WWE takes nostalgic approach in build up to 1000th Raw episode

For several weeks, WWE has been focused on heavily promoting the milestone 1,000th episode of Raw on July 23.

On a personal note, I'm more than OK with this, as I've had my tickets for that show purchased since January and would love to see a stacked show.

But as the build of that show has continued, WWE has been bringing back legends. Vader appeared last week, and a number of guests made special appearances on tonight's Raw, as well.

In the wake of John Laurinaitis' ousting as general manager and executive vice president of talent relations, though, it seems a few more faces from the past may be making appearances.

Tonight's show opened with Mick Foley coming to the ring to announce he would be guest hosting Raw and Smackdown this week, as the Board of Directors has been reaching out to past authority figures while searching for a new one.

Seeing Foley on WWE television again was fun. He handled himself well on the microphone and in his interaction with Laurinaitis, but I hope he gets more screen time on Friday's Smackdown.

Many have speculated who would rise to power in the wake of the Laurinaitis firing, and this seems to put WWE in a holding pattern for at least a few weeks. It wouldn't be surprising to see a new, permanent general manager named at the 1,000th Raw.

On another personal note, I am hoping this new gimmick means we will see the return - if only for a cameo appearance - of Mike Adamle, one of the most underrated characters and authority figures in not only WWE, but the annals of sports entertainment as a whole.

In the coming weeks, WWE will be promoting the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, the 1,000th episode of Raw and SummerSlam. Through it all, there will surely be a new story to arise regarding the power of the WWE.

This could shape up to be the big angle of the summer people have been waiting for. Let's hope whichever direction this storyline goes is one that takes a turn back onto the right path, leading to something of worthwhile consequence.


Quick Hits


  • The World Heavyweight and WWE champions unified to defeat Daniel Bryan and Kane in a strong opener. It seems like these four men, especially CM Punk, Bryan and Kane, have interacted too much lately, but they continue to put together compelling matches. And AJ adds a lot to the situation, too, as she continued to play her role well, dressing in Kane attire and distracting the Big Red Monster. The finish of the match was also something new, as Punk and Sheamus hit a Go To Sleep and Brogue Kick combo on Bryan for the win. This is the kind of matches we should be seeing on Raw more often.


  • In a move that shocked no one, John Cena overcame the odds to win what was supposed to be a three-on-one handicap match. Big Show walked out on his partners before the match, David Otunga walked out during the match and Laurinaitis ate three Attitude Adjustments before taping out to the STF.There wasn't much substance to the match; it was just Cena dominating Otunga and then abusing Laurinaitis. Does anyone other than indy wrestler Darin Corbin (who pointed it out on Facebook, amidst much other wisdom shared during Raw) remember when Cena and Otunga were tag team champions?


  • Dolph Ziggler beat Jack Swagger in a match to decide who was more deserving of Vickie Guerrero's affection and services. The match itself was good, but the heat didn't really seem to be there. Ziggler winning was obviously the right call, but I hoped to see him turn on Guerrero and reject her. From all reports of No Way Out, the fans were clearly behind Ziggler, so it would almost certainly be a mistake not to capitalize on a babyface turn sooner rather than later.


  • Titus O'Neil, Darren Young, Primo and Epico have good chemistry and work well together, but the crowds just don't seem to be into tag team matches lately. Perhaps it's conditioning by WWE to make fans not care about the artform in recent years. Anyway, these two teams had a good match, though it was odd being that the Prime Time Players are already number-one contenders. They lost the match when their new manager Abraham Washington pulled them from the bout. It wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to see them win the titles and have an actual feud with the Colons to make the belts seem more important again.


  • Paul Heyman and Triple H had a good promo exchange focused on Triple H's proposal for a SummerSlam match with Brock Lesnar. Heyman is still one of the best mic workers in the business, and he's able to make this story worthwhile. The match isn't set in stone yet, but it seems obvious it will happen, and that makes for good storytelling. Hopefully the build for this big SummerSlam match doesn't overshadow next month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, though.


  • Alberto Del Rio beat United States Champion Santino Marella in a glorified squash match. After the bout, Ricardo Rodriguez attacked Marella, signifying their tuxedo match may not have been the end of their "feud." While Del Rio should be above the U.S. title at this point, the best possible scenario would be for him to take it off Marella at this point. If not him, anyone else would suffice.


  • Many people will likely rail the segment with Cyndi Lauper, Wendi Richter, Layla, Heath Slater and Roddy Piper to no end - and they may not be wrong in doing so. The segment had some nostalgic purposes and was likely a nice throwback for long-time fans, but for newer, younger viewers, the significance of the segment was likely lost. Slater seems to be the new fall guy for all the veterans who are returning to promote the 1,000th Raw. But, hey, he's getting weekly television time, and that's more than many of his colleagues.


Match Rundown


Sheamus and CM Punk d. Daniel Bryan and Kane

Dolph Ziggler d. Jack Swagger

Alberto Del Rio d. Santino Marella

Primo and Epico d. Prime Time Players by countout

John Cena d. John Laurinaitis and David Otunga


My Take


Fans looking for a lot of in-ring action from tonight's show were surely disappointed. That said, luckily I wasn't one of those fans. I wanted to see good follow-up to No Way Out and logical advancements in stories moving forward. We seemed to get a good balance of that on this show. The matches that happened were all good or served a purpose - though I disagree with the booking of the tag team match - and the promos and backstage segments made sense. Again, some people will gripe about the Lauper bit, but I'm not going to let that ruin a solid show. The next few months could be quite interesting.


Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling  to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.

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