Last night we saw a rewind of various matches from former Wrestle Manias and it did provide for a fairly entertaining Raw. I enjoyed this fresh take on trying to hype up the big event that is only weeks away. This angle prevented the usual pairing of rivals on the same tag team or the put your challenger in a uneven match in order to weaken him story line. Tonight even gave some of the guys not involved in Mania a chance to show they still are decent players in the WWE.
Since most of you have seen the results lets get to the major highlights. First the Intercontinental title was actually defended. To bad the results were not to Jeff Hardy’s liking as he lost it to Jericho. The match was great as both men treated this like a main event pay per view event. Tons of high risk moves and near pin falls. The intensity was fantastic and it was one of the highlights of the show. With the belt off Hardy will this lead to his attempt to become WWE champ? With Cena planned to be out soon due to movie commitments, Hardy would seem to be the obvious choice to be the number one contender. I hope this is what will happen as I feel most of the momentum he had going into the end of 2007 is starting to wear off. He needs to make his title push soon, but with both Triple H and Cena as major players I’m not sure if he will get it.
The other great match was the Cena and HBK match at the end of the night. Not surprising since any match with HBK is guaranteed to be full of thrills. This was a fairly long match and was highlighted with plenty of action. Of course we needed some interference from one of Cena’s competitors in Mania, and Randy Orton provided us with it. He ran into the ring to RKO Cena on a chair but failed. Cena was able to counter and put Orton into the chair and the give him the FU. Orton took a good shot in the back with the chair but seemed fine after. Watching this match it should be interesting to see if HBK will find himself in a title shot by the end of this year. Before his injury last year it looked like he would be in the running, but since that time there really hasn’t been much. I have to think by the time 08 ends he will be wearing championship gold in either Raw or Smack down.
As far as other guys in the locker room who did a good job last night, it has to be said Kane did a good job against Triple H. Kane right now is playing the role the Undertaker had a few years ago when he took on mid to lower level guys in order to make them look good. This seems to be Kane’s role now, but he did hold his own against Triple H. I’m not saying he should ever be champ again, but he should at least be in the running for a one off shot at a major belt and even would be a decent US of Intercontinental champ.
The other big new was the weigh in of Mayweather and the Big Show. This disrupted into a big melee resulting in the Big Show tossing Mayweather out of the the ring. Mayweather landed hard on his elbow and was in some pain, so it should be interesting to see how bad he is hurt. The reports are that the supposed shoving match between the wrestlers and Mayweather’s posse actually was more real than play. Even Shane McMahon took a tumble down the the ramp. It looks like this angle is turning into a bit of a disaster as the tension is mounting between the factions. I really don’t have any faith this match will even be good and the publicity the WWE gets may not even be worth it, especially if Mayweather’s crew cannot be controlled.
The other highlight of the show was the preview of Batista and Umaga. This came about from Umaga and William regal standing in the ring going on about how Raw will win the challenge against Smack Down at Mania. This caused Batista to find his way to the ring and put the beating on Umaga. The confrontation did not last long but it started the heat needed for Mania. This match has the potential to big one of the big surprises of Mania as both men are great brawlers with the ability to use many athletic moves.
On final, note it was good to see the US Express try to face Nikolia Volkoff and the Iron Sheik in a rematch of their Wrestle Mania 1 confrontation. The match did not go off due to Jillian blessing us with her fine vocals. Thankfully Mike Rotunda gave her a hurricane spin and put an end to that. Of course the match did not happen but it was still great to see these guys one more time.