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FULL WRESTLEMANIA 24 COVERAGE: END OF AN ERA, TWO NEW CHAMPIONS CROWNED AND MORE

By Buck Woodward on 2008-03-30 22:10:00

They showed John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H, backstage in their respective dressing rooms. 

A video package on last night's WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony was shown.  Howard Finkel was introduced to bring out the WWE Hall Of Fame "Class of 2008".  Jack & Gerald Brisco, the children of Gordon Solie, Rocky Johnson (who got a nice pop), Peter Maivia's wife and daughter, Mike Graham (son of Eddie Graham), and Mae Young (to a huge pop) were introduced to the crowd.  Mae teased that she was going to take off her clothes, by Mike Graham stopped her.  Ric Flair was represented by his four children, Ashley, Megan, David and Reid. 

Snoop Dogg was interviewed backstage.  Snoop said he was having "the time of his life".  Snoop said he found someone he sees "eye to eye with".  The camera panned over to Festus.  Snoop said they love the same music, movies and cars.  Santino interrupted, saying Snoop better not try any funny business during the Playboy Bunnymania match.  Snoop pulled out a bell, rang it, and Festus freaked out and chased off Santino.  Snoop was asked where he got the bell from, and he said he "knew someone".  Mick Foley entered, delivering a Snoppizzle version of "Bang, Bang" and "Have A Nice Day".  Snoop walked off, and Foley pulled out a Mr. Socko complete with "bling". 

Batista vs. Umaga.

Smackdown Assistant General Manager Theodore R. Long introduced Batista, while Raw General Manager William Regal introduced Umaga.  The sun has set now in Florida, and the full effect of the entranceway and lights in the stadium is pretty cool.  Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are calling this match.

They started slugging it out at the bell, and Umaga shoved Batista to the mat.  Umaga went for a charge in the corner, but Batista moved out of the way and knocked Umaga to the floor with a shoulderblock.  Batista hit some shots as Umaga got on the apron, but Umaga hit a thrust to the throat.  Umaga went for a backdrop, but Batista kicked it away.  Umaga returned fire with a spin kick.  Batista rolled to the apron and Umaga hit a front kick that knocked Batista to the floor.  Umaga rolled Batista back into the ring and hit a splash to the back for a two count.  Umaga whipped Batista hard into the turnbuckles twice.  Batista threw some punches, but Umaga took him down with another thrust into the throat.

Umaga applied a nervehold, then slammed Batista.  Umaga went to the second rope, but missed a diving headbutt. Batista lifted Umaga for a slam, but fell under the weight and Umaga got a two count.  Umaga hit a kick to the back, then went back to the nervehold.  Batista elbowed out, but Umaga hit a headbutt and a Samoan Drop for a two count.  There's fans in the front rows chanting "U-U-Umaga".  Batista blocked a whip and hit some punches.  Batista hit a boot to the face, and the crowd actually booed Batista.  Umaga grabbed Batista and went for the Samoan Spike, but Batista blocked it and threw Umaga into the corner.  Umaga went over the turnbuckles and hit the ringpost.  Batista hit a spinebuster, and there was a pop, so Batista still has his fans.  Batista hit a Batista Bomb, falling backwards as he delivered it due to Umaga's size, and got the pin at the eight minute mark.

Winner: Batista.

Floyd Mayweather was shown hanging out backstage with his posse.  They went over the Tale Of The Tape for his match with Big Show, noting how ridiculously lopsided it is.

They recapped the end of the Battle Royale from earlier today.  ECW General Manager Armando Estrada was introduced to the crowd, and handled ring introductions for the ECW Title match.

ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero vs. Kane.

Kane entered through the crowd and was standing behind Chavo as his music played.  Chavo turned around and saw Kane standing there.  The bell rang.  Kane hit a chokeslam and pinned Chavo.  The bell rang again. 

Winner and New ECW Champion: Kane.

They showed the Wrestlemania commercial with Carlito, Maria and the seagull.  I guess we needed to be reminded what show we paid $55 to see tonight.

Raven Symone was introduced to the crowd.  She told the crowd that WWE has been granting wishes with the "Make-A-Wish Foundation" for 20 years, and today they granted their biggest wish ever, bringing in 50 Make-A-Wish Kids from 50 States.  They showed the kids, who were seated in a section called "The Circle Of Champions" and the crowd gave them a round of applause.

They showed a video package on the events leading to Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels.

Mike Adamle interviewed Ric Flair backstage.  He asked Flair what his gameplan is for tonight.  Flair simple responded, "My gameplan?  To be the Man. Whoo!"

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels.  If Ric Flair loses, he must retire.

Shawn Michaels came out first, to a mixed reaction, although he had his supporters.  There was a long pause before Ric Flair's music hit.  Flair strutted out with a huge blue and silver robe.  Fireworks went off in the air for his entrance.  It was spectacular.  Charles Robinson is the referee, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler are the announcers.

They reached to lock up, the Flair combed his hair back and let out a "Whoo"!  They locked up, then Flair shoved Michaels into the ropes and Michaels hit a shoulderblock.  Flair grabbed a headlock and switched into a hammerlock.  They traded reversals, then went into some mat wrestling.  Michaels elbowed out of a hammerlock, and Flair hit a hiptoss.  Flair strutted and let out a "Whoo!"  They stared each other down, then locked up again.  They went into a corner and Michels shoved Flair.  Flair shoved back and said "Old Yeller, huh?"  Michaels slapped Flair.  Flair had some blood come from his mouth.  Michaels said "You can leave now".  Flair said "First blood, brother".  They traded punches and chops in a corner, then Michaels went for a backdrop, but Flair kicked it away.  Flair hit a backdrop and delivered a kneedrop to Michaels' head.  Michaels came back with a back elbow as Flair charged in at him.

Michaels went to the top rope, but Flair slammed Michaels off the top rope.  There's a switch.  Flair went to the top rope, and Michaels went to slam him off, but Flair punched him away.  Flair hit a top rope bodypress for a two count.  Michaels grabbed a headlock, but Flair hit a shinbuster.  Flair went for a figure four, but Michaels kicked him away.  Flair fell through the ropes and to the floor.  Michaels hit a baseball slide kick.  Michaels went for an Asai moonsault, but Flair moved and Michaels crashed through the Raw announce table at ringside.

Michaels managed to crawl back into the ring, and Flair whipped him into a corner.  Flair whipped him into the opposite corner, then hit a back suplex.  Michaels kicked out at two.  Flair punched Michaels in his ribs, which Michaels was now favoring.  Flair hit a double underhook suplex for a two count.  Flair stomped the ribs.  Flair hit a few chops, and Michaels tried to punch back, but Flair hit a delayed vertical suplex, to a pop, for a two count.  Flair tried for another two count.  They traded punches and chops, and Michaels started to get the better of it.  Flair shoved Michaels into the ropes and went for a backdrop, but Michaels hit a neckbreaker.  Michaels backdropped Flair over the top rope and to the floor.  Michaels went to the top rope and barely moonsaulted a standing Flair on the floor.  Flair and Michaels crawled back into the ring at a nine count.

They traded chops, as JR noted that if Michaels had hit the bullseye with the moonsault, Flair wouldn't have been able to get back in the ring.  Michaels hit a flying forearm and kipped up.  Michaels hit a reverse atomic drop, then a second.  Flair did a reverse Flair flop.  Michaels slammed Flair, then went to the top rope and hit a flying elbowdrop.  Michaels set up for a superkick, stomping in the corner.  Michaels went for it, then stopped short and just stared at Flair.  Flair grabbed Michaels by the leg, tripped him to the mat and applied a figure four leglock.  Michaels struggled in the hold, then managed to reverse it.  Both men got to their feet, and Michaels chopped Flair.  They went to the mat, and Michaels tried for a bridge, but couldn't get it.  Flair backdropped Michaels, but Michaels turned it into a sunset flip for a two count.

Michaels chopped Flair, but Flair reversed a whip and sent Michaels into the corner.  Flair then hit a chopblock to the back of the leg.  Flair went for the figure four again, but Michaels grabbed a small package for a two count.  Michaels went for an enzugiri, but Flair ducked it and applied the figure four leglock.  Michaels tried to inch towards the ropes, but Flair inched them back into the center of the ring.  Michaels rolled the figure four, but Flair rolled it back.  Michaels finally made the ropes to break the hold.  Flair stomped Michaels' leg near the ropes.  Flair let out a "Whoo!", then walked into a superkick by Michaels.  Michaels crawled onto Flair, but Flair got a shoulder up at the two count, to a pop.

Michaels struggled to his feet, and measured for one more superkick.  Flair wasn't getting up off the mat.  Michaels screamed for him to get up, then prepared for the kick again, stomping in the corner.  Flair wasn't getting up.  Michaels went to pull Flair up off the mat, and Flair hit a low blow mule kick, out of view of the referee.  The crowd popped for it.  Flair covered Michaels for a two count.  Flair went to grab Michaels, but Michaels tripped Flair and applied his inverted figure four.  Flair screamed in pain, struggled and made the ropes.  Michaels pulled Flair back toward the center of the ring, and a turnbuckle cover came off in Flair's hand.  As the referee took the cover away, Flair poked Michaels in the eyes.  Flair rolled up Michaels with a handful of tights for a two count.

Flair and Michaels exchanged chops, with Flair getting the better of it.  Flair hit several shots, then Michels snapped off a superkick, decking Flair.  Michaels lined up for another superkick, and looked like he was going to cry.  Flair got to his feet, and gestured for Michaels to bring it on.  Michaels said "I'm sorry, I love you." and nailed Flair with a superkick for the pin at the twenty one minute mark.

Winner: Shawn Michaels.

Michaels rolled out of the ring and headed up the aisle.  Flair got to his knees in the ring, crying.  Michaels' music stopped.  Flair got to his feet, and the Citrus Bowl gave him a huge ovation.  Flair went to ringside and kissed members of his family.  He walked up the aisle, and the place kept exploding into ovation after ovation. Flair turned at one point and said "I love you" to the crowd. Flair stopped at the stage, turned and gave a final wave, tears coming from his eyes, and walked off.  Ric Flair's career has ended.

Coverage continued on the next page.


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