HBK gets smoked

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July 31, 2006

As RAW began, Mr. McMahon was all smiles as he announced that he and his son Shane would take on D-Generation X at SummerSlam; and while the smile nearly faded when DX displayed a doctored photograph of the Chairman's new baby granddaughter, the way Shawn Michaels was left beaten and bruised in the ring for the second straight week kept the smirk clearly visible.

It's been quite the satisfying seven days for Mr. McMahon. It began with the birth of his granddaughter, and was padded by two beatings on Michaels. On RAW, Umaga — with the help of his manager Armando Alejandro Estrada, the Chairman and Shane McMahon — decimated HBK. Then, Mr. McMahon and Shane took liberties on Michaels including some Sweet "Shane" Music to a steel chair pinned against HBK's head. After the destruction was finished, the Chairman got down in a seemingly unconscious Michaels' face and screamed, "You tell Triple H that next week on RAW, he takes on Umaga."

The Chairman had to deliver a message through HBK because Triple H was not in the building at the time. Earlier in the night, a box of Cuban cigars somehow ended up in Triple H's gym bag. The authorities were tipped off about the illegal contraband, and after Federal Agents approached The Game, he was given a choice: leave voluntarily, or leave in hand cuffs.

As Triple H voluntarily left the locker room, Shane popped a Cuban cigar that he got from Armando Alejandro Estrada earlier in the evening into his mouth. With The Game out of the building, father and son shared a devious grin. Although there is no proof, all signs point to the Chairman having something to do with the Cubans winding up in Triple H's possession, but as of now, that is only an assumption.

What is The Game feeling right now, knowing that not only was he duped, but he also has to face someone as dangerous as Umaga a few weeks before his match at SummerSlam?

One has to believe the wheels were in motion by the McMahons to use the divide and conquer approach after realizing the strength DX possesses as a unit. When they're isolated, they're vulnerable, as the past two weeks have demonstrated. After weeks of failure and humiliation, Mr. McMahon's plan to destroy DX finally seems to be working. But will the trend continue next week on RAW? With Triple H in the ring next week against Umaga, the Chairman hopes so. The Game is one of the fiercest competitors in WWE, but will he be able to be the one to hand Umaga his first loss?

What can DX do to regain control of the situation? Does the Chairman's new strategy hold the key to destroying the legacy of DX? With SummerSlam a short three weeks away, DX needs to develop a new tactic for combating the McMahons.

Speaking of legacy…the youngest WWE Champion in history, Randy Orton, took his disrespect for Hulk Hogan a step further over the line. Apparently not learning the lesson last week that provoking Hogan is a bad idea, Orton not only parodied the WWE Hall of Famer in a spoof of his reality show, Hogan Knows Best, but in "Orton Knows Best," Orton targeted Hogan's wife Linda, son Nick and daughter Brooke as well. After roughing up the imposter Nick, insulting the pretend Linda, Orton grabbed the Brooke look-alike and planted a kiss on her lips. The display would definitely infuriate the Hulkster, but is it smart for Orton to add fuel to Hogan's flame? Orton's seen how emotional and upset Hogan got at RAW last week after Orton made remarks about Brooke, and with their match at SummerSlam rapidly approaching, the Legend Killer may be flirting with disaster.

While Hogan and his family were the focal point of Orton's insolence, Jerry "The King" Lawler was also a target. The Legend Killer walked by the announce table and dropped a cheap shot to "The King's" face, knocking him out of his chair. Lawler responded by challenging Orton to a match next week on RAW from Memphis, Tenn. —"The King's" hometown.  Lawler promised to beat some respect into Orton next week, but will the Legend Killer claim another victim instead?

Respect may be a word that John Cena taught former teacher Matt Striker on RAW. A few weeks ago, Striker interviewed Cena and insulted him for being Edge's subordinate. Or, in math terms, Edge was greater than Cena. While the Cena-Edge equation will have to wait until SummerSlam to be solved, Striker proved that in the ring, Cena is definitely greater than he is.

The Dr. of Thuganomics had some extra inspiration to blow through Striker in their match. WWE Champion Edge and his girlfriend, Lita, headed to their Rated R announce table for commentary. While Cena didn't waste much time toying with Striker in the ring, he did flash Edge a few confident looks that spoke louder than words. The match was quick, and Edge didn't have much time to say much, but he was out long enough to tell fans that there's no way he'd submit to the STFU like Striker had in the match.

Also, it was announced that at SummerSlam the WWE Championship would be on the line when John Cena takes on Edge. There was also a stipulation announced: if Edge gets disqualified he will lose the WWE Championship. At SummerSlam, a count out or DQ is the same as a pinfall or a submission. Cena has proven to Edge over the past few weeks that he's never going to give up scraping and clawing for another chance at the WWE Championship. He's taken beatings, outside interference and has battled the odds. In three weeks, Cena will have the opportunity he's craved. The question isn't will he be ready, but can Edge match Cena's passion to retain his WWE gold? 

The passion still runs thick through Ric Flair. A boisterous "Nature Boy" confronted Mick Foley in Foley's first live appearance on RAW in six weeks. After their confrontation came to blows, when Foley insulted Flair's relationship with his family, Jonathan Coachman came out with the news that Mr. McMahon had ordered the match at SummerSlam.  Mick didn't buy it.

"I wrestle who I want, when I want," said Foley, referencing a special clause in his contract and reiterating that he has no plans to change his mind.

Who can blame Flair for wanting a piece of Foley, especially after insulting his offspring? Foley shouldn't expect the pressure on him to let up by Flair, but with Mr. McMahon so focused on the demise of DX, will he have the time or the contractual authority to force Foley to compete at SummerSlam?

Heading into RAW, Carlito had two things working for him. He had a claim to the No. 1 contender spot for Johnny Nitro's Intercontinental Championship, and he's been seen receiving and giving flirty eyes to WWE Magazine cover girl Trish Stratus. While the latter situation is unresolved, the Intercontinental Championship scenario got even cloudier at RAW.

After defeating Shelton Benjamin in their first match to see who the No. 1 contender would be, Benjamin complained he was cheated until he got Jonathan Coachman to grant him another opportunity against Carlito. The reality was that he got outfoxed, not cheated, but he got the rematch anyway. In their second bout, he used a low blow to get the pinfall, which seemingly would have him replace Carlito as the No. 1 contender.

To set the record straight, Benjamin, Carlito and Intercontinental Champion Johnny Nitro competed in a Triple Threat Match with the Championship on the line. This match was huge for Benjamin and Carlito, but in the end, Nitro was able to retain his Championship. With his girlfriend Melina's help, and with Benjamin and Carlito without any help at ringside, it was more like a Handicap Match.

First, Melina broke up a count that would have given Benjamin the victory, and then she assisted Nitro with some interference that allowed him to get the roll up on Carlito (with a handful of his tights). With all the confusion surrounding the Intercontinental Championship's No. 1 contender, will Benjamin and Carlito have something to say about it next week on RAW?

Plus, the Divas were in action on RAW. Trish Stratus teamed with Candice to take on Women's Champion Mickie James and Victoria. FHM cover girl, Torrie Wilson, was the special guest referee. After a back and forth brawl, Trish was able to get the three-count on James after Candice dropkicked Victoria to stop her from interfering.

While the Divas were in action, another Diva hopeful was eliminated from the 2006 $250,000 Diva Search. Rebecca was blindsided by the news that she was eliminated, but later told WWE.com that she hopes to some day be back. Check out the exclusive interview. 

Before the elimination, each finalist had a chance to voice their opinion on which finalist they thought should be eliminated next. Check out each finalist's answer. Plus, don't forget to vote for your favorite finalist online or via text messaging. More on voting

Also, Rory McAllister got revenge on Johnny of the Spirit Squad. Last week, the Squad gave the Highlanders their first loss since coming to RAW. Although the Squad may look and act flamboyant, they're still the World Tag Team Champions, and they got to where they are because they're tough and athletic.

Unfortunately for him, Johnny's four peers were ejected from ringside, leaving him to take on the unorthodox grappler from Scotland all by his lonesome. Without the Squad at ringside, Johnny still held his own in the match. Then, after landing a spinning kick to Rory's face, he opted to showboat instead of going for the cover. His choice cost him the match. Rory quickly rolled him up and got the pinfall, leaving Johnny baffled as to how he was outsmarted by someone who would squat in a urinal.

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