By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mr. McMahon "Apologized" to Cruiserweight Champion Hornswoggle; WWE Champion Attacked Jonathon Coachman
Obviously, I put the word "apologized" in quotation marks simply because you had to know it wasn't genuine, especially after McMahon just got finished announcing it would be he and Carlito against Triple H in a Handicap Steel Cage match in the night's main event. Hornswoggle's little fling with Melina would last for the remainder of the night and result in one of the most memorable segments for me when I was watching long before I officially declared myself a fan: Hornswoggle following Melina into the shower! I remember watching that with my dad and feeling insanely awkward. Anyway, Cena once again showed great fire in his pursuit of Coachman and they set the stage for a segment later in the show with Cena (presumably) being forced to vacate the title.
Hardcore Holly def. Cody Rhodes
I forget whether Holly was still a heel at this time or not, but I do know this was the start of his slow babyface turn. He said to Rhodes before the bout that he would have to earn his respect, and although he didn't do so here in falling short of victory, he would eventually, and this was the first of many matches between them in the weeks that followed. This match in particular was nothing special, but as noted, their chemistry would improve over time.
Ron Simmons def. Santino Marella by Count-out
When Marella attacked Simmons backstage the week prior on Raw, I didn't actually think it would lead to a match between the two because, well, Simmons was no longer an active competitor at this point in his career. I guess I applaud them for storyline consistency, but was this match really necessary since it hardly accomplished anything? There wasn't much to it, and the count-out finish was lame, so it felt like a waste of time.
Mr. McMahon and Carlito def. Triple H in 2-on-1 Handicap Steel Cage Match
The only real involvement McMahon had in this match was escaping the cage and ultimately winning the match for him and Carlito. Otherwise, it was a standard singles Steel Cage match between HHH and Carlito and the sole purpose the steel structure served was allowing McMahon to win without pinning The Game. Sure, Carlito got his win back over HHH from Unforgiven, but he was a total afterthought in this match and was attacked afterward anyway, so he barely benefited from this if at all.
Paul London and Brian Kendrick def. World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Mudoch by Disqualification (Non-title)
These two already had a few matches against each other by this point, so this match was nothing new. There wasn't anything technically wrong with it, but it was merely filler and nothing more. I found it comical WWE actually tried to make The Highlanders look like threats to the tag titles by ambushing the babyfaces here, but even that wasn't enough for fans to take them seriously.
Shelton Benjamin and Beth Phoenix def. Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and Women's Champion Candice Michelle
Hardy and Benjamin were embroiled in a mini-rivalry at this time coming off their clash the previous week and obviously Phoenix and Michelle were feuding over the Women's Championship. Michelle seemed to be improving on a near-weekly basis and she was really the star of this match for me. The heels going over was a wise move to give them more heat in their respective programs.
WWE Champion John Cena def. Jonathon Coachman in a Tables Match (Non-title)
It was hard for me to buy into the possibility of Cena handing over his WWE title to Coachman considering I already knew going into this he wouldn't, but both men played their roles well and it was a solid segment on the whole that led to the impromptu Table match. I instantly questioned what kind of "change of heart" Mr. McMahon had when he put The Coach in action, but then it was revealed Hornswoggle, McMahon's illegitimate son, was the mastermind behind it all. Clever!
If you dig the McMahon and Hornswoggle stuff, then you might enjoy these shows, but there were a lot of things on this edition of Raw that left me either scratching my head or underwhelmed. Most of the matches were too short to be anything meaningful, and Randy Orton, who was unquestionably the star of Raw around this time, wasn't even on the episode. He cut a pre-taped promo, but that was it. This was one of the more forgettable Raw shows from this time period and you're better off skipping over it.
SEE ALSO: "Monday Night Raw Review - September 17, 2007"