Before I even say anything the WWE has a new slogan. “Then, Now, Forever.” This is interesting because it is exactly how long I feel like this 1000th episode has been getting promoted for. Let’s see how much substance actually comes with all the hype.
After a montage that lasted longer than a Ryback match, Vince McMahon came out first to address the crowd and formally introduce Michaels and Triple H as DX. Kind of odd having the COO of your company come out as a symbol of rebellion but whatever. Didn’t take long for X-Pac, Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg to come out in a hummer (no Chyna) and reunite join them to form the massive Suck-It-Bot. Okay that last part didn’t happen but it might as well have. This is pretty much going to be a cheap pop-athon. A few other notes: Props to Triple H for mentioning he as the only one that still had hair and for railing on Shawn about losing his smile and doing Playgirl. Also oh man did X-Pac get fat. I know no one is in as good of shape as they used to be (myself included) but for such a skinny guy back in the day it sure does stand out on him. Damien Sandow cut them off to do his whole morals thing and a quick comedy bit later he was superkicked and pedigreed and just like that consider 20 minutes successfully killed.
What special edition of Raw would be complete without Jim Ross. He’ll be calling the first match of the night with Cole and Lawler who are both tuxedos. I guess Ross didn’t get the message. He also has a goatee going. Maybe this is evil JR. 30 minutes in Cole hasn’t said a dumb thing to either of them. This really is a special Raw. Rey Mysterio, Sheamus and Sin Cara join forces for this first match against Jericho, Ziggler and Del Rio. Jericho brought out some old favorite moves early on which was cool. Then after Del Rio laid down some of the worst looking knee drops I’ve ever seen, Sin Cara finally tags out to Sheamus and we get some real action. Everyone gets their moves in (making Sin Cara look specifically out of place) before the sequence ends with Ziggler decking Jericho, who then turns into a brogue kick to take the match. Jericho and Sheamus specifically work well together. Too bad they won’t be able to do it anymore because Jericho’s face turn is just about complete.
You know what sucks? Tout. There is a reason some people get paid to be on TV and others (like me) just watch it. If they continue with this I can at least know when to go fold the laundry. Charlie Sheen actually appeared on the show by the way, via webcam at least, to talk to Cole and Lawler. He obviously has never watched wrestling until today but it’s all good. I still have no idea what his role is, but that doesn’t matter either. Layla tries to talk AJ out of the wedding, leading to a segment about how AJ could be the least crazy person around. Enter Jim Duggan, R-Truth and Roddy Piper playing jump rope with little Jimmy, and Mae Young showing up with her son the hand. All grown up too! Easily the best part of the show so far. Awesome.
Just after Lawler gets his Sonic order the new resident jobber Jack Swagger comes off losing to Ryback last week to losing to Brodus Clay this week. Really feel for the poor guy. Wasn’t that long ago that he was the US Champ. He’s a hard worker and STOP EVERYTHING IT’S DUDE LOVE! He’s out to be in Clay’s corner and in the time it took to tell you that the match ended on a Funk Dat or whatever that splash move is called. Cue the dance session, throw in a mandible claw on Swagger and we’re done. The Dude Love character is just about the best Clay could hope for and even Foley didn’t take it that far. Backstage Daniel Bryan is getting ready for the wedding while talking to mental hospital workers. The plot thickens.
I guess we won’t have to wait much longer because one hour in we get the wedding. Slick (who I’m sure very few of you and the crowd remember) is out to handle the ceremony. Daniel Bryan comes down the aisle to his music, chanting YES in a white tux. Way to sell the legitimacy of the whole thing (of course this is par for the course in WWE weddings) Slick is amped up for the proceedings, and AJ is completely corpsing. Just before Slick was about to announce them as man and wife, AJ says she wasn’t saying yes to Bryan, but to Vince McMahon (stay with me), who proposed that she become the new GM of Raw. AJ skips out on Daniel Bryan and uh, this is just ridiculous. I know I can’t try to make that much sense out of a wrestling storyline, but where does that become a good idea? This could get bad fast. Also, it looks like Bryan is going face after all. Bryan freaks out and tosses everything around only to be visited by CM Punk. They get into an argument about who the greatest of all time is, and cue the Rock from the gorilla position to add his two cents. For a guy that has only had three matches since 2004, he sure does have a lot of different t-shirts. After calling Bryan Frodo, Rock announces that he will get a WWE Championship title shot at the Royal Rumble. Punk of course says that he will still have the belt by then, and you can fill in the blanks from there. Oh yeah, Daniel Bryan got Rock Bottomed too.
Bret Hart out as guest ring announcer for the IC title match between Christian and The Miz. Miz is certainly getting a lot of work in since he came back. In two weeks he’s been in the MITB match and now a title shot. Charlie Sheen will be back for more commentary after the match. I had completely forgotten he was on the show to begin with. Christian sells a knee injury early and misses a pair of chances at a kill switch before Miz hits a skull crushing finale to take the Intercontinental Championship. Solid match and the crowd popped for Miz who, like Ziggler, is getting a fresh push. Now on to Sheen. Apparently all he is doing is watching the show from his house. He’s pretty much just recapping what we’ve already seen with little input. Kind of sounds like what I’ve been doing here.
Triple H out for the 2nd time tonight, now to get back to his present ass kicker mode to get his answer from Brock Lesnar about Summerslam. Paul Heyman again comes out in Lesnar’s place. He again says no and Triple H goes into the same nonsense about Lesnar being afraid of him. Heyman starts to take digs at Triple H’s kids, and Stephanie McMahon gets to make her appearance for the night. She essentially does the same routine Triple H did and slaps Heyman in the process. Apparently that was all it took to get Heyman to agree to let Lesnar fight. Ridiculous. Heyman goes back to talking about the kids and now Stephanie takes down Heyman, which triggers Brock Lesnar to come out and give us a quick preview of Lesnar/Triple H. Triple H actually knocks Lesnar out of the ring, Lesnar drops an F-bomb, they both takes their shirts off and for some reason Lesnar’s music plays to end the segment. So the match that we knew was happening for weeks is finally official in the WWE Universe.
Santino and Hornswaggle bring out some brawlin’ buddies (new version of wrestling buddies). Not sure what he’s out there for because Howard Finkel is there to introduce Heath Slater, who is in a no DQ match against WWE legend Lita. Yeah that’s right. The youngest and most in shape person to take on Slater yet. For protection, Lita called out Farooq and Bradshaw. Slater wants no part of them and tries to get out, but all of the other legends Slater faced came out to bring him back into the ring. Twist of fate, clothesline from hell and a moonsalt later and Slater is done. I’m a bit tapped out on seeing WWE legends beat up on Heath Slater. Let’s move on. Remember Sean Mooney? Well he’s back too to interview Bryan. Nothing really happened in the interview, but I just think it’s cool to know Sean Mooney is still alive.
Mean Gene hanging out with Ryder and Cena backstage when The Rock stepped in to wish Cena luck and talk more Royal Rumble. Can we even get through Summerslam first? I guess there is no way the winner of tonight’s match doesn’t hold on to it until the Royal Rumble. Kane was set to go against Jinder Mahal, but he brough out a bunch of other people you don’t care about to help him take care of business. I’ll be damned though if the Undertaker didn’t come out in a Legion of Doom style coat to help his brother clean house. Undertaker is still rocking the mohawk he had at WrestleMania, although it took a while to know for sure since Taker botched taking his hood off. The Brothers quickly make jobber soup, hitting a couple of chokeslams and tombstones before posing and doing all the fire and brimstone stuff. Undertaker barely comes out, but if there was ever a good day to come out this was it. Funny enough, this was followed by a bully campaign message.
Another brief and pointless Sheen appearance and it’s finally main event time. This is only the third real match that we’ll have in this three hour Raw. I’m not counting Clay/Swagger, Lita/Slater or the Kane/Undertaker vs jobbers “matches.” Punk and Cena start with a handshake. So much has changed since MITB last year. Slow pace to start but it lets the crowd rev up. I think they have been so starved for a real good match that they are at an absolute high right now. I see time running out on the show and I realize Big Show hasn’t been seen. You see where I’m going with this? Things pick up a bit but still very deliberate. Rare for a Punk match. They trade momentum swings and block each other’s signature moves, and Cena escapes a GTS and lands and AA but the referee is down. Guess who’s right? Big Show comes out to knock out Cena and leave. Punk reluctantly revives and ref and goes for the pin, but he took so long that Cena kicked out. Cena then reverses a GTS into an STF (I hate abbreviations) but before Punk can tap out Big Show comes back again to take out Cena. Punk does nothing for some reason but The Rock comes to Cena’s rescue. Rock goes for a People’s Elbow but Punk attacks Rock, then hit’s a GTS and holy pipe bomb we have a full on Punk heel turn. I wasn’t too thrilled with the early goings but what a way to end the 1000th episode of Raw.
This all but guarantees Punk versus Rock at Royal Rumble, and it looks like we’re going to get the heel Punk that held was telling us not to buy Jeff Hardy DVD’s instead of the face Punk that was like a wrestling Deadpool. I imagine it will be about Rock behind handed a title shot or something. There was also a lot of reluctance and confusion on Punk’s face the entire time, but I expect that to fade by next Monday. This can only be good.