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Battling Billionaires

Challenges were made, gauntlets were thrown and WWE Legends were laid out on a wild and wacky Raw Thursday Night in Portland, Ore.

Donald Trump promised a business proposal for Mr. McMahon, and boy did he deliver. As Raw kicked off, "The Donald" made his way to the ring to speak with the WWE Chairman. After exchanging some "pleasantries" with Mr. McMahon, The Donald shocked the world by challenging Mr. McMahon to a match at WrestleMania 23. The Chairman refused, citing an alleged injury suffered at Unforgiven, but Trump was ready with a counter proposal. It was accepted, and there will be a high-stakes Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania. Trump and McMahon will both select a representative to do battle; if Trump's representative wins, The Donald will shave Mr. McMahon's head, but if the Chairman's pick is victorious, McMahon will shave Trump's head. Read more…

Raw Thursday Night also saw quite possibly the biggest main event in Raw history. WWE Champion John Cena teamed with World Tag Team Championship partner Shawn Michaels and their No Way Out opponents, Batista & Undertaker, to take on Rated-RKO, Montel Vontavious Porter and Mr. Kennedy. Prior to the match, Edge rallied his team by telling them that the opponents all had something that they should have gotten: a chance to main-event WrestleMania. Meanwhile, when Grisham caught up with Michaels before the match, HBK insinuated that his team of champions would hold it together on Raw before their upcoming battles at No Way Out and WrestleMania 23.

It was a back and forth battle, but when Orton and Undertaker were officially tagged in late in the bout, all hell broke loose. The Deadman tried to clean house, but all eight men ended up battling in the ring. When HBK tried to give Orton some Sweet Chin Music, the Legend Killer ducked and Michaels nearly hit the Phenom. Undertaker grabbed Michaels' foot, but instead of attacking his own partner, he turned to chokeslam MVP. Orton then used the opportunity to shove HBK into the Deadman, sending Undertaker to the floor. While the Legend Killer gloated, however, Michaels tuned up the band; Orton got some Sweet Chin Music, and Michaels scored the winning pinfall.

Once the match was over, though, the team of champions disintegrated. The Phenom re-entered the ring, and after a brief stare down with Michaels, Undertaker viciously chokeslammed him. Cena rushed to his fellow World Tag Team Champion's aid, but ended up being crushed by a Batista Bomb, and Cena & Michaels were left beaten as the SmackDown duo stood tall. Is this scene a harbinger of things to come at No Way Out, or will the World Tag Team Champions be able score one for Raw?

In front of his hometown crowd, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper made his first Raw appearance since being diagnosed with cancer. Piper received a huge ovation from the WWE fans in Portland, and had the pleasure of introducing the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2007: Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes also received a thunderous ovation as he headed to the ring, but before Piper or Rhodes had much of a chance to speak, Umaga hit the scene. When all was said and done, Umaga's path of destruction included two more victims, as the two Legends were left gasping for air courtesy of a pair of Samoan Spikes. In what may have been the ultimate act of disrespect, the Samoan Bulldozer became a big dark cloud and rained on what should have been a sunny day for both the current and future Hall of Famer. Read more…

Last week, Ric Flair verbally laid into Carlito, telling the young Caribbean Superstar that he was lazy and had no passion. When Flair reiterated those words this week, Carlito showed his passion by challenging Flair to a match. Once inside the ring, the Caribbean Superstar showed a fire that he hasn't shown in weeks. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to unseat the wily veteran. Moments after the "Nature Boy" used the ropes to avoid Carlito's Back Cracker, he rolled up the Caribbean Superstar for the three count. Carlito seemed both angry and surprised at his loss, and Flair and the WWE fans feared the worst when he grabbed the "Nature Boy" as he was leaving the ring. Instead of a fight, however, Carlito extended his hand in a gesture of good sportsmanship. He and Flair then shook hands to a nice ovation. Have Flair's recent words and actions finally helped Carlito turn a corner in his young WWE career?

Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy was in action, taking on Chris Masters. It was a non-title match, but Masters would earn a future title opportunity with a victory. Once he secured the Master Lock on Hardy, it looked as if a golden opportunity was headed his way; instead, after fighting the Master Lock for well over a minute, Hardy was able to maneuver his body over the top rope, which forced Masters to release the hold within the referee's five-count. When "The Masterpiece" went to suplex Hardy from the apron back into the ring, the champion escaped his clutches and rolled him up, earning the three-count and the victory over the surprised Masters.

Speaking of title opportunities, Melina helped her cause in getting a Women's Championship Match when she and Johnny Nitro defeated Super Crazy & Women's Champion Mickie James in a Mixed Tag Team Match. It seemed as if James & Crazy had the match all but sewn up, but Mickie was distracted by watching Nitro send Crazy into the ring post. This gave Melina the opening she needed, allowing her to gouge Mickie's eyes and pull her down by the hair into a pinning combination for the victory.

Later, Melina in fact did get to announce that she would face James for the gold next week, but her scheduled interviewer never showed up. Just as she asked what could be more important than her, everyone found out; Todd Grisham was actually with Ashley, who gave the WWE fans a sneak peek at her Playboy magazine photo shoot. The video was only one part of the preview, as Ashley will unveil her Playboy cover Friday night on SmackDown.

Also, The Great Khali picked up an impressive victory over Eugene. The Special Superstar offered Khali a stuffed animal as a token of friendship, but the Punjabi monster shrugged it off before making short work of his overmatched opponent.

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