Tonight in St. Louis, the eyes of the sports entertainment world will be locked on the 1,000th episode of Raw. What started Jan. 11, 1993 from the Manhattan Center in New York City has grown into WWE's second-most important event brand (behind WrestleMania). Some interesting stats from the first 999 episodes of Raw (including who has had the most matches, what cities/states have hosted Raw the most, and more) can be found here.
A few things are certain for the 1,000th episode of Raw already, and here are my predictions on how they will play out:
1.) DX will start off Raw, and will be interrupted by Brock Lesnar
This is actually the brain child of my tag team partner on Aftermath TV/Radio, former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas. DX kicks off Raw in style with their regular hijinks, until things turn serious when Brock Lesnar appears. His answer to Triple H will be a yes: he will face him at Summerslam, but not before he lays out his friend Shawn Michaels, who will undoubtedly make Brock look like a killer, as he has done so many countless times before for so many superstars.
END RESULT: Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar will be confirmed for Summerslam
2.) Daniel Bryan and AJ will get married ... or will they?
Weddings in WWE are like contract signings in WWE – something always seems to happen. I just don't see Daniel Bryan and AJ together at the very end, whether it's because one of them gets cold feet, or Daniel Bryan was trying to dupe her all along for costing him the WWE title. Or Kane could get involved and steal AJ from Daniel Bryan. I see this going far worse than Uncle Elmer's wedding on Saturday Night's Main Event. Daniel Bryan doesn't have an opponent for Summerslam, and neither does Kane. The two could very well be paired for a dance at WWE's second biggest event.
END RESULT: Daniel Bryan and AJ will somehow not end up married
3.) Christian will defend the Intercontinental title
I would like to see a qualification for this match and not just a non-descript opponent – perhaps a battle royal, much like how Christian earned his IC title match against Cody Rhodes and subsequently beat the second-generation star for the gold. I am happy that this title will be defended on such an important show, but was a little put off by the "poll" on Raw asking viewers to pick between an IC / US / Divas title defense. Why not all three defended on Raw 1,000, being that it's a three-hour show? Whomever the opponent is, I see Christian retaining and continuing on as champion
END RESULT: Christian will still be Intercontinental champion after Raw 1,000
4.) CM Punk will defend the WWE title against John Cena, cashing in his MITB contract
It really was going to be either Summerslam or Raw where John Cena was going to honorably cash in his briefcase against CM Punk. When this match plays out in my head, I see two scenarios: the first is John Cena winning the WWE title and the last image we see from Raw 1,000 is Cena holding the title high, with The Rock staring him in the face saying "I want the gold." The second, the one I'm leaning more towards, is that John Cena becomes the first WWE superstar in history to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and lose his title match. I don't expect it to be a clean victory for CM Punk. I certainly expect someone to interfere, whether it's a returning John Laurinaitis, Big Show or The Rock himself.
END RESULT: CM Punk successfully defends his WWE title against John Cena
5.) The Rock will address the WWE Universe with a special announcement
This will be an important promo for The Rock. To me, we need to know at the end of the night when he will be in action next. If The Rock returns, gives his "Rock-esque" monologue and possibly interferes in a match without any indication on when he will return, this will be a let-down to me. At the end of Raw, WWE fans should know exactly when and where The Rock will step into the ring next, and possibly who he will face.
We will see a lot of "Touts"
With WWE's partnership with Tout in full force, and their history of aggressive social networking, I wouldn't be surprised to see several fan Touts during the show. This doesn't bother me too much, so long as it's not a complete focus of the show, rather than being sprinkled in at non-invasive times. The WWE Universe is likely the group of fans that want to interact most with the product they are consuming, and WWE has acknowledged this and is giving them an even bigger platform to do so.
The Tag titles will be defended
This is more of a request than a prediction: R Truth and Kofi Kingston will lose the tag team titles to the Prime Time Players. After all, what's the biggest Raw in history without at least one title change, right?
We will see changes to the Raw set and presentation
What better time than to change the look and feel of Raw? From the set design to the ring rope color to the theme song, I could see changes being made in time for this monumental moment. This show is so important that, much like pay-per-view events, it has its own theme song (Outasight's "Tonight is The Night"). This won't necessarily be the song that will becomes Raw's official weekly theme; it just might be for the 1,000th edition of Raw, but I could still see a new theme song. "Burn it to the Ground" by Nickelback has been the Raw theme since November 2009. Before that, "To Be Loved" by Papa Roach held the position from October 2006-November 2009. Theme songs seem to change every three-to-four years. Who knows, maybe even the WWE championship title will have a new look. It's long overdue given that the design symbolizes John Cena, perhaps now is the best time to reveal a more inclusive design.
A lot of familiar faces will return to RAW
We've seen a bunch return leading up to Raw, and I think Heath Slater will have one mega name waiting for him at the end of the tunnel ... someone bigger than his past opponents. I also expect a lot of familiar faces, legends that have recently been on WWE TV and haven't been on WWE TV in a long time. On-camera Raw will be loaded, but imagine the backstage area, with so many superstars and legends present! One name you can almost guarantee to be a part of Raw is good ol' JR. He is in an interesting position right now, providing commentary on NXT as well as the biggest matches and moments on a sporadic basis (Triple H vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 28). If JR lends his voice to the show, as well as return occasionally to call an important match here and there on Raw or PPV, I think many fans will be kept happy. Raw 1,000 is a perfect opportunity for that, especially since CM Punk has been lobbying for it on Twitter.
Arda created an infographic with stats from the first 999 episodes of Raw that you can view here.