I’ll eventually get back to my Two-For-Tuesday concept, but I’m once again giving you another edition of “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.”
After tales of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last week, we’re breaking down the 1,000th edition of WWE Monday Night Raw. I was in attendance at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis with my two sons.
Can’t imagine there are too many people who pulled off the ASG-RAW1000 twinbill out there.
Unlike my Kansas City trip, I actually had to pay for my tickets this time. For about $55 each, we had seats in Section 104, Row R. Great seats. Can’t see why anyone would buy floor seats to a WWE event unless you were in the front row.
Summing up the show in one word: Awesome (wrestling pun intended.)
The WWE loves to play up the fact that Raw, the organizations’ flagship program, is the longest running weekly episodic program in TV history. WWE pulled out all of the stops for the special 1,000th edition.
I’ve been kind of lukewarm on wrestling lately. Seems they tailor it to the kiddie market, which was evident by the makeup of the crowd on Monday night. I wasn’t alone in taking my kids to the matches. There were tons of dads there with their kids. (Not a lot of Moms watch wrestling I guess. I know the Mom in our house enjoyed her night of peace and quiet.) Still, when I found out that Raw 1,000 was going to be in St. Louis, I knew I had to take the kids.
I’m not a fan of a lot of the things that the WWE does, but I think it hit an absolute home run on Monday night. There wasn’t a bad part of the show.
The DX reunion that started the show took old-school fans like myself down Memory Lane. They did all of their old catchphrases. It was 1998 all over again.
The six-man tag team match that followed served its purpose by advancing some storylines between some of the participants.
We were treated to a “wedding” between Daniel Bryan and A.J. I was the only person in the building who knew who the pastor was and I marked out (the pro wrestling term for cheering loudly) when the “Jive Soul Bro,” Slick, came down to officiate the proceedings. Slick was a manager in the mid to late 1980s. As a fan of rap growing up and a fan of wrestling, I loved Slick. I also root for the bad guys, which made liking Slick natural. The only thing that could have made the Slick appearance better was that if he was named the new general manager for Raw.
Sadly, the wedding serve — and there is always a serve during pro wrestling weddings — was that A.J. is the new GM for Raw and she didn’t want to marry Bryan after all. That left Bryan screaming in the ring. It led to an entertaining segment where C.M. Punk, one of Bryan’s main rivals, came out to mock him before The Rock came down to join the fun. No one in the history of pro wrestling is better on the mike than The Rock, and he delivered big time. The Rock received the biggest “pop” — collective cheer — of the night. Rock also gave Bryan a verbal lashing that the entire arena was into. CM Punk and The Rock also teased a future match between them at Royal Rumble next January.
The WWE took a few more turns down Memory Lane with appearances by 89-year-old Mae Young, who showed off her grown up son. As part of one of the dumbest storylines every in WWE history, Young gave birth to a hand in 2000. The hand was back on Monday, making a cameo as A.J. got ready for her wedding. Old-school fans were also treated to appearances by Lita, a former Divas champion, the APA and several other legends who had been pestering a youngster named Heath Slater during the weeks leading to Raw 1,000.
There was also a cool reunion of sorts between Kane and Undertaker, who used to be known as “The Brothers of Destruction.” They beat up a bunch of jobbers (wrestling term for losers) and then posed for the cameras as their old pyrotechnics were released.
Did you know that Kane (real name Glenn Jacobs) played basketball for two years at Quincy College in the mid 1980s before moving on to Northeast Missouri State. He’s from Frankfort, Mo., and used to give Herald-Whig Sports Writer Frank Cash rides to school. True Story. Here’s a look at his bio from an old Quincy College basketball program.
Not everything was a hit though. For some reason, the WWE had Charlie Sheen on the show via Skype. No one in the building cared what Sheen had to say. He got less of a reaction than when Slick came out to officiate the wedding. There was also a big botch (wrestling term for mistake) when Undertaker made his entrance. He had trouble getting his trench coat off and needed two ringside assistants to help him get the coat off. They struggled for a good 15 to 20 seconds before the thing finally came off.
About the only big star that was missing was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who helped make Raw into what it is today and helped WWE win the Monday Night Wars with World Championship Wrestling back in the late 1990s. Fans were chanting for Stone Cold all night. He had a good reason for his absence.
The two best moments of the night for me came in the Intercontinental title match between The Miz and Christian and the main event bout between John Cena and CM Punk.
My biggest mark out moment (wrestling term for favorite part) came when The Miz beat Christian for the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz, who is good on the mike, is my favorite modern-day WWE star. I was wearning my Miz “I’m Awesome” T-shirt and was one of the only ones in the crowd of more than 15,000 that celebrated his big win. The win was somewhat surprising because the Miz had been buried as of late, losing way more than he won. Hopefully, this signifies more of a push for The Miz. It also means I’ll have to watch more WWE SmackDown, which is the WWE’s other show that is on Fridays on the SciFi Network, since the IC belt is one of the main titles on that show.
The main event between Cena and Punk topped off a great card. Their match told a great story. Cena, the darling of all of the little kids in the audience, was afforded a title shot since he won the “Money In The Bank” ladder match at the last pay-per-view show.
Though loved by the little kids, Cena is loathed by adults. He actually got more heel heat (wrestling term for boos) than he did cheers. I’m told that came across on the TV broadcast, too. This was definitely a pro-Punk crowd.
Every previous winner of the “Money In The Bank” briefcase, including my boy, The Miz, had successfully turned that opportunity into a world championship reign. All signs pointed to Cena getting the belt back. That is until The Big Show arrived and caused a DQ, which allowed Punk to keep the belt. (In the WWE, you can only lose the belt by pinfall or submission unless there is another stipulation.)
After the DQ, bedlam ensued. The Big Show was about to knock out Cena for good when The Rock showed up to lay out The Big Show. Just as the Rock was about to deliver one of his finishing moves — The People’s Elbow — to Show, Punk came back into the ring and laid out the Rock and used his finishing move, the Go To Sleep on him. That move drew huge boos from the arena. Punk walked up the ramp to the back to a cascade of boos as the show went off the air. An excellent ending.
Once the TV portion of the program was over, Cena and Rock both came back to life and wound up beating up on The Big Show. Each gave Show their finishers. The Rock got back on the mike again, which allowed the crowd to go home happy. Seeing Cena keep the 500-pound Big Show on his shoulders for a good 10 seconds before slamming him to the mat was pretty impressive. Yes, wrestling is scripted but these guys are athletes. I see them more as stunt men.
All in all, a great night in St. Louis. WWE announced it will be back in St. Louis for Extreme Rules next May. If you want to buy tickets early, you can go to WWE.com and use the passcode “extreme” by the end of the week.
I doubt the O’Briens will be live for that one. It’s going to be hard to match what we saw Monday night in Raw 1,0000.