-If Waylon Mercy shows up, the remainder of my review will be 100% positive, no matter what happens. All cynicism aside, I’m looking forward not so much to bashing anything with malice, but enjoying a night set aside for nostalgia and celebration. Unless something horrifically stupid happens, I won’t get too worked up. If you wanna see somebody take the fun out of a show, James Caldwell at the Torch has been the gold standard for a loooooong time.
-WWE RAW 1000 is live from St. Louis
Opening Segment: Vince McMahon introduces D-Generation X
SWERVE! DX no-showed! Vince thanks the fans, mostly for putting up with the trending updates and Did You Knows. Well, okay, he didn’t say that, but I would’ve felt better. He introduces DX, the “Sanitation X” years. Shawn and Hunter think something’s missing from this segment, and Hunter asks, “Didn’t there used to be more of us?” Finally, after six years of rewriting history, X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws show up in the DX army jeep. All three of them look good, all things considered. WWE needs teams, why not give the Outlaws one last short run? At least they’ll get the nostalgia pops. Road Dogg runs through the intro (self-censoring “ass”), and Trips does the Buffer-mock intro. Then Gunn and Shawn argue over who gets to do the ending. A ‘lost smile’ joke ensues, and Hunter makes them do it together, but before they can, Damien Sandow makes his way out. They’re degenerates, yada yada, and Shawn promises to go to church for forgiveness. Sandow says if they beat him up, that just makes him a martyr. DX discusses this, and Shawn superkicks him. Then Hunter Pedigrees him. Martyrdom it is, I suppose. Gunn lands the punchline afterall.
Segment Rating: 7/10. Nice to see the group reunited, and Sandow get somewhat of a (likely) highly-rated rub with them. Plus Shawn’s self-deprecation is always funny.
Match 1: Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara/Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho/Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio
It’s like Nitro; they’re getting the luchadors out of the way in the opener (and that includes Corazon de Leon). The match is joined in progress after the break with Cara in peril at the hands of Dolph, who drops the slowed-down elbow. JR calls Ziggler “the hottest man in WWE”, but not in that way. Jericho tags in is working a chinlock when Cara tries to mount the comeback to no avail. ADR tags in and working a chinlock snare. Cara comes back with a nice tornado DDT. Tags are made to Sheamus and Jericho, and the champ overpowers him, culminating with the Irish Curse for 2, broken up by Dolph. Everyone else takes each other out, and Sheamus escapes a Walls. He blocks the Codebreaker and misses the Brogue Kick. Dolph takes Jericho out, and Sheamus lands the kick for the win.
WINNERS: Sheamus/Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara via Brogue Kick
Rating: 5/10. Woulda been better if we’d seen the whole match, but it was fun.
-And JR’s gone. That was longer than his 1994 run in WWE.
-Things better than Tout: eating rancid spaghetti sauce with a spoon while watching snuff films.
-Charlie Sheen checks in for some reason. It’s great that he barely remembers the names of the bigger stars in the company. Meanwhile, Tyson Kidd gets airtime once in a while.
-Bryan/AJ recap. If they don’t cover Savage and Liz’s “Together” song, this will all be for naught. Layla questions AJ going through with it, and this leads to cameos from Jim Duggan, R-Truth, Roddy Piper, and Mae Young with her son, THE HAND! MUCH better payoff than the Hornswoggle/GM angle! And that’s sad.
-Cheap Sonic plug takes place. I suddenly feel dirty. I need Rob Bartlett’s horrid jokes to cleanse my soul.
Match 2: Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger
My soul is cleansed because Naomi and Campbell are in not-so-PG booty shorts tonight. WHOOOO! And then he brings out Dude Love, who isn’t the same if he isn’t Vince’s corporate champion. Swagger loses in about ten seconds. Then everyone dances, and Swagger gets socked.
WINNER: Brodus Clay via Funk It
Rating: 4/10. For the booty shorts.
-Triple H and Trish re-enact their infamous stretch session from 2000, and DX walks in on him. Trish seems uncomfortable about being near X-Pac, which may be legitimate.
SLICK IS THE MINISTER! JIVE SOUL BRO! Why isn’t he still managing!?!? Bryan looks splendid in his pure white tux. AJ, of course, is lovely in her dress. Slick even calls her AJ Lee, so it’s good to have him fight the notion that women only have one name. Slick gets all Jive Soul Broish with his speech, and the crowd has the audacity to what him. I hope Sam Bradford contracts gangrene from a faulty whirlpool, you Midwestern jackanapes. They both yes it up, and Slick goes to marry them, but AJ halts him….because she wasn’t saying yes to Daniel, but to someone else. Someone who proposed to her earlier tonight. And it’s……Vince? Vince clarifies that it’s a business proposal……and AJ is the new GM.
Segment Rating: ???/10. I’d like to thank David Lynch for directing the segment, and Vince Russo for writing it.
-Back from break and Bryan is still spazzing, so CM Punk is out to twist the knife. Bryan flips out and claims to be the greatest of all time, and this brings out The Rock. I hope he doesn’t tell Bryan to lick a monkey’s nipple, since he’s a vegan and all. He puts Bryan in his place, and polls the crowd on who the greatest is. Er, my vote’s for Austin, but sure, we can go with Rock. Bryan cuts off Rock’s diatribe, and Rock takes offense. Rock announces that the WWE Champion will face him at the Royal Rumble, which eerily gets zero pop. Punk says it’ll be him, because he’s beating John Cena tonight, which gets a mixed reaction. Then he’s going to beat Rock at the Rumble. Works for me. Why can’t Punk point out how Rock works a limited schedule and doesn’t expend a fraction of Punk’s effort? Bryan interjects angrily, and Rock continues with the standard insults, modifying the Oompa Loompa song for him. I think I heard explosions from the DVDVR boards. Rock Bottom for Bryan closes the segment with a stoic Punk surveying the proceedings.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Rock working with Punk and Bryan is surreal.
-Bret Hart is brought out to be ring announcer for the next contest. Damn it, can’t they have Fink introduce him? Bret shouts out for Mr. Perfect.
Match 3: Christian vs. The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Christian wins an early wrestling sequence, and comes off with a second rope dropkick. Miz counters a corner charge, but Christian dumps him to the floor, and then dives on him from off the top rope as we go to break. Christian hurts the leg, but is in control, coming off with a cross body for 2. Christian comes back off the top with a diving back elbow for 2. And Christian gets a sunset for 2,but Miz fires back with a low kick to the face for 2. Miz goes back to the knee, making Bret proud I’m sure. Christian lands a tornado DDT for 2, and the crowd is fading. These three hour Raws were a bit risky. Spear is countered into the stump DDT for 2. Picked the crowd up a bit. Miz gets crotched in the corner, but Miz blocks the ensuing Killswitch, and an exchange of finisher attempts sees Christian tweak the knee, and Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to win the gold.
WINNER: The Miz via Skull Crushing Finale (New WWE Intercontinental Champion)
Rating: 6/10. Solid match, but the dead crowd was a bummer. A Summerslam rematch would be nice.
-Charlie Sheen: “Oh, The Rock, I know him! Daniel Bryan, who the hell’s this guy again?”
-Regis Philbin testimonial, running through the wrestling guests he’s had on his show.
Talk Segment: Triple H calls out Brock Lesnar
So yeah, Hunter calls out Brock, but gets Heyman first. They establish 43 times that Brock is here tonight. Whew, the first 42 explanations didn’t take. But on Brock’s behalf, Heyman declines the match. Hunter threatens to go find Brock, and Heyman suggests he not do that. Heyman taunts HHH, and Hunter gets mad when he brings his kids up. Heyman keeps at it, and this brings Stephanie out. Stephanie rips ECW, which gets some boos, and calls Heyman a failure compared to her father, and she even botches a line about looking in the rear view mirror. Then Steph slaps Heyman, because she can. Heyman is goaded into accepting on Brock’s behalf. Then Steph further assaults Heyman, and Brock finally comes out. Brock and Hunter get into it, and Hunter dominates. I can’t wait for Summerslam now! They play Lesnar’s song as a consolation prize.
Segment Rating: 3/10. I feel ill.
-Things better than Tout: listening to your pet whimper for its life while somebody decapitates it
-Austin/Vince history package. There’s an irony of Vince telling Austin to ‘work within the system’, and Austin became the biggest star ever despite that.
-Santino and Hornswoggle toss out Brawlin’ Buddies, just to remind us that we’re in Hell. But Howard Finkel is ring announcing to dampen the blow.
Match 4: Lita vs. Heath Slater (No DQ)
My money’s the mannish looking redhead that can’t cut a promo. Lita brings out the APA to back her up. JBL’s sporting a wicked beer gut. Slater bails, but Animal, Piper, Slaughter, Vader, Sid, Backlund, Doink, DDP, and Rikishi prevent it. Lita hits the Twist of Fate, JBL lands the Clothesline from Wall Street, and Lita saults her way to victory. Simmons damns Slater just because.
WINNER: Lita via Litasault
Rating: 3/10. Just for seeing the old faces.
-Sean Mooney(!!!!!!) interviews Daniel Bryan, who is rather irate. I don’t know who I was happier to see in that segment.
-Michael Cole wastes time with a social media follower, and Fozzie Bear leads us through a catchphrase montage.
-Zack Ryder claims Mean Gene was behind GTV while chatting with Okerlund and Cena. Rock shows up to stare Cena down. Punk winning would be extra glorious now.
Match 5: Kane vs. ???
Jinder Mahal brings out a jobber brigade of he, Reks, Hawkins, Hunico, Camacho, and McIntyre, and as they surround Kane….*GONG* Undertaker arrives to add a fun moment to the show. “Hey Kane, why’d you kill Paul in that freezer?” “Why’d you encase him in concrete?” “…..well played, Crispy.” Anywho, jobbers die, and the Brothers of Destruction stand tall. Cole: “The Dark Days are back!” Except Taker’s leaving in 5 min, and won’t be back until, oh, February-ish.
WINNER: No match Rating: 10/10. It’s Taker on Raw. Do I need to explain further?
-F–k the anti-bullying campaign.
Main Event: CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Championship)
Punk and Cena adhere to the Code of Honor, albeit slightly, before the match. Feel out with dueling chants, and Cena takes him down with a shoulder block, and then he works a headlock. Punk comes back by dodging a clothesline and getting a backslide for 2. Punk works the arm and segues into an abdominal stretch, clubbing the ribs just to be a dick. Cena hiptosses his way out, but Punk avoids the STF. They slow it down and Cena gets the advantage with a headlock takeover, which Punk escapes with a back suplex. Punk crosses the legs and gets a reverse bow-and-arrow, turned into a side chinlock. Cena powers out and a slugfest ensues, with Punk getting more cheers. Cena comes back with the shoulderblocks and tries the spinout, but Punk escapes and gets a leg lariat. Corner knee hits, but the bulldog is countered into the spinout. Cena says you can’t se—oops, kick to the face, and a buzzsaw kick follows. Punk says it’s bedtime, but Cena drops out of the GTS and the ref gets taken out. AA hits, and of course, no count. Cena goes to fetch the ref, and Big Show hits the ring. Cena gets speared, and Show calls for the WMD. Punk observes, a bit conflicted, and Show knocks Cena out. Punk doesn’t know what to do, fighting the urge to take the win. He does wake the ref up, but has reservations. Punk does cover, but only gets 2. Punk goes for the GTS, but Cena counters into the STF, but Show breaks it up for the DQ. PUNK RETAINS! Show continues the assault, with Punk offering no assistance. Then Rock hits the ring, decimates Show, and goes for the People’s Elbow, but Punk NAILS him with a flying clothesline. Rock eats the GTS and Punk stands tall with a nice mixed reaction. Punk takes his championship, sour look on his face, and slowly walks away
WINNER: John Cena via DQ (Punk retains WWE Championship)
Rating: 10/10. For a good match and a killer angle to close the show. If Punk goes back to his more caustic persona, I’m fine with him being the #1 heel in the company.
OVERALL: Man, that was a lot of garbage to get through just for a hot closing angle. So many times I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle them for self-congratulation or emasculating Lesnar/Heyman or whatever, but the ending, as well as some nice nostalgic moments, make up for the bad quite a bit.
More bad than good, but what was good was gold.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.