Samoan Sabotage

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July 24, 2006

Even though Mr. McMahon wasn't physically at RAW, the Chairman still managed to run the show. Hundreds of miles away at his daughter's bedside in a Connecticut hospital where she was in labor, Mr. McMahon was still barking orders to Executive Assistant Jonathan Coachman via cell phone. After weeks of torment and looking foolish because of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, the Chairman thought of the perfect plan. Mr. McMahon made a match between HBK and…Jonathan Coachman. Yes, Jonathan Coachman.

With the obvious advantage going to the former WWE Champion, it was no surprise when HBK manhandled Coachman in the ring. It wasn't even a big surprise when the Spirit Squad, who have been staunch supporters of Mr. McMahon all along, tried to bum rush the ring—and failed, again. What was surprising was that the Samoan Bulldozer Umaga stealthily slid into the ring and blindsided Michaels. The freakishly strong Umaga tossed HBK in the air like a feather, caught him on his back and drove him to the mat with a thunderous Samoan Drop that left the raucous Cleveland crowd in awe. After adding a deadly Samoan Spike to the throat, Michaels was writhing around in pain and required assistance to leave the ring. Was this Mr. McMahon's plan all along?

Whether it was or wasn't his plan, The Chairman rode the momentum of his arch nemesis being demolished and made another call into the arena to announce that next week on RAW the undefeated Umaga will go one on one with Shawn Michaels. What kind of condition will HBK be in?

Umaga wasn't the only one looking for a fight. Someone else who was looking for a brawl on RAW was the Immortal Hulk Hogan. Still seething after Randy Orton's RKO at Saturday Night's Main Event, Hogan was in no mood to celebrate his rare appearance on RAW. Unwilling to wait to mix it up with his opponent at SummerSlam, Hogan came with a message for the Legend Killer.

"Randy Orton doesn't now anything about respect. I'm going to make sure Orton learns what the word respect means with a capital R," said Hogan. 

But Orton wasn't thinking about SummerSlam. Instead, he had his mind on someone else—Brooke Hogan. Anyone that's seen Hogan's television show, Hogan Knows Best, understands how protective he is of his family, especially his daughter. Orton did nothing but rile up Hogan even more. Timidly circling the ring, deciding whether or not to enter, Orton was tossed in by Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Hogan made Orton pay. The Legend Killer has talked a huge game thus far, but the Immortal One has walked the walk. At SumerSlam, Brooke Hogan will be the Hulkster's motivation to avoid being one of the many victims of the Legend Killer.

After being a victim last week on RAW by WWE Champion Edge, John Cena proved to the Rated R Superstar that he's not going to give up until he's had an opportunity to reclaim the Championship. Teaming with Ric Flair to take on Intercontinental Champion Johnny Nitro and Edge, Cena was able to lock in the STFU on Nitro for the submission. Edge was desperately trying to claw his way back into the ring to break the hold, but the "Nature Boy" latched onto The Rated R Superstar's boot, keeping him from interfering.

After the match, Edge walked up the ramp, frazzled and incensed that his archrival had gotten the best of him, even though he wasn't the one pinned by Cena. As much as Edge has had Cena's number these past few weeks, The Dr. of Thuganomics proved yet again that nobody can keep him down, and that he's up for any and all challenges that stand in his way to the WWE Championship.

The passion and energy Cena displayed in the ring seemed to fuel Flair, who performed impressively against the much younger duo of Champions. Perhaps he was trying to send a message to Mick Foley that, like Cena, he won't quit until he gets what he wants—a rematch against the Hardcore Legend. Again on RAW, Foley made it clear from the WWE Studios in Stamford, Conn. that he hasn't changed his mind about facing Flair again; but with Foley coming to RAW next week, bet that the "Nature Boy" has something in store to get Foley's attention…but what could it be? 

While Foley refuses to answer Flair's challenge, the Spirit Squad — before their attempted beat-down of HBK — answered the Highlanders' challenge for the World Tag Team Championship. All five members of the Squad were at ringside, but it was Mikey and Kenny that were chosen to defend the Championship. Even though the quintet were all a step slower and looked like they were involved in a car wreck from last week's beating at the hands of DX, they were still able to use their strength in numbers to distract the referee to get the victory and deal the Highlanders their first loss since arriving on RAW. 

The Spirit Squad used their numbers to distract the referee, but the question is, did Carlito have something else distracting him, namely RAW Diva Trish Stratus? Over the past few weeks the two have become extremely close to one another and their relationship has seemed to evolve into more than just a friendship. Before his rematch with Shelton Benjamin to determine the number one contender for Johnny Nitro's Intercontinental Championship, Carlito was seen flirting with Trish, asking her to hang out after his match. She accepted, but after his match with Shelton, with his left arm banged up and receiving a low blow from Benjamin that led to the pinfall, it's unknown if he was in any condition to keep the date.

The rematch was made because Benjamin begged Coachman to give him another opportunity, claiming Carlito cheated in the first match—which is debatable. Carlito countered an illegal maneuver of Benjamin's and used the ropes as leverage for the pinfall. In the rematch, Benjamin cheated again, apparently making him the number one contender. What will Carlito have to say about that — and his budding romance with Trish — next week on RAW? Even if Carlito isn't the number one contender, if he's dating Trish, doesn't that make him a winner in another sense?

Women's Champion Mickie James was also in action as she took on Candice Michelle in a non-title match. As the special guest referee last week on RAW, Candice dumped Mickie out of the ring, which gave Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson the chance to cover Victoria for the win. Mickie blamed her partner Victoria for the loss, and wanted to take it out on Candice—and that's exactly what she did. The maniacal James dominated most of the match, reversing Candice's roll up at the end to get the three-count.

Also, Lilian Garcia made her return as the RAW ring announcer, making a full recovery from the devastating Samoan Drop she suffered from Viscera. It was clearly an accident on his part, but the lack of concern shown by Charlie Haas and Viscera after she was injured was suspicious, and the two have still not given any answers regarding their apathy towards Lilian's well-being.

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