No More Laughing Matters

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July 31, 2007

TUCSON, Ariz. -- John Cena grinded his teeth as he pulled himself up from the mat. His rage bubbled in his chest as he wiped the sticky remnants of chewed apple and phlegm from his eyes. He pierced a hole through Carlito, who smirked and shrugged as he retreated up the ramp. But Cena's ire seemed especially focused on Orton, who had cost him his match against Carlito.

Orton returned the WWE Champion's stare with a cold glare of his own. Jeers from the first row all the way up to the nosebleed seats in Tucson Convention Center rained down on Orton, but he was either oblivious to them, or he just didn't care. With an RKO last week on Raw, the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship and Cena's opponent at SummerSlam warned The Champ that he would make his life a living hell in the weeks before their clash. (WATCH)

Monday night on Raw, Orton tortured Cena again, but with a two-pronged attack. First, he added one more name to the list of legends whose careers he believes he has destroyed -- Sgt. Slaughter, a WWE Hall of Famer. (WATCH)

Slaughter was incensed over Orton's attack on fellow legend Dusty Rhodes last week -- which led to Dusty's hospitalization and subsequent convalescence at home in Austin,Texas. Sarge challenged Orton to a match, which the third-generation Superstar gladly accepted. For awhile, it appeared the former WWE Champion would teach Orton a lesson in respect, but the younger Superstar ultimately overwhelmed and surprised him with an RKO. And like he has to so many other legends and Superstars like Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam, Orton caved Slaughter's skull in with a vicious punt.

In a sight eerily reminiscent of the attack on the Dream, our fans in the Tucson Convention Center became hushed as the mighty Sarge was wheeled away on a stretcher. One must have wondered what Cena thought, watching the most dangerous threat to his championship reign decimate one of his heroes.

Slaughter's condition didn't seem to matter to Orton, who only watched as officials tended to the fallen Hall of Famer. He refused to leave ringside and joined Raw announcers Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler to watch Cena battle Carlito, who wanted to prove that he deserved to be the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship.

Cena tried to focus on Carlito, but he could not take his eyes entirely off Orton. Was he wondering whether Orton would strike him from behind with an RKO? Or did he wonder whether he was next on the youngest-ever World Heavyweight Champion's head-hunting list?

The Champ's preoccupation with Orton boiled over when Orton moved closer to the ring. The distraction left Cena vulnerable to a rib-jarring Backstabber from Carlito. One three-count later and spit of the apple left Cena humiliated and seething.

At the beginning of Raw, Cena joked that Orton had studied the "Cena No. 1 Contender Handbook" by making a statement with his RKO from behind. But, he said, Orton had failed to read the final chapter that said, "The Champ is still here."

Judging by the apple on his face at the end of Monday night, Cena will not see Orton as a laughing matter as SummerSlam approaches.

To read the full results of this Monday's Raw, click HERE.

Check out Orton's Skull t-shirt...

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