Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Raw Running Diary (7/23)
Jul 24, 2012 - 6:19:15 AM
"We've made it so far.."
7:50pm: Guess.. who's.. back.. home? I'm truly humbled at the sheer amount of people that have been asking me to bring back the Raw Running Diaries. Truly, truly humbled. I've been wanting to bring it back for a while now, but with Raw, more often than not, putting out stinker episodes, I didn't want to bring the RDs back only to burn myself out right away with "F" grade after "F" grade. With all of the hype and excitement surrounding tonight's 1000th episode, I saw it as only fitting to bring the RD back. I'm flying blind, so to speak. In the past, not all of my RDs were "live" for me, as I may have seen the results already, or had even watched the show once before. Tonight is 100% "live". I didn't watch the show with the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable earlier. I didn't read the results. I haven't been on Twitter, Facebook, LoP, or the LoP Forums today. All of my reactions in this RD will be genuine and authentic. Let's make this happen, ladies and gentlemen. Shall I proceed? (Yes, indeed.) Less dew eet!!
8:00pm: Can I just say that I don't think I've been this excited for an episode of Raw in a long, long time?
8:00pm: A very nice video package to kick things off this week, showing the first episode of Raw from 1993, and just how much the show.. and the company.. has grown through the years.
8:02pm: This is a really great video package, covering many of the highs and many of the lows over the last 19 years. I'll admit.. I got emotional all over again at the footage of the Eddie Guerrero Tribute show.
8:04pm: A new opening, and now, a new theme song for Raw? A new set, as well? Off to a good start.
8:04pm: Fittingly, Vince McMahon is officially kicking this week's show off. This has to be an amazing moment for Vince, taking Raw to 1000 episodes, which is absolutely historic and is making television history.
8:06pm: Vince thanks everyone, and then immediately introduces Degeneration X to a loud pop from the crowd. Triple H and Shawn Michaels are out with new camo pants, and a new 1000th episode-themed DX shirt. Everything seems to be getting a fresh coat of paint tonight.
8:09pm: Both men mention that something isn't quite right. Something's.. missing. Triple H asks if there used to be "more of us", and the crowd erupts. Sure enough.. the army jeep from the attempted invasion of WCW back in the day drives out, and X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg make their way out. This is nostalgia, folks.
8:12pm: Road Dogg kicks off his world-famous DX introduction, but changes it up for the TV-PG audience by introducing Billy Gunn as the "Bad Man". Eh.. minor complaints, I guess.
8:15pm: Nice moments of breaking kayfabe here, with Triple H mentioning HBK "losing his smile" and posing for Playgirl. These guys are all laughing their asses off in the ring, clearly having the times of their lives.
8:16pm: Before Shawn Michaels and Billy Gunn can close the intro out with "..and if you're not down with that..", they're interrupted by Damien Sandow, of all people. Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that. Is this some sort of an elevation for Sandow, or did they just randomly select him to be squashed because they had plans for the other "jobbers"?
8:18pm: Sandow's delivery of little lines is fantastic. DX goes to huddle about some thoughts, and when Triple H tells Sandow that he isn't a part of the group, he deadpans "That's very rude" like a boss.
8:19pm: Sweet Chin Music. Pedigree. Thanks for coming, Damien. I guess this isn't the beginning of a push for Sandow. Overall, that wasn't exactly the most newsworthy of segments, but the DX reunion will serve its purpose, kicking the nostalgia off nicely, getting everyone into the show. Let's see if the momentum can continue.
8:24pm: Back from commercial break, it's time for Jim Ross to make yet another return, as he heads to the commentary table. Thank goodness. It's only right for JR to be doing commentary on this show. 1000 episodes of Raw have gone by, and just think about how many of those episodes featured JR's commentary. How many of the most memorable moments in the show's history were improved by JR's calls.
8:26pm: Our first match of the night is a six-man tag, and Rey Mysterio makes his way to the ring for his official return to Raw. His first tag team partner is.. Sin Cara. Well, that's interesting. Nice to see some interaction between Mysterio and Sin Cara. I fully expect the company to make another push for a Mysterio VS Sin Cara match at WrestleMania, in another attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most masks worn in a single place, or whatever the hell the name of the record is. Their tag team partner is..
8:27pm: It's a shameful thing, Lobster Head! Too many limes! Too many limes! You think this can last?!? There's a storm coming, Mr Wayne! You and your friends better batten down the hatches, 'cause when it hits, you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us! You will respect me! I am a burglar! I'm Catwoman!
8:28pm: Chris Jericho is the first member of the opposing team, confusing the people who thought Jericho has been a face since returning from his suspension.
8:29pm: Dolph Ziggler makes his way out, and then Alberto Del Rrrrrio does, giving us an official match of Sheamus, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara VS Alberto Del Rrrrrio, Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler. This has the potential to be fun, but we're heading back to commercial break, in some odd time placement.
8:34pm: I'm pretty sure I heard a "We want Ziggler" chant from the crowd when we got back from commercial break, and as soon as Dolph tags into the match, the crowd pops. The WWE Universe is just looking for more and more of a reason to cheer that guy. If and when he cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase to win the World Title, the crowd is going to go nuts. Alright, let me add to that. If and when he cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase to win the World Title, the crowd is going to go nuts, depending on the city he does it in.
8:37pm: If I were to tell you that there would be a botch in this match, you would have assumed Sin Cara would be involved, right? Either on the giving or receiving end of the botch. Something. Anything. Nope. Sheamus and Chris Jericho botched a backbreaker.
8:38pm: A Brogue Kick on Jericho wins it for the face squad. Any other week, this match probably could have been much longer, but with this jam-packed episode, the match ran really short. Bit of a disappointment, really.
8:39pm: Wait.. did Michael Cole just thank Jim Ross for coming? That's it? He came out to do commentary for a match that wasn't even on television for five minutes? Whaaaaa?
8:42pm: I think Tout is stupid, and I don't need to see these fucking mongoloids in the WWE Universe on my television every week. Hey, WWE.. Tout these balls.
8:44pm: Joining us via Skype is Charlie Sheen. Skype was a bad idea. The connection doesn't look to be the greatest, and the audio and video aren't exactly lined up. That could get annoying by the end of the night if they keep going to "interview" Sheen. Not a winning idea, WWE. Huh? Winning? See what I did there? Eh.. what do you know of funny?!?
8:46pm: ..aaaaand we just saw Mae Young standing next to a man in a hand costume. It was her son. REMEMBER THAT?!? Looks like I'm on the same wavelength as the company tonight when it comes to humor. Wow. I can't believe they really went there. I just sat here, staring on in disbelief as it was happening, but now that we're back on commercial break, I'm actually shaking my head and chucking a bit. I don't know if that was exactly the reaction the company was looking for from people, but at least I didn't turn the station in disgust, so there's that, I guess. I'll say this.. Mae Young's son would be in his early-teens right now, but he looked to be three times older than that. Clearly, Mae was drinking during her pregnancy. Damn shame. It would've been pretty funny if Mae Young and Mark Henry were both there, but I guess they don't want to "ruin" the Hall Of Pain before he even returns from injury.
8:51pm: Jack Swagger gets the jobber entrance this week. He's a former World Champion, you know. His opponent tonight? Brodus Clay, in a battle of two men who the company has no idea what to do with. They've been doing pretty much the exact same thing for the entire 2012 calendar year so far, with no sign of it changing for either man.
8:54pm: Before the match can get underway, Brodus brings out his "brutha from anutha mutha", Dude Love. Alright then.
8:54pm: Swagger loses in 15 seconds. Holy hell. That poor bastard. Just for added measure, Swagger is introduced to Mr Socko. This show is starting to come apart. That's not a good thing. Let's see what we get in the second hour. A bit of a mixed bag for the first hour of the show, that's for sure, but if I had to give a grade for the hour, I'd go with a C/C-.
9:00pm: The second hour is being kicked off with the wedding of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee, and the Doctor Of Style, Slick, is out to be the reverend. It's always good to hear "Jive Soul Bro" again. I'm sure my main man Repo was marking out on LoPR during this entrance. He was probably singing something. Just a hunch.
9:02pm: Daniel Bryan hits the ring in quite the pimptastic all-white tuxedo with matching all-white shoes. I couldn't wear something like that. Within 15 minutes, I'd have Dorito "dust" or a marinara sauce stain on the tux somewhere.
9:03pm: AJ looks legit beautiful in her wedding gown. In a way, I'm a bit surprised that she isn't wearing a bit of an altered dress, much like her altered referee's shirt and all of the other altered clothing she wears on a weekly basis. She looks great, though.
9:05pm: Slick is playing along with the crowd's "What?" chants, making Cole and Lawler laugh in the background on commentary. Even AJ let out what seemed to be a legit laugh at the whole thing.
9:06pm: As Bryan is handed the wedding ring, a loud "No" chant breaks out. Does this mean we an finally put the "Daniel Bryan is a face" talks behind us?
9:08pm: Uh-oh.. before Slick can officially announce them as husband and wife, AJ stops him and reveals that her "yes" wasn't for Daniel Bryan, but it was for another man.. which brings Vince McMahon out. What the hell is going on?!?
9:09pm: Vince says that he made AJ a business proposal earlier, and he announces the new Raw General Manager.. AJ. I'm going to say this again.. what the hell is going on?!? AJ leaves the ring and celebrates. Bryan, left at the alter, literally and figuratively, loses his mind and starts destroying everything. Alright, making AJ the new permanent General Manager is clearly in response to her being a ratings draw, but there's a big risk that comes attached to this. There's only so much she can do as a character, and that means the chance of live crowds and television audiences getting sick of her increases. If she was just a regular character and people got sick of her, it wouldn't take much to write her out of storylines and have her disappear for a while. Now she's the GM. She can't go anywhere. If the crowds turn on her, they're stuck with her now. It's going to be very interesting to see where all of this is going, though, so I'll give them credit for that. It's going to get people talking.
9:15pm: Back from break, Daniel Bryan is still in the ring, yelling at officials, who are trying to get him out of the ring, but the WWE Champion, CM Punk, is out next. As Jerry Lawler said on commentary, this is certainly salt in the wound for Bryan. Thankfully, this is just for a promo, as Michael Cole says that Punk's match with John Cena is later. People would have flipped if the WWE Title match was booked in this spot on the show.
9:18pm: As Bryan calls himself the "Greatest WWE Superstar Of All-Time", that brings out The Rock. Not via satellite. Not via taped segment on the TitanTron. Nope, the man himself is in the building. This isn't going to end well for Daniel Bryan. It just isn't. What will Rock have to say about his quest to become the WWE Champion once more?
9:21pm: There's an idiot fan in the crowd loudly yelling "Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock" like a drunken jackass. Hey, dipshit.. are you new to this? That's not how the chant goes.
9:22pm: Bryan interrupts Rock. Uh-oh. This really isn't going to end well for him.
9:23pm: Nice new shirt for The Rock, by the way. A bit of Polynesian flare to it, which is something I can certainly appreciate.
9:24pm: The Rock drops a bit of a bombshell by announcing that the WWE Champion going into the Royal Rumble, whomever that may be, will defend the title against him. Wow. That's huge.
9:25pm: To show just how over The Rock really is, CM Punk just got booed for saying that he'll beat Rock at the Royal Rumble. Rock really can't do any wrong in the eyes of the live crowds.
9:27pm: To further show how over The Rock is, the crowd pops at Rock saying Daniel Bryan looks like a homeless lumberjack had sex with an Oompa Loompa. That doesn't even make sense, but they're cheering for it, anyway.
9:29pm: The entire thing ends with Daniel Bryan getting hit with a Rock Bottom, which Rock says was his wedding present. Something that was interesting to notice, though.. from the second Rock's music hit to bring him to the ring to the second his music hit to have him leave the ring.. CM Punk didn't look happy at all. There really is something to all of the negative things Punk has been saying about Rock in the last year. You can just see it on his face that he isn't thrilled with a "part-timer" coming in and taking the spotlight from those who are there every week. I'm looking forward to seeing how many members of the IWC "turn" on Punk for having similar opinions as John Cena. Back to Bryan for a moment, though.. he was just in a talking segment with The Rock and CM Punk, and he didn't get overshadowed at all. In fact, I'd say he came out of the segment looking like a star, able to hang with two of the best "talkers" the business has ever seen, even if it's only for a single segment.
9:34pm: Bret "The Hitman" Hart is out to be the Guest Ring Announcer for the next match. Alright. Might as well cram as many names in as you can, I guess.
9:35pm: We're having an Intercontinental Title match here, with Christian defending the title against The Miz. lol @ Bret's mention of "The Miz", sounding as bored and as upset to see Miz as I am right now. That was great.
9:39pm: Dear Snickers.. if you're going to do a commercial for the Peanut Butter Squares, but you don't have plans to include the "EAT BOTH SQUARES, PLEASE" shark, don't even bother. Sincerely, a concerned customer.
9:43pm: Perhaps the crowd has been worn out already, or perhaps they just don't really care about this match, but this is easily the quietest they've been all night so far.
9:45pm: ..and they give their first pop of the entire match for the Skull Crushing Finale. We have a new Intercontinental Champion, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the title changing hands. That's.. odd. A very quiet title reign for Christian. We'll see what The Miz can do with the title now, but I can't say I'm too thrilled about the entire thing.
9:52pm: Triple H is making his way back to the ring, to his own entrance music this time, but still wearing his DX attire, which actually makes for a strange visual. It looks like we're closing the second hour with Brock Lesnar's response to Triple H's challenge for a match at SummerSlam.
9:54pm: Trips wants his answer now, and that brings Paul Heyman out to quite the disappointed reaction from the crowd, who want to see Lesnar. Cole and Lawler have been mentioning, for the last two hours, that Lesnar is in the building, and as soon as I type that, Heyman admits to as much, but says Brock has allowed him to give his answer in the ring. Brock's answer is "no", apparently. The crowd isn't thrilled.
9:58pm: The crowd really isn't thrilled. They're deathly silent for this, but hey.. Stephanie McMahon is back, and that brings out a .. mild.. response from the crowd. At least it's something, though. Stephanie looks incredible, as always. She looks amazing in that tight black dress. I'm going to need a minute to myself soon. I'm kidding. I won't need the entire minute.
10:02pm: After Stephanie starts beating Heyman up.. again, to no real response from the crowd.. Brock Lesnar finally comes out, and we have a brawl in the ring between Lesnar and Triple H. It ends with Lesnar being clotheslined out of the ring by Trips, which is something that I'm sure made the blood boil in many a member of the IWC.
10:04pm: lol @ Brock saying "fuck off" as he stood in the aisle. That's not PG. Funny, but not PG. Well, the second hour is now over, and I guess I'll give the hour a B-/C+ grade. It was better than the first hour, but the crowd is starting to fade away a bit, which hurt the overall grade just a smidge.
10:11pm: Now we're getting a video package of the Austin VS McMahon feud, which is certainly worthy of a video package if we're talking about the history of Raw. You could probably fill up an entire episode of Raw with footage of that epic feud.
10:12pm: They showed Vince "swimming" in beer! Yes! Yes! Yes!
10:12pm: Another commercial break. Man, things are really slowing down on this show. That's not a good thing, obviously. Lots of commercial breaks are being thrown in now, and I've already mentioned the crowd reactions that are fading away as the show goes on. There's still plenty of time for things to turn around, though, including the WWE Title match, which is sure to wake the crowd up, no matter what happens.
10:15pm: Out of the break, Santino and Hornswoggle are out to a mild reaction. Not necessarily a bad thing for the crowd to get to see Santino, I guess, but I don't know if Hornswoggle was the answer.
10:17pm: Howard Finkel is the Ring Announcer for this one, and he introduces Heath Slater.. the ONE MAN BAAAAAND, BAYBAY.. for the next match.
10:19pm: Slater issues an open challenge for a No Disqualification Match, and the challenge is answered by.. is that Lita? Nope. Chuck Testa. Actually, it is Lita. That's not what I expected.
10:20pm: Before the match can begin, Lita reveals that she has hired herself some protection for the night, and that brings the APA to the ring. As Slater tries to make a break for it, he is confronted at the top of the ramp by all of the legends that he has lost to in recent weeks, from Vader to Sycho Sid to Doink to Road Warrior Animal to Rikishi, and everyone in between. They send Slater back into the ring, and Lita gets the win quickly. Does this signal the end of this storyline? That sure looked like the end of it. People were hoping the end would come with Slater on the receiving end of a Stone Cold Stunner, though. Compared to that, what we got had to be considered a major letdown.
10:25pm: SEAN MOONEY SIGHTING! SEAN MOONEY SIGHTING! SEAN MOONEY SIGHTING! Sean.. Mooney.. Sighting..
10:27pm: lol @ the company bringing Sean Mooney back to interview Daniel Bryan backstage. Mooney got all of one sentence in, and that was it. I'd love to see what his check was for that appearance.
10:28pm: This has been an interesting show so far. Not a terrible episode, but certainly a disappointment so far, based on the hopes and expectations everyone seemed to have coming into tonight.
10:31pm: Fozzy Bear of The Muppets introduces a video package highlighting some of the famous catchphrases that we've seen become famous over the last 1000 episodes of Raw. The fact that they included Funaki's "INDEED" in the video warms my heart.
10:34pm: All it took was for John Cena to appear on screen in a backstage segment for the crowd to wake up completely. Folks.. remember that the next time you complain about why he continues to main event week in and week out. Cena is approached by The Rock, who wishes him well in his match tonight, and both men make mention how much they'd love to face each other again at the Royal Rumble. Not that the Rumble needs an extra selling point, but that would certainly help.
10:37pm: KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE is making his way to the ring for our next match, and my hopes for a 30-minute WWE Title match main eventing the show are really slipping away.
10:38pm: So.. Jinder Mahal is letting the 2012 Job Squad of Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Drew McIntyre, Hunico and Camacho to the ring, but before they can get in the ring.. the lights go out.. and holy hell, The Undertaker is back. For months, it had been rumored that he'd be returning for this episode, but it's always a bit of a surprise to actually see him. The Job Squad is in a world of trouble right now.
10:43pm: Within seconds, all six men are beaten down, with Hawkins and Hunico getting Tombstoned for their troubles.
10:44pm: A "This is awesome" chant from the St Louis crowd. Odd placement, but at least they're excited for something again. I'm actually shocked that Taker was brought back to beat up the likes of Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal, and not for something bigger and "better", though. Not even to set up another match down the road. That looked more like a "enjoy it, folks, because this is the last time you'll see these two in a ring together" kind of moment than anything else, which makes sense if you really think about it.
10:51pm: Charlie Sheen just quasi-challenged Daniel Bryan to a match the next time WWE is in Los Angeles.. which just so happens to be SummerSlam. Charlie Sheen VS Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam? Who saw that coming? On one hand, people are going to be upset that Daniel Bryan is apparently going to be facing an actor at SummerSlam, but on the other hand, that match is going to get a whole lot of mainstream publicity because of Sheen's involvement, which means that Daniel Bryan is going to get a whole lot of mainstream publicity. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd get to see Bryan Danielson in that type of situation.
10:53pm: John Cena is making his way to the ring for the main event. *looks at the time* Yeah, there goes the hopes for a 30-minute match. Ah, well.. can't win em all. This should still be fun. Could still be fun. Will hopefully still be fun.
10:55pm: Another commercial break, before the match can even begin? Come on, WWE. It's damn near 11pm. There's no reason for a commercial break to be here at all.
10:59pm: The opening bell.. at 10:59. Wow. Well, with the bell, John Cena has officially cashed his Money In The Bank briefcase in. No bait and switch there, which is good.
11:01pm: As expected, the crowd is awake for this one. This is exactly the main event this show needed. If anything else would have been the main event, after everything we've seen during the show so far, I think the crowd would be worn out, but they saved just enough energy for this.
11:06pm: The referee is bumped, and he isn't able to count a pinfall for Cena after an Attitude Adjustment, and here comes Big Show. I can hear the collective groans from people all across the globe.
11:07pm: A Spear from Big Show, and he lines up for a WMD punch, which connects. Of note, CM Punk saw the entire thing, and sat back, allowing it to happen. Cena is out in the middle of the ring, and now Punk is slowly making his way to him, selling internal conflict over the entire thing going down the way it did.
11:09pm: lol @ the one drunk dumbass chanting "T-N-A". Might be the same blowhard that was chanting "Rock, Rock, Rock" earlier.
11:09pm: Punk brings the ref back into the ring, but it's too late, and Cena kicks out at two. Loud pop for the kick out.
11:10pm: ..and Big Show returns to attack Cena, causing a disqualification. You have got to be fucking kidding me with this bullshit.
11:11pm: Punk turns his back on Cena, not attempting to save him from a Big Show beatdown, which brings The Rock to the ring to a huge pop. Rock starts destroying Show, but before he can hit The People's Elbow, Punk returns to the ring and clotheslines him. A Go To Sleep later, and Punk leaves the ring to a 99% heel reaction, as John Cena, The Rock and Big Show are all beaten and battered in or around the ring. We go to credits with Punk slowly walking up the ramp, still the WWE Champion. Cena becomes the first person to cash his Money In The Bank briefcase in and not win the title, although he still did win the match by disqualification. I'm not sure if Punk turning heel makes for a "major summer storyline", but it's interesting enough to keep people paying attention, which is what matters.
#ThankYouWWEFor1000EpisodesOfRaw: The Degeneration X reunion was fun, and the guys seemed to be having a blast.. Mae Young and her son making an appearance (I can't believe I'm including it in this section, either, folks).. Slick.. Daniel Bryan's tuxedo.. AJ being named the new Raw General Manager, which is high-risk/high-reward, but makes for immediate intrigue.. Daniel Bryan not being overshadowed on the mic by The Rock or CM Punk.. Might've been the best Lita has looked in her entire career, as far as attractiveness is concerned.. CM Punk is apparently a heel again, and he works much better as a heel..
#FuckYouHawaiiSummersForBeingSoHumid: Jim Ross only getting a couple minutes on commentary.. Brodus Clay and Jack Swagger jogging in place for months now.. A pointless end to Christian's Intercontinental Title reign.. The entire talking segment between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman.. The "Heath Slater VS Legends" segment was a disappointment, considering the grand scale of this show.. A waste of a return for The Undertaker.. Punk's heel turn opens the door for him to say the exact same things that he said last year, with him being tired of guys like John Cena and The Rock getting all of the spotlight, etc..
Grade: B-. Not the episode many people, including myself, were hoping for, but there was certainly enough taking place to make me hopeful for the future. At least enough to continue watching through SummerSlam to see what happens from here.
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