with superkick; Orton loses belt if DQ'ed
Before the match, Ross and Lawler talked about the referee having a
lot of discretion on determining the outcome with the stipulations.
Michaels opened up with a side headlock. He maintained it for several
moments until Orton escaped in the corner and landed right hand blows.
Orton got in Michaels's face and Michaels feigned a superkick to scare
Orton for a second. Michaels went back to a front headlock and
grounded Orton on the mat. Ross called it Michaels establishing
wrestling ***. Orton slipped to the outside to escape the hold,
then Michaels went to the apron and hit a springboard moonsault on the
floor. Back in the ring, Michaels hit a top rope cross body block, but
Orton rolled through for a nearfall. At 6:00, Michaels popped the
crowd with a Sharpshooter in center ring. It had to happen at some
point. Orton crawled on his belly to the ropes and finally broke the
hold after several tense moments.
Orton gained control with an eye rake, then landed right hand blows to
the forehead. He followed with a spike DDT as Michaels was hung across
the middle rope. Michaels and Orton fought on their feet, exchanging
chops and right hand blows. Michaels then nailed a flying forearm off
the ropes and he kipped up to his feet. Michaels went back on the
attack with right hands, but Orton came back with a standing dropkick.
Michaels came right back with a top rope elbow drop. The fans tuned up
the band for Michaels, who thought about it for a while. He started to
warm it up, as the ref reprimanded him. Michaels went for the
superkick, Orton ducked, but Michaels stopped and did a small package
for a nearfall. Michaels then went for another cover, but Orton
countered with a roll up for a nearfall. Suddenly, Michaels applied
the Crossface. And thousands of people watching at home just gasped.
Crowd reaction was a brief gasp, then cheers as Orton feigned tapping
out. Orton eventually reached the ropes to break the hold at 14:00,
then Orton came right back with a hard clothesline for a nearfall.
Orton nailed an inverted back breaker, then he measured Michaels for
the punt to the head. Orton charged Michaels, but Michaels grabbed his
leg and slapped on an ankle lock. Hart, Benoit, and Angle in one
match. Michaels then grapevined the leg ala WrestleMania 21 when he
lost to Angle, and Orton feigned tapping out. The fans came to life as
Orton thought about it, but Orton quieted them when he kicked Michaels
in the head to break the hold. Michaels slowly reached his feet and he
dropped Orton for an apparent attempt at the figure four, but Orton
kicked him away and Michaels went head-first into the ringpost. Ouch.
Orton went into super-stalker mode and went for the RKO on Michaels,
but Michaels shoved him away. Michaels then started to go for the
superkick and he had Orton right where he wanted him, but Michaels
stopped short. The opening gave Orton room to drop Michaels with the
RKO for the win.
After the match, Orton left the ring. He then returned to the ring
dragged Michaels to the corner. He slapped Michaels around and
demanded that Michaels call him the future and acknowledge that he's
the best. Orton then turned his back to Michaels, grabbed his title
belt, and walked right into a smashing superkick to the chops. Orton
dropped like a stone to the mat, then Michaels sneered at him and
mouthed something like he would never acknowledge that. Michaels
slipped out of the ring and went down to both knees on the entrance
stage and said a quick prayer. They replayed the post-match superkick
from Michaels. Back in the ring, Orton slowly reached his feet amongst
boos. He had a very sinister look on his face as he checked his mouth
for ***. Orton then left the ring with the belt in hand.
WINNER: Orton in 18:00 to retain the WWE Title. Slow opening, strong
middle, and a fitting conclusion to the story with Orton taking
advantage of Michaels's inability to use the superkick. Post-match
keeps the feud alive, but Michaels doesn't have any re-matches left
against Orton. The crossface by Michaels was unnecessary in my
estimation. It looks like WWE trying to "own the Benoit story",
especially after the CNN piece.
Cole started to talk about Taker vs. Batista, but the Save_Us video
interrupted. 23 hours 32 minutes. They cut backstage where Batista
walked backstage with a focused look.