Being that the WWE (formerly WWF) played a big role in my adolescent years, I decided to watch the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw last night. Upon the urging of my friend that this show would be a true spectacle, which it certainly was, I cleared my DVR to be sure I wouldn’t miss a moment, aside from when Ichiro’s first at-bat as a yankee, but I digress. What I expected was delivered to me in the form of former WWE “Superstars” from yesteryear mixed in with a twist at the end, I’ll inform you of the spoiler alert now, that made me actually cheer. My girlfriend isn’t happy.
For most purists, from what I read, it wasn’t the holy grail of events they had anticipated, in fact it seemed to be a major disappointment to most. Yes, Doink, Bob Backlund, Sid Vicious, etc. all showed their true age when they couldn’t run while throwing some unknown ringer back into the ring to face, the still stunningly sexy, Lita. But aren’t you happy you got to see them? You can’t tell me it didn’t make you smile and cheer a little bit.
Outside of the debacle with the old stars, the rest of the show was hit or miss. A faux wedding that was more Mae Young giving birth to a hand than it was Macho Man and Ms. Elizabeth’s marriage led to a semi-interesting plot line that ran throughout the night. My friend swears that Daniel Bryan is a good wrestler, they should keep the microphone away from him, especially when in the ring with The Rock, who is the best mic man to ever grace the WWE ring. (open for debate, of course)
Although I enjoyed the reunion of DX, sans Chyna, they clearly have aged but their material was still relevant to the wrestling crowd and purists alike, assuming you enjoyed the “Attitude Era”. It made me laugh, but I’m immature, and got me set for the rest of the night and the real reason I watched, old-school highlights and there were plenty.
Before getting into the ending, which was bar none the best part of the night, I need to mention the low-lights of the event.
1. Bret Hart – Really? The best wrestler that has ever graced the WWF ring got demoralized and had to introduce Christian and The Miz? I mean both wrestlers are good, in their own right, but he was a ring announcer? Vince, get over the spitting event.
2. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – A no show? Now I’m not a huge wrestling fan so maybe there is a reason for this, but the guy who saved the WWE didn’t show up? Seems a little odd to me, hopefully it’s not because Vince’s ego. He usually doesn’t mind putting that in check, aside from the above point, so there is probably a good reason.
3. Daniel Bryan Wedding – Horrible and pointless. That is all.
4. Brock Lesnar/Triple H – A lot was built up for this moment all night and it fell flat. I expected someone to get “hurt” at least and it was just a bunch of bloated chests and inflated egos. It was saved by…
5. Paul Heyman – He himself was amazing, as usual, but I did find out that he has almost no input “backstage” anymore. Sad, guy really is a genius.
I could probably ramble on for a pretty long time about this event but even I’m starting to realize why I don’t watch wrestling that often anymore. The main event was CM Punk vs. Cena and the match was okay and filled with generic cliches found in every match. The WWE has had a hard on for Cena for a long time, if I was a better writer I would find the merch stats to show why, but I personally can’t stand him. I hate the gimmick, it’s old but it sells to the younger generations so I understand it.
Remember folks, purists don’t drive share, but on the flip side, they’ll still be there when you’re down and out. Which is why I loved how this match ended.
The match, again, was, as Elaine Benes would put it, “Yada Yada Wrestling”, but it served it’s point as the Big Show entered the ring to allow CM Punk to keep the belt, trust me I just saved you 20 minutes of Punk carrying Cena. This act prompts The Rock to come to Cena’s rescue, tag team match is sure to follow at some pay-per, and then we expect the proverbial screen to drop, but it doesn’t.
Such a heroic act should get paid off with high reward, correct? Not in this case, and as a testament, or salute, to the “old school” viewers a shocking twist where CM Punk becomes full heel takes place and alters the landscape of the WWE forever, just kidding probably for like 3 weeks until people realize Cena is still Cena. CM Clotheslines The Rock and walks out to a chorus of boos from the crowd that doesn’t understand the conflict set into place will set up The Rock as the new champion at the Royal Rumble.
Rarely have I said this, especially in the context of wrestling, but it was simply genius.