By Graham "GSM" Matthews
World Tag Team Champion CM Punk def. John Morrison in a Semifinals Match in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament
It's strange how Punk and Morrison had horrible chemistry (for the most part) when they feuded in 2007 yet all of their subsequent encounters were relatively above-average. None of the matches on this show, including this one, were given a ton of time, but they had a fun little match in the small amount of time they were allotted. Both Morrison and Punk were tag team competitors at the time, but it made sense for Punk to advance after he dropped the World Tag Team Championship a few weeks later to Morrison and The Miz at a house show. The commentators mentioning how the last tournament Punk was involved in was King of the Ring where he was beat by Intercontinental Champion William Regal in the finals was a nice touch.
Randy Orton Challenged Triple H and Batista to a 3-on-2 Handicap Match
How Orton wasn't in the running for 2008 Superstar of the Year was beyond me. Yes, I'm well-aware the Slammy Awards are kayfabe and fan voting wasn't even implemented yet, but Orton had a better year than a few of the other candidates. He was WWE Champion for the first four months and formed The Legacy, more than can be said for Batista. That aside, this was a brief yet effective promo from Orton that set the stage for the night's Handicap match.
MVC def. MVP
I forgot all about Charlie Haas' impersonations in late 2008 and how hilarious they were. Why they pulled the plug on them I'll never know. MVP was in the midst of a losing streak for several months, so his loss here wasn't an upset by any means. Haas did a pretty solid job impersonating MVP here, so although the match was nothing of note, it was worth watching for that alone.
Chris Jericho def. Jeff Hardy
I was excited for this match going into it knowing what these two were capable of, and while it didn't receive the time it deserved, it was an enjoyable outing from Hardy and Jericho. Both of them needed momentum heading into their respective title matches, but the right person went over because Hardy could easily sustain a loss and still be crazy over with the audience. I was just surprised how it was a clean victory for Jericho and he didn't have to cheat to win.
Finlay and Hornswoggle def. Glamarella
Thankfully, Couple of the Year is no longer a category at the Slammy Awards, but it has since been replaced by countless other pointless categories. And why were Finlay and Hornswoggle even in the running? When Glamarella challenged any of the other nominees to a match, you had to know it'd be Finlay and Hornswoggle accepting. It was a basic match as a result, though I would have had Beth Phoenix pin Hornswoggle given she was the Women's Champion.
Rey Mysterio def. World Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston in a Semifinals Match in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament
As the first time these two ever went one-on-one, I was expecting more from this match, but was not shocked that it was kept short because it was the Slammy Awards. Their similar styles made for a nice match while it lasted and Mysterio was the right person to go over, though it would have been interesting to see the World Tag Team Champions face each other in the finals of the tourney at Armageddon.
The Legacy def. Triple H and Batista in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match
It was noted that this was the first time Orton, Cody Rhodes and Manu had ever teamed together, but Sunday's Armageddon match between Orton and Batista was not the premier meeting between those two as falsely alluded to by one of the commentators. The match was a standard Handicap affair with the heels on offense for a majority of the matchup with the babyfaces battling back only for The Legacy to pull out the victory (out of nowhere).
Dolph Ziggler def. R-Truth by Count-out
Ziggler wrestled his first match under the new name only one week earlier and had an impressive showing against Batista. Truth was an obvious step down from The Animal, but it was a decent filler match before the main event and it was cool they gave Ziggler his first win albeit via count-out. He didn't show off his moveset as much in this match, but the jumping kick to Truth on the ring apron was cool.
World Heavyweight Champion John Cena def. WWE Champion Edge by Disqualification (Non-title)
Similar to Jericho vs. Hardy, this was another match that had the potential to be stellar given the decorated history Cena and Edge had, but it was far from what it could have been due to a lack of time. The commercial break ate up a chunk of TV time, but they put forth a good effort, nevertheless. The brawls between the members of the World Heavyweight and WWE Championship matches at Armageddon were well done and were a strong final sell for the pay-per-view.
This was the first time I had seen this edition of Raw since it originally aired seven years ago and because of that, there were parts of it that I enjoyed as it took me back to a time where I was just getting into watching wrestling. However, I'd be lying if I said this show didn't drag at certain points. I actually fell asleep halfway through! This was the first Slammy Awards in almost two decades and it was solely brought back as a ratings ploy. That became clear on this show with so many brief bouts and other than the conclusion of the night, the Armageddon build could have been better.
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