By Graham "GSM" Matthews
World Heavyweight Champion Batista and The Undertaker def. World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch (Non-title)
Batista and Undertaker making rare appearances on Raw was a pleasant surprise, but was it advertised in advance? As I mentioned in my last review, I was fine with SmackDown Superstars breaking the Brand Split rules and showing up on Raw merely because they were building to a tri-branded Survivor Series pay-per-view that Sunday. I laughed when Regal said they would be facing the best tag team Raw had to offer because Cade and Murdoch lost so often. They weren't much of a threat to the SmackDown duo, but nevertheless, it forced Batista and 'Taker to coexist before their Hell in a Cell World Heavyweight Championship match at the event.
Women's Champion Beth Phoenix def. Maria (Non-title)
This was along the same lines as Phoenix's total annihilation of Kelly Kelly from the week before in that it didn't last long and Phoenix was dominant throughout. Maria was still extremely green in the ring, so the less of her wrestling, the better. The Glamazon continued her reign of terror with a quick win here and it helped that they were on opposite teams at Survivor Series, so it served a purpose.
Jerry Lawler Attacked Santino Marella
Marella off course sounded off on Stone Cold Steve Austin for getting showered with beer the week prior before bullying Jim Ross. That was a fine way for him to elicit heel heat, but was it really necessary for him to mock JR's facial paralysis? And I don't blame Santino as much as I do Vince McMahon for approving/coming up with that line. At any rate, it led to Lawler sticking up for JR and facing Santino later in the night.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy, WWE Tag Tag Team Champion Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio def. United States Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion MVP, Mr. Kennedy and Finlay
All six of these Superstars were set to clash in that Sunday's Survivor Series elimination tag team match, so it was a very fun preview of what was to come. The Hardy Boyz plus Mysterio were a great team together while the heels worked well together, too. My only issue with the build for that bout is that the babyfaces won almost every encounter, including the Survivor Series match, so the heels never once looked credible.
WWE Champion Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels Came Face-to-Face
Michaels was absolutely on fire in his face-off with Mr. McMahon weeks earlier and I'm glad we received a similar side to HBK in this segment. He showed some awesome intensity, as well as Orton, and they did an excellent job in getting viewers hyped up for their pending WWE Championship clash. McMahon, who served as the "intermediary" here, played his role well and thankfully didn't overshadow either guy. Orton getting the upper hand over Michaels was long overdue, too.
Mickie James, Michelle McCool and Kelly Kelly def. Melina, Jillian Hall and Layla
I wish this was as short and sweet as Phoenix vs. Maria. It was also meant to build toward the elimination tag team match at Survivor Series, but Kelly Kelly should been far more limited in this match than she was. Just watching her attempt to wrestle was cringe-worthy. It wasn't a terrible match by any means, but the better workers of the match should have been in there longer.
Jerry Lawler def. Santino Marella
I was left wondering what the point of this match was supposed to be. Lawler didn't have his ring gear, so he wrestled in his street clothes yet won anyway. The match was hardly anything of note, and although Lawler won via a roll-up, it didn't do Marella any favors. I realize he was fresh off an angle with Stone Cold, but it looked like they didn't have any plans for him beyond that.
Triple H vs. Umaga in a Lumberjack Match Ended in a No Contest
Yes, we were treated to yet another match between these two after Triple H had already beaten Umaga at back-to-back pay-per-views. Adding the Lumberjack stipulation was a nice change of pace, and it's a good thing they have such strong chemistry together. Unsurprisingly, they went with the tired finish where all the Lumberjacks got involved and caused the match to be thrown out, though I would have loved to see Umaga finally score a win against his adversary.
This was one of the stronger all-around go-home editions of Raw in some time with almost every match at the pay-per-view receiving some sort of hype. I enjoyed the classic contests shown from past installments of Survivor Series and even the SmackDown Superstars got shown some love. The training session for Hornswoggle was passable and at least build toward his match with The Great Khali. There were a handful of entertaining matches to boot, making this an above-average episode all things considered.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - November 5, 2007"