Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday Night RAW Recap: 1000th Episode


Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Announcers: Jerry "The King" Lawler, Michael Cole, Good Ol JR (for one match)

Tonight was the celebration of 1000 episodes of Monday Night RAW but maybe more importantly was also the start of three hour episodes for the foreseeable future. 

Hate to spoil it, but this was a pretty, pretty...pretty good show. Lots of nostalgia tonight and a lot of winks at the ridiculousness of past story lines. Hell, Mae Young showed up with a grown up hand representing her and Mark Henry's lovechild (seriously). If the Big Bossman were still alive, there's no doubt in my mind that he would have shown up with a Pepper doggy bag or tried to crash a funeral and drag a casket behind his police car. 

Let's do this.
Amazing video package put together to start off the show. It encompassed a lot of the great moments in RAW's history. I'm not ashamed to admit things got a little misty in this librarian's household, especially at Mr. Yamaguchi telling Val Venis  "I choppy choppy your pee pee."

DX reunion 


We were promised DX would start off RAW so I was surprised when "No Chance" hit. I suppose if I was responsible for 20 years and 1000 episodes of a global entertainment entity, I would want to come out and soak up the "Thank You Vince" chants as well. 

HHH and HBK invited X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg to join them in the ring. No love for the 9th Wonder of the World Chyna? Apparently she couldn't get a night off of her new career as an "adult movie" star. It's never the divas you hope for, I guess. 

It was really cool for DX come out and do their schtick, especially because you could visibly see that these guys all looked like they were really enjoying themselves and having fun in the ring. I'm glad this was more of an homage and nostalgia rather than HHH and Shawn Michaels trying to convince us they're still cooler than everyone else on the roster at forty years plus. 

Damien Sandow showed up to interrupt the DX reunion. Really? I can't totally crap on this because I'm always talking about how they need to push younger talent. It was the right idea to have a young star get a nice rub from being in the same ring as these "legends" but was Sandow the best choice? They couldn't of had Ziggler come out and show Billy Gunn who is the true Mr. Ass? (Editor's note: That's what you wanted to see, dude?). Cody Rhodes wasn't booked for the show, I feel like he would have been a better option than Sandow.

(Follow my own personal fantasy booking for a moment. You have DX come out. They do their DX thing. The crowd eats everything up. Have X-Pac, Billy Gunn, and Road Dogg leave first up the ramp. Then while HHH and HBK are posing on the top ropes, have Lesnar come in the ring from the crowd. Hit HHH from behind, nail HBK with the F-5, leave.You let DX get their moment in the sun and you immediately transition and greatly up the intensity in the HHH/Lesnar feud. We'll get to our double dose of HHH later.)


Damien Sandow, following in the illustrious footprints of the Spirit Squad by interrupting DX only to get buried. 

Three on three tag team match featuring JR on commentary
Rey Mysterio Jr, Sin Cara, Sheamus vs Y2J, Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio

I love the WWE's blatant racist thought process when forming tag teams. We have nothing for Kofi Kingston or R-Truth to do? They're both dark fellas, lets throw them together as a tag team. Rey Mysterio just came back and he needs some people on his tag team. Sin Cara is Mexican right? Done.

Considering this match was only thrown together to give these six men something to do on the show, it was just alright. It was weird that Ziggler and Y2J were on the same team considering Y2J hit Ziggs with the Codebreaker last week on RAW. 


Predictably, Ziggler turns on Jericho which leads to the Brogue kick and victory for team Foreigners. So is Jericho a face now? 

Backstage
AJ and Layla are having a conversation. What's sad about this is that Layla is the Women's champion, yet the focus is on AJ Lee. 

Layla goes on to talk about how "mentally unstable" AJ is, whilst AJ points out that maybe this place is what's crazy; and then walks by Jim Duggan reeking havoc with his 2X4, as well as R-Truth and Roddy Piper skipping rope with Lil Jimmy. But they saved the best for last, Mae Young and her Hand son all grown up. This literally made my night.

(Editor's note: You'd only get this reference if you are a true wrestling nerd, but please, be thankful if you're not in the know)

The only thing that could have topped this was if Mean Gene really was behind "GTV" or as Zack Rider called it, "GeneTV." 

AJ is partially right about everyone being unstable, but if Chris Benoit was to run down the hallway that would seal the deal. 


Jack Swagger vs The Funkasauras

Brodus Clay brings out Dude Love. Commence continued burial of Jack Swagger with a 15 second match. Suplex, splash, pin, dance, tie-dyed socko. 

Backstage 

Backstage Trish is showing HHH some yoga moves. For the life of me I cannot figure out why Stephanie McMahon did not walk in on the two of them instead of DX. This would have played up the scene with HHH teaching Trish wrestling moves some ten years ago. Obviously this was what they were referencing. As we saw later on, Stephanie was in the building. Such a huge wasted opportunity.

Wedding Ceremony
From what I've read, this segment was supposed to be much longer than this, but it was cut down due to time constraints. 

I'm not going to lie, I had no idea what to expect when Vince McMahon's music interrupted the wedding. I was very nervous about something insane happening. What we got was close. 


After a bit of baiting, Vince announces that AJ will be the new Raw General Manager. I'm not complaining about AJ Lee getting more TV time, but this was stupid. Total and complete overreaction by the WWE to the spike in rating in AJ Lee's segments lately. 


I didn't complain when they used this logic to have Daniel Bryan, a Smackdown wrestler, wrestle a RAW announcer to become the number one contender for a shot at CM Punk's title because I wanted to see Punk/Bryan get a PPV match. But it made no sense. So congrats Vince, no one predicted this ahead of time....because it was stupid.

Bonus points for having Slick conduct the ceremony thought.


They were actually chanting "Test, Test, Test!". 

Back from commercial 


Bryan still in the ring fuming. CM Punk came down to rub things in a little. I'm still on the fence about whether or not making RAW 3 hours will be a good thing or not. But if the extra time means more Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, I'm all for it.

Daniel Bryan calls himself the greatest of all time...but the People's Champ did take that lying down. I was never lucky enough to experience Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in ROH, but if anyone says that they knew one day the two of them would be in the middle of a WWE ring, involved in a verbal three way with The Great One, I'll immediately call bullshit.  

Rocky challenges winner of Punk/Cena to a WWE championship match at Royal Rumble, but definitely inferring that it'll be John Cena meeting him January. Punk retorts back at the Rock with a little attitude, saying that he'll still be the champ come Rumble. 
It was good to see CM Punk get some edge back on the microphone. He has been far too cookie cutter since regaining his title. I'm excited if a CM Punk/Rock feud leads to Punk once again being the "voice of the voiceless." 

Intercontinental championship match
Christian vs The Miz


This match featured the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.....as special guest ring announcer. Way to utilize a legend WWE. 

The focus on this match was on Christian's injured leg. Miz capitalizes, and we have a new Intercontinental champion. 


I'll allow it. I'm not as big of a Mizfit as my boy @BlakeKobash, but I'm willing to see this out. As the two of us discussed in our Future WWE Main Eventers column, the Miz does have talent. Let's see how he handles being the Intercontinental champion.


FYI: After winning the Intercontinental championship Miz joined the prestigious Triple Crown club, having held the Tag Team, IC and World titles. 

In ring segment

HHH gets in the ring, calls out Brock Lesnar. Instead he gets Paul Heyman. This was kinda stupid: Brock Lesnar was advertised for the show, Lawler told us he was in the building, so we didn't need to go through the shenanigans of pretending like he wasn't going to come up. We could have used this time for more important things like Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee's wedding, dammit!

Heyman denies HHH's request for a match with Brock at Summerslam, and eventually starts talking about Hunter's family. Paul E., as always, was tremendous here, and his asking HHH "Is that really what's best for business" was priceless. 

Soon HHH is joined by the former leader of the alliance Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie lobs a few pipe bombs of her own at Heyman, noting his failures as a businessman all throughout his career. Not a terrible job by Stephanie on the mic, although Paul Heyman never failed in WCW; he was actually the manager of an extremely successful stable known as The Dangerous Alliance. Steph echoes HHH's statments by saying never to talk about their kids, and as Heyman goes directly for them again, McMahon tackles him to the ground.

What is it with McMahon family members attacking Paul Heyman? Do they not understand the concept behind lawsuits? According to the story line, Paul Heyman already had two lawsuits going against the WWE and HHH. Shouldn't Stephanie attacking him in the middle of the ring lead to another? Just because you are the boss' daughter or the company's COO does not mean you can attack someone in the middle of your ring for absolutely no reason. AND it was all done in front of millions of witnesses. I want to be called to testify on behalf of Paul Heyman. It would probably go something like this.

Brock Lesnar comes out, gets outmatched in the ring with HHH. My good friend and commentator Hell in a Bin Bin Cell brought this up to me and I have to agree. Didn't the brawling between HHH and Lesnar appear a bit awkward? It looked like Lesnar was supposed to get in more offense but Trips just wasn't going to allow it. 


If their match at Summerslam ends any other way then Brock Lesnar cleanly pinning HHH in the middle of the ring, Brock's return will have been a bust. 

Brock Lesnar is like Bane and I'm like Batman. And I guess that makes Stephanie the Penguin.

"One man baaaaaaaand baby" segment
Heath Slater vs Lita 


If a woman ever beats my ass, I can only hope she's dressed like Lita when she does it. 

All of the legends that were previously on RAW showed up. JBL hit the clothesline from hell. Lita hit a beautiful moonsault. Group photo op.



Lawler's "It's trending!" voice is getting pretty close to his "Puppies!" voice. I don't know what to make of that.


Brothers of Destruction Reunion
Kane in the ring. Jindar Mahal, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and other jobbers come out and surround the ring. This leads to the question, what was Kane doing in the ring to begin with? Was he about to conduct an epic promo? We may never know. 


The lights go out, the gong hits and the Undertaker comes out for the save. Chokeslams and double tombstones to go around. You know its a special event when the Tombstone finisher is used (the Tombstone, along with all other variations of the piledriver are banned moves, mostly because of their propensity for breaking people's necks). Cool to see the Dead Man back, but see you in seven months when you need to start promoting your match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.....which I will be at.


I wish I got paid to work 3 times a year. 

WWE Championship match
John Cena vs CM Punk (C)


A solid little match which ends in a DQ due to Big Show's interference. Wait...this match ended in a DQ? Cena wasn't smart enough to put that provision into the match? If I'm a heel champion I tell my buddy in the back, "hey, if it looks like I'm about to lose my WWE championship, come out and attack the guy so there's a disqualification." 


There were two reasons why I knew CM Punk was going to keep his title:


1. There was ten minutes left at the end of RAW when these two actually started wrestling. I don't care if it is Superman vs. CM Punk, you do not have the opponent beat your champion of the last eight months in a seven minute match. 


2. The incredibly scripted poll results said that the WWE universe voted that they wanted to see CM Punk vs the Rock and not John Cena vs the Rock. The writing was on the wall.


As always, a good match up between Cena and Punk while it lasted. These two have great chemistry and it will be interesting to see where the story line will go from here. It looks like CM Punk is getting a bit of his edge back as he just watched and allowed the Big Show to destroy John Cena after the match.


The Rock comes down for the save on Cena, but in the middle of a crowd-crazy People's elbow, Punk blind sides Rocky with a clothesline. It wasn't quite as epic as HBK's superkick, but it was close.


As much as I've been bitching about the WWE putting focus on John Cena in the main event over their champion CM Punk, I cannot complain about the ending to this show. Let the records show that it was CM Punk who walked out of RAW's 1000th episode still the champion and unscathed, while the Big Show, Golden Boy John Cena and Hollywood movie star The Rock were all left laying in the ring. 




Grade: A


Final Thoughts: Where was Austin? Where was Edge? More importantly, where was Kelly f'n Kelly? Regardless, this was a great show. It had a nice mix of nostalgia from the past and enhancement of current WWE talent. 


The first 3 hour episode of RAW was a great one. However, I am worried about how the WWE will fill up all the time in the weeks to come. If executed properly, we should be seeing longer matches, feuds getting better build ups and God willingly, some long term booking employed. But let's not get crazy. 


Top 5 Completely Arbitrary


5. The WWE acknowledging their history, both good and bad. Val Venis' peen, Mae Young and Sexual Chocolate's hand baby, and GTV references all made this episode feel special to their longtime viewers.


4. Past faces in WWF(E) history. Slick, Lita, Mene Gene, Rowdy Roddy, DDP, Hacksaw and everyone else contributed to making it a great show. 


3. DX - I loved the original DX and I enjoyed DX 2.0 with Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. It was good that they got time to reunite and didn't go too long. DX with HHH and HBK mocking Vince and Shane McMahon with the Spirit Squad was terrible by the way. 


2. The Rock - I like how he is being used. He was featured a lot on RAW, but it was more as a complimentary, enhancement piece. No idea when his next appearance on WWE television will be, but I am intrigued.


1. CM Punk - Retained his title, albeit in a controversial manner. Starting to get his swag back. He has to keep the title until Royal Rumble. However, I am worried that the Rock will win the title and then it will be John Cena vs the Rock for the title in a Wrestlemania rematch. 


I hope you enjoyed this review of the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW.


Thanks for reading. 


Don't forget to leave a comment down below and follow me on Twitter @TheRawLibrarian

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