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When Did Raw Become Heat?

Coming out of Mania for the second week in a row Raw has another lackluster effort. I'll forgive last week due to the farewell address of Rick Flair, but there is no excuse why this week should have been a showcase for Heat's finest. I know we still have some time before the next pay per view, but this is no way to keep up the momentum coming out of Mania and to build up interest for Backlash. Right now we have 3 matches people might pay for, the rematch for the World Heavy Weight title, the WWE title match and the Batista/HBK match that was announced tonight. While these are three solid matches there is not much to sell Backlash, and having lackluster TV shows does not help.

The highlight tonight featured qualifying to join the WWE Championship match. William Regal originally announced JBL would face Orton, but Triple H had his say and found himself in a handicap match against JBL and Orton. Of course H would win but that would not be the end of this. John Cena would also share his beef and find himself in the same predicament as Triple H, but this time it would be the aforementioned Triple H and JBL taking on Cena.

The ending of the Cena match was a bit odd as it featured a melee between the participants in the match plus Orton. During the match JBL would not tag in Triple H so those two would go at it. Plus JBL and Orton were double teaming Cena outside of the ring. JBL accidentally hit Orton which would lead to Orton giving the RKO to JBL. The problem was it allowed Cena to win, thus making the match at Backlash a fatal 4 way. As it seemed, none of the other participants wanted this, so why would Orton take out the man that could have pinned a beaten down Cena? Plus why would Triple H allow someone else to join a title match, thus decreasing his chances? I know we needed to get all 4 in this match, but there could have been a better way.

On the Highlight Reel we saw Jericho have HBK and Batista as guests. The interview got a little hot and Jericho left to let the 2 men discuss the outcome of Rick Flair's last match. Again Batista did a great job on the mic and is really doing a good job to build heat for this match. Since he really has no other program, being teamed with HBK will give him a chance to show what he has against another great performer. If Batista pulls this off, look for him to make a serious title run at the end of 08. The fans still love this guy, so it will be hard to keep the championship gold off of him. The only question is will it be on Raw or Smackdown. There has been plenty of hints he and Triple H may meet again so don't be surprised if we see it happen by years end.

On to the results from the rest of Raw. Umaga beats Val Venus, London and Kendrick get a surprise defeat on Cade and Murdoch, we saw Carlito and Santino beat Holly and Rhodes in a non title match, Mickie James and Ashley beat Melina and Jillian,and Beth Phoenix takes out Maria. Like I said, not much else to talk about. Hopefully next week we see some better matches and some more build up to Backlash.

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