The show opened with Batista hitting the ring and demanding a rematch against CM Punk as well as a confrontation with Kane. JBL interrupts him and says that he’s running the show and that he will be the next in line for a title shot since he won his match at The Bash. I like how feuds are intertwining here. You have Batista and CM Punk wrestling for the Championship, and you have JBL and Cena wrestling within a long standing rivalry, and now both separate feuds are overlapping with the addition of a wild card in Kane. It will be interesting to see where this leads heading into Summerslam, and if we see a singles match for the title or if more players will be involved.
Back from commercial break and our opening bout is underway with Paul London taking on Lance Cade. Prior to the match Cade grabs the mic and tells HBK that if he is in the building then he needs to come to the ring to discuss some things that needed to be talked about a long time ago. I understand that this feud is between Jericho and Michaels, but it would be nice to know exactly why Cade has turned his back on his former “mentor.” The use of Lance in this feud is a really smart move by creative because Jericho and HBK obviously don’t need the rub, but Cade does, and having him mix it up with two top talents is a great way to boost his credentials. The problem, however, is if they don’t allow him to really sink his teeth into the feud. WWE has to allow him to talk more, explain his case against HBK, and then get a little more physical with him. With respect to his match against London tonight, I thought both guys looked good and Cade showed great energy and aggression. It’s too bad that London is appearing to be something of a jobber at this point, but then again it’s not surprising to me given his size and lack of character depth. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this opening match 5.5 stars.
Following the match, Y2J hit the ring and cut a promo on HBK and more importantly, the fans. Brilliant. That’s all I can say. Jericho is brilliant.
Next up was Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix in a singles Diva’s match. I have to admit that Kelly looked pretty good in this outing. Her pace was much quicker than usual, she pulled off some really nice offense, and in the end came off as a competent opponent to Phoenix. Beth’s power was too much to handle, however, and The Glamazon picked up the victory with a hard hitting face plant. 5 stars.
Standing in the ring is Hacksaw Jim Duggan as we come back from commercial break and he announces to the fans that maybe it’s time for him to “hang up the boots” following the confrontation between him and Rhodes and DiBiase last week. This was a really well done segment. Lawler hit the ring and told Duggan that he shouldn’t quit something that he is passionate about. This prompts DiBiase and Rhodes to hit the ring, and a match between Duggan and Lawler vs Rhodes and DiBiase is foreshadowed. Rhodes and DiBiase are really growing on me and I think using them against Lawler and Duggan is a nice way to play the rookie vs the veteran theme.
This segment lead right into our hour one main event, a rematch of last week’s fantastic main event which saw John Cena and Cryme Tyme vs JBL, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. This was another great 6 man bout, with Cena hitting a double FU on both Rodes and DiBiase for the win. Wow. Cena once again demonstrates his incredible strength and the move was highly creative. 7 Stars.
During the next commercial break WWE advertised that Jenny McCarthy would be teaming with them for the next Saturday Night’s Main Event broadcast to help fight autism. Great idea, and a really nice gesture on the part of WWE. I wish the event much success.
Back from the break and it’s time for an inter-gender match with Kofi Kingston and Mickie James vs Paul and Katie Lea Burchill. I like both feuds that are working here, with Paul vs Kofi and Katie vs Mickie. I’d prefer to see Mickie and Katie mixing it up with Beth Phoenix for the women’s title, but this was a fun match nevertheless. I really dislike Burchill’s finisher. A neckbreaker? They couldn’t come up with something a little more unique and much less standard? Where’s the curb stomp? The “Twisted Sister” just doesn’t look like a believable way to score a pinfall. 5.5 Stars.
After the match we cut backstage and Jamie Noble is still working on Layla, trying to convince her that the two of them would make a good pair. Batista comes by, asks Noble if he’s seen Kane, and then pins him against the wall by his throat when Noble disregards him. A cool little segment with Noble playing the part of Napoleon very well. Although I prefer seeing him in the ring, he has been entertaining since he arrived on Raw.
The next segment was a definite highlight of the show for me. Not only did we get to see the return of former intercontinental champion D-Lo Brown, but we all got to witness the awkward “kiss seen ’round the world.” The segment started with a singles match featuring Santino Marella vs D-Lo Brown, which saw Marella get squashed for the 300th week in a row. Brown looked good here, lots of intensity and a beautiful looking Sudden Impact clothesline before hitting the trademarked Lo-Down frog splash. It’s good to have Brown back, and hopefully we will see some good in-ring action from this talented veteran 4.5 Stars.
This was followed immediately by a bizarre yet very intriguing bit between Santino and Beth Phoenix that saw them lock up and then lock lips. I think Ssntino and Beth were turned on by their brief exchange of wrestling holds so they ended up giving each other a televised kiss which drew an incredible pop from the live crowd. I like this. These two will make a very interesting couple as they’re polar opposites.
It’s now time for our main event of the evening, CM Punk vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to the match, Kane hit the ring and attacked Batista, giving him a chokeslam that prompted referee Mike Chioda to ask The Animal if he was ok to compete. Batista said yes, and the match was underway. This was a great TV match, with a lot of back and forth action and both guys working hard and fast. I did not like the fact that both last night’s match and tonight’s ended with a DQ, but the post match chaos was great. JBL hit the ring, Cena hit the ring, and the two started brawling yet again. Cena inadvertently hit Batista and the two of them went at it. This is setting up a nice mix of talent that could be vying for a title shot and we’ll have to wait and see who gets it. 7.5 Stars.
Overall, this was a great show top to bottom. There were a few misfires along the way, but for the most part Raw kept me entertained and excited for two hours. I hope this trend of action and creativity continues on a regular basis as it’s producing spontaneous, unpredictable TV. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give tonight’s Raw 7 stars.
-Where were Stephanie and Shane tonight? If they’ve been so concerned with the state of Raw without a GM, why didn’t they show up this week?
-Even though it was last week, Santino calling his opponent “death meat” is still making me laugh tonight.
-Cole didn’t bother me tonight. Someone call the NY Times, we have tomorrow’s headline.
-Paul London’s shoes are awful. It looks like he borrowed a pair of my Grandfather’s orthopedics and spray painted them with blue vomit.
-Is it weird that I kinda wanna get it on with Beth Phoenix?
-We got a preview of the main event for ECW tomorrow night. In a fatal four way match, it will be Finlay vs Matt Hardy vs The Miz vs John Morrison to determine the number one contender to Henry’s ECW title. That should be an interesting match. And oh ya, poor Tommy Dreamer.
Thanks for reading, and as always you can send any and all feedback to VOWNick@gmail.com