Time is on Lashley's side
DALLAS -- The job of being a WWE Superstar isn't always associated with a time clock, where the Superstars punch in and out for their "shifts." On Raw, however, punching the clock was the name of the game, as it was Beat the Clock night in the American Airlines Center.
Four Superstars scrambled to win their match in the fastest time, with the successful Superstar earning a golden opportunity: a chance to face John Cena for the WWE Championship at The Great American Bash on July 22. When all was said and done, time was on Bobby Lashley's side, as it was he who beat the clock and walked out of Dallas as Cena's opponent in the Bash clash.
As Raw went on the air, Lashley, King Booker, Mr. Kennedy and Randy Orton made their case as to why they should be the No. 1 contender to Cena's gold. With Executive Assistant Jonathan Coachman away, he placed William Regal in charge, and it was the former WWE Commissioner who came out to make the Beat the Clock announcement.
Orton had the first crack at establishing the time to beat, thanks to his "seniority on Raw," but had the tough task of facing former Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion Jeff Hardy to do so. In a hard-fought battle, the Legend Killer scored a victory thanks to a vicious RKO, establishing the time to beat at 7:06.
Next up was King Booker, who had to take on another former Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion, Val Venis. In his first solo match since being drafted to Raw, His Highness proved why he is one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE. The King smashed Orton's time, downing Venis in 4:30 to set a new benchmark.
Mr. Kennedy was up next, and tried to bargain his way into assured victory. Kennedy's aim was to set a new record for fastest match in WWE history, so he tried to convince opponent Super Crazy to help him out.
"I need to face John Cena at The Great American Bash. So if you go into the ring and lay down for me," Kennedy proposed, "maybe we can work something out. Perhaps I can slip a few pesos your way."
Super Crazy seemed to agree, but ultimately, Kennedy's plan backfired. As Kennedy began his own ring introduction, the Insane Luchador rolled up the brash Raw newcomer for the surprising pinfall, knocking Kennedy out of the running and leaving King Booker's time as the one to beat with only one Superstar left.
This development sent The King into bargaining mode. After finding out that Shelton Benjamin would be Lashley's opponent, King Booker promised Benjamin that if he could survive five minutes with Lashley, he would be rewarded with the first opportunity at the gold should The King go on to defeat Cena.
Shelton agreed, but Lashley had different plans. With a nervous King watching from the locker room, Benjamin did everything he could to go the distance. Unfortunately, with about 30 seconds left, Lashley clobbered the former Minnesota Golden Gopher with a thunderous spear. The pinfall was academic, and Lashley won the match in 4:06 to beat the clock and earn the championship match at The Bash.
That wasn't the end of his night, however. After beating the clock, Lashley stood face-to-face with Cena to officially sign the contract. Mr. Kennedy and King Booker then charged the ring in protest, with Cena and Lashley banding together to fight them off. But once the threat was thwarted, all alliances were called off as Lashley rocked The Champ with a thunderous spear!
Lashley then stood over Cena as Raw came to a close, holding the WWE Championship aloft and motioning that it would soon be around his powerful waist. While Cena and Lashley seemed to be on friendly terms before then, the two-time former ECW World Champion proved that all bets are off when the WWE Championship is at stake…meaning that The Great American Bash will be a battle no one will ever forget.