It's worth noting that since my last Hidden Gems review back in May, the WWE Network has undergone a significant makeover, so the section isn't as easy to find as it was before. I'm not sure if any of the old installments of Hidden Gems are even still up there, but I did want to watch this one in particular from April 13, 2008 simply because it was only one day later that I watched my first full-length episode of Raw, and I have missed a show since. That edition of Raw emanated from England, which is where this house show match between then-WWE Champion Randy Orton and Triple H took place as well.
Of course, Orton and HHH were no strangers to one another by this point in time. They had been feuding on and off for years and had contested many matches together. Not all of them were great (in fact, most of their matchups were painfully mediocre), but they did have a rich history and thus it was easy for fans to get behind their feuds. When this outing occurred, The Legend Killer was fresh off successfully defending his title against Triple H and John Cena in a Triple Threat at WrestleMania 24. They were set to clash once again in a Fatal 4-Way for the gold two weeks later at Backlash, but they spent the weeks in between working singles matches at the live events.
As previously noted, the chemistry Triple H and Orton have has never been the strongest. There weren't many (if any) matches they had in 2008 that I regard as being overly exciting, as I thought their Last Man Standing wars one year earlier (at No Mercy 2007) and one year later (on Raw in June 2009) were the best bouts they ever had. Considering this was a house show, I didn't ex[ect this to be anything special (and trust me, it wasn't), but there's no denying that they had the crowd with them every step of the way. The men chanted loudly for Orton while the women and kids in the crowd rallied behind The Game, and that energy from the audience was there from start to finish.
The wrestling itself wasn't too thrilling (at least early on), but this crowd's enthusiasm made the match. One thing I will say about the Triple H-Orton series of matches is that they never cease to bring that elusive "big fight feel." They were hitting/kicking out of each other's finisher left and right down the stretch, and similar to their clash in Saudi Arabia at Super ShowDown just a few short months ago, those fans in attendance were electric for all of it. It's a shame this crowd didn't get WrestleMania 25 because they would have made their main event that night 10 times more entertaining than it actually was.
Obviously, seeing as how it was a house show, you had to know the championship wasn't changing hands. Sure enough, Orton intentionally got himself disqualified after battling his archrival for almost 20 minutes by hitting him in the head with the title belt. The crowd booed the finish (which was hardly surprising because it was cheap), but they popped big when Triple H laid out Orton afterward with a Pedigree. He posed with the prestigious prize and celebrated with the fans as he walked back up the ramp. This match definitely isn't worth going out of your way to see unless you really love the Orton-Triple H rivalry, but it was a fun trip down memory lane for me personally since this was around the time I started watching wrestling regularly.
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