Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw 1,000 - C.M. Punk turns on John Cena and The Rock, A.J. leaves Daniel Bryan to become the new General Manager, Brock Lesnar and Triple H becomes official, Undertaker returns, and more
By Will Pruett
- Before I get into any individual elements of this show, I want to state just how fun this show was. Every segment had a surprise or a special moment. It was interesting for the entire three hours. This was a night of wrestling fun and celebration.
- The new Raw set and graphics package look very good. The set looks slightly bigger than before. The graphics have needed a change from the city-scape that Raw started showing in 2008. This was a great call from WWE.
- The new Raw theme song (if the plan is to stick with it for the long haul) makes me unbelievably happy. No more Nickelback! Hooray!
- Vince McMahon always does a nice job on shows like these. He is great at coming off as humble and understated by simply saying "thank you" and getting out of the way.
- Shawn Michaels and Triple H welcoming X-Pac, Road Dogg (why does he have two G's), and Billy Gunn to the ring was great. The whole DX bit was solid, time wasting fun. For anyone that enjoyed their antics 14 years ago, this was a nice callback to that time.
- Damien Sandow was the perfect current star to mix it up with DX. He came out on the losing end of the exchange, but he did gain some character exposure by getting to hobnob with such a major top act, in a major segment.
- Does Shawn Michaels purposefully lose his voice every time he is set to return to the air?
- Billy Gunn is totally better at the "if you're not down with that" line. I love Shawn, but I'm here to speak truth.
- Jim Ross' appearance was great, but too short for me. If I had to pick one major disappointment on this show, it was that he only called one match. The show closing angle really could have used his talents.
- Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and Chris Jericho may have been the sparkliest team in Raw history.
- I'd love to see Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara teaming on a more permanent basis. Sin Cara could learn a lot from Mysterio, while helping to extend Mysterio's career. The benefit of this would also come when the team breaks up. They could tear the house down in a well-built singles match.
- Sheamus deserved to be spotlighted just as he was in the six-man tag. I'm glad he had the chance to be highlighted for at least a moment on this packed show. Sheamus is putting together a nice title reign.
- The Tout mentions tonight showcased nerdier fans, but they were still fairly unobtrusive. If WWE stays this calm about Tout, I'll be absolutely fine with it.
- Charlie Sheen discussing Raw didn't come off as completely genuine, but was decent throughout the night. The first segment wasn't perfect, but the last one was very fun. Sheen building up to a match with Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam is an amazing showcase spot for Bryan. He'll be in the mainstream eye more than ever.
- Mae Young's hand being a young adult may have been the moment of the night for me. Brilliant.
- Brodus Clay introducing Dude Love was fun, but not memorable. I'm surprised that this was Mick Foley's only use in this show. Part of me was hoping to see all three faces of Foley over the three hours.
- Poor Jack Swagger.
- Stephanie McMahon should have been the person walking in on Trish Stratus teaching Triple H yoga. A vase needed to be thrown at someone's head reminiscent of the Raw angle in mid-2000.
- I figured that the guys in all white Daniel Bryan was talking to we're caterers, not mental institution employees. This must say something about my trusting human nature.
- Slick was absolutely amazing as the wedding officiant. If I could go back in time, I would have Slick rock "Jive Soul Bro" down the aisle and marry my wife and I. Missed opportunities abound.
- Daniel Bryan was very fun in the wedding segment. He seemed nervous, upset, then legitimately heartbroken. This was great acting work from Bryan.
- Vince McMahon seeming like he was about to marry A.J. was a fun tease and twist. Eventually giving her the General Manager job was a huge surprise. This is a great way to keep A.J. as a central focus on the show, but keep her out of the love triangle situation that has gone on for a long while. A.J. is a major star and this will showcase her.
- C.M. Punk making fun of Daniel Bryan after the wedding was not the nicest thing he could have done, but it was funny.
- The Rock's appearance was ultra-fun. His announcement about his Royal Rumble WWE Championship match was perfect. It makes that pay-per-view seem bigger than ever as they build to it.
- C.M. Punk vs. The Rock (which the seeds were planted for on this show) seems very intriguing and fun. I'd love to see it.
- Many people said this on Twitter, but it really was surreal seeing Rock share the ring with Punk and Bryan on Raw. This was another segment where current stars hobnobbing with stars from the past made the current stars seem important.
- Bret Hart is not a natural choice for a ring announcer. He added star power to the show, but he wasn't majorly highlighted. Not everyone can be on a show like this. On the plus side, Slick was a better wedding officiant than Hart would ever be.
- Christian dropping the Intercontinental Championship to The Miz was a good choice. Miz can carry the belt far better than Christian has been. This is a great chance to rebuild Miz while also rebuilding the championship. The match was decent, but short.
- Triple H and Paul Heyman had another great segment on the mic. Whatever real personal dislike exists there, it turns into great segments every time those two are face to face.
- The addition of Stephanie McMahon to the Brock Lesnar and Triple H rivalry was a fun surprise. She cut a great promo on Heyman and looked to be in great shape. I've always enjoyed Stephanie's appearances and this was no different.
- Brock Lesnar seemed to be in better shape than he was at Extreme Rules. He also seemed more capable of working as a wrestler. This can only be good for the SummerSlam main event. It may not be Cena vs. Lesnar, but it should be a great match.
- Lesnar and Triple H's brawl as their segment closed was a nice preview. With no one getting a true upper hand (I know Triple H stood tall, which doesn't bother me at all) it lead into what will be the next four weeks rather well.
- I want Hornswoggle to give me a Brawling Buddy. Is that wrong?
- Lita was not the surprise opponent for Heath Slater I was hoping for. She looked to be in great shape and more capable than pretty much every legend he's faced in the ring thus far. She just wasn't the star that Ultimate Warrior would have been. Alas, it was a fun payoff to the Slater segments anyways.
- JBL honestly knocked Slater's head off. I'm pretty sure some fan in the upper deck caught it and will put it up on eBay in the next week.
- They can bring in Sean Mooney, but no Todd Petingill?
- Fozzie Bear was obviously the best cameo appearance of the night. You have to love seeing The Muppets on Raw anytime you get the opportunity. Can we get Fozzie or another Muppet as a permanent backstage interviewer? They will be far better than Matt Striker.
- This show paid off GTV and Mae Young's hand! Best show ever in terms of consistency?
- Rock and Cena's backstage segment showed just enough tension to plant the seed of them going one on one again. They need to be careful with this feud, not to rush into it again and this hit that pitch perfectly.
- I figured that Kane could take out those six guys all on his own. In fact, Ryback could have lifted them all on his back and marched around. I enjoyed seeing The Undertaker, but the threat wasn't there.
- The Undertaker's return was probably a one-night thing, but I would be totally chill with Kane and Undertaker wrestling as the Brothers of Destruction at SummerSlam. Is any relationship in wrestling as complicated as their's?
- That Tombstone from Undertaker to Hunico was the moment of Hunico's career.
- I definitely called John Cena being the first Money in the Bank winner ever to fail to win a championship with it. I didn't call the exact cause, but I knew it would happen.
- The match between Punk and Cena was not their best effort, and it didn't need to be. I would have loved another masterpiece from them, but this seemed to be all about rushing into a finish. That is fine for this angle.
- What exactly does it mean to win a Money in the Bank cash in by disqualification. I really feel like in all fairness Cena deserves the briefcase to be returned to him. I doubt it will happen, but winning the match due to interference should necessitate it.
- Punk turning his back on Cena was great, especially after the tease of their tension in the past few weeks. This was exactly where this angle needed to go.
- C.M. Punk was not able to be a top star with John Cena and The Rock ahead of him in the babyface pecking order. There has been a deficiency in WWE as far as top heels are concerned. Cena has been facing authority figures and Big Show. This turn makes Punk the number one heel, with legitimacy. He needed this turn, as did the overall story of Raw.
- Punk hitting Cena with the GTS would not have made him a heel. The only person there for him to turn on and actually receive a heel reaction was The Rock. Seeing him do just that was surprising and delighting. Rock sold that GTS like a champ. I'm absolutely fine with Punk holding the WWE Championship until the Royal Rumble, where he can drop it to The Rock.
- The big angle last summer was an angle that turned Punk into a babyface. This summer, the major angle will be Punk's heel turn and the response to it. The roundness of storytelling here, leading back to Punk vs. Cena is impressive. I hope SummerSlam is actually a singles match between them, not a triple threat that clouds the air.
This show brought the past in to boost the prestige, but it left you looking towards the future. Something new and exciting happened at the end to hook viewers into next week, and it wasn't a hot-shot or a sudden twist. It was a well-built heel turn of a top star. This was a great, simple pro wrestling angle. Kudos to WWE for not stooping to the levels of the past summer angles with stages collapsing, limos exploding, or superstars invading. This was great.
As I said at the start of this editorial, this show was simply fun. There was enough meat in it to keep me engaged, but I smiled all the way through. This was a great three hours of wrestling. It still felt extremely long, but I didn't mind that because of the enjoyment I received from it. WWE put together a great show here.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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