Showcase Showdown

Showcase Showdown

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- With just six days left before WrestleMania XXIV explodes within the confines of the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., eight combustible Superstars helped to light the fuse Monday at Columbia's Colonial Center with a WrestleMania Showcase: an Eight-Man Tag Team Match. 

The commotion kicked off early when John Cena, Big Show, JBL and even Cena's Triple Threat opponents Triple H and Randy Orton, all crowded the ring -- with each boasting it would be he who would emerge victorious in their respective matches. 

William Regal had heard enough. All the verbal sparring prompted the Raw General Manager to announce that the five men would be joined by Umaga, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair in an Eight-Man No Disqualifications Tag Team Match pitting Orton, Big Show, JBL & the Samoan Bulldozer against Triple H, John Cena, HBK and the "Nature Boy." 

Such a fiery combination could hardly be contained. The blaze was struck early in the WrestleMania Showcase when JBL's Belfast Brawl challenger, Finlay, charged down the entrance ramp and smacked the self-proclaimed "wrestling god" in the mid-section with a shillelagh before the two hit the ground rolling. 

To toss more fuel onto the frenzied flames, Umaga's Battle for Brand Supremacy challenger, Batista, made a surprise appearance, charging the ring and laying his WrestleMania opponent on his back with a fierce spear.

Meanwhile, Big Show stood like a lone redwood in a forest of felled giants after punishing the Triple Threat trio of John Cena, Triple H and even his tag partner, Randy Orton. The World's Largest Athlete then left the ring after the damage was done.  

Afterward, Flair went a long way to prove himself to his close friend and WrestleMania opponent, HBK. He tackled the challenge of the current WWE Champion, snapping Orton into a Figure-Four Leglock and forcing him to submit for the win, possibly the 16-time World Champion's last on Raw.

Monday night's five-alarm free-for-all may not have settled anything definitively, but it certainly managed to fan the flames of animosity already raging in the days leading up to The Granddaddy of ‘em All, WrestleMania XXIV.

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