Hello and welcome again to Marking Out. It was quite an interesting week on Raw, one that really took me back to why I love pro wrestling in the first place. It seems like the WWE is trying to pull out all of the stops in the buildup to the 1000th episode of Raw, which was apparent by the return of Vince McMahon who was there to evaluate John Laurinaitis.
These segments ended up really making the show fun as Vince reveled in things throughout the history of Raw, such as William Regal joining the “Kiss My Ass” club, dancing with Brodus Clay's dancers and talking to Daniel Bryan about his up-and-down relationship with the WWE. Yet, there was a look at Raw's dark past with a dig at Jim Ross during a bit with Hornswoggle.
For me, the high points of the night came from the No. 1 contender match for the World Heavyweight Title, which featured Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Jack Swagger and the Great Khali. I hope this leads to Dolph Ziggler finally breaking out on his own into the main event scene.
This was followed up with my favorite moment of the night: when Vader made a return to the ring to defeat Heath Slater. While he's had some recent medical issues, Vader was still able to put on a really good match. This made many of the older fans in attendance stand up and cheer “you still got it” for the former WCW Heavyweight Champion. This is apparently the start of a trend leading up to the 1000th episode where former stars are returning to Raw, and I can't wait to see who else shows up.
Yet, the night took a strange turn when it came to the main ongoing story lines. The main event ended up being Daniel Bryan and Kane taking on CM Punk and AJ in a tag match. It ended up going the typical route of a handicapped tag match where the non-handicapped member of the team gets beaten up until the other member gets tagged in, usually by accident. So when AJ got tagged in by accident and was made to face off against Kane, fans watched in total silence to see what was going to happen.
And I'm sure that not a single person expected AJ to start skipping around Kane, much to the confusion of the Big Red Monster. She then topped this by jumping into Kane's arms and kissed him, causing him to leave the ring and CM Punk to pin a shocked Daniel Bryan.
While the match between the three men for the WWE Title should be a good one at No Way Out, it will be very interesting to see how the AJ scenario plays out. With how her character has been developing over the past couple of weeks, it's difficult to see who she will align herself with, though the obvious choice of going back to Daniel Bryan wouldn't be surprising.
Then came the big moment when Vince McMahon was setting up to fire big Johnny. Of course, Big Show and John Cena interfered, and the eventual fight broke out among all parties which ended up with Big Show knocking Vince out with the WMD.
Yet, what hurt that whole segment were the promos given by Big Show and Cena. If you watch them again and listen to those promos, you'll begin to see very strong similarities between a segment done between Cena and CM Punk before their match at MITB last year.
Big Show railed against Vince for having done everything for the WWE—although he looked like a fool doing so—just as CM Punk talked about grabbing every brass ring but having nothing to show for it. Then Cena spoke to Big Show, and it was almost step-by-step the same as what he said to Punk about having built themselves up so much in their feud that if they fail, it will be the biggest failure in history.
It was so blatantly the same that it took everything away from a good segment between Vince and Johnny. Hopefully, the next match can be decent after the build-up that it's been getting, especially with the newly added stipulation that Johnny would be fired if Big Show lost, though I'm not holding my breath.
Yet, if the WWE is going to continue having veterans return, I'm definitely going to keep watching to see what happens as we get closer to episode 1000.