Episode 999 - One more week until three hour Raws. Oh dear lord what are we getting ourselves into? Let's live in the moment though; John Cena and Ziggler are Mr. Money in the Bank for their respective shows. CM Punk will face Big Show in a non-title match tonight...oh no.
On to the live show, WWE Champion CM Punk is first out to a warm crowd welcome. CM Punk says despite being a straight edge, he loves Las Vegas; last time he was here, he dropped the Pipebomb. Punk said back then that he was the best and he continues to prove it. Punk says that last night, AJ was confused; she didn't know if she was for or against him. Back when WWE Raw first started, a "guy like Punk" could never have been on the show, let alone an eight month WWE Champion. Punk wants to be on the 1000th episode as WWE Champion...and is interrupted by his opponent tonight, The Big Show. Show runs down Punk's speech and says that he was inches from winning MITB; the crowd responds by telling Big Show that he sucks. Big Show scolds them, saying they are being rude.
Show says Cena was in the right place at the right time to grab the briefcase when the handle broke and Show would gladly cash in right now if he could. Punk interrupts the giant and says yeah, you did "almost win"; almost doesn't count. Punk says Show always leaves a wake of destruction but manages to lose. Show should be Mr. Money in the Bank; he has all the components, but he lost. That's why Punk has the respect of the people and Show has a big fat contract. Show asks if these people respect Punk, which they cheer for, then Show says they don't even respect themselves. If Punk left WWE tomorrow, it would be a week until the WWE Universe moved onto the next big or new thing. Show doesn't care if the people respect him; the company revolves around one men and everyone else is a cog in the machine. Punk says he's the WWE Champion and Show isn't; he's a bitter, under achieving shell of a man who happens to be a giant. Show says that that's Punk's opinion, but Cena is Mr. Money in the Bank now; after tonight when Show knocks Punk out, he could lose his title. Show mimics Punk's pipebomb motion and heads to the back, leaving the WWE Champion to contemplate dealing with a fresh John Cena after a match with Big Show.
Up next, the WWE Tag Team Championship is on the line.
Next week for Raw 1000, a poll is running for what mid-level title will be defended. You've got three hours, how about all three, guys?
Match 1: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c) vs Primetime Players, WWE Tag Team Championship
Winners: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth via pinfall
AW introduces the PTP once again. So we have Ricardo to introduce Alberto del Rio, Vickie comes out to introduce Ziggler and AW now introduces PTP each match. That's a bit of overkill. AW is once again miked up to commentate and pep talk his boys, the challengers. Please be introducing. O'Neil starts out with power on Kofi and quickly tags in Young, better suited to actually run a match. Young drives Kofi to a corner, but Kofi kicks his way out and lands a huge dropkick. Kofi takes Young to his corner and Truth tags in for a double team hip toss, a back kick from Kofi and a dancing leg drop from Truth. AW implores for Young to move, but he catches it anyway. Kofi tags back in and lands a flying crossbody for two on Young. Titus tries to run interference but catches a Kofi dropkick. Both challengers are kicked to the floor and Kofi springboards off of Truth for a tope con hilo, leading us to a commercial with the champions standing tall.
Back from break, the challengers are in charge and as Kofi tries for a tag, Titus tags in to keep the pressure on. O'Neil locks in a bearhug on Kofi mid-ring.Titus brings Kofi back to his corner and tags Young back in. Young pulls Kofi to the apron and AW picks his hair up as he clubs Kofi on the chest. Young tags O'Neil back in, but Kofi sneaks out and tags Truth who runs wild on Titus with a low dropkick, strikes, a leg lariat and a very odd DDT. Young breaks up the pinfall attempt and gets clotheslined over the top for his efforts. Titus tries to attack from behind but runs into Trouble in Paradise on the apron and turns into the Little Jimmy (this is absolutely the WORST name for any move in professional wrestling ever) and the champs retain.
AW is irate and blames the referee, wanting another title shot. I don't at all understand having the Colons beat PTP last night clean then have them lose their title shot against the champions. By all rights, Primo and Epico should be up next for a title shot, having beaten the most recent number one contenders, but it just doesn't work that way in WWE. Here's hoping the team of Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel get to mix it up at some point.
AJ is in the back and Daniel Bryan walks in; AJ says she called it down the middle and Bryan apologizes. "No hidden motives, agenda, etc". Bryan says he got so caught up in beating Punk that he made AJ the scapegoat, but last night it hit him - He can finally admit that...Eve interrupts from behind and berates Bryan for bailing on her in the tag match last week. This week, Eve gets to choose her own partner to face Bryan and AJ. Eve says you know what revenge is; what AJ is. A more talented female wrestler? Ohhhhh...a bitch. Damn you PG TV. AJ asks Bryan to continue what he was saying and he says he'll tell her after they win their match, then gives her a kiss on the cheek. Definitely wasted no time continuing this program; it'll stand to see how much of it still includes CM Punk as well. Eve, as usual, sounds like a bad actress spitting out poorly written dialogue.
Match 2: Zack Ryder vs Alberto del Rio
Winner: Alberto del Rio via submission
Del Rio goes right to work striking at Ryder with kicks. Ryder elbows out of the corner, then lands a knee and right hands. Del Rio goes right after the arm and stretches it in the ropes. Del Rio with his big jumping stomp to Ryder on the floor, then throws him arm first into the steps and then the barricade. Ryder drives ADR into the apron and gets back in the ring. Del Rio comes right back at Ryder and throws him into the ringpost. ADR rolls Ryder over into the Cross Armbreaker and Ryder taps right away.
ADR straps it back on after the match and Rey Mysterio's music hits, with full pyro. See this is great and noble, except ADR could still have the armbar on Ryder and this wouldn't help until Rey hits the ring. Rey does and gets stomped away at right away. Rey fights back with forearms and kicks then a headscissors, leading to the 619, which the crowd goes ballistic for. Ryder has disappeared from the ring; Rey comes out to stop ADR brutalizing somebody and doesn't even check on the guy. This is the kind of half-assed thinking that gets people to go "they just don't care". We got a surprise return though, so that's good enough to make the people happy.
Raw 1000 Moment with Heath Slater: The One Man Band makes puns about how he made a splash with Vader, clowned around with Doink and showed Sid that he was the bomb. He says that DDP came down to teach Slater how to do the Diamond Cutter and Bob Backlund gave him a hug. Ok, so he's entirely delusional - I can deal with that gimmick.
Match 3: Heath Slater vs Rikishi
Winner: Rikishi via pinfall
Slater says he's not stupid and expects a Raw legend - he gets Rikishi. That's the Usos' daddy! The crowd is sure happy to see him. Slater slips under a tie up and jaws at the crowd, but catches a kick in the mouth followed by the Stinkface. Rikishi follows with the Samoan Spike to the throat and the Bonzai Drop.
Rikishi dims the lights and the Usos appear as they come back to do Rikishi's old Too Cool dance. Sincerely surprised Brodus Clay didn't somehow get inserted on that one. So they've gotten a bit more modern for episode 999's Heath-beating legend. Next week for 1000? Maybe Heath gets a Sharpshooter...or a Rock Bottom...maybe a Mandible Claw...or a Tombstone?
Match 4: Eve and The Miz vs AJ and Daniel Bryan, mixed tag
Winners: AJ and Daniel Bryan via pinfall
Eve is still catching "hoeski" chants, but she introduces her partner, The Miz. Welcome back, Miz. The crowd is so happy to see someone they hate; a couple months away is the best kind of jumpstart for The Miz and his career. Of note, Miz and Bryan have a storied history, from NXT up through WWE, so that could be an interesting caveat to this matchup.
The men start and tie up, with Miz backing Bryan into a corner. Bryan ducks a punch and lands repeated kicks in the corner. Bryan hits the ropes and takes a knee to the gut and Miz's boot to the face. AJ tags in, drawing Eve into the match. Eve overpowers AJ and stomps her in the corner. Eve with a snapmare and a kick to the chest for two. Eve drives AJ's neck into the ropes, then lifts AJ in the corner in a chinlock. AJ fights back and lands a series of kicks and the Shining Apprentice, but Miz steps into the ring, forcing the ref to not count. AJ dropkicks Miz off the apron from behind and flashes him her crazysweet smile. Miz hits the ring and Eve rolls AJ up in a small package; Bryan grabs a leg and rolls them over so that AJ is on top, netting them the win.
AJ sees the replay on the Titantron, apparently not knowing that she was upended by another human being moments ago. Bryan grabs a mic and says that there was something AJ used to say to him, something he was too scared and stupid to say back. Bryan says he loves AJ, which the crowd boos and AJ...contemplates. Bryan reaches ringside for something; he says that last week he proposed because he wanted to be WWE Champion. This week, he proposes for love, and he has a ring this time. Bryan puts the ring on her finger and she says "yes". They kiss and tandem-YES, which the crowd, who was just booing the proposal, does along with them. We're a simple folk, we fans are. I guess that's your resolution, at least for now, since Punk didn't interfere and finished the PPV by yanking his title out of AJ's hands. Not sure if that counts as a face turn for Bryan, a heel turn for AJ or if love transcends that alignment. Or maybe Bryan is just a master manipulator...
Raw 1000 Moments: The Rock usurps the smokin' skull belt from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and then proceeds to punch him into a river. Ok, that was a good one.
As per Twitter and Daniel Bryan, there will be a wedding ceremony next week for he and AJ. Never seen that bit before. Maybe Jay Lethal will show up and interrupt the nuptials.
Match 5: Jack Swagger vs Ryback
Winner: No contest
Ryback is one of the few guys in WWE that can make Swagger even begin to look puny. Swagger jumps him coming through the ropes and delivers boots and hands. Swagger lands the Gutwrench Powerbomb, leaving Ryback down , then lands the Swagger Bomb out of the corner. Swagger goes to the Ankle Lock, but Ryback kicks out of it. Swagger shoulder tackles Ryback back down to the mat and tries the Ankle Lock again, but gets kicked off, then takes a huge lariat. Ryback follows up with a big spinebuster and a trifecta of deadlift powerbombs.
Match never technically started. Ryback took everything Swagger has in his arsenal and popped right back up, destroying him. To a good point, Ryback was actually held down for a period of time there; this will allow him to begin to be booked a tad more normally. Deadlift powerbombs were impressive; Swagger is a big boy.
Vickie Guerrero steps out to introduce Mr Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, fresh off his win and subsequent almost-failure to cash in. Dolph recounts that every cash in has been a success; that means you're looking at the new World Heavyweight Champion. Ziggler says he'll be better than Bret Hart, better than Steve Austin, better than The Rock. Ziggler says he's the future champion and it's undisputed...which draws out the first ever Undisputed WWE Champion, Chris Jericho.
Dolph stops Jericho before he even talks; he wants to keep his spotlight, his moment. Ziggler won his MITB match; Jericho didn't win his. Ziggler points out that Jericho has never won MITB; when's the last time he won anything? All Ziggler has heard since Jericho came back is how great he is, how he would save the WWE Universe, how it was the end of the world as we know it, how Jericho is the best in the world at what he does; apparently what Jericho does is lose. Nobody has been given more changes that Jericho; he's been coasting along, keeping everyone fooled. Ziggler continues that Jericho is all hype. Ziggler asks when the last time Jericho won an important match was. Is it possible that Jericho is losing his touch? Without a word, Jericho drops Ziggler with the Codebreaker and leaves. I don't think he's lost his touch.
Match 6: Brodus Clay vs JTG
Winner: Brodus Clay via pinfall
Only thing worse than a negative crowd reaction is none. Nobody in this crowd gives even the slightest damn about JTG. JTG rushes in for a tie up and gets tossed, then takes a shoulder block. Brodus lands his kneeling gut punch then a knee lift. Brodus suplexes JTG then lands a jumping elbow drop. JTG gets a boot up in the corner and attacks the still heavily taped knee of Clay. JTG with boots to the head and mocking Clay's dancing, then settles into a front facelock. Clay stands up, but JTG dropkicks the knee and then the face. JTG tries a crossbody but gets caught and takes a t-bone suplex and big headbutt, followed by the Funksaurus landing a splash for the win.
Clay's matches have evolved to have him take some shots to his knee, but it's still the same match each outing. Then he dances with the kiddies, which is fine. But there's no upward movement for Clay with this bit; even Ryback seems to be changing/evolving more rapidly.
Raw 1000 Moments with Donald Trump: The night after Trump forces Vince's head to be shaved, Bobby Lashley reveals Vince's bald head.
Match 7: CM Punk (WWE Champion) vs Big Show, non-title
Winner: CM Punk via disqualification
Punk avoids Big Show's hands early on and kicks away at his legs, but Show muscles him into the corner, then lands a headbutt that puts Punk right on the mat. Show with a frying pan slap in the corner. Punk tries right hands to the gut, but ends up running into a shoulder block. Big Show stands on CM Punk's back at the ropes. Show steps out to the floor and delivers a chop to the chest of the WWE Champion. Punk tries to fight back on the floor, but takes another headbutt that levels him. Show lifts Punk, but he slithers out and shoves Show headfirst into the ringpost. Both men roll back into the ring and Punk delivers kicks to Show, who fights back with another headbutt. Show strikes the midsection of Punk then chokes him with his boot in the corner. Punk gets a boot up in the opposite corner and tries a second rope dive, but gets caught and takes a scoop slam. Show lifts Punk to his feet then delivers a big punch to the ribs, then another. Punk fights back with a chop and forearms, then jumps on Show's back with a sleeper. Show reaches back and pulls Punk forward, landing a side slam, then heads to the middle rope. Big Show tries a Vader Bomb and Punk rolls out of the way. Punk with a kick, clotheslines and a kick to the gut, but he runs into a back body drop for huge elevation. Big Show calls for the Weapon of Mass Destruction and Punk ducks and delivers a kick to Show's head, then a pair of enzuigiris, followed by the high knee in the corner and another. Punk makes it three, but doesn't get the bulldog. Show misses on an avalanche in the opposite corner and hits the mat. Punk heads up top and lands a diving elbow for two. Punk springboards at Show, but dives into a Chokeslam. Punk gets his foot on the rope at two. Show drives Punk into the corner and claws at the ribs of the WWE Champion. Big Show tosses the referee out of the way and gets disqualified.
Show continues to assault CM Punk and scoop slams him, wanting the WMD. John Cena's music hits and he hits the ring with the briefcase. Big Show leaves, not wanting any part of Cena. Mr Money in the Bank calls for a mic and says he will deliver his announcement that he Tout'd earlier in the day. Show interrupts and says he knows that Cena will cash in on the exposed, weakened WWE Champion. Show says Cena would be a fool not to cash in now. Big Show continues saying that the crowd doesn't respect Cena or themselves. Big Show goads Cena, but Cena says he's giving Punk one week; be ready for Cena to cash in at Raw 1000. Cena's huge announcement? He whacks Big Show in the face with the briefcase.
So planned for Raw 1000 is a show opening DX reunion, an appearance by Brock Lesnar, The Rock showing up, Christian defending the Intercontinental Championship and John Cena cashing in his Money in the Bank to face a fresh CM Punk for the WWE Championship. This first three hour Raw has to be top notch; WWE needs to sell the idea of a PPV-length show on a weekly basis to the fanbase. It might behoove them to dedicate the 8PM hour to a cruiserweight/light heavyweight division or something else rather than just an extended Raw show in the long run. Alternately, they could begin to utilize the talents like Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt from NXT; the rumor is that they will be establishing a title for the developmental group, so perhaps a perk of being that champion could be having matches on the "main" shows. Always need to have incentives, right?