Marking Out: Raw 1000, Nearly 20 Years in the Making and Well Worth the Wait
Hello again and welcome to Marking Out. Well it has finally happened, the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. And while many things that are hyped up to the nth degree, most don't live up to the hype. Yet for everything that the WWE has been faltering with recently, they did this so very right.
From the reunion of DX to the naming of AJ as the General Manager of Raw, to quote Michael Cole, it was "vintage Raw." It shows that the WWE really put their all into making this a one of a kind event, and that they can put out a great product on TV. With numerous video montages showing classic clips and famous catchphrases and guest clips from the likes of Regis Philbin talking about their involvement with the WWE, it gave an incredible look at the history of a show that has been a part of pop culture for so long.
You had the wedding between Daniel Bryan and AJ, which of course never happened, like most pro wrestling weddings. This was quickly followed by the news that the Rock will be fighting for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble, hoping that it will be against CM Punk. This already sounds like a fantastic match on paper as you have two fantastic speakers with the ability to have incredible matches facing off for the biggest title in wrestling. In a perfect world, it could signal a passing of the torch if Punk were to beat the Rock clean in the ring at one of the crown jewel PPVs of the WWE.
The surprise returns of former superstars was more prevalent than any time in the past couple of months with notable returns including Lita, the APA, Slick, and Howard Finkel. The match between Lita and Heath Slater was a perfect end to Slater facing off against past superstars as he would be laid out by a Twist of Fate from Lita and would be on the receiving end of easily the best looking Clothesline from Hell from JBL. It was a very poignant moment because within the ring were stars from multiple generations, almost all of them champions, some even hall of famers, a picture of how the WWE and grown and changed over the years. Just seeing the legends there and the emotion that they were feeling, especially Road Warrior Animal, who looked to be on the verge of tears, made it more special for fans.
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Add to this the great promo between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Paul Heyman that revealed the match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. The speeches given by all three had great psychology and emotion, something rarely seen in today's WWE.
The episode had something for even the most diehard Raw fans, including reference's to GTV, interviewers from the first episode of Raw, and Jim Ross returning to commentate on a match. Easily the biggest surprise of the night was the return of the Undertaker as he helped Kane fend off six superstars looking to make a name for themselves.
Yet the night wasn't without its faults. The main event between John Cena and CM Punk could have ended a lot better. Yet instead of CM Punk beating John Cena clean and becoming the first champion to successfully defend against a Money In The Bank winner, the Big Show interfered giving Cena a win by DQ. And as the Rock would come to save the day, CM Punk would attack him, apparently turning heel. While I like Punk as a heel, I felt he was really getting over as a face champion, but only time will tell where the WWE is going with this.
That wasn't too much of a bad thing, but it would have been nice to see a clean finish in the main event of the 1000th episode of Raw, no matter who was in the match. Also, it was unfortunate that Stone Cold Steve Austin couldn't make it to the show, as he is apparently nursing his knee which he just had surgery on, though the WWE did show him in a lot of the clip packages and with stars talking about the Austin/McMahon feud of the Attitude Era.
Overall the 1000th episode was very good and could be considered a thank you to the fans for sticking with the company through thick and thin. The only downside to this is that I feel that the WWE won't keep up this same performance level and instead go back to what they were doing before the buildup to this episode.
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