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   Tue, October 9, 2007



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Raw: Save Us?
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


The first show after a pay-per-view is often the most interesting, especially when you have a show that follows a title change. Such is the case tonight, with two Raw brand belts going to new wrestlers (or, as in the case of the WWE Heavyweight Title, multiple wrestlers). Let's see what happens, shall we?

As one might expect, we open the show with Vince McMahon coming down to the ring, talking about the events that took place at No Mercy, leading into footage from Sunday night and the Randy Orton/Triple H matches (no mention of Umaga's bout, mind you). Next, Vinnie says every WWE star from all three rosters will be here tonight to congratulate Randy.

Then, we go to Cyber Sunday plug mode before Triple H comes out. This is the HHH we know and...love(?) - the no-nonsense Hunter, who invokes his rematch clause and wants the rematch tonight. Surprisingly, McMahon makes the bout, but quickly makes an addendum to the bout, giving Orton a partner - Umaga. I might as well fold up the laptop now and file my story, because I think we all know what happens.

Match 1 - Beth Phoenix/Jillian Hall/Melina vs. Candice/Maria/Mickie James

Well, I guess Candice wants to wait to invoke her return clause. I should point out that four of these women are, in fact, classically-trained wrestlers, and the other two, while Diva Search finds, are much improved and can legitimately be called wrestlers. Good on 'em.

The match sees Mickie James (surprise) taking most of the punishment, and after a schmoz, Candice gets the W with a Victory Roll on Jillian. Not bad action for what it was.

Winners: Candice/Maria/Mickie James

Back from a break, William Regal (commissioner) and Coach (assistant to the commissioner) chat about hard times with John Cena. Not quite Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute, but it will suffice. Vinnie comes in and hands off Hornswoggle to The Office again (yes, I think this will work well), and they've already lost him.

Next up, we get a look back at past Cyber Sunday moments, including Stacy Kiebler and Trish Stratus shots. Hmm, is this a shot at the current roster?

Match 2 - Santino Marella vs. Val Venis

Before the bell, Marella goes ringside to talk to Lillian and announces that he will not be fighting. Instead we get...

Match 2 - Snitsky vs. Val Venis

The only thing notable here is that Venis is growing his hair out again. Val gets a schtickle of offence, but Snitsky (who has mysteriously been gone for a month or so...) gets the win with the Pumphandle Slam.

Winner: Snitsky

After a quick promo for Evander Holyfield's fight on Saturday, we look at Cena's injury from last week, with much of the credit going to Orton, not Mr. Kennedy.

Next up is the latest viral vignette, with the main theme being REV_22:12, Saveus_222 and Second Coming. And, of course, J.R. and Jerry Lawler don't acknowledge it. Lovely.

Ross then chats with Cena via satellite from Tampa. Mixed boos and cheers throughout.

Match 3 - Randy Orton/Umaga vs. Triple H

Yes, the accursed spinnner belt is still around, and Umaga now has a new tat across his back. I'll also note that, while this is supposedly the official return match for Trippy, there's no such announcement that the belt is actually on the line.

The Texas Tornado style bout is a virtual beatdown of HHH, including colour, at least until HHH makes the superhuman recovery and Umaga is forced to go to the furniture.

Winner: Triple H (DQ)

Post-match, the beatdown continues. After hitting the RKO, Orton leaves, but Umaga continues to beat down Triple H good. Umaga deserves it. HHH, finally left alone, is (sort of) helped to his feet by referees, until he pushes them away, wanting to get back to the dressing room under his own power. That doesn't last long as he collapses on the ramp. Good sell-job, for once, by Mr Levesque.

As HHH is helped backstage by refs, Vince approaches and tells him he will, in fact, be the first to shake hands with Orton.

Match 4 - Brian Kendrick/Paul London vs. Highlanders

We get the re-education of the Highlander turn before the match. To emphasize that they're evil, Rory and Robbie are now wearing black kilts. Overall, it's a solid match, with the Highlanders cheating to win.

Winners: The Highlanders

During the post-match celebration, Kendrick points to his knee, seemingly indicating an injury. I sure hope not.

Elsewhere, Coach Schrute looks for Hornswoggle, while Michael Regal reprimands him. Unfortunately, there's no opportunity here for, "that's what she said."

Next up is Lillian Garcia's performance. It's effective in getting the audience hyped, but I think it would've been a more effective performance, say, in San Diego. Soon after, Marella sings a song about Steve Austin's acting career. I like where this is going.

Match 5 - Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy

Again, the announcers allude to this being a title bout, but there's no graphic.

The two have strong chemistry and put on a very solid match, with much of the focus on Hardy's left knee. Kennedy shows a pretty strong repertoire here. Eventually, Hardy gets the advantage, but almost loses the match after missing the Swanton. Kennedy then goes for a nonchalant cover, which Hardy reverses for the strong win. Great bout, which you should go out of your way to see if you missed it the first time.

Backstage, McMahon and Regal confer about the handshake ceremony. Regal tells Vince Hornswoggle is napping, until Coach comes in and nearly blows everything. Hornswoggle, indeed, then awakes from a nap inside a crate. McMahon and Regal leave, allowing Mini McMahon to attack Coach with his cane. We close the segment with Hornswoggle holding a banana. I sense Monty Python is forthcoming...

Out comes the Raw male roster, and when we come back from break, it's still just the Raw men on the stage. Noticeably, Kendrick isn't out, which tells me that, indeed, he is injured.

Orton delivers a speech, then Vince calls for Triple H to come out to be the first to shake hands. Vince then tells Orton to go backstage and bring HHH out to shake hands. Then, out of nowhere, Shawn Michaels (looking like the Crocodile Hunter), comes out. Okay, that's definitely a surprise. I guess we can definitively say that HBK isn't behind Saveus_222. HBK then beats the champ up and hits Sweet Chin Music.

Well, I guess the much talked-about Orton/HHH main event for Cyber Sunday is officially dead. T'was a great way to end Raw, but again, a bit of a wasted opportunity to introduce Chris Jericho back to the fold.


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