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Shaquille O’Neal met and surpassed all expectations with a thrilling night as guest host of Monday Night Raw. Shaq started the night by announcing a “beat the clock” challenge to determine who would face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Summerslam, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, August 23. Superstars Mark Henry, MVP, Triple H, Jack Swagger, and Massachusetts’ own John Cena would each have matches, and whoever won their match in the least amount of time would become the No. 1 contender.
Shaq was then interrupted by Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and Big Show. After levying their usual insults, Shaq challenged Big Show to a match, but was turned down. Instead, the champions were booked in a match against Cryme Time, with O’Neal himself as the guest enforcer.
With interjections of entertaining moments (like giving a hello from LeBron James to the Washington D.C. crowd, a Scrabble game with Santino Marella, and the now seemingly weekly embarrassing loss of Chavo Guerrero to Hornswoggle, this time with Guerrero blindfolded), Shaq’s beat the clock challenge proved to be a night full of nail biting entertainment.
Mark Henry beat Carlito in 6 minutes and 49 seconds to set the time to beat. MVP fought Chris Masters to a double count-out, Triple H couldn’t beat the clock against Cody Rhodes, and Jack Swagger was himself pinned by Evan Bourne. Finally, John Cena was able to force The Miz to submit in 4 minutes and 28 seconds, and will fight Orton in four weeks for the gold.
In the final match, Big Show entered the ring illegally to get his team disqualified before challenging Shaq to come into the ring. Show would soon attempt a choke slam on O’Neal before Shaq grabbed Show’s neck in return. With a little help in breaking the stalemate from Cryme Time, Shaq would stand tall, and chase the tag champs backstage to end the night.
There may not have been any mention of the Celtics, though Shaq definitely proved he knows how to put on a show. Next week’s host Jeremy Piven will be hard pressed to top Monday Night’s episode.