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The Champ is ready
In front of 15,169 raucous WWE fans and several members of the NBA Champion Miami Heat at the sold out American Airlines Arena, John Cena stood tall at the end of the first Monday Night Raw of 2007.
It didn't look like that would be the case, however. In one of the most anticipated matches in recent memory, Cena took on Kevin Federline to kick off the show. Federline was accompanied to the ring by "trainer" Johnny Nitro, and informed the world that Jonathan Coachman had made the match a No Disqualification match.
Once the match began, Federline showed some skill but Cena seemed to toy with him. He even allowed the Hollywood bad boy to lock him in the Master Lock, but the WWE Champion easily broke the hold. Nitro tried to help his protégé, but The Champ easily dispatched the A-lister. That allowed Federline to sneak in a low blow…but that only seemed to infuriate Cena.
He hoisted Federline up for an FU, but his opponent this Sunday, Umaga, hit the ring to attack The Champ. With Jonathan Coachman's edict that Umaga and Cena could not touch each other outside of a match having expired, the undefeated Samoan Bulldozer capitalized on the situation and brutalized the WWE Champion. Umaga finished off his assault by nailing Cena with the WWE Championship, allowing Federline to shock the world by pinning and defeating The Champ.
Later, Coachman made a 4-on-1 Handicap Match as the main event, pitting himself, Nitro, Umaga and Armando Estrada against Cena. Cena fought valiantly, and looked as if he would pick up the victory when he locked Umaga in the STFU. However, Estrada brought a chair into the ring, and Cena broke the hold to attack him. The Champ then grabbed the chair and twice blasted Umaga, drawing a disqualification. Cena didn't care however, as he also delivered a pair of thunderous FUs to Nitro and Coachman. To cap off the festivities, Cena grabbed Federline (who was at ringside doing commentary), tossed him into the ring and dropped him with a third FU. The Champ then stared down his New Year's Revolution challenger, standing tall despite the odds stacked against him.
DX also had New Year's Revolution on their minds, waiting all night for Rated-RKO to show up. DX will challenge them for the World Tag Team Championship at New Year's Revolution, and were looking to get into a fight on Raw. Unfortunately, Edge & Randy Orton didn't show, so HBK & The Game hit the ring to deliver a scathing message:
"Edge, Orton…welcome to the other side," warned Triple H. "At New Year's Revolution we are going to beat your ass, tear your flesh, break your bones and make you bleed. We will leave you lying in a broken, twisted, bloody heap, because we are Shawn Michaels & Triple H, D-Generation X. And if you're not down with that, we've got two words for you!"
DX then apparently left the building thinking that Rated-RKO wouldn't show up…but they did.
After DX's speech, Kenny Dykstra & Chris Masters took on Carlito & Ric Flair in a preview of the two newest matches made for New Year's Revolution. Earlier, Dykstra told Todd Grisham that he would end Ric Flair's career. On this night, Dykstra won the match for his team by pinning Flair using one of the oldest tricks in Flair's book: putting his feet on the ropes. Flair challenged Dykstra to come back and fight, but he got a Rated-RKO ambush instead.
Edge & Orton came through the crowd, with Randy delivering a thunderous RKO to the "Nature Boy." Edge then nailed him with a vicious Con-Chair-To before the champions retreated back through the crowd. Rated-RKO knew DX was no longer in the building, and seemed to pick their spot to send a message; what will happen this Sunday when it's RKO vs. DX, Flair vs. Dykstra and Carlito vs. Masters?
2007 also began with a thud for Rob Conway. Conway said he was tired of being Raw's whipping boy, and if he couldn't defeat Jeff Hardy he would quit Raw. Unfortunately for Rob, his Raw career was over in a snap, as the Intercontinental Champion quickly pinned Conway to send him packing. But before he could leave, Mr. McMahon came out to join Conway and share his own new year's resolution.
"This year, I'm going to stop being so damn nice, and I'm also going to stop allowing people to take advantage of me, like my good friend Donald Trump. He's credited for a certain phrase, but Donald did not originate that phrase; it originated right here on Monday Night Raw. So I won't allow you to quit, because Rob Conway…YOU'RE FIRED!"
A dejected Conway was later seen leaving the building, but when WWE.com tried to get a word with him, he walked away speechless and refused comment.
Victoria added another name to her checklist for 2007 as well. After Melina defeated Maria, Victoria left her position at the commentary table. She then grabbed Lilian Garcia and tossed her into the ring. It looked like Lilian's name would be written into the blank spot on the checklist, but Women's Champion Mickie James saved Lilian before Victoria could drop her with the Widow's Peak. Mickie was able to fight off Victoria on Raw, but can she do it at New Year's Revolution with the Women's Championship on the line?
Also, Cryme Tyme teamed with The Highlanders to defeat The World's Greatest Tag Team & Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch. Cryme Tyme greeted Shaquille O'Neal prior to the match, and while they didn't steal anything from Shaq, they did steal the victory when Shad pinned Murdoch after an assist from his partner in Cryme, JTG.