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Raw: Bret Hart goes off; Shawn Michaels walks off

Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have not wrestled on the same WrestleMania card since they had their classic Iron Man Match at WrestleMania XII in 1996. Who would have believed that in 2010 "The Hitman" and "The Heartbreak Kid" would once again be the focal points at WrestleMania?

It was evident watching Raw Monday night that the most compelling programs for WrestleMania XXVI are Hart vs. McMahon, and Michaels vs. an opponent to be determined.Of the two, even though Hart-McMahon has something of a surrealistic quality to it, I'm more intrigued by the Michaels angle. A big part of it has to do with the Hart-McMahon storyline being somewhat predictable, while the story line of Michaels being obsessed with facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania has a lot of twists and turns. I also think that too much time may have passed – 12-plus years to be exact – for the Hart-McMahon feud to have as much juice as everyone always believed it would.

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On Raw, Michaels inadvertently caused DX to lose the WWE unified tag team championship to The Miz and The Big Show in a triple threat elimination match that also included CM Punk and Luke Gallows. That created even more tension between Michaels and partner Triple H.

After the match, an unstable Michaels confronted Smackdown general manager Teddy Long and frantically demanded that Long bring him to Smackdown and put him in the elimination chamber match for the world heavyweight title. Long said that he couldn't do that, and Michaels super-kicked him. Triple H then asked Michaels if he wanted to throw his career away, and Michaels replied, "My career is over" and stormed off.

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It seems like we could be heading to a match at WrestleMania in which Michaels puts his career on the line against The Undertaker's streak. That would certainly make their rematch from last year more interesting, but, personally, I'd still rather see Michaels vs. Triple H. Their interaction on this show made me want that match even more.

Sure, they have wrestled many times, but it's been several years since they were in a program together, and this time it would be different in that Michaels would be the heel, which is something I didn't think would happen. Triple H, surprisingly, has played the concerned friend role very well, which has added a layer to his character.

As for the Hart-McMahon segment, I didn't think it was as good as last week's. Something just seemed to be a little off with the verbal exchange between McMahon and John Cena. I think it was Cena's delivery, which was not as intense and realistic as it was during his previous confrontation on the mic with McMahon.

Hart appearing at the end of the scene and trashing the set – a recreation of what he did at the 1997 Survivor Series – also seemed a bit flat to me. Again, with so much time having passed since The Montreal Screwjob and with as many times as the angle has been copied, it felt somewhat anti-climactic.

Other thoughts on Monday's show:

After all the attention paid to Batista's brutal attack last week on Cena – including showing the footage twice on Raw – it would have been nice if Cena sold even a hint of a back injury. ...

I'm not a NASCAR fan at all, but I liked Carl Edwards as guest host. Unlike previous hosts from NASCAR – Joey Logano and Kyle Busch – Edwards actually had a personality. I love that he took a shot at those two during his promo at the top of the show. By the way, has anyone ever pointed out that Edwards bares a resemblance to Richie Cunningham? Too bad Deuce and Domino and Joanie Laurer are no longer with WWE. ...

It was a pleasant surprise to see ECW champion Christian on the show. Well, it was until he lost clean to Sheamus. I get it that Sheamus is the WWE champion and WWE is trying to make him look strong heading into the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Feb. 21, but there had to be another way. Have him destroy Mark Henry or something. Christian has so much more to offer than Sheamus. It wasn't all that long away that Sheamus was in a program with Goldust on ECW that did more to get Goldust over than it did him, while Christian was the ECW champion. Bottom line: Sheamus as champion isn't working and it's lowering the importance of the title. ...

It didn't surprise me that DX dropped the tag team title, but I thought Punk and Gallows would go over rather than Miz and Big Show. How great would it be to have Punk on both shows on a regular basis? Miz, also the U.S. champion, now gets to walk around with three belts. Considering how bad Miz was when he first started, that's amazing. ...

It's still unclear where The Legacy story line is going, but it does seem almost certain that Orton will end up as a babyface. Cody Rhodes figures to remain a heel, but I'm not sure which side of the fence Ted DiBiase Jr. will be on, although I'd guess he'll turn babyface. Rhodes got an unexpected pinfall over Orton, but it came off as a bit of a fluke since it was the result of a distraction by Sheamus. ...

It's nice to see that "The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase will be getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It's well-deserved and overdue. ...

When Cena said that he is in the business to experience the rush of being in the moment and that McMahon was just in it for the money, he referenced DiBiase Sr. as a guy who also was in it for the moment. Bad example. DiBiase's character was the epitome of being all about the money. ...

I'll bet Michael Cole got a stern talking to. He committed the unpardonable sin of calling referee Charles Robinson by name. ...

I could have done without Jared the Subway Guy on the show. It did make me hungry for a BMT, though. ...

Since WWE's main angle right now is based on something that happened in 1997, it's fitting that Jerry Springer will be the host of next week's show.

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