JULY 23 RAW RECAP: ORTON EYES CENA'S GOLD
Lesson No. 1 for Carlito: Watch where you spit.
Learning that earlier would have saved the Caribbean Superstar a world of hurt at the hands of the Dominator, Bobby Lashley.
In what seemed to be an accident, Carlito spit a bad-tasting apple bite right into Lashley, who was walking by in the Arco Arena hallway. As Lashley turned to confront the fruit-spewing Superstar, Carlito ran out to the ring and begged the fuming Lashley for forgiveness.
But coming off a night where he nearly became the new WWE Champion, Lashley didn't seem to be in a very forgiving mood.
As Lashley approached, Carlito took the first shots at the former Army sergeant, whipping the former ECW Champion into the ring steps. But using his amazing athleticism, Lashley leaped over the stairs, and chased down Carlito. Carrying him back into the ring, Lashley delivered a powerful Dominator to the wily Caribbean Superstar, leaving him looking up at the arena lights as the Sacramento crowd roared in approval.
In other action:
In a Champions Only Match set up by Raw Acting General Manager Jonathan Coachman, WWE Champion John Cena was able to fight off the World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch and the Intercontinental Champion Umaga, to earn a pinfall victory for himself and terrified teammate, Women's Champion Candice Michelle.
But with Cena down, Umaga stalked Michelle and trapped her in a corner of the ring. With Cade and Murdoch holding the Women's Champion down, Jeff Hardy ran in with a steel chair and attacked Umaga, saving Michelle from certain doom.
As Hardy blasted the Samoan Bulldozer with repeated chair shots, Cena recovered to battle the "Redneck Wrecking Crew." Cena sent Lance Cade into the ring post, followed by his partner. The Champ then slammed Murdoch with an FU and picked up the pinfall.
As The Champ celebrated a near-impossible win, he failed to see Randy Orton standing behind him. As Cena turned, the newly-announced No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship delivered a crushing RKO, leaving the Chain Gang commander stunned on the mat.
Jeff Hardy defeated Mr. Kennedy in a wild match, in which Hardy fought off a costly mistake to rebound for a count-out win.
Hardy's trademark aerial assault almost backfired as Jeff lost his balance and fell awkwardly to the mat from the top rope, wrenching his neck. Kennedy rushed to pin the Swanton Bomber, but left Hardy's leg under the ropes. Those extra seconds were enough for Jeff to recover and escape the pinfall attempt.
As the fight went outside the ring, the resilient Hardy ran atop the ringside barrier to catch Kennedy with a flying clothesline. Then the two fought their way to the stage, where Jeff threw the Green Bay gladiator into a metal wall. Sensing the referee's count expiring, Hardy sprinted back, sliding in under the ropes just as the referee counted to 10 to earn the win.
Also, in a requested rematch, Cody Rhodes fell once again to Randy Orton's RKO in a spirited, courageous battle. After the match, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes came to ringside to prevent Orton from injuring his son further, delivering a bionic elbow to the cocky third-generation Superstar.
But with Dusty's attention on his son, the snake-like Orton struck back with a vicious punt to Dusty's head – the same kick that shelved the careers of Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam. WWE officials helped stabilize the Dream, and loaded him into an ambulance with his son at his side.
In what started as a "kingly compromise" between Raw's resident royals, Jerry "The King" Lawler sent a fuming King Booker scrambling to the floor after he refused to relinquish his "king" moniker. Lawler further heightened Booker's embarrassment by dumping a tray full of fruit onto the former World Champion. Later, Lawler accepted a challenge for a match next week against Booker on Raw.
Maria and Mickie James teamed to score a victory over Melina and Beth Phoenix. With Maria's beau, Santino Marella, at ringside, Marella tripped up the paparazzi princess and her partner from the outside after he saw them double-teaming his love interest. Unaware of her man's interference, Maria caught the stunned Melina in a running bulldog and covered her for the pinfall.
Carlito had much better luck before his clash with Lashley. He teamed with William Regal to defeat "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and Sandman. With a swift Backstabber to Duggan, the cool Caribbean picked up the pinfall, escaping just before Sandman came swinging his Singapore cane in his direction.
The Self-Proclaimed World's Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin scored a win over Paul London and Brian Kendrick. After Kendrick's tope came up empty, Haas and Benjamin double-teamed London with a leapfrog and German suplex combination to pick up the pinfall victory.