John Cena Confronted Raw General Manager William Regal
As always, Regal was fantastic here in asserting his dominance over the audience and addressing his actions from the week prior when he turned out the lights on the main event. He did a great job in bullying Mickie James and making the fans despite him even more as a result. It was encouraging to see Cena stand up to Regal and question his tactics, putting one of Raw's top babyfaces in hot water with the boss as well. Although Regal played good guy at the end, it was a nice red herring for what would happen later on in the main event.
World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly and Cody rhodes def. Carlito and Santino Marella
These two teams had a good little feud going in the weeks that preceded this match, so it was a shame the matchup was mere minutes long. In fact, a majority of the focus was on Marella's ongoing program with Roddy Piper, not the match itself. He and Piper played well off each other and I enjoyed their chemistry, but it shouldn't have come at the expense of the tag titles.
Mr. Kennedy def. Snitsky
Kennedy was fresh off a face turn at the time in feuding with Regal, so this was his first one-on-one match in the role. Snitsky hardly meant anything at this point after being misused for so long, which is why it surprised me that he scored as much offense as he did. I suppose the purpose was to build sympathy for Kennedy as he battled back against the behemoth, but it wasn't exactly perceived that way by the fans.
Women's Champion Mickie James and Maria def. Beth Phoenix and Melina
Raw's women's division was in a bit of a lull before James regained the Women's Championship in April, but once she won the belt back, it was a breath of fresh air for the division. James had a handful of new challengers, including Phoenix and Melina. Tension was further teased between Phoenix and Melina, setting the stage nicely for the pending Triple Threat title match at Judgement Day.
Chris Jericho Apologized to Shawn Michaels
Everything about this angle was amazing and this was no exception. For weeks, Michaels claimed he was hurt during his Backlash bout with Batista, but he finally owned up to lying and Jericho still didn't believe him. The back and forth between the two here was brilliant, and in order to convince Jericho he was in fact lying, he ended up laying him out with Sweet Chin Music. That was an awesome way to lead into their Judgement Day match.
Jeff Hardy def. Umaga
This marked Hardy's official return to WWE programming after sitting on the sidelines for 60 days with a suspension, and it was weird for him to beat Umaga as quickly as he did. Granted, Regal putting him up against Umaga was supposed to be viewed as "punishment," but is it really punishment when Hardy virtually squashed him? I would have disliked this more had I not known the rivalry would continue in the weeks that followed.
Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch def. Cryme Tyme
After weeks and weeks of losing matches thanks to Murdoch, they finally won a match here... only for Cade to turn on Murdoch immediately afterward. I guess fans should have seen that coming, but I don't think anyone was dying to see them feud. Cade had potential as a singles star, which was evident the next month when he aligned with Jericho, but Murdoch was gone from the company not long after this.
Randy Orton def. John Cena (JBL Served as Special Guest Referee)
Any match between Orton and Cena tends to be business as usual in that it's solid albeit unspectacular, but this was one of their better outings from that time period if only for the addition of JBL as special guest referee, thanks to Regal. It was a well-wrestled match and Cena lost nothing in defeat because it was a fluke victory for Orton. The final visual of Triple H standing atop the cage while staring down at Orton was effective in building toward their Judgement Day WWE Championship clash.
As a go-home show, this edition of Raw was certainly successful in hyping up Judgement Day and all of the notable matches. The main event was stacked with so much star power, though Jericho vs. Michaels were consistently having the best segments on the show each week. Not only was this an entertaining episode, it left viewers looking forward to Judgement Day once it was over, so it's worth watching in my opinion.
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