Monday Night Raw – July 23, 2012: Raw Turns 1000 And Punk Snaps
Date: July 23, 2012
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole
It’s the 1000th weekly episode of a show that airs year round which makes it the longest running show with as many catches as they can think of, as long as you don’t count shows like WCW Saturday Night or Memphis Wrestling’s Saturday morning show which ran for about 30 years airing new shows. There’s A LOT to get through tonight as we have a wedding, Lesnar, Rock, DX and other legends appearing live, and Cena vs. Punk for the world title. Let’s get to it.
We open with one of those always awesome WWE montages of past Raw moments. I’ll set the over/under of moments from 1994/1995 at about 2.
There’s a new logo for Raw tonight and for apparently one night only, there’s a different song, called Tonight is the Night.
We start the false advertising right away, with Vince opening things. The video wall is different too, with HUGE walls on the side of the Tron now. Vince thanks us for 1000 shows and brings out DX complete with a hybrid of the old and new entrances. Shawn and HHH come out to do the entrance but Shawn is having issues because he’s old and out of breath before the crotch chop.
They talk about having their DX merchandise on and asks each other if they’re wearing underwear. After assuring that they are, Shawn still thinks something is missing. HHH thinks there used to be more of them, drawing a BIG pop. Complete with military invasion vehicle, here are the Outlaws and X-Pac. They do their usual lines (complete with Road Dogg censoring himself on Billy’s nickname in a very nice bit) and HHH points out that he’s the only one left with a full head of hair.
Billy and Shawn aren’t sure who should say the final line. Billy: “He never really gave me that much but I was good at this.” Shawn says the same so HHH pulls Billy aside and says that Shawn might lose his smile and go pose for Playgirl again. Shawn: “I NEEDED THE MONEY!” They agree to do it at the same time….and here’s Damien Sandow. That’s the perfect choice too. He says this is what WWE has disintegrated to and how low society has gone: people like DX are now revered. Shawn says he’s going straight to church and asking for forgiveness….AGAIN!
Sandow understands that DX could destroy him but if they do so, he won’t be a victim. He’ll be a martyr. HHH calls for a DX huddle but Sandow tries to listen in. Sandow: “That’s very rude.” HHH: “We’re rude guys.” HHH goes to talk but it’s Sweet Chin Music and Pedigree for Sandow. Billy and Shawn get to do their line and that’s it. GREAT opening segment and absolutely hilarious.
Here’s JR with a goatee. Cole is fine with him now.
Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara/Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho/Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio
The difference in pops for Cara and Sheamus is staggering. We’re joined in progress with Cara in trouble from Ziggler before it’s off to Jericho for a chinlock. Cara gets a rollup for two but Jericho knocks him right back down. We get the posing cover for two and a BIG reaction before it’s off to Del Rio. The heel team works on Cara’s back with Del Rio hooking a chinlock with a knee in the back. Cara hits a tornado DDT and it’s hot tag to Sheamus. He cleans house on Jericho, hitting a running kneelift.
Irish Curse is kind of botched but the second attempt connects for two. Everything breaks down and Rey knocks Del Rio to the floor, hitting a seated senton off the apron. Sheamus and Jericho are the only two left in the ring and White Noise is countered into a failed Walls of Jericho. Codebreaker is countered but the Brogue Kick misses. Ziggler drills Jericho (intentionally) to break up the springboard dropkick and the Brogue Kick finishes Jericho at 4:26 shown.
Rating: C+. Other than the main event, expect a lot of these matches to be short and sweet tonight, which is the right move on a show like this. Cara getting to rub elbows with guys like Mysterio and Sheamus is a great thing for him and it should do him a lot of good. This was fast paced and fun, which is the right idea.
TOUT IT OUT!
Charlie Sheen is the social media ambassador and is on Skype with us here. Sheen thinks he’d fit in with DX. That’s a perfect fit actually. He doesn’t sound like he has any idea what’s going on but he doesn’t seem bored out of his mind and that’s all I can ask for.
We recap the wedding buildup from last week.
AJ is getting ready in the back with Layla and she asks if AJ is ready. AJ says yes she is and yes she’s mentally stable. Everyone is a bit off out here and she opens the door to prove it. Jim Duggan is talking to someone and R-Truth and Roddy Piper holding a jump rope for Little Jimmy. Then, in perhaps the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on Raw, MAE YOUNG AND A FULL GROWN HAND ARE HERE!
Someone delivers Sonic to Jerry Lawler. That’s kind of awesome.
Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger
Brodus brings out DUDE FREAKING LOVE. Brodus is in a USA themed singlet tonight. Swagger misses a charge, gets suplexed, and the splash ends this in 19 seconds.
It’s time to dance, complete with a tye dyed Socko to Swagger.
HHH is in the back with Trish Stratus who I don’t think people recognize. She demonstrates Yoga to him and shows HHH how to bend over when DX comes in. They don’t know what to think but Road Dogg says they’ll wait in the rear. Pac stays around and hits on Trish but it goes nowhere.
Daniel Bryan is talking to what appear to be orderlies.
We open the second hour with the wedding. Jerry is the master of ceremonies for some reason. The reverend is SLICK! Lawler was just introducing Slick apparently. Slick looks BAD. Here’s Bryan first, to his theme music of course and in a white tux. AJ comes out as normal, minus the skipping. Slick goes into Jive Soul Bro mode and says that marriage shouldn’t be entered into lightly but AJ tells him to get to it. We get the speak now moment and half the arena starts booing. Slick: “Wooooooow. I never heard that before.”
The fans chant no but Bryan has a speech ready for AJ. Once they’re married, he’ll have everything he’s ever wanted. The ring goes on AJ’s hand and he says he does. AJ says yes before she’s asked a question. Slick is about to say they’re married but AJ says wait. She wasn’t saying yes to Daniel, but rather to someone else. Someone else proposed to her earlier tonight: VINCE MCMAHON???
Oh wait he’s just interrupting things. Scratch that as apparently he did propose to her, but it’s a business proposal: AJ is the new GM. Now that’s something I didn’t see coming. AJ hands Bryan the flowers and skips off to her music. Vince only said GM of Raw so I don’t think she’s in charge of Smackdown too. Bryan freaks out and breaks a lot of stuff.
Post break and Bryan is still freaking out, shouting NO at everyone. Cue Punk for likely a hearty laugh. He laughs about Bryan getting left at the altar and says that AJ is going to be GM. Punk: “You can continue to throw a tantrum. I’m going to continue to be WWE Champion.” Bryan says Punk isn’t even the best in the ring tonight and says that Bryan is the best of all time.
Cue The Rock for a rebuttal. After a lengthy intro, Rock says Bryan doesn’t get to say who the best of all time is. The fans get to say that, and guess who they chant for. Rock does the FINALLY bit but Bryan cuts him off because he can say anything else. He doesn’t know who Rock thinks he is but Rock cuts him off as well. Rock says he won his first WWE Championship here, but he’s not here to talk to Frodo right now.
Instead he wants to talk to Punk, because at the Royal Rumble, he’s got the world title shot. That gets almost no reaction for some reason. Punk says that’ll be him because he’ll defeat Cena tonight. Tonight he’ll end Cena and he’ll beat Rock at the Rumble. Bryan says no because it’s supposed to be about him and it’s supposed to be the best night of his life.
Bryan, with his eyes bugging out, says that he’ll fight Rock at the Rumble. He says he’ll be the face of the WWE. Rock says we’re not looking at the face of the WWE. We’re looking at a homeless lumberjack mated with an Oompa Loompa. “Oompa Loompa dumpity ding, you look like a troll from Lord of the Rings.” Rock Bottom to Bryan and that’s that.
Here’s Bret Hart to be ring announcer for the next match. He says he won his first IC Title by beating Mr. Perfect and he’s introducing the Intercontinental Title match tonight.
Intercontinental Title: Christian vs. The Miz
Bret’s boredom of introducing Miz is great. Christian immediately sends him to the floor and hits a dive to the outside but he may have hurt his knee. We take a break and come back with Miz holding a weak leg lock on Christian. During the break the champ (Christian) had his knees sent into the steps to further the injury. A top rope cross body gets two for Christian and he goes up again, hitting the jumping back elbow for no cover. Unprettier is broken up and the sunset flip out of the corner gets two.
Miz kicks him in the face for a near fall of his own and things slow down again. Christian comes back with a tornado DDT for two but his leg is still messed up. Spear is blocked and Miz gets a short DDT for a very close two. The corner clothesline misses for Miz but the Killswitch is countered again. Finale and Killswitch are countered again. Christian escapes a belly to back but hurts his leg again, allowing the Skull Crushing Finale to give Miz the title at 7:46.
Rating: C+. That’s a nice surprise for tonight as they needed to do something to give us a little history here. Also Miz gets to win something for the first time since losing the world title over a year ago. It’s even better than it was clean, which is rare to see. Good stuff here and a nice surprise.
Charlie Sheen says he’s a fan of Rock and is looking forward to the Rumble. As for Bryan, he has Anger Management issues.
Regis Philbin talks about all of the wrestling guests he’s had on his show. He looks good for 80.
Here’s HHH to talk to Lesnar. After a recap HHH calls Lesnar out but gets Heyman again. Lesnar is here tonight and Heyman has power of attorney for him. The match at Summerslam isn’t happening. HHH says he’s tired of this so he’ll go find Lesnar himself. Heyman says HHH is already facing multiple lawsuits and that might not be best for business. HHH says Lesnar is a coward so Heyman makes fun of HHH’s kids. HHH yells and Heyman backs off. Paul keeps talking about the kids and here’s Stephanie, looking great in a black dress but showing off that famous Stephanie acting ability.
She yells at Heyman for his failures and says the lawsuits are a way for him to make himself feel better. Heyman gets cut off and Steph says her dad has more guts than Lesnar. She calls Heyman a parasite and gives him an awful slap. Heyman bails but gets back in almost immediately. The match with Lesnar is on now. Heyman runs his mouth some more so Stephanie takes him down. Cue Lesnar who is actually here for once. Well he’s here but his arms seem to be missing. Lesnar takes HHH into the corner and fires in shoulders but HHH comes back. HHH clotheslines Brock to the floor and takes his hair down so you know he’s serious.
Tout it out!
After talking about WWE 13, we get a video on Vince vs. Austin, which needs to be on a show like this.
Here are Santino and Hornswoggle with WWE toys, which apparently are like old school WRESTLING BUDDIES. These talk though.
Howard Finkel is guest ring announcer for the next match. Now all is right with the world.
Heath Slater calls out any legend to a No DQ anything goes match.
Heath Slater vs. Lita
WOW. Lita still looks great too. Slater laughs this off but then accepts her challenge. The bell rings but Lita says she hired herself some protection. Cue the APA and Slater PANICS. Slater immediately runs but backs into every legend he’s fought in the last few weeks. They chase him back into the ring and the Twist of Fate sets up the Clothesline which sets up the Litasault (looked perfect) for the pin at 1:54.
Take a guess what Ron Simmons says post match.
SEAN FREAKING MOONEY is in the back with Daniel Bryan. Bryan didn’t like being called an Oompa Loompa by Sheen earlier and says he’d slap Sheen if he were here.
We talk to some guy that is the 100,000,000th social media follower. Good for him.
Fozzie Bear hosts a video on great catchphrases on Raw over the years. There’s a great bit in here where they go with Austin and Vickie saying WHAT and EXCUSE ME over and over again.
Ryder is in the back with Cena and Mean Gene. Ryder thinks Gene was behind GTV and Gene says he wasn’t working here at the time. Cena is lost when Rock comes up. Ryder and Gene leave and it’s time for the staredown. Rock wishes Cena luck and Cena says see you at the Rumble. Rock says he’s looking forward to it.
Kane vs. Jinder Mahal
Mahal comes out with Hunico, Camacho, Reks, McIntyre and Hawkins. They say they’ve gotten no opportunity over the years and they’re tired of it. They surround Kane….and a gong strikes. There go the lights and here he is. His coat has spikes on the arm now. There’s no hat for some reason though. The six guys have bailed and it’s just the brothers in the ring now. Taker has a buzz cut mowhawk now. The six guys run into the ring because they’re pretty stupid. Hawkins and Hunico get stereo chokeslams and stereo tombstones.
BE A STAR! Just for clarification: We go to an anti-bullying rally preaching non-violence right after six guys were about to jump one and the solution to the one’s problem was that his big brother came out and helped him fight.
Charlie Sheen says he’ll shake Bryan so hard that the fake beard will fall off and you’ll see the word losing under the baby cheeks. Sheen challenges Bryan to a fight when he’s in LA. No mention of Summerslam is made because then it might happen. Scratch that as it’s mentioned once Sheen is gone.
We get a clip from the end of the show last week where Cena challenged Punk and says he’s cashing in tonight.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. CM Punk
Punk is defending in case you’re reading this years later. We take a break before the bell, and it’s already 10:56. We don’t get big match intros as the bell rings immediately when they come back. There’s a quick hand slap and we’re ready to go. Punk gets taken down quickly but comes back with an abdominal stretch. Cena hiptosses out of it and it’s a stalemate. Cena fires off some right hands and takes Punk down with a headlock. Lawler says Cena is like Superman.
Punk comes back and they slug it out with Punk taking over via a kick to the face and a clothesline. The running knee in the corner hits and Punk does You Can’t See Me. Bulldog is countered into the ProtoBomb and there’s the Shuffle. Punk pops up and hits the high kick but the GTS is escaped. There goes the referee as the AA hits but there’s no one to count.
Cue Big Show who spears Cena down and he loads up the right hand. Down goes Cena and Punk isn’t sure what to do. The champ rolls the referee back in and covers Cena but it only gets two. He loads up the GTS but Cena rolls through into the STF. Big Show runs in again and hits Cena for the DQ at 11:15, making Cena the first person to cash in and not win the title.
Rating: C+. The match was ok but it’s a far cry from their previous ones. That being said it wasn’t bad or anything as these two feel like a major match whenever they get in the ring. The interference was obvious but there’s nothing wrong with that. Given the amount of time they had to work with, this was fine.
Punk turns his back and lets Cena get beaten down until Rock comes down for the save. He beats up Show and loads up the Elbow….but Punk takes Rock’s head off with a clothesline. Hokey smoke I think we just had a heel turn. There’s a GTS to Rock and the champ stands tall to end the show.
Overall Rating: A. The ending bumps this up a good bit. This was certainly an entertaining and very fun show, but it wasn’t a masterpiece. The ending was great as Punk’s demons of being overshaddowed time after time finally got the better of him and he embraces his inner evil side. That’s great storytelling and gives them a ton of possibilities down the line. Also by having him attack Rock, there’s a much better chance of him being hated down the line. Great stuff here and a great show.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews