JBL and Chris Jericho Confronted Raw General Manager Mike Adamle
Adamle was named the new general manager of Raw one week earlier and fans were not happy. Not only did the development not make any sense, Adamle was terrible! I mean, my god, the guy brought out a script with him on stage so he could remember all of his lines for this segment. It came out years later that he was dealing with medical issues at the time (and to this day) that prevented him from remembering things correctly, but they should have never put him in that role to begin with. Nevertheless, this was a solid segment that set up JBL and Jericho vs. CM Punk in a 2-on-1 Handicap match for later on in the night.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston def. Paul Burchill
I can't imagine many people truly saw Burchill as a threat to the title here, but I always thought he should have gotten a run with a midcard championship at some point during his career. This was the closest he came to winning one. He and Kingston had a nice little match, though the finish felt a bit abrupt with Kingston hitting the Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere.
World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy Addressed CM Punk and John Morrison
Hardy was fresh off his big World Heavyweight Championship victory over Punk at Night of Champions, and what was so surprising about it was that it was being reported at the time that Hardy was on his way out of the company, so no one expected him to beat Punk. Sure enough, he did, and the crowd loved seeing him make his grand entrance as world champ here. Hardy has never been the best promo guy, but you could tell he was speaking from the heart. I liked how he addressed Punk's recent actions before then turning his focus to Morrison, who he'd put his world title on the line against later on in the night.
Cryme Tyme def. The Hart Dynasty in a Unified WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Mere days earlier on Raw, Cryme Time had a colossal clash with tag champs Jeri-Show that also involved the night's guest host Shaquille O'Neal. WWE thankfully rode with the momentum Cryme Tyme had at the time and put them in the tag title picture by having them beat Hart Dynasty here in a well-wrestled match. I feel like the post-match promos from Cryme Tyme and Jeri-Show were longer than the actual matchup was, but at least they successfully built up their SummerSlam encounter.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus (Non-Title)
This marked the first-ever one-on-one encounter between these two, and although both men were world champions, it was comical for Michael Cole to call it "one of the biggest matches in WWE history." That said, they did give this a big fight feel with the video packages for Punk and Sheamus, the pre-match interviews, and the in-ring introductions. I loved all of that, because it was so different than anything happening on Raw or SmackDown back then. The actual match was excellent and given a ton of time. I expected it to end in a non-finish because WWE heavily wanted to protect them both, so Punk winning following a head shot to the turnbuckle post to Sheamus was a pleasant surprise.
Team CoBro def. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd in a WWE Tag Team championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament Quarterfinal Match
Team CoBro had to have been one of the dumbest team names I've ever heard for Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. Man, that was brutal. What's interesting is that their tandem didn't last very long, so they likely had a team name solely because WWE was in the middle of a brief tag team renaissance at the time and wanted to make them feel official. Compared to Punk vs. Sheamus, this was a nothing match, though it was fun for what it was. If nothing else, it had some significance with it being a quarterfinal matchup in the WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament.
ECW General Manager Tiffany Interrupted ECW Champion Christian
Following his successful title defense against Yoshi Tatsu the week prior, Christian was viciously attacked by William Regal, Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson. Regal and Christian had been feuding for months by this point and Christian wanted to get his hands on Regal so he could put their rivalry to rest once and for all. Regal agreed to the title match but wanted it on "his terms" in his native England the next week on ECW. This was a solid segment that set up the rematch between Christian and Regal and segued nicely into Regal's outing against Goldust.
William Regal def. Goldust
With Regal challenging for the ECW Championship the subsequent week, it was only logical for him to score a win here so he could continue building momentum. No one was expecting an instant classic from Regal and Goldust in 2009, but it was perfectly serviceable for as long as it lasted with both men holding their own and Regal picking up the clean victory as he should have. I appreciated that there was no interference from Kozlov and Jackson.
Sabu def. Tony Mamaluke
Sabu was scheduled to face John Cena that Sunday at the Vengeance pay-per-view, so this was designed to be a quick showcased for him. Despite being a good hand in the ring, Mamaluke was a total nobody and thus he was a fine choice to be squashed by Sabu. This wasn't terribly exciting while it lasted, but at least it got the job done with Sabu going over in decisive fashion.
Big Show Attacked Tommy Dreamer
The bell never rang to make this an official match, but it might as well have. Holy shit, this was hard to watch. Big Show destroying an ECW original in Dreamer on the second ever episode of WWE ECW didn't exactly send the best message about the brand. I'd almost understand it if it was a younger/debuting star in that role, but instead, it was... Big Show. It put over Show as a dominant force, but I don't think it was necessary for it to come at the expense of Dreamer.
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