July 23, 2012
Raw: Episode 1000 delivers returns, announcements and a few surprises
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
This isn't a time for anything snarky, as the 1000th episode of Raw is something to celebrate. St. Louis is the site for this landmark show, which promises to bring together every era of the WWE's flagship program. Let's get to it, live for three hours on USA.
The 1000th episode of Raw begins with a video package that takes us back through many of the most memorable moments from the show's history. A smiling Vince McMahon makes his power walk to kick things off in earnest. Even Jerry “The King” Lawler is dressed up in formal wear for the occasion. The Chairman thanks and welcomes everyone before introducing D-Generation X. Shawn Michaels says he's out of breath as he and Triple H play to the crowd. The two DX founders think there's something missing – thankfully, it's not underwear. Didn't there used to be more of us? On cue, the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac join the celebration, riding in on the jeep they once used to “invade” WCW and helping with a five-man crotch chop. Road Dogg does a self-censored edition of the Outlaws' famous ring intro. Also, let's get ready to suck it. Billy and Shawn squabble over who gets to do the last part of the shtick, and they are about to collaborate when they are interrupted by Damien Sandow. The intellectual savior objects to the DX brand of crass entertainment but says if they beat him up, he'll only become a martyr. After a brief huddle, Sandow gets Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree, and Mr. Ass finally gets to finish the intro.
A goatee-sporting Jim Ross comes out to join the commentators, which is only right. Looks like a six-man tag match is on deck.
Match 1 – Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio
It appears Michael Cole will be playing it straight tonight, even giving some props to J.R. But can it last? All six men get to work, but only briefly, as the ongoing enmity between Ziggler and Jericho gets the better of them. Weakened by a shot from the Show Off, Ziggler is nailed and pinned after a Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
Time to push Tout, I guess. Look ma, I'm on Raw! Well, not me personally, I don't want them to show my Touts. That sounds dirty. The announce team checks in with Charlie Sheen too. Backstage, AJ complains that she isn't that unstable compared to everyone else around there. As evidence, we see Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rowdy Roddy Piper and R-Truth playing jump rope with Little Jimmy, and... Mae Young's son, all grown up. He's a man walking around in a giant hand costume. Folks, I don't make this stuff up, I simply type what I see.
Product placement time! Cole and Lawler have drinks delivered by a Sonic bellhop. #sponsorplug
Match 2 – Jack Swagger vs. Brodus Clay
Before the action begins, Clay calls down his “brother from another mother,” Dude Love. Brodus squashes Swagger in a matter of seconds, giving Clay and Love the chance to get down. Swagger suffers the additional indignity of having a tie-died Mr. Socko shoved down his throat.
Trish Stratus tries to sell Triple H on the benefits of yoga. The rest of DX comes in with jokes at his expense. X-Pac attempts to put some awkward moves on Trish.
It's wedding time, and the minister for the AJ-Daniel Bryan nuptials is Slick. AJ and Bryan come down the aisle, and the fans give Slick the “What?” treatment for a bit. When he gets to the “speak now” part, he's taken aback by the negative crowd reaction. Bryan tries to reassure AJ that he loves her. It works, as she can't wait to say yes. Slick is just about to declare them husband and wife when AJ stops the ceremony, saying she really meant yes to someone else. It's another man who made a proposal to her earlier tonight. Vince comes out, reporting that it's a business proposal. Incredibly, McMahon makes AJ the new General Manager of Raw. Bryan is left fuming at the altar, which he ends up destroying in short order.
After a commercial break, CM Punk comes out saying he doesn't want to rub salt in the wound but proceeding to do exactly that. An angry Bryan goes the hyperbole route by declaring himself the greatest WWE superstar of all time. That brings out someone with a more legitimate claim to that title: The Rock. The Great One tells Bryan that only the people can pick the greatest of all time. Bryan tries to cut off The Rock and ends up getting a short history lesson instead. The People's Champ isn't here to talk to Frodo, though, he's here to talk the WWE Championship. At the Royal Rumble, anyone who holds the belt will defend the title against The Rock. Punk says he plans on holding the belt into next year after defeating John Cena tonight. Bryan gets fed up with all this talk, as this was supposed to be his night. Somehow, some way, he'll be the WWE Champion and the face of the company. An unimpressed Rock gives him a Rock Bottom as a wedding present.
Special guest ring announcer Bret Hart is on hand to introduce the participants in the Intercontinental Championship match. He's noticeably more enthused about the champion than the challenger.
Match 3 – Christian (champion) vs. The Miz (challenger) – Intercontinental Championship Match
Christian takes an early leap off the top turnbuckle to the floor, allowing for another commercial break. Naturally, Christian is in some trouble after the ads. He rallies for a near fall and goes for a spear as an homage to Edge. Miz nails him and scores his own two count. A series of counters ends with a Skull Crushing Finale, and The Miz wins the IC belt for the first time.
Cole and Lawler check in with Sheen again using Skype. Charlie plugs his new show while talking about Bryan. Regis Philbin also gives his best wishes via a pre-recorded video.
Santino Marella and Hornswoggle come down to the ring, handing out toys on the way. Howard Finkel also makes an appearance to serve as ring announcer for the next match. It's going to involve Heath Slater, who challenges any Raw legend to a no-DQ, no count out bout. Apparently it's going to be an intergender match. Lita answers the call... but she hired herself a little protection. The other legends that Slater has faced in recent weeks prevent him from running.
Match 4 – Heath Slater vs. Lita (w/ the APA)
Sean Mooney (!) interviews Bryan. He cuts a promo on Sheen. Eh, why not?
No old hanging plot goes unexplored as Zack Ryder tells Cena that he thinks Mean Gene Okerlund was responsible for GTV. Crickets. The Rock wishes Cena good luck, even after John says he'll be the one to face him at the Royal Rumble.
Kane comes out for a match, but his plans seem to have been shelved by Jinder Mahal leading a group of six Smackdown superstars to the ring for an ambush. The bell tolls, the lights dim – The Undertaker is here! Curt Hawkins and Hunico end up on the wrong end of synchronized choke slams. Stereo Tombstones follow. The brothers pose together, maybe for the final time? #hopenot
One more time to Sheen, who possibly, maybe challenges Bryan to a match. Could be at SummerSlam. Or not.
Main Event – John Cena (challenger) vs. CM Punk (champion) – WWE Championship Match
Well, even with time running short, it looks like we're really going to do this. Cena cashes in his Money in the Bank title shot, and away we go. Punk gains an early advantage thanks to a slower pace and a healthy dose of at wrestling. He mocks Cena with his own “You can't see me” gesture after his corner knee, then avoids the real thing by escaping a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Punk calls for the Go To Sleep, but Cena shoves his way out, throwing the champ into the ref. An Attitude Adjustment connects, but the ref is out on the floor. Big Show is in, spearing Cena. He readies and delivers the knockout right hand. Punk appears conflicted about accepting the gift-wrapped victory, but he does go out to wake up the ref. The champ makes the cover, but Cena has had enough time to recover, and he kicks out at two. Punk tries for the GTS only to have Cena reverse it into the STF. Show returns and clobbers Cena, forcing the ref to call for the bell. Punk turns his back on the carnage, but The Rock heads to the rescue. Dwayne nails Show with a Spinebuster and is about to drop the Peoples' Elbow, but Punk decides to nail him in mid-move. Punk delivers the GTS to The Rock amidst a chorus of boos. He leaves quietly with his belt as this historic show comes to a close. See you in seven!