The Challenger is Here

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June 02, 2008

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Fresh off his victory over Randy Orton at One Night Stand, WWE Champion Triple H found out who his challenger would be at Night of Champions, the one night of the year where every title is defended. That man is John Cena.

At One Night Stand, both Cena and Jeff Hardy walked away triumphant and believing they should be the one to challenge The Game. With no clear choice readily apparent, Mr. McMahon set a match that had never been seen before: John Cena vs. Jeff Hardy, with the winner going on to face Triple H for the gold. Although both Cena and Hardy were exhausted and battered from their matches on Sunday, it was John Cena who stood tall, securing his spot at Night of Champions. (WATCH)

Cena has been angling for the WWE Championship ever since his return at Royal Rumble. Now, in just four short weeks, the Chain Gang Commander will have his opportunity to obtain championship gold.

Intercontinental turmoil

Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho encouraged a dazed Shawn Michaels to continue his Stretcher Match at One Night Stand against Batista, only to see The Animal brutalize HBK. Just one night later on Raw, Y2J vowed to defend his Intercontinental Championship as often as possible. He started with JBL in a match Y2J dedicated to the recovering HBK.

Y2J defended the gold ferociously and JBL ended the match with a disqualification by bringing a steel chair into the ring. Jericho attempted to counter his attack, picking the chair up and preparing to clobber the Longhorn Loudmouth. But before the chair was swung, he changed his mind, casting the weapon away, and walking away. (WATCH)

Smashmouth siblings

Two weeks ago, Mr. Kennedy ended William Regal's tyrannical GM reign over Raw in a Loser Gets Fired Match. Last week, the Green Bay Loudmouth was confronted by the Burchill siblings, Paul and Katie Lea, who claimed that by getting Regal fired, Kennedy made "a very powerful enemy," in Paul Burchill.

On Raw this week, Kennedy hoped to settle his quarrel with Burchill, but found that the English Superstar had arranged for Umaga to take his place. In a quick, but vicious match that ended with the Samoan Bulldozer smashing into the announce table, crushing his already-wounded ribs, Umaga lost via count-out. Before Kennedy could celebrate his victory, however, Paul Burchill rushed to the ring, brutalizing the victor and escaping to the locker room.

But that wasn't the only time we saw the Burchills' viciousness. Katie Lea teamed with Beth Phoenix against WWE Women's Champion Mickie James & Melina. Despite their championship pedigree, Mickie & Melina had trouble, with Melina only wanting to exact revenge on The Glamazon after their "I Quit" Match at One Night Stand. Melina's distraction allowed Katie Lea to pin Mickie James for the win. After the match, Paul Burchill walked down to the ring to celebrate with his sister, but Mr. Kennedy rushed out and retaliated against Paul, sending him and Katie Lea into a hasty retreat.

Flirting with victory

After her losing match against The Glamazon and Katie Lea, WWE Women's Champion Mickie James found solace with John Cena, who she has been seen with quite a bit lately. The two discussed the rumors swirling about them, and Cena returned an undergarment that James had "left behind."

Tag team tension

Speaking of titleholders, World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes lost a match to Santino Marella & Carlito. Though it wasn't a title match, Holly was angry at Rhodes for the loss, especially since he kept the match's guest time-keeper a secret. Rhodes brought out WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper to keep time, but even with Piper's interference, Santino managed to pin Holly.

After Holly chastised Rhodes backstage, the second-generation Superstar was approached by Raw's newest member, Ted DiBiase. The "simply priceless" young Superstar warned Rhodes that he was only three weeks away from finding a partner, and becoming one-half of the new World Tag Team Champions. (WATCH)

After his victory over Holly, Marella chatted with Todd Grisham backstage. The Italian Superstar was quick to point out that even with Piper's help, he is still too powerful an opponent for Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s Cousin Sal, who he claims he will defeat on this Friday's SmackDown. (WATCH)

Friend is a four letter word

Three weeks ago, Lance Cade turned on his long time partner Trevor Murdoch with two powerful punches. In a WWE.com exclusive, Lance Cade explained that Trevor Murdoch was only holding him back. On Raw, the two squared-off to settle their score, with Cade dominating his former friend. The team of Cade and Murdoch was a powerful one. The two became World Tag Team Champions on three occasions -- will they be as dominant as singles competitors?

Here comes the money

It was a big night on Raw, but what excited WWE fans the most was the details that WWE's Chairman revealed about McMahon's Million Dollar Mania. Starting next week, Mr. McMahon will give away $1 million on Raw -- he even had the full amount with him in cash this week as a show of good faith. Mr. McMahon explained that by registering on WWE.com, fans will be eligible to receive an on-air phone call from the Chairman himself, and if those lucky fans remember the password shown on the screen earlier that night, they can win his money. Read the full story…

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