By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Kennedy Went to a No Contest
I loved the follow-up to the events of Survivor Series with Michaels wanting to call out Orton following their match the night prior only for Orton to decline and Kennedy come out instead and call HBK a glorified loser. It came across so natural and flowing and was the perfect transition into that rivalry. While their match never came to fruition here, it did set the stage for an Armageddon outing between them weeks later. This was also a great way of reinserting Kennedy back into the upper-midcard after floundering for a while in the latter months of 2007.
Jerry Lawler def. Santino Marella
Coming off Lawler's apparent fluke victory over Santino the week prior, they contested a rematch on this show that would make you think it would be designed to give Santino his win back. Nope! Lawler won yet again. It was pretty pointless and Santino was largely directionless following his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, which was disappointing given his entertaining mic work during that program.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. Umaga by Disqualification (Non-title)
From their various matches in 2007 and 2008, Hardy and Umaga always had fantastic chemistry and this match was no exception. Granted, the title wasn't on the line, but it was still an excellent effort from both guys and their dynamic together was pure magic. Snitsky finally entered his first real meaningful angle by joining forces with Umaga here with Triple H making the save immediately afterward. Similar to the opening segment, it was a nice, logical transition from HHH's long running rivalry with Umaga into his next storyline with Hardy.
Cody Rhodes def. Hardcore Holly
It was really weird for Rhodes and Holly to go from facing each other three times, then teaming, and then facing off again. By this point, it was pretty obvious Rhodes would finally get his win over Holly, but it was a solid story and they contested their best bout to date. Rhodes beating Holly would earn him Holly's respect at long last, and thus their partnership was even stronger as a result.
Mickie James and Maria def. Melina and Jillian Hall
These two teams were on opposite sides of the ring at Survivor Series, and that's just about the only thing worth noting about this match. It wasn't awful by any stretch, and when James and Melina were in the ring together, it was good. But it merely served as filler because James eventually reset her sights back on the Women's Championship the subsequent week.
Hornswoggle def. Carlito in a No Disqualification Match
The silliness with Hornwoggle was harmless more often than not, but I didn't like it when it came at the expense of other Superstars. When he was working with fellow comedy characters such as The Coach, that was fine, but Carlito had just feuded with Triple H two months prior, and now he was hardly a threat to Hornswoggle. It's sad, really. Finlay came to Hornsowggle's aid and helped him win, and I wouldn't be surprised if Carlito was in the doghouse with management at this point.
Chris Jericho Interrupted WWE Champion Randy Orton
Although the cool vignettes didn't give away who they were for, anyone with an internet connection back then had to know it was Chris Jericho behind the "Save Us" stuff, since it had been rumored for months he was coming back. It was also apparent he would return during this segment since there really wasn't anyone left for Orton to face on the babyface side at the time. The crowd didn't pop as loud as they probably should have when he came out, but it was a fun promo that the audience got behind. He relied too much on his old shtick to get over during his second run early on, and although it worked at first, his heel turn was crucial that following year.
This was a great follow-up show to Survivor Series, and I think the theme throughout this edition of Raw was that none of the new feuds felt like they came of nowhere. Not only were they fresh, but WWE did an excellent job of moving past their old stories and progressing toward the new ones seamlessly. Jericho's return was the most newsworthy thing on the show, but everything else served a purpose for the most part and it still was one of the best episodes from this time periord on the whole.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - November 12, 2007"