The nurses have let me access the community computer here at the LordsofPain.net Retirement Home for Internet Columnists to allow me to provide you with another edition of the "Excellence in Column Writing" known as Mr. Tito. Everywhere you go, internet wrestling-wise, it's 1,000th RAW this, 1,000th RAW that... It's almost as if the Money in the Bank Pay Per View was just an edition of Sunday Night Heat because the 1,000th RAW, especially kicking off the beginning of the 3 Hour Era, appears to be higher on the priority list.
And maybe it should be. 1,000 shows is pretty damn impressive especially when you consider how close the WWE was to the brink of destruction through late 1996 and early 1997. WCW Nitro was regularly kicking the WWE's ass and the WWE's business model of family based wrestling that taped FOUR RAWS during 1 television taping was just not working. Hence why the WWE thought it would be a great idea to unload Bret Hart's contract after just 1 year and also why the WWE ushered in the "Attitude Era" with new stars like Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and the Rock during 1997 to save teh day.
I have probably watched the majority of episodes between RAW's debut during 1997 through June 2007, and then I've watched most RAWs from late 2009 to present (albeit mostly the 10:00pm hour). For those of you who don't know, I had a self-imposed blackout period on watching anything wrestling related after Chris Benoit killed his family and himself. But for the most part, I'd say that I've caught the majority of RAWs and even before RAW, I watched the majority of Prime Time Wrestling which was on Monday nights before the timeslot was rebranded to RAW.
But getting back to Money in the Bank Pay Per View... Everyone is just crying about the RAW Money in the Bank match, starring John Cena, getting the Main Event nod over the CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan match. First of all, I AGREE with the criticism. The World Championship, in my opinion, should ALWAYS be defended last. However, we're in an era where the WWE Creative Staff does NOT respect title belts or even contendership to even get a shot at a title (just a random #1 contender's match here or there). Thus, when John Cena's match gets the nod over the World Title match, I'm not surprised. I guess you could say that this old bastard is either conditioned to no longer care about the many WWE traditions flushed down the drain or I just don't care period.
I will, however, defend the WWE on their decision. John Cena is the DRAW of the WWE. He's a big role model to children and in my opinion, he's kept the WWE's fanbase in tact because parents approve of Cena as their kids' hero. Of course, John Cena's recent divorce gossip could challenge that... But for now, he's the one moving the most merchandise and remains a strong houseshow draw. It always cracks me up when older fans suggest that "JOHN CENA SHOULD TURN HEEL". Yeah, whatever... In this economy and at a time when the WWE looks closely at their financials with Shareholders breathing down their necks, turning your top babyface cashcow into a heel isn't happening.
You have to consider Cena as a draw to be an EXCEPTION to the World Title match being the Main Event of a show. Absolutely, it places Cena in that class of "being above the World Title", but you must consider Cena's fanbase. It's children. If we were to actually have Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk as the main event, what happens to all of the John Cena fans and possibly their parents after they saw John Cena wrestle in the Money in the Bank match? They hit the exits. I bet that the WWE feared a thinning of the live attendance if John Cena wrestled before Bryan vs. CM Punk. It's like Wrestlemania 18 when fans got their fix of Rock vs. Hulk Hogan and then hit the exits for Triple H vs. Chris Jericho.
Many wrestling fans need to consider that the WWE is a business. Better yet, the WWE is a publicly traded Corporation who has to deliver on the financials. John Cena is the #1 cashcow of the WWE right now and the WWE are going to protect their top asset. Sure, it pisses all over tradition to have essentially, a #1 contender's match after a World Title match, but exceptions to rules exist everywhere when it comes to something of value. If anything, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan fans should be happy that both wrestlers are wrestling over a World Title, period. The WWE could just not let them wrestle each other while keeping both away from the World Titles.
OK - Now that we have our mini-rant on Money in the Bank out of the way, it's time to join the rest of the world on the 1,000th RAW. What can I say about it? It has tons of hype on being a "game changer" type of show and reportedly, lots of older names will be returning to the WWE for this night. But of course with hype creates the need to deliver... WWE is banking a lot on this ONE show and it's the beginning of the 3-Hour Era...
But what could really happen at 1,000th RAW? Well, that's why I, the "Excellence in Pro Wrestling Forecasting" am here today (although for the record, my 2012 Predictions are waaaaay off so far!). What I'll provide is options that the WWE SHOULD take as a company to make the 1,000th RAW quite interesting or for the better moving forward... At least in my opinion:
TOP 10 THINGS THAT SHOULD HAPPEN AT 1,000th RAW
10) Get rid of Nickelback's "Burn it to the Ground" Theme. Sorry to their devoted fans, but I can't stand Nickelback. I cringe throughout the show when I hear this awful song play throughout. In fact, maybe RAW's downslide in the ratings could be attributed to Nickelback's theme playing the show. Never before did I ever hear a band proclaiming itself to be a "rock band" purposely write and produce songs for airplay. Sure, their bank accounts dwarf mine and there are plenty of suckers out there who can keep buying their lousy music, but for a pro wrestling show, hearing a POP SONG by Nickelback play throughout the show just hurts the mood.
9) Lita is AJ's Maid of Honor during the Wedding. 1,000th RAW is set to feature many WWE Legends. Recently, it was uncovered that in WWE promotional video where Lita was shown signing autographs, a younger AJ was highly emotional when meeting her hero Lita. In a "nice touch" moment, the WWE could start the AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding but Lita's music hits and she offers herself up to be AJ's Maid of Honor. Lita could then show everyone the Lita/AJ autograph signing video from the past on the TitanTron and then the wedding could continue. It's could serve to add depth to AJ as a dedicated member of the WWE who is just following the trail that Lita blazed.
8) The ULTIMATE WARRIOR returns to the WWE and quickly defeats Health Slater. Just from what I've read into or watched, it appears that the WWE and the "Warrior" (formerly known as Jim Hellwig and the Ultimate Warrior in the WWE) are on good terms. Thus, when Health Slater brags about being the "One Man Band", you let that music hit and we can relive SummerSlam 1988 with the ULTIMATE WARRIOR destroying the One Man Band to complete Slater's burial. You could just copy the following video, move by move...
7) With the 3 Hour RAW, the Brand Extension is officially OVER. It's time, folks... The mirage known as the "Brand Extension", which has had a good 10 year run now, is time to end. The WWE has blended the rosters on the "RAW Supershow" since last Fall, but there is a need to create a stronger full time RAW roster now that RAW is 3 hours. Problem with the brand extension is that the Titles aren't drawing interesting from fans, especially when a show features 2 World Champions. That makes absolutely no sense, especially with the way wrestlers can easily hop between brands for title shots (Jericho, Ziggler, Santino, Del Rio, etc.). The RAW and Smackdown brands can draw if they are well defined and kept separate from each other so that when RAW and Smackdown rosters actually meet, it's unique or special. No so much any longer... Merge the rosters, merge the belts, and convert Smackdown into a show that showcases legitimate battles over midcard titles. Smackdown is on SyFy... So what?
6) Daniel Bryan and AJ actually get married - no interruptions or disruptions of wedding. That's right, let the wedding go on as planned... No serious disruptions. In fact, it could come as shocking to fans that the wedding goes off without a hitch. Fans are expecting a disruption of some sorts or one of the participants to get cold feet. Not this time. Have Daniel Bryan and AJ get married without problems and afterward, you could either turn Daniel Bryan stronger as a heel by insisting that he could boss AJ around more or increase AJ's crazy behavior. The WWE seriously has potential to give fans a strong on-screen couple that draw that we haven't seen since Triple H/Stephanie, although I see Macho Man/Miss Elizabeth as a better character comparison with Bryan/AJ (though Miss Elizabeth was NEVER crazy).
5) Ryback needs tested. Enough with the beating on local wrestlers and the "feed me more" crap. The beatdown on Jack Swagger was a joke on RAW. It's 2012 and nobody believes in these Incredible Hulk like wrestlers. Someone like Daniel Bryan, as small as he is, is getting over because he's talented and believable as a fighter. Ryback is getting "Goldberg" chants because his push is not unique and is forced. Speaking of Bill Goldberg, one of my favorite Goldberg moments was when he wrestled Scott Steiner one Nitro and Steiner tossed Goldberg around like a Cruiserweight. Ryback needs to show SOME vulnerability by facing a wrestler that can legitimately challenge him. Maybe face Sheamus and lose in a fighting effort or defeat someone like Kane in a close match. Giving him a tougher match, while also showcasing his moves against a more legitimate foe, would greatly benefit Ryback in taking a step forward as a wrestler.
4) Paul Heyman is named the RAW General Manager. The most important thing about being an authority figure on a wrestling show is to BE INTERESTING. Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff, for instance, were great because they not only had the legitimate credibility of being executives of wrestling companies behind them, but they could be total bastards and also compelling at the same time. Paul Heyman carries a swagger about him that you just can't teach or hope for any other potential GM to figure out. His mic skills are superb and he could easily put over any wrestler or any feud as GM. Problem is that the McMahons and Heyman are too big of personalities to work together over a sustained period of time, and better yet, Heyman doesn't need the WWE to earn a living. But the WWE needs Heyman as a personality on their shows.
3) Randy Orton returns and turns HEEL. I know, Wellness Policy this, Wellness Policy that. Orton was suspended 60 days for the 2nd violation of the Wellness Policy on May 30th. Through July 23rd, 60 days have not passed... But exceptions to rules exist and the WWE needs some "game changing" drawing power. Randy Orton is a continuous failure as a top face. Just not a big babyface draw. Now, the WWE has CM Punk as the 2nd face to only John Cena. WWE is starving for stronger heel wrestlers and Orton has had better success as a heel than a face.
And I would have Orton openly embrace his Wellness Suspension and have his character be very bitter about it. He could rip the WWE for setting him up, rip the fans for not supporting him, and rip his fellow wrestlers for not backing him. Have him go on an absolute terror with RKO after RKO on anyone in sight. Orton is the heel turn that should happen, not John Cena as many in the Internet Wrestling Community actually think should happen without the thought of the economic or financial ramifications.
2) Brock Lesnar vs. Shawn Michaels to start 10pm hour. WWE is emphasizing a "DX Reunion" to start the 3 hour RAW. In my opinion, of course, we should get a full blown DX reunion with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, X-Pac, and Chyna joining Triple H and Shawn Michaels... Little do we forget how successful the post-HBK Degeneration X actually was... They didn't invade WCW Nitro or anything, right? Sell more merchandise when they turned faces?
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar needs major heat and one way to not only build Lesnar up but to also draw stunning ratings to start the 10pm hour is to book Shawn Michaels vs. Brock Lesnar, with my recommended General Manager, Paul Heyman, forcing Michaels out of retirement for 1 night only. Michaels puts up a heck of an effort but loses because he's retired and not in practice as a wrestler. Brock then attacks HBK after the match to add more heat to HHH vs. Triple H, making SummerSlam 2012 an even bigger revenge match if Brock Lesnar is set to lose (1 year WWE contract says Brock IS losing at SummerSlam 2012).
1) CM Punk vs. John Cena goes 30 minutes and John Cena becomes the first FAILED Money in the Bank winner. Sure, it's going to upset the kiddies who adore John Cena... But the under 18 age group isn't who the WWE needs right now. It's the bloodthirsty adult fans who want to see John Cena get egg on his face. Tuning into 1,000th RAW and seeing him FAIL at what looks to be the guaranteed title victory with Money in the Bank would please many fans just tuning into the "special" RAW to see a legitimate main event. John Cena's fans will watch no matter what and WWE should exploit that.
And I would be fine if CM Punk won in a controversial fashion just to set up SummerSlam 2012 rematch. Why not? John Cena vs. CM Punk were both great from 2011: Money in the Bank 2011 and SummerSlam. The Money in the Bank 2011 match was most publications' "Match of the Year" award award winner.
I have this sense, though, that SummerSlam will be smelling what the Rock is cooking... REMATCH~!