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COMMENT





Raw: Orton faces trio of trouble
By WRITER X - Mystery SLAM! Wrestling Correspondent


Digital cable is out in Palmyra, PA. Gremlins are mucking up the works at Comcast. And thus, the call goes out again for Writer X. And even with a full array of viewing options that includes Monday Night Football and the baseball playoffs, he dons his luchadore mask and opens his laptop, knowing he is duty bound to answer the call, even when Raw is coming to us on tape from Birmingham, England.

The show begins with William Regal and WWE Champion Randy Orton discussing exactly went wrong last week, when Randy expected to get a handshake from Triple H but instead received a superkick from Shawn Michaels. They seem to be on the same page as far as a warm-up match for Orton, but the champ makes a tactical error when he calls the British fans rogues. I think that may have an effect on the announcement Regal says he has to make. Sure enough, after soaking in the reaction from his home fans, Regal reveals that Orton will face off against each of the three men fans can vote into the tile match at Cyber Sunday, starting with Jeff Hardy.

Match 1 - Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton

The opening moments go back and forth, and when Hardy flies for the first time, we head for a commercial. Funny how we still have to do that even though the show is, ahem, not live. Orton has things going his way until Hardy rallies with a flurry of clotheslines. Hardy hits the Whisper in the Wind and some more offense before looking for the Swanton Bomb. Ortonís second opponent, Mr. Kennedy, picks that moment to make his presence felt, allowing the champ to crotch Hardy on the top rope. The RKO follows to seal an Orton victory.

Wait, Santino Marella is still on Raw? I just assumed that taking a few weeks off from watching that heíd be gone. He earns some heat from the English fans before his match begins.

Match 2 - Santino Marella vs. Val Venis

Wait, Val Venis is still on Raw? Anyway, Venis gets in some early offense but Marella gains the upper hand by working Valís knee. Venis gets his second wind and tries for a sunset flip, but Marella pulls a Belichick (a.k.a. breaks the rules) and gets the pin. Maria must be so proud.

Diva Search contestants on the beach... bouncy, bouncy! One of the hopefuls complains that the dummy they are supposed to "rescue" from the ocean is a lot heavier than she expected. Sadly, sheís not much smarter than I expected.

Coach is backstage with Carlito, who complains about the small English apples and makes fun of Coach for taking a beating from Hornswoggle. An angry Coach says he thinks Vince wants him to get rid of his little son. Hey, speak of the devil! Hornswoggle leads Coach on a merry chase back to the catering area, where he jumps on his caretaker before running off.

A recap of last weekís Raw shows Umaga destroying Triple H. And on that subject, Vince tells Regal his matches for the evening are fine, but he wants to know why The Game isnít on the card. When Regal replies that HHH is in no shape to compete, McMahon counters by saying heís arranged a little demonstration starring Triple Hís opponent at Cyber Sunday, the very same Umaga. Or as Regal pronounces it, "Umanga." Can I add that the idea of Mr. McMahon making life hell for the top face is so original?

Match 3 - Mr. Kennedy vs. Randy Orton

Who are you going to vote for at Cyber Sunday? Iíve got an idea, and he hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin. You know the rest. Kennedy scores all of the early near falls and is in control until Orton buys himself some time with his trademark backbreaker. The champ is right back in trouble thanks to a rolling slam, but the match is quickly thrown out as Jeff Hardy arrives on the scene with revenge on his mind. Hardy hits a Swanton Bomb on Kennedy and low bridges Orton out of the ring.

Vince makes his way to the ring to talk about Cyber Sunday, and specifically, the fate that awaits Triple H. A local kid by the name of Andy Simmons is in the ring, and heís about to face Umaga. Heís justifiably scared, because local jobbers usually have about the same life expectancy as the red-shirted ensigns from Star Trek. Vince says the demonstration will be a Street Fight and tells the ref to ring the bell.

Match 4 - Andy Simmons vs. Umaga

Umaga chokes Simmons with a camera cable and throws him over the announce table. Tossing a steel chair back into the ring, he hits the Samoan Drop on the chair to finish off poor Simmons. Ah, but thatís not it. McMahon says that a First Blood Match is also one of the voting options, so he tells the refs to toss Simmons back in and restart the match. A minute or so later, Simmons is bloody and the match is over. But wait, thereís more! A Steel Cage Match is also a possibility for the Umaga-HHH bout, so McMahon wants the cage dropped from the ceiling. Simmons absorbs a third beating before Umaga walks out of the cage. Point proved, I guess.

Coachís pursuit of Hornswoggle continues, now on bike. Cue Ron Simmons: Damn!

Match 5 - Jillian Hall vs. Candice Michelle

Calling Lilian Garciaís musical performance last week pathetic, Hall launches into her rendition of a classic Spice Girls tune that is mercifully cut short by Michelleís entrance. The actual match lasts about 45 seconds, with Michelle getting the pinfall with her finisher. I have to admit I donít care enough to look up its name. The Glamazon, Beth Phoenix, comments after the match that the reason she got her nickname is that you can worship her because sheís beautiful, or because she makes you. Either way, she promises Candice will get on her knees.

Back in the locker room, Hardcore Holly asks Cody Rhodes why he wants a third match. Rhodes says itís because he knows he can win, but Holly thinks heís lacking the proper fire. To ensure Cody is motivated, he slaps the rookie right across the face. And the Smackdown Rebound shows us that the Undertaker wants his title belt back. True story: I once urinated in the same Dallas airport bathroom as The Phenom. Youíll be happy to know that he followed the proper etiquette and gave me a three-urinal buffer zone.

Match 6 - Brian Kendrick vs. Rory McAllister

Tag team champions Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade join the announcers for a bit of running commentary, trying desperately to put over the tag division. The match is pretty evenly contested, but shenanigans on the outside by the Highlanders leave Kendrick distracted. Rory uses a springboard suplex to get the duke.

A video package shows the dramatic return of HBK, and Todd Grisham gets a word with Michaels backstage. Shawn warns the champ that heís just begun tormenting him, and that Orton canít kill whatís not his creation. Itís going to be HBK back in the saddle at Cyber Sunday, kicking Randyís teeth down his throat again.

Hornswoggle flees into the Divaís Locker Room (note grammatical error!) and emerges with someoneís bra. After another promo with the mysterious binary code hyping the second coming of... someone, Hornswoggle dives under the ring. What happens next is straight out of Looney Tunes: Coach pulls a detonator out with a wire that runs under the ring. He pushes the plunger down once... nothing. A second push... nothing. But when Coach goes under the ring to check things out, Hornswoggle pushes the plunger and a big boom erupts from underneath the ring. Coach staggers out, face and shirt blackened by smoke.

Match 7 - Cody Rhodes vs. Hardcore Holly

Rhodes is showing more spunk this time around, but Holly soon takes control in physical fashion. Cody escapes an Alabama Slam and scores a series of near falls, though he canít escape a dropkick. Holly leaps with a cross body off the top rope, but Rhodes rolls through for another two count. A second Alabama Slam finds the mark and Rhodes loses yet again. I understand paying your dues, but this is getting ridiculous.

Match 8 - Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton

Still pretty angry about being put on the shelf for a few months by Orton (wink, wink), Michaels starts out strong. He gets a couple of two counts and leaps from the top rope to drop the big elbow. The crowd is on its feet as Shawn warms up the band, but Mr. Kennedy runs in and the match is thrown out. Jeff Hardy hits the ring to even the odds, though he is promptly tossed out to the floor by Orton. An RKO is lurking, but HBK knocks Orton into Kennedy and Sweet Chin Music strikes again. Michaels is triumphant and we just may have a clue as to who the WWE wants us to vote for as Rawís tape runs out for this week. Writer X, away!

No one knows the true identity of Writer X, but he dons his trusty lucha mask and appears to write a report whenever heís needed. He also wants to cover Raw live from Europe next time Dale needs a sub. Send PayPal donations to writer_x@hotmail.com.