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COMMENT





Raw: Further along the road to Armageddon
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


Chris Jericho wants a title match. I don't think it gets more straightforward than that. Will Randy Orton grant Jericho's wish? Well with Armageddon less then two weeks away, we should find out shortly.

Jericho kicks off the show from North Charleston, South Carolina, and JR informs us that Chris is indeed the number one contender. Jericho tells us he got a title match by costing Orton the match against Ric Flair. Orton gave his answer after Raw went off the air last week. Orton makes his way down to the ring to tell Jericho he was given the shot because he knows Jericho can't beat him. Orton lists the names he has beaten, but Jericho tells him it doesn't matter. The two stare each other down and drop the mikes, until William Regal stops them cold. Regal says tonight they will choose each other's opponents. Orton chooses Umaga to face Jericho, while Y2J picks Shawn Michaels to take on the champion.

Match #1 -- Maria and Mickie James vs. Melina and Beth Phoenix

It's that time of the night all ready; that's right it's time to check in on Monday night football. And Baltimore is actually beating New England! It's still early, tough. I was wondering is the NFL as popular in Canada as it is her in the States? Beth Phoenix just planted Mickie James in the middle of the ring to get the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Melina and Beth Phoenix

The Grish is with HBK. Michaels says the title isn't on the line, but Sweet Chin Music is nice and legal. Ken Kennedy interrupts on the video screen and tells Shawn to concentrate on his match with him. Kennedy says coming up next is a blast from the past that just might break his heart.

Kennedy enters the ring mike in hand, saying he has invited three of HBK's closest friends to find more out about the man Shawn Michaels. First out, Marty Jannetty, except it's not really him; it's some jabroni in a Rockers outfit. Second out, Razor Ramon, well once again not really. Another jobber in costume walks to the ring. And last but not least, Kennedy announces Diesel. And the dude that comes out looks nothing like Kevin Nash. Kennedy says this panel is missing something and calls out the "Heartbreak Kid." And yes, it is another jobber dressed as HBK. The fakers run down the fake HBK. Kennedy calls HBK a loser. The real deal comes to the ring and delivers sweet chin music to the fake Marty, Razor, and Diesel. Kennedy goes for a cheap shot, but Shawn fends him off, and then the fake HBK rolls out of the ring before he can get superkicked.

Vince is on the phone and informs Coach that Hulk Hogan will be at the 15th anniversary or RAW, along with Trish Stratus, Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff and Stone Cold Steve Austin. (What? No Rock?!?) The two are interrupted by Hornswoggle and Vince wants to talk to his son. Next week, Vince says they will have an in-ring family portrait. He tells Hornswoggle to clean up. Since Finlay is overseas, Vince wants to see how Horny will take on Carlito and Coach in a handicapped match. Vince drops his phone, so Horn makes a call.

Triple H wants to know why Regal made the match with Jeff Hardy. Regal says it made perfect sense and informs Trips that the winner will get a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Regal thinks Triple H doesn't hate Jeff Hardy and in fact respects him. Trips says he would pedigree his own mother for a title shot, in fact he would pedigree his father-in-law. Regal just looks confused.

(Ummmm ... It's 50 minutes into the show and we've only had one match, and it was a Diva match at that. Okay, just checking.)

Match #2 -- Chris Jericho vs. Umaga

The match is in progress as we return from break. Umaga tosses Jericho from the ring and into the security barrier. Jericho is pulled back into the ring and splashed onto. Umaga locks on the nerve pinch. Jericho counters the hold and Umaga eats the bottom turnbuckle. Umaga responds with a thrust kick and beats Jericho down in the corner. Y2J avoids the contact in the corner, and fights back with a missile drop kick. Jericho then hits a bulldog and then a springboard moonsault. Umaga kicks out and then misses a splash in the corner. Jericho hits the code breaker, but before he can make the pin Orton runs in. The champ hits the RKO and stands over Jericho.

Winner via DQ: Chris Jericho

Match #3 -- Hornswoggle vs. Coach and Carlito -- No Disqualification 2 on 1 Handicap Match

Horny looks pretty confident as he walks down the ramp. He whispers something to Lillian Garcia and she announces that Hornswoggle has hired protection. And that protection is the APA! (That is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!) Ron Simmons and JBL take care of Carlito and Coach. Hornswoggle connects with a kick to Coach's face, and JBL hits him with a clothesline from hell. The APA drag Coach to the corner, allowing Horny to hit the tadpole splash. Hornswoggle covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Hornswoggle

JBL says the APA doesn't discriminate, so if you have the money you can hire the APA. JBL then plugs his appearance on Fox news and Smackdown. Ron Simmons can't get a word in edge wise, and finally grabs the stick. Simmons hesitates but then lets loose with a "DAMN!"

The Grish welcomes Snitsky, who says he wants the IC title, and he will inflict more pain on Hardy than he has ever felt.

Match #4 -- Jeff Hardy vs. Snitsky -- Intercontinental Title Match

Hardy ducks a clothesline but gets caught and run into the turnbuckle. Snitsky slams Hardy to the mat and drops an elbow. Hardy is stomped on in the corner. Snitsky locks in a double underhook. Jeff kicks his way out, but runs into a sidewalk slam. Snitsky hits a vertical suplex, but misses the leg drop. Hardy with a low drop kicks to floor Snitsky. Jeff follows with a whisper in the wind. Snitsky counters a twist of fate, but Jeff dodges a boot in the corner, which hangs up Snitsky. Hardy knocks him to the mat and hits a swanton bomb from the top rope. Hardy covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Jeff Hardy

After the match, Snitsky nails Hardy with a big boot, and then goes for a chair. Triple H makes the save with the sledgehammer, and Snitsky backs off. Trips stalks Hardy, but then helps him up, instead.

It's time for the Smackdown Rebound, and Vicky Guerrero can't act.

Jillian Hall is singing Christmas songs to Vince, when William Regal informs him that Stephanie is on her way to the arena.

Match #5 -- Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton

Michaels starts off with chops, and Orton runs from the ring. Orton takes advantage dropping a knee as HBK reenters. Michaels hits a swinging neck breaker. HBK then locks in a headlock. Orton breaks free and catches Shawn with a reverse elbow. Michaels floats over a vertical suplex, but then catches a hard elbow. HBK slaps on an ankle lock, Orton counters with a roll-up and Shawn kicks out. HBK gets the ankle lock reapplied, but Orton gets to the bottom rope.

After the break, Orton is tossed to the outside. HBK follows and warms up the band. Orton ducks, and the timekeeper catches the full force of Sweet Chin Music. Orton grabs HBK as he enters the ring, and DDTs him from the second rope. Michaels recovers and slams Orton to mat, and then drops an elbow from the top rope. HBK warms up the band, but instead flies over the top rope to take out Kennedy. Both men brawl over the security barrier.

Winner via countout: Randy Orton

After the match, Jericho gets him some of Orton. Jericho counters the RKO, but Orton slips out of the Walls of Jericho.

Vince is in his office with his daughter. Steph says she is concerned for her dad. He has invited a lot of people back next week and a lot of those people don't like him. Steph says Vince is the person who has been beat up the most, and doesn't want him to be at RAW. Vince says he loves confrontation and anyone who doesn't want him there can go straight to hell.

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003.