Being in a creative field like cartooning, I can fully understand the difficulty of making an interesting installment of a story week-to-week. Sometimes to get from A-Z in a story L,M,N, and P might miss a step. And for some reason, as stories tend to change from the initial conception, there might be some numbers thrown in just to muddy the works. I know Ben also understands this difficulty because I don’t think I’ve seen him write ANY interesting installments of his stories. (I kid, Ben. I kid.)
But knowing this, when the last five episodes of Raw have ranged from utterly confusing to downright boring, I had to believe they were kind of on auto-pilot leading into episode 1000. The Money in the Bank PPV was even in that mix and it got overshadowed by the 1000th Raw, something that shouldn’t have happened considering the implications of the contracts that Dolph Ziggler and John Cena won that night.
Then Raw 1000 came and of course, I was right, as the show was fun from top to bottom.
The show started with a new signature at the top of the show ending in the WWE logo with the words “Then. Now. Forever.” Followed by a highlight reel of the last 999 episodes of Raw that included so many great moments I can’t even begin to list them.
Vince McMahon comes out and welcomes everyone to Monday Night Raw amidst a “Thank You, Vince” chant from the live crowd. And whether you like Vince McMahon or not, there was no one else who should have started the show. Some label him a genius, others say that label is horribly undeserved because very few things he’s created have succeeded, but Raw definitely has done that and Vince should be respected, if nothing else, for creating a show that really changed the wrestling landscape.
Vince introduces D-Generation X, which I felt was odd considering how often Vince and DX have feuded, but everyone knows now that HHH and Vince are on friendly terms so I guess there’s no point in trying to keep the McMahon/DX feud going. Shawn and HHH come out, but before they really start, they bring out X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws. I had heard rumors of the Outlaws being there, especially since Road Dogg works for the company, but there were talks that WWE considered Sean “X-Pac” Waltman as a liability and didn’t want him at the show. I’m really glad he was though. Some people made comments about how it was wrong that Chyna wasn’t there, but after the things she’s publicly said about Hunter and Vince, it’s hardly a surprise.
Damien Sandow interrupts the DX reunion but gets some finishers and a “SUCK IT” for his troubles in a nice mix of old vs. new.
We follow that up with a 6 Man tag as the team of Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and Sheamus face Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. This kind of threw me as last week Ziggler was trash talking Jericho, so it seemed weird that they were on the same team, until the end when Ziggler knocked Jericho off the ropes, setting him up for the Brogue Kick and costing his team the match. While I think it’s weird that the Smackdown Money in the Bank holder is going after Chris Jericho and not the World Champion, A Jericho/Ziggler feud can be nothing but fun. So I’ll take it.
In a backstage segment with Layla and AJ that had me drooling all over the screen, they talk about how unstable the WWE is, opens the door to see “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan yelling at someone, R-Truth and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper playing jump rope with Little Jimmy, (Which was weird that Truth, Piper and even Layla could see the invisible Little Jimmy yet the girl they’ve been billing as crazy for the last several months couldn’t) and possibly one of the greatest moments of the night, when Mae Young’s son, THE HAND, appeared, all grown up, wishing AJ luck on her wedding.
Next, Jack Swagger faced Brodus Clay who was accompanied by Dude Love. The match ends quickly with Clay going over, then Swagger getting a Mandible Claw from a tie-dyed Mr. Socko, then Clay, Dude and the Funkadactyls dance.
Trish Stratus makes an appearance showing HHH some yoga stretches, there’s a point when he bends over in front of her and DX walk in and make jokes about the position they’re in, reminiscent of when HHH and Trish did similar a few years back to have Stephanie McMahon walk in at the same opportune moment thinking Hunter was cheating on her with Stratus.
The Daniel Bryan/AJ wedding was next, with “The Doctor of Style” Slick performing the ceremony. AJ says Yes, but says she’s not saying Yes to Bryan. Vince McMahon comes out and says he had a proposal for AJ too, and she is the new General Manager of Monday Night Raw. AJ throws her flowers at Bryan and leaves. Punk comes out to make fun of Bryan, then THE ROCK shows up. Rock does his thing, calling Bryan “Frodo” and an “Oompa Loompa” and announces that at The Royal Rumble, he’ll get a title match against whoever is WWE champion at the time. Bryan then gets a Rock Bottom.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart comes out and talks briefly about his history with the Intercontinental Title, and introduces the current IC champion, Christian. Then mutters out the name of his opponent, The Miz. Decent back and forth match with Miz getting the win and becoming the new IC champion. I like Miz and I like that he won the title, but it felt a little odd watching this match as a former World Champion and a former WWE champion were fight for a belt that hasn’t really meant anything in years. You’d figure two guys who were, at one time, at the top of their respective brands would be a little more high profile than a mid-card title that gets passed around with little acknowledgement.
HHH comes back out and demands an answer from Brock Lesnar, regarding his challenge for a match at Summerslam. This was also weird to me as Lesnar gave his answer already. He said no. Which is repeated when Paul Heyman comes out to speak for Lesnar. Stephanie McMahon comes out and berates Heyman and Lesnar, this gets Heyman fired up and he accepts the match on Brock’s behalf. Stephanie and Heyman get into a scuffle, then Lesnar runs out. HHH and Lesnar start to fight with HHH getting the upper hand and knocking Brock to the floor. I find this so weird. When Lesnar returned, he said he was there to kick ass and beat people up. Here’s HHH, offering up an ass to be kicked, and Lesnar is avoiding him. I was a fan of Lesnar in his first WWE run, I imagine he can still go, and that the match with HHH would be fun to watch, but the angle leading up to the match has been really screwy.
Santino and Hornswoggle run around handing “Brawlin’ Buddies” to the fans as Howard Finkel introduces the next match.
Heath Slater comes out and challenges any Legend in the back to a No DQ match. Lita answers the challenge, but says she’s got a little protection. This brings out the APA. Slater tries to run but the Road Warrior’s music hits and, lead by Animal, all the Legends that have beat up Slater in recent weeks come out and chase him back into the ring. Lita gives him a Twist of Fate, Bradshaw hits a Clothesline from hell that Slater took like a champ, then Lita hits her Moonsault for the win. They celebrate when Ron Simmons grabs a mic, looks down at Slater, looks to the crowd and says “DAMN!”
Daniel Bryan is interviewed by Sean Mooney. Michael Cole interviews Alex Guerrero Jr, who won tickets for being WWE’s One Millionth follower. Then a segment where Zack Ryder tries to convince John Cena that “Mean” Gene Okerlund was behind GTV. Okerlund says Ryder is nuts and reminds him he didn’t even work for WWE at the time. Rock comes over and wishes Cena luck tonight in his WWE title match against CM Punk.
Kane comes out, then Jinder Mahal accompanied by Hunico, Camacho, Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins and Drew McIntyre. Mahal says they’re tired of being overlooked and they’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore. The lights go off and Undertaker’s music hits. Taker makes his way down to the ring in his gimmick from Wrestlemania 28. He and Kane clear the ring except for Hawkins and Hunico. They do a stereo Chokeslam and follow that up with stereo Tombstone Piledrivers. Taker does his pose as Kane sets off his pyro. It was cool to see the Brothers of Destruction together again, but this segment kind of emphasized how much decent talent WWE has on their roster that has just gotten pushed to the wayside.
I was worried by this point, as the WWE title match hadn’t started and we only had about 10 minutes of show left, then after the intros of Punk and Cena they had a break and there was only 4 minutes of show left. I think the entirety of the match was in the overrun. But they put on a really good match. A lot of people crap on Cena, but when the time calls for it, and when he’s got a talented enough opponent, he can pull out a really good showing. He and Punk did an excellent job. There was a ref bump and Big Show came out to beat up Cena while the ref was down. Punk had a bit of an internal conflict, not sure if he should pin Cena after Show’s assault but eventually tried to go for it anyway. Cena kicked out.
Show came back and this caused a DQ, making Cena the first person to cash in a Money in the Bank contract and not walk away with the title. Show beat up on Cena, then The Rock came out to make the save. Rock tries to hit Show with the People’s Elbow but Punk flies in with a clothesline taking Rock down. Punk picks Rock up and hits the Go To Sleep, he grabs the WWE title belt and walks up the ramp with a glare on his face.
Is Punk heel now? Did he just attack Rock to show he’s in the same league? Why did he attack Rock? Tune in next week!
Just as a show like Raw should end. With questions. Questions to be answered by tuning in to the next episode. Questions that may not get answered until you pay for the PPV. It makes for a more interesting Raw 1001.
But there also lies a problem.
I started this blog off with a comment on how difficult it can be to make every part of a story interesting and how the last few episodes of Raw have been unpleasant to watch. The writing team for WWE is now burdened with another hour of television to write, when they’ve had trouble writing compelling 2 hour shows. They managed to put together a solid episode 1000, but what about 1001, 1002, 1003 and so on and so on?
Is the writing team up to the task of writing for another hour of TV each week? I hope, for the sake of the company, that they are. I don’t think they can get away with lackluster shows like they put on before 1000, people might watch 2 hours of a dull show, but 3? But it’s going to be hard to make every 3 hour Raw a compelling enough edition to hold audiences’ attention.
Only time will tell.
- Mike Perry