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RAW FLASHBACK - 5 yrs. ago (02-25-08): Flair-HBK set for WM24, Hunter & Cena vs. Orton & Anderson main event, Mayweather-Big Show hype continues

Feb 25, 2013 - 11:49:20 AM
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WWE Raw Flashback - 5 years ago
February 25, 2008
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


VIP Exclusive from PWTorch Newsletter #1013...

WM24 MAIN EVENT HYPE CONTINUES

John Cena, Triple H, and Randy Orton stood in mid-ring with William Regal. Regal said he arranged for a mid-ring photo of the three standing together. They stood together briefly for the photo shoot. Cena stepped away from Orton quickly. Regal said he's arranged for each to have mic time to discuss "what is sure to be one of the most talked about main events in WrestleMania history.”

Cena spoke first. He thanked Orton and Hunter for being present because he has a problem with one of them. He said the way he was raised, he was taught to address them like a ma to his face. He walked up to Triple H. He said half of him wants to thank him because he could have robbed him of his title shot with a quick DQ, but he has an issue with the Pedigree he received "as a congratulations.” Hunter replied that there is no need to thank him. "I didn't do you any favors. I did what was right. I want you in that ring at WrestleMania,” said Hunter. He added that Cena and a lot of the fans may not have appreciated the Pedigree, but a lot of them did. There were more cheers for the last part of his sentence. He told Cena to get used to it because at WrestleMania, he's receive more of the same thing.

Cena replied that there's only been one "clash of the titans” before - a match between those two - and he tapped out. Hunter had no reply other than taking off his jacket and looking threateningly at Cena. Orton then said they can argue all they want, but one thing will remain the same: "I am still the WWE Champion.” He said they each have given him their best shot, but he still has the WWE Title. The crowd chanted "You suck” briefly. Orton asked Cena about his catch phrase, then said, "The champ is here! And there is not a damn thing either of you can do about it.” Hunter and Cena turned to Orton and punched him and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Hunter and Cena then leaned in forehead-to-forehead, shortly thereafter breaking into a brawl themselves. Hunter got the better of Cena, but Orton then gave Hunter an RKO. He turned and gave one to Cena, also. Orton then stood over each of them and held his title belt above his head. Jim Ross asked if this is what the scene would be at the conclusion of WrestleMania at the SunBowl. Very good segment. By the numbers, but with the personalities and history between each pair, all they needed was to let them have their say. The idea of Orton getting the better of both of them because they turn on each other is the underlying intrigue going into this match.

A few minutes later, Mr. Kennedy approached Orton backstage. He said he plans to win the Money in the Bank match and he will be cashing it in that night. He said if he loses, he loses. But if he wins, he's also going to lose. "I want you to know that just so there's no surprises.” Orton sternly called him Ken. Kennedy corrected him: "It's Mr. Kennedy.” Orton said he can make all the threats he wants, but he'll still walk out of WrestleMania the WWE Champion. Kennedy smugly said, "Okay, we'll see about that.”

Later in the show, Todd Grisham interviewed Regal who announced the main event on Raw. He said nothing sells a big match like conflict, so he's booked Mr. Kennedy & Orton vs. Hunter & Cena. Regal sent Grisham off to spread the word.

FLAIR-MICHAELS MATCH SET

After an oddly meaningless match between Shawn Michaels and Lance Cade, Flair made a full ring intro. Michaels bowed at his feet. Flair thanked the fans for their ovation as Michaels dabbed a white towel against his bleeding nose. Flair said Michaels is absolutely incredible, sounding like James Lipson (”Inside the Actor's Studio” host) gushing over a movie star he's interviewing. He said being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame is undoubtedly the highlight of his career. He said there's only one thing that could make Flair's career even better, "and that would be to wrestle the man whose name is synonymous with professional wrestling.” He said that's the "Showstopper” Shawn Michaels.

Michaels said he meant every word he said last week, but he also must know that several months ago Vince McMahon made an edict that the first match he loses, he must retire. He said he has done some things in his career he is ashamed of that he has to live with. He said he'll take on almost anything, but he won't be known as the guy who ended Flair's career. "I can't take that and I don't want it,” he said. There was a mix of cheers and a few scattered boos in the crowd. Flair said that's not where he was going with it. "End my career? If I wrestle you, is that a given?” Michaels said that's not necessarily the case.

Flair said last week, all of the respect he paid him means nothing if he doesn't give him an opportunity to have the greatest match of his career on the grandest stage of all. Michaels said it would be a great honor then to wrestle him at WrestleMania. They hugged and shook hands. Ross said they just witnessed history. Michaels held the ropes open for Flair. Flair then did the same for Michaels. A bit of a love fest, but their resumes justify it.

KELLER'S RAW RAMBLINGS

Ross said as Holly and Rhodes walked out, "Certainly opposites do attract as it relates to the young Cody Rhodes and the veteran 'Hardcore' Bob Holly.” He paused right before saying it, as if he was being fed the line by someone being devious on the headset... Lawler immediately said Santino and Maria are an odd couple, too... I was a little surprised Shaq picked Mayweather to beat Big Show. Sure, Mayweather's a "legit” sports star and Big Show part of showbiz, but Shaq could have easily justified siding with the big guy over the small guy and had a little smirk on his face as he made the prediction... Shawn Michaels is too big of an icon to just be put in a mid-TV show match without any hype like this week against Lance Cade. It diminishes him. It's like Bono opening for Coldplay without any announcement ahead of time... They didn't entrust Mike Adamle to say any names this week when he introduced the Hall of Fame video...

Box Score Basics by Wade Keller

A video package aired on the WrestleMania main event developments last week. Then John Cena, Randy Orton, and Triple H had an in-ring segment cutting promos on each other followed by a brawl.

Mr. Kennedy said he will beat Orton at WrestleMania by cashing in his MITB briefcase immediately if he wins.

(1) Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly beat Carlito & Santino Marella (w/Maria) in 3:00. Santino was distracted by Lawler trying to Maria's attention.

Santino yelled over at Lawler afterward. Lawler said he was just trying to get her to do some commentary. Ross said Maria's Playboy will be on sale March 7.

A video package aired on the WrestleMania press conference with Big Show and Floyd Mayweather.

William Regal announced Kennedy & Orton vs. Cena & Hunter was the TV main event. Regal then told Chris Jericho his MITB qualifying match would be against Jeff Hardy next.

(3) Chris Jericho beat Jeff Hardy in 12:00. It ended with a series of leverage pin reversals that Jericho got the best of. Good match. It could have been even longer and not overstayed its welcome. (**3/4)

As follow-up to last week's Hornswoggle beating, Vince McMahon walked out to the ring and said he was about to say something he's never done before. He said JBL is going to walk out and apologize as well. He waited. After ten seconds, he said he didn't have all night. JBL's music then played and he walked out less than enthusiastically. Vince said he called JBL to the ring simply to control Finlay so he could give Hornswoggle a dose of tough love. He said he wanted an explanation, but seemed to skip a few lines of his own prepared text in the process of asking for an apology with a strange jump mid-sentence. JBL took a deep breath, hung his head, and then said he was sorry. "I'm sorry,” he said, then adding, "That I didn't do it sooner.” He said he has it on good advice that Hornswoggle is not his son after all. He said it's a ruse that goes all the way to other members of his family. He said Hornswoggle is actually Finlay's son. Vince said he isn't sure whether he should believe him. He said some members of his family are rotten to the core. He said he's had trouble believing he could produce "a mutant” like Hornswoggle from his loins. Vince asked if Hornswoggle was after his money. JBL said no, Hornswoggle doesn't know. He said Finlay has known the whole time. Vince asked for proof. JBL said he could produce it. JBL said next time he gets Finlay in a ring, he'll make him admit it.

Triple H and Cena exchanged some words regarding facing off in the main event.

(4) Umaga squashed D.H. Smith in 2:00.

Backstage, Regal said Vickie Guerrero issued a brand vs. brand challenge at WM. Regal chose Umaga to represent Raw. Paul Burchill said he wanted to be chosen. Regal said he likes him, but he has to show him more. Sis Katie Lea flirted with Regal.

(5) Shawn Michaels beat Lance Cade in 4:00, after which Flair and Michaels agreed to a match at WrestleMania.

A clip aired of Shaq picking Floyd Mayweather to beat Big Show.

A video announced Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. They are Rock's grandfather and father.

A video feature aired on Maria's Playboy photo shoot.

(6) John Cena & Triple H beat Mr. Kennedy & Randy Orton when Cena made Kennedy tap to the STFU in 15:00. Basic, but good. Afterward, Kennedy gave Michaels his Mic Check from behind. Hunter stood and watched. (**1/2)

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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