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Precap to the Jan. 14, 2013 episode of WWE 'Monday Night Raw', or the one where 'Raw' is 20 years old

Previewing the Jan. 14, 2013 episode of WWE "Monday Night Raw"; featuring a celebration of the show's 20th anniversary, the continuing confrontation between WWE Champion CM Punk and The Rock, A "Rock Concert," and the Shield's continued sneak attacks on the WWE roster.

Twenty Years! Anniversary! Milestones! Longevity! Celebration!

Before we move onto the night's action, dear Cagesiders, we should take a step back and recognize a milestone WWE has crossed. For over twenty years (Jan. 11, 1993 - Jan. 14, 2013), the promotion has been beaming untold hours of entertainment, from all across the nation, straight into your living rooms.

Some fans have been with Monday Night Raw since the very beginning, while most joined the fun farther on down the line. It has always been a show with a little bit for everyone -- there's action, there's comedy, there's drama and suspense -- you never know what is going to happen next; and no matter how many times we complain about the product, we always keep tuning in to watch.

Some episodes have been amazing to watch, while some have been painful. Some episodes may have sent you running into school on Tuesday mornings asking all your friends, "Did you see that?"

While others have made it impossible to admit you are a fan of pro wrestling.

Although Raw 1000 (July 23) received far more attention, twenty years is still an impressive achievement. There is something reassuring in the knowledge that, come Monday night, WWE will present a new episode of Raw. It may not be the greatest piece of television out there, but by god this is what we are passionate about. We have chosen this as our hobby... or perhaps it has chosen us. In any event, let us be proud of what WWE has achieved.

So a glass in the air for the little promotion based out of Stamford, CT. There have been times when it didn't look like it would make it, but Vince McMahon and his wacky cast of characters continued to persevere. Here's to twenty amazing horrible awesome insane indescribable years.

And here's to twenty more.

Punk! Rock! Cookie Puss! Concerts! Stare Downs! WWE Championship!

Last Monday (Jan. 7), The Rock made his triumphant return to WWE since last appearing on Raw 1000. His arrival was met by the crowds acclamation. FINALLY, The Rock had returned back to where he belonged. Fans may enjoy seeing him succeed in Hollywood, but where everyone wants to see him most, is right in the middle of a WWE ring.

Everyone, that is, except for CM Punk.

Punk's run with the WWE Championship has lasted 420 days, but he is still being forced to play second fiddle. The Rock can waltz back into the promotion, demand a championship shot, and Punk is forced to oblige. It is not only a matter of disrespect to Punk, but disrespect to everyone in the back waiting for their opportunity. Prominence isn't granted to the best wrestlers.

It is given to those who adapt the craziest characters.

Punk can walk such a thin line with his words that it frees up Rocky to be "The People's Champion." The Rock's response might have had plenty of lame catchphrases -- Cookie Puss, trending worldwide! -- but one cannot doubt the fire and intensity in his words. There was always a sense that Rock was holding back when he was feuding with John Cena.

That is something he will not be accused of doing this time around.

As great as Monday was, both men showed their excellence on Friday's (Jan. 11) SmackDown. Punk and Paul Heyman walking around Sun Life Stadium, taking shots at the University of Miami, may have been cheap heat, but it was done with the skill of a surgeon.

Likewise, Rock's bit with Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes is the early favorite for segment of the year. Both men are at the top of their game, and they may even get better as we move forward.

I'm sorry if I sound like a giddy school girl, Cagesiders, but these next few weeks are going to be the most fun I've had watching pro wrestling in a long time.

Tonight, "The Great One" will perform one of his signature "Rock Concerts." This will be sure to provide plenty of entertainment, even if the majority of it comes from the cheap pop variety. However, it is still up in the air on how Punk will respond. A "Punk Concert?" Slam poetry with Heyman on the bongos?

Or could we witness the debut of M.C. Punk? I don't know about you, but I'm kind of hoping for the last one.

Everything Else! Bullet Points!

  • WWE crowned a NEW World Heavyweight Champion after Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match on Friday's SmackDown. There may be mixed opinions as to if it was right for Show to drop the title to Del Rio or not, but it does make a lot of sense when you look closely. SmackDown was taped in Miami. WWE is currently touring in the Southwest. With Rey Mysterio out and Sin Cara a hot mess, WWE needs a Mexican Superstar to market. Add that to the fact there really are few good guys on the SmackDown roster who can legitimately main event the show, and it's tough to argue with the decision. The pair will probably pair up until WrestleMania 29, before we can finally see Dolph Ziggler cash in.
  • Daniel Bryan and Kane will have a four month follow-up evaluation with Dr. Shelby tonight. Considering the "Anger Management" segment won Cageside Seats' "Segment of the Year," there are high expectations for this to go well.
  • Kaitlyn will face Eve Torres for the Divas Championship. Do with that what you will.

Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join the CSS Monday night crew in the live blog TONIGHT!

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