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Raw: Wheel rolls storylines along
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


The first RAW of the new year comes to us from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, and Vince and the writers have dusted off the ol' roulette wheel for some "we didn't plan these at all and everything is totally random" matches.

General Manager William Regal really wants to talk to Vince, but McMahon says not now, and wants to bring something innovative to RAW for the fans. Vince breaks out the wheel, for the third time. (I wouldn't call that innovative, Vince.) Regal says he wanted to redeem himself for not hitting Hornswoggle, by taking Triple H out of the Rumble. Vince likes what he hears, but now wants Regal to face Triple H himself. Vince spins the wheel and it lands on “First Blood Match”. (Is this a Rambo 4 tie in?) Anyway, Regal is jumped by Triple H as he leaves the office. Hunter is restrained by multiple refs.

HBK makes his way to the ring, and Ken Kennedy soon follows. Vinnie Mac spins the Wheel of Destiny and it lands on Strange Bedfellows. Kennedy and Michaels have to team up against two random opponents.

Match #1 -- Shawn Michaels and Ken Kennedy vs. Charlie Haas and Trevor Murdoch -- Strange Bedfellows match

The match in progress as we return from break. Kennedy hits a neckbreaker on Haas. HBK makes a blind tag, and Michaels tosses Ken from the ring. Haas follows shortly after. Haas slips under the ring and re-emerges with a mask on. Haas poses like a super hero, as Murdoch gets in a cheap shot. Murdoch gets the tag and hits a atomic drop and a boot to the face. A lateral press gets a near fall. Haas tags in hits a elbow drop. HBK looks for a tag, but Kennedy jumps off the apron. HBK rips off Haas' mask, and works him over. Shawn climbs the turnbuckle and drops the elbow into the chest of Haas. Michaels warms up the band and hits Haas with Sweet Chin Music. Kennedy tags himself in, hits HBK with the Mic Check, and covers Haas to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: Ken Kennedy and Shawn Michaels

Kennedy taunts HBK in the ring after the match.

Match #2 -- Carlito w/ Santino Marella vs. Hardcore Holly w/ Cody Rhodes -- Trading Place Match

The stip here is that opponents must dress as each other. Carlito sports a blond wig, but Holly takes the cake with a huge afro. Holly loses the 'fro as Carlito beats on him. Carlito hits a back suplex and nearly gets the pin. Lito follows with a neck breaker. Holly ducks a chop in the corner, and returns in kind with a series of chops and a back body drop. Holly nails a drop kick, as Santino climbs the turnbuckle. Rhodes slips Holly an apple, which Holly spits in Carlito's face. Holly drills the Alabama slam and covers for the win. Holly retrieves his wig.

Winner via pinfall: Hardcore Holly

Maria is ready to spin the wheel. Maria lands on submission match, but Vince tells her to close her eyes. Vince moves the wheel to lingerie pillow fight.

The Grish takes some time to talk with Jeff Hardy. Todd asks about Matt's status. Jeff says he spent the New Year with him in hospital. Hardy says he will take Orton's title and then take him out. JR then tells us Hardy will face Umaga in a steel cage tonight.

Hornswoggle is having fun with the wheel. Vince calms him down, but there us a problem with the audio, so I don't know what is being said. Something about the Royal Rumble is all I made out.

After the break, we see the conversation between Vince and Horny. Vince says he can be in it if he qualifies. Hornswoggle's match is Vince's choice. Vince picks a tag team match, but Finlay is unavailable, so he has to find a partner. If they win, both men qualify.

Match #3 -- Melina vs. Jillian Hall vs. Maria vs. Mickie James vs. Ashley -- Lingerie Pillow Fight

Looks like Ashley's Survivor commitments are finally up, and she is now on RAW. Jillian and Melina try to hide under the bed spread, but to no avail. Maria hits a bronco buster on Jillian. Mickie spanks Melina on the ropes. Maria and Mickie hold Jillian down and Ashley hits an elbow off the top turnbuckle and then covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Ashley (and men everywhere)

RAW will be broadcast in HD in two weeks. That's plenty of time for SLAM! to provide me with an HD TV, or I can just send an invoice.

Hornswoggle can't talk Super Crazy into being his partner, and runs off to talk to someone else.

Match #4 -- William Regal vs. Triple H -- First Blood Match

Triple H comes out throwing bombs and Regal tries to escape to the outside. Hunter gets him and smashes the GM into the steel steps and then off the announce table. Regal ducks a flying set of steps, and then pulls Hunter into the ringpost. Trips is smashed onto the steps, and Regal rolls back into the ring. Regal hits a slam, and exposes the turnbuckle. Hunter and Regal trade shots, and Hunter is smashed into the corner. No blood, yet, so Regal goes to work with hard rights. Hunter blocks another shot, and drives Regal into the exposed corner twice. Hunter hits a facebuster, but Regal counters the pedigree with a catapult. Regal leaves the ring, again, and grabs his brass knucks. Regal runs into a spinebuster, and goes to work with mounted punches. Hunter sits him up, and continues to pound on Regal and splits him open. Hunter gets in a few more bloody shots as the bell is rung.

Winner: Triple H

After the match, Hunter hits the pedigree.

Hornswoggle tries to recruit Santino, who turns him down. Marella says small people creep him out.

Match #5 -- Chris Jericho vs. Snitsky and JBL -- Handicap Match

Snitsky pounds on Jericho, but Chris fights back with a forearm. Snitsky cuts down the rally with a clothesline. Snitsky hangs himself up on the ropes after missing a kick. Jericho sends him to the floor with a springboard drop kick. JBL enters the ring and tosses Jericho to the floor. Jericho smashes JBL off the announce table. JBL clocks Jericho with the ring bell, and then assaults the official. JBL chokes Jericho with a cable, and then drags him to the ring entrance. JBL kicks Jericho in the head and then tosses him into the scaffolding. JBL then tries to hang Jericho from the scaffolding, until several referees finally step in.

Winner via DQ: Chris Jericho

Match #6 -- The Highlanders vs. Hornswoggle and B.K. Jordan -- Royal Rumble Qualifier

The Highlanders are quite amused with the jobber Horny found, but wait -- is that a car crash I hear? Hornswoggle gives Mick Foley a hug, as Foley sends Jordan to the back. Foley takes down Robbie, and Hornswoggle makes a tag. Horny with dropkicks Robbie, but he is still able to tag in his cousin. Rory tries for a pin, but Foley breaks up the pin. Foley charges Rory in the corner. Foley is double teamed in the corner. Foley with a low bridge on Rory, and pulls out Mr. Socko. Rory is caught coming off the top with Socko, and then Foley nails a DDT on Robbie. Hornswoggle tags in and hits the tadpole splash and covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall and Royal Rumble Qualifiers: Hornswoggle and Mick Foley.

Match #7 -- Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga -- Steel Cage Match

Randy Orton makes his way to ringside for a close up view of this match. Umaga shoves Hardy aside, and then takes him down with shoulder block. Hardy can't get the sunset flip over, but avoids getting dropped on. Hardy hits a jaw breaker, but is then kicked in the face. Hardy dodges a corner splash and Umaga eats steel. Umaga goes for a back body drop, but instead shoots Hardy up the cage. Umaga pulls him back and slams him to the mat.

We come back from break with Hardy locked in the nerve pinch. Hardy catches Umaga with his head down, but the Samoan Bulldozer recovers to back body drop Jeff into the cage. Hardy is trapped between the ropes and the cage, and Umaga splashes into him. Umaga covers, but Jeff gets his foot on the ropes. Orton starts tossing chairs into the ring, imploring Umaga to hit Hardy. Umaga drills Jeff in the back. Umaga covers, but Hardy kicks out at two. Umaga climbs the turnbuckle, working his way to the middle of the ropes. Hardy catches him and crotches him on the ropes. Hardy catapults himself off a chair and nails Poetry in Motion. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Umaga counters with a throat thrust. Umaga sets Hardy up in the corner, but misses the butt splash. Hardy connects with a chair thrown at Umaga, and then connects with a DDT on a chair. Hardy covers, but Umaga kicks out. Hardy tries to escape through the door, but Orton slams the door on Jeff's head. Umaga nearly gets a cheap pinfall. Umaga looks for the Samoan Spike, but Hardy counters into the Twist of Fate. Hardy climbs the cage, and Orton is waiting for him. Instead, Hardy hits a Whisper in the Wind off the top of the cage onto Umaga. Hardy crawls on top of the Samoan and covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Jeff Hardy.

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. If Dale was a betting man (and he is), he'd say Orton will be retaining his belt at the Royal Rumble.