D.T.A - Don't Trust Anybody
PHOENIX -- Tonight's Raw may have begun with a photo-op with WWE Champion Randy Orton and his two challengers for the WWE Title at WrestleMania XXIV, Triple H and John Cena, but no one was smiling at the end of the night. Instead, all three Superstars in the Triple Threat Match at The Grandest Stage of Them All had a mouth full of each other's knuckles. Ah, WrestleMania -- it will do that to a Superstar, especially when the WWE Championship is at stake.
As our fans in the US Airways Center saw tonight, the Phoenix desert sun wasn't the only thing heating up Raw. With WrestleMania XXIV less than five weeks away, the tension between The Game, Cena and Orton is quickly approaching a fever pitch. They are each jockeying for position, and trying to get an advantage before their Triple Threat war for sports-entertainment's most coveted prize, the WWE Championship.
Triple H struck first last week, immediately flattening both Cena and Orton with Pedigrees after he refereed and made the three-count that determined Cena as an official participant in the main event at WrestleMania. As Triple H held the gold in his hands and gazed up at the WrestleMania XXIV banner in the rafters, his message was clear: No one -- no one -- is stopping The King of Kings from reclaiming his throne.
This week, Cena and Orton were still stinging and seething from The Cerebral Assassin's calculated, physical statement. If Raw GM William Regal expected civility and décor when these three gathered for a photo-op, he was sadly mistaken. Their collective rage exploded as a melee broke out among them and photographers at ringside snapped away. Orton had the final word in that brawl when he delivered RKOs to both Triple H and Cena. The Legend Killer's message was obvious: I'm the champ and will still be the champ after WrestleMania XXIV. WATCH | PHOTOS
Perhaps this is why Regal pitted these three -- and WrestleMania Money in the Bank Ladder Match competitor Mr. Kennedy -- in a tag team match later that night. Regal knows that combustible elements equal ratings. The Raw GM knew The Game and Cena wouldn't be able to get along -- these two have been rivals over the WWE Title for years. Triple H has never forgotten how Cena made him tap to the STFU in a WWE Title Match two years ago, and deep down, he wants to redeem that loss. Triple H and Cena didn't hide the fact that they didn't want to team with each other at all.
Meanwhile, Orton and Kennedy share a mutual disdain for both Triple H and Cena. However, before the match, Kennedy made it clear to the self-proclaimed "One-Man Dynasty" that he desperately wants to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania and the right to challenge any world champion at any time. So, even though the Legend Killer had a partner tonight, he certainly couldn't trust him, or anybody else. He eyed Kennedy, who has also been known to put Superstars on the disabled list, warily throughout the night.
This all set the tone for the tag team showdown. When they weren't trying to on-up each other, Cena and Triple H managed (barely) to work together while Orton and Kennedy pooled their resources, but no one trusted each other. Ultimately, the loudmouth from Green Bay, Wis., fell victim to Cena's STFU, but that didn't plant any seeds of trust between him and "The Champ" from West Newbury, Mass.
The Cerebral Assassin appeared to be ready to strike Cena when he suddenly turned around. As their stares burned holes into one another, Kennedy snuck up behind Cena and blindsided him with a Mic Check. WATCH | PHOTOS
In Pursuit of the Holy Grail
Triple H didn't look too concerned as Cena writhed on the mat. He, like Cena and Orton, are transfixed on the WWE Championship. The gold is the reason they all decided to lace up a pair of boots in the first place. Holding the WWE Championship at the end of WrestleMania represents all their dreams and aspirations. It doesn't get any better than that in sports-entertainment.
But alas, the WWE Championship also brings out the worst in Superstars. These past two weeks have only given a taste at what aggression -- and potential evil -- the Holy Grail of sports-entertainment can bring out in men.