Raw, television's longest episodic show in the history of well television had its 20th anniversary last night along with a bad ass beginning. It made you think we were going to go back in time and witness some of the clips that made Raw great. Instead, little attention and detail was paid to the past, and we witnessed the train move forward as story lines would progress.
I, like many were disappointed at the amount of nostalgia and tribute paid to this show. No Stone Cold Steve Austin at all, but Nature Boy Ric Flair. Let's be honest here. Flair is a legend yes, but his appearance on the show last night made me cringe, and much of it was due to the Miz. The Miz TV segment with Flair was absolutely ridiculous and although it gave some gems from the past with the video package it put together, Miz putting up and coming superstar and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro was for lack of a better word, dumb! Flair making an appearance on a show that Austin brought back from the dead when Flair was on it (the first time) without Austin was flabbergasting. You have the Rock on with another pre Wrestlemania rock conert, but no Austin. I would have also liked to see more highlights from the past as well.
However, put that all aside. Are we going to say that last night's show sucked? No. In fact, it was a great show. You had two matches that lit up the place. Dare I say the Divas title match with Eve and Kaitlin was very well done. Shame that Eve had to go as I feel she is a talented performer, and her departure thins out a female roster that is running on empty with departures of Kelly Kelly, the Bellas, and Beth Phoenix. I also thought the cage match was very cool as well, but I wanted to see AJ jump off the top of the cage at Cena with him catching her, providing the distraction for Dolph to hit the second zig zag and stop the almighty Cena. Other cool parts were Big Show and ADR's segment. Money quote of the night (as I agree with Geno Mrosko) was Show saying "I don't see what the letter C has to do with this" when the crowd was chanting si si si. I also enjoyed the match between Sheamus and 3MB and I love how JBL dogs on 3MB all night. The best was on Smackdown the other night when asked if a member of 3MB could win the rumble, JBL responded by a simple "no!." I love him on commentary by the way.
I don't mean to give you a blow by blow recap, but what I will say to get to my original point, people are talking about how this show sucks so much because oldies were not brought back. I have two counterpoints to this. One, you are on the road to one of your biggest pay per views of the year. The Royal Rumble is the gate that opens the road to Wrestlemania. With two weeks to go, you need to move the stories along. You need to develop potential rivalries and close old ones. Perhaps the cage match did just that. WWE needs to learn how to bring a feud to a close sooner. Which brings me to point number 2. A few months ago, we were treated to nostalgia. We were treated to the good old days. When the Raw 1000th episode took place, much of that happened. I was actually surprised they were going in that direction until I heard they were telling all the old superstars they shouldn't plan on being there. The one sticking point is Austin didn't return to either episode. I don't know if he didn 't want to or WWE didn't ask.
What I do know is if there was no "Raw 20th Anniversary Celebration" tagline, last night would have been a normal show. Wrestlemania 29 is poising itself to make the last 28 look small. That is the company's mission right now. Not live in the glory days of the 90's and 2000's when Raw started. They did that during a slow booking season at #RAW1000. They don't feel they need to do it again. I would rather they advance things and get ready for big payoffs at the Rumble, Mania, and everything in between. That's what important to WWE now, and quite frankly that should be important to the WWE Universe right now. I don't know about you, but I would gladly sacrifice a tribute show for a better Mania.
It was a good show, and I was compelled to watch it. At the end of the day, that's all that matters right?