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Many happy returns
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Just 24 hours after Survivor Series, where John Cena made the most of his homecoming by winning the World Heavyweight Title from Chris Jericho, Raw had three eagerly anticipated returns of its own. Not only did The Champ make an appearance, having a brief altercation with the former titleholder, but Monday night also saw former Women's Champion Melina lead a team of Divas to victory, with the Green Bay Loudmouth himself, Mr. Kennedy, making an appearance as well.
Chris Jericho attempted to hijack World Heavyweight Champion John Cena's return to Raw, but was attacked by The Champ. (PHOTOS)
Before World Heavyweight Champion John Cena could even make his much anticipated return to Raw, the bitter Chris Jericho attempted to steal the new champion's thunder, claiming that he plans on winning back the title at Armageddon. Cena then gave Jericho an opportunity to confront him face-to-face, coming out to a thunderous reception from all those in attendance. The World Heavyweight Champion explained the difference between himself and Jericho, stating that he actually cares about the many members of the WWE Universe.
After the first-ever Undisputed Champion once again stated his intention to beat Cena at Armageddon and continued to belittle the WWE Universe, The Champ snapped. The World Heavyweight Champion proceeded to brutalize Jericho, throwing him against the announce table, bludgeoning him with the steel stairs and finally locking him into an STFU.
Mickie James, Candice Michelle & Melina def. Women's Champion Beth Phoenix, Katie Lea Burchill & Jillian. (PHOTOS)
Prior to their Six-Diva Tag Match, Women's Champion Beth Phoenix, Katie Lea Burchill & Jillian made their way to the ring where Jillian performed a particularly ear-splitting rendition of Beyonce's "Single Ladies." As their opponents entered, one was conspicuously absent, as only Mickie & Candice stood in the ring. Then, making her surprise return to Raw after months out following a run-in with Beth Phoenix and a severe ankle injury, Melina came out to a warm welcome from the WWE Universe. The former two-time Women's Champion's return was a triumphant one as she carried her team to victory.
World Tag Team Champion CM Punk def. Snitsky to advance to the next round of the Eight-Man Intercontinental Title Tournament. (PHOTOS)
As Intercontinental Champion William Regal looked on, World Tag Team Champion CM Punk and Snitsky fought it out, trying to earn an opportunity to compete for the 2008 King of the Ring's title. In spite of the yellow-toothed monster's decided size and strength advantage, CM Punk utilized his extensive martial arts background to put down Snitsky and move one step closer to another championship.
Goldust def. Santino Marella (PHOTOS)
One Superstar who wasn't invited to participate in the Intercontinental Title Tournament was Santino Marella. Though the Italian Superstar recently lost the championship to William Regal, he was unable to compete in the tournament because someone else requested to face him in the ring. To Santino's surprise, that someone was former Intercontinental Champion Goldust, who in spite of his questionable appearance, utilized his significant in-ring ability to defeat the star of "Santino's Casa."
Chris Jericho pinned Randy Orton to win a Triple Threat Match against The Legend Killer and Batista (PHOTOS | WATCH)
In what was one of the most anticipated matches of the night, Chris Jericho won a Triple Threat Match against Batista and Randy Orton to become the No. 1 contender to John Cena's World Heavyweight Championship. Though he entered the ring at a decided disadvantage against two ring warriors so hungry for championship gold, the first-ever Undisputed Champion once again defied the odds, pinning the Legend Killer, and earning the right to face John Cena at Armageddon for the title Jericho just lost the night before at Survivor Series.
World Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston def. Kane to advance to the next round of the Eight-Man Intercontinental Title Tournament (PHOTOS)
Raw also saw the first match of the Eight-Man Intercontinental Title Tournament, with the winner going on to face Intercontinental Champion William Regal with his coveted gold at stake. As WWE Hall of Famer and the first Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson looked on from ringside, World Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston faced the ruthless Kane.
Though the Jamaican Superstar has proven himself a match for bigger and stronger adversaries in the past, Kingston won this contest when Kane was disqualified. After the match, the Big Red Monster battered his opponent with the stairs, but Stephanie McMahon appeared, stopping Kane by granting him the privilege of being the first Superstar to face John Cena back on Raw next week, though the match would not be for The Champ's World Heavyweight Title.
Shawn Michaels & Rey Mysterio def. The Miz & John Morrison; afterward, JBL attacked the Shaman of Sexy, preventing him from harming HBK (PHOTOS)
The first contest of the night was a rematch between Shawn Michaels & Rey Mysterio and a tag team that calls itself the greatest of the 21st century, The Miz & John Morrison. Though the Shaman of Sexy and the self-proclaimed Chick Magnet defeated HBK & the Master of the 619 just one week earlier, their opponents apparently found a way to mesh better as a team, and defeated the "Dirt Sheet" duo.
Following the match, Miz & Morrison took out their frustration by attacking Mysterio and Michaels, but JBL, who had been observing the entire match from his limo, rushed to the ring, preventing any further harm from coming to his opposing Survivor Series captain by delivering a huge boot to John Morrison's face. JBL later admitted that his act was the result of a mutually beneficial offer he had made to The Showstopper earlier in the day, though Michaels was still in the process of considering it.
Later, Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Todd Grisham about his match against The Miz next week as part of the Intercontinental Title Tournament. The session was interrupted by Mike Knox, however, who came in and stared at Mysterio, attempting to intimidate the Ultimate Underdog in much the same was as he did Evan Bourne the week prior.
Shane McMahon set a No. 1 Contender's Match for the night, which was turned into a Triple Threat by Stephanie McMahon
Raw opened with an appearance by Shane McMahon, who set a match between Batista and Chris Jericho in order to determine who should be the new No. 1 contender to John Cena's World Heavyweight Championship. Shane's sister Stephanie then arrived, making the contest a Triple Threat Match by throwing Randy Orton into the mix, before getting into a heated exchange with her brother. The argument ended with Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon slapping her brother, also an Executive Vice President, and Shane angrily leaving his sister to run the show by herself.