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Monday, November 12, 2007

Tonight's Episode Of 'WWE RAW' Is In The Books

The lowdown from Topeka's Kansas Expocentre:

- The show opened with a tribute to the military, which I ignored.

- Lilian Garcia (fresh from taping BDSSP, although you wouldn't know it from watching this show) introduced Batista, an invited guest of William Regal's. Batista began rambling about 'Survivor Series, 'Hell In A Cell,' and The Undertaker. 'Taker made an appearance, and they teased an impromptu match between the two (can you say, "November sweeps"?), but in something far more original, Regal had them team to face Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch.

- Undertaker & Batista easily defeated Cade & Murdoch. 'Taker quickly 'Tombstoned' and pinned Cade. Not one to let 'Taker show him up, Batista nailed Murdoch with a post-match 'Batista Bomb.' No one cared about the champs, which, since they're often used like this, isn't hard to comprehend.

- In (yet) another non-title match, Beth Phoenix defeated Maria. While Maria's flexibility was impressive, she fared no better than the tag champs, although this booking made sense, and her opponent is fresh blood and deserves the push. After the match, Santino Marella demanded an apology from Steve Austin. That, of course, didn't happen (for some reason, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler seemed pleased with Austin's decision to not be present), so Marella went to JR. Lawler stood up for his friend. Marella was floored by a right hand, prompting him to vow revenge.

- Marella, through Todd Grisham, challenged Lawler to wrestle him. Lawler, despite not having his gear (nice added touch), agreed.

- In another unadvertised "surprise" (because they drive television ratings and pay-per-view buys), The Hardys & Rey Mysterio defeated Mr. Kennedy, MVP & Finlay. Watching Finlay is a joy! Matt Hardy, in particular, didn't seem to be working at his usual level. Kennedy seemed to be working at exactly his usual level, which may have partially been Matt's problem, since he was mostly in with him MVP wasn't any better, but because he and Matt are partners and champs, they avoided contact. Speaking of Kennedy and MVP, Mysterio nailed them both with a '619,' setting up MVP for a 'Swanton' and pin, courtesy of Jeff Hardy. Considering how hard these guys (and their respective issues) are being pushed, I was surprised by the lack of crowd heat.

- More in the "Unadvertised surprise" department: If anyone still cares, Chris Jericho supposedly returns on Monday. Heard it before, guys.

- The Shawn Michaels-Randy Orton face-off ended with, shock-of-chocks, a physical confrontation. Michaels, without provocation, went after Mr. McMahon. Orton, thank God, was there to save the chairman. Orton wanted to punt a field goal, but McMahon stopped him, so I ... I mean, we, had to settle for an 'RKO.' Looks like another title reign in Michaels' immediate future (which, based on crowd response, appears to be the right thing for business, even if only for a short time).

- If you havn't heard, tomorrow night's main event: Mysterio & Kane vs. Big-Daddy-V & Finlay. Should be great.

- Jillian Hall, Melina & Layla defeated Mickie James, Michelle McCool & Kelly Kelly. The Miz wasn't around, and I wasn't complaining. James nailed Layla with a long, wet kiss, which floored those of us watching, then one hell of a spinning back-kick, which floored and kept down Layla for the pin.

- Snitsky likes pain, or pleasure, or some shit.

- Lawler (in his street clothes, minus his shirt and watch; I didn't mind him losing the watch) defeated Marella. Marella clowned around, allowing Lawler to catch him with a small package and pin.

- Earlier today, Jonathan Coachman reluctantly played The Great Khali (don't know who "Ranjin Singh" was), and human punching-bag, for Hornswoggle's training session. I don't get the humor. As an aside, the fruits (or whatever he's eating) of regular paychecks sure haven't been kind to Coachman's physique.

- Grisham interviewed Triple H, who vowed to survive, and wasn't sure if, after tonight, Umaga could say the same.

- Lumberjack match: HHH and Umaga battled to a no-contest? On the outside: The Hardys, Kane, Mysterio, Kennedy, MVP, BDV, Matt Striker & Finlay. Striker, knowing where his bread is buttered, took one hell of a bump (on the floor, no less) for HHH. It appeared as if, perhaps during a commercial break, someone (MVP?) took care of Rick Achberger's signs. Again, not the expected level of heat, although it seemed as if much of the just-back-from-Puerto-Rico crew sure seemed worn out (not that I was blaming them). Nothing mentioned, as to why Umaga replaced Kennedy, or even that he did replace Kennedy. I'm unsure of the result, because shortly after the expected ten-way brawl broke out, the network abruptly cut to tonight's episode of 'Dr. Steve-O.'