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RAW: Gearing up for the Road to WrestleMania
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


In one heck of a coincidence, Monday Night RAW is coming to us from right up the road from the new NFL Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints in Lafayette, Louisiana. Expect a rowdy crowd tonight, but not from the WWE action in the ring. Also, RAW gets its third NASCAR guest host tonight in Carl Edwards.

Edwards kicks off the show by spinning doughnuts out in the parking lot. He drives in the Cajun Dome, but instead of Edwards, Hornswoggle gets out of the car. He crotch chops the crowd from the hood of the car.

Kelly Kelly announces Carl Edwards and he makes his way to the ring with the Bellas at his side. Edwards does he trademark back flip off the top rope, before getting on the microphone. He gets a cheap pop by mentioning the Super Bowl. He then pushes the Daytona 500. Edwards mentions he is friends with John Cena, but WWE Champion Sheamus cuts him off.

Sheamus says he is planning on being WWE champion going into Wrestlemania, and he demands Edwards make him the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber. Sheamus says Edwards is a guest on his show, so he better do what he says or he wonít make it to Daytona. Christian, of all people, joins the party.

The ECW Champion introduces himself to Edwards, and Sheamus isnít happy Christian stuck his nose in things. Christian is offended that Edge snubbed his title last week, but it turns out ECW is going off the air in a few weeks. Christian says everyone on ECW will become a free agents and can sign with either RAW or Smackdown! Christian is here to test the waters, and challenge Sheamus to a match. Edwards likes the idea so much, he books the match for right now.

#1 Ė Christian vs. Sheamus Ė Non-Title match

Sheamus takes down the ECW champ with a hip toss, and then whips him into the corner. Christian fights him off with a shoulder block and jumps to the top rope. Sheamus catches him on a cross body, and tosses him out of the ring with a fall away slam.

After the break, Sheamus has Christian in a chin lock. Christian breaks out, and grabs the ropes to block an Irish Whip. Christian dumps the WWE champ over the top rope and then hits an elbow drop from over the top rope. Sheamus pulls Christian into the ring post, and then slams him into the security barrier. Sheamus takes Christian to the mat with an arm bar. Christian recovers and drop kicks Sheamus. He follows with a big right, and then a flying elbow. Sheamus catches Christian coming off the ropes again. Christian ducks the bicycle kick, but canít avoid the clothesline. The ECW champ dodges Sheamus in the corner, and connects with a DDT out of the corner. Sheamus blocks the Killswitch, and then drives Christian into the ring post. He follows with the bicycle kick and finishes him off with the Celtic Cross. Sheamus covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Triple H is watching from the locker room and he doesnít look happy. Shawn Michaels walks in and admits he has been distracted by the whole Undertaker thing. He says he has found a silver lining. This year DX could go to Wrestlemania as a team. Triple H throws a damper on things by saying he did qualify for the Chamber, and he will win, and go to Wrestlemania as the champion. Shawn says itís all about Hunter now, and walks away.

After the show went off the air last week, John Cena chased Batista from the ring to save Bret Hart, only to have Batista return and decimate him. Oh, and Bret Hart is banned from the arena tonight.

Cody Rhodes wants to know if Ted DiBiase is proud that he qualified for the chamber. Ted says he is, and then whines about having to face Cena while DiBiase took on Mark Henry. Ted tells Cody he is just better than him. Randy Orton walks in and wants to know if he thinks he is better than him. Orton informs Ted he will be taking on John Cena. Orton turns to Rhodes, telling him he appreciated the effort at the Rumble, but he will face Orton tonight.

Match #2 Ė CM Punk and Luke Gallows w/Serena vs. Big Show and The Miz vs. Triple H and Shawn Michaels Ė Unified Tag Team Title Triple Threat Elimination Match

Punk runs down the crowd for turning to drugs and alcohol. He then calls out Jared Fogle, the Subway guy, and wants to save him. He wants him as the Straight Edge Societyís spokesman. He turns them down. Punk has Gallows and Serena go get him, but the DX entrance stops them. Big Show and Miz make their entrance, and everyone starts fighting before the bell. DX clears the ring and we go to commercial.

We join the match in progress, and Punk hits a running bulldog on HBK. Big Show whips HBK into Punk, but misses on a splash. Hunter and Gallows get tagged in, and HHH crotch chops both of them. Show knocks both men down, and goes to work on Gallows. After a chop, he hits a short arm clothesline on Gallows. Hunter hits Show with a face buster, and looks for the Pedigree. Show counters with a back body drop that sends Hunter over the top rope, and we go to another commercial break.

After the break, Punk is working over the leg of Triple H. Miz whips Punk into the corner and Hunterís boot. HHH then explodes out of the corner with a clothesline to the Miz, and both men go down. Punk drop kicks Miz, but Miz recovers with a chin breaker and a running clothesline. Serena pulls Miz off the apron, but when he gives chase, Miz runs right into a spinebuster from HHH. HBK gets the tag, and works Punk over. Shawn hits the inverted atomic drop, and climbs the turnbuckle. HBK hits a leg drop, and starts to warm up the band, but is cut off by Luke Gallows. Hunter sends Gallows to the floor. HBK avoids the GTS and hits Punk with Sweet Chin Music. Shawn covers and eliminates the Straight Edge Society.

Big Show clotheslines Hunter and Shawn, and then taunts HBK. Show steps on Michaels and then punches him in the gut. Show runs into a boot in the corner, twice. HBK tries to capitalize, but Show answers with a side suplex. The Miz gets the tag, and decks HBK. Miz looks for the Skull Crushing Finale, but HBK fights him. Miz is able to tag Show, and out of nowhere, HBK connects with a super kick. Show gets a tag, but so does Shawn. HHH hits Miz with the high knee, and a knee to the face. Hunter knocks Show off the apron, and hits Miz with a spine buster. HBK makes a blind tag, and Hunter is confused. Miz runs HBK into Triple H, and rolls Shawn up from behind and gets the pin.

Winner via pinfall ... and new Tag Team Champions: Big Show and The Miz

After the match, HBK leaves the ring yelling at Hunter, and then walks to the back by himself.

Josh Matthews is in the back with the new Tag Team Champs. Show calls out Jericho, saying Miz treats him as an equal and they can do anything. Show wants to be called Show-Miz and The Miz is cool with it.

Shawn is in the back looking for Carl Edwards. He finds Teddy Long and tells him to listen up. HBK wants Teddy to make a trade for him to Smackdown! He wants to get in their Elimination Chamber so he can win the belt off Taker and force a rematch at Wrestlemania. Teddy says the Chamber is set, and thereís nothing he can do. Hunter intervenes, and the two face off. Hunter wants to know if Shawn is throwing his career away. HBK says his career is over and then superkicks Teddy Long.

Match #3 Ė Gail Kim vs. Jillian Hall

Maryse joins the announce table, calling the Smackdown! Divas low class because of their treatment of Mickie James. Meanwhile in the ring, Gail Kim picks up the win with a shoulder breaker.

Winner via pinfall: Gail Kim

After the match, Maryse congratulates Gail, and then says something in French. (I really need to order that Rosetta Stone software to learn this language. I wonder if SLAM! will comp that?) Maryse then shakes hands with Gail Kim.

The first inductee into the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame is The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.

Jared is backstage with Carl Edwards, and Jared supplied the craft service table. Santino wants Jack Swagger in the ring, so Edwards grants him a match on Superstars. Kofi Kingston drops by, and doesnít mind he isnít in a match tonight. Next week though, he wants Edwards to book all six members in random singles matches. Carl wants to know if he should leave it to the guest host next week. Santino is all for it, especially if the host has class and civility. Um, Jerry Springer is hosting next week, and I guess he will book the matches.

Match #4 Ė Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton

Orton shoves Rhodes and then yells at him. Rhodes slaps Orton, who then kicks him in the gut. Rhodes responds with a drop kick. Rhodes hits a side Russian leg sweep, but Orton responds by dropping Rhodes on the ropes. Orton beats on Rhodes in the corner, and sets him on the top turnbuckle. Cody blocks a superplex, knocking Orton to the mat. Rhodes misses a flying cross body, and Orton looks to strike. Sheamus runs in, and slides back out of the ring. Rhodes takes advantage of the distraction, hitting Cross Rhodes and covering for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes

After the bell, Sheamus kicks Orton in the head. The champs looks to do more damage, but Rhodes returns to the ring with a chair, and Sheamus backs off.

Carl Edwards has a major announcement. Heís going to announce next week's matches. First Sheamus will take on Randy Orton, DiBiase will face Kofi Kingston, and John Cena will wrestle Triple H.

Match #5 Ė Ted DiBiase vs. John Cena

Cena jumps DiBiase as soon as he hits the ring, and tosses Ted to the floor. Cena flings DiBiase into the security barrier and the bell still has yet to ring. Cena puts on the STF and Ted taps, but since the bell never rung, he keeps the hold applied. Cena finally breaks the hold, and grabs a mic. Cena says he isnít here for a match; he just wants a fight with Batista. The plan to take out Cena didnít work, so he wants Batista to come out and finish the job. We go to break with Cena waiting on Batista.

No Contest

After the break, Cena is still in the ring by himself. He thinks maybe this was a business decision by Batista, and only one man can be behind that, Vince McMahon. Cena says if he canít fight Batista, he wants to talk to Vince. The Chairman grants Cenaís wish.

Vince walks to the ring with a full security detail. Vince stops at the bottom of the ramp, and lets Cena have his say. Cena canít believe Vince would think that 10 security guards could stop him. Cena gives Vince two options, come into the ring to talk, or send all the goons after him. Vince enters the ring. Vince reminds Cena that he is the supreme alpha male. Vince admits to paying off Batista, so he could screw Bret again, but he had nothing to do with the Batista attacking him. Vince tells Cena he doesnít like him personally, but business wise he really likes him. Cena yells at Vince for only caring about the money. Cena says he does this because he loves it and for the moment, and that is priceless. Cena says he talked to Bret last week, and Bret wants another moment. Hart told him that he wants one more match at Wrestlemania, and he wants his opponent to be Vince McMahon. The boss says Bret doesnít want that, Cena assures him he does. Cena tells him he has a chance at a moment, and then leaves the ring. Cena wants an answer and goads Vince into a decision. Vince emphatically says yes. Cena thanks Vince and goes to tell Bret the news. Vince tells Bret he doesnít want this match because Vince will embarrass him again, like he did last week. After a video recap, Hart hits the ring, attacking Vince. Bret fights off security as the other guys pull Vince from the ring. Vince yells at Bret from the stage, announcing that he has changed his mind and the match is off. Hart starts to pull the production equipment apart and then he rips apart the announce table. Hart stands in the middle of the ring as the show goes off the air.

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