By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy Interrupted Mr. Kennedy
It was hilarious hearing Kennedy run down Hilary Clinton as a potential presidential candidate and comparing her to Hardy simply because of where we are right now in politics right now. I'm not saying I agreed with him, but I thought it was funny. The brawl that broke out with him, Hardy, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels was simple yet straightforward, setting up the main event for the night nicely.
Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Mickie James def. World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch and Melina
The match was well-wrestled and everyone held their own, but the real focus of this match was Murdoch pushing James out of the way so she wouldn't be hurt by Cade. James looked shocked by his actions after the match, leading to a little love story between the two in the weeks that followed. London and Kendrick scored the win, but they were virtually afterthoughts here, as well as Melina.
Cody Rhodes def. Shelton Benjamin
This looks like a dream match on paper, and technically it was, but this was long before Rhodes was as seasoned as he is now. Besides, the match was kept relatively short and sweet to allow Rhodes to score the upset victory and wasn't meant to be a mat classic. Hardcore Holly making the save for Rhodes from The World's Greatest Tag Team was a logical way of explaining why they began teaming together.
D.H. Smith def. Carlito
This marked the official debut of Smith in WWE, and while I was glad he attempted to establish himself immediately with his pre-match promo, he came across as generic and rested on the fact that he was the son of The British Bulldog. Carlito was a proper first opponent for him because he was able to showcase his skills a bit against someone who had been there for a few years, but it was sad to see Carlito lose to the newcomer only a month or so removed from his pay-per-view match with Triple H.
Umaga vs. Hornswoggle Went to a No Contest
I was expecting complete silliness from this match, but it instead turned into a wild brawl between Triple H and Umaga. For as one-sided as HHH's feud with Umaga was with The Game beating Umaga at every turn, their interactions were always enjoyable and extremely physical and this was evident of that. It was a cool return for Triple H who hadn't been seen in two weeks and made me want to see them go at each other at Cyber Sunday. More importantly, it saved us from a Hornswoggle match. Yay!
Lena Yada Was Eliminated From the 2007 Diva Search
Honestly, I skipped through all the Diva Search updates that were airing on Raw at the time, but I watched this simply for its significance. And boy, how glad I was that I didn't waste my time with the previous packages. I can't complain about seeing hot women in bikinis every week, but their promos pandering to the audience were god awful and accomplished virtually nothing. Granted, they didn't know any better (including Eve), but it was incredibly difficult to watch. Despite Yada's elimination from the competition, she was hired anyway and later joined the ECW brand as an interviewer.
Ron Simmons def. Santino Marella by Disqualification
Simmons was fairly limited as a wrestler at this stage of his career, and he never looked like he was dressed to compete, so it confused me whenever he WWE put him in a match. He was great in small doses such as in backstage segments, but was it really necessary for him to be in a wrestling role nearly every week? Thankfully, it didn't last long before Santino "unintentionally" got himself disqualified.
Women's Champion Beth Phoenix def. Candice Michelle in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
I can't critcize this contest without first mentioning the severity of Michelle's injury. It looked absolutely brutal when she fell off the top rope, and what was worse was that she appeared to be completely lifeless lying on the mat before Phoenix pinned her for the quick victory. Prior to that point, they were actually having a great match, so it was a shame the injury cut it short and put Michelle, who had been improving at a rapid rate in 2007, on the shelf for nearly a year.
Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. WWE Champion Randy Orton and Mr. Kennedy
I loved Orton's pep talk of sorts to Kennedy earlier in the evening about how no one was going to vote for him at Cyber Sunday because nobody liked him so he might as well have helped him soften up Michaels and Hardy. That effectively teased tension between the two, and the match itself was entertaining. The RKO attempt on Hardy into a Sweet Chin Music from Michaels was beautiful looking, though I question why WWE had Michaels get the better of his adversary for three straight weeks heading into the pay-per-view. I felt that might have telegraphed the finish to their match a bit.
The show wasn't without filler, including a throwaway Marella vs. Simmons match and a forgettable six-person tag team match, but everything else did a solid job of hyping up the pending pay-per-view. The WWE Championship picture was wisely handled, Triple H and Umaga had another engaging confrontation, Smith debuted, and even the women were having a really good match before it abruptly ended. I'd certainly say it succeeded in building toward Cyber Sunday.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - October 15, 2007"
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