Panto, soap opera, faked, all these accusations have been leveled at WWE over the years, but with Monday Night Raw celebrating its 1000th episode, it's time for doubters to hold their hands up and celebrate what a historic and memorable achievement this is.
Monday Night Raw 1000th Episode – For the so called “normal” people of this world, those who find the wrestling world ridiculous and a bit of a joke, then the events of this past Monday will probably have passed them by; but, for that select group of us that are not so normal, that special breed known as wrestling fans, this past Monday was a pretty significant night. For this week, the WWE’s flagship show Monday Night Raw, reached its 1000th Episode.
Monday Night Raw first aired in 1993 and has been hitting screens every week ever since; and, as the WWE will gladly inform you, it is now officially “the longest running weekly episodic television program” going, which in layman’s terms means it’s the longest running show in America that’s on once a week. So, as they’ve approached this golden milestone of 1000 episodes, we have certainly been made well aware of this upcoming feat and hoped that this extravaganza of wrestling would be worth the hype. Thankfully, we needn’t have worried; if there’s one thing the WWE does well, it’s making their really big events, and their significant moments, memorable.
The show started as it meant to go on; owner, creator and all round mastermind of it all Vince McMahon kicked it off by welcoming the fans to Monday Night Raw just as he did all those years ago on Episode 1. He then wasted no time by introducing living WWE legends Shawn Michaels and Triple H in their iconic Degeneration X guise; closely followed by a few well-known faces The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac to really whip the St Louis crowd into a frenzy and open the show with a bang.
If there’s one thing the WWE does well, it’s making their really big events, and their significant moments, memorable.
From then on Raw 1000 was a good mix of the current WWE crop, a steady flow of familiar returning stars, and even more familiar catchphrases. Just to be asked back for something like this is an achievement given the WWE’s notorious selective memory; there are many wrestlers whose careers and legacies may just as well have never happened in the eyes of the WWE. For a whole host of reasons, wrestlers such as Macho Man Randy Savage, Chyna and most infamously of all, Chris Benoit may as well have never existed.
Anyway back to the show, prior to getting himself involved in the main event, the irrepressible Rock turned up and did what he does best and verbally destroy whichever poor sod they choose put in front of him this time. The best there is, was and ever will be, Bret Hart made an made a brief cameo appearance to introduce an Intercontinental match; but perhaps the biggest pop of the night was saved the for the tolling of the iconic bells as the Demon of Death Valley himself, The Undertaker made a rare appearance.
The main event of the evening pitted the modern day Hulk Hogan, John Cena (For ‘Say your prayers, take you vitamins, drink your milk’, see ‘Hustle, Loyalty, Respect’) against modern day Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk. The match itself was ok, but today’s wrestling is all about the finishes; and, with The Rock and WWE veteran Big Show getting themselves involved and interfering, there was a unique twist to close the show and keep the fans on tenterhooks until show 1001. Already planning for the next 1000?! You better believe it!
There was of course the odd interspersing of shite too, we could have done without Mick Foley dancing and the Daniel Bryan/AJ wedding; wrestling based weddings have always been a bit cringe worthy and drifted a little too close to soap opera territory for my liking, but hey, you can’t have everything, and it did have 80′s manager “Slick” conducting the ceremony!
in 20 years’ time, I for one certainly wouldn’t be surprised if we were celebrating the 2000th episode of Monday Night Raw.
Overall though it ticked all the right boxes, the fans got what they wanted, plenty of action, surprise appearances and even a good old fashioned heel turn to finish it all off on as the WWE set themselves up nicely for their next upcoming blockbusters Summerslam, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.
So what’s next for the WWE, where does it go from here? Since the first Raw all those years ago, Vince McMahon has brought the WWE a hell of a long way. Huge sold out arenas worldwide, wrestlers made into superstars, Jesus, they’re even making movies these days. Given wrestling’s unique and niche standing in today’s popular culture, there’s certainly no sign of its popularity waning anytime soon; and given the way they have always embraced change and growth by utilising the latest advancements like Pay-per-view, the Internet, Twitter, movies etc., etc. who knows how big the WWE can grow to be. Once Vince calls it a day, his empire will fall into the safe hands of his kids Shane and Stephanie who have been brought up in this mental business of professional wrestling; so, in 20 years’ time, I for one certainly wouldn’t be surprised if we were celebrating the 2000th episode of Monday Night Raw.
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