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Raw: Heading to Wrestlemania with real Flair
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


The last RAW before Wrestlemania comes to us from Columbia, South Carolina, and all I expect is that Ric Flair will get one hell of a reception.

John Cena kicks off the show, saying all signs point to Wrestlemania and he will be walking out the champion. Big Show interrupts.

Show says when he knocks out Floyd Mayweather it will replace Hogan slamming Andre the Giant as the most played Wrestlemania clip. JBL comes out next.

Of course he talks about Finlay and Hornswoggle and how he will deliver the greatest beating in Wrestlemania. Randy Orton walk out to say his piece, and how he will retain the belt at Mania. Umaga interrupts Orton and just mutters Batista's name. Triple H is the last one out, and says the King of Kings will return to his throne.

William Regal puts an end to all this nonsense by booking and eight man Wrestlemania showcase match.

Match #1 -- Chris Jericho and CM Punk vs. MVP and Carlito

Punk uses a leg sweep to take down MVP, and then drops him with a spinning heel kick. Carlito tags in as does Jericho. Carlito is hung on ropes, and Y2J nails a springboard drop kick.

After the break, Jericho is beat on in the corner, but responds with a bulldog, but misses the lionsault. Jericho goes for the Walls, but MVP breaks it up. Carlito connects with a neck breaker, and tags in MVP. Porter hits a forearm shot, but misses on a boot in the corner. Jericho is able to get a tag. Punk connects with a kick and then a power slam. Punk hits a high knee in the corner, and follows with a bulldog head lock. Punk climbs the turnbuckle, but MVP rolls out of the way. Jericho breaks the fall, and brawls with MVP. Jericho goes for an enziguri, but connects with CM Punk instead of MVP. Porter covers Punk for the win.

Winner via pinfall: MVP and Carlito

Kennedy makes a few predictions in a pre-taped segment. He says Flair will retire; Undertaker will have his streak broken; and Kennedy will win Money in the Bank, and cash it in to win the title.

We watch a retrospective on Ric Flair's career. And then we watch Show talking about Floyd Mayweather.

Match #2 -- Hardcore Holly vs. The Great Khali

WHY?

Khali uses the two handed choke slam and covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali

Ric Flair heads to the ring, wanting to address Shawn Michaels. Flair says he is happy the somewhere in the world people respect him. The Nature Boy isn't happy that HBK saved him last week, and has lost respect for Michaels. Flair asks that HBK come out to the ring. Michaels grants the request, telling Flair that all he did was giving him back up like The Dirtiest Player in the Game would want. Flair tells him to shut up, and that he doesn't need anyone to tell him who he is. Flair pulls out the NWA World Championship belt, saying that this is what Shawn idolized. Flair says he picked Shawn for Wrestlemania so he can prove he still has it. Michaels assures Flair that the Showstopper will be at Wrestlemania. Michaels then makes an "Old Yeller" analogy, telling Flair that on Sunday he will be put out of his misery. Flair gets worked up, and slaps HBK.

Match #3 -- Maria vs. Melina w/ Beth Phoenix

So Candice Michelle is hurt, again, so she is out for Wrestlemania. Ashley (NOOOOOOO!) comes down to help, and then Santino gets involved. King has seen enough, and takes out Santino as Ashley and Maria clear the ring.

William Regal walks out and orders an inter-gender tag team match.

Match #4 -- Maria, Ashley, and The King vs. Melina, Beth Phoenix, and Santino Marella

Melina wants King to hit her, but he instead tags in Ashley. Maria tags in and pulls off a bronco buster. Melina fights her off, and tags in Beth Phoenix, who slams Maria to the mat. Santino tags in, knocks King off the apron, but them is double teamed by the girls. Santino retreats to the outside, but comes face to face with the King. Back in the ring, Melina and Phoenix take down Maria, and Marella covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Melina, Beth Phoenix, and Santino Marella

Triple H gets in Cena's face backstage. Hunter brings up his loss two years ago, and it has been eating away at Triple H, because Cena wasn't the better man. Hunter tells Cena to stay out of his way. Cena replies that Orton has a title that Cena never lost.

Match #5 -- John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Triple H vs. Randy Orton, JBL, Big Show and Umaga -- No Disqualification Wrestlemania Showcase Match

These matches always turn into a cluster, and it starts early, as Finlay walks out and JBL meets him in the aisle. After a quick break, Umaga is beating on HBK. Umaga crashes into Michaels in the corner, and then picks HBK up and goes for the Spike, until Batista shows up. Umaga leaves the ring to fight his WM opponent.

Big Show takes Umaga's place, and choke slams Ric Flair to the mat. Flair fights back with chops, and I'm expecting Floyd Mayweather to show up at anytime. Cena and Hunter hit the ring, and double team Show, but Show counters with a double suplex. Orton starts yelling at Show, who just drags him into the ring and choke slams him. Big Show walks off to the back.

Flair eventually gets Orton alone in the ring and gets the champ to tap to the figure-four.

Winner via submission: John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Triple H

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale wishes the SLAM! Wrestling crew the best in Orlando this weekend. (As he will be watching Wrestlemania in HD.)