Amazing! That’s all I have to say; bye.

Alright, so I might have a few more details about my RAW 1000 live experience. From the top:

We arrived at the Scottrade Center about an hour before they opened the doors, as did quite a few other fans. It was 104Β° F , and unfortunately for someone, they weren’t exactly used to this kind of weather and passed out. Once in the building, I immediately made my way to a merchandise booth, and picked up one of the special “RAW 1000: I Was There” shirts, a program (which has Dean Ambrose in it), a Broski fist, and a Dolph Ziggler shirt. Speaking of shirts, upon arriving in St. Louis, one could tell it was going to be a very pro-Punk crowd, as everywhere you turned you could spot Punk attire. The other top two most spotted, I’d have to say were, Cena, and surprisingly, Ziggler.

Closer Than it Looks

It wasn’t long after we got to our seats that the first chants started to ring throughout the arena. It began with “Woos!” which would continue for a while. Then we switched to “Yesing;” very fun to take part in. It didn’t take long for the first “Let’s go Cena! Cena Sucks!” chant to start up. Luckily for me, the kid seating next to me was anti-Cena…however, turned out to be a mini-IWC know-it-all, who was convinced that Tito Ortiz was going show up to kill Brock Lesnar. I was actually genuinely surprised at what the casual fans around me knew, and at their reactions to various things. They’re not given enough credit.

Any who, before getting to RAW, we have to sit through the Superstars taping. First up, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel vs. Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. A nice match to start off the night with, that the crowd was into; check it out Thursday. After that match, Justin Roberts tells everyone that RAW will be starting in 30 seconds! Yay! The RAW graphics are now featured on the tron, the crowd is pumped, I’ve got my camera ready to capture the awesome opening fireworks, here we go….back to Superstars. Damn, forgot about the 15 minutes to the show tease. They made it up by bringing out “the Long Island Iced Z” Zack Ryder! He came out to a great pop, to face Michael Mc”Who’s this guy?”Joe Hennig”Who?”Mr. Perfect’s son”Oh, really?Cool”. Actual conversation I had. This match wasn’t as great as the previous, but marking out for Zack was fun.

Onto RAW, for real this time.

The first thing the live crowd saw was this absolutely fantastic promo, brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it:

WWE is untouchable when it comes to video packages.

Now, everyone is expecting DX to come out, but Vince is out first. He did indeed get a standing ovation, from the first row, to the very top;

Pedigree on Sandow

it’s not just something Cole may have mentioned on commentary. I was glad that a “Thank You Vince” chant was started; wouldn’t have been right without it. DX out next, to a good reaction, obviously. However, the real pop came when HHH asked, “Didn’t there used to be more of us?” And with that, the crowd went bananas! Seeing them come out in the jeep was such a nice, cool touch, that in my opinion, set the tone for the night. Everyone “sang” along with Road Dogg, I use the term sang loosely. This was a great way to kick off the 1000th episode. Their one-liners about losing their hair, Shawn posing for Playgirl, and losing his smile, to Shawn and Billy arguing over who gets to say their bit, to the group round-about huddle, was hilarious. The entire segment had everyone in the building cracking up. When it was over, HHH motioned for them all to hurry up to the top of the stage. At this point, I believe the TV audience was shown a hype for the AJ/Bryan wedding. DX was about to do one last pose when the wedding music hit. They paused, and looked back at the tron like “WTF is this.”

Next up is the six-man tag team match. Prior to it starting, JR came out. I was hoping that he would be calling the rest of the show, but alas. When he left after the match, I thought it was somewhat odd that he came out for this match, instead of say the mainevent. Oh well, not like I had to suffer through commentary this week.

Very cool that we got to see Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara on the same team, though Sheamus was the most over on their team, and also the most disliked. Del Rio didn’t get much of a reaction. Ziggler and Jericho on the other hand, the crowd loved. There were loud “We Want Ziggler” chants at the beginning, and during the middle, of the match. People wanted to see the Walls of Jericho, so when Sheamus fought out of it, we all showed our disdain for him. Frustration set in when the finish came, and Sheamus hit Jericho with the Brogue Kick for the win. No one around me wanted to see it go down like that. However, it does seem that everyone is looking forward to a Ziggler/Jericho program; I know I certainly am. I got the feeling that people do want to cheer for Sheamus, but the way he’s being booked is stopping them.

The disco ball was lowered at this point, so we all knew what was coming up. First, though, we’re treated to one of the best backstage segments ever!…ok, maybe not ever, but it was hilarious, and you’re lying to yourself if you disagree. AJ preparing for her wedding, Layla asks if she’s sure she wants to go through with it. AJ responds by asking why everyone keeps asking her that, and also, why does everyone think she’s crazy, considering all the other crazy stuff that happens; all she has to do is open the door for some examples. Jim Duggan wondering around, shouting “HOOO!” R-Truth and Roddy Piper trying to help Little Jimmy jump rope, and the piece of comedy gold Mae Young and her now adult son, Hand. Some people in the crowd didn’t quite get this, I had to explain it to the person next to me. Awkward.

Nice Timing

Jack Swagger comes out for a quick match against Brodus. Neither of them got much of a reaction. You can definitely tell that Brodus’ schtick has run out of steam. Not even Dude Love could save this, though, it was nice, different, seeing this incarnation of Mick Foley. Can’t remember the crowd reaction for him, so that probably means it wasn’t that prominent.

HHH and Trish Stratus are shown backstage. Trish is attempting to get “The Game” into yoga. Helping him stretch, she goes behind him, in a throwback to another classic segment. Everyone’s expecting Stephanie to barge through the door, but instead, we get DX, who umm, poke some fun.

We’ve now made it to the one hour mark, which means it’s time for the second big, advertised segment; the wedding. Now, the person I went with, wasn’t too thrilled about this. Myself on the other hand, was ecstatic that I got to see a classic wrestling segment go down. That being said, I was a little let down.

When AJ said she was saying “yes” to someone’s else’s proposal, and Vince came out, everyone seemed a tad shocked. Even after Vince said it wasn’t that kind of proposal, the people around me immediately began referencing “An Indecent Proposal.” When AJ was announced as the new GM, that’s when a lot of people became upset. Now, I like the idea of the crazy chick having control of the show, but everyone in the Scottrade center, myself included, were expecting and wanting, Ric Flair, Austin, or a McMahon. There was quite a bit of booing when one of those names wasn’t announced. Also, I don’t see how her accepting of the GM job, affected the wedding. I mean, it’s not like she still couldn’t go through with it. And why did Bryan get so upset, shouldn’t this mean more power for him too?

Bryan destroys the wedding set, and says he’s not going to leave the ring. He yells at one of the members of the ring crew who is trying to

No! No! No! I wanted white, not cream!

clean up the ring. He keeps saying he’s not leaving, so everyone knows someone will be coming out to confront him. The live crowd wants Austin bad. We’ll take CM Punk, though. Great pop for the WWE Champion, which in hindsight, makes you realize just how many so called bandwagon fans there are out there.

After a short exchange between Punk and Bryan, The Rock’s music hits. He’s here to make an announcement about his future WWE title plans. He announces that whoever the WWE champion is come the Royal Rumble, he plans on facing at that time. Punk says he’ll make it easy for him right now, and informs Rock that that will be him. Bryan interjects himself, which brings the ire of “The Great One” out on him. Rock makes fun of Daniel Bryan’s appearance. He calls him an oompa loompa, and starts singing the song to boot. The crowd is more than willing to sing along, good thing he stopped, though, because after “doompadah dee” I’m pretty sure we all would’ve gotten lost. Proud to say, I perfectly timed the Rock

I’m Good at This

Bottom on Bryan, and thus have an excellent photo. As Rock exits the ring, Punk casually stands in his way, arms crossed. It was awesome to see the Rock and Punk stare down, and apparently, everyone now wants to see the two clash for the title. According the poll results that came later in the night, Punk/Rock is better than rap and classical.

Oh yeah, and Slick was freaking great.

Bret Hart is announced as the special guest ring announcer for the next match, which will be Christian defending his Intercontinental Championship. “The Hitman” cuts a short promo the importance of the title to him, mentioning his match against Curt Hennig at SummerSlam. I think it’s good they’d tried to get the title over more, and hope they continue with in this direction, but “The Hitman” just didn’t seem as enthusiastic. He reluctantly announces The Miz as Christian’s opponent.

At least live, I enjoyed this match; not sure if I would be able to say the same if I had watched it at home. What I most liked, was getting to see a new champion crowned. Not that I have anything against Christian, but I’m a Mizfit, and have been a Mizfit since day one. So, getting to see Miz win a the IC title, a title he’s never held before, was well, bear with me here….AWESOME!

Awesome!

Some Charlie Sheen shiz on the tron. I guess he had already been paid for the “Social Media Ambassador” gig. These bits got real old, real quick, and eventually began to garner boos. This was much the same with the Tout videos sent in by fans. Most of the people around me had no idea what Tout is, nor why WWE was wasting time with it.

Kicking off the third hour, HHH makes his way to the ring to call out Brock Lesnar. “Here Comes the Pain” hits, but the COO gets Paul Heyman. Nice pops for everyone involved in this segment. Pretty sure a lot of people in attendance knew as soon as Heyman started referencing the kids, that Stephanie would making appearance. I’m sort of a McMahon mark, out of shear respect, so yeah, more marking out from me. Honestly, I was expecting a larger pop for Brock, but I suppose that either the Heyman tease affected it, or the fact that most fans have figured out that he’s not here to stay, has decreased his popularity. Not sure how this segment came across on TV, but the live crowd seemed into it. And although I’m not really looking forward to HHH vs. Brock at SummerSlam, the storyline’s potential has kept me interested. I also hope Stephanie and Heyman stick around for awhile. One thing I know wasn’t shown, was a couple of HHH and Steph’s kids were seating ringside. I don’t know when they got out there, but I noticed them when a replay of what just happened was being shown, and the two went over and interacted with them for a bit, before walking back up the ramp.

Also, at some point, Hornswoggle and Santino came out, and handed out the new “Brawlin’ Buddies” (Wrestling Buddies). I can’t remember what part of the show this occurred, but since they gave the McMahon children some of these things that I must have, I’ll stick it here.

Howard Finkel makes his way out to the ring. There must have been back-to-back-to-back commercials here, as we waited for at least what felt like forever for him to do anything. During that break, a loud “Howard Finkel” chant broke out. You could tell he was happy to be there, as he played up the crowd, and had his classic big, jolly grin on his face. Finally we come back from commercial, and Fink introduces “The One Man Band” Heath Slater. I must say, Slater has grown on me the past few weeks.

Follow Your Nose

He does his usual calling out a legend bit, and here is another instance of the crowd begging for the glass to shatter, Austin to storm down the ramp, and stomp a mudhole in “The One Man Band’s” bass. An unfortunate circumstance for whoever was actually going to answer Heath’s challenge. The challenger turns out to be Lita, which was a great surprise; was not expecting to see her come out, let alone compete. She received a nice reaction, especially considering who everyone had been wanting.

A Personal Favorite Shot

My first memories of the Acolytes Protection Agency come from playing WWF No Mercy, and having to make the difficult decision of paying them for their services (and paying for it later), or (paying for it right then) taking both of them on in a backstage brawl. When Lita said that she brought some protection with her, I knew who it was! When the APA’s music hit, I wasn’t alone in my marking, as the entire crowd exploded! Bradshaw and Simmons would have been enough in my opinion, but to top it off, the other legends were also brought out. Who needs Austin when we have Doink? I do have a bone to pick here, however. I don’t get how DDP is a “RAW Legend.” Sure, he was part of the company in 2001-2002, but mostly a member of the Alliance; that shouldn’t count in my view. Anyway, I don’t see how this was a “big payoff” to the Slater-Legends angle, but I think the majority of fans enjoyed it nonetheless.

Sean Mooney makes a special appearance, interviewing Daniel Bryan backstage. Hardly anyone recognized him, but for those of us that did, we appreciated this cameo, as Mooney was the very first person to appear on RAW, way back on 1-11-1993.

Looks Best From the Top

From a nice touch of nostalgia, to Kane’s pyro causing everyone in the Scottrade Center to jump. This wasn’t the first time, so when it was time for his signature turnbuckle explosion, everyone was prepared…only to be letdown by Jinder Mahal and a gang of jobbers. I believe there was a collective, “ugh” let out by the audience. Of course, it was only a matter of time until The Undertaker came out to assist Kane. Now, I’m no Taker fan by any means, but his entrance is breathtaking, and seeing the Brothers of Destruction reunite, even if it was just a one night thing, was pretty cool. However, what was the complete opposite of cool, was when “The Deadman,” the man with the 20-0 WrestleMania record, had to fight his jacket to get it off, and lost; he needed the assistance of the referee. This went on for awhile, and the crowd began to laugh at him, as the cameras, I’m sure, cut away.

WM 29- Taker vs. Jacket

Next out is John Cena, to a mixed reaction from the crowd. This was the first big name that people in my section didn’t stand up for, Punk was the other hand. It didn’t take long for more “Let’s go Cena! Cena Sucks!” chants to break out, which I have to say, is super fun to take part in, representing your side in the WWE Universe. I can now more clearly see why WWE has refused to turn the Cenation leader heel. Besides for him being a merchandise cash cow, squeaky clean company representative, media soldier, etc, he truly does warrant the best crowd reactions.

This match was nothing special, but I wouldn’t say it was bad by any means. I think it’s safe to assume that the majority was expecting someoneto interfere, at some point, and sure enough, as soon as the ref got bumped out of the ring, Big Show ran, err…bumbled down to the ring. He knocks out Cena, and exits the ring, leaving an opening for Punk to steal a pin. Punk hesitates, until finally

This Should be Interesting

making the decision to take the cheap victory. However, too much time has gone by, and Cena is able to kick out. The two go back-and-forth for a bit. Punk goes for the GTS, but Cena counters, and is able to lock in the STF. Many concerned Punk fans in the crowd, at the edge of their seats, at this point. Show comes back to the ring and attacks Cena, causing a DQ. CM Punk retains his championship gold in the first ever failed MITB cash-in attempt.

The Rock’s music hits, and he rushes the ring to take care of Show. He hits Show with the Rockbottom, and as he’s preparing to drop the People’s Elbow, Punk clotheslines him! He follows this up with a GTS, before walking out to close the show. People immediately began to boo the champ, but really, I don’t see what was so surprising. I don’t see how this automatically makes him a heel. This week’s show will be more telling and interesting as far as his response shapes his character going forward.

After the show ended, Cena, Show, and Rock recovered. Show went to chokeslam Cena, but he was able to counter, and The Rock began

Positioning is Everything

whipping Big Show’s candy ass, culminating with a Rock Bottom, followed by an AA from Cena. At this point, Show is laying horizontal to the hard camera. Cena tells Rock to hit the People’s Elbow, but he already threw off his armbands, and Show is not in the right position. So, Cena struggles to maneuver the giant, and then lends Rock his own armbands. Rock grabs a mic, and mocks the green bands. He says that they have to really be headbands, because they’re way too big. Eventually, he lands the People’s Elbow, and the two leave. I guess they’re buddies now. Justin Roberts thanks us for showing up, and Big Show just stands in the ring as people leave.

Leaving the Scottrade Center wasn’t too bad. The real burden came when everyone in the area realized that the Cardinals/Dodgers baseball game and wrasslin’ had let out at the same time. So now, thousands upon thousands of people are all trying to get home, or back to their hotels, at the same time (the arena and Busch Stadium are within blocks of one another). Ah, the metro was fun. Some obnoxious, drunk wrestling fans, who insisted on singing Zack Ryder’s theme song while jumping up and down, and a bunch of Cardinals fans; so many, that it was impossible for this one lady to remove her rear from my head. I love big cities, I really do, but people…man, I hate them.

“This is an armband?”

All in all, I know many people didn’t enjoy this show, and I can’t blame them. There are holes in storylines, the legends weren’t used all that well, there was only 28 minutes of wrestling, and things that were supposed to come off as shocking, weren’t. However, this was a great show for me, and fantastic experience. I went to a Smackdown house show many years ago, and attended WrestleMania 26. This was my first RAW, and I can honestly say, I enjoyed it more than ‘Mania; the atmosphere was better. I also thought that WWE did a good job of blending the old with the new,with the future focused on the new. The big controversy coming out of the night, is the lack of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Apparently, he decided to have knee surgery a couple weeks prior to the event. Now, fans have divided on this issue, with some saying it’s his life, etc, and others not feeling the excuse. I’m with the latter. I just don’t understand why you would have a none-critical procedure done right before such an important event, that you had a huge role in building, that will only ever come around once. I don’t understand why HE wouldn’t want to be there more than it seems he did. What makes it even worse, however, is that during the entire show, WWE teased us with an appearance by the “Rattlesnake.” Whether it be WWE ’13 promos, dvds, RAW vignettes, etc; it was a consistent thing. He was sorely missed. I also would have appreciated some opening pyro, as I had my camera ready and everything!

One last thing….

I knew well before this episode that I wanted to write out some kind of thank you bit to WWE. I decided a couple days ago to go ahead and do it then, instead of after I had attended the event, so that regardless of how amazing, or perhaps a letdown, the show may turn out, this would not be skewed.

When RAW debuted, I was six months old. My dad was wrestling fan, so I grew up watching wrestling every Monday night. Through everything that has happened in my life so far, whether it be my parents divorcing, ensuing a seemingly never-ending parental battle, moving a couple times, hospital stays, losing friends, family and pets dying, battling depression, and dropping out of my dream college….wrestling has been the constant, my escape, my passion. RAW has been the biggest piece to that; I can miss episodes of Smackdown these days, and years of other wrestling programs, but never RAW. When I little I used to think that the crew just lived in some arena, similar to how teachers live at school. To be able to attend something that always seemed so far off, in TVland, means the World to the little kid in me.

There’s been ups, there’s been downs, and there has been down right ugly, but thanks for a thousand episodes, and countless memories, WWE.

Here’s to 1000 more,

J.

@J712v2

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