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April 20, 2009
– Adam Russell

A Tale of Two Main Events

This week's Raw, the final one before Backlash (yes, another pay-per-view is already upon us) opened up with new SmackDown
superstar Chris Jericho making his way to the ring, suited and booted. Jericho told us that he has felt like a castaway, an honest man
surrounded by liars on an island. He continued that he doesn't feel like that anymore, now that he is on SmackDown. The fans never
appreciated him, he said, or valued him as an honest man, and that without him on Raw, things will change for the worse. He said that
the fans will be begging him to come back to Raw within six months, but that he won't listen. At that point, Ricky Steamboat made his way
out. Steamboat told Jericho that he is wrong about the fans being unappreciative, because at WrestleMania they showed him more love
than he could have dreamed of. He called it the greatest moment in his career, and then added that if the fans won't show appreciation to
Jericho, he will, because it was Jericho who brought back to him a feeling he never thought he would have again; the passion to perform
one more time. He thanked Jericho for giving him an opportunity to wrestle at WrestleMania, and at Raw the following night. Jericho
responded that Steamboat wasn't out to say thank you; he was out to bask in the spotlight again. He told him that none of his friends
have been seen since he destroyed them at WrestleMania, and just because the fans were chanting 'you've still got it' to him the night
after WrestleMania, Steamboat thinks that he can still compete. Jericho continued that the fans are delusional, and that he wants to put
Steamer out of his misery, just like he did with his lecherous friends. He made a challenge to Steamboat for a one-on-one match at
Backlash, but before Steamboat could respond, John Cena came out to a chorus of boos from the London crowd. Jericho told Cena that
he knows he's only out here to say how much of a Steamboat fan he is, but he doesn't care, because he's done with Cena and Raw. His
last act on the show, he said, would be to walk out on Cena, and at that, Jericho left the ring and made his way up the ramp. As Jericho
was walking away, Steamboat told him that he accepts his challenge for Backlash, which brought a grin to Jericho's face, but then Cena
got on the mic and told him that, as per General Manager Vickie Guerrero, Jericho's last act on Raw will actually be a one-on-one match
with him tonight.

When we returned from our first commercial break, Chavo Guerrero was in the ring, and on the microphone. Chavo told the fans that now
he is officially a member of the Raw roster, he is going to prove to the fans that not only can he push Vickie's wheelchair around, he can
also push around anyone on the Raw roster. At that point Batista came out for our opening match.

--- Chavo Guerrero Vs Batista

Batista caught Chavo with a kick, and then hit the Batista Bomb for the victory in 20 seconds. What a waste of time. As Batista walked
triumphantly to the back, Chavo got back on the mic and apologized to his Aunt Vickie, saying that he wasn't ready, and it won't happen
again. This brought Batista back into the ring, causing Chavo to backtrack, telling the Animal that he was ready. Batista delivered another
Batista Bomb, and walked away.

Backstage, Shane McMahon congratulated Batista on his victory, and asked him if they were on the same page for the 6-man tag team
match at Backlash. He told Batista that he didn't appreciate being drilled into the corner by him on last week's Raw, and Batista
countered that he didn't care for Shane taking him out of the ring either. The two agreed that everything was fine, and their focus was on
Sunday. Famous last words in wrestling.

--- Kane Vs CM Punk

More match action next, as two new members of the SmackDown roster made their final appearances on Raw. Punk started the match
by delivering some kicks to Kane, and following up with an enzuigiri which sent him back into the corner. Punk ran in and was back body
dropped onto the apron, where he landed on his feet. Punk tried to springboard in onto Kane, but Kane caught him with a thrust out of
mid-air, and then snapmared him over and connected with a low dropkick, for a two count. Kane then applied a chinlock to the Money in
the Bank winner after 42 seconds of action. Punk used his elbow to escape the hold, but was caught with a side suplex. Kane tried to
follow up but Punk kicked him in the head, and then hit his corner kneelift, being pushed away by Kane before he could deliver the
bulldog. Kane ran into another kick, and was then hit by a flying forearm for a two count. Kane elbowed his way out of an attempted Go To
Sleep, and hit a big boot on Punk, before setting him up for a chokeslam. Punk, however, managed to messily counter into a weak-
looking small package for the victory after a very disappointing 2'10. The two will now take this rivalry to SmackDown, where the promise
of more matches doesn't exactly have me salivating.

There are many times watching Raw where if you don't laugh you might cry. Santino Marella came out next, and at least you're supposed
to laugh at him. Santino told us that last week he lost to The Great Khali, so his poor sister, Santina, has to kiss him. The Marellas, he
said, are people of honor, and he wants to call Santina out to apologize to her. He continued that some people think he and Santina are
the same person, but they're wrong. Santina, of course, didn't come out to the ring, but 'she' did appear on the TitanTron. Just in case
somebody hasn't been following this, Santina is Santino in drag. Santina said that she has horrible news; she has a blister on her lip
that means she won't be able to kiss Khali. As she began to describe how much she was looking forward to the kiss, the tape that we
are to assume Santino filmed this on sped up, as Santino begged for it to be cut. Santino tried to explain this by claiming that 'Santina
loves Red Bull' (a gag that got not only a big laugh, but applause as well). Santino continued that he wrote a poem, an ode to the Marella
family beauty, but as he was reading it, Beth Phoenix came out with her intern, Rosa. Beth told Santino that she is sorry to hear about
Santina's blister, but luckily, Vickie has set aside some time on Backlash for the kiss to take place. Santino asked Beth why she is doing
this to him, and as the two talked, Santina, still on the Tron, thanked Santino for the poem. Santino told Santina to 'shudduppa ya face',
before telling Beth that she better prey she wins back the Women's title, because she'll never be Miss WrestleMania. That brought to an
end a very silly, but funny, segment, and brought us to our next match.

--- Women's Title match- Melina (champion) Vs Beth Phoenix

Beth immediately put her superior strength to use, hitting a big slam on the champion, and then locking on an impressive crossbow-style
torture rack, which had Melina's head nearly touching the soles of her boots. Melina managed to elbow her way out of the move, and tried
a backslide, which Beth blocked, and rammed her opponent face-first into the corner. Beth then used Melina's own foot, bent over her
back, to kick her in the back of her head; a showcase of Melina's flexibility. Melina fought back with kicks, and the Tajiri elbow (which
brings me to my weekly plea for her not to use that move). The champion then climbed to the top rope, and jumped off, slamming Beth's
face into the mat. Rosa took exception to this and climbed onto the apron, distracting Melina. Beth tried to take out Melina from behind,
but Melina moved, sending Beth into Rosa. Melina then hit her sunset flip bomb finisher on Beth for the victory at 3'19, confirming that she
will take the Women's title with her to SmackDown.

We next cut to the back, where Triple H was getting dressed for his No Disqualification match with Randy Orton later in the night. Shane
came in and wished Hunter luck, and warned him that they have to be careful on Sunday that they keep themselves in check, and don't
get disqualified, otherwise he will lose his title. Triple H assured Shane that that wouldn't happen, as he is going to take out all his anger
tonight.

--- John Cena Vs Chris Jericho

Time now for Jericho's last match on Monday Night Raw, and he started as the aggressor, backing Cena up with punches, kicking him in
the spine, hitting a back suplex, and sending him into the ropes and knocking him down with an elbow. As this was going on Michael
Cole explained that the draft would be going into full effect on next week's show, after Backlash. At least that explains why tonight's show
has been dominated by SmackDown stars thus far. In the ring, Cena came back at Jericho with weak punches, but Jericho hit him with a
clothesline for a near fall, and then a suplex and dropkick for another two count. Cena tried another comeback, and as the two exchanged
punches, the crowd, hot since the opening bell, started up a yay-boo chant (the cheers for Jericho's blows, the jeers for Cena's). Cena
got the best of the exchange and hit a couple of flying shoulderblocks on Jericho, followed by his patented back suplex into a slam, and
then the 5-knuckle shuffle, with the crowd joining in a chorus of 'You can't see me'. Cena went for the F-U, but Jericho countered it into a
DDT for a two count at 3'41. Cena rolled out to the apron, and Jericho went for a springboard dropkick, but was caught over the shoulders
of the World Heavyweight Champion. Before an F-U to the outside could be delivered, Jericho wriggled out of his grasp, and hit a bulldog-
like move on Cena, sending him face-first into the steel steps. At this point, 4'25 into the match, we went to a break, coming back at 7'38,
and with Jericho covering Cena for a two count. Jericho was now firmly in control, slapping the face of his opponent, and when Cena did
try to mount some offence, he ran into an elbow. This trend continued when Cena blocked the Walls of Jericho, but walked into a flapjack.
Cena finally got a look in when Jericho went for a bulldog, only to be sent flying into the turnbuckle. Cena put Jericho on his back for an F-
U, but climbed with him up the ropes. Jericho again avoided the move, slipping out the back and downing Cena with an electric chair for
a two count at 10'57. Jericho next went for a Lionsault, but Cena managed to roll out of the way, drop toe holding Jericho and attempting
to lock on an STF. Jericho instead turned it into a small package, which Cena impressively rolled right though into a standing position,
and lifted Jericho up to his shoulders for another attempt at the F-U. Again though, Jericho wasn't going to go down, this time landing on
his feet and hitting a Codebreaker on Cena. Instead of going for the cover though, Jericho lay on the ground, selling... I don't know what
exactly. When he did manage to crawl into a cover, Cena was able to kick out at 2. Jericho waiting for Cena to get to his feet, and ran at
him, only to be caught in an F-U, and the move was finally delivered. This time it was Cena who couldn't make the instant cover, which
made sense seeing as he'd been dominated all match. When he did cover Jericho, again it was only enough for a two count at the 13'31
mark. Cena went up to the top rope and attempted his flying legdrop, but Jericho caught him in the Walls of Jericho. Cena managed to
counter the move into an STF but, in trying to drag Jericho into the centre of the ring, he got enziguri'd by the 2008 Superstar of the Year.
The two men then found themselves both climbing the ropes, and exchanging punches, at which point Edge, who we were told earlier
had been given the night off (well, he is contracted to SmackDown, not Raw), came in and, in his eagerness to get at Cena, pushed both
men off the ropes (I wonder if Jericho will have anything to say about this in the future?). The match was a no contest at 16'30, and Edge
mounted Cena, laying into him with punches, before spearing him. The coup de grace was a one man concerto, to cheers from the
crowd. Edge then took to the mic, saying that the winner of their Last Man Standing match at Backlash is the man who can knock his
opponent out for a ten count. Edge, and the fans, then counted to ten as Cena lay motionless on the mat, and Edge declared himself the
winner and new champion.

This was a very strong match, carried by Jericho's offence (Jericho was certainly on tonight), and by the red hot crowd. The finish was
cheap and disappointing, but understandable. Both men came out of the match looking very strong, and the aftermath was effective in
promoting the Edge/Cena Backlash match.

After seeing footage of Cena getting helped to the back during the break, further selling the beatdown from Edge, it was time for another
match.

--- Rey Mysterio Vs The Big Show

Rey started this non-title match by taking the fight to Show with punches and kicks, but found himself running into a big clothesline. Show
then picked Rey up and threw him across the ring, before sitting him on the top rope and delivering a slap to the chest which sent Rey to
the outside. Show reached over the ropes and palmed the Intercontinental champion back into the ring, but ran into a pair of boots from
Mysterio. Rey followed up by hitting a flying head scissors which sent Show head first into the top turnbuckle, and then delivered a 619 to
the big man's backside. A dropkick had Show set up for the real 619, but he caught Rey and delivered a knockout punch for the victory at
1'43. This match was another pointless waste of time that no man really benefits from. No complaints with the outcome, as anything
other than a quick show win would look unbelievable, but having your IC champion getting squashed like that just doesn't make sense to
me.

Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes were shown in the back. Cody asked Ted how his back was, after his match with Batista on SmackDown,
and Ted responded by asking Cody how his face was after his match with Shane McMahon on the debut episode of WWE Superstars
last week. Cody commented that their opponents at Backlash aren't on the same page like they are, and Ted said that being in Legacy is
great, but it isn't the same when their leader's not... Randy Orton interrupted at this point, asking DiBiase what he wants to say. Ted said
that they should have no problems on Sunday, and Orton agreed, but said that it wasn't because their opponents aren't on the same
page; it's because he is the best. He finished by guaranteeing victory over Triple H in the main event.

Triple H was introduced to the crowd for the main event as we went to commercial, leaving me to ruminate on just how silly a nickname
'The Game' is when you really think about it. When we returned from the break we were hilariously told that last week wwe.com was the
most visited site amongst males under 34, beating out such strong competition as oprah.com.

--- No Disqualification Match- Triple H Vs Randy Orton

The match began with the two exchanging punches, before Triple H caught Orton with a clothesline. Orton fled the ring, but was followed
by Hunter, who sent him flying into the security wall. Triple H then began to prepare the announce table for some action, but Orton came
at him, slamming his head into the table, and then getting a trash can from beneath the ring. These trash cans really make no DQ
matches lose credibility. Hunter kicked Randy before he could deliver the blow, and the action went back into the ring, where Orton hit The
Game with his patented backbreaker for a two count at 2'22. Hunter was soon back in control with a high knee, and he clotheslined Orton
over the top rope, which is where Randy finally connected with that trash can show, as we went to commercial at 3'27. 7'01 in, and we're
back with Triple H being Irish whipped into the steel steps. Orton rolled Trips back into the ring, and threw the steps in after him, then
hitting Hunter with the weapon in question for a two count at 8'14. This is something else that hurts no DQ matches- in any other match,
or any other situation, a shot to the head with the steps puts a guy down, and he stays down. In these matches it's comparable to suplex
or a clothesline. Anyway, Randy went back out the ring, and positioned the remaining part of the steel steps by the apron, and then
grabbed Hunter, pulling him towards the apron, and teasing a hangman's DDT onto the steps. This would have been awesome, but
Hunter fought out and double legged Orton onto the steps. Hunter went for a chairshot, but Orton avoided contact, and the two went back
into the ring, where Triple H hit a facebuster for a two count. Randy hit back with a boot to the face, but ran into a spinebuster onto the
trash can for another near fall at 11'23. The World Heavyweight Champion went back to the chair, this time catching Orton in the gut, and
the back but, just when it looked like Hunter was going to hit him in the head with it, he drilled the champ in the stomach with a punch,
and DDT'd him onto the chair. Orton went for a punt, but Triple H dodged it, and took out Orton's leg, slamming it into the steel ring post,
and hitting it with a chair. He then locked on a figure four, to woos from the crowd, and when Orton got to the ropes, the referee reminded
him that it was no DQ, so he couldn't make Hunter break the hold. Orton dragged himself out of the ring, manufacturing the break, but
Triple H threw him straight back inside, where he wrapped his leg up in a steel chair. Before he could cause any more damage by
stamping on the chair, Rhodes and DiBiase came in and double teamed him. This brought out Shane McMahon, who initially cleared
house, before the numbers proved too much. Priceless turned their attention back to Hunter, at which point Batista came out. Batista
dealt with Rhodes and DiBiase and delivered a spear to Orton. Cody then raked Batista's eyes, and as Batista went to spear him, Cody
moved and Shane McMahon instead got the impact. This all looked very choreographed. Batista took DiBiase out of the ring, Cody took
Batista out, and Hunter took Cody out, but that left him open for an RKO from Orton, who made good on his guarantee at 17'35. Legacy
then slinked away in victory, leaving their 3 Backlash opponents in the ring to discuss what went wrong.

This match wasn't a patch on the earlier Cena/Jericho match. Despite the no disqualification stipulation, and all the run ins, the fans just
didn't care about it, which has been true of a lot of what Triple H and Randy Orton have done during this latest feud. I'm sure Hunter would
kill for the type of reaction Cena and Jericho were getting earlier, when the fans were hanging on every move and reacting to every
movement. But it just wasn't there. WWE should cut their losses and end this feud, but with both Hunter and Orton now on the same
show, one wonders how much longer it will rumble on. What I have no doubt over, however, is that in this Tale of Two Main Events, it
would have been a far better thing than WWE has ever done if Cena and Jericho had been allowed to go on last, rather than Orton and
Triple H.

MVP of the night - Chris Jericho. Show stealing performance in his match with Cena.

Line of the night- Santino, as always, had some good ones, but I give it to the fans' rendition of 'you can't see me'- great atmosphere.