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COMMENT





Raw: Climbing the ladder to No Mercy
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


The CM Punk experiment is officially over, well, not until Chris Jericho retains his title in a steel cage in Memphis, Tennessee. And that match starts now.

Match #1 – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – World Heavyweight Title Match- Steel Cage Match

Punk punches away at the champ, and then gets a knee into the gut of Jericho as he comes off the ropes. Punk stomps away, and then decks Y2J in the corner. Jericho is whipped into the corner, and tries to make a hasty escape. Punk catches him, and the two fight atop the rope. Jericho is kicked to the mat, and Punk tries to scale the cage. The champ catches him, knocking him back to the ring. Punk continues the martial arts display, punishing Jericho. Punk follows a high knee with a bulldog. Jericho blocks a GTS attempt, but is then thrown into the cage.

After a commercial, Jericho has Punk in an ankle lock. Punk escapes with an enziguri. Punk is shot off the ropes, and Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho. Punk crawls for the ropes, but instead goes for the door. Punk has his hands on the floor, but cannot break the hold. Jericho slams the door on Punk, and pulls him back into the ring. Punk kicks out of a pin, and then gets a leg up to block a lionsault. Punk kicks Jericho in the chest and then to the floor. Punk charges Y2J in the corner, Jericho sidesteps and rams Punk into the cage. Jericho dropkicks Punk into the cage, and makes his escape. Punk grabs hold of a boot and tries to set up a GTS from the top turnbuckle. Jericho blocks it, but both men fall to the mat. Punk crawls over for a cover, but Jericho kicks out at two. Punk is tossed into the cage, again, and Jericho starts to climb. Punk catches him again, and both men crash to the mat. Punk crawls to the door, but Jericho catches him. Punk recovers, and both men fight in the doorway. Punk slams Jericho into the cage and then head butted. Jericho staggers and falls backward out of the door to win the match and retain the title.

Winner via escape: Chris Jericho

Mike Adamle is with Kelly Kelly when Dolph Ziggler, the newest talent on RAW, stops by to say hi. Adamle then turns his attention to Jericho and tells him to get ready for No Mercy. Jericho doesn’t seem real eager to defend the title. Jericho says Adamle has to learn to take care of his champion, and wants to have a word in his office.

Kane has put the mask back on, temporarily. Kane takes it off and says he unmasked to be accepted. Kane says he has been ridiculed and made fun of. He doesn’t believe Rey Mysterio has the courage to take his mask off, and that we all wear masks. Kane says he was attacking each and everyone of us. Evan Bourne interrupts telling Kane that Rey has inspired him and he will enjoy watching Rey beating him. Kane just laughs.

Jillian Hall comes out to sing Elvis and I reach for the remote.

Match #2 – Jillian Hall vs. Candice Michelle

Beth Phoenix walks down to check out things from the announce position. Candice hits an unprettier, (I mean the candy wrapper) and gets the win.

Winner via pinfall: Candice Michelle

Candice invites Phoenix to the ring for a fight, and then knocks her off the apron.

(I really love these WWE "facts." This week we find out WWE magazine outsells Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine at newsstands. That’s great, but how about we check the subscription numbers instead. I love this "creative accounting" now only if creative would put this much work into the storylines.)

Match #3 – JBL vs. Tommy Dreamer

(Really? Why?)

JBL destroys Tommy with a clothesline from Hell to get the pin.

Winner via pinfall: JBL

After the bell, JBL grabs a chair. The ref stops him from doing more damage to Dreamer, but instead JBL sits down and grabs a mike. He demands that GM Mike Adamle makes him the number one contender or he isn’t leaving.

We come back from break and JBL is still in the ring, and still running his mouth. Randy Orton comes out and tells JBL he isn’t much of an improvement over the last few champions. Orton says the Age of Orton will resume and it won’t matter who is champion when it does. Santino Marella of all people cut off Orton.

Marella and Beth Phoenix hit the ring, and Santino asks Orton who he thinks he is. Marella points out he and his woman are healthy and they are champions. Marella takes a shot at Cowboy Bob, and then demands an apology. Orton says he will take him out, but then JBL demands an apology. He tells Orton he has become irrelevant, while JBL has knocked out Batista. And here comes the Animal.

Batista calls the four in the ring the most pathetic sight he has ever seen. Batista takes a verbal shot at Beth Phoenix, and Santino tries to come to her defense. Batista has a solution, he faces JBL, beats him, and faces Jericho at No Mercy. He then beats Jericho and keeps beating guys until Orton gets healthy, and then he beats him too. Santino asks if he is forgetting someone. Batista realizes his mistake, and tells Beth Phoenix he will take her on too. Mike Adamle interrupts on the Titantron and tells all involved that a decision will be made tonight.

Batista wants to plead his case and attacks JBL, who fights him off, and Santino gets involved. Marella gets the business end of a spinebuster. Phoenix comes to her man’s defense and slaps Batista, so she gets slammed onto Marella. Batista walks off.

Orton passes Cody Rhodes, Manu, and Ted DiBiase in the back and gives them a long look.

Match #4 – Manu, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston, Jerry "The King" Lawler and Good Ole J.H., Jim Haas

Haas pimps the BBQ sauce before the match, which is priceless. Manu and Kofi square off. Rhodes makes a quick tag but is kicked by Kingston. Lawler is tagged in and he takes Rhodes to school with a backdrop. Rhodes recovers and hits a bulldog. Haas leaves ringside and provides some quick commentary. The King tags in JH, and he works over DiBiase with fists and then hits a drop kick. Haas follows with a Thesz press and goes for a covers after a big splash. Rhodes and Manu make the save. DiBiase hits the leg sweep and covers Haas for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Manu, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes

JBL talks to Jericho in the locker room. JBL says last week they made a great tag team. Jericho brings up JBL costing him a title last summer, and says he isn’t investing in any future JBL title matches.

Match #5 – Jamie Noble vs. Paul Burchill w/ Katie Lea

Noble kicks away at Burchill in the corner, and then shoots him off the ropes and gives him a forearm shiver. Burchill turns the tide with a shot to the gut. Noble dodges a charge in the corner and Burchill crashes into the ringpost. Noble quickly applies an armbar to the injured shoulder, and Burchill taps.

Winner via submission: Jamie Noble

After the bell, Layla walks out on stage and crushes Jamie Noble. She says she has finally found a worthy man in William Regal.

Lance Cade is talking with Adamle when Batista interrupts wanting to know if he is the number one contender. Cade wants to know why Batista thinks he should be. Batista slams Cade into the wall by the collar and then storms from the office.

Match #6 – Kane vs. Rey Mysterio

Kane catches Rey and tosses him into the corner. Rey gets a boot up and goes for a head scissors. Kane blocks it, but Rey fights his way out. Kane kicks Rey in the head and then tosses him out of the ring from under the bottom rope. Rey lands on his feet.

We return from the break, and Kane has Rey in a head lock. Rey breaks free, only to be slammed to the mat. Kane misses an elbow and is drop kicked into the corner. Rey mounts Kane in the corner and punches away. Kane pushes him off and then tosses Rey across the mat and into the ring post. Kane drops a knee into the back of Rey and then follows with a back breaker over the knee. Rey kicks Kane in the face to escape, but is then stomped into the corner. Rey dodges a big boot, and then hits a wheelbarrow bulldog. Rey hits a tilt-a-whirl scissors and then goes up top. Kane catches Rey, but Mysteiro escapes and hits an enziguri. Rey goes for the 619, but Kane pops up and delivers a massive clothesline. Kane stomps away at Rey and the ref stops the match.

Winner: Referee stoppage

Kane continues to attack and tries to rip off Rey’s mask, when Evan Bourne makes the save. Bourne hits a move off the top turnbuckle and Rey follows with a seated senton.

Chris Jericho and Lance Cade are walking through the back and Dolph Ziggler introduces himself.

Jericho and Cade hit the ring. The champ gets on the stick, thanking Mike Adamle for listening to his opinion and following his advice. Jericho says neither JBL nor Batista are worthy. So at No Mercy Batista and JBL will face each other, and then Jericho will come down and take on the winner. Jericho tells Adamle to do the right things and make this happen. Mike Adamle walks out on stage and says that sounds fair. So Batista and JBL will fight for the number one contender, but will not face that champion on that night. Adamle says the title must be defended that night, and he was approached by someone else, who had an idea he couldn’t pass up. Adamle says he will announce the opponent, but just walks off. A minute later HBK’s music hits and Shawn Michaels walks out on stage.

Michaels says the only way they can top themselves is in a ... Ladder Match. Shawn then calls for a huge ladder and perches himself atop it to officially announce the match.

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