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Raw: Hammer versus hammer as Triple H confronts Orton
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Thanks to an influx of personalities from SmackDown, Raw is suddenly full of family values. There’s caring husband Triple H looking out for his wife Stephanie McMahon, as well as Vickie Guerrero making things happen for her “husband” Edge. More family business is sure to be the focus of tonight’s episode from Nashville, less than 45 days away from WrestleMania 25.

The fans in Music City express their dismay at seeing Vickie start the show in the ring. They’re not any happier when she informs them that until Stephanie recovers from her RKO at the hands of Randy Orton, she’ll not only be the general manager of SmackDown but the interim GM on Raw as well. Oh boy. Guerrero attempts to reassure everyone whose eardrums aren’t already bleeding that everything will be alright, but she’s quickly cut off by John Cena. He can’t believe that the Board of Directors decided to go with Vickie when they had choices like Mike Adamle (“At least it was fun watching him mess up on live TV.”) and Michael Cole available. Cena congratulates Vickie but asks her to have some pride and stop lying to the fans. He knows she doesn’t care about the McMahons or the fans, only that her husband remains World Heavyweight Champion. He also reminds her that he has a rematch clause and wants to exercise it tonight. Edge responds to that by coming to the ring with Big Show in tow. A little back and forth between the two rivals ends with Edge calling Cena the last beacon of hope for the depressed fans. And since they will be left with nothing after Edge wins the rematch, he thinks Cena should put it off as long as possible. Cena responds by turning his wit on Guerrero, which finally gets Show to speak up. After Cena wonders aloud about the meaning of Show being hired to “take care of” Vickie, she says that Big Show is her friend and Edge is her family… and Cena will be facing either friend or family tonight. That’s just fine with him, as he figures he’ll either be slaying a giant or walking out of the ring as the champ.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase scout things out to make sure there are no signs of Triple H before telling Orton it’s safe to get out of the limo. And what’s with no Lillian Garcia? That’s a bummer.

Match 1 – CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. John Morrison – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match

As you might expect, the tag team champs do a lot of double-teaming early on, but since it’s every man for himself, they are eventually forced to fight each other. Morrison hits a cool spot when he uses a springboard dropkick to knock Punk off Miz’s shoulders. The end comes when Punk uses Morrison to send Miz crashing off the apron, then uses the GTS to send Morrison to sleep. We’ll be seeing CM at WrestleMania 25.

For those who don’t watch SmackDown, a replay is shown of Jim Ross’ interview with Triple H. Or at least it’s supposed to be an interview, as Helmsley spends most of his time too angry to talk and eventually storms off.

Santino Marella, Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes are formally introduced to Dolph Ziggler. That’s kind of his thing. Elsewhere, Todd Grisham and his camera crew are waiting in the parking lot for Triple H.

Match 2 – Melina and Cryme Tyme vs. Santino Marella, Beth Phoenix and Dolph Ziggler

It becomes clear pretty quickly that Santino really doesn’t want to get involved in this one, despite the urging of his girlfriend. When he does, it only takes a couple of seconds for Shad to send him packing with the Thugnificence.

I’m not necessarily saying that 12 Rounds is going to be a “good” movie. But I will say that it looks better than every other movie WWE personalities have been involved with over the past few years – combined.

Match 3 – JBL vs. Shawn Michaels

This match was billed as giving the winner the right to challenge the Undertaker at WrestleMania, but Cole informs us that the winner will have to face undefeated Vladimir Kozlov next week, and the winner of that match will have the honor. Wait… what? In any case, this is a pretty good match that HBK slowly takes control of by connecting with a flying elbow. JBL ducks Sweet Chin Music and sends Michaels over the top, where he keeps himself off the floor by skinning the cat. JBL lines up for the Clothesline From Hell, but he runs right into a second dose of Sweet Chin Music and is promptly pinned. Kozlov makes his way down to the ring, and after a brief stare down, Michaels throws the first punch. The Moscow Mauler shakes it off and slams HBK down with one hand, then stands over him and taunts him. I think that’s going to be 15 yards and a fine.

Legacy gets ready for something, presumably the arrival of Triple H. And this week’s WrestleMania Moment takes us all the way back to… last year, and WrestleMania 24 in Orlando. I was there, but it looked like ants wrestling from my vantage point in the press box. Not surprisingly, the focus is on Ric Flair’s emotional final match against Michaels.

Match 4 – Jamie Noble vs. Mike Knox

Well, it’s different than Rey Mysterio versus Knox. They run a clock in the corner to track how long Noble lasts, and he actually makes it a whole 29 seconds before he gets pinned. Good for him.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is in the spotlight as the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted by Ric Flair. Hey, maybe Steamboat can wrestle Chris Jericho at WrestleMania! Also, this WWE Hall of Fame sounds like a great place. I can’t wait to visit it someday. Oh, that’s right… never mind.

Speaking of Steamboat, here he is. Alas, his moment in the sun is rudely interrupted by Jericho, proving that my psychic powers are humming today. Jericho calls Steamboat a lifelong sell-out and says that the loyal dog is finally getting his bone with the Hall of Fame induction. Enjoy your moment with the hypocrites, Dragon, because you’re the biggest hypocrite of all. Steamboat calls Jericho back from the entrance to tell him he remembers an autograph signing 20 years ago when Jericho called him his idol – and then wrote it again in his autobiography. Pointing out all the times he flopped back and forth between heel and face, Steamboat wonders if it isn’t Jericho who’s really the hypocrite. For his part, The Dragon never changed from day one until the end of his career, and he didn’t come back to sell out, but to help the business he loves. Unimpressed, Jericho smashes Steamboat in the head and bounces him off the video wall, leaving yet another legend in a world of pain.

Earlier tonight: Vickie set up a match between Cena and a mystery “friend or family” opponent. And Grisham reports that there’s no sign of Triple H. Thanks for the update Todd!

Main Event – John Cena vs. ?

To no one’s surprise – including Cena’s – Guerrero announces that there will be no championship rematch tonight. No matter, as Cena vows to follow Vickie wherever he goes until he gets that rematch. He’s ready for Big Show but gets a family member instead: Chavo Guerrero. Sadly, Chavo gets the Five Knuckle Shuffle, the Attitude Adjustment and the STF and quickly taps out. Well, that plan didn’t work…

Legacy scouts the hallways, and the coast looks clear for their fearless, or perhaps that should be fearful, leader. Orton also escorts the newest member of Legacy, a guy I like to call Mr. Sledgehammer.

Orton and company climb in the ring, as he figures he may as well wait for Helmsley there. If HHH shows, Orton figures he must really be a McMahon: arrogant, out of touch and stupid. Randy insists that he’s the real victim, as he just wanted to be left alone and the McMahons kept messing around in his business. The fans don’t understand what it’s like to be famous and to be scrutinized constantly, so they can’t fathom the pressure on Orton. But the McMahons do, so Orton reasons that she should have known better. He also hopes Triple H’s children were watching last week so they could learn from their mother’s mistakes. With that, Triple H finally enters the building, blowing off Grisham as he stomps toward the ring with a sledgehammer of his own. When he gets there, Orton suggests that they lose the hammers, he’ll dismiss Rhodes and DiBiase and they can settle their beef like men. The sledgehammers are dropped, but Orton waves for Legacy to move in. But The Game has a backup plan in the form of a second sledgehammer strapped to his back, and Rhodes gets a few shots while Orton and DiBiase scramble to the back. A merry chase that recalls the best of the Attitude era ensues, with an innocent door, a mirror and random furniture all caught in the crossfire. Eventually, the heels make it back to their limo and burn rubber into the night, but not before one of the windows feels Hunter’s wrath and a new record is set in the sledgehammer toss when he hurls it at the fleeing car in frustration.

I’m exhausted just typing all that. See you in seven…

Nick Tylwalk is taking PayPal donations to begin construction of a physical home for the WWE Hall of Fame since the company itself isn't showing much interest. Give generously at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com. Also, get Nick's running thoughts on the show every Monday night by following his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk.