

Winner via count out: Ron Simmons

The No Shame Contest (a.k.a.) Diva Search blah blah blah begins. Geeze. Isn’t there a Hooter’s to work at in these girls’ neighbourhoods?

Jillian chastises Melina for going out with a “midget.” Nice. Melina finally confesses (obviously not realizing there’s a camera in her face) that she just went with the smelly Leprechaun because Coach promised her a shot at the Women’s Title if she agreed to it. Jezebel!

Next, Cade and Murdoch have a wee chat with The Highlanders, who ask why they haven’t been given a chance at the Tag Team belts. Well, for one, the champs have a match tonight against Paul London and Brian Kendrick. Undeterred, The Highlanders begin offering various stipulations for a match, including a “Kilts on a Poll” contest, which prompts Murdoch to ask what The Highlanders would be wearing if their kilts were on a poll. The Highlanders lift their kilts and show them – both ends. Hoooo boy…

Match # 3 – HHH vs. Carlito and Mr. McMahon – Steel Cage Match

I’ll say this for Vince – he knows how to play the cowardly heel. When the three combatants face off, he and Carlito nod to each other to signal a joint attack against HHH. But when Carlito runs at HHH, Vince turns and flees in the opposite direction and starts climbing the cage to escape.

But, this being just the start of the match, HHH of course fends off Carlito and drags Vince back. Carlito and Vince pummel HHH but he fights back. Vince even gets crotched during another botched escape attempt.

“A top rope contraceptive!” J.R. calls out.

“The grapefruits!” cries Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Carlito gives his own low blow to HHH and flings him into the cage to slow him down.

Back from commercial break, HHH and Carlito exchange blows while Vince exhaustedly drapes himself over the ropes in his corner. HHH gets the upper hand, tossing the both of them around. An attempted Pedigree on Vince is stopped by a Carlito Back Stabber.

Vince still can’t escape as HHH keeps pulling him back. On top of the cage, HHH rams Vince’s head into a pole. Carlito jumps up to assist Vince but after a brief scuffle, HHH pushes him backward onto the mat. The diversion, though, is enough for Vince to climb down the rest of the way for the decision.

Vince walks off, mocking HHH. HHH takes his revenge on Carlito, giving him a Pedigree on a steel chair.

Winner via weaselling out of the cage: Carlito and Mr. McMahon

Match # 4 – Cade and Murdoch vs. London and Kendrick – Non-Title Match

The match is joined in progress. The tag champs work over Kendrick who soon hot tags London. London bounces all over and sits still only long enough for a cover, which is broken up.

“Let’s face it J.R., these guys can wrestle faster than you or I can talk,” Lawler points out.

Yes… But is that a good thing?

The Highlanders, who’ve been watching from ringside, break up a likely win by London and Kendrick and start giving them the boots.

Winner: No contest (apparently)

The cameras take us to Melina showering. Hornswoggle lives up to her nickname for him and chases her around while she shrieks. He catches up to her long enough to tear the towel off her glistening body. Fantastic then.

Vince is basking in his office. Coach visits to warn him HHH is looking for Vince, but Vince says he’s got HHH’s number. When Coach leaves, Vince rushes to anxiously pack his bag. Opening the door, he nearly runs into the scowling HHH, who challenges Vince to a match next week. Vince accepts.

Match # 5 – Jeff Hardy and Candice Michelle vs. Shelton Benjamin and Beth Phoenix – Mixed Tag Team Match

Benjamin opens on the offence before Hardy takes over. A mule kick sends Benjamin out to the floor. Phoenix runs over to keep Hardy from leaping off the top turnbuckle to Benjamin, but Michelle intercedes to knock Phoenix down. Both Hardy and Michelle then fly off onto their opponents.

Back from break and the boys are tagged in. Hardy lands a Whisper in the Wind on Benjamin, but when he comes off the top rope again Benjamin counters what might have been a hurricanrana with a powerbomb. Lots of high spots before the girls return.

Phoenix won’t stay down, even when Michelle plays the part of Matt Hardy, launching herself off Jeff onto a prone Phoenix who leans in the corner. Finally getting the upper hand, Phoenix takes out Michelle with a cradle suplex.

Winner via pinfall: Shelton Benjamin and Beth Phoenix

Coach gives a statement in a supposed “press scrum” in the hallway suggesting Cena could lose the belt tonight. He also clarifies he suspended Randy Orton for only 24 hours since he wished that he had been the one who gave Cena Sr. a beating last week.

Back from commercial, Coach, backed up by a gaggle of security goons, is in the ring standing behind a black cloth covered table and orders Cena out. Cena takes his sweet time but eventually makes his appearance and hits the ring.

Coach berates Cena for not showing him the proper amount of respect and wonders if Mr. Cena’s beating last week might have been for naught. He tells Cena that he demands the respect he deserves and says if Cena begs to keep the title, he “might” let him keep it.

Cena looks less than contrite. Coach takes off his jacket and Cena immediately follows suit by ripping off his shirt, much to the delight of the screaming girls in the crowd. As Coach is about to order security to take the belt off Cena, the bell rings several times to interrupt him and Lillian Garcia gets on the mike to announce Mr. McMahon has decreed Cena will NOT be stripped of the championship. Moreover, a main event will cap the evening.

Match # 6 – John Cena vs. Coach – Tables Match

Security abandons Coach and Cena smacks him. Cena hoists him into an FU but then releases him to punch him again before locking in the STFU. Coach taps immediately but as this is a tables match, the referee doesn’t call it and Cena keeps torturing the Raw GM. Finally releasing the hold, Cena rises and gestures at the table for the fans’ approval. Obviously getting it, Cena picks up coach and FUs him through the table for the win.

Winner via broken table: John Cena

Hornswoggle appears at the entrance ramp, Cena grins, grabs a mike and shows his gratitude to his benefactor.

“Thank you, Mr. McMahon.”

And that’s it for tonight. Goodnight and goodbye.

Richard Kamchen once said he was boycotting WWE TV but reminds readers about the oft-repeated maxim in wrestling about never saying never. He writes from Winnipeg and can be e-mailed at richardkamchen@hotmail.com.