By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Triple H Interrupted Mr. McMahon
This was a solid follow-up to the events that transpired at No Mercy the night prior with Triple H and Randy Orton trading the WWE Championship back and forth. In case you missed my recent reviews of Raw from this time period, HHH and McMahon had been embroiled in a rivalry for weeks, so it was only logical for McMahon to grant HHH his championship rematch only to make it a Handicap match, setting up the night's main event nicely.
Candice Michelle, Mickie James and Maria def. Women's Champion Beth Phoenix, Melina and Jillian Hall
This match made sense of the random matches Mickie was involved in at various points during this time period. Maria was still relatively green in the ring, so keeping her limited in a six-Diva tag team match was wise. It was a surprisingly pleasant match that wasn't the train wreck it could have been, also successfully moving along the feud between Michelle and Phoenix coming off their clash at No Mercy.
Snitsky def. Val Venis
Venis was originally scheduled to go up against Santino Marella after he was ambushed by him the week prior, but Santino named Snitsky as his replacement instead. The match was a standard squash, but two things stood out to me while watching it. Firstly, Venis stuck out like a sore thumb in 2007. The character was well past its prime and he wasn't in the greatest shape. Secondly, Snitsky was criminally underutilized back then. He would win meaningless matches in the undercard but never get above a certain level, sadly.
Jim Ross Interviewed John Cena
Cena gave a pretty basic update regarding the injury he suffered on the previous episode of Raw yet didn't provide any new information that wasn't already known by the public. He did come across well, though, and I liked how Randy Orton (Cena's arch-rival) made his entrance immediately after the interview wrapped up. As we all know, Cena would return to the ring way ahead of schedule at January's Royal Rumble event.
Triple H def. WWE Champion Randy Orton and Umaga in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match by Disqualification
As if a Handicap match wasn't bad enough, there weren't any tags, so Orton and Umaga were constantly in the ring at the same time. I say that as a bad thing because not only were Handicap matches involving Triple H done to death in 2007, but he was absolutely invincible following SummerSlam, and that carried over here. He would have won the match had the heels not gotten themselves disqualified, which is ridiculous when you consider the star power combined between Orton and Umaga.
The Highlanders def. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
I noted how weird it was that WWE was high on pushing The Highlanders as threats to the World Tag Team Championship at that time. It's almost the equivlent to the mini-push The Shining Stars are receiving right now on Raw. It's not that they were bad wrestlers, but they paled in comparison to what London and Kendrick were capable of and they had poorly defined characters. Although they won here, I'm not sure if the crowd saw them as any more of a threat.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. Mr. Kennedy
I wasn't positive whether this was a title match or not, but according to some site I looked up to double check, the title was on the line. Either way, while I don't know what Kennedy did to earn a title opportunity other than legitimately injure Cena, this was a very entertaining match and Hardy and Kennedy showed awesome chemistry together. This was only the first of a series of matches they would have against each other in the weeks that followed.
Shawn Michaels Attacked WWE Champion Randy Orton
With Triple H injured earlier on in the evening, so with him out of the picture, who better to stand up to Orton than a returning Michaels? He received a loud reaction and I loved the way the commentators called this moment. I can see why John Napolitano calls this one of his favorite moments as a fan! For those who don't remember, Orton had put HBK on the shelf many months earlier at Judgement Day, so this marked his first appearance in almost five months. This kicked off the rekindling of their rivalry on a high note and led to them feuding over the strap for the next month.
I wasn't particularly found of No Mercy, but this was an above-average post-pay-per-view edition of Raw. They wasted no time in building to the next championship match between Orton and Michaels, so that was great. A few other feuds were furthered nicely as well and better yet, there was a stunning lack of Hornswoggle on this show. Sure, there was some other filler, but the good outweighed the bad on this night. All things considered, this show gets a thumbs up from me.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - October 1, 2007"