For those not in the ‘know’, last night was the historic 1000th episode of WWE‘s Monday Night Raw. Since it debut on January 11th 1993, Raw has gone on to become the fifth longest running wrestling show in television history and remains the WWE’s flagship television programme. What was originally a one hour show, it will now run at three hours every week as of last nights broadcast, a time once reserved for specials only. And did it disappoint? I think not!
Now, readers of this particular thread of my blog will know that I am sort of new to the wrestling game. Having enjoyed watching it as a kid (and then banned from watching it by my mother – Love ya Mama!!), I hadn’t seen anything until about a year ago when I started dating my boyfriend, himself a huge fan. It’s safe to say that I have fully embraced the love that I once had for it. I watch Raw and Smackdown more religiously than my beau and am very set in my opinions of which wrestlers and storylines I like (Bret Hart, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan/AJ/Kane/CM Punk love square, Natalya, the Intercontinental Championship belt, Mr Perfect…) and don’t like (Great Khali, Diva’s that can’t wrestle, The Miz/R-Truth feud, Doink…). For me, the 1000th episode was great. It was full of enough cameos, moments and fights that celebrated the show’s history and have planted some great storylines for the future. So here is my usual Top 10, this time with a special 1000th slant. If you still haven’t caught up with last night’s show – spoiler warning!!
10) TYSON KIDD
I am really excited by the push that Kidd has been getting recently over the last few weeks in Smackdown and Raw, which culminated in him beating Jack Swagger (urgh, another one I don’t like) to qualify for the World Heavyweight Championship ladder match at Money In The Bank. And, whilst he didn’t win, in my opinion he certainly delivered the goods. His performance was understated and technically well carried out (some of those aerial moves were brilliant and we know that I love aerial moves). A few people have argued that it was disappointing and didn’t amount to much but considering the other wrestlers involved it was obvious from the start that he wasn’t going to win, and I think a performance better than what he did would have stood out far too much considering his sudden push. A brilliant moment in which he certainly shined, Kidd delivered a show that shows potential to build upon but with the people he’s trained with in the past (the Hart family notably), what would you expect? I sincerely hope the WWE continue to push him in the future, this guy has the ability to really shine if they keep giving him the opportunities.
9) BROCK LESNAR
Well, hello there Brock, nice to have you back! Again. It had been building up for months and it wouldn’t have been a special 1000th episode of Raw had Lesnar not showed up having been AWOL for a while. After weeks of wondering if he will or won’t, none other than Stephanie McMahon (another great surprise moment) managed to goad Brock Lesnar into finally accepting Triple H’s challenge to a match at this years SummerSlam. If Lesnar and Triple H’s little fisty-cuff beat up afterwards suggests anything, this match is going to be a good one. Remember when Lesnar made Cena bleed? It wouldn’t surprise me if there be blood in this match too…
8) THE HART FOUNDATION
My wrestling education continues in our spare time and one of my favourite tag teams of all time still has to be The Hart Foundation. Yes, I know I’m a bit of a Hart family fan but The Hitman and The Anvil work so well together in a way that many current tag teams don’t. No wonder they worked together as a team for so long. It saddens me watching early WWF that there really aren’t any tag teams currently that have the same impact as former ones. In my opinion, this needs an overhaul. Bring back long-term tag teams and stables and give the tag team division the credibility it once had.
7) NAOMI & CAMERON
Just like I have serious issues with Paranormal Activity 3, I have some serious issues with Brodus Clay’s backing dancers Naomi and Cameron. Namely the fact that they are dancers who are never in time with each other. Now, if I were Mr McMahon running a huge money-making empire such as WWE, I would damn make sure that these two were up to scratch, especially so late in the bloody game!! I’m no dancer but even I know that timing is important. It’s just… embarrassing.
6) DOLPH ZIGGLER
My Mr. Money In The Bank, the highlight of that PPV for me was seeing Ziggler finally getting rewarded for his recent hard work and push and winning the chance to possibly become World Heavyweight Champion. Can I see him doing it? Absolutely. The false cash in starts have so far had me on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropped in suspense, I can’t wait for the real cash in as I have no doubt that the match will be electric. I’m so happy to see Ziggler finally moving away from that stupid tag-team he had going with Jack Swagger (urgh, again), it’s definitely his time.
What a surprise for Raw 1000, none other than Class A Diva herself Lita making an appearance in which she whipped Heath Slater’s butt (urgh, another I don’t like)! One of my big gripes with Diva’s are the fact that many of them just aren’t believable in the ring, so it was more than welcome to see Lita show them how it’s done! After weeks of epic failing and the most egotistical bragging, I was more than happy to see Heath Slater defeated again, this time by a girl, and it was all the more fitting that Lita be surrounded by other former wrestlers who had also knocked him down in the weeks running up to last nights show (Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper, Road Warrior Animal, Doink, Sgt. Slaughter, Sycho Sid, Vader and The APA). The Diva fangirl in me did want her to crash Daniel Bryan and AJ’s wedding though, in a character breaking/reality warping one-fall fight…
4) CM PUNK
Two words; Heel Punk. Retrospectively obvious but very exciting none the less. Wouldn’t mind seeing a Fatal Four-way between Punk, Big Show, The Rock and John Cena off the back of last nights show…
3) D-GENERATION X
One way to definitely get the crowd warmed up for Raw’s special show was the announcement that D-Generation X would be appearing. But, wow, did WWE go all out or what reuniting D-Generation X with Billy Gunn, X-Pac and Road Dogg?! A brilliant Superstar surprise and a great tribute to the Attitude Era, the boys wiped the floor with the intellect that is Damien Sandow. All I can say is… SUCK IT!!!
2) STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
My one massive bug about Raw 1000 was the significant absence of Steve Austin, and it looks like I’m not the only one who feels the same. Whilst the array of former stars and Hall of Famers was fantastic, it’s a real shame that Austin didn’t appear considering his detrimental role in the Attitude Era and the Monday Night ratings wars.
1) A.J. LEE
Wow. If there’s one Diva whose stock just went up in value its A.J. Lee. Originally starting out as a Diva who irritated the hell out of me with her über girly childish ways, AJ has really proved to be a force to be reckoned with, one seriously crazy chick. Out of nowhere has come a manipulative but cutesy gal with a load of intestinal fortitude. Her feud and potential relationships with CM Punk, Kane and Daniel Bryan have been riveting to watch, as have her moves in the ring against fellow Diva’s. A true wrestling fan at heart, the girl is apparently even asking for her matches to be held off for a while so she can continue to train. The prospect of another Diva who can actually throw the moves in the ring is more than exciting, it’s about time that there were more wrestler Divas in WWE than then Diva Divas. If you know what I mean… And Raw’s 1000th episode proved that the girl is going from strength to strength by ditching Bryan at the altar (of course!) and becoming the new Raw General Manager. I can’t wait to see where this goes… Congratulations AJ!