Triple H Crashed Mr. McMAhon's Family Photo
Vince hoped to get a "family photo" with Shane, Stephanie and his "illegitimate son" Hornswoggle, but it was all downhill after Triple H interrupted. And I don't mean that in a bad way, either, because I personally got a kick out of him bringing out the likes of Pat Patterson, Mae Young, Sunny, Big Dick Johnson, and various others. It was a total train wreck of a segment, but that was what I loved about it, almost like something straight out of the Attitude Era (but the entertaining parts of that period).
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. Carlito in a Ladder Match
Hardy was set to face Triple H that Sunday in a WWE Championship No. 1 Contender's match, so the outcome of this contest was slightly in doubt. He is the master of Ladder matches after all, and Carlito was able to hold his own, so this was a fun little match. It was perfect for TV in that it was better than your average Raw match but also not too crazy that it belonged on pay-per-view.
Rob Van Dam def. Santino Marella
Based off the massive reaction RVD received, I don't think he was advertised for this episode in advance. He had only been gone from WWE for six months, but the fans in attendance were super happy to see him. This wasn't much of a match at all with RVD making short work of Santino, but I did get a laugh out of how RVD hit his finisher and then went out of his way to taunt before pinning Santino. I expect nothing different from him.
World Heavyweight Champion Batista, Triple H and Ric Flair def. WWE Champion Randy Orton, Edge and Umaga by Disqualification
This was advertised as an Evolution reunion, but let's face it: a full-on Evolution reunion wouldn't have made sense considering Orton was a heel, he had just finished feuding with Triple H, and the fact Evolution exiled him from the group three years earlier. I was glad he brought that up and instead reunited with Edge as Rated-RKO. The match itself was irrelevant and didn't last long, though it did serve as hype for Edge vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight title that Sunday at Armageddon.
Hornswoggle vs. The Great Khali Ended in a No Contest
Hornswoggle and Khali previously faced off at Survivor Series and Finaly was banned from ringside for this rematch, but the match barely got underway before Hogan came to the aid of Hornswoggle. He got physical with Khali and forced him to flee from the ring, which I thought might have been meant to plant the seeds for a future match, possibly at WrestleMania 24. Obviously, that never came to fruition, but I liked Hogan's promo thanking the audience. It was weird he hinted at Randy Savage returning given it would never happen prior to his passing in 2011.
I.R.S. Won a 15-Man Battle Royal
If you enjoyed the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17, you probably enjoyed this as well. Was it the most classic Battle Royal you'll ever see? Not in the slightest, and most of it was pretty abysmal, but it was harmless and didn't eat up a huge chunk of time. Plus, we got to see a bunch of random returns from Skinner, Scotty 2 Hotty, Gillberg and various others. After I.R.S. came out on top, his former tag team partner "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase paid him off and declared himself the victor. Everybody has a price!
Chris Jericho Attacked Eric Bischoff and WWE Champion Randy Orton
Bischoff ragged on the fans for a few minutes before Jericho confronted him, and lest we forget, it was Bischoff who fired Jericho (in storyline) from Raw two years earlier. They had a good back-and-forth on the mic and Jericho was able to exact revenge on Bischoff by striking him. Orton attempted to attack Jericho, but Jericho got the better of him and built momentum heading into their Armageddon WWE title match.
Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes def. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch to Win the World Tag Team Championship
Dusty Rhodes sitting in on commentary to call this match and being there for his son winning the World Tag Team Championship was a really cool moment, but the matchup was very forgettable. With only three minutes to work with, they were rushed and the title win came off as anticlimactic. This kicked off what would be a lengthy title run from Holly and Rhodes.
Trish Stratus and Lita Attacked Jillian Hall
The current Divas (or Divas of 2007 I should say) weren't showcased on this show at all for the most part, and the only modern-day Diva to get significant airtime was Jillian. She was interrupted by Stratus, who then joined up with Lita to take out Jillian. For nostalgia purposes, seeing Stratus and Lita team up again was sweet, but the segment was total throwaway and thankfully kept on the shorter side.
Mr. Kennedy def. Marty Jannetty
Kennedy brought in a Jannetty impostor the week before, so having him face the real thing on this anniversary episode was a nice touch. Sadly, the crowd couldn't have cared less and didn't seem to remember Jannetty all too well. Sure, Kennedy won the match, but he should have shined brighter than he did. Afterward, Shawn Michaels and HHH laid Kennedy out to do a mini D-Generation X reunion.
Mankind, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin Attacked Mr. McMahon
It had been said all night long that McMahon was going to announce who the greatest Superstar in the history of Raw was, and in predicable fashion, he said himself. That led to Mankind, Undertaker and Stone Cold surfacing and taking turns attacking McMahon. Stone Cold's assault on his longtime rival was more drawn-out as he drank beer and invited all the wrestlers from the back to the ring to celebrate with him, but the fans in attendance ate all of it up.
Virtually no one from the active roster at this point was showcased, and the timing of this show couldn't have been worse with Armageddon this Sunday. That said, as an anniversary edition of Raw, this was a blast with a ton of notable returns and memorable moments. I actually wish WWE did more shows like this and I hope the upcoming 25th anniversary show has a similar feel. It's definitely worth a watch on the WWE Network, especially for those who have been tuning into the flagship show since the start.
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