Somewhat less publicised than the 1000th episode was the fact that this edition was the 20th anniversary of Raw. Last week's Raw was among the very best of the past year or more, so you would imagine they would have something even better lined up for the 20th anniversary.
One thing I immediately find brilliant and refreshing is Alberto Del Rio getting big face heat as World Heavyweight Champion. I've always loved him and it's great to see that others do as well now.
Following the fun of the opening, a bad omen was then sent as we were given Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton—a match we've seen dozens of times before, and I don't recall it ever being good.
But this week was something special, because while the action saw the two going through their usual motions, something world-changing happened: Randy Orton lost.
Continuing to stretch the WWE's unblemished record of great TV into 2013, we saw the hotly anticipated return of Dr. Shelby in another addition to the canon of brilliantly fun Team Hell No promos. Kane followed it up by defeating Damien Sandow in near-squash time (later beaten by Daniel Bryan defeating Cody Rhodes in actual squash time).
The well-loved Mick Foley—who's never absent for long enough to be missed—was announced as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013, which surprised me because I thought he was in there already. The Shield came out to attack him, and then Ryback, Orton and Sheamus came out to respond, which I'm pretty sure has happened on every show for the past month.
Kaitlyn defeated Eve Torres in a match that surprisingly managed to be fairly gripping in places, despite the fact we've seen it quite a few times lately. I significantly prefer Eve, though the way the ending played out is something I don't recall seeing before, which always garners my approval.
I was surprised later to find out Eve's leaving the WWE.
Here's the problem with CM Punk vs. The Rock as an anticipated classic: CM Punk is a cowardly and weak cheater. He has WWE heel disease, to the point he even took quite a while over the jobber Brodus Clay. He hasn't won a WWE Championship match cleanly since last July's Money in the Bank.
The Rock (or as I'm sure Vince calls him, The Draw), by contrast, came back at WrestleMania and gave John Cena his first clean singles loss for almost exactly 5 years. What will feel weird will be that the match will go for at least 15 minutes before The Rock wins, rather than for two or three (assuming they don't give Punk the Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus treatment, which I wouldn't put past them).
Miz TV featured Ric Flair doing his same dancing and yelling shtick that becomes more and more embarrassing the older he gets. Antonio Cesaro interfered using the tried-and-tested heel tactic of telling the truth.
If you read my criticisms of last week's John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler match, they all apply here. It's tempting to start a weekly "What Has Cena Kicked Out of This Week?" section, which in this match included a Zig Zag, a top rope DDT and a cage door to the head.
The complete lack of threat anyone poses to Cena renders moot the quality of the action, much as I love to try and give credit where it's due.
The Rock Concert is a concept that no doubt brings many people joy. I am not one of those people. Perhaps it's a British restraint and a childhood involving the celebrity of someone named Craig David that sees a man referring to himself in the third person as someone to be ridiculed. Furthermore, his mix of double (and, for that matter, single) entendres and jokes any eight year old would be proud of don't do it for me.
If you disagree (which, statistically, you probably do), you'll like what I have to say about his wrestling a good deal less. But let's save that for another time.
Raw was pretty great throughout, excepting Ric "TNA" Flair's completely unwanted appearance and the last 15 minutes—and I've no illusions about the fact I'll probably be in a small minority regarding both of those. '
Taken on its own, John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler was a fantastic match. As another brick in the SuperCena wall, however, it's becoming unforgivable.