The circle is complete
In front of an excited and enthusiastic capacity crowd of 15,146, the final Raw before WrestleMania emanated from the home of last year's ‘Mania. Six nights before the biggest event in sports-entertainment rolls into Detroit, WWE fans witnessed partnerships collapse, champions pinned and some Sweet Chin Music that will echo throughout the halls of Chicago's Allstate Arena for a long, long time.
After months of tension between World Tag Team Champions and WrestleMania opponents Shawn Michaels & WWE Champion John Cena, HBK stayed true to his promise that any Sweet Chin Music he delivered, Cena would never see coming. The World Tag Team Champions then stepped into the ring to face World Heavyweight Champion Batista & Undertaker in a No Way Out rematch. As The Deadman tossed HBK at The Animal, it looked like Cena and HBK's double team would lead them to victory. After the two Superstars delivered a unified five-knuckle shuffle, The Showstopper dropped Cena with a powerful kick to the head. After Batista covered Cena to pick up the win, Michaels ended the confrontation with a few quick DX crotch chops. What kind of action awaits WWE fans when Cena and HBK meet on the grandest stage of them all in six short nights?
Another promise was kept as Mr. McMahon lived up to last week's "guaran-damn-tee" that he would pin ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley when they met in the ring. Mr. McMahon's Executive Assistant, Jonathan Coachman, announced that the match would fall under No Disqualification rules and any "unauthorized" interference would result in a fine and suspension. That gave the Chairman the upper hand by "authorizing" Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, Chris Masters, Johnny Nitro and even the Intercontinental Champion Umaga to attack Lashley. A low blow from Mr. McMahon would help Umaga bring down the ECW World Champion, enabling the Chairman to pin him not once, but twice! Worse, it appears Mr. McMahon's representative may have the clear-cut edge over Donald Trump's representative Bobby Lashley in the first-ever Battle of the Billionaires Match at WrestleMania 23.
Speaking of the Battle of the Billionaires, that match's special guest referee got the night started on a "stunning" note when he confronted Jonathan Coachman. It seems Coachman had been sending "Stone Cold" presents marked with Donald Trump's name. Austin spoke to Coachman in simple terms: "What I say goes… don't mess with me in this ring." To further cement his point, The Texas Rattlesnake rocked Coachman with a vicious Stone Cold Stunner, followed by a nice, cold beer bath!
In the sexiest match of the evening, three Playboy cover girls — Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle & Ashley — teamed to defeat Women's Champion Melina, Jillian & Victoria. Ashley will face Melina for the Women's Championship at WrestleMania in an incredible Lumberjill match; can she keep her momentum going and walk out of Detroit with the gold?
It was also a busy night for the competitors in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Chicago native CM Punk defeated WWE Magazine's "Jerk of the Month" Kenny Dykstra, while Mr. Kennedy & Randy Orton defeated The Hardys. Also, Edge hosted his seven other competitors on "The Cutting Edge," where a fight broke out between them all. Edge tried to jet out of the ring to safety, but his opponents actually chased him out of the arena. Does the Rated-R Superstar have the "edge" heading into this exciting WrestleMania match?
Ric Flair, a Superstar who will no doubt become a member of the WWE Hall of Fame someday, competed against The Great Khali. Just when it looked like the end for the "Nature Boy," Carlito ran in to help his mentor and friend. Khali made quick work of the Southpaw from San Juan, though he wasn't safe from a hook-wielding Kane who he will face at WrestleMania!
Finally, congratulations to Raw announcer Jim Ross, who was named as the final member of the WWE Hall of Fame's Class of 2007. J.R. received a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd after the announcement.
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