Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton def. John Cena and Triple H (Orton retains WWE Title)

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March 30, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Before some 70,000 stunned fans who were convinced that either John Cena or Triple H would walk away with the gold, Randy Orton proved tonight that reports of his demise as WWE Champion at WrestleMania XXIV were premature.

A wave of boos and a spattering of middle fingers greeted Orton as he held the WWE Title high for everyone in the Citrus Bowl and millions of pay-per-view watchers worldwide to see. "I told you so," Orton seemed to be saying as he celebrated his victory. Many critics seemed to believe that it was a foregone conclusion that the Legend Killer's five-month reign as WWE Champion would end at WrestleMania XXIV. And the arrogant Orton was keenly aware of this -- and that's why he reveled in his own special WrestleMania moment as a despondent Triple H and Cena looked on incredulously.

Seeds of a Dynasty

Ever since he won the WWE Championship, Randy Orton has been telling every and anyone who would listen that he is a "One-Man Dynasty." Since October, he had shown he would do absolutely anything to keep the WWE Championship -- no one, no relative was safe and nothing was over the line for Orton in his quest to keep the gold. The Legend Killer had emerged as a force atop the WWE mountain and turned back the challenges of elite contenders such as Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Jeff Hardy.

But as sadistic and egotistical as the third-generation Superstar is, he is also a proud champion. Tonight was the first time he headlined WrestleMania as champion and he was determined to prove a point. He was also annoyed that so many fans and critics anointed Cena and The Game as the next WWE Champion at WrestleMania.

In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania XXIV, Orton even made it a point to stun his two opponents on separate occasions with sudden RKOs when he believed they had forgotten about him and were too focused on each other. Orton saw Cena and Triple H as two nuisances, gnats that were always flying around his title and would never let him bask in his greatness. By eliminating Triple H and Cena on The Grandest Stage of Them All, he believed he would prove once and for all that he is a "One-Man Dynasty."

Three-Way Quest for Redemption

And tonight, Orton went a long way towards legitimizing his dynasty claims, but not without a fight from both Cena and Triple H. These three warriors are as different as anyone can be, but they share a common passion for the Holy Grail of sports-entertainment. And like Orton, Cena and The Game felt like they had something to prove.

Cena wanted to reclaim the title he never lost. Thanks to Orton, he was injured last October and had to relinquish the WWE Championship. Cena had to watch as the Legend Killer put a vise grip on the gold. Cena's torn pectorial muscle was supposed to keep him out of WrestleMania, but he couldn't sit on the sidelines and watch someone else hold his title. He decided to risk it all for an opportunity to reclaim the gold at WrestleMania XXIV.

Triple H's odyssey to WrestleMania XXIV was full of twists, turns and potholes. Sure, he had headlined WrestleMania several times before, but this year was different. He saw WrestleMania XXIV as a chance at redemption. Last year, he missed WrestleMania due to injury. His 11th title reign was cut way too short by Orton, his former friend and Evolution teammate. And The Cerebral Assassin was haunted by Cena, a man he had never defeated. He still remembered tapping out to Cena's STFU at WrestleMania 22. Cena also prevented The Game from winning this year's Royal Rumble.

Triple H was proud that he overcame all sorts of obstacles, gauntlets and five opponents in the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out to make it back to The Grandest Stage of Them All. But he wasn't going to feel complete unless he left the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship with the gold. Triple H lives to be WWE Champion. He wanted -- needed -- to show the world at WrestleMania XXIV that he truly was The King of Kings and back on top of his Game.

A Cerebral Legend Killer: 'I Told You So' 

Unfortunately for Cena and Triple H, their dreams of redemption at WrestleMania were just that -- dreams. The Triple Threat Match was a war where the tide shifted several times between Cena, Orton and Triple H. Weeks of one-upmanship and mind games came to a physical head tonight as all three warriors showed they would do anything -- and use any weapon -- to win the gold.

However, in the end, brains turned out to be the deciding factor over brawn. Orton showed that he had indeed learned his lessons well from The Cerebral Assassin in their Evolution days. After watching The Game crush Cena with a Pedigree, Orton disposed of an unsuspecting Triple H with a punt to the skull and covered the vulnerable West Newbury, Mass. native for the stunning three-count.

So, The Champ is still here … but it's not Cena. To the chagrin of Cena, Triple H, many of our fans and the locker room, Randy Orton is still the WWE Champion. And believe us, the self-proclaimed One-Man Dynasty loves to say, "I told you so." There really will be no living with him now.

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