I'll admit: when I was a little girl, I grew up on a block of nothing but boys...and I got quite a few tomboy tendencies from the experience. One thing we always did was watch wrestling and pretend we were wrestlers on the huge trampoline in my backyard, usually ending in a huge laugh-filled dog pile in the center. I was almost always my favorite wrestler - the Hot Rod himself - "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. When we all broke off into tag teams, I was my second favorite wrestler - Bradshaw (later called John Bradshaw Layfield, or JBL) from the Acolytes/APA, while my best friend Danny was Bradshaw's teammate, recent Hall of Fame inductee, Farooq.

Years have past, all of the kids on the block grew up and went our separate ways, and most of our favorite wrestlers have long since retired. I still catch and episode or two of WWE when I can; even though it's staged, you can't deny some of the impressive feats these performers do in the ring. This is why I was truly looking forward to the monumental 1000th episode of RAW. Moving out of it's two-hour time slot and into a bigger three-hour one, it didn't take rocket science to know that some big legends would be stopping by. Naturally, the show began with the reuniting of DX...and not just Triple H and HBK.
Seeing just the five of them brought back so many memories from a childhood that's getting harder and harder to remember every last detail of. Although I couldn't name every current wrestler that appeared on this episode, I could instantly tall you that the five men in the above picture are (L to R) Road Dogg, HBK, Triple H, X-Pac, and B.A. Billy Gunn. Heck, I can even sound off on their previous names (like X-Pac was originally the 1-2-3 Kid...thank goodness he didn't keep that name). This first segment alone could've made RAW 1000 the best episode I'd seen in a while.

There were a bunch of other decent-to-good segments, with some legend star power here and there. Triple H and Trish Stratus stretching backstage, Mae Young and her grown-up "hand" son (that only the older crowd of WWE fans caught; Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole - the commentators - could be heard cracking up in the background during this segment), Hacksaw Jim Duggan waving his 2x4 like, well, he always does, and a brief shot of Piper (YAY!) that I didn't even catch until I watched the episode again were all shown. There were a couple segments that I didn't really care for, but not every segment of a WWE show is going to please everyone...especially when Charlie Sheen is pointlessly having a Skype video conference with Lawler and Cole sporadically. Ugh.

Anyways, about two-thirds into the episode a wrestler by the name of Heath Slater came out to the ring. Before I go any further, I applaud that another fellow ginger is with WWE...and commend him for rocking the mid-length hairstyle that he had! When he took the mic, he challenged any legend backstage to a no-disqualification match. Here I'm wracking my brain for all of the good old wrestlers I grew up with and are still with us. Naturally I was hoping for one of two, but I received a pleasant shock when Lita came out to challenge him! The positive pop the crowd gave was very worthwhile, seeing that she remained in great shape and looked like she hadn't gone anywhere. Plus, how rare is it to see a girl get to beat up a guy in a match?

As the bell rings, Lita grabs the mic from Slater and says to hold on a minute. She wants us to know that for their match, she has hired some protection.

According to Wikipedia, marking out refers to "the act of reacting to an event in wresting as if it was legit even though the person reacting to it knows it to be staged." This can happen when a well-known legend of wrestling comes out, or when a person's favorite wrestler appears.

In WWE, when someone says that they "hired protection," there is only one thing they can be referring to...the one tag team that became "protection for hire" because they needed the beer money...the one tag team I loved growing up: Bradshaw and Farooq. The Acolyte Protection Agency. The APA. And I did the one thing that seemed appropriate: I marked out.
When I thought it couldn't get better, it did. Slater (who was on the receiving end of a beautifully nasty Clothesline From Hell from the badass Bradshaw himself as seen above) began to make his exit. Even for a new-ish guy, he knew better than to tangle with the duo who enjoys two things: drinking beer, and fighting. With APA's entrance music still playing, he reached the top of the entrance ramp...and dear sweet childhood, The Road Warriors music starts playing. Out walks a staggering amount of legend starpower: Road Warrior Animal, Diamond Dallas Page, Rikishi, Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Berklund, Vader, Psycho Sid, Doink the Clown (?!), and...oh my god...Roddy Piper!!! Can it be? My two childhood idols are in the ring together? I can't even begin to describe the smile I had on my face.

When everyone's in the ring, Slater is laid out by a combination of Lita and Bradshaw, with Lita getting the pinfall shortly thereafter. There was a celebration in the ring (all the while I'm getting ready to begin my search for a good pic of this scene and add "the world is not ready" text to the bottom of it), and all too soon did the camera pan away. The 1000th episode of RAW continued with the Brothers of Destruction (Kane and Undertaker) teaming for what could be one of the last times with perfectly timed chokeslams, finisher signals, and Tombstones. The show ended with a championship match between CM Punk (a fellow Chicago suburbs native, and the one I'd consider my favorite current-day wrestler) and John Cena that included interferences from the Big Show and the Rock. With a well-performed cliffhanger ending, the show was over and the WWE logo flashed on the screen.

For someone that doesn't follow WWE anywhere nearly as much as I did 15 years ago, it was fascinating to see the plethora of things that have changed, and the few things that have stayed the same. What happens on the 1001st episode of RAW next week doesn't really matter to me (although that cliffhanger was so brilliantly done...kudos to that). What does matter to me is that, during that short ten-minute segment, I saw two of my childhood favorites in the ring together. For those minutes, I could see myself bouncing on the trampoline with my friends as Piper and Bradshaw as if it were yesterday.
 

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    Chemist by day, roller derby diva by night, gamer 24/7. Slytherin/Renegade for life.

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