In the past 999 episodes of RAW, there have been high points and low points. Hundreds of lists could be created to pick the high and low points of those past episodes… but we don’t have time for that right now.
What we do have time for is listing those points out for the new episodes, and that’s what we’re going to do, starting tonight.
Hit: Starting with Vince McMahon
There have been bigger stars, individuals who have had a bigger effect on the direction of the business, but the most common fixture of RAW has always been Vince McMahon, so there’s no better way to start things off than with him.
Hit: Bringing out ALL of Degeneration X
Instead of JUST the HBK / HHH duo, it was great to see the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac, even if I was never a fan of theirs back in the day. I am happy that my parting memories of Billy Gunn aren’t from his strange run in TNA.
Sarcastic Sidenote – It really should be The Artists Formerlly Known As The New Age Outlaws, because if they were “new age” back in 1998, that has long since passed.
Hit: Damien Sandow interrupted the DX hijinx
What good is that throwback moment for DX if it doesn’t help the product going forward? Clearly Sandow is going to get destroyed when he gets to the ring, but millions are tuned in right now to see DX, and they’re getting a great introduction into one of the best performers WWE has for the next decade.
First Commercial Break
Hit: Return of Jim Ross
Great decision to have Jim Ross return to the commentary table, at least for tonight. Another great decision being that they made a big deal about it and gave him an entrance instead of just having him at ringside when the show began.
Six Man Tag Match
Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio & Sheamus
Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler
Hit: Keeping Dolph Ziggler actively interjected into the title scene
Ziggler needs to continue to be involved in matches with the World Heavyweight Champion, so it doesn’t seem like a former mid-carder is holding the briefcase and might luck into a championship.
Hit: Continuing the tensions between Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler
After the interactions between Jericho and Ziggler last week, it’s good that they’re not letting things just get swept under the rug despite them being on the same team.
Personal Preference – I would’ve liked to see some interactions between Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, as that could/should be some sort of feud in the future, even if it’s a “friendly” one.
AJ & Layla Segment
Hit AND Miss: Layla dancing
Fun dancing, but the outfit Layla was wearing leaves something to be desired.
Hit: Roddy Piper & R-Truth with Little Jimmy jumping rope
One of Roddy Piper’s best talents is at comedy, and what better way to ensure that he and R-Truth actually get into an otherwise HUGE show than to have them show up in the segment with the current crazy kid on the block, AJ
Hit: The Return of Mae Young’s Hand
Great call-back to one of the craziest stories in WWE history. It’s a shame there wasn’t any reference to Mark Henry when they did it.
Miss: The terrible outfit
It’s hard enough to look at Brodus Clay in his ring attire, but the stars & stripes? No.
Hit: Dude Love in the corner of Brodus Clay
Mick Foley is another cornerstone of RAW, and he deserves some time on the monumental episode.
Hit: Trish Stratus
All day every day, Trish Stratus is one of the top 3 Divas of all time.
Hit: Another great call back
Many people might not remember the Triple H / Trish Stratus segment that this was a call-back to, but it was great. I was hoping for a Stephanie appearance, but that worked for me.
Daniel Bryan and his… Groomsmen?
Hit: Just a hint
Those… weren’t tuxedos. I like the fact that they didn’t mention the term “orderlies”, but they at least gave us the idea that’s what was going on.
Great choice of an officiant to this wedding being a manager who probably wasn’t on more than a handful of episodes, but certainly deserved to be.
Where were AJ’s fellow Divas wearing hideous dresses? #MissedOpportunities
Hit: AJ Gets A Better Offer
So at the alter, AJ decides that she got a better offer… and it’s to become the new General Manager of RAW. Why exactly she can’t marry Daniel Bryan AND be the RAW General Manager is beyond me…
The Honeymoon Is Over
Hit: Having CM Punk Get In Bryan’s Face
You gotta love the fact that the feud between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan isn’t over just because they had their match at Money In The Bank. Two of the top young stars in the company, battling their way into SummerSlam, working the mic against each other? Great stuff.
You knew The Rock was going to show up tonight, so having him give some heat to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan is a good thing, provided he doesn’t down-play them TOO much. I’m just happy that through the segment, he never asked who either of the guys were.
Sarcastic Sidenote – The Rock doesn’t like it when Daniel Bryan interrupts him, but it IS okay when The People interrupt him?
Miss: Royal Rumble Rock Shot
So it just randomly gets announced that The Rock just happens to get a guaranteed title shot at the WWE Championship about six months from now? I guess it’s a step up from his year-later announcement.
Hit: The Rock Giving Props to CM Punk
Having The Rock call CM Punk “Best in the World” is a big deal.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Hit: The Hitman
Having Bret Hart show up on RAW 1000 had to happen, and having him as a special guest ring announcer is excellent. And having him talk about the Intercontinental Championship, a gravely underappreciated title, makes it all the better.
Hit: The Miz wins The Belt
It’s about time that The Miz got involved in something meaningful again, and he can bring some serious credibility back to the Intercontinental Championship, which Cody Rhodes already started.
Triple H Wants An Answer
Hit: Paul Heyman leads the way
The best thing for Brock Lesnar is to have Paul Heyman talk for him, and if they want Brock Lesnar to be a heel, having Paul Heyman be his spokesperson is a great way to do that. Heyman is one of the best talkers of all time… and Lesnar is not. The condescension from Heyman is great.
Hit: Return of Steph
Talk about Triple H’s kids? That crosses a line. Do it again? You gotta answer to their mother. Their HOT mother. And when Steph gets face to face with him, and Paul closes his eyes and cowers a bit, it just shows how great he is as an actor.
Miss: Lesnar Shows Up… And Gets Taken Out
Having Lesnar show up when things aren’t looking so good for Paul Heyman is a great thing. Having him tear Triple H open is a great thing… until Triple H gets the upperhand. Triple H got the upperhand on Heyman, and Lesnar should’ve turned the tables on Triple H, and yet, Lesnar looks weaker now than he did an hour ago.
Heath Slater vs Lita
How HOT is Lita? Seriously? That top? Amazing. Makes me wish she was a full timer.
Hit: The Backup
APA. Doink. Slaughter. Piper. Vader and the others. Bringing all the legends out to ensure that Heath Slater didn’t walk out on the match with Lita was great, though a few of them I hope to see again soon. Especially Lita and Vader. And probably Doink.
In fact, I want Heath Slater to go crazy and start dressing up as Doink, but that’s a different story.
Miss: Fozzie The Bear
Yeah, I get it, he was one of the hosts of RAW when The Muppets hosted, and he’s got a catchphrase… but it was a lame way to introduce an otherwise fun little segment.
And seriously, is Triple H introducing himself with “I Am The Game” really a catchphrase? Really?
Hit: GTV Reference
Another fun callback to something that newer fans won’t understand, and having Zack Ryder do it makes it all the better because he hasn’t been on the show thus far but he deserves to be.
Hit: Rock / Cena Interaction
Having The Great One and Cena interact a bit before the title match is a good thing, but it’s even better that it was a SMALL interaction, because we don’t need tons of interaction with them at this point.
Kane vs Jinder Mahal & Friends
Miss: Squash the Jobbers
What better way to make a bunch of guys look weak than to have them need to gang up to go after Kane, who’s not even still in his prime.
Hit: The Deadman Returns
It’s arguable that The Undertaker is more important to the history of RAW than Degeneration X, and it’s definitely a great thing that he is able to make an appearance, though it’ll be frustrating if he doesn’t show up again for months. Still, his outfit with all the crazy spikes on it and the entrance were worth it, even if that’s the case.
Miss: The Timeslot
The show moves to 3 hours, and I figure this match might take 30 minutes or more… and Cena doesn’t start the entrances until there’s only 5 minutes left? Sure, they always go past 11, but even if they go to 11:20, that’s still less than 20 minutes of match time, given commercials and aftermath and such.
Hit: Punk Conflicted
I love the fact that CM Punk didn’t immediately cover John Cena after Big Show knocked out the challenger. Though, he could’ve just walked out on the match and retained his title that way.
John does more than just Hulk Up when CM Punk tries to set him up for the Go 2 Sleep on Cena, he completely shrugs off the effects of everything and locks on his STFU.
Miss: The Rock Cleans Up After CM Punk
CM Punk leaves ringside, unwilling to deal with Big Show after having a match, so The Rock shows up to be the hero?
Hit: CM Punk destroys The Rock
Having CM Punk get right in on The Rock, hitting him with the Go 2 Sleep, is a perfect ending to this show and a great moment in the career of CM Punk and the absolute BEST option for a feuding partner for The Rock going forward. Perfect. Way better than the drull continuation of Cena vs The Rock. And the fact that The Rock didn’t get any advantage over CM Punk before Punk left the ring is absolutely perfect. Let CM Punk – the new guy, the guy who NEEDS to get “the rub” from The Rock, give him the upperhand to end the show. Excellent. Punk doesn’t need to be the hero. He needs to be awesome, and he’s the best feuding partner for The Rock.