WWE Champion Triple H Interrupted John Cena
As noted, WWE rushed into Triple H vs. John Cena way too quickly and had the tough task of making it out to be a monumental match in a short period of time, but I thought they did an effective job of attempting to establish it as a big bout with this segment. Both men delivered strong mic work and I appreciated how they played off their history with Cena bringing up how HHH had yet to beat him and HHH mentioning much had changed since they last faced off at WrestleMania 22.
John Cena def. Umaga in a Street Fight
Remember when Umaga was an unstoppable monster and it took a hell of a lot for Cena to beat him in their grueling Last Man Standing match a year and a half earlier? I enjoyed this match immensely, and the Street Fight stipulation was clever because of Triple H's "Don't get hurt" line, but Umaga was far from the same threat he was when these two were originally rivals in 2007. If nothing else, they had good chemistry together and this was an entertaining opener.
Maria Won a Bikini Contest
I honestly don't miss the days when these bikini contests were weekly staples of Raw and SmackDown. Sure, it was hot to see the Divas strut around in their bikinis, but no one benefited from these whatsoever, especially the division. At the very least, Charlie Haas was excellent in the host role for this, and it was a nice use of him before he starting doing the impersonations later on in the year.
Jeff Hardy def. Carlito
This would have been a fun feud over the Intercontinental Championship at one point, but similar to Umaga, Carlito had been so devalued during his time on Raw. On the bright side, this was a fairly solid midcard match that allowed Carlito to score some offense and not be completely squashed. Hardy was simply killing time before the WWE Draft because he wouldn't wrestle at the Night of Champions pay-per-view.
Ric Flair Interrupted Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho
Jericho's first promo since officially turning heel one week earlier was excellent. The tone of voice he used wasn't too over-the-top and his logic was sound. Ric Flair returning was a pleasant surprise, and I wish the crowd and commentators would have treated it as a bigger moment. Triple H's involvement in the angle wasn't exactly necessary in my opinion, but it did lead to their match in the main event slot on this night.
World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes def. Cryme Tyme (Non-title)
This was bizarre booking all the way around. I would have continued Holly and Rhodes' losing streak, but instead they literally won a ten-second match here. And Ted DiBiase almost aided them to victory because he distracted Cryme Tyme. There was no follow-up, either, as they immediately cut to "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania" once the champs won. Not the best way to progress the tag team story they had going.
Paul Burchill and Katie Lea Burchill def. Mr. Kennedy and Women's Champion Mickie James
I was hoping Katie Lea would resume her rivalry with James the week prior, but it wasn't too late with Night of Champions still two weeks away. Burchill and Kennedy were able to get involved as well and further their feud, so this was a solid effort from all four Superstars. Of course, the heels winning was the right move to put the Burchills back in the driver's seat in their respective rivalries.
WWE Champion Triple H def. Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho by Disqualification (Non-title)
HHH and Jericho hadn't done battle one-on-one since Jericho returned to the company, so I was surprised they gave this away in the main event of Raw. Then again, HHH would be sent packing to SmackDown anyway, so perhaps that's why they did it. The champion vs, champion stipulation should have had a big fight feel to it, but as a match, this was above-average for as long as it lasted. Lance Cade was a weird choice at the time to align with Jericho, but that would explained the following week. And what better way to make an impact as a singles star than by laying out Raw's top two players?
On paper, this edition of Raw would normally receive a thumbs up from me, but I'm hesitant because the "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania" segments ruined the flow of the show and any energy the live crowd had. The end of the concept couldn't have come soon enough. Everything else, though, was average, and I liked the cliffhanger ending they went with to close out the show. This was also the final Raw with this roster as the WWE Draft the next week would shake up the landscape tremendously.
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