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A sign of things to come?
LONDON -- In front of a capacity crowd at Earls Court, WWE Champion John Cena and Shawn Michaels clashed in an epic non-title battle that lasted almost an entire rotation of the enormous hand on Big Ben.
Squaring off for the first time since their tremendous match at WrestleMania 23, Cena and Michaels spent nearly an hour battling it out in the ring in one of the most impressive contests ever seen on Raw. Although other matches were scheduled for the night, including a contest pitting Edge against Randy Orton, the length of the main event left no room for other battles.
Spanning five commercial breaks, the incredible WrestleMania Rematch took WWE fans on a virtual rollercoaster of emotions. Multiple near falls, high-risk maneuvers and action both in and out of the ring made for one heck of a match. During the heart-stopping climax of the confrontation, Shawn Michaels muscled his way out of Cena's FU, delivered some perfectly placed Sweet Chin Music (his second superkick of the match) and pinned the WWE Champion to pick up the win. On Sunday, John Cena will lay his WWE Championship on the line when he meets HBK, Edge and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four Way Match at Backlash; Will Michaels have what it takes to conquer Cena again?
As Raw began, Shane McMahon took to the ring ready for action. Earlier in the day, WWE.com reporters spotted Shane-O-Mac at Earls Court, but were unable to discover the reasons for his attendance. The younger McMahon announced that in honor of St. George's Day (a holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom), one person would have the opportunity to slay a dragon -- Shane himself! Shane then brought out his competition: a local wrestler from Liverpool, England named Robbie Brookside. After punishing Brookside in a No Disqualification Match highlighted by Shane going Coast to Coast and wrapping a trash can around the British grappler's face, Shane brought out Umaga and announced the match as a 2-on-1 Handicap contest. After Brookside was left sprawled out from more punishment at the hands of The Samoan Bulldozer, Shane announced the match would become a 3-on-1 Handicap Match including WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, who stepped into the ring and pinned the unfortunate Brookside.
Mr. McMahon is obviously still angry at ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley, whose win over Umaga at WrestleMania 23 led to the Chairman being shaved bald by Donald Trump. In less than a week, Lashley will face both McMahons & Umaga at Backlash with the ECW World Championship on the line. If Mr. McMahon can pin Lashley at Backlash, he will become the new ECW World Champion!
In other Raw action, Trevor Murdoch defeated Matt Hardy, one-half of the World Tag Team Champions. Last week on Raw, Murdoch's partner Lance Cade defeated Matt's brother, Jeff. The Hardys will put their World Tag Team Championships on the line against Cade & Murdoch at Backlash. Will they be able to conquer the powerful Superstars from down south?
Also on Raw, the beautiful Maria fell to Women's Champion Melina. Will Melina's win give her enough momentum to retain her gold against Mickie James at Backlash?
More miscommunication plagued the partnership of Ric Flair and Carlito. After Carlito suffered a loss at the enormous hands of The Great Khali, he vented his frustrations at Flair in Spanish, prompting the "Nature Boy" to walk away perplexed.
And of course, WWE fans watching at home were treated to another look at The Condemned, which opens in theatres everywhere on Friday.