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Raw: Home invasions and secret affairs
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Things are getting good between Triple H and Randy Orton, and by that, we mean fans can’t wait to see them tear into each other at WrestleMania 25. Before that though, there’s a little matter of Triple H in a handicap match against Orton’s cohorts in Legacy, plus a contract signing between Edge and Big Show that was interrupted when John Cena whispered... something to Vickie Guerrero. All that and more, live from Jacksonville.

In case you’ve been out of the WWE loop for a few months, the opening segment of this week’s show recaps the high points in the HHH-Orton feud, culminating in a beatdown by all three members of Legacy last week on SmackDown. Or at least there’s a tease of that beating. We also see Randy Orton’s house (supposedly anyway) in St. Louis, as he’ll be joining us live via satellite to explain his actions. That shot of the house looks like it was taken from one of Orton’s bushes. Now I know what the POV of a stalker looks like.

Shawn Michaels heads to the ring in street clothes to a solid “HBK” chant. Though he admits going 16-0 at WrestleMania is an epic achievement, Michaels says he’s no stranger to show-stopping performances himself. Furthermore, he’s not scared of the Undertaker and refuses to be outperformed on the industry's biggest stage. Streaks are made to be broken, and something’s got to give... and maybe a few other clichés. With that, bells toll, the lights go down, and a cool video package shows highlights of all of ‘Taker’s Mania wins. The lights come back on to reveal the Dead Man standing in the ring, but Shawn’s been expecting him. Undertaker tells Shawn that his arrogance has clouded his judgment and that he’ll fall like all the rest. HBK lists off his accomplishments and feels he shouldn’t have to qualify to face anyone at WrestleMania. They go back and forth a bit more, but when Undertaker tries to tell Michaels he’ll rest in peace, Mr. WrestleMania retorts that he’ll rest quite comfortably knowing he’s done the impossible and ended The Streak. As Tom Petty would say, Shawn won’t back down. And yes, I realize no one under 25 is likely to get that reference.

Match 1 – JBL vs. CM Punk – Intercontinental Title Match

Punk puts his title on the line and his body on the line by executing a suicide dive to the floor before the commercial break. JBL is in command when we return, but Punk rallies with a high knee and a running bulldog for two. It looks like GTS time, but JBL slips out, rakes Punk across the eyes and delivers the Clothesline From Hell. Three counts later, we have a brand new IC champion.

There’s that voyeuristic shot from outside Orton’s house again. Back in Jacksonville, Vickie tells JBL that he owes her for arranging the title match, so she will call on him to do something for her. He agrees it’s a deal and leaves just as Edge arrives. It turns out he’d really like to know what Cena said to her, but Vickie blows him off and says it doesn’t matter. Edge says it won’t matter as long as he gets to sign his WrestleMania contract tonight.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler do some large-scale videoconferencing with Orton, who begins by introducing his wife, Samantha. Cole asks why Orton violated the stipulation he proposed – the one that said he and Triple H would not touch each other unless physically provoked – with last week’s attack. Randy requests that the footage from SmackDown be shown, and he interprets it as a sign of restraint. After all, he could have used his running punt to end the feud right there, but he had enough self-control to wait until April. You have to admit, it was pretty impressive that he only had his flunkies jump Triple H before kicking him in the face a few times. We’ll check in again with Orton before the night is over.

Match 2 – Maryse vs. Melina

Because you demanded it, it’s Women’s Champion versus Divas’ Champion, with the lovely ladies from both shows watching from ringside. My mom told me never to say anything if I couldn’t say anything nice, so here’s what I can say: Maryse’s French-Canadian accent is mesmerizing in person. Also this isn’t the worst match I’ve ever seen, so there’s that. Maryse wins and all of the Divas storm the ring for one big scrap, though it breaks down along face-heel lines instead of show versus show.

Like Watchmen, this week’s Raw incorporates a lot of flashbacks. This one replays last week’s SmackDown and the sweet nothings (or whatever) that Cena whispers to Guerrero that bring things to a screeching halt. In addition, the WrestleMania Moment remembers WrestleMania VI. Held at the SkyDome in Toronto (kids, you know it as the Rogers Centre), the event featured Andre the Giant in one of his last big matches and Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior back before we knew Warrior was a certifiable loony.

The ring is set up for the Edge-Big Show contract signing, take two. Both men come to the ring, but the fans are already chanting for Cena. Edge tells Show that since both of them are better than Warrior and Hogan, they should just put the past behind them and focus on making history. Big Show agrees and signs, with Edge quickly adding his own John Hancock. They shake hands... but here comes Cena! Edge wants to know why he’s even bothering coming down since the match is official and he’s not in it. Cena asks Vickie if she’s going to tell them the truth, and she buckles and admits that she invited Cena there. She continues by saying that based on what’s fair to the audience, she needed to let Cena also compete for the title. Edge and Show look stunned as Cena also signs the contract, but they look even more surprised when Cena says he whispered to Guerrero that he loves her. He says he knows she’s a married woman and things are going to be awkward from here on out, but he can’t help what he feels in his heart. As Cena walks up the ramp, an incredulous Edge says he knows Cena is lying and that his wife will tear up the contract. But Cena seems confident she won’t, even though he comes clean and says he doesn’t love Vickie. It seems Cena knew a lot of the people working at the Mohegan Sun, the site of last week’s SmackDown, including the guy in charge of watching the security cameras. He asks for footage to be shown, and it’s disturbing stuff – unless you happen to like watching Vickie and Big Show make out. Cena smiles and says, “Vickie, you got some ‘splaining to do!” And that’s a much older reference than anything I’ve made.

Match 3 – Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match

The action heats up after an early commercial break. Jericho hits an enzuigiri for two, then delivers a bulldog but misses the Lionsault. Kingston hits his double leg drop and gets two of his own. He tries for the Trouble in Paradise, but Jericho counters and has Kofi in trouble with the Walls of Jericho. A well-timed distraction appears in the form of Ric Flair’s entrance music, and the man himself struts out onto the stage. An astounded Jericho is dropped by the Trouble in Paradise and quickly pinned, and Flair seems quite pleased that he’s ruined Jericho’s WrestleMania plans.

We go back to Orton for more questions. Cole wants to know why Orton isn’t in Jacksonville, but the Legend Killer doesn’t like the implication that he’s scared. No, he’s afraid of what he might do to Triple H. Orton says he’ll enjoy sitting with his wife and watching the handicap match.

In the arena, Todd Grisham asks what must be a rhetorical question of Jericho, wanting to know if he’s disappointed that Flair cost him a Money in the Bank spot. An enraged Jericho dares the Nature Boy to come out of retirement and face him next week on Raw.

The next WWE Hall of Fame inductee is... Koko B. Ware! He was always a personal favorite of mine when I was younger, and definitely ahead of his time.

Match 4 – Rey Mysterio, Finlay and Christian vs. The Miz, John Morrison and Kane

I don’t have much to say about this one except that it’s pretty entertaining for as long as it lasts. Finlay doesn’t work at all, and Mysterio finishes off Morrison with a flurry of moves.

Next week, “frenemies” Michaels and Undertaker will team up to face JBL and Vladimir Kozlov. We also get treated to a profile on the bad guy from 12 Rounds, Miles Jackson.

Main Event – Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs. Triple H

Or at least it’s supposed to be. Lillian Garcia introduces The Game twice, but he doesn’t show. Rhodes and DiBiase demand to be recognized as the winners by forfeit and look pretty happy. But Orton is furious, wondering if Triple H will even bothering to show up at WrestleMania. He sends Samantha to answer the door, but at the last second, he remembers watching WWE programs of years past and realizes what’s going on. That revelation is too late, as Triple H busts through the front door, sledgehammer in hand. Orton bids a hasty retreat, and The Game stomps all over the first floor of the house, menacing Samantha and various WWE technical people. He’s about to head upstairs when he hears a noise and reverses his path. Orton bursts out of a closet and disarms his attacker, but Triple H overpowers him as they brawl and bounces Randy off a few innocent pieces of furniture. Seeing the front window handy, Triple H hurls Orton through the window and out into the yard. Randy absorbs more punishment until the police arrive to take The Game away. Nothing like some classic home invasion to send all the fans home in a good mood! See you in seven...

Nick Tylwalk would be willing to let Triple H and Randy Orton smash his house as long as the WWE was footing the repair bills. Speculate about whether the WWE was allowed to tear up a random foreclosed house by writing Nick at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com, or get his running thoughts each Monday night by following his Twitter feed @ Nick_Tylwalk.