By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Jonathan Coachman Interrupted WWE Champion John Cena
The angle between Cena and Randy Orton was likely the best thing coming out of the underwhelming Unforgiven event the night prior, so it was imperative they opened the evening with Cena's response to Orton. Cena should have known better than to act all happy, especially in the face of The Coach, who promptly made a match between Orton and Cena's father in the main event. As soon as Coach said we were getting Orton vs. Cena, you had to know where he was going with that. But it was still a solid segment, nevertheless.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin
I'm not sure what Benjamin did to earn himself an Intercontinental title shot other than lose a lot, but it's hard to complain about a really good match between two excellent athletes. They were allotted an ample amount of time and while it was more of a spotfest than anything else, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hardy had a great, lengthy reign as champion, but the biggest problem with it was that he never had any real sense of direction and his focus was almost always on anything else but the belt.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan def. Daivari in a Flag Match
These two must have been feuding at the time to justify having a Flag match, right? Neither of them were on the previous edition of Raw, which I reviewed here, so I wasn't sure. Either way, as meaningless as it was, it was dumb fun and an easy way to kill a few minutes of time. I might have actually preferred this over a standard singles match because at least it limited what Duggan could do and kept the bout short and sweet.
Mr. McMahon Attempted to Disown Cruiserweight Champion Hornswoggle
This was merely the start of the long, drawn-out angle between McMahon and Hornswoggle, but admittedly, this was mildly entertaining. I almost hate to say it, but they did manage to hold my attention, and the idea that McMahon would want to get rid of Hornswoggle by disowning him was hilarious. It also explained why he just didn't do that in the first place. This storyline would take some ridiculous turns in the months ahead, but this was fine for what it was.
Triple H def. World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
I couldn't even imagine sitting through this reign of terror Triple H was on in the latter half of 2007. I understand McMahon wanting to stack the odds against HHH by putting him in a Handicap match, but despite being World Tag Team Champions, Cade and Murdoch were hardly a threat. The Game disposed of them with ease, and when babyfaces Paul London and Brian Kendrick made the save afterward, he laid both of them out for no apparent reason! What an asshole! Way to make the tag team division look beyond weak, HHH.
Women's Champion Candice Michelle and Mickie James def. Melina and Jillian Hall
It was a bit strange to not have Beth Phoenix involved in the match considering she was feuding with Michelle at the time, but I realize they may not have wanted her to look weak coming off her loss at Unforgiven. The match wasn't well-wrestled at all, but at least it made sense of the pointless match between James and Jillian from the week prior. I expected Phoenix to demolish Michelle afterward, but she instead just gazed at her and then at the title, which might have been even more intimidating.
WWE Champion John Cena def. Santino Marella by Disqualification (Non-title)
Hopefully no one got their hopes up for who Cena's mystery opponent would be, because I'm sure Marella would have been disappointing to most. I initially questioned why Coach would put Cena up against an easy opponent given if he won his father wouldn't have to wrestle Orton, but the match lasted no more than a minute and thankfully, it was revealed to a ruse by Orton as he interfered and handcuffed Cena to the bottom rope, so he would have to watch him beat up his dad from ringside. Brilliant!
Randy Orton def. Mr. Cena by Disqualification
Of course, this was largely a one-sided beatdown with Orton inflicting punishment on his adversary's father, but it didn't last longer than it needed to and still gave Orton the heat he needed. Plus, it answered the obvious question of why no one else was willing to help Cena out when Cody Rhodes made the save. Orton RKO'ed Mr. Cena anyway, so his efforts were unsuccessful. I loved Orton escaping the ring just as Cena freed himself, making fans anxiously want to see him rip Orton limb from limb in their Last Man Standing match at No Mercy.
This was a far better episode than the go-home show the week before. I don't know if it was because they didn't have a pay-per-view to promote or what, but several storylines were furthered and the Cena and Orton angle took center stage as it should have. There weren't many memorable matches with the possible exception of the Intercontinental Championship match, but it was an entertaining edition of Raw, regardless.
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