It’s easy to find people talking about Raw 1000 and the consensus seems to be that it was a raging success. Here at the Warm Up, we’ll be watching for all the weeks that follow and with that in mind we’re more concerned with the long game. Week one of the next thousand episodes of Raw was not without it’s weak moments last Monday. It was better than most but hopefully tonight doesn’t drop further off a very familiar cliff.
PTB: It was hard to top all the good stuff happening on Raw 1000 and episode 1001 certainly had it’s moments.
THE JASON: Yes, it was a show of moments. Not all of them were great, but we got the killer show-closing angle with beginning of Punk’s heel turn.
PTB: Did we need three hours to get the best moments of the last two weeks? Probably not. I liked the modular nature of Raw 1000, but what I came away remembering most from 1001 was a lot of recap video, particularly in that first hour. It was very reminiscent of WCW Nitro’s stint as a three-hour show. Is it only a matter of time before they have a splashy opening segment and just recap that until the last five minutes?
THE JASON: Well, it isn’t like they don’t do that now. How many “earlier tonight” recaps do we get when there is a big angle, or at least one that they want to push? I think that they replayed Big Show punching Brodus Clay in the face at least 4 times the week it happened.
The thing with Nitro was at least you got the cruiserweights, Fit Finlay and Chris Kanyon tearing it up in that first hour. It wasn’t all Hulk Hogan playing air guitar to Jimi Hendrix with the title belt. I mean there was a pretty good amount of that, but we got a few decent matches in there too. I suppose I’m indulging in revisionist history here. I’m pretty sure we had to sit through a whole lot of Mike Enos and High Voltage matches as well during Nitro which I’m blocking out. This is all making me nostalgic for Tokyo Magnum. That guy was gold!
PTB: All the cut backs to C.M. Punk’s opening tirade seemed more excessive.
THE JASON: Did they do it that much? I probably can’t speak directly to that since I was fast forwarding through the commercials and recaps like a madman. I just wanted to see if there was going to be further development with Punk throughout the show.
PTB: Granted it was the next phase of one of the greatest hell turns of all time. It has built naturally with Punk being pushed out of the spotlight despite being the WWE Champion and taking out the Rock after he reinserted himself into the title picture is really the top spot you can hit.
THE JASON: It’s certainly fortuitous how the events have turned out. I’m glad that they’ve made something of Punk’s second-tier status as champ, even though he’s held the belt since Survivor Series. Otherwise it was like the championship it was basically saying that the WWE championship is second-class to just being John Cena. I’m glad they are pointing out that this was “part of the plan”, even if it clearly was not.
PTB: Focusing his ire on Jerry Lawler based on one sentence he uttered at the end of Raw 1000 hits a perfect note for me. Punk was at his best and I think he, John Cena and Big Show can continue to work a solid program while they wait for Dwayne. I see a tag match at Survivor Series even though Cena and Rock’s team up last year was presented as one time only and a fatal four way on the docket (maybe even at the Royal Rumble).
THE JASON: While I like the dynamic of the 3-way with Cena, Show and Punk (a clear-cut face, heel and tweener), I think that a re-match with Cena and Punk would have yielded a better match. With that being said, I did like Cena and Show’s match last week despite the bear-huggery in the middle.
PTB: AJ as GM opens up some interesting angles given her history with Punk, Kane and Daniel Bryan, and it was a fun way to disrupt yet another wedding on Raw. If her first week in office is any indication, she’s going to need to work stay a hot commodity because announcing matches won’t go too far and with the fan base very split on a lot of top names handing out unfavorable match ups is a tough road to navigate.
THE JASON: Feh. Meh. Blah. I’m done with AJ as GM already. I would have much rather had Teddy Long as Raw GM, or hell, make Booker T GM of both shows. AJ and her “Stephanie McMahon Paintsuit Starter Kit” did nothing for me. I thought Punk yelling “show me some respect” at her by the show’s end completely deflated the angle that we just saw. Punk leaving Cena and Show laid out and walking away would have been a better way to end the show.
And can you only be a GM if you have a last name? I find it interesting that her last name finally reappeared. Is this the only case of a Diva reclaiming her last name?
PTB: Damien Sandow got a huge spot trying to spoil the thankfully one night only DX reunion and a beat down on Brodus Clay just can’t compare. I love that the guy is getting a chance to get over on Raw as I’m already sold on him even with his similarities to Lanny Poffo’s Genius.
THE JASON: I’m glad that the two of them finally seem to have something to do after months of squashes for both guys. I definitely see a bit of Randy Savage in Sandow’s offense as well, so he is channeling both Poffo brothers. I do think he needs a better finisher than a neckbreaker.
PTB: His neck breaker works for me, but my favorite part of his development is that the finisher doesn’t have a name yet while his setup “Elbow of Disdain” does.
The weeks leading up to Raw 1000 saw a lot of returning Superstars and that trend continued into the post-1000 era with the returning Randy Orton. I honestly couldn’t care less about this guy.
THE JASON: I really dislike the “I’m holding this great, big, imaginary beach ball” pose. It was fine when Randy was a heel in 2004. Now, not so much. He’s back for 2 minutes and it is like he never left. I thought that they could have done something with Heath Slater after providing him with all of that television exposure the past few weeks. Having Orton sending him back down the ladder is completely counterproductive.
PTB: The writing was on the wall for Slater after Raw 1000. The Miz is another matter entirely though.
THE JASON: True, and that leads to what I hope will be the upside of these 3-hour affairs: longer matches. Jericho & Christian vs. Ziggler & Miz was a really good match, as was Bryan and Sheamus. The flipside to that Bryan/Sheamus match was the absolutely ridiculous online poll to decide the match (last time I checked, a No Holds Barred Match, Falls Count Anywhere Match and a Street Fight were all the same thing) and the waste of time that was Bryan being interviewed by a Psychologist. So we’re getting longer matches, as well as more involved nonsense.
PTB: I actually didn’t mind the Daniel Bryan psych eval. It’s the kind of thing I would have thought I’d absolutely hate, but thinking back on it I’ve seen a lot worse. The new WWE Then, Now, Forever bumper to open their programming is excellent.
THE JASON: It was, but they have to be careful with the word forever. Last week’s show felt like it took 7 hours to get through, and as I mentioned above that was with some liberal use of the fast-forward button on my DVR. Hopefully WWE can find a balance of what does and does not work on these 3-hour shows to keep them interesting on an ongoing basis.
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