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Prelude to a final curtain call?
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Randy Orton heard the whispers. Shawn Michaels has your number. He knocked you out for five straight weeks. That's the only reason you wanted Sweet Chin Music banned at Survivor Series. That's the only way you can save your WWE Championship.
But tonight on Raw, the Legend Killer reminded HBK and all of WWE why he is the WWE Champion. He ends careers, and this Sunday at Survivor Series, he could bring down the final curtain on The Showstopper.
Thanks to Mr. McMahon and perhaps his desire to protect his main event at Survivor Series, Michaels narrowly avoided getting punted in the head and perhaps severely injured by Orton again. However, Michaels felt a stiff kick to his ribs and thunderous RKO. (WATCH)
HBK had to sense trouble when the Chairman, his longtime enemy and Orton supporter, announced that he was moderating the verbal face-off between him and Orton.
The tension in the Kansas Expo Center was already thick before tonight's final meeting between Orton and HBK less than one week until their WWE Championship Match at Survivor Series. Michaels had tormented Orton with weeks of Sweet Chin Music, but clearly spooked him when he pinned him following the lethal move in a tag team match last week on Raw. That prompted Orton to request that Raw GM William Regal ban Sweet Chin Music at Survivor Series.
Under the stipulation, if HBK uses, or attempts to use, his lethal trademark move, he will be disqualified and never get another opportunity at Orton's WWE Title. However, the Legend Killer is not off the hook. On the heels of his blatant disqualification at Cyber Sunday against Michaels, if Orton is disqualified at Survivor Series, or appears to attempt to get disqualified, he will lose the WWE Championship.
But in their face-off, Orton and HBK reminded our fans that their rivalry was about more than the WWE Title. It's personal; it's about careers and vengeance.
Michaels reminded Orton how he purposely sidelined him with a severe concussion for five months. The Showstopper has never been able to shake the image of his wife weeping after Judgment Day last May as paramedics gave him oxygen and wheeled him out of the arena. Michaels stewed for months, waiting for a chance at vengeance while Orton bragged that he had ended his career. Winning the WWE Title from Orton would mean sweet vengeance for Michaels, but he has admitted in recent weeks that he wants to take out the Legend Killer in the prime of his career.
However, in some ways, Orton's bitterness toward HBK is just as personal. He has always seen Michaels as an obstacle in his career, a legend who refuses to step aside. Orton thought he had destroyed Michaels months ago. The Showstopper not only proved him wrong, but he embarrassed him -- week after week, Sweet Chin Music after Sweet Chin Music.
Tonight, in an attack enabled by a convenient distraction by the Chairman, Orton showed that he wants to do more than retain his WWE Championship at Survivor Series. He wants to reestablish himself as a Legend Killer and end HBK's career once and for all. Getting Sweet Chin Music barred was just part one of his master plan. Undoubtedly, after seemingly holding Michaels' career on the tips of his toes tonight, Orton is confident that he will leave Survivor Series with his WWE Championship -- and HBK's blood.
Meanwhile, HBK is without his most lethal weapon at Survivor Series. He told Orton that he doesn't need it; he's fueled by revenge. But Michaels has won three out of his four world championships with Sweet Chin Music, but that won't matter on Sunday. HBK must find another way to win at Survivor Series -- his career may depend on it.
For the full results of this week's Raw, click HERE.