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1000 episodes. Every week since January 11, 1993. It’s an achievement worthy of celebrating. How will WWE handle it?

They began with an amazing promo heavy on celebrities, recently retired wrestlers and Eddie Guerrero. Eddie certainly deserves it. Vince had to start the show to get his own standing ovation, but he soon brings out DX. Lots of DX as X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws eventually join the fun. They are interrupted by a rookie superstar who goes by the moniker of Damian Sandow. He’s a guy who thinks of the others as common trash while he brings intelligence, enlightenment and saves us from ourselves. So of course, he gets beaten down by the legends doing their old antics.

And therein lies the problem with most of the show, nostalgia winning out over current events. Jim Ross doing guest commentary is all well and good and I’m sure it was many an RoH fan’s dream to see CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and The Rock in the ring all together. The problem is The Rock was made to look like the best of them. The Rock is usually off shooting movies. These other guys bust their asses for you over 200 nights a year. Why make them seem lesser?

We get plenty of 1993 trivia (the year RAW went on the air), Charlie Sheen doing commentary when he clearly knows nothing about the product, and all kinds of social media tweets, trends and touts. Twitter is clearly a sponsor, part of a relentless wave of product placement throughout the show.  And WWE has the audacity to introduce their 100,000,000th social media follower. But that’s across all platforms and we all know how much duplication there is across social media platforms. And how would you single out one person joining at one exact point across all platforms. I think they just took a guess and the lucky guy got to come to the show.

Big events? Stephanie McMahon convinced Paul Heyman to let Triple H (two more aging “Superstars”) fight Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. The Miz defeated Christian for the Intercontinental title. AJ left Daniel Bryan at the altar to instead become the  new RAW General Manager. The Rock gets a title shot at Wrestlemania for the big shiny belt. The Undertaker returned to save his brother Kane from a beatdown by six random heel jobbers. Yep, two old guys beat 6 new guys. I can understand throwing Heath Slater under the bus by having him lose to Lita since that’s about all he’s good for. It was nice to see the double Tombstone one more time though.

All this left 15 minutes for the main event, and even then it was slow paced. John Cena cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to face CM Punk for the WWE Championship. CM Punk again showed he’s an amazing technical wrestler while John Cena showed how he can keep a crowd involved in a match no matter which side is winning. There was a good old fashioned ref bump and Cena should have pinned Punk. Then Big Show interfered to attack Cena and land the knockout punch. A reluctant CM Punk pinned Cena only to have him kick out. Then Big Show attacked again, but this time in plain view of the ref. Thus the main event of RAW 1000 ended in a DQ.

And really, that’s why I’m giving up. Three hour RAWs every week is too much. Add Smackdown, NXT, Superstars, TNA (who are rumored to be getting another two hour show) and RoH (who would love to expand to two hours) and it’s all too much. Wrestling quality today is not high. They are letting their past stars dominate and only a select few new ones can work hard enough to earn a spot at the top. After ten years, I say goodbye to professional wrestling* and move on to new horizons.

Results of all matches:

  • Rey Mysterio Jr., Sin Cara and World Heavyweight Champion Seamus defeated Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in a Six-man Tag Match.
  • Brodus Clay squashed Jack Swagger
  • The Miz defeated Christian to win the Intercontinental Championship
  • Lita defeated Heath Slater with the help of the APA in a No Disqualification, No Count-out Match
  • John Cena defeated CM Punk by disqualification after Big Show interfered in the Money in the Bank match. CM Punk retains the title.

Guest stars included:
X-Pac, New Age Outlaws, APA, Lita, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Mae Young with her grown up hand son, Dude Love, Trish Stratus, Slick, Bret Hart, Howard Finkle, Vader, Road Warrior Animal, Psycho Sid, Rikishi, Sgt. Slaughter, DDP, Doink, Roddy Piper, Bob Backlund, Fozzie Bear and Gene Okerlund.

*Except for finishing running my Know Your Role campaign and writing two sourcebooks for Wild World Wrestling. Heck, I might as well make some money out of this.

Wrestlemania draws ever closer. Stone Cold Steve Austin is in the house tonight. I’ll try to be nice. A HHH promo video leads off but it’s the gong of The Undertaker that kicks us off live. Taker’s heard the word on the street. Some people think HHH will be the one to beat him. But someone else thought they could do that and we get a promo of Undertaker and HBK’s battles over the past two Wrestlemanias in case we missed it. Undertaker does have a reveal though. The Wrestlemania match will be No Holds Barred.

Backstage Randy Orton tries to fight off Nexus but ends up going to sleep. Nexus drag him to the ring. They continue a mild beat down here and now the referees finally show up to end it. Otunga wants his match now and Orton manages to get to his feet only with the ropes. Otunga isn’t even entertaining fighting a man who isn’t fighting back. But Orton does his trademark RKO out of nowhere and beats Otunga. Mason Ryan tries for a beat down but yet another RKO ends his threat. Orton is able to keep Punk out of the ring. Punk tries to run to the side so Orton punts Otunga in the head.

Lawler is not on commentary tonight. Miz is boycotting the show tonight. But Christian is here. I guess the brand split is just out the window these days, eh? Christian is set to face Alberto Del Rio, who still has Brodus Clay with him. And Del Rio is demanding Christian beat Clay before he will agree to face him personally. Clay looks powerful here but loses to Christian’s Tornado DDT. But Del Rio immediately attacks and, as usual, the Cross Armbreaker does a lot of damage.

Nice Sin Cara promo, very minimalist. Sunny is going into the Hall of Fame? Awesome. Eve faces Nikki Bella tonight. At least it’s not at Mania. Eve has Gail Kim in her corner. Nice to know the best wrestler is just watching. Even Michael Cole doesn’t want to see this match; but only because he wants to introduce his referee. The ref actually catches the twin switch this time. That lets Eve hit some kind of Spinning Neckbreaker and retain her title. There was no good outcome here.

And now we have more Michael Cole. Michael Cole is not cowbell. Cole give hints to his ref and I manage to guess before they reveal it’s… JBL. For new fans, John “Bradshaw” Layfield was a long-term champion on Smackdown at a point when the cupboard was a bit bare. He spent time on color commentary as well. He’s a real life investment advisor and, last I heard, a Fox News commentator. I do not pay attention to Fox News. He is a pretty decent speaker, he has a style that he speaks sincerely and actually espouses decency. But it’s usually BS and delivered with smug superiority. And he runs down Lawler nicely.

But… as Cole put it, whoever signs the contract is the guest referee and here comes the breaking glass. Stone Cold Steve Austin has arrived. Austin hits his finisher, the Stone Cold Stunner, on JBL and steals his hat. Then he guzzles some beers. Cole is back on the announce desk complaining that his night has been ruined. He makes a big show about it but eventually he signs the contracts and takes the ref job at Mania. Man, they are really loading Mania with retired stars, aren’t they? Austin is the ref and that’s the bottom line, cuz Stone Cold said so. To cap it off he gives Cole a beer bath and wishes him luck in his match. JBL recovers enough for Austin to fake sharing a beer with him then hits a second Stunner. The problem with Austin is, to this day, he still has to put himself over everyone else. And I don’t mind Austin going over Cole, or JBL and possibly even Lawler. But if people think Jack Swagger will benefit by being Stunnered by Austin just because he shares the ring with him, I can’t say I share that opinion. Swagger tries to pep up Cole by promising to take out Austin. Yeah, right.

Lawler shows up so we can have a two-person announce team again. Does everyone remember we have a United States Champion? I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting. He’s facing Sheamus and God forbid it be for the title. It’s a non-match. Sheamus gets thrown out of the ring and lands on his ankle badly. He can’t beat the count and this went less than a minute. Here I was hoping we’d see a good match on RAW. Sheamus challenges Bryan for the title, next week, with his career on the line. Is Sheamus about to get the title or wind up back in the minors?

CM Punk has a match. We’ll see how short this is. The opponent is R-Truth who won a shot at the tag titles when his rookie won NXT. It’s short, but not offensively so, and the action is decent. Punk wins with his original finisher, the Anaconda Vice submission hold. I’m sure this will be match of the night; we may not even have another.

HBK speaks more on HHH. The video that goes with us gives us an actual shot of Shelton Benjamin, who is now in Ring of Honor. Just to annoy me more, Vickie Guererro shows up. Why are both TNA and WWE courting Jersey Shore guests? Aside from the fact that Jersey Shore beats them both in the ratings. Vickie is here to announce that Dolph Ziggler figured out there were two brands and got a job on RAW. I foresee a Ziggler/Cena feud in the near future. After Mania of course. Vickie joins color and reveals she and Dolph now have a purely business relationship. John Morrison gets fed to Ziggler in his debut. Vickie herself screws up and forget they are not together any more. This is about as good as the Punk/Truth match and a little longer. The anonymous RAW GM sends the first e-mail of the night and Lawler has to field it. The GM hired Dolph, not Vickie. Vickie has to fight for a job, next week, in a match against Trish Stratus.

We’ve gone into the overrun now and John Cena still has to deliver his “knockout blow” in response to The Rock. Maybe he should drink tiger blood. Cena’s blathering fake profanity is kind of cool. Cena accuses Rock of using a teleprompter. But his ragging on Rock for not showing up is becoming one note. Cena calls Rock a disgrace and says calling Cena out is bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s been a very vocal crowd all night and they are quite split on Cena. Remember how Miz was boycotting? Well he smashes Cena in the face with his title belt to lay him out. Then he cuts an awesome promo about how the disrespect ends here and how he keeps laying out Cena and will do the same to The Rock if he actually has the guts to show up. He has to interrupt his catchphrase to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Cena. Then he has the audacity to steal The Rock’s People’s Elbow maneuver before he finally finishes.

A couple of barely half-decent matches does not make for a great show. Cramming in all these legends is making the promos take over the show. After all, they can’t wrestle anymore so the focus has to be on them talking. Could we at least see Taker or HHH face somebody?

Posted on March 9th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 3/12/11
Filed Under Entertainment

Hugh has joined me for WWE Elimination Chamber 2011. Scattered thoughts will be shared as the night progresses.

7:35 I watch the tail end of last night’s SNL rerun with Paul Rudd and Paul McCartney. It’s rare I actually listen to the musical guest but classic Beatles songs are irresistible.

7:40 SNL ends so I switch to the WWE recap show where Edge is facing Dolph Ziggler for the championship. I predict Dolph Ziggler will find a way back into the Elimination Chamber tonight. Edge will win though. Cena takes the RAW Chamber match and Miz retains. I’m not sure if Del Rio/Kingston is official but I will pick Del Rio.

7:52 Hugh actually arrives.

7:59 I check WWE.com to find Del Rio versus Kingston is official and the tag champs face Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. No word if the titles are on the line. Expect Big Show to show up for the tag match.

8:00 Opening promo is nothing special.

8:02 Tonight’s sponsor is the National Guard. Announce team is Michael Cole, Josh Matthews and Booker T. The flat out Smackdown team.

8:03 Robert Rodriguez clues us in that Alberto Del Rio is opening the show.

8:06 Del Rio runs down people from Oakland.

8:13 Match is nothing special so far.

8:14 Kofi starts flying but Del Rio is able to hit key counters.

8:17 Rodriguez keeps Kofi from getting the pin.

8:18 Kofi fights off the Cross Armbreaker for a while but once it’s locked on Kofi is quickly forced to tap. Yeah we all saw that coming. The question is does WWE have enough faith in him to make him a champion?

8:21 Todd “Wasn’t I going to replace JR?” Grisham interviews Edge. Edge thinks the Chamber is a walk in the park compared to Vickie Guererro. Drew McIntyre interrupts to remind him about Kelly Kelly getting fired. Edge took something from Drew, Drew is going to take his most prized possession.

8:24 The Smackdown chamber is up now? I know one has to come early but why not the #1 contender match instead of the actual championship bout?

8:28 Kane enters and gets locked in first.

8:29 Drew McIntyre next.

8:31 Wade Barrett enters this heel heavy match next. My money is on Mysterio next. But Teddy Long comes out instead and we have to sort out the Dolph Ziggler situation. It’s not Ziggler, instead it’s… The Big Show.

8:35 The match is back to three faces  but we’re starting with two in the ring, Edge and Mysterio.

8:41 Wade Barrett is the next to enter.

8:45 Entrant #4 is Kane.

8:50 Second to last is McIntyre. The only other Elimination Chamber match I remember Show in he entered last too.

8:51 McIntyre puts Barrett through the Plexiglas of an empty pod.

8:53 The chaos of five competitors spikes my interest level.

8:54 Show looks like he’s falling asleep before they let him in.

8:55 Show beats on Wade Barrett. Then hits him with Knockout Punch to eliminate him way earlier than Hugh expected.

8:56 Mysterio hits a Senton off the top of a pod but it’s not enough to take out Big Show.

8:57 Beat on Big Show night ends with a Chokeslam by Kane that takes him out. Then Kane takes out McIntyre to leave just three men left. Why is Kane being pushed so hard?

8:59 Kane catches Mysterio dropping the dime but Edge Spears both men and chooses to pin Kane. We’re back down to the first two but Kane doesn’t leave until he Chokeslams both men left.

9:04 Lots of two-counts.

9:06 Not even a Spear is enough to end this.

9:07 Rey hits 619 and tries to drop the dime again only to get Speared in midair. The Spear has very little build up behind it so it’s not as impressive looking as you would hope but it gets Edge the win and, for the first time in five years, a champion retains in an Elimination Chamber. Rey looked great here, Edge was solid, Barrett came off looking the worst, Kane was booked stronger than expected, Show’s time was brief but he looked strong and McIntyre was just there. Del Rio gets in the Chamber to attack Edge post match. The Cross Armbreaker is applied but here’s a surprise. Christian returns to make the save and get a measure of revenge on Del Rio for ripping his pectoral. Christian back is a good thing.

9:15 Matt Striker grabs a moment with Jerry Lawler. Jerry looks pretty torn up still. Can’t blame him.

9:18 Booker plugs Tough Enough by revealing another trainer TRISH STRATUS!!!! Trish reminds us all mic skills were not here biggest strength.

9:23 Tag champs are here. Jackson accompanies them but no Barrett. The titles are on the line.

9:29 Cobra on the illegal Gabriel.

9:30 450 Splash on Kozlov and The Corre now control the tag team titles. I don’t want The Corre appearing on both shows.

9:33 Grisham is with The Miz. Miz at least mention The Rock and promises to get back to him. For now it’s time to end Lawler and go on to beat the Chamber winner at Mania.

9:35 Uggh. Vickie Guererro. She seems sad so there’s a silver lining. She’s pleading for Dolph’s job and could we not have had a quick match instead of this? Teddy Long arrives to try to shut her up. Long decides to hire somebody. But not Dolph. He hired back Kelly Kelly. And Long gave her free reign to “thank” Vickie. We get a taste of violence before Lay-Cool make the save. But that draws Trish Stratus to run them off. But they sucker ambush her and it turns into a real fight. Stratus is not in shape for this and she does not look well. The six-inch heels don’t help. But Trish and Kelly come out on top for a feel good moment.

9:47 Why does Miz come out first? Alex Reilly is  there. I predict Reilly costs King the match and at Wrestlemania we see Jerry Lawler in a Handicap Match against Alex Reilly and Michael Cole.

9:51 Booker T calls Lawler “in shape”.

9:58 Reilly gets ejected so there goes my c all.

10:01 Lawler throws Miz into Cole.

10:02 Flying Fist Drop but Miz gets a foot on the ropes.

10:03 Big kick  to the head, Skull Crushing Finale, foregone conclusion. It wasn’t awful but there was never any real hope Lawler would win.

10:05 The crowd still loves Lawler.

10:07 Cena is eating Fruity Pebbles. Grisham wants to talk Rock but Cena, too, is focused on tonight.

10:08 Throw to Matt Striker and CM Punk. Pun can’t see Cena beating him. Punk can’t see Cena winning. Punk can’t see anyone winning but him.

10:12 Orton is out first.

10:13 Cole thinks Orton has never made excuses for himself in his career. That’s laughable to those of us who remember Evolution, Legacy and Rated RKO.

10:14 R-Truth is #2. Four faces here but will two start?

10:15 Punk also gets to start in a chamber.

10:17 Even Cena gets locked in.

10:19 That leaves Sheamus and Morrison to start. Morrison better impress me.

10:22 Great jumps start already.

10:24 Pod #1 opens to reveal Orton.

10:25 Rope Hung DDT onto the steel grating for Sheamus.

10:28 Randy stalks Punk as the time counts down but Punk gets stuck in the pod door at Orton’s mercy.

10:29 Punk gets RKOed and pinned. Wow, that was unexpected.

10:30 An email from the RAW GM. Due to the pod malfunction the GM allows Punk back in his pod and back into the match.

10:33 Once again we let someone in, but it’s Cena not Punk.  Sheamus attacks Cena in his own pod. This is not illegal I guess. The pod worked after all.

10:36 The crowd is split on Cena.

10:36 Punk now gets to be last as R-Truth comes in. Sheamus tries another ambush but Truth turns the tables.

10:38 R-Truth doesn’t last long as he falls to a Brogue Kick  as the first elimination.

10:39 Too many people have been thrown through  the glass tonight. Why can’t people break out if the glass gives way that easily?

10:40 Punk is coming back. He closes his own door and Cena tries to AA Orton, only to get an RKO on the steel grating.

10:41 Punk is picking the scraps.

10:42 GTS on Orton and the Viper is done. Orton/Punk at Wrestlemania seems certain.

10:44 Tease of a High Cross off the top of a pod but Morrison fights Sheamus off and climbs clean to the top of the dome. He drops into Sheamus in a highly impressive spot that takes Sheamus out of the match.

10:53 Morrison catches himself in mid-air on a pod, leaps to the chains flies into Punk but misses Starship Pain and ends up in a Go To Sleep and we are down to two. But Cena comes in to Attitude Adjust Punk and, as predicted, Cena walks away the winner.

10:54 Miz has been watching and doesn’t look happy.

10:55 We’re rapping up. My picks were pretty spot on though the tag titles changing hands were a surprise. The Chamber matches had some nice stuff but weren’t as spectacular as they were in the pre-PG days. There seemed  to be a lot of filler and I would have liked one more match on the card. But a night with no surprises other than Trish Stratus doesn’t blow me away. 42 days to build to Mania, I think it will go well.

Posted on February 21st, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on WWE Elimination Chamer 2011 Live Recap
Filed Under Entertainment