Jim Ross Delivered a Farewell Address; CM Punk def. Edge to Win the World Heavyweight Championship
I will never forget where I was when I watched this segment for the first time nine years ago because everything about it was so amazingly well done. JR was able to give a heartfelt farewell in his hometown, and Edge came across like such an awesome heel for interrupting him and crashing the party. Then, Batista exacted revenge on Edge for being screwed out of the world title the night prior at Night of Champions, leading to Punk cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase before becoming World Heavyweight Champion. It ate up a huge chunk of television time, but every second of it held my interest, in addition to quickly answering the question of what would happen once two top titles ended up on SmackDown in the draft.
Women's Champion Mickie James def. Jillian Hall (Non-title)
There really isn't much to say about this match other than it was short-lived and rightfully so. Jillian was a mediocre worker at best and was only good for brief bouts such as this one. James was fresh off her successful title defense at Night of Champions against Katie Lea Burchill, and there wasn't any indication here who would be next in line to challenge her for the belt.
Santino Marella Confronted Rey Mysterio
It's incredible to think that in the six years Mysterio had been in WWE up to this point, he had never been a part of the Raw brand. That might have been for the better because both of his Raw runs in 2008 and 2011 weren't particularly spectacular. He has never been the strongest talker, either, so Santino's involvement in this segment was actually welcomed to set up a match between the two for the following week.
JBL Interrupted John Cena
Cena challenging the winner of the night's World Heavyweight Championship match made sense from a storyline standpoint, and although I wasn't thrilled he was set to seemingly continue his feud with JBL from earlier in the spring, this was a hot segment, Granted, it had a Stone Cold Steve Austin feel to it with JBL getting Cena removed from the arena by security, but this was one of JBL's finer performances.
World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase def. Darin Waid and Steve Anthony (Non-title)
The match was barely more than a minute long, but the post-match promo helped effectively establish the new act of DiBiase and Rhodes. This was right after Rhodes turned on Hardcore Holly at Night of Champions and joined DiBiase, and his logic for wanting to align with the debuting Superstar actually made sense. These two had instant chemistry together and should have amounted to much more as a tandem.
Kane Attacked Jamie Noble
It didn't strike me until years later that Noble was a truly talented athlete, just watch his work in Ring of Honor from in between his WWE stints. In WWE, however, he was comic relief, so that was a shame. Kane had just lost his ECW Championship at Night of Champions, so this was a decent way for him to unleash his aggression. That said, it was hardly a memorable Raw re-debut for The Big Red Monster.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston def. Chris Jericho by Disqualification
Kingston and Jericho contested a pretty fun match at Night of Champions, so this was a massive disappointment. I guess because the opening segment ran long that they had to cut time off this match, but two minutes for a title match is pointless. I know they wanted to give Jericho his championship rematch so they could get it out of the way early, but why even bother if it was going to be so short? The finish was equally lame with Jericho getting disqualified... for pulling on the tights of Kingston. Seriously.
World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk def. JBL
While I would have waited to do this match until later down the line, I liked what they were going for here by teasing that Punk's title reign could be over by the end of the same show he won it on. Additionally, the match itself was a complete afterthought while Cena stole Punk's thunder at ringside by attacking security with Cryme Tyme, but at least it was all but confirmed that Cena and JBL would be renewing their rivalry heading into The Great American Bash.
First of all, I will admit that the follow-up to the injury angle with Mr. McMahon from the week prior was weak. It added a chaotic feel to Raw without anyone in charge, but it seemed not even Creative knew where they were going with it. However, this was an excellent post-pay-per-view edition of Raw with a newsworthy title change and several stars arriving on Raw from the draft, along with a number of fresh stories being put into motion with the summer season officially getting underway.
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