Chris Jericho wins World Heavyweight Championship Scramble

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August 17, 2008

CLEVELAND -- Finding the usual opportunity in others' misfortune at Unforgiven was Chris Jericho, who finagled his way into the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble after CM Punk was deemed unable to compete. A perfectly calculated, unforgivable attack by Randy Orton and a trio of fellow multi-generational Superstars on Punk bore a shocking result as Jericho -- the first-ever Undisputed Champion in WWE history -- is now the new World Heavyweight Champion.

A recuperating, embittered Orton seemingly devised the plan that proved to be a critical play in sports-entertainment at Unforgiven. Just moments before the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble, the Straightedge Superstar was confronted by Orton in the locker room area. Echoing his message from days earlier on Raw, the Legend Killer's verbal exchange distracted Punk long enough for World Tag Team Champions Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes and newfound associate Manu (son of Wild Samoan Afa) to blindside the tattooed champion, plus ward off the attempted assistance of Kofi Kingston.

Then, Orton's notoriously lethal head punt -- which has felled countless top names before -- put Punk out of commission and incapable of defending the gold that he's worked tirelessly to uphold since July. Given CM Punk's condition, Raw General Manager Mike Adamle was forced to find a suitable replacement for Punk in the Scramble, where a new champion was guaranteed to be crowned.

Despite a loss earlier to Shawn Michaels in an Unsanctioned Match that was stopped by a referee due to Jericho's condition, Jericho somehow maneuvered himself into the main event against Batista, Kane, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Rey Mysterio -- a match of five former World Champions.

The Animal kicked things off with JBL, followed by the sinister seven-footer, Kane, who earned the first fall over the Longhorn Loudmouth. The Big Red Monster's momentum came to a halt, however, courtesy of fourth entrant Mysterio, who quickly proved that he is very much alive, despite Kane's previous claims.

Shock then filled the faces of the competitors and WWE Universe alike as the man who'd earlier been obliterated by HBK made his entrance, signaling Punk's inability to battle. Still aching and pained from The Showstopper's thrashing, Jericho barely saw action until he capitalized on Batista's dregs -- a fallen Kane -- to secure the third and final pin of the Raw Scramble with just nine seconds remaining.

Instantly, one of the worst nights in Chris Jericho's sports-entertainment career became his greatest achievement since his return to the ring in late 2007.

By contrast, tonight was supposed to be the biggest and also most challenging night in CM Punk's World Heavyweight Championship reign; his proving ground against four former World Champions in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. Instead, the Straightedge Superstar, himself, became a former World Champion, with the credit going to Orton and his ruthless cohorts.

While questions linger regarding this unique alliance, as well as Punk's plans for retaliation following the loss of the most important prize in his career, perhaps only one matter is truly pinnacle: With the contemptible Chris Jericho bearing the glisten of the World Heavyweight Championship, who will save us now? (Watch exclusive: Jericho speaks)

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