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It looked like magic might happen for the 17th time—that lightning might strike in Flair Country. A badly bloodied "Nature Boy" stood perched on a ladder, reaching toward the WWE Championship and another historic career highlight. Ric Flair was about to become a 17-time world champion in his very first Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match (or any type of Ladder Match, for that matter). But it was not to be.
Lita grabbed hold of Flair's leg, then caused enough of a delay for Edge to shake off a frightening push off a ladder and through a table to the outside. As Flair tried again to reach new heights, Edge climbed the other side of the ladder. The two met 25 feet in the air, where one final punch KO'd Flair and sent him sailing to the mat far below. With that, Edge grabbed the WWE Championship and successfully retained for the first-ever time.
This match lived up to all we've come to expect from the initials T.L.C. Both men absorbed an unthinkable amount of punishment from chair shots to crushing ladder blows. In one heart-stopping moment, Edge hit a splash from the top of a 25-foot ladder, blasting Flair through a table on the outside. Flair's daughter, who was watching from ringside, screamed upon impact then begged her father to show some signs of life.
Ric Flair would show the resiliency that made him a legendary world champion, leaving his blood all over tables and ringside debris and fighting his way back from the brink. Eventually, he tipped a ladder over with Edge perched atop it, sending Edge crashing through a table and into the concrete floor. That gave Flair the opening he needed to climb his way to glory, but Lita would put a stop to history in the making.
In another huge RAW match, new World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle battled Shawn Michaels for an epic, fourth time. And to raise the stakes, Mr. McMahon put HBK's job on the line in this non-title match. The series going in was tied at 1-1-1.
Ultimately, Shawn Michaels found himself desperately trapped in a grapevined ankle lock. The Olympic gold medalist was sure he had the match won. But inexplicably, Daivari entered the ring with a chair, looking for payback on Michaels. The distraction demanded the attention of the referee and forced Angle to break the hold and figure out what was happening. As Angle tried to pull the chair from Daivari, it accidentally was thrust by Daivari up into Angle's throat, stunning him. "The Showstopper" seized the moment and rolled up Angle for a sudden win. A furious Angle began to scream at Daivari, who responded with a slap to Kurt's face. Angle couldn't believe the gall of Daivari, then dumped him over the top rope with an Angle Slam.
Before the match, which actually began on WWE.com Unlimited, both world champions had words in the ring. Angle also explained the circumstances surrounding his participation in the SmackDown Battle Royal, saying his RAW contract expired on Jan. 1, and he saw a great opportunity to be champion and signed with SmackDown. His move proved to be a wise one.
John Cena took the Master Lock Challenge. Masters showed his power and strength and nearly caused Cena to pass out, but the former WWE Champion fought back. With Cena gaining momentum, Edge appeared and smashed Cena in the face with the WWE Championship belt, ending the challenge the hard way.
In addition, Triple H attacked Big Show during his match against Shelton Benjamin, handing Benjamin a count-out win.
- Shawn Michaels defeated Kurt Angle (w/ Daivari) (12:25)
- Chris Masters defeated John Cena in a "Masterlock Challenge"
- Candice Michelle, Victoria & Torrie Wilson defeated Trish Stratus, Mickie James & Ashley Massaro (2:47)
- Shelton Benjamin defeated The Big Show by countout (1:46)
- Edge (c) (w/ Lita) defeated Ric Flair in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match to retain the WWE Championship (16:38)