Mr. Kennedy def. Paul Burchill
It was a refreshing change of pace to kick off the show with a match featuring two talents that weren't main event players. While I would have wanted them to go a little longer, this was a ton of fun while it lasted and I loved the way it was handled. Kennedy scored the victory, but Burchill was able to maintain the heat he had afterward by ambushing Kennedy. Simple enough booking.
Women's Champion Mickie James def. Beth Phoenix (Non-title)
James and Phoenix never ceased to contest quality matches together and this was no different. It wasn't a tremendously long match, but Phoenix asserted her dominance throughout only for James to eek out the win. Before Phoenix could attack James, Melina made the save and furthered that feud as well. My only complaint was that Katie Lea Burchill was nowhere to be seen here despite pinning the champ one week earlier.
John Cena def. JBL
Similar to Triple H vs. Randy Orton, this was another feud from around that time period that had overstayed its welcome. Their back-to-back bouts at Judgement Day and One Night Stand were good albeit nothing special, so I wasn't exactly anxious for them to rekindle their rivalry so soon after their latest outing. Of all the matches on the show, why did this have to receive the most amount of time? If nothing else, Cena built momentum heading into his WWE Championship match at Night of Champions.
Chris Jericho Hosted The Highlight Reel with Shawn Michaels
I'm sure everyone is familiar with this segment, as it is widely remembered as one of the best in the past decade. From start to finish, this was fantastic, and Jericho was phenomenal in admitting his own flaws in trusting HBK only to turn on the crowd as well as Michaels before brutalizing him. It was shades of The Barber Shop with The Rockers 16 years earlier and it was absolutely exceptional. Jericho couldn't have turned heel in a more effective fashion.
Umaga and Snitsky def. World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes (Non-title)
Umaga and Snitsky weren't much of a team, and I'm typically not a fan of champions losing non-title matches only to not defend their titles against whoever beat them, but it made sense in this case. The match was rather forgettable, but Holly and Rhodes were on the descent and had a hard time working together. Ted DiBiase's post-match promo was straightforward in putting the champions on notice and ensuring them their days with the belts were numbered.
Cryme Tyme def. Santino Marella and Carlito
I was fine with Umaga and Snitsky winning the previous match, but this was a waste of time. I liked Cryme Tyme, but why have them beat Santino and Carlito, who where fresh off an entertaining angle with Roddy Piper, Jimmy Kimmel and Cousin Sal? It isn't as if Cryme Tyme went after the World Tag Team Championship following this. In fact, Santino and Carlito beat the champs just one week prior, so this was a head-scratching decision.
Jeff Hardy def. WWE Champion Triple H by Count-Out (Non-title)
Hardy vs. Triple H is a marquee match as we would see later in the year on the SmackDown brand, so I had mixed feelings regarding their encounter here. On one hand, it was kept relatively short to hold off on anything huge for when they would feud down the line. On the other hand, the match didn't live up to its full potential and Hardy was lost in the shuffle while John Cena spoke about his upcoming championship clash with HHH. Sure, Hardy stood tall to end the episode, but he wasn't even in action at the event.
Following a string of enjoyable editions of Raw, this installment was a step back. That isn't to say it was entirely terrible, but not too much about it lit the world on fire. I didn't bother mentioning it here, but the "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania" segments were horrendous. Thankfully, this only week one of three, so it was a short-lived concept. This felt like a filler week before the build to Night of Champions really kicked in.
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