If you actually watched Raw through to the end and didnâ<80><99>t switch over to see if the Buffalo Bills were actually going to upset the Dallas Cowboys (what an ending to that one, eh?) then the headline of the night is a no-brainer.
The Showstopper, HBK, is back!
During the final segment of the show, the Chairmanâ<80><99>s edict that all stars on the roster must come out and shake the new WWE Champion, Randy Ortonâ<80><99>s, hand and congratulate him in a show of respect. HHH, who had been wounded well during the evening, was also told he must be the first to do so â<80>” even if he must be brought out on a stretcher. (Yeah, Iâ<80><99>ll get to that later.)
With RKO putting himself up on a pedestal, both literally and figuratively, VKM realizes that HHH isnâ<80><99>t out with the rest of the bunch and calls him out. No Game. Solution? Send Orton back to â<80><9c>drag him out.â<80>
Orton heads up the ramp, but a surprise awaits him as that all-too-familiar music hits and a long-absent Sean Michaels appears. HBK sported a rustic look and clearly hadnâ<80><99>t shaved in a while. But the look he gave the new Champ was even more intense and backed Orton down the ramp.
Randy leaps into the ring to retrieve his belt from VKM and takes a swing at the pursuing Michaels who promptly spears him. HBK pummels Orton on the mat for a moment, and quickly follows up with some Sweet Chin Music to lay the Champ out for the count.
As a pumped up Michaels played to the crowd, VKM looked on in disbelief.
Are you kidding? Thank God the man is back!
No matter how you feel about him (unless youâ<80><99>re from Canada, most love him) Raw was definitely in need of more star power and HBK brings a heavy dose of it. His return is certainly a welcome one in this writerâ<80><99>s book, but Iâ<80><99>m also hoping they donâ<80><99>t stop there.
Everyone still is pondering the return of Chris Jericho (and yes, I saw another Y2J sign tonight), but letâ<80><99>s keep it going. Find ways to make a few more stars out of the mid-card guys as well. Of course you donâ<80><99>t want an overload, but I donâ<80><99>t see that being a problem in the near future.
Santino Marella was set for a match against Val Venis following last weekâ<80><99>s episode when Venis insulted Marella, followed quickly by an assault from the Italian.
Marella ducks out, however, flirts some with Lillian Garcia (ok, I do believe he slapped her arse) and says he canâ<80><99>t wrestle tonight because of a previous engagement but has another opponent for Venis. Enter Snitzky, who makes quick work of the man who led online polls for who should become WWE Champion at No Mercy.
Marella shows up later to sing following Lillianâ<80><99>s performance, again poking fun at Stone Cold and The Condemned. We all know that itâ<80><99>s only a matter of time before Austin shows up and puts Marella down following a â<80><9c>What!â<80> filled speech.
Another downsider â<80>” more antics involving Hornswoggle. Yeah, I gave writers a thumbs up for actually making me chuckle at this wasted storyline, but tonight was just dry time-filler.
While I enjoyed other matches tonight, Iâ<80><99>d be remiss if didnâ<80><99>t give the High-Fliers category to Jeff Hardy and Mr. Kennedy. This was a good non-title match that got great reactions from the crowd.
Kennedy started by saying he wasnâ<80><99>t just â<80><9c>going to give a bunch of lip serviceâ<80> this night, that actions speak louder than words and he would prove through his actions that he is the future of sports entertainment. A nice mix kicked in as some cheers could be heard, boos begin to overpower, and â<80><9c>you suckâ<80> chants kick into high gear.
As the match starts the â<80><9c>Hardyâ<80> chants take over the crowd and the pair swap holds for a few. The offense was mixed until an shoving exchange and a slap from Kennedy prompted a tackle by Hardy that sent them both out of the ring. Hardy is up and in first, drop kicks Kennedy as he starts to climb back into the ring, then heads for the top rope for some of that high-flying offense I love so much. Unfortunately for him, he misses Kennedy, hits the guardrail and â<80><9c>injuresâ<80> his knee in the process.
After a break, Kennedy is getting a near-fall and stays on the offensive focusing on Hardyâ<80><99>s knee. The crowd shows more mixture as dueling chants of â<80><9c>Letâ<80><99>s go Hardyâ<80> and â<80><9c>Letâ<80><99>s go Kennedyâ<80> kick in. Kennedy works in a couple of half Boston Crabs and has most of the offense for a while, but Hardy finally gets the upper hand for a moment with a jaw-breaker and hard clothesline.
Kennedy turns it back around quickly with a shot to the midsection and goes for a pin, but gets caught trying to use the ropes for leverage. A side Russian leg sweep by Hardy gets him a near fall. He then goes for the Twist of Fate, but Kennedy counters â<80>” only to have his counter matched â<80>” and Hardy nails what Good olâ<80><99> J.R. described as a suplex brainbuster. Up to the top rope he goes (Hardy, not J.R.) but Kennedy rolls out of Hardyâ<80><99>s dive and goes for a nonchalant pin thatâ<80><99>s reversed at the 2-count by Hardy for the win.
This pair works well in the ring, and Iâ<80><99>m looking forward to seeing this rivalry continue.
– The mystery Matrix-style bit runs again. Itâ<80><99>s the same one that aired at No Mercy, but I did notice something else tonight. (See my No Mercy Take for details on the promo.) Just before the last segment of the show, a graphic was put up as the announcers talked up Cyber Sunday. The graphic confirmed suspicions that the Matrix bit has something to do with the upcoming PPV. Looking at the background of the graphic, the exact same blue Matrix-style text was flowing.
– HHH demanded a rematch against RKO for the title and, at first, VKM appeared to grant his wish. Instead, however, he was put into a handicap match against both RKO and Umaga. The Game held his own, and in fact seemed to have the upper hand, until Umaga decided to nail him with a steel chair. The assault continued as Orton left the ring and Umaga dismantled HHH. Referees attempted to help HHH to the back, and he at first refused their help. He collapsed without them, however, and was still being helped back after a commercial break.
– London and Kendrick took on The Highlanders despite the Scots saying last week I believe that they wouldnâ<80><99>t fight another match that wasnâ<80><99>t for the tag straps. Some good high-flying offense from the smaller pair at first, but they are eventually grounded by The Highlanders. Robbie gets the pin on London by using the ropes. Heels or not, Iâ<80><99>m glad the writers are starting to use this duo.
– Beth Phoenix (the new Womenâ<80><99>s Champ post-No Mercy), Melina and Jillian Hall took on Candice Michelle, Mickie James and Maria. Iâ<80><99>d been disappointed with Diva matches lately, but this one looked much improved. (Almost losing balance on that finishing move by Candice, notwithstanding.) Fighting poured out to ringside and Candice gets a Victory Roll on Jillian for the win.
– John Cena appeared â<80><9c>live via satellite.â<80> The former champ talked briefly about his injury and Ortonâ<80><99>s new reign as WWE Champion. He also mentioned that heâ<80><99>d be out anywhere from seven to 12 months.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to email@example.com … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section). Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!