By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Umaga Attacked Three Local Athletes
Admittedly, I completely forgot Umaga was facing Triple H that Sunday at No Mercy until Mr. McMahon brought him down to the ring for this segment. I don't know when that match was announced, but the true pay-per-view match was actually McMahon vs. HHH given all the time they spent building it up. On a side note, it is never not fun to watch Umaga decimate multiple people at once, especially no-namers.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy, Paul London and Brian Kendrick def. Shelton Benjamin and World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch
Hardy, London and Kendrick were definitely a dream team of sorts and they worked amazingly well together here. Benjamin offered some exciting offense as well while Cade and Murdoch sold everything the best they could. Watching London and Kendrick here made me realize how underrated they were at times and how ridiculous it was that WWE didn't do more with them beyond their near-one year tag title reign on SmackDown. This match was a small preview of the six-man tag team match that would occur at No Mercy with Mr. Kennedy replacing Benjamin.
Hardcore Holly def. Cody Rhodes
This was the second match in their series of matches that fall, and surprisingly it was shorter than their initial encounter. I was ready for them to reach the next gear before it abruptly ended, so that was a bit disappointing. That said, I liked how the Alabama Slam from Holly came out of nowhere and it could be chalked up to being a rookie mistake on Rhodes' part, and his eventual win over Holly would mean that much more.
Women's Champion Candice Michelle Saved Lillian Garcia From Beth Phoenix
I'm actually surprised how well this feud was furthered going into No Mercy simply because nothing else presented by the Raw brand on that show seemed to be focused on as much other than the WWE Championship picture. Phoenix elicited effective heel heat by attempting to rough up the ring announcer before Michelle made the save, so it was a straightforward segment to leave the fans wanting to see Michelle give Phoenix her comeuppance in their upcoming match.
Mr. McMahon def. Triple H by Disqualification (Carlito Served as Special Guest Referee)
Of course, this was far from a traditional wrestling match (and anyone who expected it to be must be on drugs), but in a weird way, I liked it. It was so perfectly fitting of McMahon's character to take every shortcut possible, and I appreciated how HHH didn't waste time in attacking Carlito despite how he was the referee; he was more concerned with laying a beating on McMahon than winning. Again, this really should have been saved for No Mercy because Triple H vs. Umaga felt tacked on at the last minute, and Umaga didn't even get the upper hand over HHH going into their bout! The ruthless reign of the invincible Triple H continues.
Santino Marella Attacked Val Venis
Marella at the Movies was essentially Santino's version of The Highlight Reel, except his talk segment didn't last as long and merely existed so Stone Cold Steve Austin could return and deliver a Stunner to him. In the meantime, Marella managed to get the crowd to hate him big time by beating up beloved babyfaces. First was Ron Simmons, and now... Val Venis? It slipped my mind he was with WWE even in 2007, and he felt so out of place. Mind you, this was before the PG rating went into effect. Regardless, the dynamic between Santino and Maria was always enjoyable.
Mickie James def. Melina
James and Melina always had good chemistry and produced passable matches, so this was a nice little match for what it was. I initially questioned why it was happening int the first place, but then Hornswoggle appearing at the end and distracting Melina made total sense of it. I assume they continued to feud in the weeks that followed, but I guess we'll soon find out. At least it gave Melina something to do, unlike James who was completely directionless in late 2007.
WWE Champion John Cena def. Mr. Kennedy (Non-title)
WWE heavily promoted this as a "first time ever" match throughout the night, but it fell well below my expectations. They were just getting warmed up before Cena locked in the STF and Kennedy quickly tapped out, so the match was a massive letdown. However, I understood why the contest was cut short: Kennedy injured Cena's shoulder halfway through the bout and Cena could hardly move it. Despite that and the severity of it, Cena continued the match anyway as well as Randy Orton's post-match ambush on him, so that was certainly courageous. It was announced shortly thereafter Cena would have to vacate the title due to the injury, and Kennedy was to blame. Obviously, he was never prominently pushed again after that.
This is the last edition of Raw Cena reigned as WWE Champion during his year-plus long run on top before being forced to relinquish the title, so the show is historically significant for that reason. But as a go-home show, it didn't do anything to make me watch (or re-watch, rather) No Mercy that Sunday. The stuff with the women and the main event scene were well done, but everything else was unsuccessful in building to the pending pay-per-view.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - September 24, 2007"