I hadn’t written a professional-wrestling-related article in a while, and, lest anyone forget that I’m a single, geeky, moderately-overweight, 30-something white guy, I figured I would make a few quick predictions for tonight’s historic broadcast of Monday Night RAW.
For the uninitiated, RAW (and I have no idea why we capitalize it, but we do) is the flagship program of the WWE (which is capitalized because it’s an acronym). It first aired in January of 1993, and has, as of this writing, broadcast 999 episodes. As we have been reminded on a regular basis for several years, it is the longestrunningweeklyepisodictvshow in history.
With the significance of tonight’s show in mind, here are some unsolicited predictions of varying prescience:
1. Kane interrupts the AJ / Daniel Bryan wedding: Duh. Devotees will remember that Kane has improbably been involved in not one, but two on-air wedding interruptions. This will serve both as a launching point for a feud, as well as a nice callback. Of course, the preferable outcome might be Kane not interrupting (or interrupting to say “best wishes” and give them a bread-maker), and then Bryan cruelly dumping AJ at the altar as payback for the mindgames of the last couple of months. Good lord, it’s weird that I actually devote brainpower to this stuff.
2. The Undertaker shows up: The ads for RAW 1000 already reference Bret Hart, The Rock, HBK, and Roddy Piper, but I also think that the Undertaker will appear for the first time since Wrestlemania. He’ll probably appear only in a ceremonial fashion, as he’s the last guy left on the roster (and he’s barely on the roster) who appeared on the first episode.
3. Steve Austin will also appear: Some (read: Mike Austin) are hoping C. M. Punk is going to turn heel and take on Austin for a “dream” match at next year’s Wrestlemania, with the groundwork for that being laid at RAW 1000, but most of us on the saner side of fandom just think Austin will arrive, raise hell, and leave after going through the usual motions. An ATV may be involved. Beer most certainly will.
4. Brock Lesnar will accept HHH’s challenge: Again, this is a no-brainer that would actually be much more interesting if Lesnar (kayfabe) refused to play ball. More likely, he’ll interrupt the DX reunion to prove some kind of point, accepting the challenge to set up the SummerSlam match. I hope Heyman is involved.
5. Randy Orton will return: This one is a little tricky, because Orton was suspended for 60 days following a second wellness policy violation. The WWE would have to fudge that a little to have him appear on RAW, but only by a few days. Given the fact that the show is in Orton’s hometown of St. Louis, the temptation to have him on the show may be too great. And, let’s be honest—if there’s any setting in which we can expect rules to be changed, ignored, or even forgotten on an ad hoc basis, it’s the world of professional wrestling.
6. John Cena will not win the WWE Title: Either his cash-in will be stopped before it starts, or Cena (likely with “help”) will straight-up lose to Punk to become the first to fail on a MITB cash-in. There’s a lot that could be done creatively in the wake of those events, with the most probable being a feud leading up to SummerSlam with whoever costs Cena the win (e.g. The Miz, who is also due to make an impact on RAW 1000, or the Big Show). I think the safest bet is that the match won’t happen at all, and the cash-in will be pushed back to SummerSlam (where Cena will likely lose anyway).
7. Something big will happen with Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler: Maybe this is also wishful thinking. It seems more probable that the Jericho / Ziggler match teased last week won’t happen until Summerslam. But, when it does, I think the twist will be that Jericho actually beats Ziggler (which won’t seem to make sense at first, given how the last several months have been booked), but Ziggler does a surprise cash-in later in the night and wins the World Title. Doing it on RAW 1000 would be a nice tip of the cap to the fans if the Cena / Punk match turns out to be a bait-and-switch (see above).
8. Mr. McMahon will take a bow: There’s no way that Vince could pass up the opportunity to pat himself on the back publicly for the success of RAW. And, you know what? Rightfully so. But you can bet that a guy who still can’t let the whole “WCW thing” go won’t be able to resist gloating here. His segment will probably involve someone considered to be comic relief, with Heath Slater or Brodus Clay being the best candidates.
9. Someone will make a “major announcement” about the future: Despite all the foregoing, the WWE usually trots out big announcements when they know the most eyeballs will be on them. They’ve indicated we’ll get some clarity on the GM situation, which may turn out to be that the fans will be the GM, in that they’ll have input into each show (think “Cyber Sunday” on a smaller scale), as when the WWE put a title match for RAW 1000 up to a vote last week.
10. A new WWE Title belt will be unveiled: This one is more of a long-shot, but some rumors of a new belt swirled in the beginning of June. This would be a good night to debut it.
11. I will look at the clock around 9:30 and think, “I can’t believe they’re going to do three-plus-hour shows every week from now on” while shaking my head: Tonight’s show will be so loaded that there will be no problem whatsoever doing a three-hour RAW. But just wait until we’re halfway through September, with Summerslam many weeks in the past, Survivor Series just on the horizon, and a Ryback / JTG match happening at 10:15. Speaking of which . . .
12. I will turn off the TV at 10:15 and watch the rest of the show on Tuesday: Three hours for a non-PPV is a long haul, and, as great as this particular episode may be, I also have (1) a job, and (2) a DVR. Fifty-fifty shot I make it all the way through.
13. I will eat embarrassing amounts of pizza and question major life decisions I’ve made in the past: I mean, it wouldn’t be a Monday night without either of those, would it?