For honor or ego?
ALBANY, N.Y. -- After an emotional Raw last week which saw a farewell to Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Batista were guests on Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel on Raw, just days after the two Superstars had a volatile exchange on SmackDown. (WATCH) Both HBK and The Animal once again stood by their respective arguments in regards to Ric Flair's retirement -- courtesy of Michaels -- but the issue between the two has boiled over and will officially explode at Backlash.
Live on pay-per-view on April 27, Batista and Shawn Michaels will go one-on-one, with The Animal looking for retribution after HBK ended his mentor's career at WrestleMania XXIV. But as Michaels told our fans and Batista on the Highlight Reel, "I did what anyone would have done, even you Batista." When Michaels pressed Batista to do something about his anger over the "Nature Boy's" retirement, The Animal responded, "I already did."
What will happen when these two Superstars collide at Backlash? Will Batista gain the measure of revenge he seeks against Michaels? Or will HBK show The Animal the same fire he displayed when he put an end to Ric Flair's illustrious 36-year career? For HBK, WrestleMania was "the hardest night of his career." Will it be much harder for Michaels at Backlash against Batista?
Tag Team turmoil
As things heat up between those former champions, the Raw tag team division is sweltering with both the champions and the hungry challengers to the gold.
After suffering embarrassment last week in defeat to ex-girlfriend Maria, Santino Marella re-formed his partnership with Carlito on Raw to take on World Tag Team Champions, Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly. Making a strong statement of their own, Carlito & Santino defeated the champions in a non-title match when Marella pinned Cody Rhodes.
Paul London & Brian Kendrick have been on a roll of their own as of late, piling up the victories while aiming to once again reach the top of the tag division. On Raw, the duo defeated Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch using their high-flying style of offense when Kendrick pulled a pin out of nowhere on Murdoch. After the loss, Cade showed his growing frustration in the ring, glaring at his longtime partner, Murdoch.
Lastly, following their tag team win last week, Cryme Tyme was on Raw again, this time for their WrestleMania clearance sale. "If you desire it, we'll acquire it," is the new motto of JTG & Shad, and the duo lived up to that motto … kind of. (WATCH)
After dominating in the BunnyMania Match at WrestleMania, Women's Champion Beth Phoenix showed Maria why the gold is firmly in The Glamazon's grasp. Maria, who continues to show her own improvements in the ring, fell victim to the power of Phoenix, whose stock continues to rise on Raw -- turning away every challenger she has faced to hold on to her title. (WATCH)
Diva double take
Ashley teamed with Mickie James to face the team of Melina & Jillian on Monday night, and the beautiful duo of Ashley & Mickie James earned the victory when the former Women's Champion, James, pinned Melina. Will the win help catapult Mickie James back into the hunt for the Women's Championship?
Umaga competed for the first time since his loss to Batista at WrestleMania XXIV, and the Samoan Bulldozer returned to Raw more destructive than ever. Showing the intensity that has made him one of the most feared competitors in WWE, Umaga tore Val Venis apart in the ring before destroying him with the Samoan Spike.
Backlash to four corners
WWE Champion Randy Orton began the night believing he would go one-on-one with JBL at Backlash, but the tide quickly turned on the Legend Killer. Raw General Manager William Regal put Triple H into a Handicap Match against Orton & JBL, and when The Game won, he made the Backlash match a Triple Threat for the title.(WATCH) Not to be outdone, John Cena also pleaded his case to Regal, who gave the former WWE Champion the same Handicap Match ultimatum. After Orton's intended interference failed, Cena pulled out the win, thus, the championship match at Backlash is now a Fatal Four Way starring former WWE Champions.(WATCH) Read the full story…