By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mr. McMahon Endorsed Raw General Manager William Regal; WWE Champion Triple H and Mr. Kennedy Interrupted Regal
McMahon appearing at the start of the show to endorse Regal was a nice touch that explained why he wouldn't have take action against him for abruptly ending the show the week prior, plus it was in line with McMahon's heel character. That said, McMahon in small doses is always good and this was a smart use of him. The subsequent interaction between Regal, Triple H and Kennedy was well done and successfully set up the night's Handicap main event while also promoting ECW's "grand" 100th episode for the next night.
Women's Champion Mickie James def. Beth Phoenix in a Lumberjill Match
I'm never a fan of Lumberjack-style matches, especially with the women, because the Superstars surrounding the ring always take away from the action. However, that strangely wasn't the case in this match as the Divas weren't much of a distraction and James and Phoenix were able to contest an even better match than they did a few weeks earlier. Tension was also teased between Phoenix and Melina when Melina accidentally cost The Glamazon the match.
Paul Burchill and Katie Lea def. John Cutler in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
This was more of the same from what fans had come to expect from Burchill on a weekly basis on Raw, but it was a step back from him facing established names such as "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and Super Crazy. This was a pretty standard squash with Katie Lea adding herself to the match at the last second. I guess this was one way of helping them build momentum while they waited to put him in a real program.
Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels def. WWE Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz (Non-title)
Michaels was still playing up the knee "injury" he suffered in his match with Batista at Backlash, so the story of this match was if Jericho didn't think he was actually injured, did he trust him enough to hold his own in this match? I liked that a lot, and was only a prelude of what was to come in their multi-month program. The one aspect of this match I didn't like, however, was how Miz and Morrison were merely background players here despite being the tag team champions.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk Ended in a No Contest
These two would go on to have great matches in the months and even years that followed, so this was a nice sneak peek of that. The match was eventually cut short by Raw GM William Regal turning off the lights, but what we received prior to that point was solid. Regal ended up getting "fired" from his position a few weeks later as a result of a legitimate suspension, but it would have been wise for WWE to not ruin a great thing by overexposing Regal at this point in time.
Carlito Hosted Carlito's Cabana with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
Piper was loosely involved in Santino's feud with Cousin Sal from Jimmy Kimmel's show, hence why he appeared on Carlito's Cabana. Piper was awesome as always in taking shots at Carlito, but the segment went off the rails once Cody Rhodes and eventually Cryme Tyme came down. I understand Cody furthering his feud with the No. 1 contenders, but why Cryme Tyme? That just seemed rather random.
JBL def. D.H. Smith
Well, this would be the last fans would see of Smith on WWE TV for over a year. It appeared officials had high hopes for him when he debuted on an episode emanating from England the prior fall, but they did next to nothing with him after that, so it isn't surprising they pulled the plug on his push and demoted him to developmental for a year so he could improve. JBL absolutely annihilated him here as a way of sending a message to his Judgement Day opponent John Cena.
The ECW Roster def. WWE Champion Triple H and Mr. Kennedy in a 14-on-2 Handicap Match
Before I watched this episode back on the WWE Network, I didn't remember anything from it other than this main event. It didn't last long at all, so it wasn't too memorable, but it was a cool concept in theory as Regal's way of punishing HHH and Kennedy for standing up to him. Of course, it was poorly executed with HHH and Kennedy overcoming the odds fairly easily and nearly burying the entire ECW roster on the eve of their 100th episode. Nice (not really). Randy Orton's RKO out of nowhere once the lights came back on was sweet, though.
With this being the penultimate edition of Raw before Judgement Day, you would think they would have done a better job of promoting the pay-per-view. However, there was a little build for HHH vs. Orton as well as Cena vs. JBL, but not much else. Regal was undoubtedly the star of the show, but he wasn't even in a match at the event. Anyway, this is a skippable show, though the stuff with Jericho and HBK was well done and the Women's title match was a pleasant surprise.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - April 28, 2008"