In front of a raucous Oklahoma City crowd (which included University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops and country musician Toby Keith), John Cena's night went from bad to worse in a hurry.
Cena easily came out on top of his No Holds Barred Match with Lita -- even with one hand tied behind his back. Unfortunately for The Champ, by the time he left Ford Arena, he was severely beaten and embarrassed by World Heavyweight Champion King Booker, Sir William Regal and Finlay -- the same three Superstars Cena will face on SmackDown this Friday in a Six Man Tag Team Match.
Cena's match with Lita came about when former WWE Champion Edge accepted the match for Lita after Cena made a comment regarding how easily he'd be able to defeat her in that situation. Lita wasn't too pleased with her boyfriend making that decision for her, but she went along with it regardless of her gut instinct.
Perhaps Edge had something in mind to help protect Lita in the match, but Mr. McMahon's Executive Assistant Jonathan Coachman informed the Rated-R Superstar that in Mr. McMahon's absence, he'd be taking over. Edge smiled at the announcement, but he wasn't happy much longer. Coachman said that going along with the Chairman's philosophy to avoid predictability, if Edge interfered in the match he'd lose his rematch clause and would forfeit his opportunity to take on Cena for the WWE Championship.
Lita stood little chance against the champion, and after a quick FU, Cena was able to get the three-count. But afterwards, the beating the WWE Champion suffered at the hands of the SmackDown thugs seemed to last forever. With Cena's arm still tied behind his back, he was virtually helpless to defend himself. His vulnerable arm was the target of Regal, who also eye gouged and dropped hard punches to Cena's mouth. Finlay used his shillelagh to blast Cena in the face and in the back of his head, but it was King Booker who made it all worse. He demanded his loyal SmackDown subjects to bring a nearly unconscious Cena to kiss his royal feet. After Finlay and Regal shoved the champion's face into the World Heavyweight Champion's gnarled feet, the humiliation Cena must have felt is unthinkable. To the WWE Champion's credit, he never gave up trying to resist their demands… but his resistance only caused him to be beaten worse by Regal and Finlay.
When the three SmackDown vagrants left the ring, Edge couldn't hold back his laughs. Never mind that his girlfriend was smashed into the mat by an FU from Cena, the Rated-R Superstar saw an opportunity to cash in his rematch clause.
"Well John, it looks like you just got your ass kicked and it looks like you're going to get your ass kicked on Friday on SmackDown. More importantly, you're going to get your ass kicked next week because I'm going to invoke my rematch clause. Next week on RAW, [it's going to be] you and me, one-on-one, in a 15-foot high steel cage. Now, can you see that?" mocked the former WWE Champion.
After the beating he suffered on RAW, can Cena recover in time to compete on SmackDown? Will he be healthy enough to battle Edge in a Steel Cage Match in his first championship defense since winning it at Unforgiven? Will Lita have any animosity for her boyfriend's disregard for her well being?
Prior to the main event match, Coachman threw a curve ball at everyone when he introduced his former mentor and former boss, Eric Bischoff. Bischoff answered the question that WWE.com raised when he was spotted wandering around Ford Arena -- "What is he doing here?"
The answer wasn't to verbally abuse Mr. McMahon for "unceremoniously and unjustly" firing him. It was to inform the WWE fans that prior to being fired, he signed a book deal with WWE and that book, Controversy Creates Cash, was now complete.
"I tell the truth about a lot of things, most of which will piss off Vincent Kennedy McMahon," said Bischoff.
He claimed his tenure in sports-entertainment changed the entire landscape of the business.
"RAW in its current form wouldn't exist without me. There would be no DX without the nWo (referring to a faction in WCW)," he said.
Once Bischoff got into the details of his book that "told the truth about Mr. McMahon," that was all Coachmen needed to hear before rudely cutting him off. That wasn't exactly the interview Coachman was hoping for from his former boss.
At Unforgiven, Trish Stratus won the Women's Championship and then retired, causing the Women's Championship to be vacated. To determine who will be succeeding Trish, a tournament was set up to crown a new Women's Champion. Before facing Cena, Lita had a match with Candice Michelle…sort of. Coachman gave Lita the opportunity to choose her own referee for the match. She chose her boyfriend Edge, who smashed Candice with a spear almost immediately after signaling for the bell. That allowed Lita to get the easy cover and advance in the tournament.
Even with Mr. McMahon convalescing, DX didn't catch a break from Coachman either, as he informed them that they'd be competing in a gauntlet involving three separate teams. Coachman obviously hasn't forgotten what D-Generation X has done to Mr. McMahon; the worst came at Unforgiven when Shawn Michaels and Triple H beat the WWE Chairman -- and his son Shane -- into a bloody pulp and embarrassed him so severely by shoving his face into Big Show's bulbous (and naked) backside that it caused both McMahons to require time way from RAW to recover.
In the Gauntlet Match, DX made quick work of their first opponents, the Highlanders. The two Scotland natives seemed taken aback by The Game and HBK, but DX knew their goal was to win. After a surprise dose of Sweet Chin Music to Rory McAllister's face, Triple H and HBK welcomed their next opponents, Viscera and Charlie Haas.
Again, DX was victorious but it took more work than the first match. Dealing with the 500-pound Viscera alone would cause any Superstar to have to exert a massive amount of energy, but The Game and Shawn Michaels were able to discard them after a Pedigree to Haas and Sweet Chin Music to Viscera.
Their next opponents were a different story. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch were fresh and primed for a fight as they charged the ring. The southern duo looked meaner and nastier than the other two teams, and were obviously willing to do anything it would take to win—including using a steel chair When the referee saw DX try to counter with a chair of their own he signaled for the bell and ended the match with a double disqualification. Cade & Murdoch have shown DX that they're hungry to brawl, and have consistently been a thorn in Triple H and HBK's side over the past few weeks. Do Cade & Murdoch have it in for DX, or are they simply trying to make their presence on RAW known by targeting two of the most accomplished Superstars in WWE?
Coachman didn't just use his authority to give DX a Gauntlet Match or to keep Edge from interfering in the Cena's match with Lita. He also used his newfound authority to stop Shelton Benjamin from complaining about his lack of championship opportunities because of his skin color.
Benjamin whined to Coachman that he is the most athletic Superstar in WWE but he is being held back because he is black. So, to give Benjamin a chance to prove he's as talented as he claims, Coachman set up a match with Jeff Hardy. In the match, Benjamin showed his athleticism, but also proved he's certainly not the most experienced. Benjamin took his time after a winded Hardy attempted a move and missed. The nonchalant attitude of Benjamin cost him the match, as Hardy was able to surprise his opponent with an inside cradle for the win.
Not all of Coachman's orders were followed, though. In an open act of defiance, the undefeated Umaga disobeyed his warning to stay out of Kane's Intercontinental Championship match with Johnny Nitro. When Kane went to drop Nitro with a Tombstone, Umaga rushed into the ring to attack the Big Red Monster. The victory was awarded to Kane for the Samoan Bulldozer's interference, which was done in retaliation for Kane's abduction of Armando Alejandro Estrada last week on RAW. The Big Red Monster is known for his vengeful side, which leaves one question: what will he do to retaliate? And what about Coachman? Will he make an example of Umaga and his manager Estrada? Does he even have the authority to do so?
Plus, Super Crazy and Carlito defeated Chris Masters and Randy Orton in a tag team match. Carlito was able to land a Back Cracker on Masters for the pinfall. After the match Orton pretended to leave the ring but was actually stalking Carlito, waiting for the right opportunity to land a blindside attack on him. When the time came, the Legend Killer delivered a painful RKO to Carlito.
Also, Ric Flair defeated Mikey of the Spirit Squad. Last week on RAW, Flair was able to defeat Johnny while the remaining four members of the Squad weren't at ringside. This week, he proved he can win while they are all surrounding the ring. Now that Flair has defeated two members of the Squad, what will they have to say about their performance (or lack thereof) against the "Nature Boy?" Is Flair's experience simply too much for the young World Tag Team Champions to handle?
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