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Chair Shots: Stage set for impressive WWE Raw 1000 lineup

On a show that was leaps and bounds ahead of its recent efforts, the 999th episode of WWE Raw set the table for what looks to be a monumental 1000th episode next week, headlined by a WWE Championship match between CM Punk and challenger John Cena, in addition to returns by several Legends and a wrestling wedding of all things.

Cena promised a huge announcement related to the Money in the Bank contract he won Sunday night, and after a very entertaining non-title match between CM Punk and the Big Show that ended in disqualification, Cena made his way to the ring. But rather than cash-in on a downed Punk, as Show and the announcers had been alluding to all program, he challenged Punk to a one-on-one match next week.

Additionally, Daniel Bryan once again proposed to AJ, and this time she said yes (although not "Yes, Yes, Yes!" which was disappointing). Despite being in Vegas Monday night, the couple decided to wait a week to exchange their vows.

Wheels were also set in motion for a potential Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho feud, with Y2J seemingly turning babyface Monday night.

Oh, and Rey Mysterio returned after nearly a year's absence -- something that usually would've stolen the headlines, but not this week.

Here are some other thoughts on Monday's show.

Big Show and CM Punk had a really good hard-hitting match in the main event. Punk sold like a champ for Show, and landed some stiff blows of his own, especailly those knees to the face in the corner shortly before the DQ finish. Show tried to convince Cena to cash in right then and there, but he had none of it and struck Show with the briefcase again. I can't help but think that Big Show will be a factor in next week's title match, possibly causing a no contest (and thus, the first failed cash-in) or costing Punk the match, as I think those two are on a collision course. ...

Another potential factor in the title match? The Rock. He'll be on the 1000th episode to address his WWE Championship aspirations. Dream scenario? He challenges the winner of Cena-Punk match at SummerSlam, setting up Rock-Cena II. I have my doubts about that, however. ...

Bryan proposed to AJ after the two of them won a mixed tag team match against Eve and the Miz. Eve wanted some revenge for Bryan leaving her high and dry in their match against Punk and AJ a week ago. Without John Laurinaitis around, Eve seems to have returned to active competition and I wouldn't be surprised if she crashes the wedding next week. As for Miz, I think this was just a way to get him on television, unless he and Bryan rekindle their feud. ...

Jericho has been getting a lot of cheers recently, but he seemed to officially turn babyface when he dropped Dolph Ziggler with a Codebreaker. Ziggler came out to talk about how he's better than several of the Legends returning next week, but was inexplicably interrupted by Jericho. Ziggler asked if Y2J over and over if he was losing his touch, resulting in the Codebreaker. Interestingly, Ziggler seemed happy with himself as Jericho walked backstage. A victory over Jericho would go a long way toward establishing Ziggler as a top heel. Book it for SummerSlam. ...

Book Alberto Del Rio versus Rey Mysterio too, although I think that could happen as soon as tonight's Smackdown tapings in San Diego, which is not only Rey's hometown, but also where Del Rio injured him last years. Del Rio beat Zack Ryder in a squash match, but when he tried to deliver a post-match beatdown, Rey returned to save the day. SummerSlam might not be a bad spot for that Mysterio-Sin Cara match either, before one of them gets injured or suspended again. Just sayin'. ...

They decided to do the tag team championship match on Raw instead of on Sunday's PPV or waiting until next week. Ah well. It was an enjoyable match, which saw Kofi Kingston and R-Truth retain against the Prime Time Players. So I guess they aren't ready for Prime Time just yet. I'm curious to see how Primo and Epico fit into this going forward. I still think a Triple Threat match for the titles is in the pipeline. ...

After beating Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins at the PPV, Ryback got his first real singles challenge in the form of Jack Swagger, however their match never officially began. Swagger jumped Ryback before the bell, but the Sin City Cyborg (think they would've brought up he was Vegas, considering that's where they were) battled back. So neither the winning streak or the losing streak continued here. Is this where they are going with Swagger's losing streak? I've only seen that gimmick work once, and that was with Sheamus last year. ...

The World Champion was conspicuous by his absence on Raw, although as I noted in my Money in the Bank review, he seemed like something was off the night earlier. If he was sick, perhaps they gave him the night off to recover before the Smackdown tapings. ...

Also noticably absent from Raw was Kane, who I thought for sure would be Eve's partner. Of course, Kane is technically a Smackdown Superstar. ...

Brodus Clay was on Raw, and so was his opponent -- are you ready for this? -- JTG. Yup, who knew he was still employed. He got squashed though, so whatever. Clay needs a feud. His schtick is fine for the live crowd, but it's the same old thing on TV. ...

Here's an idea -- feud him with the man who's gimmick he's stealing, and who just happened to return to Raw to beat Heath Slater: Rikishi. He paid homage to his cousins Umaga and Yokozuna by doing the Samoan Spike and Banzai Drop during the match, then danced a la his Too Cool days with his sons, the Uso Twins. Good times. ...

Next week's show is loaded for bear. WWE is advertising the DX reunion right at 8 o'clock to ensure people tune in. Brock Lesnar is also going to appear in the flesh for the first time since the night after Extreme Rules to answer Triple H's SummerSlam challenge. As I mentioned, the Rock is also going to be there.

An Intercontinental Championship match is also in the works, after a fan vote on WWE.com to determine whether that belt, the U.S. or the Divas championship was to be defended. IC narrowly defeated the Divas title, with Santino waaaay in the distance. I wonder what people's mindset was when they cast their vote? I actually voted for the U.S. title, because I want someone other than Santino to hold it!

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