#monumental: After weeks of hype it’s finally here, the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW. It’s a monumental feat of which we’ll be reminded approximately 3,782 times, most of them by Michael Cole. With such a huge accomplishment, you have to figure WWE is pulling out all the stops to make this worthy of its landmark status. There will be legends returning, a wedding, a new GM, Cena cashing in MITB against Punk, 32 minutes of actual wrestling, reunions and others. While RAW 1000 will be a celebration of the past, I do hope there is something in there about the future, such as young stars making an impact, perhaps even a shocking Ziggler MITB cash in.
#twowordsforya: After an extended hype video that recapped some of the biggest moments in RAW history, which included several shots of Shane O’Mac, who hasn’t been seen on WWE TV in any form in years. To kick it off, it’s only appropriate we start with The Chairman himself, Vince McMahon who gets a standing ovation and a ‘Thank You Vince’ chant to boot. He doesn’t waste any time introducing DX, which starts out with HH and Michaels but X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn come to make it a real reunion. Now all we need is Chyna to show up. The trip down memory lane is interrupted by our Intellectual Savior Damien Sandow and they’ve gone straight for the mix of old and new. His promo goes as expected given who he’s talking to and of course ends, again, as expected.
#improvement: When JR walked out to join Cole and Lawler, the quality of the commentary went up by a factor of a zillion. If WWE changed nothing about how they run their product right now, but brought back JR full time to commentary, I’m sure the ratings would go up.
#toomany: Since WWE already has a ton of wrestlers on the roster and the segments with the legends, you can expect a number of multi man tag matches like this of Rey-Cara-Sheamus vs Jericho-Ziggler-Del Rio. Given what happened between Jericho and Ziggler last week, I’m sure it’ll affect this match. I’m more interested if that confrontation will lead to Jericho turning face, as it seemed to indicated, or he’s just trolling us again. Ziggler did attack his own teammate in Jericho at one point. The faces won when Sheamus landed a Brogue Kick on Jericho in a match that lasted over 4 minutes. There were too many involved in such a short amount of time to get any real storytelling in. During the post-match celebration, Cole thanked Lawler joining them, which seems to indicate this was his only match tonight. I sincerely hope that is not the case.
#touting: So now that WWE has jumped on another social media bandwagon with Tout, I suppose this means I’ll have to change the format of these articles. When they started to really embrace Twitter long ago, I changed the subject headings in here to hashtags to keep up since not doing so would betray my journalistic integrity. Does Tout have something similar to hashtags? Or instead of writing a Raw Insight should I post awkward videos of me talking about the episode?
#filler: Brodus Clay squashed Jack Swagger in like 16 seconds. I didn’t realize Swagger has fallen to jobber status after losing the services of Vickie.
#holymatrimony: A WWE wedding? Gee, I’m sure this will go off without a hitch. He said with heavy sarcasm. Both Bryan and AJ look quite stylish, but it’s all for naught in the end. When it comes time for the vows, Bryan gives an emphatic Yes! as does AJ, who then proceeds to break Bryan’s heart by saying that another man made a proposal to her earlier tonight. Vince’s music hits and everyone immediately becomes confused. But it’s fakeout as Vince’s proposal was of a business nature and it was to make AJ the GM of RAW! At least she’s a choice no one saw coming. Bryan’s performance during this segment was incredible. He didn’t say much, but his facial expressions spoke volumes. After AJ leaves, Bryan snaps and proceeds to destroy the wedding set up while repeatedly screaming No!, a nice twist to his Yes habit.
#saltonthewound: As if Bryan isn’t feeling bad enough, here comes CM Punk to rub it in a bit. This does send Bryan into another fit of rage and his claim that he’s the best of all time. This obviously means a Legend will interrupt, and who else but The Rock? After verbally laying the smackdown on Bryan he turns to Punk and the WWE Championship. He drops a bomb of sorts saying that whomever is the WWE Champ at the Royal Rumble will defend it against The Rock. Punk comes back with a strong response that the TBD Champ Rock will face will be him. It would be nice to have a year plus WWE title reign, but I’m not sure Creative will go through with it. Cue up another bit of Bryan craziness, which leads to Rock calling him an Oompa Loompa and giving him a Rock Bottom to end the segment.
#ocanada: The Hitman himself comes out, apparently to be the guest ring announcer for the next match which is Christian defending his IC Title against The Miz. It’s actually a fairly decent match that went on for good amount of time with Miz getting the win and the title. While it’s an unceremonious end to Christian’s IC reign, it’s a big moment for Miz. After months of being buried and jobbing, he finally is back in the spotlight. On a side note, I’m really liking his new look. The slicked back hair and the stubble beard make him look so much more then he did before with the faux hawk.
#gauntletthrown: So Triple H has laid out the challenge to Brock Lesnar for a match at Summerslam and it’s been hyped that we’ll get Lesnar’s response tonight. HHH comes out to demand just that, but gets Heyman instead. The answer via Heyman? No, which sends H into a line of insults and name calling. Speaking of lines, Heyman crosses one when he brings up H’s kids. This directly leads to perhaps the biggest return of the night in Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. I take that back, that honor belongs to Mae Young’s ‘Hand’. Steph does one better then her husband, saying all of Heyman’s lawsuits are just a cover for his business failures in WCW and ECW and calling him a ‘professional parasite’. This is enough to tip Heyman over the edge and say that HHH-Lesnar at Summerslam is on. One more insult about her kids gets him a beating by Steph and H just stands aside and watches. Lesnar comes in to make the save and fulfill his contract. A brawl ensues that sees H knock Lesnar out of the ring and set the table for what should be an interesting matchup at Summerslam.
#slatertime: Given that this is RAW 1000, the Legend that Heath Slater will get squashed by has to be huge, right? Does Lita count? Because that’s who answered Slater’s latest challenge. Just after the bell rang, Lita grabbed a mic and said she hired some protection, which turns out to be the APA! This had to be my favorite return of the night because I was huge fan of the APA back in the day. Slater bails and tries to head to the back but is blocked by Road Warrior Animal and all the legends he’s faced these last few weeks. They tossed him back in the ring to receive a Twist of Fate from Lita, a Clothesline from Hell from JBL and Lita’s signature top rope moonsault for the pin and win. It wouldn’t be a segment involving Farooq/Ron Simmons if he didn’t belt out a Damn!, which he thankfully did.
#reunited: So the pyro hit to randomly bring out Kane, who I’m assuming is in for a match. However, several jobbers come out and say they’re tired of being ignored. They start to circle the ring before that familiar bell tolls to bring out Mr Undefeated. The Brothers of Destruction clear out the riffraff and get to stand tall in yet another nostalgic RAW moment.
#denied: I really hope Cena doesn’t win tonight. First of all for the obvious reasons, but more importantly I think bring the first MITB winner to fail at cashing in could add a new wrinkle to his character. Plus it’s not like it’ll affect his stature or prestige. It’s a nice touch that Punk offered his hand to Cena to start off the match. Cole mentions that this is the 53rd time in RAW’s history that the WWE Title has been defended on the show, which means it’s been defended on 5.3% of shows, for those who were wondering. The match wasn’t quite as good as their 5 star match from MITB last year to say the least. It’s not without controversy, as the ref gets bumped at one point and Cena has Punk down for the 3 count, but no ref means no win. This allows Big Show to run in and deliver both a massive Spear and a WMD. Punk tries to wake the ref as a ‘TNA’ chant can be heard from some guy in the crowd. He struggles with the inner conflict of whether to take advantage, which he does, but Cena ‘shockingly’ kicks out at 3. Maybe he secretly ate some spinach? Golden Boy reverses a GTS attempt into the STF. Show comes back in to break it up and cause the DQ. As if you expected anything else. Cena ‘loses’ but still doesn’t actually lose legitimately, saving his sterling track record and giving him an out for a Summerslam rematch. Punk does nothing to stop the post match beatdown of Cena by Show, but Rocky comes out for the save instead. He start The People’s Elbow, but is instead cut off by Punk who adds in a GTS for good measure. He grabs his title and slowly walks to the back as the show ends. Whether this is an actual heel turn remains to be seen, but I’m sure the IWC will be discussing it ad nauseam. Here’s to the next 1000!