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In defense of: Raw 1000

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When the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw was announced, WWE hyped it up as something monumental.

And sure, hitting the millennial milestone of its flagship television show is huge but more than that, the company seemed to promise a show which shouldn't be missed.

Going into Monday night's telecast, it felt almost like WrestleMania was about to go down.

The buzz was heavy, the anticipation was thick.

In fact, Raw 1000's "social media score," a rating, more or less, of how much any certain topic is being discussed on Facebook, Twitter, et al. was just below WrestleMania 28's score but nearly three times as high as the previous Monday's installment of Raw.

And yet, after Raw 1000 came and went -- three hours in total -- there seemed to be a feeling of disappointment regarding the show.

In the 130 minutes or so of actual show, there were only five matches and the headlining match, a WWE Championship title bout between CM Punk and Money in the Bank winner John Cena was given about 10 minutes.

This certainly didn't feel like a pay-per-view (PPV) caliber show on par with the "Granddaddy of Them All."

Still, though, WWE put on the show it was supposed to.

Raw 1000 was not a wrestling show. While the most jaded of fans would argue Raw as a whole is no longer a wrestling show, the fact is this past Monday's installment was a giant pat on the back to WWE and a feel-good opportunity for fans.

The opening segment with D-Generation X got plenty of groans from the Twitterverse but it was fun to see a handful of old friends genuinely have fun inside the ring.

It was pure nostalgia from DX to The Rock to Mae Young's hand-son.

And yet, WWE still managed to put plans in motion for the future.

The most obvious is The Rock's announcement he will challenge for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble. For almost half a year now, whoever has the title will have a "Brahma Bull"-seye on his back.

The second is McMahon appointing AJ as Raw's General Manager. Will she continue to make Daniel Bryan's life a living hell for mistreating her during their relationship? Or will she move to bigger fish? What kind of boss will she be?

And of course, there's CM Punk's behavior in the main event. After The Big Show attacked John Cena, Punk eventually decided to make the most of a bad situation and go for the pin. Cena kicked out and Punk nearly lost the title until Show interfered again.

That's not behavior very becoming of a champion. Just last week, Show was goading Cena into cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on a vulnerable Punk but he refused. Punk, faced with the most situation, obliged to his darker side.

Then his attack on The Rock -- who ran in to stop Show's continued onslaught on Cena -- cemented the fact Punk's attitude has changed.

Why didn't he help Cena following the DQ finish? Why did he blindside The Rock?

WWE knew -- correctly -- there would be more eyes on Raw than had been in a blue moon. Instead of delivering a finite show that could easily be digested in one sitting, they opened up doors to several different storylines which will hopefully make some of those who tuned in on Monday for the first time in a while tune in once again for Raw 1001.

Raw 1000 wasn't WrestleMania 28.5, it was the show it needed to be.

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