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History John Cena Undertaker
Triple H Shawn Michaels Dave Batista

History: Wrestling is the act of physical engagement between two unarmed persons, in which each wrestler strives to get an advantage over or control of their opponent. Physical techniques which embody the style of wrestling are clinching, holding, locking, and leverage. Avoiding techniques likely to lead to serious injury, ritual fighting, but its basic principles are closely related to those of military hand-to-hand combat or self-defense systems. Many styles of wrestling are known all over the world and have long histories, and sport wrestling (particularly amateur wrestling) has been an Olympic sport for over one hundred years. back top

The Court

John Felix Anthony Cena (born April 23, 1977) is an American actor, hip hop musician, and wrestler. He is employed by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and performs on their Raw brand.

In his WWE career, Cena has been a three time WWE Champion, a three time United States Champion, and a one time World Tag Team Champion with Shawn Michaels. He also won the 2008 Royal Rumble. Before being promoted to the main WWE roster, Cena trained in and wrestled for Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling, holding the top titles of both promotions.

Outside of wrestling, Cena has released the rap album You Can't See Me, which debuted at #15 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and starred in the movie The Marine. He has also made appearances on television shows including Manhunt, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, and Punk'd. Most recently, Cena was a contestant on Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, where he made it to the final round before being eliminated, placing third in the overall competition.

Early Life: Cena was born April 23, 1977 in West Newbury, Massachusetts, the second eldest of five brothers – Dan, Matt, Steve and Sean. After graduating from Cushing Academy, Cena attended Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. In college he was a Division III All-American center on the football team, wearing the number 54, which is still used on some of his WWE merchandise. He graduated from Springfield in 1998 with a degree in exercise physiology, after which he pursued a career as a bodybuilder, and also worked as a chauffeur for a limousine company.


Training: Cena first started training to become a wrestler in 2000 at the California-based "Ultimate University" operated by Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW). Once he was placed into an in-ring role, Cena began using a semi-robotic character known as The Prototype. Some of this period of his career was documented in the Discovery Channel program Wrestling School. While in UPW, Cena held the Heavyweight Championship for just shy of a month in April 2000. In 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) signed him away from UPW, placing him under a developmental contract and assigning him to their "farm territory" Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he continued his training. During his time there, Cena wrestled as both The Prototype and Mr. P, and he held the Heavyweight Championship for three months and the Tag Team Championship (with Rico Constantino) for two.

2004-2005: In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match at the annual January pay-per-view event, making it to the final six participants before being eliminated by Big Show. The Royal Rumble elimination led to a feud between Big Show and Cena, during which Cena won the United States Championship from the Big Show at WrestleMania XX in March. During his reign, he came into contention with SmackDown! General Manager Kurt Angle over issues arising with René Duprée and Torrie Wilson. The reign ended just shy of four months when, on July 8, he was "stripped" of the belt by Angle after he (kayfabe, accidentally) knocked him over, thus "attacking an official". He won the title back by defeating Booker T in a "best of five" series that culminated at October's No Mercy, only to lose it to the debuting Carlito Caribbean Cool the next week. After the loss to Carlito, the duo began a feud, during which Cena was (kayfabe) stabbed in the kidney while at a Boston-area nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús. This worked injury was used to keep Cena out of action for a month, during which Cena was actually filming his feature film debut The Marine. Immediately on his return in November, he won the US title back from Carlito and debuted a "custom made" spinner-style title belt.

Cena took part in the Royal Rumble in January 2005, this time making it to the final two. He and Raw brand wrestler Batista went over the top rope at the same time, ostensibly ending the match. Vince McMahon, however, appeared on stage and re-started the match in "sudden death", with Batista eventually winning. The next month, Cena defeated Kurt Angle to earn a spot in the SmackDown! brand's WrestleMania 21 main event, beginning a feud with WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) and his Cabinet in the process. In the opening stages of the feud, Cena lost his US belt to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, who proceeded to "blow up" the spinner version with JBL and return a more traditional style belt. When Cena and JBL met at WrestleMania, the title switched hands, giving Cena his first world title in the company. As part of the storyline, he then had a spinner WWE Championship belt made, while JBL took the original belt and claimed to still be WWE Champion, until Cena reclaimed the original belt in an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day.

Cena's SmackDown! tenure came to a close on the June 6, 2005 episode of WWE Raw, when he became the first wrestler selected by Raw brand General Manager Eric Bischoff in the annual draft lottery. Cena immediately entered a program against Bischoff when he refused to participate in his "war" against the upcoming Extreme Championship Wrestling reunion show. With Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on Raw difficult, he "hand picked" Jericho to take Cena's title from him. During their feud, even though Cena was portrayed as the face and Jericho as the heel, a vocal section of live crowds nonetheless chose to Cena during their matches. More crowds followed suit during Cena's next feud with Kurt Angle, who took over as Bischoff's hand picked #1 contender after Cena beat Jericho in a "You're Fired" match on the August 22 Raw, sending him off the show. As the feud continued and the dissenters grew more vocal, sometimes seeming to outnumber fans by wide margins, the announce team was forced to acknowledge the boos on television and began calling Cena a "controversial champion", claiming some people disliked him on account of his "in-ring style" and his chosen fashion. Despite the mixed and negative reactions, Cena held on to his Championship through his feud with Angle, losing to him by disqualification — for which titles do not change hands in WWE — at Unforgiven in September and pinning him at Survivor Series in November. The feud with Angle also saw Cena add a secondary, submission based, finishing maneuver to his repertoire – the STFU (a Stepover Toehold Sleeper, though named for a Stepover Toehold Facelock) – when he was put into a Triple Threat Submissions Only match on the November 28 Raw.

2008:Cena made an unannounced return to action on January 27 as the final participant of the Royal Rumble match. He won the match, and the traditional WrestleMania title shot, by last eliminating Triple H. Instead of waiting until WrestleMania, the title shot was cashed in against WWE Champion Randy Orton at February's No Way Out, in a match Cena won by disqualification, resulting in him not getting the championship. The night after his No Way Out win, Cena was placed back in to WrestleMania XXIV's WWE Championship match, making it a three-way also involving Triple H, during which he was pinned by Orton. Lately, he has been placed in backstage segments hinting at a relationship with Mickie James. back top


Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965) is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name The Undertaker. He is signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Calaway began his wrestling career with World Class Championship Wrestling in 1984. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989. When WCW did not renew Calaway's contract at the end of 1990, in November of that year he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which became WWE in 2002. Having remained with that company ever since, Calaway is currently one of the senior performers in WWE. He is one of only two wrestlers, the other being Shawn Michaels, to have appeared on the very first episode of Raw who are still with the company today.

He is undefeated at WrestleMania with a 16-0 record and is a six-time world champion (four-time WWE Champion and two-time World Heavyweight Champion). He was also the winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble.

Early career (1984–1990): Mark Calaway made his debut in 1984 in Dallas, Texas based World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) under the ring name "Texas Red". He wrestled and lost his first match against Bruiser Brody. In 1988, after four years in the promotion, he left WCWA.


After leaving WCCW, Mark joined the CWA (which became the USWA after Jerry Jarrett merged CWA with WCCW) and wrestled under several gimmicks. On April 1, 1989, he was booked to win his first professional wrestling title, the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Jerry "The King" Lawler, under the ring name "The Master of Pain". Under the ring name "The Punisher", Calaway won the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship on October 5, 1989 when Eric Embry forfeited the title.

His first mainstream exposure was in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). While there, he was known as "Mean" Mark Callous and wrestled as part of the Skyscrapers tag team along with "Dangerous" Dan Spivey managed by Teddy Long. but Spivey left before the feud came to an end. Calaway then took on the guidance of Paul E. Dangerously and muscled his way through Brian Pillman and Johnny Ace. His most famous match in WCW was against Lex Luger for the NWA United States Championship at The Great American Bash, which he lost when Luger pinned him after a clothesline. WCW declined to renew Calaway's contract, after losing his last match to Sting on September 1, 1990 at a house show.

Calaway briefly wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling as Punisher Dice Morgan. Calaway signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late October 1990.

Debut and WWF Championship (1990–1991): Calaway made his WWF debut as Cain the Undertaker at a taping of WWF Superstars on November 19, 1990. He made his official on-camera debut on November 22 at Survivor Series as the mystery partner of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar team, where he was simply called The Undertaker. Approximately one minute into the match, Undertaker eliminated Koko B. Ware with his signature maneuver, the Tombstone Piledriver. He also eliminated Dusty Rhodes before being counted-out. Shortly after Survivor Series, "Cain" was dropped from his name, and he was called simply The Undertaker. The appearance of Undertaker was modeled after a mortician from old Western movies, with the character being supposedly impervious to pain and possessing supernatural powers, such as teleportation and manipulation of flames and lightning. It was at this time that the Undertaker switched managers from Brother Love to Paul Bearer.

He made his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII, squashing "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. After a year of B-main events with Ultimate Warrior in body bag matches, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan, he was booked to defeat Hogan to win his first WWF Championship at Survivor Series. In the storyline, WWF President Jack Tunney ordered a rematch for This Tuesday in Texas six days later, where Undertaker dropped the title back to Hogan.

Early feuds (1992–1995): After Undertaker's ally Jake "The Snake" Roberts lost a match to Randy Savage on Saturday Night's Main Event, Roberts tried to attack Savage's manager/wife Miss Elizabeth with a steel chair when the Undertaker stopped him, turning him face. The Undertaker defeated Roberts at WrestleMania VIII. He then feuded extensively in storylines with wrestlers managed by Harvey Wippeman throughout 1992 and 1993, most notably Kamala, whom he faced and defeated in the first televised coffin match in WWF history at Survivor Series, and Giant Gonzales, whom he defeated by disqualification at WrestleMania IX and by pinfall at SummerSlam. In November 1993, he challenged then-WWF Champion Yokozuna to a casket match at the Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, Yokozuna sealed Undertaker in the casket with the assistance of several other heel wrestlers, winning the match. The Undertaker's "spirit" appeared from inside the casket on the video screen, warning that he would return. This began Undertaker's first hiatus. In reality, he had a back injury that was getting worse and needed time off. After WrestleMania X, Ted DiBiase introduced the Undertaker back to the WWF. This Undertaker, however, played by Brian Lee, was dubbed "Underfaker" later on by the fans and led to the resurrection of the real Undertaker (this time appearing as a zombie version of his original persona, and now wearing purple gloves and boot covers), and a battle at SummerSlam between the two, where the real Undertaker won the match after three Tombstone Piledrivers. At Survivor Series, Undertaker had a rematch against Yokozuna, once again in a casket match, with Chuck Norris as a special guest enforcer to keep anyone from interfering in the match. Despite interference from King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Irwin R. Schyster, the Undertaker won the match by delivering a running big boot to Yokozuna, which pushed Yokozuna into the casket, and then closing the lid. Throughout most of 1995, the Undertaker feuded with members of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. At WrestleMania XI, while Undertaker was facing King Kong Bundy, Kama Mustafa stole the Undertaker's source of storyline power, the urn, and disrespected the Undertaker by converting it into a large gold necklace. As part of the angle, the two faced each other in a casket match at SummerSlam, which the Undertaker won. Several weeks later, Undertaker injured his orbital bone near his eye, forcing a period of absence for surgery, until his return at Survivor Series.

Early feuds (1992–1995): After Undertaker's ally Jake "The Snake" Roberts lost a match to Randy Savage on Saturday Night's Main Event, Roberts tried to attack Savage's manager/wife Miss Elizabeth with a steel chair when the Undertaker stopped him, turning him face. The Undertaker defeated Roberts at WrestleMania VIII. He then feuded extensively in storylines with wrestlers managed by Harvey Wippeman throughout 1992 and 1993, most notably Kamala, whom he faced and defeated in the first televised coffin match in WWF history at Survivor Series, and Giant Gonzales, whom he defeated by disqualification at WrestleMania IX and by pinfall at SummerSlam. In November 1993, he challenged then-WWF Champion Yokozuna to a casket match at the Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, Yokozuna sealed Undertaker in the casket with the assistance of several other heel wrestlers, winning the match. The Undertaker's "spirit" appeared from inside the casket on the video screen, warning that he would return. This began Undertaker's first hiatus. In reality, he had a back injury that was getting worse and needed time off.

After WrestleMania X, Ted DiBiase introduced the Undertaker back to the WWF. This Undertaker, however, played by Brian Lee, was dubbed "Underfaker" later on by the fans and led to the resurrection of the real Undertaker (this time appearing as a zombie version of his original persona, and now wearing purple gloves and boot covers), and a battle at SummerSlam between the two, where the real Undertaker won the match after three Tombstone Piledrivers. At Survivor Series, Undertaker had a rematch against Yokozuna, once again in a casket match, with Chuck Norris as a special guest enforcer to keep anyone from interfering in the match. Despite interference from King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Irwin R. Schyster, the Undertaker won the match by delivering a running big boot to Yokozuna, which pushed Yokozuna into the casket, and then closing the lid.

Throughout most of 1995, the Undertaker feuded with members of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. At WrestleMania XI, while Undertaker was facing King Kong Bundy, Kama Mustafa stole the Undertaker's source of storyline power, the urn, and disrespected the Undertaker by converting it into a large gold necklace. As part of the angle, the two faced each other in a casket match at SummerSlam, which the Undertaker won. Several weeks later, Undertaker injured his orbital bone near his eye, forcing a period of absence for surgery, until his return at Survivor Series.

Lord of Darkness, Ministry of Darkness (1996–1999): The Undertaker returned at the 1995 Survivor Series, wearing a Phantom-like ghostly Grey upper facemask. At the Royal Rumble, the Undertaker was unmasked in a WWF Championship match against Bret Hart. In the storyline, Diesel interfered in the match to cost the Undertaker the championship, and one month later, while Diesel was facing Hart in a steel cage match, Undertaker came up from under the ring to drag Diesel underneath, allowing Hart the victory. This feud culminated in a match between the duo at WrestleMania XII, in which the Undertaker was victorious.

His next feud commenced the very next night, when Mankind made his debut, interfering in the Undertaker's match with Justin Hawk Bradshaw. For the next few months, Mankind ambushed and cost the Undertaker several matches. The Undertaker faced Mankind for the first time in a match at the King of the Ring, which Mankind won. The Undertaker's storyline with Mankind grew more intense, and they began taking their battles into crowds, backstage areas, and in the boiler rooms of different arenas. As a result, the first ever Boiler Room Brawl match was booked between the two at SummerSlam. During the match, when Undertaker reached for his urn, Paul Bearer hit him with it, turning on the Undertaker and allowing Mankind to "incapacitate the Undertaker with the Mandible Claw, giving him the win. After Bearer's betrayal, the Undertaker took his storyline rivalry with Mankind to a new level, resulting in a Buried Alive match at In Your House 11: Buried Alive. Undertaker won the match after a Chokeslam into the open grave, but after interference from The Executioner, as well as the help of several other superstars, The Undertaker was ultimately "Buried Alive". As a result, a match was booked for the upcoming Survivor Series, again pitting the Undertaker against Mankind, with a unique stipulation. Hanging 20 ft above the ring was Paul Bearer, enclosed in a steel cage. If Undertaker won the match, he would be able to get his hands on Bearer. Even though Undertaker won the match, interference from The Executioner enabled Bearer to escape the Undertaker's clutches. The Undertaker then shifted feuds and briefly turned his attention to The Executioner, who, in storyline, had become a thorn in his side since his arrival. At the following pay-per-view, the Undertaker defeated the masked Executioner. Towards the end of 1996, the Undertaker began feuding with another of Paul Bearer's minions, Vader, culminating in a loss to Vader at the Royal Rumble after interference from Bearer. After this loss, the Undertaker's character began to focus his attention on the WWF Championship.

At WrestleMania 13, The Undertaker was booked to win his second WWF Championship from Sycho Sid in a No Disqualification match. After the event, Paul Bearer attempted to rejoin with the Undertaker, using the threat of revealing 'Taker's "biggest secret". In the storyline, Bearer announced that Undertaker was a murderer, who as a child had burned down the family funeral home business (where Bearer worked), killing his parents and his younger brother. Undertaker claimed there was no way for Bearer to have that information, but Paul announced that he was told this by Undertaker's brother Kane, who was still alive but horribly burned and scarred. Bearer raised Kane after the fire, having him institutionalized. Now, Kane was waiting for revenge after all these years. In defense, Undertaker responded that Kane, a pyromaniac, had been the one to set the fire and could not have possibly survived. His next major storyline began at SummerSlam in 1997 when referee Shawn Michaels accidentally hit Undertaker with a steel chair shot meant for Bret Hart, costing the Undertaker his WWF Championship. Although the chair shot was accidental, Michaels taunted the Undertaker in the following weeks. The feud culminated at In Your House: Badd Blood, where the Undertaker challenged Michaels to the first ever Hell in a Cell match. During this match, Undertaker's storyline brother Kane made his debut, ripping off the door to the cell and giving Undertaker a Tombstone Piledriver, Undertaker's trademark finisher, allowing Michaels to pin him. As the angle progressed, Kane, with Paul Bearer, challenged the Undertaker to fights, but was refused consistently by the Undertaker. The Undertaker's final encounter with Michaels was in the return of the casket match at the Royal Rumble, where Kane cost the Undertaker the win by trapping him in the coffin, padlocked the casket lid, and set it ablaze. The Undertaker, however, had disappeared when the casket lid was reopened. After a two-month hiatus, Undertaker returned to continue the angle and defeat Kane at WrestleMania XIV. The two had a rematch, the first ever Inferno match, one month later at In Your House: Unforgiven, where The Undertaker was booked to win by setting Kane's right arm on fire.

Undertaker's longtime feud with Mankind was renewed afterwards, when Mankind cost the Undertaker a number one contenders match against Kane. As a result, Undertaker and Mankind faced each other in a Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring. During the match, Undertaker threw Mankind off the roof of the sixteen foot cell onto the Spanish announcers' table below, in what was a preplanned move. He later chokeslammed Mankind through the roof of the cell into the ring -- which legitimately knocked Mick Foley (Mankind) unconscious -- and finished the match by chokeslamming Mankind onto a pile of thumbtacks. The Undertaker was able to compete in the match even while sporting a bone spur in the heel of one of his feet.

In July 1998 at Fully Loaded, Undertaker and Steve Austin were booked to defeat Kane and Mankind to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Undertaker and Austin's reign as tag champions lasted for only two weeks, as Kane and Mankind regained the titles on an episode of Raw. Undertaker then became the #1 Contender for the WWF Championship at SummerSlam, now held by Austin. Shortly before SummerSlam, however, Undertaker revealed that he and Kane were together as brothers. Despite this revelation, Undertaker told Kane that he did not want him to interfere in the match with Austin, and even though Undertaker lost the match, he handed Austin his belt back after the match in a show of respect. In September, the storyline continued, and Undertaker began to show heel characteristics, becoming a tweener, when he and Kane revealed the fact that they were in cahoots to rid Austin of his title for Vince McMahon. At Breakdown: In Your House, Undertaker and Kane were booked in a triple threat match with Austin for his WWF title. Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin simultaneously after a double chokeslam, so the title was vacated by Mr. McMahon, whose leg was then kayfabe broken in response by the brothers. This led to a match at In Your House: Judgment Day between the two brothers for the title, with Stone Cold as the Special Guest Referee. Near the end of the match, Paul Bearer seemingly to assist Kane by handing him a steel chair to hit Undertaker with, but as Kane had his back turned, both Bearer and Undertaker hit Kane with the chair. Undertaker went for the pin, but Austin refused to count the fall, attacked the Undertaker, and counted out both brothers. Finally, Undertaker turned heel the next night on Raw is WAR for the first time in over six years, reconciling with Paul Bearer and claiming that he and Bearer would unleash their Ministry of Darkness on the World Wrestling Federation. As part of this new angle, he admitted that he had indeed set the fire that killed his parents, for which he had previously blamed Kane.

After Survivor Series, Undertaker turned his attention back to a feud with Austin for costing him the title at Judgment Day, viciously hitting Austin in the head with a shovel during a title match with The Rock, returning the favor for what happened a month earlier. With this twist in the angle, Vince McMahon scheduled a Buried Alive match between Undertaker and Austin in December 1998 at Rock Bottom: In Your House. In the weeks leading up to Rock Bottom, the Undertaker character became increasingly demonic and satanic, attempting to embalm Austin alive, trying to have Kane committed to a mental asylum, and having his druids chain Austin to his symbol and raising it high into the arena. Undertaker, however, lost the match after Kane interfered.

In January 1999, Undertaker returned, remaining a monster heel and forming the Ministry of Darkness, explaining that he was taking orders from a "Higher Power." Eventually, the Ministry merged with Shane McMahon's Corporation heel stable to form the Corporate Ministry. During this time, The Undertaker was booked to defeat Austin for his third WWF Championship at Over the Edge with help from Shane McMahon, the special referee. Two weeks later, it was revealed on Raw that Vince McMahon had been the Undertaker character's "Higher Power" all along. After Undertaker dropped the WWF title back to Austin one night after King of the Ring, his relationship with the McMahons dissolved, and the Corporate Ministry disbanded.

Undertaker then began a storyline where he teamed with The Big Show in a tag team known as The UnHoly Alliance, which held the WWF Tag Team Championship twice. He was then scheduled to perform at Unforgiven, contending for the WWF Championship, but a groin injury knocked him out of action for the remainder of the year and part of the next. On screen, his absence was explained by The Undertaker quitting.

2000-2003: Undertaker was due to return to action for WrestleMania 2000, but a legitimate biceps injury in February 2000 delayed his return until May 2000. When he returned at Judgment Day, Undertaker's gimmick was dramatically modified in line with wrestling's change to a more realistic approach. His gimmick became that of an intimidating biker, known as the "American Bad Ass", and he began using the Last Ride (Elevated Powerbomb) as his finishing move, as opposed to the Tombstone Piledriver, which had become synonymous with the Undertaker over the years. Upon his return, his storyline called for him to take out all the members of the McMahon-Helmsley Faction, which quickly turned him face again. He also targeted their leader, WWF Champion Triple H. At King of the Ring, Undertaker teamed with The Rock and Kane to defeat the team of Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon. Afterwards, he was booked to team with Kane to contend for the WWF Tag Team Championship. They defeated Edge and Christian, earning the right to face them the following week for the tag titles, which Edge and Christian retained. Kane turned on The Undertaker by chokeslamming him twice on the August 14 episode of Raw. This led to another match between the two at SummerSlam, which ended in a no-contest as Kane ran from the ring area after The Undertaker removed Kane's mask.

Undertaker was then booked to challenge Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series. Angle, however, defeated Undertaker following interference from Kurt's real life brother Eric Angle. Undertaker demanded and was awarded a spot in the Six-Man Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship at Armageddon. During the match, Undertaker, who did not win the match, performed a move where he threw Rikishi off the roof of the cell.

In 2001, Undertaker reunited with Kane as the Brothers of Destruction, challenging for the WWF Tag Team Championship once again. As part of the angle, they received a shot at the title at No Way Out, facing Edge and Christian and then-champions the Dudley Boyz in a Tables Match. The Brothers of Destruction dominated almost the entire match but were not the winners. Undertaker was then booked to defeat Triple H at WrestleMania X-Seven, where he improved his WrestleMania winning streak to 9-0. He and Kane continued a storyline that focused on Triple H, who formed a "surprise alliance" with WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. After Austin and Triple H kayfabe injured Kane's arm, the Brothers of Destruction were granted an opportunity to face Triple H and Austin. After Undertaker and Kane acquired the WWF Tag Title from Edge and Christian, Triple H pinned Kane after attacking him with a sledgehammer at Backlash, where the Brothers of Destruction dropped the titles. With Kane injured, Undertaker feuded briefly Steve Austin for his WWF Championship, but at Judgment Day, Austin retained his title against the Undertaker.

As part of the 2001 Invasion angle, The Undertaker's next nemesis was Diamond Dallas Page, who was obsessively following The Undertaker's wife Sara. At SummerSlam, WCW Tag Team Champions Undertaker and Kane defeated Page and his partner Chris Kanyon in a steel cage match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. At Survivor Series, Undertaker began a storyline where he took on The Alliance's Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, and Kurt Angle while teaming up with Kane, the Rock, Chris Jericho, and the Big Show. Angle pinned the Undertaker due to interference by Austin. After the Alliance was defeated, The Undertaker turned heel once again by forcing commentator Jim Ross to kiss Vince McMahon's ass. This was the beginning of a new persona for the Undertaker, as he cut his long hair short and called himself "Big Evil". At Vengeance, the Undertaker was booked to defeat Van Dam to capture the WWF Hardcore Championship.

The Undertaker during his "Big Evil" persona
Undertaker's next angle began at the Royal Rumble in 2002 when Maven eliminated him by dropkicking him from behind. Subsequently, The Undertaker eliminated Maven in return and brutally assaulted him backstage. On an episode of SmackDown!, The Rock mentioned The Undertaker's elimination at the Royal Rumble, angering The Undertaker. The Undertaker responded by costing The Rock the #1 contendership for the WWF Undisputed Championship. The storyline continued when The Rock cost The Undertaker his match with Maven for the Hardcore Championship. The two faced off at No Way Out, where The Undertaker lost due to interference from Ric Flair. This began a storyline with Flair, who declined a challenge to wrestle Undertaker at WrestleMania X8, and, as a result, Undertaker assaulted his son David Flair. Ric Flair eventually accepted the match after the Undertaker threatened to inflict the same punishment on Flair's daughter. A no disqualification stipulation was added to the match, and The Undertaker defeated Flair.

After the angle with Flair, Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash to win the #1 contendership for the WWF Undisputed Championship. Later that night, his storyline called for him to help Hulk Hogan win his title match against the Undisputed Champion Triple H. The Undertaker was then booked to defeat Hogan for his fourth world championship at Judgment Day. Undertaker soon turned face after a Ladder match with Jeff Hardy, whose hand he raised after the match as a sign of respect. Undertaker, however, dropped the title at Vengeance to The Rock in a Triple Threat match that also involved Kurt Angle. The Undertaker was then switched from Raw to SmackDown!, alongside former Raw talent Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero. Undertaker was booked to challenge Lesnar in a title match at Unforgiven that inevitably ended in a double-DQ. Their feud carried over to No Mercy in a Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker performed in the match with a legitimate broken hand and eventually lost to the champion.

Undertaker then suffered a kayfabe injury after the Big Show threw him off the stage in Memphis, sparking a feud. (in reality, he and his wife, Sara, were expecting their first child together) The Undertaker returned at the Royal Rumble in 2003. He immediately continued his feud with Big Show and defeated him via submission at No Way Out. A-Train entered the angle by attempting to attack Undertaker after the match, but Nathan Jones came to his aid. The storyline resumed as Undertaker began to train Jones to wrestle, and the two were scheduled to fight Big Show and A-Train in a tag team match at WrestleMania XIX. Jones, however, was removed prior to the match, making it a handicap match, which Undertaker won with the help of Jones.

Over the remainder of the year, he was booked to have two WWE Championship opportunities. The first, on the September 4 SmackDown!, against Kurt Angle, ended in a no contest, due to interference from Brock Lesnar. The second, at No Mercy, was a Biker Chain match between Undertaker and Lesnar, which Lesnar won with the help of Vince McMahon. This resulted in a storyline feud with McMahon, culminating at Survivor Series where Undertaker lost a Buried Alive match against McMahon when Kane interfered. The Undertaker disappeared for some time following the match, with Kane claiming that he was "dead and buried forever."

The Phenom (2004–2006): In the storyline leading up to WrestleMania XX, Kane was haunted by vignettes proclaiming an Undertaker return. The first was during the Royal Rumble when Undertaker's bells tolled, distracting Kane and allowing Booker T to eliminate him. At WrestleMania XX, the Undertaker, accompanied by Paul Bearer and in his "Deadman" persona, returned and defeated Kane. Three months later, Bearer was kidnapped by the Dudley Boyz at the direction of Paul Heyman, who then took "control" of Undertaker. The angle added a new twist at The Great American Bash where Undertaker was forced to fight a handicap match against the Dudleys, and if he lost, Heyman would bury Bearer in cement. The Undertaker won but buried Bearer anyway, explaining that Bearer was merely a liability now and that he had no use for him anymore. Fans were later told that Bearer was "seriously injured," but in reality, he was simply removed from WWE programming due to health reasons. The Undertaker also remained a face.

After defeating the Dudley Boyz, Undertaker began a new storyline feud by challenging then WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) to a title match at SummerSlam, which Undertaker lost when he disqualified himself. At No Mercy, Undertaker and JBL were booked to compete in the first ever "Last Ride" match, although Undertaker lost after Heidenreich interfered. After a brief program with Heidenreich, Undertaker turned his focus to the WWE Championship once again. Along with Eddie Guerrero and Booker T, he challenged JBL to a championship rematch at Armageddon in a Fatal Four-Way, in which Undertaker was unsuccessful, again due to Heidenreich's interference. This led to a Casket match between Undertaker and Heidenreich at the Royal Rumble, where Undertaker sealed Heidenreich in a casket for the victory to end the storyline.
The Undertaker making his entrance during an episode of SmackDown!.

Soon afterward, Randy Orton challenged The Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania 21, in an angle where Orton claimed that he would end The Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak. Even with help from his father "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Randy failed, and the Undertaker improved his WrestleMania record to 13-0. Following WrestleMania, Undertaker took a two month hiatus from wrestling after the birth of his second daughter in late May 2005. He returned for the June 16 episode of SmackDown! but lost to JBL, thanks to interference from Randy Orton. After The Great American Bash, Undertaker became #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, a position that JBL felt he should have. As part of the feud, on the following SmackDown!, Undertaker lost a #1 contender match against JBL, once again due to interference from Orton. With this, Undertaker resumed his feud with Orton. At SummerSlam, Orton defeated Undertaker in a WrestleMania rematch. The storyline intensified as the two taunted each other with caskets, leading to a casket match at No Mercy, in which Undertaker lost to Randy and his father "Cowboy" Bob Orton. After the match, the Ortons poured gasoline on the casket and set it afire. When the charred casket was opened, however, Undertaker had once again vanished. He returned at the Survivor Series, emerging from a burning casket. Undertaker returned to SmackDown! in early December to haunt Orton and set up a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon. After winning the match, Calaway took a short hiatus from wrestling, presumably due to controversy associated with the match, as Bob Orton was diagnosed with hepatitis but was allowed to bleed during the match without Calaway knowing of his condition.

In early 2006 at the Royal Rumble, Undertaker returned during Kurt Angle's celebration of his world title defense against Mark Henry on a horse drawn cart and kayfabe destroyed the ring with lightning bolts. As part of their storyline feud, Undertaker lost his match with Angle at No Way Out after a thirty minute bout. Undertaker cornered Angle after the match, and after a stare down, told Angle that he had his number and that he was not finished with him yet. The Undertaker had his No Way Out rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship against Angle on SmackDown! when Henry attacked Undertaker from behind, costing him the title. This began an angle between the duo, as Undertaker then challenged Henry to a Casket match at WrestleMania 22, and Henry, like Orton a year before him, vowed to end Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak. Undertaker defeated Mark Henry to become 14-0 at WrestleMania, keeping his storyline undefeated streak alive. During a rematch on the next edition of SmackDown!, The Great Khali made his debut and assaulted the Undertaker, signaling the end of one storyline and the beginning of a new one.

The Undertaker retaining his undefeated streak at WrestleMania 22. The Undertaker was not heard from until the May 5 edition of SmackDown!, as Theodore Long delivered a challenge from Undertaker to Khali for a match at Judgment Day. Undertaker was booked to cleanly lose to Khali, and he did not appear again until the July 4 edition of SmackDown! to accept Khali's challenge to a Punjabi Prison match at The Great American Bash. Khali, however, was removed from the match due to elevated liver enzymes and was replaced by ECW Champion The Big Show, over whom The Undertaker gained the victory. In the storyline, Teddy Long replaced Khali with Big Show as punishment for an attack on Undertaker shortly before the match. Khali was then challenged to a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam after interfering in Undertaker's match with World Heavyweight Champion King Booker. Khali refused the challenge for SummerSlam, though Long made the match official for the August 18 episode of SmackDown! instead. Undertaker won the match by striking Khali with the steel stairs, delivering several chair shots, and finishing him with a chokeslam.

Brothers of Destruction reunion (2006–2007): The Undertaker's next match was with WWE United States Champion Mr. Kennedy at No Mercy but was disqualified in the match after he hit Kennedy with the championship belt. On the November 3 edition of SmackDown!, Undertaker reunited with Kane to form the Brothers of Destruction for the first time in five years, defeating the reluctant opposition team of Mr. Kennedy and MVP, with whom Kane was feuding with at the time. As part of the angle, Kennedy defeated Undertaker in a First Blood match at Survivor Series after interference from MVP, but finally defeated Kennedy in a Last Ride match at Armageddon by delivering a chokeslam and Tombstone on the roof of the hearse, sticking him in the back, and driving the hearse out of the ring. The two continued to feud into 2007 as Kennedy cost Undertaker two World Heavyweight Championship opportunities for a championship match at the Royal Rumble.

Pursuit of the World Heavyweight Championship (2007–present): Undertaker won his first Royal Rumble match after Shawn Michaels attempted Sweet Chin Music, and Undertaker ducked and lifted Michaels over the top rope for the victory. He became the first man to enter the Rumble at number 30 and win the match. He then began an angle with Batista, whom he defeated at WrestleMania 23 to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. On the next SmackDown!, Batista entered the ring and declared that he wanted a rematch in the form of a Last Man Standing match at Backlash. The rematch ended in a draw when neither man was able to answer the ten-count after Batista speared Undertaker off the entrance stage, causing the steel pillars to fall on top of the two men, resulting in the Undertaker retaining the Championship. On the May 11 SmackDown! taping, Undertaker had a Steel Cage match with Batista that was booked to result in a draw when both men's feet touched the floor at the same time. After the match, Mark Henry returned and assaulted the defenseless Undertaker. Immediately after the assault, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot, and Undertaker dropped the World Heavyweight Championship to Edge. As Undertaker laid in the ring, druids appeared and carried him to the backstage area. In reality, Calaway had suffered an arm injury that required surgery, but WWE did not want to break the Undertaker's character by having him forfeit the title. During Calaway's rehabilitation, Henry squashed local jobbers and bragged about his assault on Undertaker, until vignettes began playing promoting Undertaker's return. The Undertaker returned at Unforgiven, successfully defeating Henry with a Last Ride from the corner and again on SmackDown! two weeks later with a chokeslam. Batista and Undertaker re-ignited their storyline feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Batista retained the world title after two Batista Bombs. They battled again inside Hell in a Cell at Survivor Series where Edge returned and interfered by giving Undertaker a con-chair-to and pulling an unconscious Batista on top of Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. In response to this, Undertaker delivered a Tombstone piledriver to General Manager Vickie Guerrero, on the next SmackDown!, in storyline, sending her to the hospital. Returning Assistant-GM Theodore Long declared a Triple Threat match for the title at Armageddon. Edge won the match by pinning Batista, who had been given a Tombstone piledriver which was followed by Undertaker being hit with a chair while he attempted the pinfall.
The Undertaker locks Edge in the Gogoplata.

On the January 4, 2008 edition of SmackDown!, the Undertaker competed in a Beat the Clock challenge, attempting to become the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble against Mark Henry with Matt Striker as the Special Guest Referee. Undertaker eventually hit Henry with a chokeslam and pinned him, but Striker pulled his hand away and exited the ring before the three-count, resulting in The Undertaker not beating the clock. Later in the night the Undertaker, along with Batista, interfered in Rey Mysterio's match, helping him defeat the champion himself, Edge, to become the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. But despite this, Mysterio failed to defeat Edge at the Royal Rumble. Undertaker, in a complete turn from his win in 2007, drew number 1 and was eliminated by the man who he eliminated for the win the year prior, Shawn Michaels.

A month later at No Way Out, Undertaker defeated Batista, Finlay, The Great Khali, Montel Vontavious Porter and Big Daddy V in a SmackDown/ECW Elimination Chamber, to become the number one contender for Edge's World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV. He defeated Edge at WrestleMania with his gogoplata submission hold, to win his second World Heavyweight title and elevate his undefeated streak at WrestleMania to 16-0. In a WrestleMania rematch, The Undertaker defeated Edge once again at Backlash to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. On the May 2, 2008 episode of Friday Night SmackDown!, SmackDown! General Manager, Vickie Guerrero, stripped The Undertaker of the World Heavyweight Championship and banned his submission choke hold, the gogoplata, for the safety of the SmackDown superstars, some of whom were kayfabe injured by the choke hold. The Undertaker battled Edge for the title at Judgment Day, which he won but could not keep the title because of the count out victory. The two faced each other again for the championship at One Night Stand in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, which Undertaker lost. As a result of the pre-match stipulation, Undertaker was (kayfabe) banished from the WWE. back top

Triple H

Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969) is an American professional wrestler and actor, better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of his former ring name Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He currently wrestles for the Raw brand of World Wrestling Entertainment, where he is the reigning WWE Champion.

Before joining WWE, Levesque began his wrestling career with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1993, wrestling under the ring name Terra Ryzing. He changed his ring name to Jean-Paul Lévesque before joining the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1995.His initial on-screen persona was that of wealthy sophisticate Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He later changed his name to Triple H and adopted an alternative image in the group D-Generation X (DX), a stable. After the dissolution of DX, Triple H was pushed as a main-event wrestler, winning several singles championships. As part of a storyline, the scripted events in wrestling, Triple H married Stephanie McMahon, who later became his real-life spouse. In 2003, Triple H formed another stable known as Evolution, and in 2006, briefly reformed DX with Shawn Michaels.


Overall, Triple H is a twelve-time world champion: a seven-time and current WWE Champion, and a five-time World Heavyweight Champion. In addition, he won the 1997 King of the Ring, the 2002 Royal Rumble, and was the second Grand Slam Champion.
Outside wrestling, Levesque has made numerous guest appearances in film and on television. He is starring in the WWE Film, Journey of Death, which is due to release in 2009.

World Championship Wrestling: In early 1994, he joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), wrestling as a heel. In his first televised match, he defeated Brian Armstrong. He continued using the name Terra Ryzing until mid-1994, when he was renamed Jean-Paul Lévesque. This gimmick referred to his surname's French origins and he was asked to speak with a French accent, as he could not speak French. During this time, he began using his finisher, The Pedigree. Lévesque had a brief storyline feud with Alex Wright that culminated at Starrcade. In early 1995, Lévesque briefly teamed with Lord Steven Regal, whose snobby British persona was a good match with Lévesque's similar persona. The team was short-lived, however, as Lévesque soon left for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after WCW shot down his request to be pushed as a singles competitor.

The Connecticut Blueblood (1995–1997): As a continuation of his gimmick in WCW, Triple H started off his WWF career as the Connecticut Blueblood, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He appeared in taped vignettes, in which he talked about how to use proper etiquette, up until his wrestling debut on the April 30, 1995 episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge.

Although he was heavily pushed in the first few months after his debut, his career stalled during 1996, starting off with being mired in a feud with Duke "The Dumpster" Droese following a loss in the Free For All at the 1996 Royal Rumble. Up until that event, his angle included appearing on television each week with a different female valet. Sable was his valet at WrestleMania XII, and after his loss to Ultimate Warrior, as part of the storyline, he took his aggressions out on her. The debuting Marc Mero came to her rescue, starting a feud between the two wrestlers.

On May 28, 1996, Triple H appeared on WWF Superstars against Marty Garner. When Helmsley attempted to use the Pedigree, Garner mistook the maneuver for a double-underhook suplex and tried to jump up with the move, causing him to land squarely on top of his head and suffer neck damage. Garner sued the WWF, eventually settling out of court and later discussed the incident in an appearance on The Montel Williams Show.

Helmsley was known backstage as one of the members of The Kliq, a group of wrestlers including Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall, who were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF Creative team. Helmsley was in line to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, but he was demoted from championship contender to jobber to the stars after the Madison Square Garden Incident, in which the Kliq broke character after a match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall.

Despite the punishment, Helmsley did have several successes following the MSG Incident. He found a manager in Mr. Perfect and was booked to win his first Intercontinental Championship on October 21, 1996, defeating Marc Mero. When Mr. Perfect left the WWF, his departure was explained to be a result of Helmsley turning his back on his manager as soon as he won the Intercontinental Championship. He held the belt for nearly four months before dropping it to Rocky Maivia on the February 13, 1997 special edition of Monday Night Raw, called Thursday Raw Thursday. For a very brief time, Helmsley was accompanied by Mr. Hughes, who was his storyline bodyguard. After losing the Intercontinental title, he feuded with Goldust, defeating him at WrestleMania 13. During their feud, Chyna debuted as his new bodyguard and assaulted Goldust's wife and valet Marlena.

D-Generation X (1997–1999): Helmsley's push resumed in 1997, when he won the King of the Ring tournament on June 8 by defeating Mankind in the finals. Later that year, Shawn Michaels, Helmsley, Chyna and Rick Rude formed D-Generation X (DX). This stable later became known for pushing the envelope, as Michaels and Helmsley made risqué promos, spawning the catchphrase "Suck It", along with a "crotch chop" hand motion, and sarcastically deriding Bret Hart and Canada. By that point, Helmsley had fully dropped the "blueblood snob" gimmick. During this period, his ring name was shortened to simply Triple H. Even after the DX versus Hart Foundation storyline ended when Bret, Jim Neidhart, and Davey Boy Smith defected to WCW, Helmsley continued to feud with the sole remaining member Owen Hart over the WWF European Championship. This culminated in a match between the two at WrestleMania XIV, with the stipulation that Chyna had to be handcuffed to then-Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter. Helmsley won after Chyna threw powder into Slaughter's eyes, momentarily "blinding" him and allowing her to interfere in the match.

After WrestleMania, Michaels was forced into retirement due to a legitimate back injury sustained at the Royal Rumble, and on-screen, Triple H took over the leadership position in DX, claiming that his now-former associate had "dropped the ball". He introduced the returning X-Pac the night after WrestleMania and joined forces with the New Age Outlaws ("Bad Ass" Billy Gunn and "Road Dogg" Jesse James). Triple H led the "DX Army" throughout 1998, spawning a series of vignettes in which the DX army "invaded" the CNN Building and WCW Offices in Atlanta, culminating in the group nearly crashing an episode of Nitro in Virginia. It was also during this time that Triple H began a feud with the leader of the Nation of Domination and rising WWF heel, The Rock. This storyline rivalry eventually led to a feud over The Rock's Intercontinental Championship, which Triple H won in a Ladder match at SummerSlam. He did not hold the title long, however, as he was sidelined with a legitimate knee injury. When The Rock won the WWF Championship at the Survivor Series, the rivalry between the two continued, as DX fought Vince McMahon's Corporation stable, of which The Rock was the main star. Triple H received a shot at the WWF Championship on the January 25, 1999 edition of Raw in an "I Quit" match against The Rock, but the match ended when Triple H was forced to quit or see his aide Chyna chokeslammed by Kane. This began a new angle for Triple H, as Chyna betrayed him by attacking him after the match and joining the Corporation.

As part of the storyline, at WrestleMania XV, Triple H wrestled as a face for the last time in several months when he beat Kane with the aid of Chyna, who was thought to have rejoined DX. Later on in the night, he betrayed his long-time friend and fellow DX member X-Pac by helping Shane McMahon retain the European Championship. Triple H and Chyna then joined the Corporation, briefly placing them on the same side as The Rock. Unable to get along, The Rock turned on the Corporation and took Triple H's place as a crowd favorite. After Triple H's heel turn in early 1999, he moved away from his "DX" look, taping his fists for matches, sporting new and shorter wrestling trunks, and adopting a shorter hairstyle. His gimmick changed as he fought to earn a WWF title shot. After numerous failed attempts at winning the championship, Triple H and Mankind challenged WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin at SummerSlam in a Triple Threat match, which featured Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee. Mankind was booked to win the match by pinning Austin, becoming a three-time WWF champion. The following night on Raw, however, Triple H defeated Mankind to win his first WWF Championship.

Triple H dropped the WWF Championship to Vince McMahon on the September 16, 1999 edition of SmackDown! before regaining it at Unforgiven in a Six-Pack Challenge that included Davey Boy Smith, Big Show, Kane, The Rock, and Mankind. He defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at No Mercy before dropping the title to The Big Show at Survivor Series.

McMahon-Helmsley Era (2000–2001): By January 2000, already a three-time WWF champion, Triple H had dubbed himself "The Game," implying that he was at the top of the wrestling world, and was nicknamed "The Cerebral Assassin" by Jim Ross. His storyline feud with Vince McMahon continued, with McMahon winning the title from Triple H during an episode of SmackDown!. As a result of the feud, an angle with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon began which carried the WWF throughout the next seventeen months; this period was known as the "McMahon-Helmsley Era".

Triple H feuded with Mick Foley in early 2000 in a storyline that ended with a Hell in a Cell match at No Way Out that sent Foley into retirement. Triple H pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 to retain the title, but lost it at April's Backlash to The Rock. He regained it three weeks later, in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day, only to lose it back to The Rock at King of the Ring. Hunter then entered into a storyline feud with Chris Jericho, which culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Fully Loaded.

A later storyline feud between Triple H and Steve Austin started when it emerged that Triple H had paid off Rikishi to run down Austin at Survivor Series, causing him to take a year off action. In reality, Austin's previous neck injuries started bothering him again, forcing him to have surgery. In 2000, Triple H and Austin had a match at Survivor Series that ended when Triple H tried to trick Austin into coming into the parking lot to run him over again, only to have Austin lift his car up with a forklift and flip the car onto its roof 10 feet high. Triple H returned a few weeks later and attacked Austin. The feud continued into 2001 and culminated in a Three Stages of Hell match in which Helmsley defeated Austin. In 2001, Triple H also feuded with The Undertaker, who defeated him at WrestleMania X-Seven. He later teamed with his former nemesis Austin to form The Two-Man Power Trip, capturing both the WWF Tag Team Championship and the Intercontinental Championship (twice) by the end of the next pay-per-view.

During the May 21, 2001 broadcast of Raw, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury. In the night's main event, he and Steve Austin were defending the Tag Team title against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. At one point, Jericho had Austin trapped in the Walls of Jericho submission hold. Triple H ran-in to break it up, but just as he did, he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscle, causing it to come completely off the bone. Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match. He even allowed Jericho to put him in the Walls of Jericho, a move that places considerable stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, which was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. This injury brought an abrupt end to the McMahon-Helmsley Era, as the rigorous rehabilitation process kept Triple H out of action for over eight months, completely missing the Invasion storyline of WCW/ECW.

Return from injury (2002): Triple H after winning the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X8.
Triple H returned to Raw as a crowd favorite on January 7, 2002 at Madison Square Garden. He was booked to win that year's Royal Rumble to receive a WWF Undisputed Championship match in the main event at WrestleMania X8. At WrestleMania X8, Triple H beat Chris Jericho for the WWF Undisputed Championship. After holding the title for a month, Helmsley dropped it to Hulk Hogan at Backlash. Triple H then became exclusive to the SmackDown! roster due to the WWF Draft Lottery and continued to feud with Jericho, culminating in a Hell in a Cell match at Judgment Day.

In the interim, between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, the McMahon-Helmsley era was brought to an official on-screen conclusion. By the time he returned, Triple H's on-screen marriage to Stephanie McMahon was on the rocks, so Stephanie faked a pregnancy in order to get him back on her side. When he learned that it was fake, he dumped her publicly on Raw when they were supposed to renew their wedding vows. Stephanie aligned with Jericho afterward, but she was forced to leave action after losing a triple threat on Raw the night after WrestleMania when she was pinned by Triple H. The divorce, and thus the storyline, was finalized at Vengeance.

Meanwhile, Triple H's old D-Generation X companion Shawn Michaels had made his return to WWF and joined the New World Order (nWo), and Michaels and Kevin Nash planned to bring Triple H over to Raw in order to put him into the group. Vince McMahon, however, disbanded the nWo following several backstage complications and brought in Eric Bischoff as the Raw brand's new General manager. One of Bischoff's first intentions was to follow up on the nWo's plan and woo Triple H over to the Raw roster. Triple H did indeed jump over to the Raw brand, reuniting with Shawn Michaels, but on July 22, he turned on Michaels by performing a Pedigree on him during what was supposed to be a DX reunion. The following week, as part of the storyline, Triple H smashed Michaels' face into a car window to prove that Michaels was "weak". These events led to the beginning of a long storyline rivalry between the former partners and an eventual "Unsanctioned Street Fight" at SummerSlam, in which Michaels came out of retirement to win. Afterwards, however, Triple H attacked him with a sledgehammer, and Michaels was carried out of the ring.

Before September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one champion for both the Raw and SmackDown! brands. After SummerSlam, champion Brock Lesnar signed a storyline deal to become exclusive to SmackDown!, leaving Raw without a champion. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff then awarded the World Heavyweight Championship to Triple H in the form of the old WCW Championship belt. Triple H then received a push by having numerous successful title defenses, but he eventually dropped the belt to Shawn Michaels in the first ever Elimination Chamber match at Survivor Series. He regained the title from Michaels a month later in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon. Evolution (2003–2005): Triple H as the World Heavyweight Champion.

In January 2003, Triple H formed a stable known as Evolution with Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista. The group was pushed on Raw from 2003 to 2004, the height of their dominance occurring after Armageddon when every member of Evolution left the pay-per-view holding a title. Triple H held the World Heavyweight Championship for most of 2003. At the 2004 Royal Rumble, Triple H and Shawn Michaels fought in a Last Man Standing match to a double countout, so Triple H retained the title. Triple H dropped the title to Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX, and he was unable to reclaim the belt from Benoit in subsequent rematches, including a rematch of the WrestleMania main event between Triple H, Benoit, and Shawn Michaels at Backlash.

He then ended his angle with Michaels, defeating him in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood. After another failed attempt, losing to Benoit at Vengeance, he focused on Eugene, beating him at SummerSlam. Triple H then regained the title from former associate Randy Orton at Unforgiven. Following a triple threat World title defense against Benoit and Edge on the November 29, 2004 episode of Raw, the World Heavyweight Championship became vacant for the first time. At New Year's Revolution, Triple H won the Elimination Chamber to begin his tenth world title reign. At WrestleMania 21, Triple H lost the championship to Batista, and subsequently lost two rematches at consecutive Raw pay-per-views: Backlash and Vengeance. Following this, Triple H took some time off from wrestling, suffering from minor neck problems.

Triple H returned to Raw on October 3, 2005 as part of WWE Homecoming. He teamed up with Flair to defeat Chris Masters and Carlito. After the match, as part of his new storyline, Triple H turned on Flair with his sledgehammer, sparking a feud between the duo. They met in a Steel cage match at Taboo Tuesday for Flair's Intercontinental Championship, a match that Flair won. Subsequently, Triple H defeated Flair in a non-title Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series to end their feud.

D-Generation X revival (2006–2007): DX doing their signature pose.
Although Triple H failed to win the Royal Rumble match at Royal Rumble in January 2006 to earn a title shot, another championship opportunity arose for Triple H in the Road to WrestleMania Tournament. He won the tournament, granting him a match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 22. At WrestleMania, Triple H and John Cena fought in the main event for the title, which Triple H lost via submission. Later that month at Backlash, Triple H was involved in another WWE Championship match, fighting Edge and Cena in a Triple Threat match, where he lost again. In an act of frustration, a bloodied Triple H used his sledgehammer to attack, in storyline, both Edge and Cena and then performed a number of DX crotch chops. Triple H unsuccessfully attempted to win the WWE title from Cena on numerous occasions, blaming his shortcomings on Vince McMahon, which eventually lead to a storyline feud between the McMahons and Triple H.

Shawn Michaels returned on the June 12 edition of Raw and soon reunited with Triple H to reform D-Generation X, turning Triple H face once again DX defeated the Spirit Squad at Vengeance in a 5-on-2 handicap match. They continued their feud with Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and the Spirit Squad for several weeks. They then defeated the Spirit Squad again at Saturday Night's Main Event in a 5-on-2 Elimination match. They then again defeated the McMahons at SummerSlam, withstanding the attack of several handpicked WWE superstars by Vince McMahon. At Unforgiven, D-Generation X overcame the odds once again, defeating The McMahons and ECW World Champion Big Show in a Hell in a Cell match. During the match, DX embarrassed Vince by shoving his face in between the Big Show's buttocks, and DX won when Triple H broke a sledgehammer over the shoulders of Vince McMahon after Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music on him.

At Cyber Sunday during DX's storyline feud with Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton), special guest referee Eric Bischoff allowed the illegal use of a weapon to give Rated-RKO the ill-gotten win. At Survivor Series, DX got their revenge when their team defeated Edge and Orton's team in an Elimination Match with a clean sweep. In January 2007, at New Year's Revolution, DX and Rated-RKO fought to a no-contest after Triple H suffered a legitimate torn right quadriceps (similar to the one he suffered in 2001 but in the other leg) fifteen minutes into the match. A successful surgery was performed on January 9, 2007 by Dr. James Andrews.

King of Kings (2007–present): Triple H performing his iconic ring entrance pose on the second rope following his 2007 comeback.
Triple H made his return in August 2007 at SummerSlam, where he defeated King Booker. After his return, he won the WWE Championship at No Mercy after beating the newly named Champion, Randy Orton, making Triple H an eleven-time world champion. In the same event, Triple H also defeated Umaga in his first title defense after Mr. McMahon declared his already-scheduled bout with Umaga, a title match. McMahon then announced, Orton would receive a title rematch in a Last Man Standing match in the final match of the event, which Orton won after an RKO onto the announcement table, thus ending Triple H's sixth reign. Triple H's title reign at No Mercy is the fourth shortest reign in WWE history, only lasting through the duration of the event. In the Raw Elimination Chamber at No Way Out, Triple H gained a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XXIV, by outlasting five other men. However, at WrestleMania XXIV, Randy Orton retained after punting Triple H and pinning John Cena following Triple H's Pedigree on Cena. A month later, at Backlash, Triple H won the title in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match against Orton, Cena, and JBL, tying the record for most WWE Championship reigns (7) with The Rock. back top

Shawn Michaels

Michael Shawn Hickenbottom (born July 22, 1965), better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American professional wrestler. He performs on the Raw brand of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Currently, Hickenbottom is one of the senior performers in WWE, having joined in 1987. He is one of only two wrestlers (the other being The Undertaker) to have appeared on the very first episode of Monday Night Raw who are still with the company today.

Before joining WWE, Hickenbottom began his wrestling career with Mid-South Wrestling and American Wrestling Association (AWA). There, Hickenbottom partnered up with Marty Jannetty to form The Midnight Rockers and won the AWA World Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. Hickenbottom and Jannetty then signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), while in contract with AWA. They returned to AWA, only to go back to the WWF in 1988.

After signing with WWF, Hickenbottom abandoned the tag team division to work in singles matches and received a new gimmick as "The Heartbreak Kid." He was alleged to be the leader of a backstage group known as The Clique, which was known for breaking character during the Madison Square Garden "Curtain Call" incident in 1996. The following year, Hickenbottom joined forces with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna to form D-Generation X (DX).

This stable was known for pushing the envelope. That same year, Hickenbottom took part in one of the most controversial matches in wrestling history dubbed as the "Montreal Screwjob." After a crippling back injury forced him to retire following his WWF Championship loss at WrestleMania XIV, Hickenbottom opened a wrestling academy, in which he trained upcoming wrestlers. Hickenbottom made his in-ring return at SummerSlam in 2002. In 2006, Hickenbottom and Triple H briefly reformed DX.

Overall, Hickenbottom is a four-time world champion: a three-time WWE Champion, and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion. He was also the winner of the 1995 and 1996 Royal Rumbles and was the first Grand Slam Champion.

Early career: Hickenbottom was born on July 22, 1965 in Chandler, Arizona. The last of four children - Randy, Scott and Shari. He was raised in a military family and spent a brief part of his early years in Reading, Berkshire, England but grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He knew he wanted to become a professional wrestler at the age of twelve. Hickenbottom was already an athlete; his career began at the age of six when he started playing football. He was a stand-out Linebacker at Randolph High School and eventually became Captain of the football team. After graduating, Hickenbottom attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, but soon realized that college life was not for him. Then he began pursuing the career of a professional wrestler.

He was then trained by Mexican professional wrestler Jose Lothario. Lothario suggested that Hickenbottom go by the ring name Shawn Michaels. After his training with Lothario, he debuted in Mid-South Wrestling in 1984 and later with Texas All-Star Wrestling (TAW) promotion. During his time with TAW, Michaels and Paul Diamond were awarded the TAW Tag Team Championship by Chavo Guerrero, Sr.Hickenbottom also worked for Central States Wrestling. There, he and tag team partner Marty Jannetty defeated The Batten Twins for the Central States Tag Team Championship, later losing it back to the Battens. Hickenbottom also made several appearances in the Dallas, Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling throughout 1985.

American Wrestling Association (1986–1988): Michaels made his national-level debut at age nineteen for the American Wrestling Association (AWA), once again teaming with Marty Jannetty. The pair were billed as "The Midnight Rockers" and held the AWA World Tag Team Championship. They also appeared in the Mid-South on loan at this point. In a raid of AWA talent in 1987, The Rockers were signed by a competing promotion: the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). They were fired from the WWF two weeks later, however, for "partying too hard" (a misunderstanding, according to Michaels' autobiography). They then returned to the AWA, but were re-signed by the WWF a year later. World Wrestling Federation (1988–1991): They redebuted for the World Wrestling Federation at a house show on July 7, 1988. Due to WWF chairman Vince McMahon's desire to have his performers carry WWF-exclusive monikers, they were repackaged as simply "The Rockers." The team proved popular with both children and women. The team was a mid-card stalwart of TV and pay-per-view shows for the next two years, but never seemed to get a chance at the WWF Tag Team Championships.

Belatedly, in October 1990, their chance came when The Rockers were scheduled to win the WWF Tag Team Championship from The Hart Foundation, as Jim Neidhart, half of the championship team, was in the process of negotiating his release from the company. The match was taped with The Rockers cleanly winning the belts, but soon after, Neidhart came to a stopgap agreement with management and was rehired. The belts were returned to the Harts, while the title change was never broadcast or even acknowledged on TV. When news spread, WWF explained that the original result was void due to a collapsed turnbuckle in the ring during the bout. A buckle had indeed broken, but not to a noticeable or dangerous extent during the match. The Rockers plodded along, eventually splitting on December 2, 1991 during an incident on Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's televised "Barber Shop" talk show segment. Michaels superkicked Jannetty and threw him through a glass window on the "shop" set. Jannetty vanished from the WWF and Michaels turned heel as "The Boy Toy."

1992–1993: At the suggestion of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, Michaels' adopted the nickname "The Heartbreak Kid.” Along with his new name came a new gimmick as a vain, cocky heel. He was put together with mirror-carrying manager "Sensational" Sherri, who, according to the storyline, had become infatuated with him. Sherri even sang the first version of his new theme music "Sexy Boy." During that period, Michaels normally wrestled during the first half of house shows, and his departure was announced with the words "Shawn Michaels has left the building" (alluding to the phrase "Elvis has left the building").

Michaels failed to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Bret Hart in July 1992, even losing the WWF's first ever Ladder match against him at a house show.Still, Michaels was beginning to get over as a heel. He won the Intercontinental Championship from "The British Bulldog" during Saturday Night's Main Event on October 27, 1992. Shortly thereafter, he was in a pay-per-view main event for the first time, facing — and losing to — future nemesis Bret Hart, for the WWF Championship at the 1992 Survivor Series. They were moved to the main event after The Ultimate Warrior suddenly departed from the WWF, leaving his tag team match with Randy Savage against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon hanging.

During this time, Michaels and Sherri split and his former partner Jannetty quickly reappeared. Michaels lost the Intercontinental Championship to Jannetty on Monday Night Raw on May 17, 1993. He then regained it on June 6 with the help of his debuting "bodyguard" (and off-air friend) Diesel.

After a feud with Mr. Perfect, Michaels quit the WWF in September 1993. It was announced that Michaels had failed to defend his belt enough times during a set period; in reality, he had been suspended for testing positive for steroids — a charge that Michaels denies to this day. After turning down World Championship Wrestling (WCW)'s advances, Michaels returned to the WWF and made several appearances in the United States Wrestling Association during a WWF/USWA cross-promotion. He returned to WWF television for November's Survivor Series pay-per-view, substituting for the arrested Jerry Lawler in a match pitting himself and three of Lawler's "Knights" against Bret, Bruce, Keith, and Owen Hart.

1994–1995: He soon entered a feud with Razor Ramon, who had won the vacated Intercontinental Title during Michaels' absence. Since Michaels had never been defeated in the ring for the title, he claimed to be the rightful champion and even carried around his old title belt. This feud culminated in a ladder match between the two at WrestleMania X. Michaels lost the match, which featured both his and Ramon's belts suspended above a ladder in the ring. This match was voted by fans as "Match of the Year." Over the next few months, Michaels battled various injuries and launched the "Heartbreak Hotel" TV talk show segment, mainly shown on WWF Superstars.

On August 28, 1994, Michaels and Diesel captured the WWF World Tag Team Championship from The Headshrinkers. During their brief time as a tag team, they used a variation of the Headshrinkers' finishing move, where Michaels finished off their opponent by climbing on Diesel's shoulders and splashed their opponents. The next day, at SummerSlam, Diesel lost the Intercontinental title to Ramon when Michaels accidentally Superkicked his bodyguard. This triggered a Michaels-Diesel split, a storyline that was drawn out until the Survivor Series that November due to Michaels' hand injury. Michaels went on to win the 1995 Royal Rumble, where he was the first participant to win the Rumble match from the No.1 spot. This set up a championship grudge match at WrestleMania XI against Diesel (who had gone on to win the WWF Championship from Bob Backland). As part of the storyline, Michaels recruited Sycho Sid as his bodyguard for the build-up, lost the match, and was attacked by Sid the following night. After this, Michaels took time off.

He returned to the ring as a 'babyface' in June 1995 and defeated Jeff Jarrett at July's In Your House pay-per-view to win his third Intercontinental title. This led to a title defense against Razor Ramon at SummerSlam, in a Ladder match, which Michaels won. Around this time, Michaels became the alleged leader of a backstage group known as The Clique. Others perceived the group to have sufficient clout with WWF owner Vince McMahon, becoming dominant wrestling figures in WWF for several years in the mid-1990s. Michaels disputes the perception, saying that McMahon pushed only deserving wrestlers. Michaels' fan base was later nicknamed "The Kliq" as an inside reference to the real "Clique." In October 1995, he was legitimately attacked by several men outside a bar in Syracuse, New York. Shortly afterwards, at the In Your House: Great White North pay-per-view, Michaels forfeited the Intercontinental title to rival Dean Douglas because he was, according to the WWF, unable to compete. Douglas, however, lost the title immediately to Clique member Razor Ramon.

The next month, during a match with Owen Hart on an episode of Raw, Owen nailed Michaels with an Enzuigiri kick to the back of Michaels' head. They continued to wrestle, but Michaels collapsed in the ring, supposedly because he had suffered a concussion in the Syracuse incident. The concussion was a work, skillfully kept from most fans at the time.

1996–1997: After teasing a retirement, Michaels returned to the WWF at the 1996 Royal Rumble match, which he won for the second year in a row. Around this time, Jose Lothario, Michaels' original trainer, became his on-screen manager. Michaels won his first WWF Championship at WrestleMania XII in March 1996, pinning Bret Hart in the 'sudden death' overtime of their a sixty minute Iron Man match, which had ended in a 0-0 tie. As WCW gained momentum due to the signings of Michaels' friends Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Michaels held the championship for most of the year. Michaels' title reign ended at the 1996 Survivor Series in November, where he lost to Sycho Sid, his former bodyguard, at Madison Square Garden in a face vs. face match. During the match, the New York fans cheered for Sid when he hit both Michaels and Jose Lothario with a television camera and cheered again when he won the match and championship. A flu-ridden Michaels recaptured the belt from Sid in January at the 1997 Royal Rumble in front of his hometown fans in San Antonio.

On a special episode of Raw, dubbed Thursday RAW Thursday, Michaels vacated the WWF title; he explained to the fans that he was informed by doctors that a knee injury was bad enough that he had to retire. His speech was regarded as controversial, as Michaels was allegedly unwilling to lose to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 (since it was noted that he was going to have a rematch with Hart at WrestleMania). Michaels contemplated thoughts of retirement and stated that he "had to find his smile again," which he had "lost" somewhere down the line. After knee surgery by Dr. James Andrews, Michaels returned a few months later, briefly teaming with Steve Austin to win the WWF Tag Team Titles. Michaels reveals in his autobiography, about his real-life feud with Bret Hart, claiming that Bret did interviews on live television claiming that he (Michaels) was faking his whole injury.

The Montreal Screwjob - Earl Hebner calling for the bell as Michaels holds Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter.
At SummerSlam 1997, Michaels officiated the WWF title match between WWF Champion The Undertaker and Bret Hart. The match ended in controversial fashion, with Michaels nailing Undertaker with a chair (unintentionally, as he was aiming for Bret after he spat in his face). Michaels was then forced to award the title to his nemesis, Bret Hart. At WWF One Night Only, held in Birmingham, England in September, Michaels defeated The British Bulldog to capture the WWF European Championship. The fans at the event were so appalled at the result of the match they almost rioted and booed Michaels out of the building to the extent that they littered the ring with rubbish. Michaels' striking of The Undertaker with a chair began a feud between the two men. In October, at In Your House: Badd Blood, Michaels and Undertaker participated in the very first Hell in a Cell match, which saw Michaels falling off the side of the 15-foot (5 m) high structure through a table. Michaels won the match with the help of the Undertaker's brother Kane, who made his debut.

In the summer, Michaels joined forces with real-life friend, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Hunter's then-girlfriend, Chyna to form the stable, D-Generation X (DX). Moving away from the family-oriented product, this marked the beginning of the WWF Attitude Era. Michaels also began re-feuding with Bret Hart's reformed Hart Foundation, which was now a pro-Canada stable. Michaels taunted The Hart Foundation and Canada by engaging in acts, such as blowing his nose with and humping the Canadian Flag. Michaels later claimed the flag desecration was Bret's idea. Michaels' feud with the Hart Foundation culminated in a title shot at the 1997 Survivor Series against Bret Hart, in what is thought to be the most controversial match in wrestling history. Michaels came out of this match, dubbed by fans the "Montreal Screwjob," as the WWF World Champion. Michaels thus became the only wrestler to hold both the World Championship and the European Championship at the same time. Triple H, however, pinned him in December during a farcical match, making Hunter the European Champion.

1998–injury: In 1998, Michaels received a back injury in the Casket match against The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble; Michaels took a back body drop to the outside of the ring and smashed his lower back on the casket, causing him to herniate two discs and crush one completely. This forced Michaels into retirement after dropping the WWF Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV.

Michaels returned to the WWF on November 23, 1998, but not as a wrestler; instead, he replaced Sgt. Slaughter as the WWF Commissioner, joining Vince McMahon's Corporation stable as a heel. Throughout late 1998 and early 1999, Michaels made regular TV appearances on Raw, in which he booked matches, throwing around his authority, and sometimes even deciding the outcome of matches. In early 1999, Michaels turned face and re-joined D-Generation X, but disappeared from WWF television for a few months, and by the time he had returned, DX had broken up.

Michaels made occasional appearances on WWF television as the commissioner during the spring and summer of 1999. It appeared that he would once again turn heel during the premiere episode of SmackDown! on August 26, 1999 when, while serving as a special guest referee, he superkicked The Rock, allowing Triple H to retain the WWF Championship. After this referee appearance, however, Michaels was absent from WWF television until May 21, 2000 when he returned as a face to officiate the Iron Man match between The Rock and Triple H. One month later, Michaels briefly reappeared to hand over the role of commissioner to Mick Foley and afterwards was absent from WWF television for nearly a year.

During this time, believing that his wrestling career was over, Michaels was inspired to train individuals who were interested in wrestling. He saw potential in using his name and opening The Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy, after his lawyer, Skip McCormick, suggested the idea. Because of hardships and challenges, Michaels had enough of the academy. He was also a sportscaster for San Antonio's local news for a short time during his retirement from wrestling.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2002–2004): In 2002, Michaels returned to wrestling and was brought into the nWo by Kevin Nash as a new member of the stable. After the nWo was disbanded, Triple H appeared to want to make amends with Michaels. This was solidified when Michaels amended Triple H to return to Raw. Later on, they came down to the ring sporting their D-Generation X music and attire. When the pair was about to perform their trademark "Suck It" taunt, Triple H nailed Michaels with his finisher The Pedigree. Continuing the angle, a week later, Triple H attacked Michaels from behind in a parking lot and put his head through a car window. In response, Michaels challenged Triple H to "a fight" (a non-sanctioned match) at SummerSlam, which Triple H accepted, laying the foundation for a feud that lasted for years. Michaels won at SummerSlam but was attacked by Triple H with a sledgehammer after the match.

At Survivor Series, Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H in the first-ever Elimination Chamber match, which also involved Rob Van Dam, Kane, Chris Jericho, and Booker T. Michaels eliminated both Jericho and Triple H to win the match. Michaels' reign as Champion came to an end when he lost the Championship to Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon.

Michaels' match with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XIX in March 2003 was his first match at a WrestleMania since his back surgery in 1998.
Michaels then began an angle with Chris Jericho, after Jericho claimed that he was the next Shawn Michaels. On January 13, 2003, after Jericho won an over-the-top-rope challenge to select his entry number for the Royal Rumble, choosing number two in order to start the match with Michaels, who had already been named number one. At the Royal Rumble, Jericho, with the help of Christian, eliminated Michaels. Michaels defeated Jericho at WrestleMania XIX. After the match, Michaels offered his hand to Jericho who, instead of shaking it, hugged Michaels. At first it seemed like good sportsmanship by Jericho until he quickly kicked Michaels in the groin.

At SummerSlam 2003, Michaels competed in the second-ever Elimination Chamber Match, which also featured Randy Orton, Kevin Nash, Chris Jericho, Goldberg, and eventual winner, World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. During the match, Michaels helped Jericho eliminate Nash, which prompted Nash to attack both men before exiting the chamber. Later in the match, Michaels was eliminated by Goldberg. He then went on to feud with Evolution member Randy Orton, who defeated Michaels at Unforgiven. At the 2003 Survivor Series, Team Austin (consisting of Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and The Dudley Boyz) faced-off with Team Bischoff (Scott Steiner, Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Christian, and Randy Orton). During the match, Evolution member Batista interfered and gave Michaels a Batista Bomb, costing him the match. Michaels then entered a feud with Batista; the two met at Armageddon, where Michaels scored a pinfall over Batista.

As a part of an ongoing feud with Triple H, the two competed alongside Chris Benoit in the main event match at WrestleMania XX for the World Heavyweight Championship. The former DX partners both came up short in the match, however, as Benoit had been booked to win the title. At Bad Blood in June, Michaels lost to Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. As part of the storyline, on the next Raw, Kane attacked Michaels with a steel chair, injuring him in the process. Michaels made his return at Unforgiven and defeated Kane in a No Disqualification match. Two months later, he lost a World Heavyweight Championship match against Triple H (after Edge interfered) at Taboo Tuesday 2004 when the fans voted for him ahead of Edge and Chris Benoit to face Triple H one more time. Following this, Michaels was out of action for a few months with a legitimate torn meniscus.

2005–2006: Michaels facing off against Carlito at a WWE house show. Michaels returned in January 2005 as the special guest referee in the Elimination Chamber match, which featured Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Edge, Randy Orton, Batista, and eventual winner Triple H, at New Year's Revolution. During the match, Michaels superkicked Edge, starting a feud between the two. At the Royal Rumble, Edge defeated Michaels, who pinned him using the ropes for leverage. Michaels went on to compete in the Rumble match later that night and eliminated Kurt Angle. An angry Angle returned to the ring and in eliminated Michaels and then put Michaels in the Ankle Lock. Michaels issued a challenge to Angle for a match at WrestleMania 21, which Angle accepted when he appeared on Raw to attack Michaels. The following week on Raw, Marty Jannetty and Michaels had a one time reunion as The Rockers and defeated La Résistance. Three days later on Smack Down!, Angle defeated Jannetty with the Ankle Lock. To send a "message" to Michaels, Angle also humiliated Michaels' former manager Sensational Sherri, when he applied the Ankle Lock on her. At WrestleMania 21 on April 3, Angle defeated Michaels by submission, again with the Ankle Lock.

The next night on Raw, Muhammad Hassan and Daivari came out to confront and assault Michaels. The following week, Michaels approached Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff demanding a handicap match with Hassan and Daivari. Bischoff refused but informed Michaels to find a partner and he would grant a match. Michaels then made a plea for Hulk Hogan to come back and team with him. On the April 18 episode of Raw, Hassan again led an attack on Michaels until Hogan appeared to save Michaels and accept his offer. At Backlash, Hassan and Daivari lost to Hogan and Michaels when Daivari was pinned. On the July 4 edition of Raw, Michaels and Hulk Hogan had a tag team match, which they won. During the post-match pose, Michaels hit Hogan with his superkick, knocking Hogan to the ground and turning Michaels heel for the first time since returning in 2002. The following week on Raw, Michaels appeared on Piper's Pit where he superkicked Roddy Piper and then challenged Hogan to a match at SummerSlam. Hogan defeated Michaels at SummerSlam, and after the match Michaels extended his hand to him, saying "I needed to know, and I found out" and he and Hogan shook hands. Michaels left the ring to allow Hogan to celebrate with the crowd, and Michaels turned face once more.

Michaels performing his signature pose: On the December 26, 2005 edition of Raw, Vince McMahon lauded Michaels for his part in the Montreal Screwjob. Michaels said he was only being loyal to his company, he had moved on, and McMahon should move on, as well. McMahon then began setting unusual stipulations for Michaels' matches and interfering on behalf of Michaels' opponents. During the 2006 Royal Rumble, Mr. McMahon made his way to the ring, and as Michaels stared at McMahon, Shane McMahon made a surprising appearance, eliminating Michaels from the match. On the February 13 edition of Raw, McMahon tried unsuccessfully to force Michaels to sign retirement papers. The next week, Michaels won a handicap match against the Spirit Squad, and after the match, Michaels' former partner, Marty Jannetty, came down to help Michaels from the assault by the Spirit Squad. After the two reunited, Mr. McMahon offered Jannetty a contract if he "kissed his ass." The following week, Jannetty refused McMahon's offer and instead took Chris Masters' "Masterlock challenge." Michaels tried to help Jannetty, which ultimately resulted in Shane attacking Michaels and forcing him to kiss his father's ass. At WWE Saturday Night's Main Event, Shane McMahon defeated Michaels in a Street Fight, after he applied the Sharpshooter on Michaels, which led to Mr. McMahon immediately ordering for the bell to be rung, even though Michaels did not submit, which was an allusion to the Montreal Screwjob.

Despite interference from the Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon, Michaels defeated Mr. McMahon at WrestleMania 22 in a No Holds Barred match. At Backlash, The McMahons (Vince and Shane) defeated Michaels and "God" in a tag team match, with help from the Spirit Squad in a no disqualification match. On the May 22 edition of Raw, the Squad injured Michaels' knee. This angle was written so that Michaels could have surgery on his knee, which had been legitimately injured for some time.

Return of D-Generation X: DX showing off their signature pose
In 2006, a series of events took place which suggested a reunion of Shawn Michaels and Triple H as D-Generation X (DX) starting at WrestleMania 22 where both Michaels and Triple H performed the crotch chop during their matches. On Raw, the two continued to deliver chops, as Michaels feuded with Vince McMahon and Triple H went for the WWE Championship, repeatedly butting heads with Vince McMahon in the process.

On the June 12, 2006 edition of Raw, DX officially reunited. During Triple H's gauntlet match against the Spirit Squad, Michaels came in to help Triple H, and the two did the DX "crotch chops. At Vengeance, DX defeated the Spirit Squad in a 5-on-2 handicap match. They also defeated the Spirit Squad at Saturday Night's Main Event in a 5-2 elimination match and defeated The McMahons at SummerSlam. At Unforgiven, DX overcame the odds once again, defeating the McMahons and ECW World Champion The Big Show in a Hell in a Cell match. DX embarrassed Vince by shoving his face in between the Big Show's buttocks during the match, and DX won when Triple H broke a sledgehammer over the shoulders of Vince McMahon after Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to him.

At Cyber Sunday, DX took on Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton). The fan-selected referee Eric Bischoff allowed the illegal use of a steel chair to give Rated-RKO the ill-gotten win and the plaudit of being the first tag team to defeat DX in a tag team match since their reformation in June 2006. At Survivor Series, however, Team DX emerged victorious, in a clean sweep of Team Rated-RKO.

2007–present: Michaels confronting John Cena on an episode of Raw. At New Year's Revolution, Michaels' partner, Triple H suffered a legitimate torn right quadriceps during their match with Rated-RKO. Rated-RKO claimed victory over DX, citing the injury as the "end" of DX. On January 15, Michaels lived up to his vow of "dealing" with Rated-RKO when he took out Randy Orton with a con-chair-to after a handicap match against EDGE and Orton.

On the January 29 edition of Raw, Michaels captured the World Tag Team Championship with WWE Champion John Cena after defeating Rated-RKO. He then defeated both Edge and Orton in a Triple Threat Number One contender's match on another edition of Raw to earn a shot at the WWE Championship. On April 1 at WrestleMania 23, Cena retained the Championship after he made Michaels submit to the STFU. The next night on Raw, Michaels and Cena competed in two back-to-back ten team battle royals, winning the first and losing the titles in the second to The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) when Michaels threw Cena over the top rope. Michaels' feud with Cena continued and he faced off with Cena, Edge and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four Way match at Backlash for the WWE Championship. Cena retained the championship when Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music on Cena causing him to fall on Orton, which gained Cena the pinfall.

Michaels then entered a feud with Randy Orton when Orton claimed that he could beat Michaels. The week before their match at Judgment Day, after Michaels won a match against Edge, Orton interfered, punting Michaels in the head. Orton assaulted Michaels again just prior to their match at Judgment Day, interrupting Michaels' interview segment Michaels collapsed during the course of their match, causing Orton to win by referee stoppage. Afterwards, Orton continued the beating when he delivered an RKO to a fallen Michaels. Michaels was then removed by a stretcher. During the feud, Michaels conjured a storyline concussion.

This injury was used to keep Michaels out of action, as he required surgery for his knee. Michaels made his return on the October 8 edition of Raw, performing his trademark superkick to the newly-crowned WWE Champion, Randy Orton, during his title ceremony at the end of the show and then celebrating over the knocked-out champion as Mr. McMahon watched. At Cyber Sunday, Michaels was voted by the fans to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship; though he won via disqualification when Orton hit Michaels with a low blow, which resulted in Orton retaining the title. Michaels got another opportunity at the WWE Championship, when he was granted his rematch against Orton at Survivor Series. In their match, Michaels was banned from using Sweet Chin Music upon request by Orton, referring to as Michaels superkicking Orton week after week. Michaels lost the match, however, when Orton performed the RKO for the win.

One night after Survivor Series, Michaels entered a feud with Mr. Kennedy, after Kennedy claimed it was time for Michaels to move on from the title scene and let younger and more talented superstars climb the ladder to success. This led to a match at Armageddon, in which Michaels successfully defeated Kennedy. In subsequent rematches, the duo traded wins over each other. At the Royal Rumble, Michaels lasted over half an hour in the match after entering in the number two spot. Michaels, however, was eliminated by Kennedy, ending the rivalry between the two.

As part of the storyline involving Ric Flair, Michaels faced Flair in a Career Threatening match at WrestleMania XXIV, in which he won by performing Sweet Chin Music and thus ending Flair's career.

Afterwards, Batista confronted Michaels about his actions at WrestleMania, calling him selfish and egotistical. The two faced off at Backlash with Chris Jericho as the guest referee. Michaels won after faking a knee injury and performing Sweet Chin Music. Jericho then confronted Michaels on this matter. Michaels admitted to faking the injury in order to defeat Batista. Michaels then defeated Jericho at Judgment Day. Michaels then lost to Batista at One Night Stand in a stretcher match, thus ending their feud. back top

Dave Batista

David Michael Bautista, Jr. (born January 18, 1969), better known as Dave Batista or by the ring name Batista, is an American professional wrestler. Batista is currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), wrestling on its Smack Down brand.
Batista is a three-time World Heavyweight Champion and the winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble match.

Early life: Bautista is of Filipino and Greek heritage. His year of birth was disputed for several years. His website originally listed him as being born in 1969, while several contradictory news reports claimed that he was actually born in 1966. In March 2006, Batista stated in an interview that he was born in 1969. He confirms the same in his autobiography "Batista Unleashed".

Career: Batista tried out at the WCW Power Plant but was told he would never make it in the wrestling business by Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. He then went to the WWF who sent him to work with Afa Anoa'i. He wrestled in Anoa'i's WXW promotion under the name Kahn.

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2000-2002): He made his Ohio Valley Wrestling debut in 2000, joining forces with Synn. During his tenure in OVW, he was called Leviathan. As a member of the Disciples of Synn stable he went undefeated until being beaten at an OVW supercard, Christmas Chaos by WWF's Kane (with help from Steve Austin). He later went on to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship from 'The Machine' Doug Basham. After losing the belt to The Prototype, Batista left OVW for WWE.

World Wrestling Entertainment Debut (2002): He began his WWE career on the May 9, 2002 episode of SmackDown! as Deacon Bautista, a heel enforcer for Reverend D-Von on the SmackDown! franchise. Batista made his WWE in-ring debut in a tag match teaming with D-Von against Randy Orton and Faarooq with Batista pinning Orton after using his spinebuster. Over several weeks, Orton tried to beat D-Von and Bautista with different partners, but ultimately lost each time to Bautista's spinebuster. Bautista suffered his first loss in a match against Rikishi after D-Von accidentally struck him with a punch, allowing Rikishi to take advantage and pin Bautista for the win. Bautista and D-Von started to argue over the forthcoming weeks, with Bautista eventually turning on D-Von. After splitting with D-Von, he signed with RAW and was re-branded as Dave Batista (or simply Batista). He aligned himself with Ric Flair and feuded with Kane, whom he defeated in his pay-per-view debut at Armageddon 2002.

Evolution (2003-2004): In January 2003, Batista joined with Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton to form the stable Evolution. Batista, however, was sidelined for much of 2003 after he tore his right triceps at a house show in a tag team match against the Dudley Boyz. Batista re-tore his triceps while training and faced another setback when after his second surgery to reattach his triceps he suffered an infection that required a third surgery to clean out the infection. He made his return on the October 20, 2003 episode of RAW, interfering in a match between Goldberg and Shawn Michaels and "shattering" Goldberg's ankle with a chair. After the interference, Evolution came out, and Triple H rewarded Batista with $100,000.On the November 10 episode of RAW, Goldberg defeated Batista by disqualification when Triple H interfered.

At Armageddon 2003, Batista took part in two matches, losing to Shawn Michaels in a singles match but winning a tag team turmoil match along with Ric Flair, eliminating the Dudley Boyz to become one-half of the World Tag Team Champions. By the end of the PPV, all four members of Evolution held every male championship on RAW, with Triple H winning the World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. They held the titles until the February 16, 2004, episode of RAW, when they were defeated by Booker T and Rob Van Dam. They later regained the titles for a short period. After SummerSlam 2004, Batista began a losing streak which lasted most of the year.

In late 2004, after Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship, Triple H evicted him from the group, claiming that the title which Orton held was rightfully his. It was Batista who delivered an electric chair to Orton after Triple H gave Orton a "thumbs up" before turning it into a "thumbs down." At the 2004 Survivor Series, Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky, and Edge faced-off against Maven, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Randy Orton in an 8-Man Elimination Tag Match for control of RAW over the following month; the members of the winning team would each be the RAW general manager for a week. They lost, causing unrest within Evolution.

Throughout the next two months, the relationship between Batista and Triple H began to deteriorate. After a loss to Chris Jericho by disqualification, Triple H verbally insulted Batista. Batista teased leaving Evolution that night, but declared that he was still part of Evolution and that they tricked everyone. Still, Dave began behaving more like a face in the next few weeks, despite Evolution's heelish tactics. One particular moment saw Batista express disgust as Triple H and Ric Flair boasted about how they had intimidated and/or beat up Jim Ross, Danny Hodge, and Stacy Keibler. He continued to show his loyalty to Triple H and Evolution by running down to the ring and assisting them in matches.

World Heavyweight Champion / Injury (2005): Batista during his first World Heavyweight Championship reign. As 2005 began, Triple H realized the possibility of Batista, much like Randy Orton the year before, becoming a threat to his World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H suggested that Dave not enter the Royal Rumble, claiming that it would be selfish of him to do so, and to simply focus on Triple H retaining the title. Dave entered anyway and went on to win the Royal Rumble, last eliminating John Cena, earning the right to participate in the main event of WrestleMania 21 against the World Champion of his choice.

In an attempt to persuade Batista to challenge WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield rather than him, Triple H concocted a scheme to have Batista run over in a limousine resembling the one used by Layfield. Initially, Dave did not want help from Evolution and wanted to confront JBL by himself. Triple H insisted that Evolution stick together and accompanied Dave anyway, saving him from the oncoming vehicle. Batista became aware of the plot while sneakily eavesdropping on fellow Evolution members and signed a contract guaranteeing him a match with World Champion Triple H at WrestleMania 21, thus leaving Evolution and officially turning face for the first time in WWE. Batista initially pretended that he would sign with SmackDown!, giving Triple H and Flair the "thumbs up," but turned it into a "thumbs down" before attacking the pair. He emphasized his departure by powerbombing Triple H through the table used for the contract signing.

Batista went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship on April 3 at WrestleMania 21. Since this event, he has used the infamous "thumbs up, thumbs down" gesture before he performs the Batista Bomb on his opponent. Batista once again faced Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash. He retained the title but continued to feud with Triple H. Along the way, he even helped commentator Jim Ross gain an upset victory over Triple H on RAW. After Batista retained his title against Edge, he was betrayed by Ric Flair, who helped Triple H viciously attack the champion as Triple H challenged Batista to a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance. Batista survived the pedigree and won the match at Vengeance, retaining his title yet again. With this win, Batista became the first wrestler to pin Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.

On June 30, Batista was revealed as the last pick in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery; he made a surprise appearance while John "Bradshaw" Layfield was celebrating his victory in a six-man elimination match to win the new SmackDown! Championship. JBL and Batista faced off at the Great American Bash on July 24 where JBL defeated Batista by DQ after the referee saw Batista use a steel chair. They had a rematch at SummerSlam on August 21 in a No-Holds-Barred match in which Batista pinned JBL following a powerbomb on the steel steps. The feud culminated in a match between the two on the first episode of SmackDown! broadcast after the show moved to Friday nights, with Batista retaining the title in JBL's signature bull rope match.

Soon after retaining the title in a feud with Eddie Guerrero, reported that Batista suffered a muscle tear in his back at the taping for the November 11 edition of SmackDown! due to a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane. Plans had been made for Batista to defend the title in a triple threat match with Eddie Guerrero and Randy Orton on the November 18 episode, but the match did not take place due to the unexpected death of Eddie Guerrero on November 13, the date of the taping. Batista paid homage to Eddie Guerrero during the SmackDown! and RAW tribute shows dedicated to Guerrero's memory.

Batista led Team SmackDown! against Team RAW in an inter-brand feud before Survivor Series. The feud saw the Big Show and Kane chokeslamming Batista several more times in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series in an on-camera explanation for Batista's injury. Batista ultimately helped his team win the Survivor Series main event. After Batista saved Rey Mysterio from a double team attack by RAW's reigning World Tag Team Champions, Big Show and Kane, it was announced that Mysterio would team with Batista to face the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon, a SmackDown! exclusive pay-per-view.

On the December 16 edition of SmackDown!, Batista and Mysterio defeated WWE Tag Team Champions MNM to become champions in a match they dedicated to Eddie Guerrero, and the clash with the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon turned into a Champions vs. Champions encounter. Batista and Mysterio lost to Kane and Big Show at Armageddon when Kane pinned Mysterio after a chokeslam, and two weeks later on SmackDown!, MNM defeated Batista and Mysterio after help from the returning Mark Henry to regain the WWE Tag Team Championships. During the interference, Henry attacked Batista, and performed his World's Strongest Slam.The teams met again in a cage match that Henry also became involved in, and Batista and Rey were defeated again.

Return from injury (2006): On January 9, announced that Batista tore his right triceps following a match with Mark Henry at a live event on January 8 in Verona, New York. The following day, announced that, due to his injury, Batista was forced to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship at the SmackDown! tapings in Philadelphia on January 10 (aired on January 13), two days after surpassing Triple H's previous mark of 280 days for longest reigning champion. Later that night, Kurt Angle won a battle royal to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. Dave went on to have successful surgery on his arm on January 12.

Batista made an appearance at No Way Out and told the crowd that once his arm had healed he would return to regain his World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 22, he interrupted a Randy Orton interview, putting SmackDown! on notice; the World Heavyweight Championship would return to him by WrestleMania 23.

Batista made his official return during the July 7 edition of SmackDown! in Philadelphia immediately calling out and entering into a feud with the man who put him out with the arm injury, Mark Henry. At Saturday Night's Main Event, Batista won his first televised match since his return, a six man tag match with Rey Mysterio and Lashley taking on King Booker, Finlay, and Mark Henry. In a bizarre twist of fate, Mark Henry was legitimately injured and was ruled out of the scheduled match between the two at The Great American Bash, thus further delaying a potential feud between the two after being delayed by Batista's initial injury.

Batista put out an open challenge to replace the injured Henry, which was answered by Mr. Kennedy. Batista lost this match via DQ for failing to stop choking Mr. Kennedy into the turnbuckle with his boot, but continued to attack Kennedy resulting in a laceration on his forehead so severe that it exposed his cranium and required 20 stitches to close.Batista lost another match with Kennedy via count out in a rematch on SmackDown! before finally defeating Kennedy by pinfall on the August 4 edition of SmackDown!.

During this time Batista tried to regain a world title, facing both the Big Show for his ECW Championship during an ECW show, and King Booker for his World Heavyweight Championship during SummerSlam and SmackDown!. Batista won these matches but not the title as the contests ended via disqualification.

World Champion again (2006-2007): Batista remained a top contender to the World Title, competing against King Booker on several occasions while feuding with Finlay, before finally defeating King Booker to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center. Ironically, the win occurred at the same arena where he surrendered the title in January.

At the beginning of the new year, Batista successfully retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Mr. Kennedy at the Royal Rumble. Two months later at WrestleMania 23, Batista lost the championship to the winner of the Royal Rumble match, The Undertaker. They continued to battle over the title to a stalemate in a subsequent Last Man Standing match at Backlash and a Steel Cage Match on the May 11 episode of SmackDown!. Following the latter, Edge took advantage and won the title from the Undertaker by using his Money in the Bank title opportunity. Afterwards, Batista challenged Edge unsuccessfully for the World Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day, One Night Stand in a Steel Cage Match, and Vengeance. The loss at Vengeance stipulated that Batista could no longer get another chance at the World Heavyweight Championship while Edge remained champion.

Batista accepted an open challenge from The Great Khali for The Great American Bash. Edge relinquished the title due to an injury the week before the PPV, and Khali became the new World Heavyweight Champion, winning a Battle Royal and eliminating Batista. Batista and Kane, Edge's title opponent, faced Khali at The Great American Bash in a triple threat match where Khali retained the title. Batista received a disqualification victory against Khali at Summerslam after Khali used a steel chair, thus retaining the title again. Batista finally claimed his third World Heavyweight Championship after eight consecutive attempts, by defeating Khali in a match that included Rey Mysterio at Unforgiven. His first challenge was from the Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match at No Mercy where Batista retained his title despite Khali having the majority of the offense. He won the match by leaping from the inner bamboo structure to the outer one, shortening his escape route and beating Khali to the floor.

After the return of the The Undertaker at Unforgiven, the duo re-ignited their feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose Guest Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin. Batista won via two Batista Bombs. The feud continued with a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series. During the match, Edge returned and interfered by giving Undertaker a con-chair-to. He then pulled an unconscious Batista on top of Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

Unfortunately for Batista, this was a sign of things to come. At Armageddon, Edge would be entered into a Triple Threat Match, alongside The Undertaker, to challenge for Batista's World Heavyweight title. This event would lead to the end of Batista's third reign as champion, after Edge managed to score the pinfall and claim the World Championship. back top

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