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Raw: Orton and Hardy truce?
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Monday Night RAW: It's the beginning of a whole new era for World Wrestling Entertainment, as WWE programming will be broadcast in high-definition for the first time ever. As for me, I'll be watching it on my 20-inch Sharp television. Should be a good one!

And we are LIVE! from Hampton, VA where we have a huge double main event with Shawn Michaels taking on Mr. Kennedy and Triple H fighting for his Royal Rumble life against a mystery opponent.

And first let me say that this new set is absolutely ridiculous.

Match #1 - Shawn Michaels (San Antonio, TX) vs. Mr. Kennedy (Green Bay, Wisc.)

Loud "HBK" chants from the onset as the two go back-and-forth but Kennedy is able to gain control.

(Ads)

Back from break and Kennedy is all over HBK as, during the break, he sling-shotted Michaels into the post. Kennedy follows that up with a knee to the head with Michaels slumped in the corner. He covers but HBK kicks out.

Kennedy goes for the Mic Check but HBK elbows his way out of it. Kennedy eventually gets him to the top rope, looking for a superplex, but HBK gets out of it with some punches and goes for the big elbow but Kennedy gets his knee up.

HBK goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Kennedy falls back before he can hit it. Michaels looks for his new submission, but Kennedy kicks him away, only to be greeted by Sweet Chin Music. Good night now!

Winner via pinfall: Shawn Michaels

Randy Orton is backstage holding his neck and asks Mr. McMahon why he is having a handshake between he and Jeff Hardy tonight. Orton says he should be in a wheelchair tonight and there's no way he's shaking his hand. McMahon says he's had to shake plenty of hands he didn't want to. He says he doesn't care if Orton doesn't mean it when he shakes Hardy's hand. Worthless, drawn out, boring segment.

(Ads)

Match #2 - Beth Phoenix (Buffalo, NY) vs. Mickie James (Richmond, Va.)

Phoenix dominates the early going, using her power and strength to limit Mickie's speed-based offense.

But then Mickie starts to gain the upper edge with some kicks but when she goes for a bulldog, Phoenix hits her with the Fisherman's Suplex for the victory.

Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix

Todd Grisham brings in his guest at this time, Triple H, who can qualify for the Royal Rumble tonight against a mystery opponent. Triple H says the last seven Rumble winners have gone on to win the title at WrestleMania and it doesn't matter what the case is, he will be in the Royal Rumble and that's not just a promise, it's a guaran-damn-tee.

(Ads)

Tonight: Chris Jericho returns!

Backstage, Brian Kendrick is shooting it with Cody Rhodes. Kendrick says tonight he has a qualifying match for the Royal Rumble. In comes Hardcore Holly, who says he'll be facing Carlito tonight. Cody says at least he won't have to dress up like Carlito tonight. Cody tells Bob he has a picture of that on his MySpace. Holly then asks, "What the hell is a MySpace?" Hardy har har.

Next we get a promo detailing the career of Randy Orton. Personally, I read a little more about Franklin D. Roosevelt on Wikipedia and worked on a little homework.

Coming up next: Finlay and Hornswoggle are in tag team action!

(Ads -- there's a Monster Truck Rally coming to Breslin Center soon!)

Match #3 - Finlay & Hornswoggle (Belfast, Northern Ireland) vs. The Highlanders (Oban, Scotland)

Finlay and Rory start things off and it's not going well for The Highlanders. Finlay hits the Celtic Cross followed by the Tadpole Splash for the cover. When did ECW switch to Monday?

Winners via pinfall: Finlay & Hornswoggle

Chris Jericho is heading to the ring!

(Ads)

Chris Jericho is now in the ring and starts with an intense promo on how JBL has now made this personal -- how Jericho's children are now doubting him -- but says that JBL made a mistake by not finishing the job. He's still here. He says come Sunday, JBL is in for one thing: A fight.

Backstage, Mr. McMahon is chastising Jeff Hardy for risking both his own life and the life of Randy Orton last week. Again, Vince goes on a boring tirade about Hardy shaking Orton's hand. All Jeff has to say is that he'll give everyone something to talk about.

(Ads)

Match #4 - Royal Rumble Qualifying Match - Brian Kendrick (Olympia, Wash.) vs. Umaga (Isle of Samoa)

Well, Mr. Kendrick's Rumble chances stand at slim to none at this point.

Umaga starts things off with a stiff shoulder block that sends Kendrick flying. Kendrick starts to work over Umaga's legs with some kicks, but is quickly dispatched. Umaga goes for the flying headbutt, but Kendrick moves. Kendrick goes for some high-flying offense but is caught by Umaga with a flying Samoan Drop and a Samoan Spike and that's all she wrote.

Winner via pinfall: Umaga

Backstage, Maria is consoling Mickie James, who is extremely dejected over not being able to beat Beth Phoenix. In comes Ashley, who says that she was at a party at the Playboy Mansion and that "Heff" had a great idea, but before she can get it out, in comes Santino Marella, who says that he overheard the conversation and that, no, Maria doesn't need to buy Santino a subscription to Playboy. Then Santino drops this: "Why buy the cow when you can milk it for free?" This guy never ceases to amuse me.

(Ads)

To sum up this segment: Vince McMahon will be on Celebrity Apprentice, Triple H will be in action later, Jerry Lawler thinks 3D is HD and Jeff Hardy gets his own music video. Back to my FDR Wiki.

(Ads)

Match #5 - Carlito (The Caribbean) w/ Santino Marella & Maria vs. "Hardcore" Bob Holly (Mobile, Ala.) w/ Cody Rhodes

Carlito wins with the Backstabber. Honestly, nothing of note happened in this match.

Winner via pinfall: Carlito

(Ads)

Match #6.1 - Over the Top Rope Gauntlet - Triple H (Greenwich, CT.) vs. Snitsky (Nesquehoning, Pa.)

To win, Triple H has to throw his three opponents over the top rope. If he is thrown out, the match is over and he is out of the Royal Rumble.

HHH quickly dispatches of Snitsky after crotching him on the top rope.

Match #6.2 - Over the Top Rope Gauntlet - Triple H (Greenwich, CT.) vs. Mark Henry (Silsbee, Tx.)

Triple H hits a knee on Henry, but he responds with a big clothesline. Henry almost gets him over several times, but Triple H keeps fighting back. HHH goes to pick Henry up but that goes nowhere. Henry then hits a running splash in the corner. With HHH up against the ropes, Henry goes for the kill, but HHH low-bridges the top ropes and Henry goes flying over.

Match #6.3 - Over the Top Rope Gauntlet - Triple H (Greenwich, CT.) vs. William Regal (Blackpool, England)

Already at the top of the ramp, William Regal takes off his coat and heads to the ring to beat on Triple H. I'm unsure if Regal is the third contestant or not. Regal eats a spinebuster and is tossed over the top and they ring the bell.

Winner: Triple H

Coming up, it's HANDSHAKE TIME, baby! Feel the intensity!

(Ads)

Mr. McMahon heads to the ring and gloats at the honkin' new set on his way down.

He brings out both Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy for the handshake.

McMahon MC's the event and asks the two to step forward and, as professionals, shake hands. But before they do, he gives them an open forum. Orton says Hardy's done some amazing things but has never come to close to being WWE Champion. He gives Hardy his props but says he will not be winning the title this Sunday but he has won something almost as important: His respect.

Hardy says he doesn't care about his respect. He didn't hit a 30-foot Swanton to impress him, he did it to hurt him. He says if he's going to shake hands with people he respects, he's going to have to wait in line. He goes to shake the hands of Ross, Lawler, Lillian Garcia and then heads into the crowd and shakes hands with pretty much everybody before heading back into the ring where Orton extends his hand. Hardy stares him down before hitting the Twist of Fate.

And we're out!



Pinch-hitting for regular RAW reporter Dale Plummer tonight (Get well soon Dale!), Matt will be back tomorrow with his usual ECW report. Send Matt e-mail about ECW/wrestling/MMA/hockey at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.