Royal reception

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April 14, 2008

LONDON -- As Raw's European tour made its final stop in London, the Superstars learned that next Monday will mark the return of the King of the Ring Tournament.

Mickie James' quest to regain the Women's Championship has been a long road back to the top, but James proved all the doubters wrong when she did the unthinkable, dethroning Beth Phoenix on Raw.

While Phoenix showed the strength and power that has made her an unbeatable force since winning the Women's Championship, kicking out of the challenger's high-flying arsenal of offense, the resilient Mickie proved why she was once before -- and is now again -- the champion.(WATCH)

As Phoenix had James hoisted far above her head, Mickie reversed the hold and rolled-up The Glamazon to capture the gold. After the victory, the new champion made her way up the ramp with tears of joy in her eyes, emotional over the unlikely win. The celebration continued when fellow Divas Maria & Ashley joined the new Women's Champion on the ramp, and Todd Grisham was given a victory kiss by the exuberant Mickie.

Intercontinental interjections

Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho's night began when he interrupted Shawn Michaels at the opening of Raw, as HBK spoke about his Backlash opponent, Batista. Y2J berated Michaels, going so far as to call him a "phony," but Jericho paid for his words when he accused Michaels of setting up WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair's retirement clause long ago. HBK heard enough, and delivered Sweet Chin Music to Jericho, silencing his critic.(WATCH)

Not to be outdone by HBK's physical payback, Jericho asked General Manager William Regal to let him participate in the Batista/Michaels confrontation at Backlash, and Regal obliged, naming Y2J the guest referee for the showdown.

But Y2J's night wasn't over, as he defended his gold moments later against the ever-dangerous Umaga. Despite the Samoan Bulldozer's best efforts, Jericho took advantage when the heavyweight hit his head on the steel post, rolling up Umaga and using the ropes for leverage to secure the win and retain his title.

International team to the top?

The tag team of Santino Marella & Carlito became the No. 1 contenders to the World Tag Team Championship when they defeated the red-hot tandem of Paul London & Brian Kendrick on Raw.(WATCH)

After securing their opportunity to reach the top of the tag team division, Santino & Carlito delivered bilingual warnings to the champions, Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes. "You need three things to be World Tag Team Champions," explained Santino, "strength, agility and international flavor -- something you do not have."

True "weeners" -- as Santino explained to our fans in London -- the duo now have their chance to shine when they go for gold. Whether or not "Cantino" can prove that to be true remains to be seen, but the new No. 1 contenders hope to prove that they are more than just the flavor of the month in their hunt for tag gold.

Murdoch's misfortune

Moments before taking on JTG one-on-one, Trevor Murdoch's tag team partner Lance Cade tried to give a pep talk, encouraging Murdoch by telling him he would go out to the ring and win after a few weeks of bad luck. Murdoch and Cade have had a mounting frustration after weeks of difficult losses, including a tag team loss to Cryme Tyme last Monday. Despite Murdoch's best efforts, however, JTG reversed a flying body press to earn the victory.

A shocked Murdoch stood in the center of the ring after the loss, and an extremely disappointed Lance Cade approached his partner and gave him a look of disapproval before patting him on the back and exiting the arena.(WATCH)

Burchill comes home

Superstar Paul Burchill returned to his home country of England on Raw when he faced off with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Unlike William Regal, however, the Englishman Burchill did not have his fellow countrymen's support, yet still found a way to win. Burchill defeated Duggan with a devastating maneuver that saw him slam the WWE legend face-first into the mat.

With the announcement that King of the Ring will take place next week on a special three-hour edition of Raw, could a young up-and-comer like Burchill, find himself part of the tournament to crown WWE royalty?

A Regal homecoming gets RKO'd

Contrary to Paul Burchill's reaction, General Manager William Regal's homecoming looked optimistic when the GM was set to take on WWE Champion Randy Orton one-on-one. Regal nearly defeated Orton in the non-title contest when he delivered a devastating suplex to the champion, but Orton recovered and defeated Regal with an RKO.

In the main event inked by Regal prior to his collision with the "Age of Orton," JBL and Triple H both hoped to make moves to gain momentum before the Fatal Four Way at Backlash, and the former champion JBL fired a loud and clear message when he decimated Randy Orton and Triple H with Clotheslines from Hell.(WATCH) Read the full story…

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