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Today’s date is July 23 and I wondered why it felt so familiar. Then I remember Raw 1000 on this date 6 years ago. This show was heavily promoted by WWE for several months in advance. They repeatedly drove it down people’s throats. It worked because it drew a massive audience in part due to an appearance from The Rock.

Here’s how many people watched this show in the US according to the Neilsen ratings that week.

Average Audience: 6,019,000
Hour 1: 5,439,000
Hour 2: 6,318,000 
Hour 3: 6,300,000

This week’s Raw will get about half that. Things have changed, yet WWE just signed a massive TV audience deal that pays them three times more money, so it shows the numbers don’t always tell the story.

This Raw was also the start of 3 hour Raw. I may write a column later in the week about that, but I don’t know. For now, I am going to re-post my Raw Deal from Raw 1000 six years ago and I’ll add in some new thoughts in blue font as well. I’m also going to edit in clips and images where needed.

Live from St. Louis, Missouri this is the Raw Deal…

It’s episode #1000. Let’s see what WWE has in store for us shall we?

They aired a video package to start the show with a number of historic clips from Raw over the years. They aired funny clips, memorable promos, sad promos and some huge spots over the years as well. It was nice of them to get in the clip of Vince McMahon telling Eric Bischoff he’s fired. The last person we heard from in the video was Cena saying “This is Monday Night Raw.”

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to Raw. Jerry Lawler was even wearing a nice jacket rather than one of his king shirts.

Vince McMahon starts Raw. So much for DX starting it, but I guess they are coming out right after. Smart to start with Vince because this show is his creation. Vince said “thank you” and the crowd started a “thank you Vince” chant. Vince: “Welcome to Monday Night Raw. And please welcome Degeneration X.”

The “Break It Down” DX music brought out Triple H and Shawn Michaels to a thunderous ovation. Cole mentioned that they began in WWE in August 1997. They were wearing some “one night only Raw 1000” shirts. Shawn said this was great, but something was missing. Hunter said: “Didn’t there used to be more of us?” The crowd cheered. They pointed to the entrance. Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac showed up in a jeep. They were all wearing DX gear. The crowd was really loud in their reaction to DX. All of them did crotch chops in the ring.

Road Dogg did his fantastic entrance. He said DX presented us the five time tag team champions the New Age Outlaws. It was great when he bleeped himself as he said “Ass” in Bad Ass Billy Gunn’s name. Hunter asked the crowd if they were ready. He did his loud “Are you ready?” deal to a thunderous ovation. Then for the thousands in attendance, for the millions watching around the world and “apparently for me because I’m the only one left with a full head of hair” and because it’s the 1,000th episode of Raw (and he’ll see all of us at episode 2,000) let’s get ready to suck it. Gunn and Michaels argued over who gets to do the last part. Hunter said to let Shawn do it because he may lose his smile or do something stupid like pose in Playgirl. Shawn: “I was young and stupid. And needed the money.” Funny. Hunter told them to do it together. Just as they were about to do it, Damien Sandow’s music started up.

Sandow was in his robe as he walked down the ramp. He said this kind of crass conduct has ruined society. Michaels said he’s going home to church to ask for forgiveness. Sandow says he knows they can dispose of him, but they shouldn’t. Hunter said they would have a meeting to decide what they should do. Hunter said “this is what we’ve decided” and Michaels gave Sandow a superkick. Then Hunter gave Sandow a Pedigree. Gunn finished it off by saying “if you’re not down with that we’ve got two words for ya.” The crowd yelled “suck it” and their music played.

Analysis: That was a lot of fun. A hot start to the show. It was a fun nostalgia moment to see the five members of D together again. I think Sandow getting beat up by them doesn’t hurt him too much. It’s not a big deal. He’s got a bright future and his character is the total opposite of DX, so it was a nice mix for comedy sake. That was an entertaining way to begin the show.

(The line Triple H had about Shawn losing his smile or posing in Playgirl was hilarious. Well done, Trips. As for Sandow, it sucked to see him get beat up like that, but the positive was being in the ring with some legends like that.)

Coming up later: The Rock returns, Brock Lesnar answers the Triple H Summerslam challenge, Daniel Bryan marries AJ Lee and John Cena takes on CM Punk for the WWE Championship.

At the top of the ramp, the DX guys did their crotch chops while fireworks went off. The crowd loved it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Jim Ross walked out to the commentary table. He’s sporting a goatee these days in case you didn’t know.

Rey Mysterio walked out for a match. There are new graphics on the show with a different looking Raw logo, but it’s still the red and black we’ve been familiar with for the last 19 years. Sin Cara made his entrance so he’s on Mysterio’s team. Jim Ross joined Cole and Lawler at the announce table. Sheamus joined the Mysterio/Cara team. Chris Jericho walked out. He’s on the other team. Dolph Ziggler is also on the team, which is noteworthy because of his confrontation with Jericho last week. Their partner is Alberto Del Rio.

The full match is Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio & Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho, Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio. As Alberto was walking to the ring they went to break.

Analysis: This has the potential to be a phenomenal match if they get 15 minutes or so.

(Commercial)

Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio & Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio

The heel side was working over Sin Cara in their corner. There’s a mention of Tout by Michael Cole. There will be plenty of those. Jericho dropped Sin Cara with a dropkick followed by a body slam and cocky pin. Cole mentioned this is Jericho’s 366th match on Raw, which is second most to Triple H. Del Rio tagged in to work over Cara. Sin Cara hit a nice DDT off the middle rope, which led to him tagging in Sheamus. Sheamus destroyed Jericho a hard knee lift and then the Irish Curse Backbreaker for two. Del Rio made the save. Mysterio took out Del Rio. Sin Cara took out Ziggler. Jericho took out Sin Cara. Jericho went for a Codebreaker on Sheamus, but Sheamus blocked it. Jericho got the advantage and he went for a springboard attack on Sheamus. Ziggler punched Jericho in the face. Sheamus knocked Ziggler off the apron. Sheamus finished off Jericho with the Brogue Kick win for his team after 6 minutes.

Winners: Sheamus, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara

Analysis: ** Solid tag match, but not as long as I would have liked. Mysterio didn’t even get to tag in. The action was good though and the crowd loved it, so it worked in terms of its execution. The big story was Ziggler screwing Jericho out of the win, so it continues that story and will likely lead to a match between them possibly at Summerslam.

(I like how I noted that it would be an awesome match if they got 15 minutes, but then it was only 6 minutes. That’s what happens sometimes. It was weird to see Mysterio not even tag in, but he was probably battling a knee injury like he did a lot at this point in his career.)

Michael Cole thanked JR for coming, so I guess that’s all of JR for the night.

(Commercial)

By the way, there’s a new theme song. I don’t miss Nickelback. Not sure what to think of the new song.

There was a “Did You Know?” about gas prices being different in 1993. So were a lot of things.

They showed some Tout clips of fans talking about the Daniel Bryan/AJ wedding. I’m not reviewing Tout clips except to say that at least two of the four Tout’s they showed were awful.

(This is why I like to make “Tout Era” jokes because WWE pushed Tout heavily. WWE apparently invested in the company, which died a few years later.)

The announcers laughed like schoolgirls as they talked to Chalie Sheen via Skype. I guess that’s their way of making up for Sheen quitting Twitter after they had advertised him as the Social Media Ambassador of this show. He referenced DX and Sheamus and said he would fit in well with WWE.

(The Sheen appearance was so random and it was when he was going through a lot of crazy shit in his life. I’ll have more on that later.) 

Highlights were aired of the Daniel Bryan/AJ segment last week when they got engaged.

In the dressing room, AJ Lee was in a bathrobe talking to Layla. She wondered why everybody called her unstable. AJ said the whole place is unstable. She opened the door. It was Hacksaw Jim Duggan yelling. Then R-Truth was playing jump rope with Roddy Piper and Little Jimmy. There was a giant hand that introduced himself as Mae Young’s son. She said she was proud of the son. AJ’s point of the WWE being crazy proved to be true.

Analysis: Did anybody else mark out for the Mae Young “son” that is a hand? Storyline continuity! Got to love it. That was a fun way to get some people on the show.

(A lot of us loved the Mae Young hand “son” on the show. It was a memorable funny moment. The guy in the hand costume was a writer or somebody that worked backstage.)

(Commercial)

“Tonight is the Night” by Outasight is the official theme song of Raw 1,000.

Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole were delivered drinks by Sonic. That’s a blatant way of doing product placement, my friends.

Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger

Swagger didn’t get an entrance. Clay introduced Dude Love as Mick Foley walked out in his Dude Love gear. Clay pinned Swagger after a suplex and then a Big Splash. Match went about 15 seconds.

Winner: Brodus Clay

Post match, Dude pulled out a tie-dyed sock and shoved Mr. Socko down Swagger’s throat.

Analysis: Swagger is a jobber or perhaps even lower if that’s possible. He deserves a lot better. Hopefully, this “loser” angle leads to something new for him and some kind of push or face turn perhaps.

(It’s crazy to think that this happened to Swagger and then by the next WrestleMania 29 in 2013 he was challenging Alberto Del Rio for the World Title. It was a reboot of the Swagger character with Zeb Colter as the manager in the “We the People” storyline.) 

Backstage, Trish Stratus talked to Triple H. She was teaching him yoga because in case you didn’t know she has a yoga studio in Toronto now known as Stratusphere Yoga. The DX guys walked in on Hunter as Trish was teaching him yoga moves. That’s a flashback to a famous Raw moment when Hunter was teaching her wrestling moves, which led to sexual positions. The guys left with Hunter while X-Pac talked to Trish and she acted uncomfortable around him.

Analysis: Good to see Trish. Fine looking woman. I like her with her current brown hair look too.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ wedding is coming up after the break.

(Commercial)

Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee Wedding

The ring was all white with flowers in the corner. Jerry Lawler was in the ring with a microphone. He welcomed us to the reverend for this wedding…Slick. If you don’t know who Slick was, he was a manager in the late 80s and early 90s.

Daniel Bryan was in a white suit. He made his way down to the ring to his theme song. The crowd joined with him as he chanted “YES” on his way to the ring. Cole let us know that “#ajidont” is the top trend on Twitter. They wanted people to tweet that or “#ajido” and they told us that 74% went with “#ajidont” as their vote. “Here Comes the Bride” started to play as AJ made her way down the aisle. She was wearing a traditional wedding gown.

Slick said that they didn’t have any bridesmaids or ushers. Instead, the WWE Universe was there to support them. As Slick tried to talk and went through his sanctity of marriage speech, the crowd was chanting “WHAT?” at him and he was reacting to it in a comedic way. Slick did great. Slick asked if anybody didn’t see these two to be fit as man and wife they should speak now. Nobody interrupted it. Slick gave Bryan his ring. He said that after they get married he’ll have everything he’s ever wanted. “Do you do, Daniel Bryan take AJ to be your lawfully wedded wife?” Bryan said yes. Then AJ said “yes” multiple times. Slick said that was it.

AJ said “Wait.” She said she wasn’t saying yes to Daniel. Then she said: “I wasn’t saying yes to Daniel. I was saying yes to somebody else. Another man. Another man who made a proposal to me earlier tonight.” Vince McMahon’s music started up.

Vince then introduced us to the new General Manager of Raw…AJ Lee. What? Yes. AJ Lee is the new GM of Raw. She gave Daniel his flowers back and she left. No wedding. The story is that AJ took McMahon’s business proposal instead of getting married to Bryan. She celebrated her new role while Bryan snapped in the ring and destroyed the setup in the ring.

Analysis: It’s a unique choice. I doubt many people would have predicted AJ as the GM of Raw. I would have preferred an ex-wrestler or somebody that’s not currently an active performer, but obviously the creative team is pleased with her work and this gives her a bigger role. To those that hate it, I would say wait to see what happens before you really judge it. I think it has potential, but it depends on how they go with it.

(They were pushing AJ a lot, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise to see her named as the GM. I didn’t expect it and I doubt most people did either. The angle really didn’t last that long.)

(Commercial)

The video promoting Summerslam started playing. It should be noted Kelly Kelly’s in the video even though she’s been gone for a few months. She’s expected back on this show. Summerslam is on August 19.

Back in the ring, Daniel Bryan was yelling “no” as a number of referees were in the ring trying to get him to leave. The music of CM Punk started up as the WWE Champion made his way down to the ring. CM Punk said he didn’t come down to rub it in Daniel’s face, but he did just get stood up at the altar. Apparently “AJ as GM” is trending now. Punk said Bryan can continue to throw a fit while Punk will continue to be the WWE Champion and be the best in the world. Bryan said Punk isn’t even the best in that ring tonight. Bryan said that he was the greatest superstar of all-time. The music of The Rock started up and out came the Great One to a ridiculously loud ovation.

The Rock told Daniel Bryan that he doesn’t get to say who the greatest of all-time is. “They” get to say it and he pointed to the people. “Finally The Rock has come back to St. Louuuuuuuis.” Punk was standing in the corner while Bryan was facing off with Rock. Bryan cut off Rock and told him not to cut him off like that while the crowd did a “Boots to Asses” chant. Rock said St. Louis was where he won his first WWE Championship. He said the Rock is not there to talk about Frodo – he means Bryan. Rock said he’s there to talk about the WWE Championship. Rock just got word that at the Royal Rumble, whoever is the WWE Champion will defend their title against The Rock. CM Punk said that tonight he’ll beat John Cena and at the Royal Rumble he’ll beat The Rock too. Rock said that he won his first WWE Champion in St. Louis (Survivor Series 1998) and said that at the Royal Rumble he will be the next WWE Champion.

Daniel Bryan interrupted by yelling “no” repeatedly. Bryan said this is supposed to be about him. It was supposed to be the greatest night of his life. He said some way, somehow Rocky is going to fight Bryan at the Royal Rumble. Bryan said not only will he be the champion, but he will be the face of the WWE. Rock said we’re looking at what would happen if a “homeless lumberjack banged a oompa loompa.” That was creative. He said Bryan looked like a troll from Lord of the Rings. Rock wished Punk the best in his match later in the night. And he had a gift for Daniel Bryan. He gave Bryan a Rock Bottom. “If you smell what The Rock is cooking.” He left to a big ovation while Punk looked on confidently.

Analysis: That was an awesome segment. It was nice to see Rock interacting with Punk and Bryan because it felt fresh. I think announcing a WWE Title match for the Royal Rumble is a little early obviously, but with Rock being away the rest of the year filming movies (Fast and the Furious 6) I doubt he’ll be on WWE very much if at all. So they had to do it here. I’m surprised he’s getting the title match at the Rumble instead of being in the title match itself, but I still like it. Rock being in the WWE Title match at the Rumble in Phoenix will really help the interest in that event.

(I don’t know if most people believed that CM Punk would still be WWE Champion by Royal Rumble 2013, but based on what happened at the end of the show it made a lot of sense. This segment was great due to how great Bryan’s heel character was, how popular Punk was as WWE Champion and like I said, seeing The Rock interact with them was cool. Bryan was very good as a heel. Sometimes we forget that because of how awesome he is as a heel, but I loved his heel act too.)

More hype for the Lesnar/HHH showdown later. Also the CM Punk vs. John Cena match later.

(Commercial)

They asked fans to vote in a WWE Title poll for the Royal Rumble #RockCena #RockPunk or #RockShow. Who would vote for Big Show?

Justin Roberts introduced Bret Hart to be the special guest ring announcer for the next match. Of course, you know I’m marking out for the best Canadian wrestler ever. Love the Hitman. He said one of his favorite rivals was Mr. Perfect and he was there to introduce the competitors for the IC Title match. The match is Christian vs. The Miz.

Intercontinental Championship: Christian vs. The Miz

Christian quickly dumped Miz out to the floor and then he a hit a cross body block off the top. They went to break about 30 seconds into the match. Both guys were on the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Christian was able to get a two count on Miz with a rollup for two. Cole said we’ll hear from Charlie Sheen again after this match. Miz decked Christian with a hard kick and got a two count. The ongoing story is that Christian hurt his right knee when he hit his cross body earlier, so Miz worked on that. Christian hit a nice spinning DDT off the middle rope for two. Christian went for a Spear, but Miz countered by kicking him in the knee and then hitting a DDT for two. Nice moves there by Miz. Miz missed a corner splash. They countered eachother’s finishers, Christian hurt his knee again while countering a back suplex and Miz ended up pinning Christian after a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz won after 8 minutes of action.

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: The Miz

Post match, Miz said he was awesome.

Analysis: *1/2 It was good for what we saw, which was about five minutes in length that actually aired not counting the three minute commercial. I’m fine with Miz winning the IC Title because it gives him some momentum after returning from when he was off filming The Marine 3. Christian’s IC title reign wasn’t very good, but he’s more of a role player these days and using him to put over Miz is fine with me.

(That was the first IC Title win for The Miz. Over the last six years, he went on to win it eight times.) 

The announcers talked to Charlie Sheen on Skype. Sheen said that Bryan had some “Anger Management” issues, which is the name of his television show. He told Bryan to man up. They will check in with him later on.

More plugs for things we’ll see later.

(Commercial)

Triple H made his entrance with his own theme music. He’s still in his DX gear. They aired the clip from three months ago when Lesnar attacked Triple H and “broke his arm” with the armbar. Lesnar has been gone ever since because his contract calls for him to work a limited number of dates and they didn’t want to waste those dates in the last three months.

Hunter called out Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman walked out to Lesnar’s music. Heyman reiterated that Hunter wants to fight Lesnar at Summerslam and Brock’s answer to Hunter is “no.” Hunter said he can go backstage to find Brock. Heyman reminded him of the lawsuits that are on against Hunter and WWE. Hunter said Lesnar’s such a coward that he won’t even tell Hunter this to his face. “Is he afraid of me? Is Brock scared?” Heyman made fun of Hunter for namecalling. Hunter slapped the microphone out of Heyman’s hands when Heyman wondered if Hunter talked to Hunter’s kids that way. He kept on going on about Hunter’s family.

That led to Stephanie McMahon walking out. She looks fantastic especially for a woman that has given birth to three kids. Fans gave her a good reaction. She ripped on Heyman for his failures in ECW and WWE. That’s why he’s doing these lawsuits. She said her kids will be proud of their father and grandfather while Heyman’s kids will be ashamed of him because they know that Heyman will be nothing more than a professional parasite. Then she slapped Heyman in the face. He went down. Then he left the ring. Heyman went back into the ring. He yelled, “IT’S ON!” The Lesnar/Triple H match is on for Summerslam now. Heyman said she always gets what she wants. Stephanie tackled Heyman and slapped him in the face.

Brock Lesnar’s music started up. Stephanie and Heyman were out of the ring. Lesnar went after Triple H with fists. Hunter fought back with fists as the crowd cheered. They continued to brawl. Hunter won the brawl and then he gave Lesnar a clothesline that sent him over the top to the floor. Lesnar went up the aisle with Heyman. Lesnar smiled from the top of the ramp.

Analysis: That was an entertaining segment. I thought it would have been smart to have Lesnar announce that he would take the match rather than have Heyman answer it for him. I understand they don’t want to have Brock talk too much, though, so it’s okay how they did it. Everybody played their roles well. Hunter was confident, Heyman was an annoying heel, Stephanie was strong in standing up for her family and Lesnar looked like a beast as always. Of course, Hunter won the brawl, but they have a month to build up to this match so it will go back and forth until we get to Summerslam on August 19. The whole segment took about ten minutes, which was the right amount of time I thought.

(Good promo from everybody involved. They did well to make it seem like a personal thing by bringing up their families. Hunter put over Lesnar clean at SummerSlam, which was Lesnar’s second match since his WWE return earlier in the year. They did it again at WrestleMania 29 with Triple H winning, which I didn’t like and Lesnar won the third match at Extreme Rules to win the feud.)

Another reminder for Cena vs. Punk later.

(Commercial)

“Did You Know” told us that the #1 movie on January 11, 1993 was “A Few Good Men.” It’s a great movie.

They showed some Tout videos from Kofi Kingston and then some fans who were reacting to things that happened earlier on Raw.

They did a plug for WWE ’13 and some fan vote where fans voted for John Cena vs. Steve Austin as the ultimate dream match.

There was a video package featuring the Steve Austin/Vince McMahon feud from the Attitude Era that was the marquee feud in the company during the most profitable era in the history of WWE. They had wrestlers talking about the memorable moments like when he filled up Vince’s Corvette with cement and when Austin sprayed Vince, Shane & Rock with beer. The video ended after about two minutes.

Analysis: That was the second time in the show where nothing really new or eventful happened in between commercials.

(Commercial)

Back from break, there were graphics showing all the media coverage about this Raw 1000 episode.

Santino and Hornswoggle walked out with Brawling Buddies. Cole & Lawler were playing with them at ringside. I feel old watching this show right now. Howard Finkel is the guest ring announcer for this match. That’s cool because he was on the first episode of Raw on January 11, 1993. He introduced Heath Slater.

Slater grabbed the microphone. He said he would have an “epic” match. He was challenging any of the legends to a no disqualification, no countout match.

Heath Slater vs. Lita

The person that Slater was facing? Lita. She got a big pop. And she brought her cleavage with her, so that’s good. Lita said she hired some protection for the match. It was the APA: Bradshaw and Faarooq. Slater ran away. He didn’t get very far because the legends he faced in the past were there to throw him back into the ring. I’m not listing all the names, but they were the guys that Slater has faced in the last month. Bradshaw decked Slater with a clothesline. Lita finished him off with a moonsault. She covered for the win.

Winner: Lita

Post match, Ron Simmons (Faarooq) grabbed the microphone. He summed up this match in one word: “DAMN!” The crowd cheered as the legends celebrated this destruction of Slater.

Analysis: That was fun. I guess this is the end of Slater getting beat up by legends. I thought it might be Undertaker or Austin, but that obviously didn’t happen. Lita looked to be in great shape. She’s dating CM Punk again. Perhaps that will lead to her returning to the company, but I have no idea if she would want to do that. It was nice to see the legends again.

(Lita looked great. This segment was a good way to get some more legends on the show. The crowd liked it. It also makes me sad that WWE would bring back a guy like Vader for a segment like this, but they didn’t put him in their Hall of Fame over the next six years while he was alive. Now he’s gone and it might happen, but it won’t be the same.)

A replay aired of Vince McMahon telling us that AJ was the new GM of Raw.

Backstage, former backstage interviewer Sean Mooney was there to talk to Daniel Bryan. Mooney was on the first episode of Raw. Bryan was furious that he got insulted by Charlie Sheen, who called him an “oompa loompa.” Bryan said if Sheen was standing there he would slap the Yes Lock on him faster than he could say “winning.” Then Bryan left and they went to commercial.

Analysis: Bryan talking about Sheen makes me think perhaps Sheen will be involved in Summerslam in some way. It wouldn’t be a match I assume, but perhaps he’ll be there to manage somebody against Bryan? I’m not sure. It’s just that if Sheen’s comments meant nothing then I doubt they would have had Bryan talking about it.

(Commercial)

They announced that they broke the 100,000,000 social media follower number. It’s some guy named Alex Guerrero Jr., who got to sit ringside. Cole asked him some questions. Generic fan answer. Cole said he lived his dream by being asked questions by Cole.

Jerry Lawler threw it to a video package where Fozzie Bear led us into a video about the best catchphrases in WWE history. The video was well done. It ended with Stone Cold saying “now that’s the bottom line cuz Stone Cold said so.”

They cut to a segment where Zack Ryder was talking to John Cena to tell him he thinks that Gene Okerlund was behind G-TV. The Rock walked up to John Cena. Ryder and Okerlund left.

Rock wished Cena luck and to have a good match. Cena told him that he’s going to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase tonight and he’ll be the one to face Rock at Royal Rumble, so he can face him one more time. The crowd was doing the “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” thing so it was hard to hear. Rock wished him luck and left.

Analysis: That wasn’t the kind of epic Rock/Cena segment I was hoping for, but they put over the point that there is still a rivalry between them. I wouldn’t be shocked if we got Rock/Cena II at the Royal Rumble. It is half a year away, though, so I have no idea if that’s in the cards at this point.

(Commercial)

Kane made his way to the ring. Jinder Mahal led a group of Drew McIntyre, Camacho, Hunico, Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks to say they were taking advantage of an opportunity. I think he said they were held down for 999 episodes of Raw. Maybe that’s because you were just kids 19 years ago. Anyway, Kane was surrounded and the lights went out.

GONG.

GONG.

Undertaker. The crowd popped huge for the Phenom, who was making his first appearance since WrestleMania. He was there to save his brother Kane, who is apparently a babyface again since Undertaker was there to save him. He made a slow walk into the ring. He gave Kane a look as if to say “let’s beat up some jobbers, homeboy.” Maybe he didn’t say homeboy, but you know he’s thinking it. Right? Undertaker has a shaved head again except for a line of hair on the top. Similar to his WrestleMania look.

The jobbers attacked Kane and Undertaker. They dumped four of them out of the ring. Kane gave Hawkins a Chokeslam and Undertaker gave Hunico a Chokeslam as well. The Brothers of Destruction did a double throat slash. Then they buried them even further with each man delivering a Tombstone. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” while Undertaker and Kane rolled the jobbers out of the ring. Undertaker went on a knee as the lights went out and then Kane lit the ringposts on fire.

Analysis: This was one of those special moments that feels like a “one of a kind” thing rather than something we’ll see often going forward.Can we get a backstage segment with Undertaker and the Raw GM AJ? Technically she is his boss on Raw, so that would be funny. Of course, Undertaker is unlikely to be on Raw very often going forward.

(It was just a way to bring Undertaker back and kick some ass with Kane. It popped the crowd, which is what it intended to do.)

There was a “Be A Star” video showing WWE stars talking to kids at a rally to tell them not to be bullies.

CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Title is next.

(Commercial)

The “Did You Know?” told us that Smackdown was Syfy’s top show for the 94th week in a row.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler talked to Charlie Sheen via Skype again. They mentioned Bryan again. Sheen said he heard what “Goat Face” had to say, referencing Daniel Bryan. Sheen said he’s not hard to find, so if Bryan had a problem he could see him next time he’s in Los Angeles. They asked if Sheen was challenging Bryan to a match. Sheen said to interpret it how you want. They thanked Sheen. The announcers mentioned the next time they were in Los Angeles was August 19.

Analysis: Obviously there will be some kind of Bryan/Sheen angle at Summerslam. Not sure if it will be a match or what, but clearly that’s the direction they are going in.

(There were rumors that Sheen was going to do something with WWE, but it didn’t happen other than this appearance. Daniel Bryan wrote about him in his book: “He was going through a very public breakdown at the time, and somehow WWE brokered a deal for him to perform against me. He taped a couple of videos for ‘Raw’ insulting me, and even though it was a goofy match to be in, it would’ve put me in one of the top matches at SummerSlam. Unfortunately, whoever brokered the Sheen deal never got him to sign any sort of contract to do the event, and in typical Charlie Sheen fashion, he bailed.”)

We got a replay from the end of last week’s Raw with Cena saying he’d be challenging Punk for the WWE Championship via Money in the Bank cash-in.

John Cena made his entrance. Cena brought out his Money in the Bank briefcase. He gave the briefcase to the referee to officially cash in his WWE Championship Match. CM Punk entered second.

Poll results from earlier are #rockpunk 55%, #rockcena 35%, #rockshow 10%. They went to break at the 10:56pmET mark. The main event is coming up next.

(Commercial)

WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena

They shook hands before the match. The bell rang for the match to begin at 10:59pmET. Loud “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants as Cena took down Punk with a shoulderblock. Punk gave Cena a backslide for two. They exchanged holds early on, but neither man really got the advantage. Cena unloaded on Punk with fists and then a headlock takedown. Punk gave Cena a back suplex to get out of it following some hard kicks to the back. Punk gave Cena a backbreaker for two. They did a spot where they traded blows while the crowd chanted “yay/boo” for everything. This has been a good crowd all night. Cena hit a few shoulderblocks, but Punk slipped out of his spinning suplex. Punk hit a running knee on Cena in the corner. Cena countered the bulldog with the spinning suplex. Punk countered the “you can’t see me” hand gesture with a boot to the face and then Punk hit a kick to the head. Punk signaled for the GTS. Cena shoved Punk into the referee. Ref fell to the floor. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, but there was nobody there to count the pinfall. Cena rolled outside the ring to check on the ref. Big Show was in the ring. He decked Cena with a Spear. Punk was sitting in the corner watching all of this. Cena got to his feet. He turned his head and Big Show KNOCKED OUT Cena with the big right hand. Punk watched the whole thing while he was sitting in the corner. Big Show left as the match reached the ten-minute mark.

CM Punk walked out of the ring. He woke up the referee Chad Patton and rolled him back into the ring. Punk sat on his knees conflicted about what he should do. Punk covered Cena, who kicked out. Punk was mad that he didn’t win. Punk went for the GTS. Cena countered into the STF. Punk was in pain from the STF. Big Show dropped the elbow on Cena and the ref rang the bell for the disqualification. The match went about 10 minutes.

Winner: John Cena via DQ – CM Punk retains the WWE Title

Analysis: **1/2 It was not at the level of their two matches from last summer that were amazing, but it was good for the time they were given. Big Show interfering protected Cena by not having him do a job and it also set up a match for the future.

Post match, Big Show kept on attacking Cena. CM Punk continued to watch it. He didn’t react at all.

Rock ran down to the ring. Rock gave Big Show a Spinebuster. CM Punk ran back in and he knocked Rock down with a clothesline. CM Punk gave Rock the Go To Sleep. Punk had a serious look on his face. Dare I say it, a HEEL look on his face. Some in the crowd were booing, but it wasn’t that big of a reaction.

Punk grabbed his WWE Championship and walked out of the ring still the champion. Lawler said it looks as though CM Punk has turned on the WWE Universe. That’s another way of saying he’s turned heel. The show ended with Punk walking out while a fallen Rock looked on in pain from the ring. Punk didn’t smile. He just walked out with the WWE Title while having a serious expression on his face.

Analysis: I guess there’s the basis around the “big summer angle” because CM Punk turning heel is something that could shake things up in WWE. There are a lot of ways things can go now. I wonder if the fans will boo heel Punk because he’s got such a cool aura to him, so it will be important for him to change some things up. I think they should debut the new look WWE Title soon and perhaps pair him up with a heel like Big Show as a way to make him even stronger. If he’s a solo act it could work too. I am a little surprised by the move because Punk’s one year as a main event face was fun. However, now he’s doing a Randy Savage in that he’s a champion that turned heel during his reign. It doesn’t happen often. There are endless possibilities on where things may end up. I’m intrigued.

There are a lot of ways they can play the Punk angle. I think the idea of him being an “overlooked champion” because he didn’t main event PPVs is a point they can really drive home as a reason for his heel turn. He can say that he’s tired of it, so he’s going to do things his way. I think the smart fans (or hardcore fans) are still going to cheer for him, but it will be a good way to turn him against the masses.

By the way, John Cena is the first man to cash in Money in the Bank and lose. This show was pretty historic for that reason too.

(It was a huge angle to end the show and shake things up in WWE with Punk as a heel champion. The angle was done really well. I noted earlier in the show that I didn’t know if Punk would be WWE Champion by the time they got to the Royal Rumble, but after he attacked Rock like this it was obvious that Punk was going to be the one to drop the title to Rock about six months later. Cena’s Money in the Bank failure was notable because it was the first time in seven years of doing Money in the Bank where the guy cashing in failed to win the title. Way to make history, Big Match John. 

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Three Stars of the Show

1. CM Punk – The WWE Champ is a heel again it looks like. Let’s hope he makes things interesting again.

2. Daniel Bryan – Strong promo work all night. He’s not just an awesome in-ring performer, but he’s a great talker as well.

3. The Rock – Good to see him again. And nice job of making Punk look strong at the end.

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 7.5

2012 Average: 5.78

2012 High: 9 (January 30)

2012 Low: 3 (July 9)

Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 3, 6, 4.5, 6

 

Final Thoughts

I give the show a 6.5 out of 10. That means it was pretty good. Not great, but certainly something that was worthwhile.

That was a three hour and twenty minute variety show with some wrestling mixed in. There wasn’t a lot of wrestling since only one match got more than ten minutes of in-ring time, which was the main event, but it’s not like it got way more than ten minutes.

It was a lot of fun to see so many familiar faces that have entertained us on Raw over the last two decades. They used a lot of them well, so I have no major complaints.

I think the big name people will think about when they talk about who was missing from the show is Stone Cold Steve Austin. As far as I know, he’s been filming the movie Grown Ups 2 and perhaps he was unable to get time off to be at Raw tonight. Maybe there’s more to the story than that, but I assume that’s what it was. I would have loved to have seen him because nobody defines Raw or its history more than Austin.

The final point goes to my Twitter follower @DaNiOh19 who said: “Was @cmpunk heel turn brought to us by Sonic? Tout? Anger Management? Be A Star? So much advertising.” Good point.

(I think if there were better matches I would have given it a higher score, but the match quality was so poor. Looking back now, the big angles were done well enough that I should put have given it a score like a 7.5 or an 8 out of 10. Steve Austin was definitely missed during this show too.) 

That’s all for this look back to Raw 1000. Thanks for reading.

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