Skinning the snake

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September 14, 2009

TORONTO - A lot can happen, and often does, in between one sunrise and the next. A mere 24 hours earlier, for example, Randy Orton strode atop the globe, preening and coveting his precious WWE Championship. By the following day, however, when Raw rolled into The Great White North, not only had the sun set on The Viper's reign, Orton would also find himself hunted by a SmackDown-bound Animal in search of revenge. 

Bastista def. Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
After months of arduous rehab, Batista seemed eager to shake off any ring rust that may have accumulated by testing himself in the squared circle against one of WWE's most imposing Superstars, Randy Orton, in a No Holds Barred Match. The Animal, in his last match on Raw before heading to SmackDown, appeared to be operating at full capacity when he met face-to-face with the man who put him on the shelf for months. Batista's trademark aggression was put on view against Orton, who seemed dazed by the offensive.

In fact, The Viper appeared so baffled that he slithered from the ring and headed toward the exit ramp. His exodus, however, would prove premature. Blocking Orton's escape stood WWE Champion John Cena, who had claimed the WWE Title from Orton less than 24 hours earlier. Cena corralled Orton back into the waiting arms of The Animal, who swiftly crushed Orton and left him lying prone in the ring.

Trish Stratus, MVP & Mark Henry def. Beth Phoenix & Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Trish Stratus's handpicked partner wasn't the only surprise tonight. Raw's guest host announced that she would team with MVP against Beth Phoenix & Chris Jericho. As the match got underway, however, Jericho's fellow Unified Tag Team Champion Big Show reared his shiny head and interfered in the match.

The distraction provoked Stratus to announce that the match would not end on such a dastardly note. Instead, Stratus informed the audience that a six-person bout was taking place that moment: Stratus, MVP & Mark Henry vs. Phoenix, Jericho & Show.

Stratus proved that since her retirement, she's hardly lost a step. The seven-time Women's Champion overcame the significant strength and size of The Glamazon to lead her team to victory.

After the match, it was announced that, next week, Raw's guest host will be a little less Diva and a lot more down. Monday night, the WWE Universe welcomes actor and funny man Cedric the Entertainer.

Evan Bourne & Hornswoggle def. Chavo Guerrero & Carlito (PHOTOS | WATCH)
It's not easy being Chavo Guerrero. Week after week, the self-styled "Mexican Warrior" finds himself on the, um, short end of the stick when it comes to his matches with Hornswoggle. Unfortunately for Chavo, this week proved to be another soggy nacho when he teamed up with Carlito to tackle the leprechaun & Evan Bourne. With Rosa Mendes watching at ringside in Carlito's corner, Hornswoggle managed to outsmart Chavo once again, prompting Guerrero to cryptically announce, "I give up."

Shawn Michaels vs. Ted DiBiase ended in a no contest (PHOTOS | WATCH | MORE DX)
One night after the biggest win of his young career, Ted DiBiase prepared to prove that The Legacy's upset victory over DX was far from a fluke. He competed against The Showstopper, Shawn Michaels, who hadn't competed in a singles match on Raw in more than six months.

As their respective partners, Cody Rhodes and Triple H, eyed the action, DiBiase and Michaels unleashed their significant animus on one another. So passionate dripped the hatred, that Rhodes and The Game could no longer sit idle. In short order, the four Superstars were each swinging at their opponents until referees were compelled to stop the carnage.

The disdain each team feels for one another will be on full display in mere weeks when the four compete inside the unforgiving confines of Satan's Structure at WWE Hell in a Cell.

Alicia Fox def. Gail Kim (PHOTOS | WATCH)
With Divas Champion Mickie James looking on, Divas Alicia Fox and Gail Kim faced off for the opportunity to challenge Mickie for the title. While Kim's electrifying acrobatics were on full display, it was Fox who would leverage her size advantage to notch the victory and become the No. 1 contender for the gold.

The Miz & Jack Swagger def. United States Champion Kofi Kingston & Primo (PHOTOS | WATCH)
The Miz isn't exactly the epitome of sportsmanship. Even by Miz standards, as low as they are, his actions during the tag team match pitting himself & Jack Swagger against United States Champion Kofi Kingston & Primo proved despicable. With the bout underway, Miz, who had failed in his bid to claim the U.S. Title the night prior at WWE Breaking Point, snatched up the title and ran off. The shocking larceny distracted Kingston long enough to allow "The All-American American" to capitalize for the win.

Raw guest host Trish Stratus announced WWE Champion John Cena vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell Match at WWE Hell in a Cell
Hometown favorite and WWE Diva of the Decade, Trish Stratus, thanked the Toronto faithful for their rousing welcome and also showed them the love right back. The brunette beauty announced that Randy Orton will get an opportunity to reclaim the WWE Championship from John Cena in a Hell in a Cell Match in three weeks at WWE Hell in a Cell.

Batista tricked Orton; announced move to SmackDown, No Holds Barred Match for Raw (PHOTOS | WATCH)
The Animal is back! While no stranger to injuries -- the five-time World Champion has suffered through excruciating tears in his biceps, triceps and hamstrings -- Batista appeared in the ring showing evidence of his latest wound, his arm cradled in a sling. Running through his list of injuries and impressive career accomplishments, Batista informed the WWE Universe that he was prepared to hang up his boots.

Perhaps sensing weakness, Randy Orton, the man responsible for The Animal's most recent physical crisis, confronted Batista, taunting him for "quitting." The tables, however, would soon be turned.

As The Viper hissed insults toward Batista, The Animal smiled and shed his sling to reveal that he was actually healthy. After serving up a well-deserved pounding to Orton, Batista then made two announcements: 1) He will be moving to Smackdown, and 2) Thanks to Raw guest host Trish Stratus, he will face down Orton in a No Holds Barred Match.

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