Raw 1,000 Review - July 23, 2012
WWE Champion CM Punk shocks the world by attacking The Rock.
Hilarious segment to open the show featuring the reuniting of D-Generation X. I was extremely glad to see X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn return and play their roles very well. This promo featured a ton of fun humor and having Damien Sandow make his Raw debut interrupting DX was brilliant. He received excellent heat and this was a great way of getting him over with the Raw crowd. Fun start to the show for sure.
Good six-man tag team match with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeating Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. Given the fact that this was the first ever encounter between Mysterio and Cara, that should've meant more than it did, but the action was fine for what it was. The finish felt anticlimactic, but at least they showed dissension between Ziggler and Jericho to tease a future feud between the two. Adding Jim Ross to commentary was a nice touch, but why was it only this contest and not for the entire night?
Throwaway match with Brodus Clay quickly squashing Jack Swagger. Wasn't Swagger starting to feud with Ryback as of last week? It's nice to see the commentators mention Swagger's recent losing ways, so maybe it's leading to something. If nothing else, seeing Dude Love return to dance with Clay was a fun flashback, but I would've liked to see Clay clash with Rikishi or even Godfather given their similarities.
Strange segment featuring AJ and Daniel Bryan. Obviously, the wedding was just as boring as most people expected, but thankfully, it was over rather quickly. It's a shame Bryan and AJ won't be rejoining forces after all, as I loved them as a couple earlier this year, but I guess it wouldn't make much sense storyline-wise. I must say that naming AJ as the new Raw General Manager was a bit of a shock, but why? To make Bryan's life a living hell? It seems like only a temporary move, but there are far worse decisions they could've made regarding the GM position.
Solid promo from The Rock. He had a fun verbal exchange with a frustrated Daniel Bryan and another strong verbal exchange with CM Punk, foreshadowing a feud between the two down the line. Announcing that he'll be facing the WWE Champion at Royal Rumble is a strong sell for the pay-per-view, and gives viewers something to look forward to in coming months.
Kane and Undertaker, the Brothers of Destruction, reunite on Raw.
Great match with The Miz defeating Christian to win the Intercontinental Championship. They have excellent chemistry and provided a well-paced match-up that surprisingly ended with Miz capturing the title. Miz focused on Christian's "injury" throughout the contest, so Captain Charisma of course has an out for losing. While I would've liked to see Miz win the U.S. title from Santino, at least he made history by becoming a Triple Crown Champion on Raw 1,000. I hope to see this feud continue heading into SummerSlam in a few weeks.
Strong segment featuring Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, and Stephanie McMahon. Everyone was great on the mic here, and both HHH and Heyman showed fantastic intensity. Adding Stephanie to the mix was a nice surprise and she fit in perfectly. Lesnar may not have gotten the upper hand on this show, but he was at least able to get some offense in on HHH and give us a sneak peak of their pending SummerSlam contest. Also, Lesnar looked to be in awesome shape, as he didn't look all that fit to compete upon his return to the company earlier this year.
Fun match with Lita defeating Heath Slater with the help of the APA as well as the other Legends Slater has encountered in recent weeks. The return of the APA was a pleasant surprise, and they were in tremendous shape as well. Having all of the alumni that Slater faced in the last month was a logical, yet great move to feature them all on the show. I honestly didn't expect Lita to be Slater's blow-off opponent, but she too looked great in the ring and was able to hit her signature spots. On a side note, Slater sold that Clothesline from Hell from JBL like a champ.
Awesome segment that featured the reuniting of Brothers of Destruction. I was pleased to see Jinder Mahal emerge and point out that he and the others who accompanied him had been overlooked and demanded attention. Undertaker received the major pop that he deserved and the double team maneuvers from he and Kane was a great nostalgic moment. The beating those jobbers took will probably be the highlights of their respective careers.
Excellent WWE Championship match between CM Punk and John Cena. Sure, it didn't feel as special as it should've been, but that's mostly because it was given one week's build and little hype throughout the night despite the graphics shown. It of course wasn't as great as their classics from last year, but it was still a pretty good match that involved decent action. Was Big Show getting involved twice really necessary? He wasn't even mentioned throughout the entire show, so it was predictable he'd be interfering, but why twice? Nonetheless, it allowed a non-finish for Punk to retain the title, although I didn't like the fact there was a disqualification finish to a WWE title match on Raw 1,000. The Rock saving Cena was a cool moment, and CM Punk turning heel by ambushing Rock was an even bigger shock. They've been teasing the turn for a few weeks now (as well as Punk on his Twitter), so it made sense, but I certainly left me intrigued and looking forward to what occurs next week.
Overall, a fantastic show that was very fun throughout and surely captured the Raw 1,000 feel. I was a bit disappointed Stone Cold wasn't on the show since he basically revolutionized the program in the 90s, but at least they showed a video package of his feud with Mr. McMahon. Speaking of McMahon, it was a nice touch to have him kick off the show and simply say "thank you" to the fans, which was reminiscent of his appearance on the very first episode of Raw. I enjoyed the changes they made to the set and production, despite the fact I'm not a huge fan of the new opening theme song. Charlie Sheen's appearances throughout the night were decent in small doses and pretty surprising since most people (myself included) thought he bailed on WWE after closing his Twitter recently. Lastly, they needed to close their biggest show in recent memory on a major bang, and they did just that by turning Punk heel. While they should've done more to hype next week's aftermath show, they at least gave viewers something to look forward to for the remainder of the summer. This show was a giant step forward for WWE, and I'm confident that it will be smooth sailing from here.
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