By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy (Non-title)
I understand William Regal's decision to want to put Orton through the ringer by having him face all of his potential Cyber Sunday opponents in one night, but did it not give those matches away prior to the pay-per-view? By that I mean, they made it pretty obvious Hardy wasn't winning the vote if they held the full match between the two here. It also bothered me that the champion vs. champion aspect of the bout was almost completely overlooked and should have felt like a bigger deal, but as a match, it was very good and was shades of their Royal Rumble encounter months later. Kennedy interfering was effective in protecting Hardy in defeat as well.
Santino Marella def. Val Venis
Venis was a glorified undercard competitor at this point, so a win over the former Intercontinental Champion virtually meant nothing for Santino. That said, it was a fine enough match and that didn't overstay its welcome to follow up on their interactions in the weeks leading up to this. Santino was on fire at this point as a heel, so it was only logical to further his momentum by picking up the victory in this match.
Mr. Kennedy def. WWE Champion Randy Orton by Disqualification (Non-title)
Both men were heels at this point, so the mach had that weird dynamic where the crowd had zero incentive to cheer for either guy. I'd make the argument that the Kennedy was more likable than Orton and they could have sided with him, but he just cost Hardy his match with Orton earlier in the evening. It was a solid match while it lasted, though, and Hardy's involvement at the end spared us a clean finish (which was understandable).
Umaga def. Andy Simmons in a Street Fight, a First Blood Match, and a Steel Cage Match
I honestly don't think Umaga received the credit he deserved for being such a ruthless beast. WWE did all they could to derail his hot sterak in 2007 by having him lose to John Cena, Bobby Lashley and Triple H several times over, but this helped him get his heat back in a major way. I'd say this dragged on a little too long, but it was so uncomfortable to watch that it made viewers want to see HHH give him his comeuppance. Speaking of The Game, I liked how he was nowhere to be seen on this show after the beating he took the week prior.
Candice Michelle def. Jillian Hall
This was before Hall became absolutely unbearable as a heel and her singing shtick was fun in small doses. She'd sing some awful rendition of a song before someone would come out and make quick work of her. Michelle was the perfect person to do that one week ahead of her Women's Championship 2-out-of-3 Falls rematch with Beth Phoenix.
Rory McAllister def. Brian Kendrick
WWE did all they could to build up The Highlanders as credible threats to the World Tag Team Championship by having them beat Paul London and Kendrick in various singles and tag team matches, but to no avail. It was apparent fans couldn't care less about them. This match was total throwaway, but if nothing else, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch were entertaining to listen to on commentary.
Hardcore Holly def. Cody Rhodes
I'm sure fans thought it would be third time's the charm for Rhodes after falling short against Holly two times before, but I'm actually glad he lost again because he looked even stronger than he would have had he won. He gave Holly a hell of a fight and came close to winning on a few occasions, gaining Holly's respect as a result and leading to the two teaming not long after.
Shawn Michaels def. WWE Champion Randy Orton by Disqualification (Non-title)
Needless to say, it would be have downright stupid to do a full-length match between Michaels and Orton one week removed from HBK's return and mere weeks before their likely Cyber Sunday match, so it was wise to keep the contest short and sweet before Kennedy entered the fray. The feuds between Hardy, Kennedy, Michaels and Orton were well furthered and the crowd went nuts for HBK hitting Sweet Chin Music on Orton again to close the show.
There really wasn't any doubt that Michaels was going to face Orton for the WWE Championship at Cyber Sunday, but they did solid job of making it seem as if Hardy and Kennedy had a fighting chance, and thus this show was successful in focusing on them. Hornswoggle and Jonathon Coachman had a handful of segments together, but outside of their short-lived clash in the ring, they were harmless. Everything else, with the exception of McAllister vs. Kendrick, held my interest and caused the episode to fly by.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - October 8, 2007"