Hey fans! Come back at 9 for my first attempt at a live blog of the post-Wrestlemania edition of Monday Night RAW. See you then!
Why a live blog for this particular show? Well, WWE usually sets up its storylines for the spring and summer on the first shows after Mania, so this is usually one of the more intriguing shows of the year.
For those of you unaware of the results from WM26, point your browsers to WrestleZone then come back here at 9.
9:00 - Highlights of HBK vs. Taker. Way somber music. What is this - The Karate Kid?
9:02 - Shawn Michaels will share his retirement with the WWE Universe live tonight.
9:03 - Here comes Batista... pardon me while I try to contain my excitement.
9:05 - Surprisingly good heat for Batista with the expected "You tapped out!" chants from the crowd. Last night was a fluke, says Big Dave who, of course, wants a rematch, like, immediately.
9:07 - Cue John Cena's theme. An aside - how come no champs actually wear the belts anymore?
9:08 - "Cena Sucks" chants start. Man, this guy never gets a break from the crowd. Cena goads Batista and the crowd responds big time about Big Dave tapping out. Cena challenges Batista to a rematch to make what's sure to be the most historic RAW in the last week an even more historic one. Predictably, Batista says, "Not tonight" and promptly gets tossed out by Cena.
9:12 - Out comes Jack Swagger, beating the crap outta Cena with the Money in the Bank briefcase, but before a ref can come out to start the match, Cena regains the upper hand and Swagger bails. Didn't see that coming.
9:14 - First installment of the Heartbreak Career - Shawn Michaels' debut match in WWE. Nice hair, HBK. Anyone seen Marty Janetty lately?
9:19 - "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase leads out Nick Bockwinkel, IRS, Pat Patterson and Arn Anderson (who really should be in the WWE Hall of Fame). And Hot Rod, too! Sgt. Slaughter, Tony Garea, Ricky Steamboat. God, I feel old. I saw all of these guys in their primes.
9:21 - Your guest hosts for the night... oh I really don't give a crap. Two dudes from that "Hot Tub Time Machine" movie come out to an amazingly lukewarm response. Memo - you two jabronies make lousy heels. Oh yeah, Batista/Swagger vs. Cena/Mystery Partner announced as a main event.
9:23 - Christian comes out to be part of a Legends Lumberjack Match, followed by Ted Dibiase, and that match is... next, says Michael Cole.
9:28 - And we're back, match joined in progress. Dear god, who the hell dresses Pat Patterson. You can get shirts like that at Jos. A. Bank, that's for sure...
9:31 - And while the Legends go at it outside (and I use that term loosely), Christian hits Dibiase with the Killswitch for the win. Ted Sr. tries to comfort Ted Jr. who'll have none of it. Lots of boos for Ted Jr.
9:33 - Heartbreak Career - HBK ends the Rockers by first superkicking Janetty and then throwing him threw the window of the Barbershop. One of the greatest moments in WWE history. I wonder if Janetty will be a part of the retirement ceremony tonight? Better question - will he be sober if he's there?
Oh yeah, Triple H is next, and he's walking!
9:38 - Sights and sounds of Wrestlemania Weekend. I'll go back to reading Maria Conchita Alonso's Open Letter to left wing looney Sean Penn.
9:40 - The Hot Tub guys with the Divas in an actual hot tub. Now this is gripping TV, kids.
9:42 - It's Game Time. "A surreal night" says Trips. "End of an era."
Triple H and Shawn are two of the best ever, not only in WWE, but in all of wrestling.
Holy crap, did Trips just make the sign of "The Clique?"
Trips getting choked up. I don't think this is scripted... and boom! Sheamus takes out Trips with a pipe. Damn... that was good.
9:49 - Let's take you back to moments ago as we again watch Sheamus ambush HHH.
And here come the Divas for a WM rematch. Why God, why? Oh well, at least this gets the Divas out of the way early tonight. I don't mind the eye candy, but this crop of Divas just sucks out loud when it comes to in ring work.
And just like that, Eve rolls up Maryse for a three-count, followed by the face Divas tossing the heel Divas out of the ring.
Um, well, okay...
Heartbreak Career - HBK vs. Razor Ramon - ladder match - WM 10 - it's amazing how good Scott Hall was back then, when he was, y'know, sober and motivated.
9:55 - Bret Hart - next!
9:58 - Heartbreak Career - WM 12 - HBK vs. Bret Hart - Ironman Match. Good god, how many great matches was Shawn in at WM?
10:00 - Bret Hart leads off the 2nd hour - offers grats to HBK for a great career. I'm glad that Shawn and Bret were able to make amends after all these years.
Bret now has closure after beating the crap outta Vince last night. It was supposedly a lousy match, but it had to be done.
Owen chant from the crowd and Bret wearing a tee shirt with Owen's pic on it. Can we get Owen in the HOF soon?
10:03 - Out comes ShowMiz... wonder where this is going?
Miz getting better and better on the mic, calling out Bret for taking away from the Miz's time. Love the Miz's new jacket. Wonder if he bought it at Jos. A. Bank?
Miz calls Bret and his whole family "overrated." Part of me agrees with him.
10:06 - And out comes the Hart Dynasty. About time they get a push and it gives ShowMiz an actual *gasp* honest-to-god tag team to face. Have I mentioned how much I hate that tag team wrestling has all but vanished in WWE?
Looks like the match is on... next!
10:13 - ShowMiz vs. Hart Dynasty joined in progress - non-title, of course. That almost always equals a win for the Harts.
I guarantee you the Miz will do something cocky or stupid to cost his team the match.
By the way... Tyson Kidd? Worst ring name ever for the man with the worst "hair" ever.
Miz tags himself in even though Show is firmly in control. Kidd makes hot tag to Smith who's a house of fire.
Kidd puts Miz in the Sharpshooter and Show pulls Miz out of the ring before Miz can tap. Looks like the Hart Dynasty will get a countout win.
I'm still trying to figure out how Jim Neidhart managed to spawn such a hottie like Natalya.
10:18 - Heartbreak Career - Best of D-X. Clah-sic.
10:24 - Highlights of the Money in the Bank match.
Back to the Hot Tub. Snore. At least John Cusack had the good sense to not do this.
10:26 - AHHHHHHH!!! Mark Henry in the hot tub. I need to have that image erased from my brain. And of course... Hornswoggle. Haven't we suffered enough?
10:28 - Main event time - Swagger/Batista vs. Cena/??? - My guess is Randy Orton. We'll find out... next!
10:35 - And here comes Batista.
Next PPV is Extreme Rules.
Wow... Swagger is actually taller than Batista.
And here comes Cena. Can't wait to see if I'm right about the partner.
And I am.
Cena and Orton... as a tag team. The world is coming to an end....
10:39 - Ring that bell! Cena and Swagger start. Vintage Cena! And he tags in Orton who does the Orton Stomp. Vintage Orton!
R-K-O chant from the crowd. God, Orton is waaaaay over.
Time for a commercial.
10:43 - Aaaaand we're back with Swagger in control.
Swagger with his cool running corner splash, followed up by a tag to Batista. Batista promptly starts to beat the crap out of Cena. Cena tries a comeback but gets nailed by a Batista spinebuster. Batista tries for the Batista Bomb, but Cena powers out.
Hot tag to Orton!
Orton cleans house! RKO on Batista! RKO on Swagger! 1-2-3!
Dear lord is Orton over. Much needed face turn.
10:48 - Heartbreak Career - WM 25 - HBK vs. Taker I - perhaps the greatest WM match ever.
Shawn says goodbye... next.
10:54 - A rather chipper HBK comes out to say goodbye.
BONG! Guess Taker's gonna help Shawn say goodbye. Taker tips his hat to Shawn and leaves.
"Please don't go!!!"
Hard to believe Shawn is 44 years old. Heck, if he was Hogan or Flair, he'd have 15 more years left.
Fans chant "Thank you, Shawn," but Shawn thanks them. The ring was the only place he ever felt good about himself.
Thanks Hunter for liking him when no one else would.
HBK tearing up.
Props to Cole, King and JR and the boys in the truck.
"One More Match!"
Shawn wants to honor his word to the fans and Taker. No more matches.
"Thank you, Shawn!"
Thanks Bret Hart for giving Shawn the opportunity to make things up to him.
And onto Vince. There's no way Shawn could ever work for anyone else. Only person Shawn drove more crazy than Bret - Vince.
A third "Thank you Shawn!" chant erupts.
And a shout out to God, Rebecca and the kids.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels has left the building."
The end of an era...
Big hug from Hunter. You can really see how much these two care about each other. That's a friendship that'll always last.
And we're out! Thanks for reading... see yinz tomorrow.