A New Champion
New World Heavyweight Champion Batista may have defeated Triple H at WrestleMania, but Evolution sent the message that it won't stay down for long.
Fewer than 24 hours after WrestleMania's final match and fireworks celebrating his victory, Batista was back in the ring facing former Evolution ally Randy Orton. "The Legend Killer" couldn't stand to see someone else bathed in WrestleMania glory, so he persuaded General Manager Eric Bischoff to issue a non-title grudge match on Raw.
Orton got out of the gate quickly, but Batista used his power game to bully his opponent around the ring. When Batista began abusing Orton's injured shoulder, he became dominant. Soon after, Orton fell victim to a crushing spinebuster and Batista Bomb. Just like that, Batista had his first successful match as World Heavyweight Champion behind him.
Orton clung to the same shoulder that he blamed for his loss to Undertaker at WrestleMania, saying earlier that the doctors didn't yet know the full severity of his injury. And as Orton lay in the ring, Triple H re-emerged and motioned to his waist. It was clear that he's coming for "his" World Heavyweight Championship. Earlier, a confident Triple H revealed that he had a rematch clause in the WrestleMania contract, declaring there will be "Triple H-Batista II" in the immediate future.
There's another Superstar with a guaranteed opportunity to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship, and that's Ladder Match winner Edge. "Mr. Money in the Bank" chose not to cash his chips on Monday Night Raw, deciding to wait until he's good and ready. When he declined to force Batista into a title defense, Bischoff put Edge in a match anyway — against the man he single-handedly kept from the "Money in the Bank" briefcase: Chris Benoit.
Benoit couldn't have been thrilled to compete so soon after severely injuring his left arm during a ladder attack Sunday night, but he controlled the action until Edge began to successfully exploit hiss damaged arm. Edge kicked, punched and locked that limb in submission holds, testing Benoit's threshold for pain. Benoit refused to tap and managed a German suplex to Edge. However, he couldn't sustain an attack in his condition, so Benoit moved straight to his submission arsenal in an attempt to bring the match to a swift end. He locked in the Sharpshooter, but Edge reached the ropes. Benoit followed up with the Crossface, but he didn't have the remaining strength in the arm to keep it fully cinched in. Edge powered out and perhaps got overconfident, creating a tiny opening for Benoit to roll up Edge for the win.
A shocked and furious Edge then tore apart Benoit's injured arm with a steel chair as he twisted on the mat in agonizing pain.
Three of the other WrestleMania Ladder Match participants tangled in a Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship. Shelton Benjamin and Chris Jericho teamed up against Christian early, but it wasn't long before they turned on each other in the every-man-for-himself match. Just like the Ladder Match one night earlier, this battle had a crazed pace. In one unthinkable highlight, Christian received a superplex while he and Y2J simultaneously delivered a spiked powerbomb to Benjamin.
Later, Shelton neared victory with a T-bone finisher to Jericho, but the combination of Christian and "Problem Solver" Tyson Tomko thwarted the attempt. But Benjamin wasn't done. He displayed remarkable athleticism by skying from the top rope and delivering a modified bulldog — breaking up the Walls of Jericho. The three-count on Y2J came too quick for Christian to intervene.
Shawn Michaels addressed the Los Angeles audience 24 hours after his inspiring "Dream Match" against SmackDown! Superstar Kurt Angle. HBK humbly asked that the crowd of more than 16,000 support his quest to one day get his rematch with the Olympic gold medalist. But before he could finish, "The Showstopper" was interrupted by Muhammad Hassan. After leaving it all in the ring in a gut-wrenching performance Sunday night, Michaels was in no mood to listen to Hassan's complaining. Instead, HBK shut up the outspoken newcomer with a slap to the face. Still, the odds favored Hassan and Khosrow Daivari, who double-teamed Michaels and beat him to near-unconsciousness. As medical personnel attended to Michaels, it became painfully clear that even if HBK is looking forward to a rematch with Angle somewhere down the line, he's got his hands full with a brash Superstar right on Raw.
After a valiant effort at WrestleMania, Christy was supposed to get a rematch against Trish Stratus on Raw. The Women's Champion had other plans. Trish KO'd Christy with a Chick Kick before the match could even begin, then she did further damage to Lita's injured leg after taunting her into the ring.
And the STAPLES Center crowd got a special surprise when none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin took exception to Simon Dean's latest paid sales pitch. He tried to be open-minded about Dean's product line, but he ultimately delivered a Stunner to the infomercial guru-turned Raw Superstar as well as cohort Maven. Stone Cold then washed down a Simon System protein shake with plenty of his beverage of choice: ice-cold beer.