Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/23/12 1000th Episode!

In 1993, Raw was an hour-long, and in 1997, it switched to be 2 hours long. Now in 2012, after 1000 episodes, it’s going to be three hours long. Presuming this is a pattern, in 2016, if the world still exists and isn’t blown up or overrun by gas stealing mutants, Raw will be 4 hours long. By 2031, when Cyber-McMahon makes Raw 5 hours long, and we instantly stream it to our Mind-Cloud, it’ll still be 4 and a half hours of weird/ promos and skits, and still only half an hour of wrestling. The promos and skits will be about the Literal Robo-Cena Army invading as the GWE (Galactic Wrestling Entertainment) has Sub-Monday Night Wars with UCW (Universal Championship Wrestling, a new promotion run by Neo-Ted Turner.2), but they’ll still be awful, and The Undertaker will be preserved as a head in jar who guest stars at Uber-Wrestlemania every Post-Solar Cycle.

What I’m saying is, accept this. We’ll be getting new versions Raw for the rest of our lives. WWE is going to change, and you’re not going to like it as you get older. That’s kinda the nature of aging I suppose, but that’s not to say we still can’t enjoy things for what they are. I mean, c’mon, that Undertaker head jar thing sounds pretty cool right? What kind of gimmick match would he compete in? Hell In A Futuristic Polytransdermal Sub-Aquatic Life Preserving Nutrient Rich Bio-Sludge Filled Cell? Bah, enough pondering about my make-believe future WWE, let’s get to tonight’s Raw, which as we’ve been told countless times over the last couple months, is the 1000th, and a milestone that blows all other shows out of the water.

The show opens with Vince McMahon introducing, as promised for months now, the return of Degeneration X, arguably the most popular wrestling stable of all time (Although the NWO would be it’s main contender).

Shawn Michaels and Triple H walk out in their DX fatigues and shirts, glow sticks in tow, and parade around in the ring, and yuck it up for a few minutes about not wearing underwear, but get around to admitting that they alone aren’t just DX. They then invite the rest of the DX stable, and point towards the stage ramp. X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn then come out in an army jeep, and join Shawn and Triple H in the ring. They all start a few rounds of crotch chopping, and go through their series of old famous catch phrases, which Road Dogg was the master of back then. I’ve been watching old episodes of Raw from 13 years ago, and while I used to love Road Dogg’s longwinded speech-phrases, hearing them again, and realizing how repetitive and loooooong they are, I now find it excessive and grating. But here, he thankfully keeps it short and gives up the mic to Triple H, who winds up a very long and kinda rambley version of his “LET’S GET READY TO SUCK IT” thing. After a weird little comedy bit between Billy Gunn, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, they awkwardly fumble through trying to say some catchphrase together.

Suddenly, Damien Sandow’s music plays, and he walks in, denouncing DX as “common degenerates” who compose themselves crudely. He also recognizes that they could all kick his ass, and after pointing out this fact, he says their would be attack of them would make him a martyr. DX decide what to do together in a group huddle, which Sandow calls them rude for doing. They then of course, attack him, and prove Sandow right. I like(d) DX, back when they came off as a ragtag group of rebels who were fighting against authority figures, but this really just kinda makes them come off as a bunch of “cool guy” jocks who are bullying people to get cheers from the on looking crowd.

After that, we come back from a break to Jim Ross making his entrance, to join the announcer’s table for the night.

This was a pretty typical 6-Man Heel Vs Face tag team match. Probably the most interesting thing about it is that it was Jericho’s 360th match on Raw, which is a pretty damn high number any way you think about it. While seeing Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara on the same team makes sense to me, other than the fact that they’re all faces, I don’t understand their team up with Sheamus. Then again, Jericho, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler have no reason to be on the same team either, so at least it’s fair while being totally arbitrary. The match went through the paces, building up to a hot tag to Sheamus, where Sheamus and Jericho went at it for a while, until Dolph Ziggler, who as it was established last week, has beef with Jericho, ended up laying a cheap shot on Jericho, letting Sheamus get the brogue kick in, and winning for his team.

While this match was a bit underwhelming, I’m enjoying the slow burn on the Jericho/Ziggler feud, because Heel/Heel feuds can be the great when done right, and when you have two guys who are both as talented on the mic and ring as ZIggler and Jericho, you’ve got as close to a sure thing on your hands as possible. Knowing WWE though, they’ll find some horrific way to screw it up, but I’d like to remain optimistic, simply because they’re both so entertaining to watch. The only wrench in that machine is the fact that Sheamus has the WHC title right now, and as long as Ziggler doesn’t have the title, then the stakes between Jericho and Ziggler won’t be as high as they could be. This whole angle could go one of two ways:

1.) They continue feuding, and they include Sheamus in it. They all argue with each other for a few weeks until a PPV comes up and then they fight in a Triple Threat match for the title, that Sheamus will win because blleeeeeeeaaagghhhhh.

2.) With the rumors of Jericho leaving WWE and retiring for good, and with Ziggler taunting Jericho last week about “having lost it”, and being on a losing streak in general, they turn it into a last dying hurrah sort of thing. Jericho goes full-bore into committing himself to destroy Ziggler, and launches himself into a suicidal match against Ziggler, where the loser leaves WWE forever. Ziggler then pulls a Bane on Jericho’s Batman, and breaks him once and for all (these are Knightfall spoilers, not DKR spoilers so shut up), and Jericho retires from being Batman Y2J forever. Ziggler comes out on top as the new force within Gotham WWE Universe, and makes a long speech about how he is the WWE’s reckoning. Then, as Jericho writhes in pain from the worlds most brutal Zig-Zag, Ziggler gives Jericho his permission to die. (okay, so maybe some of those references were DKR related, but c’mon that movie was awesome!)

But goddamnit we all know it’s gonna be #1. It’d be nice to see this again though.

I’ll never get tired of this .GIF

What is this? Why are you on my wrestling show?

After some Tout nonsense, which I refuse to write about, other than mentioning it here, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler make a Skype call to effing Charlie Sheen, who very quickly manages to say something subtly racist about Sheamus, and at the same time be really boring. Why he was even there, I don’t understand, but Cole and Lawler make it a point that it won’t be the last time we see him on the show tonight.

Holy crap. The next segment of the show, is literally one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on wrestling, EVER, and that’s including Mae Young giving birth to a hand. In fact, it’s in direct relation to that, because I couldn’t even write about this segment for a solid 10 minutes after. My mouth was agape the entire time, and I was so surprised I laughed for almost that entire 10 minutes, until my sides hurt and was gasping for air. But here goes: After the weird Charlie Sheen moment, we cut to AJ’s dressing room, where she stands with Layla, both preparing their makeup. Layla asks AJ if she’s sure she wants to go through with this, and implies that she’s still mentally unstable. AJ then makes the most brilliant point ever, and says that EVERYTHING in the WWE is unstable. Batshit crazy things happen here ALL THE TIME. Well, she didn’t say those words exactly, but she did open the door to see Hacksaw Jim Duggan, walking backwards and saying his catchphrase to an unseen friend, all the while holding his 2×4. Then we see Roddy Piper and R-Truth trying to help Little Jimmy jump rope, because apparently people can see him now, including Layla. I’m not sure If I already wrote a piece on how Little Jimmy started out as a brilliant defensive colloquialism to separate and insult those who R-Truth believed were antagonizing him from behind the scenes, while simultaneously illustrate how the WWE Fandom is a collective entity that casts judgement unfairly on deserving talent, by giving them an all a Good’ Ol’ Boy nick name. That may have been looking a bit too into it, but I prefer to see my wrestling gimmicks as high brow as I can, when I can. Now, Little Jimmy is just an invisible child? Maybe? I’m still not sure if he’s a kid or a midget actually. It’s very unclear. Either way, he then “runs away”, and Truth and Piper chase after him.

Hoo boy. Here it comes. Then AJ and Layla see something off camera, that silences them. The camera pans over, and we see a man in a giant hand suit, standing there next to Mae Young. He claims to be Mae Young’s son, now all grown up.

I shit you not. A man, in a giant hand suit, was there. That has got to be the most AMAZINGLY WEIRD and awesome call back of all time, because I was SURE the WWE wanted to forget Mae Young giving birth to that hand as badly as possible. After seeing this bit, as I previously said, I probably tore a muscle from laughing so hard. Say what you will about the WWE, they manage to STILL surprise you no matter what. Jesus god.

This match was so quick, that I’m positive that Funkasaurus’ entrance was once again longer than the actual match. Before the match actually starts, Funkasaurus invites up Dude Love to the ring. Dude Love stands there, and the match begins. Jack Swagger is on a now recognized “losing streak”, and barely even gets a single move in before he gets squashed by Funkasaurus. Then Funkasaurus dances with Dude Love, who puts on a tie-dye Mr. Socko to put the mandible claw on Swagger, because the WWE Universe couldn’t give a shit about Jack Swagger, and punishing him relentlessly for trying to wrestle is now “in”.

After that “match”, we see Trish Stratus backstage with Triple H, who is coaching him on how to do advanced Yoga poses like “bend over slightly”. Then the rest of DX walk in and quickly start making gay jokes because bending over is always gay and yoga is for gay dummies AMIRITE GUYS? Well, then the rest of DX walks away, leaving X-Pac in the room with Trish, who then proceeds to put on the creepiest of creep moves on her, and we cut away pondering what dark fate she’ll succumb to left alone with X-Pac. Hopefully she just slaps away his groping hands and leaves, because we all know X-Pac sucks. We see Daniel Bryan standing in a garage, talking with a bunch of dudes who look like asylum orderlies, you know, the men in the white shirts? It was at this moment that I then began to become worried. What if this whole time Daniel Bryan really DIDN’T love AJ? What if all this was a ruse to get her committed? If so, it’d be one of the most effective Heel moves in history, because even I would have to admit that Daniel Bryan’s character arc with AJ ending in this way would be a  pretty indefensible.

Now, the actual wedding itself. Jerry Lawler introduces the reverend for the wedding, which turns out to be Slick. Who… Ok, I’m just gonna have to man up and admit this guy is before my time, and apparently everybody else’s, because I have no idea who he is, and neither did the crowd. He came out, said some strange things about yardbirds, and Daniel Bryan quickly makes his way into the ring/chapel. Then AJ walks out in her bride’s dress, looking goddamned gorgeous.

I will see her in this dress again one day, and it will be at OUR wedding.

Daniel Bryan then goes on to make some very sweet vows, and when asked to take AJ’s hand in marriage, of course, says yes. When AJ is asked the same thing, she chants yes as well, but then adds an addendum, that she is NOT saying yes to him, but is accepting a proposal from ANOTHER MAN. At that point, Mr. McMahon enters, and says that he isn’t marrying AJ, but that she’s accepted a business proposal. He announces her as the new Raw General Manager, and leaves. AJ then throws her bouquet at Daniel Bryan, and leaves, YES-ing the entire way out of the building.

I have such mixed feelings about this bit, because on one hand, I really felt that Daniel Bryan’s character really had fallen back in love with AJ, and was trying to make things right between them both, as they both moved on together. On the other hand, I was proven right all along about AJ’s endgame. She really WAS playing everyone against each other, to manipulate herself into the coveted GM position of Raw. All along she knew exactly what she was doing, just as I’ve been saying. This could also be the beginnings of a face turn for Daniel Bryan, because you’d be heartless to not feel any sympathy for a dude who was left at the alter, has his heart-broken, and now has a former fiancée as his general manager to deal with. Then CM Punk walks out, and while he says he’s not there to rub this in Daniel Bryan’s face, c’mon, he totally is.This is actually now pretty fitting, considering the ending of tonight’s show, but more on that later. Daniel Bryan then argues with Punk about who is the best in the world, or more accurately, who is the greatest superstar of all time, until The Rock enters the ring, because he’s now considered the greatest of all time. While that’s a sentiment I don’t quite agree with, I don’t disagree with it either. He’s definitely ONE of the greatest of all time, but I have no idea or clue as to how to rank someone as THE greatest. Regardless, Rock comes out to re-iterate how he plans to win the championship come this years Royal Rumble, from whoever is the champion, be it Punk, Daniel Bryan, Big Show, or Cena. Punk says it’ll be him, Bryan says it’ll be him. The Rock leaves, and now we have a championship match to look forward to in… many months. Whoopee.

Bret Hart enters the ring, and says a few words regarding his Intercontinental Championship, sounding as Canadian as possible. I seriously don’t remember him sounding as Canadian as he did here, but I guess years out of the WWE would ruin your Americanized diction. Anyhow, he introduces Christian, the current IC champion, and The Miz. The Miz and Christian made a pretty good pairing against each other, since their move sets complemented each other well. This new Post-Crisis Miz is by far a more serious contender than he ever used to be, and while he hasn’t expressly changed his gimmick, his demeanor gives him the affectation of an actual wrestler who can be taken seriously now, rather than the former-reality-star-turned-wrestler-for-fun thing he had previously. With this new attitude, he weakens Christian’s knee during the match, attacks it systematically, and counters a bunch of Christian’s moves until he lands his Skull Crushing Finale on him, and picks up the win, and the Intercontinental Title.

I couldn’t have been more happy with this outcome, because I love The Miz, I love the Intercontinental Title being a championship that is coveted rather than ignored or looked down on. I like championship matches happening on Raw, and I like titles trading hands on Raw. Everything about this match was stellar, and even if it’s literally an hour and 40 minutes into the episode, and we’ve so far had about 15 actual minutes of wrestling at most, this kind of match is the thing that should be happening on future episodes. It’s awesome. Like The Miz.

Charlie Sheen returns on Skype, and comments on Daniel Bryan’s character, plugs his show, and then criticizes him for how he treats women, which is just so insane coming from him, but whatever. I can’t imagine why they picked Charlie Sheen of all people to be their special guest star, but they did, for reasons I’ll never know or even understand if I did.

After a video package from Regis Philbin about how much he loves the WWE (Weird, I know), we get Triple H returning to the ring, to continue the very boring and stupid Brock Lesnar storyline feud he has with him. Let me explain why I find this feud boring to you. First, they’re both pretty dumb, especially Triple H for reasons I’ve pointed out in this column previously, but also Brock Lesnar for mostly squandering all the myriad amazing chances he’s been handed on a silver platter his whole life. Without going into full detail, the guy has been given every opportunity to do a lot of great things in his life that other people would break their backs and kiss endless amounts of ass to even get a shot at doing, and Brock Lesnar has shamelessly and selfishly shunned the lot of them, because he found them boring. In short, he’s a quitter, so that’s one legitimate gripe Triple H has with Lesnar’s character.

So when Paul Heyman came out in place of Brock Lesnar, I feared the worst, that this would be another 3 WHOLE MONTHS of teasing to advance what should have been a 1 month storyline at best, that could have ended 3 PPV’s ago. The entire thing is a waste of everyone’s time, and even Paul Heyman continually pointing out how stupid Triple H is doesn’t make this segment not boring. Paul even makes a great jab at Triple H about how inept he’s been, and how counterintuitive it is towards his goal of doing things that are good for “This Business”. Paul then passively mentions Triple H’s kids, when making a very solid and salient point about Triple H’s character, which enrages Triple H, and apparently also makes Stephanie McMahon mad as well, because she enters the ring. She goes on with the same rhetoric of You-Don’t-Talk-About-My-Kids-OR ELSE crap that Triple H does, and ignores the whole legal trouble that they’re in with Heyman, and provokes another potential lawsuit by attacking him. It’s like the McMahon family doesn’t understand what due process, assault and battery, or lawsuits even mean. They’re all convinced that Triple H beating Brock Lesnar will somehow fix all of these things. Paul Heyman gets all riled up after he’s slapped by Stephanie, and accepts the challenge on behalf of Triple H. Heyman then mentions Stephanie’s kids again, and she of course, attacks him again, because god that family is dumb. Brock Lesnar’s music comes on, and Triple H and him trade a series of blows, until Triple H knocks Lesnar out of the ring, and Lesnar does the typical Slow Walk Backwards up the ramp thing, that all defeated heels do. This whole thing was a waste of time, because they could have done this months ago, and it may have been less lame, because it didn’t waste so much stupid time over such a stupid subject.

Coming back from a particularly long commercial break, Santino and Hornswoggle (ugh) both walk out, giving out little WWE dolls to the kids in the audience. They then leave or disappear or something, because Heath Slater then enters and steps into the ring, and makes an open challenge to any former WWE Raw legend to a No-DQ, no count out match. Lita’s music comes on, and she walks out, dressed in what looks like a bra and yoga pants to the ring.

She’s actually hotter now than I remember her being.

Slater then incredulously accepts her challenge, and has the bell rung. Lita then says she’s not here alone, and says she’s hired some protection, which of course, means the APA walk out. Slater then attempts to retreat, but is stopped by all of the previous WWE Raw legends, who have now amassed as a group, and force him back into the ring. The APA attacks Slater, and Lita pulls off her Twist of Fate/Moonsault combo on him, to win. The legends all stand around the fallen Slater, and Farooq grabs a mic, standing directly above him. He looks around, and lets out a loud “DAMN”, thus bringing the Heath Slater/Legends feud to an end.

After that, we cut to Daniel Bryan being interviewed backstage, who complains about being insulted by Charlie Sheen. He seems pretty rattled by Charlie Sheen’s words (really?), and says he’d put the YES-Lock on him if he ever saw him. Back to Michael Cole, we see him standing there interviewing the 100,000,000th social media follower, who gets to have a few words about loving the WWE, and afterward, Lawler makes a weird segue into a video package about catchphrases.

So yeah, that sure was a video package of catchphrases! Wokka Wokka! Oh god kill me.

After the video package, we cut to Zack Ryder and John Cena talking about G-TV with Gene Okerlund. The Rock then steps into frame, and he and Cena talk about their potential future match at the Royal Rumble. It certainly seems like that’s the match we’ll be getting come this Royal Rumble, especially in light of the show’s later events, but yet again, more on that later.

So I guess Jinder Mahal, who is now the king of the boring jobbers, walks out with his now jobber posse, and attempts to surround and beat down Kane, because…. Kane… is… a guy? I don’t know exactly. As they surround him, we hear the ominous BONG of the Undertaker’s bell theme song. He appears wearing his Super-Shredder suit, and sloooowly walks his way into the ring. At first it seemed like he was going to fight Kane, but they quickly team up to attack the gaggle of jobbers, who stupidly initiate the fight against them both. After a series of punches, tandem chokeslams, and tandem Tombstones, they pose together, as the Brothers Of Destruction once again. I’m not sure if this was anything other than a cameo for Taker, or a wrap up to the long love/hate relationship between Kane and Undertaker, or even a new beginning. Either way, it was pretty cool.

They just can’t quit each other.

Ugh, once more we’ve got Charlie Sheen returning to speak with Cole and Lawler, and he claims that he’ll actually end up fighting Daniel Bryan, if he ever ends up in LA, effectively challenging Daniel Bryan to a match. Cole then points out that the next time they’ll be in LA is at Summerslam, which means I suppose we’ll see Daniel Bryan get jobbed out to Charlie Sheen, which is the biggest downgrade possible. Hopefully this isn’t the case. Hopefully we’ll see Bryan get his due, or continue his feud with CM Punk, or literally anything else than a stupid celebrity match.

Ignoring how this match is a complete waste of the Money In The Bank contract, and how much that annoys me, I can say this match started off like a typical CM Punk/ John Cena match. Which isn’t bad per se, but it’s a bit formulaic. So Cena tries his 5 moves, Punk finds creative ways to counter them and gain the upper hand. Eventually, Cena counters a counter into the Attitude Adjustment, and accidentally knocks the Ref out of the ring.With the Ref incapacitated, Big Show enters, and WMD’s Cena, knocking him out cold. He leaves, and CM Punk has some internal conflict about whether or not to take advantage of Cena in his knocked out state. He rouses the Ref, and attempts the pin, but Robo-Cena kicks out. Punk attempts the GTS, and Cena counters into the STF, and what with The Rock wanting his match against Cena at this years Royal Rumble, there’s an actual chance Punk could lose. Just as Punk begins to look like he’s gonna tap, Big Show attacks again, ending the match in a DQ. He then continues attacking Cena, while Punk watches from a distance, looking on as if confused as to what to do. The Rock then comes to Cena’s rescue, and beats down Big Show, and attempts the People’s Elbow, but it’s INTERRUPTED by CM Punk, who clotheslines THE SHIT out of The Rock.

Then he taunts Rock by mocking his signature pre-Rock Bottom taunt, and puts The Rock to sleep.

It’s as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

That’s right, CM Punk has turned heel.

Punk looks towards the camera, grabs his title, and walks away solemnly to increasing amounts of boo’s from the audience. The end. Amazing.

So yeah, a strong finish to an overall entertaining Raw, despite the fact that there was very little actual wrestling in it, just as I predicted. However, the wrestling that was there, was pretty good. I’m mostly excited by Punk’s heel turn, because it’s something I’ve been calling for a while now, as he never truly acted like a real baby face to begin with. In addition to that, the match this Royal Rumble is so clearly going to be Cena VS Rock 2, so this is a way for Punk to lose the championship and the mainstream fans won’t go insane with Cena hatred. I’m also hoping this is the beginning of a face-turn for Daniel Bryan, but the whole Charlie Sheen thing seems to be suggesting that that’s not the case. In a perfect world, Daniel Bryan would have a face turn, and him and Punk would switch roles in their feud, with Punk being the bastard heel, and Daniel Bryan being the former bad guy learning from his mistakes, trying to make things right.

Anyhow, 1000 episodes. Man, where the hell was Stone Cold Steve Austin? Is he just dead? Or does he hate the WWE now? Oh well. See you in 2031, when we get to the 2000th episode, now 5 hours* long!

*still only 20 minutes of actual wrestling

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2 thoughts on “Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/23/12 1000th Episode!”

  1. Loved the article, although I may be the only one who is not completely sold on CM Punk’s actions indicating a heel turn. CM Punk never got involved in beating up John Cena with the Big Show but instead seemed purplexed by the whole situation and didn’t seem to know what to do. Most heel turns are done with complete confidence, almost pre meditated and this didn’t seem like it was. Then after, people assumed that him attacking the Rock indicated a heel turn, but just as him not helping Cena, this doesn’t sell me on a heel turn either. For the last year CM Punk, though an interesting character, has been over shadowed by both other men because of their WM match, and for someone who claims to be “the best in the world,” I can see that being annoying. Stone cold use to be considered a “babyface” as well but that didn’t stop him from stunning the Hell out of anyone he didn’t like, whether they were heel or not. I think this may have been a similar case. Punk may not have helped Cena/attacked the Rock because he doesn’t like them, not because he turned heel.

    A lot remains to be seen, and I think the next couple of weeks will say a lot about the direction of the storyline and Punks character. Either way, I think a heel turn would be a bad move, Punks Anti-Hero character has been good to shake things up in the last year and I think it would be a shame to toss that out. I don’t think a heel turn for Punk is unreasonable given his actions last night, I’m just not sold on it.

    Either way dude, I’m super impressed with your article as well as some of your other wrestling pieces as well! Keep it up!

    Like

  2. I agree with you that this isn’t a direct heel turn per se, for all the reasons you pointed out. However, these days, The Rock is an untouchable god, despite being kinda past his prime, and a shadow of the former heel champion he used to be. Punk’s famous pipebomb promo even had him attacking “Dwayne” way back when, so it’s following through with his character arc that he’d be annoyed by Rock always portraying himself as THE best, when he so clearly isn’t any longer.

    Although I disagree about Punk not needing to be a heel, his ROH heel character was AMAZING, and as long as they’re ripping off all his ROH material, let’s bring back that guy. And then let’s re-establish Bryan Danielson as the TRUE best in the world, because that feud needs to come down to “We’re the effing best. Let’s prove it.”

    BUT we’ll be stuck in Charlie Sheen gimmick match hell, so… lame.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Like

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