After months of speculation, rumors, and unbearable anticipation, the time had finally come for WWE Monday Night RAW to finally air it’s 1,000th episode. Many questions were proposed going in, many surprises were expected, and new story arches were suggested. So, with so much possibility for greatness to come of it, did RAW’s 1000th episode live up to the hype? Let’s take a look!
A NEW LOOK TO KICK OFF A NEW ERA, “ARE YOU READY?”
You know immediately that changes have been made to mark this new chapter in the WWE. The set is bigger, the song is now with 100% less Nickleback, and the RAW logo has gotten a makeover (as seen above). To kick things off proper was non other than the man himself, Vincent K. McMahon. With the pride of a new parent, McMahon strutted down to the ring and introduced none other than Degeneration-X.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels arrived in full D-X attire, igniting a huge response from the St. Louis crowd. After a moment, Triple H stops and wonders out loud, “Weren’t there more of us?” And before you knew it, some old friends made their long awaited reemergence. Road Dogg, X-Pac, and Billy Gunn arrived in a military jeep, and had a joyous reunion with their fellow D-X brothers. The team didn’t disappoint, doing the same bits and spouting the same catchphrases that made them infamous. The party was spoiled by none other than Damien Sandow, who criticized D-X for their overall demeanor. The group humored Sandow for a moment before he was treated with Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree respectfully. Gunn then delivered the famous “…and if you ain’t down with that, then we’ve got two words for ya!” You know the rest. Although Degeneration X wore out their welcome toward the end of their reign on RAW, it was still great to see the gang back together one more time.
Unfortunately the most manliest man of the group was absent. Oh Chyna…
SIX-MAN TAG MATCH: SHEAMUS/SIN CARA/REY MYSTERIO VS. JERICHO/ALBERTO DEL RIO/DOLPH ZIGGLER
This match scared me as soon as I realized that Sin Cara was going to be a part of it. After almost injuring Dolph Ziggler during their Money in the Bank match, I couldn’t help but feel that there was far too much talent in the ring to be put into danger. Fortunately, Botch Cara wasn’t able to screw the match up too much. The match as a whole was all over the place; before you could realize what had happened, four of the six participants were laid out, leaving Sheamus the deliver the Brogue kick to Jericho and get the win. This match didn’t do much to further any of the characters and the story lines that they’re involved in, so it felt unnecessary for what is supposed to be such a big night for the WWE. WINNERS: SHEAMUS, REY MYSTERIO, SIN CARA
In between matches we see AJ preparing for her big wedding to Daniel Bryan. WWE Divas champ Layla accuses her of being mentally unstable, which provokes AJ into declaring that the entire company can be compared to a three-ring circus. She proves this by opening the door, where we see:
Hacksaw Jim Duggan charging down the hall yelling “HOOOOO!”
R-Truth and Rowdy Roddy Piper playing jump rope with Little Jimmy.
And the best of all, Mae Young and her now grown up son, who is a giant hand.
…Yeah, maybe AJ isn’t so crazy after all. I sincerely apologize if I ever referred to her as such.
BRODUS CLAY VS. JACK SWAGGER
Well, let’s keep the pointless train moving I suppose. After a boring and mindless Sype conversation with Charlie Sheen and a shameless promotion from fast food restaurant Sonic, it was time to call our mama’s. The only thing that made this match even a little interesting was the fact that Dude Love (not to be mistaken for Cactus Jack or Mankind) came down to the ring to support the Funkasaurus. Clay’s entrance to the ring was longer than the entire match, and poor Swagger (you know, the guy who was once the World Heavyweight Champion) was treated like a jobber once again. Oh, and I can honestly say that the American flag has never looked more hefty. WINNER: BRODUS CLAY
The lovely Trish “WE MISS YOU PLEASE COME BACK OUR DIVAS ARE TERRIBLE!” Stratus is backstage with Triple H showing him a few stretches. The rest of D-X comes into the room at an awkward moment. Hilarity ensues.
Cut to soon-to-be husband Daniel Bryan giving instructions to several men in white outfits, implying that Bryan is intending on using his husband power to throw AJ in the looney bin.
A WEDDING THAT CAN ONLY HAPPEN IN THE WWE…
After their sudden engagement one week ago, the WWE Universe has been going crazy over the uniting of Daniel Bryan and AJ. The two were dressed all in white, and were met at the alter by the legendary Slick, who was responsible for presiding over the ceremony. Bryan gave an enthusiastic “YES!” to AJ after placing a ring on the Diva’s finger. AJ also delivered a “YES!” However, something seemed to halt AJ’s happiness, and she suddenly pulled away. To Bryan’s shock, AJ declared that she said yes, but not to Bryan. Rather, AJ had said yes to another man’s proposal. Enter Mr. McMahon. Surely after every evil thing the chairman has done over the years, he couldn’t possibly be ruining this beautiful moment. Well he is, but not the way you think. He announces that he has found the permanent general manager for RAW. And that person… is AJ! That’s right, AJ is the GM of RAW. Get ready for chaos. The newly appointed GM skips off, leaving Bryan at the alter.
…which he promptly destroyed.
MORE BAD NEWS FOR BRYAN, AND A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE
Bryan’s hissy fit is halted by WWE Champion CM Punk, who literally comes down to the ring solely to kick him while he’s down. Before we can get too deep into their back and forth, the crowd erupts as The Rock enters the arena. He too joins in openly mocking Bryan, stating that he looks like “the offspring of a homeless lumberjack and an oompa loompa” But ridiculing Bryan wasn’t the primary reason for The Rock’s appearance. The Great One declares that whoever is the WWE Champion going into next years’ Royal Rumble will have to face him for the title. Monumental news for the WWE Universe; to think… We may see The Rock hold the belt for the first time in almost a decade. So his words are directed at Punk, who currently holds the belt. The two square off, but that is quickly interrupted by Bryan who once again declares that this was supposed to be his night. Rocky offers his condolences and tells Bryan that he actually has a wedding gift for him: A big Rock Bottom.
I’m assuming that Bryan didn’t foresee his wedding day turning out quite like this.
CHRISTIAN VS. THE MIZ (FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP)
After a WWE.com poll asked “What belt should be on the line for RAW 1000?”, it was decided that Christian would have to defend his Intercontinental belt against a mystery opponent. To announce the two participants for the match, the WWE got none other than one of the greatest I.C champs in wrestling history. The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be… Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Hart talked a bit about the legacy of being an Intercontinental champion, and went on to announce that Christian would be defending his title against The Miz. This match was fairly one-sided, and clearly showed that Christian had lost a step as he struggled to keep up with the younger Miz. In what was possibly the best moment of the night, Miz pinned Christian, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion, and thereby becoming a triple-crown winner. Welcome back, Miz; I for one missed you and can’t wait to see what you do as the most must see Intercontinental Champion in history. WINNER: THE MIZ
“Because I’m The Miz! And I…. Look like a grown up now!”
BROCK LESNAR RESPONDS TO TRIPLE H’S SUMMERSLAM CHALLENGE… AGAIN
Making his third appearance of the night, Triple H was all business as he awaited the arrival of Brock Lesnar. However, the COO was once again burned as Paul Heyman came out to speak on Lesnar’s behalf. And once again, Heyman delivers a resounding “No” to the challenge. Triple H call Lesnar a coward, which leads to Heyman once again bashing his family. Before Triple H could lay another smackdown on Heyman, none other than Stephanie McMahon arrived to kick Heyman’s ass herself. She told the former ECW Chairman that his children were embarrassed of him, and proceeded to jump on top of him and swing away.
Apparently this was the last straw for Lesnar, as he decided to finally show his face. Lesnar rushed Triple H, both men beating the wholly hell out of each other (seriously, I don’t think Lesnar got the memo about how things work in professional wrestling). The skirmish ended with The Cerebral Assassin knocking Lesnar out of the ring. So after much persuasion (and name calling), Triple H vs. Lesnar will be happening at Summerslam. Let the games begin!
SOMEBODY UP THERE MUST HATE SOUTHERN ROCK… A.K.A A LEGENDARY AFFAIR
In what will certainly be his last run as jobber to the WWE Legends roster, Heath Slater stole the mic from special guest announcer Howard Finkel and issued another one of his infamous challenges. This time the match would be a no disqualification match against any WWE Legend backstage. Well here it is; after all of the amazingly awesome legends that have made appearances in the last couple of months, who could possibly act as the cherry on top? As I waited for the glass to shatter and for a certain texas rattlesnake to show up in a beer truck, I couldn’t help but feel that former WWE Women’s Champ Lita was making her way down to the ring.
That doesn’t look like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin…
After a second of questioning my own vision and hoping for a can of whoopass to be opened, I came to the conclusion that yes, Lita had accepted Slater’s open challenge. As the ginger jobber chuckled, Lita grabbed a mic and stated that she had “hired some protection” Wait a second… She couldn’t possibly be talking about…
Oh no she didn’t!
That’s right, the APA was open for business once again! Bradshaw and Farooq marched toward the ring, resulting in Slater wasting no time in running for the exits. But his progress was halted… by every legend who has kicked his ass in the last couple of months.
Seriously… somebody really hates Heath Slater.
Slater had no choice but to face Lita in the ring, surrounded by his worst nightmares laughing at him. Lita quickly disposed of Slater, leaving Farooq to deliver his patented “DAMN!” as the legends stood over the poor bastards beaten body laying on the mat. Bringing back these random legends has been a lot of fun and very nostalgic for us old school wrestling fans. And although this story has probably reached it’s conclusion, I can’t help but feel that Slater’s bad luck will only continue to haunt him. WINNER: LITA
A PHENOM’S RETURN AND A FAMILY REUNION
As Kane prepared to face… somebody, he was interrupted by Jinder Mahal and two tag teams not worth mentioning as they were only tools for the segment. The men surrounded the ring to beat Kane up because of… reasons? And that’s when the gong hit. That’s right, The Undertaker had come. He ate up about five minutes walking down to the ring, making me wonder why the guys didn’t just make a hasty retreat while all of these theatrics were happening. But alas, they stuck around, and the Brothers of Destruction reeked havoc once again. It was a nice moment for the two of them, however their miles are really beginning to show.
JOHN CENA VS. CM PUNK (FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP)
As promised, Cena did the honorable thing (big surprise) and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract in a straight up match. The two exchanged moves back and forth, but it was clear that Punk was carrying the match. At some point the referee was knocked out cold outside of the ring. It was then that Cena delivered an AA and pinned Punk. The match would have ended right then and there if not for the fact that the ref was out cold. As expected, the Big Show came in to ensure that Cena didn’t walk out as champ. After watching Cena get speared, Punk was torn between capitalizing on his wounded opponent, or giving him a moment to recover. Punk dragged the ref back into the ring and covered Cena, but his hesitation had given Cena enough time to recover and kick out. After countering the GTS, Cena locked in the STFU, which appeared to be causing Punk to consider tapping. Just then Big Show decided to interrupt again and break up the hold, resulting in the match being called. The disqualification was historic in the sense that John Cena had become the first Money in the Bank winner to unsuccessfully cash in his contract and become champion. Show proceeded to beat down on Cena as Punk sat back and watched, not bothering to help. In fact, only one man decided to come to the aid of Cena, and that man was The Rock.
The People’s champ laid the smack down all over Big Show, planting him dead center. It was time for the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. The Rock popped off of one rope, jumped over Show, popped off of the opposite ropes, and was met by a flying clothesline from CM Punk. The Rock was laid to waste in the ring as Punk stood over him. The Straight-Edge Savior proceeded then to put The Rock to sleep. His exit from the ring was met by a flood of criticism and insults from the fans. Clearly this marks the end of Punk’s “Face” persona. I understand why the fans would be angry with Punk, but I don’t understand how this was supposed to be a heel turn. The Rock very bluntly called Punk out earlier in the show. And not wanting to jump into the fray with Big Show to save Cena was merely due to him being to beaten up from the match to be able to successfully take care of the situation. But regardless, we can all consider the bandwagon to be officially dead after last night, as WWE fans tend to not like “Bad Guys”. Either way, I will continue to love and adore CM Punk, because he is the best in the company, and quite possibly the best in the world. As opposed to Cena, who looked terrible in this match. Cena’s performance last night reminded me of his phoned-in work against The Rock at Wrestlemania 28, as well as his phoned-in work against The Miz at Wrestelmania 27. It becomes clear that when Cena is scheduled to lose a big match, he performs even worse than usual. Don’t get me wrong, John Cena has a lot of heart and does a lot of good things outside of the ring. But John Cena the wrestler appears to be a spoiled brat and a sore loser. WINNER: JOHN CENA (VIA DISQUALIFICATION)
So there you have it. It’s safe to say that a lot went down during RAW’s 1,000th episode. But did it live up to the hype? I can’t really answer that. Sure, we got a lot of legends, we had a couple of interesting matches, and we even had Little Jimmy playing jump rope. But it just didn’t seem like they did enough. The lack of superstars on the current roster was surprising. The lack of major legends was even more surprising (unless that really was Stone Cold in the ring against Slater). Well, they have 999 episodes to go before they celebrate their 2,000th episode, so they have plenty of time to make sure that it’s a good one. As for me, I’ll be here covering it all! Here’s to 1,000 more episodes jam packed with insanity, awesomeness, and overall quality entertainment. This is Brandon for “Off the Top Rope”, tapping out for now!