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A bittersweet episode of Raw

At first glance, last night’s Raw was a good show. There was an awesome final segment, a major star made a special appearance and the program never dragged.

But the episode also accentuated the depressing reality of the injury situation on Raw.

On the go-home show for Sunday’s Unforgiven pay-per-view, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho closed the program by signing the contract for their match. We’ve all seen these contract signing segments many times before, but the intense performances of Michaels and Jericho put this one at another level. The entire time that they sat across the table from one another, Michaels started intently at Jericho, while Jericho never looked directly at Michaels until right at the end.

The verbal confrontation briefly turned physical, as Michaels thwarted a sneak attack by Lance Cade. While Jericho stood outside the ring, Michaels lunged at him and landed awkwardly on the floor. Obviously, that was how Michaels suffered a torn triceps.

That one slip by Michaels in the closing seconds of what has been a tremendous build-up has put Sunday’s match in jeopardy and could put Michaels out of action for four to six months. We should know more about Michaels’ prognosis soon, although Michaels reportedly is vowing that he will wrestle at Unforgiven.

At the beginning of the show, Randy Orton, who is out of action with a broken collarbone, made an appearance. It was great to see Orton back on television and he cut a good promo, but he is not expected to be healthy enough to get back in the ring for at least a couple months.

To further illustrate how Raw’s star power has been diminished by injuries, there was a tease that John Cena was going to be on the show. It turned out to be Charlie Haas doing a Cena impersonation. Cena, who underwent surgery last week to repair a herniated disk, is a quick healer, but not that quick.

With Cena, Orton and now Michaels on the sideline, it will be up to guys such as CM Punk, Batista, Jericho and others to carry the show until they come back.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

It almost seemed at first as if Orton was cutting a babyface promo. He was cheered for ripping Beth Phoenix, Santino Marella and the team of Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes. The cheers quickly turned to jeers, however, when Orton began bad-mouthing Punk.

Punk, who now is getting a superstar-level reaction from the crowd, more than held his own in the verbal confrontation with Orton. The segment successfully planted the seed for a future program between the two. …

There also seemed to be a foreshadowing of an alliance between Orton and DiBiase and Rhodes. As I have said in the past, I think it would be a good fit. …

Haas is still a loser, but at least he is an entertaining loser now. I can’t wait to see who he impersonates next. Hopefully, he will expand his repertoire to include some WWE Hall of Famers. …

What is the only thing worse than seeing The Miz on Raw? Seeing The Miz on Raw in two segments. …

I understand the reasons behind Candice Michelle pinning Phoenix in a tag team match. WWE wanted to play up Michelle’s return and set up a program between her and Phoenix. That’s fine, but then why have Phoenix get pinned last week by Kelly Kelly? The women’s champ shouldn’t lose back-to-back matches. And shouldn’t Kelly’s win last week have earned her a shot at the title? …

William Regal deserves better than to be jobbing to Jamie Noble. I know that Noble is a good worker, but Regal should be a little higher on the card. And I’m just not that interested in Noble’s story line with Layla. …

You have to love Santino Marella’s Honk-O-Meter. Maybe The Honky Tonk Man will show up on Raw at some point and smash a guitar over Marella’s head. At the very least, Haas could dress up as Honky and confront Marella.

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