It's time. After 19 and a half years of buildup, this is it. It is time for the monumental 1000 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw.
I can truly say I am very, very excited for Raw. A lot of anticipation is on tap for the show, including the possible reunion of the entire Degeneration-X, many superstars and surprises from years past returning for cameos, A.J. & Daniel Bryan's wedding, a permanent General Manager to be announced AND of course, the main-event WWE Championship match with John Cena challenging WWE Champion C.M. Punk.
So, without further ado, read on to find out what happened to change the landscape and forge on a new era in the WWE!
Monday Night Raw for July 23rd, 2012 - "1000"
Introduction Segment: Video & Welcoming
A brand-new "WWE Opening" video starts off with the new slogan "Then, Now, Forever." Next up is a beautiful highlight montage of all the best, worst, highest, lowest, happiest, saddest, and greatest moments from the beginning in 1993 to now, accompanied by "Tonight Is The Night" by Outasight.
(My two favourites are a quick clip of Kid Rock playing a song of his - "American Bad Ass" from May 29th, 2000 - because I was at that Raw in my hometown of Vancouver, BC; and a clip of Eddie Guerrero's Memorial tribute, which I slightly teared up at - while a very sad occasion of course, at the same time, a very well-meaning and classy edition on November 14th, 2005).
The new logo is shown and it begins! Michael Cole welcomes us to a "night of celebration" for the 1000th Monday Night Raw.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The man that started it all appropriately starts the program. Vincent Kennedy McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, struts out to many applause and an ovation. He also appears to have tears in his eyes. Mr. McMahon thanks us, but the crowd in St. Louis returns the praise, chanting "thank you Vince." He then welcomes us to Monday Night Raw and welcomes D-Generation X!
They're back. Shawn Michaels and Triple H, decked out in D-X gear and army camouflage fatigues make a jovial entrance and hurl green glowing light sticks into the crowd. Shawn is "feeling it", but is missing something. Triple H concurs and wonders what it is. He starts to realize and asks Shawn "did there used to be more of us?" The fans agree and the leaders point to the stage, bringing out a jeep-tank army, filled with the remaining members "Road Dogg" Jesse James, "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn, and X-Pac! The band is back together!
Road Dogg takes us down memory lane and yells out his usual introduction, and Triple H asks us "are you ready?!" Belting out "for the 1000s in attendance, for the millions watching around the world, and because this is the 1000th of Monday Night Raw. And I will see each and every one of you when we it 2000, let's get ready to SUCK IT!"
Shawn & Billy now debate who's got the next line, until HHH gets them to agree to say it all at once. Before they can, "the intellectual saviour of the unwashed masses" interrupts. Damien Sandow degrades D-X's antics with his condescending dialogue. DX huddle up and then take him down with Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree! Billy Gunn stands over Sandow and proclaims, "well, I guess if you're not down with that, we got two words for ya!" D-Generation X pose to their music and the delight of the fans.
Also tonight, The Rock will be in the house to address the WWE Title, while Brock Lesnar responds to Triple H's SummerSslam challenge, the wedding, and the WWE Championship match - it's jam-packed baby!
The "real voice of the WWE, in particular Monday Night Raw" Jim Ross is brought back for commentary! (Yay!)
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team - Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, & World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus VS. Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) & Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Entrances were first, then ads, so back live, Ziggler was working over Sin Cara, then tags in Jericho, who locks on a grounding headlock. Cara counters with a roll-up but only for two. Jericho takes control again with a low-dropkick and scoop slam. Del Rio now in and delivers hard knees to Sin's kidneys. Car double-kicks A.D.R. out of the corner and drives him down with a Tornado DDT. Del Rio tags in Jericho, as does Car to Sheamus. The World Champ dominates Jericho, hitting a backbreaker. A.D.R. breaks up the pin until Mysterio and Cara take out Del Rio and Ziggler.
Jericho reverses a Fireman's Carry into an attempted Walls Of Jericho, but eventually gets nailed by his own teammate Dolph! Sheamus now measures Jericho and kicks him in the head with Brogue power for the 1 - 2 - 3!
Winners via Pinfall: Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, & World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
Segment #2: Video Promo
Cole & Lawler air fans' "touts" (nothing to report - fast-forwarded) and then introduce Charlie Sheen, Hollywood actor, via Skype. He is impressed with the show, in particular he believes he would fit right in with D-X and Sheamus. He'll be back later.
They then recap how Daniel Bryan proposed to A.J. last week on Raw.
Segment #3: Locker Room Promo
A.J. is brushing her hair in a bathrobe, and is excited at her wedding, bragging to Layla. She questions A.J. about going through with it, and A.J. wonders why everyone questions her, citing the entire place to be unstable. She opens the locker room door to provide examples such as "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, R-Truth & "Rowdy" Roddy Piper playing skip-rope with "Little Jimmy," and in a seriously real/weird surprise, Mae Young's "hand" all grown up & and Mae Young, wish A.J. the best of luck. Layla (as with me) can't believe the last sight, but also wishes A.J. the best of luck.
Match #2: Single - "The All-American-American" Jack Swagger VS. "The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay (with "The Funkettes" Naomi & Cameron)
Prior to the match, Brodus introduce is "brother from another mother" and Raw legend, Dude Love! "The Dudester" struts down the ring. Meanwhile, Clay polishes Swagger off quickly with a splash!
Winner via Pinfall: "The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay (with "The Funkettes" Naomi & Cameron)
Post-match, Dude Love, Brodus Clay, & company dance off while Dude gives Swagger Mr. Socko
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Triple H is with Trish Stratus, former WWE Women's Champion. She is showing him some "awkward" yoga poses when the rest of D-X walk in. Triple H tries to explain his way out of it, while 'Pac stays behind and catches up with Stratus.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is with some men, who appear to be dressed in "asylum" uniforms.
Segment #5: Wedding
Jerry "The King Lawler" is in the ring and brings out the reverend for this occasion - Slick! The former WWE manager is ready to go. Naturally, the "groom" comes out first, Daniel Bryan attired in an all-white tuxedo. A.J. is next, gingerly walking down the aisle in a typical wedding gown. Bryan is classy enough to hold the ropes for her as she enters. Slick goes over the usual wordage for a wedding, inserting the respective names when necessary. (A.J. is seriously trying not to laugh during this part.)
No one objects, so Slick gives Bryan the ring. Daniel declares his love for A.J. always and promises a new chapter will begin for both of them, as he will have everything he ever wanted. Daniel puts the ring on her finger and then says "yes" to taking A.J. as his lawfully-wedded-wife. A.J. dittos, but just before Slick can give the final blessing, A.J. cuts him off and says "I was saying yes to someone else."
She reveals that another man made a proposal to her earlier, and just now Mr. McMahon's music hits! He clarifies that A.J. wasn't making that kind of proposal, but a business one. He now brings out the new general manager of Monday Night Raw....
(please be someone new/a shocker, please be someone new/a shocker, please be someone new/a shocker!)
She shoves the flowers back in Daniels chest and skips around the ring, blowing a kiss to him. She stands at the top of the ramp, chanting "yes, yes, yes" as Bryan destroys the wedding decorations furiously in the ring!
(Okay, that was a surprise!)
Segment #6: Arena Promo
Bryan is still in the ring and keeps yelling "no, no, no" in the ring while referees try to calm him down. The WWE Champion now comes out to an ovation. C.M. Punk rubs Bryan's rejection in his face. While Daniel continues to throw a tantrum, the "Second-City Saint" declares he will continue to be the WWE Champion and "the best in the world." Bryan gets in his face and proclaims angrily that he is "the greatest of all-time!" That is until a familiar face might dispute that.
"The most-electrifying man in all of entertainment" interjects himself. The Rock looks at Daniel and informs him he cannot claim who "the greatest of all-time is." The Rock tells him the fans decide that. "Finally, The Rock has come back to St. Loouuissss!"
They cut each other off again, while C.M. stands behind, watching on. The Rock says he is here to talk about the WWE Championship. He faces C.M. Punk and informs him that whoever the WWE Champion is at The Royal Rumble in January, they will defend the title and go one-on-one with The Great One! Punk retorts and says it will be him that will be facing The Rock. Punk is up for it and wants it to happen A.S.A.P., but says that he will beat The Rock at the Royal Rumble. The Rock disputes that, saying he will be the WWE Champion come Royal Rumble.
Bryan gets in between them again, and claims that he will fight The Rock for the WWE Championship. He will also be the face of the WWE. The Rock calls Daniel Bryan an "oompa loompa" and gives him a wedding present - The Rock Bottom! "If ya smell what The Rock is cooking!" He walks off and stares down C.M. Punk.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
"The Best There Is, The Best There Was, & The Best There Ever Will Be" Bret "The Hitman" Hart is back! He comes out and is the guest ring announcer for the next match. He says it is an honor to introduce the participants for the bout, because it is for the Intercontinental Championship, which he says was an honor to win for the first time from the legendary, late-great Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig. Bret then brings out the wrestlers, Intercontinental Champion Christian, and The Miz.
Match #3: Single for the Intercontinental Championship - Christian (Champion) VS. The Miz (Challenger)
Christian ducks a clothesline and grabs Miz with a waistlock. He hits a dropkick off the second rope, but gets booted by The Miz. Christian reverses and tosses Miz outside. He follows with a dive from the turnbuckle.
Back live, Miz has a leg-lock clamped on, but Christian fights out and drops Miz with a reverse DDT. Crossbody off the top for a near-fall by Christian, then a second rope tornado elbow. Springboard Sunset Flip for a two-count, and another sunset flip try, but Miz rolls out and kicks Christian in the head. Christian slaps Miz and takes him down with a Tornado DDT, 1 - 2 - Miz kicks out!
Miz kicks Christian in the gut and plants him face-first with a DDT, but only for a two-count too! Miz is surprised! Christian moves out of the way and counters a Skull-Krushing-Finale, but Miz counters a Killswitch attempt into his S.K.F. for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
The Miz is elated, taking the microphone, saying since he is the Intercontinental Champion, he is AWESOME!
Segment #8: Video Promo
Charlie Sheen is back via Skype and gives his thoughts on Raw. He is happy for the Rock and Royal Rumble, the rips on Daniel for the way he handled the wedding, while cheap-plugging his show "Anger Management."
Segment #9: Video Promo
Regis Philbin, legendary talk-show host/T.V. personality, is appreciative of 1000 Raws and having all the greats on his show.
Segment #10: Arena Promo
"The Game" Triple H is back out, and is in a more serious mood now, marching to the ring. A video recapping Brock Lesnar's assault on HHH is aired to remind us why he has challenged "The Next Big Thing" to a match at SummerSlam.
In short, Triple H wants his answer from Lesnar for SummerSlam NOW! Once again, Paul Heyman comes out instead sans Lesnar. Heyman says Lesnar has authorized him to answer Triple H: NO!
The "Cerebral Assassin" just wants to face Lesnar, but Heyman stalls and threatens HHH with another lawsuit. He also insults the family, until the wife comes out and a smile has grown on HHH. Stephanie McMahon gets in Paul's face. She calls out his lawsuits as failures, then also insults his children and calls Heyman a "professional parasite." She slaps him out of the ring, which provokes Heyman to change his mind and agree to the SummerSlam match - IT'S ON! Lesnar VS. HHH.
He continues to berate Stephanie until she jumps all over him and pounds him to the mat (really poorly, I might add!) Lesnar now makes his appearance and faces off with Triple H. They brawl around the ring, until Triple H manages to clothesline Lesnar over the ropes. HHH is fired up but a stunned Lesnar retreats with Heyman.
Segment #11: Video Promo
Cole & Lawler recap one of the greatest feuds in Monday Night Raw history - "Stone Cold" Steve Austin VS. Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Match #4: Single - "The One-Man Band" Heath Slater VS. Raw Legend
Prior to the bout, another WWE Hall-Of-Famer, and the first-ever WWE Employee, Howard Finkel is the ring announcer. Slater cuts a promo and challenges any Raw legend to a no-disqualification and no-count-out contest. (Can we say "Undertaker?!")
Nope, instead it is a Raw Legend Diva (and my favorite!) LITA! Slater questions the former 4-time Women's Champion, but accepts anyway. Just after the bell, Lita announces she hired protection: The A.P.A.! Bradshaw & Farooq enter, but Slater high-tails it, only to be cutoff by all the past Raw legends he has wrestled.
They toss him back in the ring and Lita hits the Twist-Of-Fate, as does J.B.L. with the Clothesline From Hell. (Great sell too from Slater!) Lita polishes off with a moonsault for the 1 - 2 - 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Lita
Post-match, they all celebrate, with Farooq standing over him and yelling "DAMN!"
Segment #12: Backstage Promo
Sean Mooney, the first WWE Raw interviewer, interviews Daniel Bryan on his night, which is not going well. Bryan goes off on Charlie Sheen.
Segment #13: Video Promo
Fozzie Bear, the muppet, goes through all the greatest catchphrases from Monday Night Raw, featuring all the usual superstars.
Segment #14: Backstage Promo
"Long Island Ice-Z" Zack Ryder is with John Cena and WWE Hall-Of-Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund. They debate who was behind the 1998-1999 "GTV" segments until The Rock shows up. He stares down Cena and reignites their rivalry, where Cena says that it will be him facing The Rock at the Royal Rumble after he wins tonight. (I hope not!)
Match #5: Single - Kane VS. ???
Before Kane can light off his pyro, Jinder Mahal, Unico, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Rex, Drew McIntyre, & Kimacho comes down and are going to take an opportunity they've never been given. The six surround the ring looking to destroy Kane, until the lights go out and....
GONG! The arena is enveloped in the familiar purple lighting while fire erupts from the stage and The Undertaker's titantron video plays, with his theme music filling the speakers. Out of the smoke he comes, dressed in his garb from WrestleMania XXVIII.
He stares down Kane and disrobes. Naturally, Kane & Undertaker demolish the six undercards, and finish them off with double-chokeslams and Tombstone Piledrivers. The "Brothers Of Destruction" are cheered on with chants of "This is awesome" and then pose as per usual.
Segment #15: Video Promo
The "Be A Star" anti-bullying campaign video airs.
Segment #16: Video Promo
Charlie Sheen is back and challenges Daniel Bryan anywhere, anytime in L.A. (I really hope they don't put Bryan in this position for SummerSlam - if they do, what a waste!)
Match #6: Single for the WWE Championship - John Cena (Challenger) VS. C.M. Punk (Champion)
The combatants make their entrances prior to a break. Live again, the two shake hands and then lock up. Cena with a headlock and Punk pushes off into the ropes. Cena comes back with shoulder block, but Punk gets up and they stare down again. Same routine and then some quick back and forth, with Punk bring Cena down with a backslide for a quick two-count. Cena nods in approval and they collar-elbow tie-up again.
Punk clamps a hammerlock on and turns it into an abdominal stretch. Cena reverses into a hip toss and Punk kicks off. Cena gets aggressive now with punches and a side headlock takedown. Punk counters into a backdrop and kicks Cena in the back. Backbreaker from the "Straight-Edge Superstar" for a two-count.
Cena struggles out of a chinlock and a back/forth slugfest ensues, with the crowd cheering Punk and booing Cena. Cena gets momentum with a couple flying shoulder tackles, and attempts a spin-out powerbomb, but Punk lands on his feet and hits a calf-kick. Punk goes for the knee/bulldog corner-combo, but Cena reverses into the spin-out powerbomb. Punk counter's the five-knuckle-shuffle with a kick-to-the-head and nails Cena in the head with a high-kick.
The "Second-City Saint" signals for the Go-To-Sleep, but Cena wiggles out of it and shoves Punk off, but accidentally into referee Mike Chioda. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment fireman's carry drop, but no count.
Big Show now runs out and spears Cena. He measures Cena for a Knockout Punch, which he hits on target. Punk looks on and hesitates on a prone, out-cold Cena. Punk revives Chioda and is seeming to have a moral conscience conflict. He quickly decides to cover, but Cena gets the shoulder up at the last second! Punk can't believe it!
Punk struggles to pick up a dead-weighted Cena and does into a Go-To-Sleep, but Cena reverses into the STF! As Punk wenches in pain, Show runs back out and hits Cena, causing the dq.
Winner via Disqualification: John Cena (He does NOT win the WWE Championship)
Post-match, Show is going town on Cena, with Punk staring on and Lawler begging him to do something. Instead, it is The Rock who runs out and saves Cena. However, before he can hit the People's Elbow, Punk comes back in and cuts him off with a flying clothesline!
Punk measures a staggering Rock and delivers the Go-To-Sleep. He looks somewhat satisfied but worn out, to a mix of boos and cheers. C.M. Punk leaves the ring and walks the aisle slowly, with his WWE Championship to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter's Ramblings - By Moe Tapp
That Raw had it all - as the old saying goes, "the good, the bad, and even a little bit of the ugly." I admit, while a pretty good show mostly, there were definitely aspects I was disappointed with. So, let's find out what they were in my usual analysis below...
Excellence: Opening video package recapping the history of Raw. As stated in the intro, it really did highlight what Raw is all about, and as always, a top-notch production. Mr. McMahon opening/D-X Reunion - kicked off Raw in a funny-filled and feel-good manner. I'm glad they were able to get Billy Gunn and X-Pac to sign on for it as well. They also looked genuinely happy to be back, haven't lost "it," and this segment was just like the good ole' days!
I have to admit, I really did get a laugh out of "Mae Young's Son" (the hand) 12/13 years later. It was one of those "so stupid you have to laugh" bits.
Dude Love was used in the right way with Brodus, dancing away.
Daniel Bryan playing a "going off the deep-end" role to a tee, and the promo with him, The Rock, & WWE Champion C.M. Punk. Much like with Cena, Punk's upcoming feud with The Rock will be an awesome exchange of vocabulary in their promos.
Bret Hart announcing the I.C. Title match - made it feel more important, especially coming from a former great champion.
Miz winning the Intercontinental Championship - hopefully he can restore some pride and meaning to the title. He has the skills to do it, so give him "the ball." (Read: WWE Championship reign).
I'm though the "payoff" for Heath Slater's program with the Raw Legends was good. Great to see Lita back (again, my favorite woman of all who were in WWE) and she still has it, as does J.B.L., and pretty much all the Raw Legends who returned tonight. (Again, from a few weeks ago, in particular Sycho Sid). I do hope they give Slater another mini-push, as he has really developed promo-wise over the last few weeks and has himself a decent personality.
Great WRESTLING match between Cena & Punk, for the time allowed, AND, lovely to see the WWE Championship match in the MAIN-EVENT!
Bogus: 6-Man-Tag/Chris Jericho/Dolph Ziggler - I think the match was too short, Jericho should've cut a promo/been more prominent considering all he has done on Raw in the last almost 13 years, and Ziggler should also been featured more since he is the Money In The Bank holder for the World Championship match! (Still looking forward to his & Jericho's feud, though!)
Charlie Sheen - I really thought he added nothing, and whether he is a true fan or not, he sounded like he was just regurgitating obviously-fed lines to him.
While the "Dude Love" character was used right, Mick Foley/Mankind/Cactus Jack was NOT, and should've have also made a more significant appearance.
Jim Ross commentating only ONE match at the beginning? What the? Should've been there for the whole show.
For some reason, not really into the Triple H/Lesnar storyline. Just feels kind of like the very-recent Cena/Lesnar bout, again.
Please, please, please, don't have Daniel Bryan face Charlie Sheen at SummerSlam - absolute miss-use of one of the best talents on the roster right now.
Speaking of miss-use, The Undertaker. While he also looked great and always good to have him around, hated how he was placed in with guys that aren't on Raw every week. 'Taker should've been more significant, at the very least, being the one to "put the nail in the coffin" of Slater's program with the legends. It was nice to see Kane & 'Taker reunite, though - another great memory of Raws past.
The whole ending to the Cena/Punk match - I believe that this should've been a clean-go-over win for C.M. Punk. Instead, once again, they protected John Cena. Also, Punk's turn on The Rock wasn't that "shocking" or surprising, it just was. I think he'll be in the position of Cena, where half will love him and half will loathe him. However, no matter what, still an awesome feud for him & Rock.
And where was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Arguably the biggest star in Raw's history was a no-show for a huge occasion. I hope the WWE did ask and he had a legit reason for turning it down. Austin would've added so much more with one of his classic promos, but also in my mind, would've served great as a guest-referee for the WWE Championship. He was definitely missed tonight.
The only angle I am indifferent about right now is A.J. as general manger. That was a true "out of nowhere," but part of me wishes it was someone like Ric Flair or another past-superstar/wrestler, who doesn't wrestle and is not on the current roster. Another part of me realizes that this could create some very intriguing T.V. over the next while, so I'll wait and see before I make a final judgment on A.J.'s new position.
In the end, a decent episode and I'm happy enough, but honestly, there could've been more. Let's see what they do next week (really in two weeks for the next report, as I am on vacation again on July 30) to keep Raw going, especially now that it is going to always be three (3) hours.
Until August 6th, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!