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COMMENT





Raw: WrestleMania really starts to take shape
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


When it comes to gimmick matches at Wrestlemania, Iíll take Floyd Mayweather versus the Big Show over the Battle of the Billionaires everyday of the week. We get the low down on the match tonight from Phoenix, Arizona.

The show starts with Triple H, Randy Orton, and John Cena all in the ring with General Manager William Regal for a photo op. Cena gets a mike, and thanks Orton and Hunter for coming out. Cena has something to say to Hunter, and gets in his face. Cena first thanks Hunter for the fair call last week, but isnít too pleased with the Pedigree he got after the match. Hunter said he did what was right in calling the match, but the Pedigree was for the fans, and Cena better get used to it. Cena reminds Hunter he tapped out last time they faced off. Orton reminds both men he is still champ, and will remain the champion. (Does anyone else just kind of zone out when Orton talks?) Anyway, Hunter and Cena toss Orton from the ring, and then go at each other. Orton comes back in and hits the RKO on Hunter and Cena.

Orton is walking through the back, when Kennedy runs up to him. Kennedy says he will win the Money in the Bank, and cash it in that night. Kennedy just wanted to give Orton the heads up so there are no surprises. Orton says he is leaving Wrestlemania with the belt.

Match #1 - Santino and Carlito w/ Maria vs. Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes

Santino and Rhodes start things off, hitting a slam, and whipping Marella into the corner. Rhodes continues the bearing with a hip toss out of the corner. Rhodes ducks a punch and hits side Russian leg sweep. Holly gets the tag. Santino tags in, as Maria starts talking to the King. Santino is distracted and Holly connects with the Alabama Slam.

Winner via pinfall: Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes

After the match, Santino yells at Maria and the King.

Earlier today the Wrestlemania press conference took place and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Floyd Mayweather tossed money to the crowd, and had a war of words with Big Show. [SLAM! Wrestling was there. Read our report: "Money" Mayweather focus of WrestleMania.]

William Regal announces the main event tonight will be John Cena and Triple H taking on Kennedy and Randy Orton. Chris Jericho is waiting in the wings, and he wants to know if he will get in the Money in the Bank. Regal says he has to qualify, but he will face a special opponent; Jeff Hardy.

Match #2 - Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho - Money in the Bank Qualifier

Hardy has already qualified, so if he loses he is still in. Jericho and Hardy lock up, and then separate. Hardy uses an armbar, but Jericho counters into a head lock. A shoulder block sends Hardy to the mat. Hardy connects with a mule kick, and then dodge a springboard drop kick. Hardy climbs the turnbuckle and hits a flying crossbody, but Jericho rolls through nearly getting a pin. Hardy catapults Y2J out of the ring, but misses the baseball slide. Both men stand face to face as we go to commercial.

After the break, Jericho catches Hardy with a knee to the gut. Jericho toys with Hardy, before picking him up and chopping him into the corner. Hardy is shot off the ropes, and both men collide trying a cross body. Hardy counters a bulldog, but slamming Jericho into the turnbuckle. Jericho recovers with a clothesline. Y2J stops a Whisper in the Wind, but Hardy connects a second time. Jericho counters and hurricanrana turns into the Walls of Jericho. Hardy breaks the hold by getting to the ropes. Hardy hits a face-first suplex, and climbs the turnbuckle. Jericho dodges the swanton and hits the lionsault, but only gets a two count. Jericho counters the Twist of Fate, but canít get the Walls locked on. Hardy kicks Jericho into the ropes, but he bounces off and rolls Hardy up with a sunset flip and gets the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Chris Jericho

Vince McMahon struts to the ring, and he admits that he made a mistake. Vince says Hornswoggle didnít deserve the beating JBL gave him, and Vince apologizes. Vince also wants JBL to apologize. Bradshaw comes to the ring, and Vince threatens to beat him up, but Vince wants an explanation and an apology. JBL says he is sorry; sorry he didnít do it sooner. JBL says he has on very good advice that Hornswoggle is not Vinceís son. JBL says the ruse goes all the way to the top of WWE and the McMahon family. JBL says Hornswoggle is Finlayís son. Vince seems to believe JBL. Bradshaw says Hornswoggle has no idea, but Finlay knew the whole time. Vince wants proof, and JBL has it. JBL says look at Finlay, he is guilty, and he will make him admit it.

Triple H and Cena are in the locker room. Hunter make reference to all the clichťs. Cena tells Hunter to watch his own back tonight.

Match #3 - Umaga vs. D.H. Smith

Smith is quickly knocked from the ring. Umaga follows him, tossing him back into the squared circle. Umaga climbs the turnbuckle, hitting a splash, and follows with a butt ram in the corner. Umaga picks up Smith only to Spike him to the mat.

Winner via pinfall: Umaga

William Regal watches the Umaga match with Paul Burchill and his sister. Regal decides to send Umaga to face the Smackdown representative at Wrestlemania. Katie tries to talk Regal into taking her brother, but Regal says he wants to see some more from Burchill.

Match #4 - Lance Cade w/ Trevor Murdoch vs. Shawn Michaels

Cade tosses HBK around to start and hits a back suplex. Cade telegraphs a move, which HBK counters with a back slide. Cade kicks out and hits a neck breaker. HBK chops away at Cade, but Cade responds with a side slam. HBK rolls away from an elbow, and returns the favor with an elbow off the top rope. Michaels warms up the band, ducks a cheap shot from Murdoch, and instead locks on a submission. Murdoch jumps in to break the hold, and gets Cade disqualified. Cade and Murdoch set up for the Hi-Lo, but HBK hits Murdoch with Sweet Chin Music, and then nails an inverted atomic drop on Cade, before finishing him off with Sweet Chin Music.

Winner via DQ: Shawn Michaels

After the Match, Ric Flair walks to the ring. HBK gets on his knees in the ring and bows to the Nature Boy. Flair says getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame will be the highlight of his career. Flair says wrestling HBK will make his Wrestlemania. HBK brings up the "lose and you are fired" clause, and doesnít want to do that. HBK doesnít want to be known as the guy that ended Ric Flairís career. Flair takes offense, saying what Shawn said last week doesnít mean a thing if HBK wonít let him have the match of his career and Wrestlemania. Michaels tells Flair it would be his honor to face him at Wrestlemania.

The Big Cactus Shaquille OíNeal weighs in on Mayweather-Big Show fight. Shaq is picking Mayweather to win.

Mike Adamle tells us High Chief Peter Miavia will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, along with his son-in-law Rocky Johnson.

Match # 5 - John Cena and Triple H vs. Randy Orton and Ken Kennedy

Orton and Kennedy attack at the bell, but Trips and Cena clear the ring, and we go to commercial.

Cena beats on Kennedy in the corner, and then gets in Triple Hís face. Hunter tags in, and walks into a drop kick. Orton stomps away at Hunter, and drops a knee. Kennedy tags in, and smashes HHH into the turnbuckle. Kennedy then drives his knee into the face of Triple H. Orton tags in, an slaps on a chin lock. Orton distracts the ref, and Kennedy mauls Triple H from the apron. Hunter gets a boot in Kennedyís face, but canít get to Cena, as Orton cuts him off. The champ hits an inverted back breaker, and stalks Hunter. Orton goes for the RKO, but HHH blocks it. Kennedy tags in, but so does Cena. Kennedy is taken down with shoulder blocks, and then an inverted atomic drop. Cena hits the five-knuckle shuffle, and sets up the F-U. Orton stops the move, but Triple H takes him down. Cena counters the Mike check into the STF-U, and Kennedy taps.

Winner via submission: John Cena and Triple H

After the bell, Hunter and Cena face off. Kennedy jumps in and hits the Mike Check on Cena, as Hunter looks on. Kennedy leaves the ring, and Hunter stands over Cena.

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