Welcome to the adrenaline-fueled world of WWE Raw, where the ring is more than just canvas, and the drama unfolds with every body slam and mic drop. Raw has been a cornerstone of wrestling history since its inception in 1993, and we’re here to unearth the untold stories and well-guarded secrets that have shaped this iconic show.
1. The Raw Feeling: Raw wasn’t just a name; it was a concept. WWE wanted the show to embody a gritty, unpredictable, and uncensored vibe. “Down & Dirty” was considered, but “Raw” captured the essence of the show WWE envisioned. It was to be uncut, uncooked, and always surprising.
2. The Manhattan Center: The iconic Manhattan Center in New York City hosted the first Raw episodes, but it wasn’t without challenges. Fans had to climb eight flights of stairs to access the show, and after relocating due to logistical issues, Raw made special returns to this venue in 1997 and 2018.
3. The Not-So-Special Post-WrestleMania Raw: The post-WrestleMania Raw episodes are known for their excitement, but the first one in 1993 didn’t live up to today’s standards. It occurred before WrestleMania IX, and the most memorable part was Jerry “The King” Lawler’s in-ring debut. Not exactly the epic show we’ve come to expect.
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4. Historic Title Changes: Raw’s first title change took place just four months into its run when Marty Jannetty defeated Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship. It was the birth of the show’s championship history, setting the stage for more memorable moments to come.
5. The Infamous Pillman & Austin Segment: The Stone Cold Steve Austin and Brian Pillman segment, featuring a gun, almost led to Raw’s cancellation. The controversy it generated had parents and advertisers concerned, almost causing the USA Network to drop the show. This segment played a pivotal role in the “Attitude Era.”
6. “Royal Rumble Raw”: Raw was preempted several times for the Westminster Dog Show. In 2006, it was completely replaced by this dog show. Eventually, the show found its permanent home on the USA Network.
7. Dropping the “War” in “Raw is War”: After 9/11, the use of “war” in the show’s title became less appropriate, so WWE transitioned back to “Monday Night Raw.” The rebranding was a reflection of the times.
8. Snowed-In Raw: Roman Reigns’ polarizing 2015 Royal Rumble victory was anticipated to lead to an electric Raw. However, Mother Nature intervened with a snowstorm that forced the show’s cancellation. WWE had to fill airtime with interviews, recaps, and highlights.
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9. Randy Orton’s Raw Reign: John Cena may have held the record for the most Raw appearances for years, but Randy Orton recently surpassed him. Orton’s evolution from a young star to a veteran with over 450 appearances demonstrates the longevity of this wrestling powerhouse.
10. Longest Running, Most Intriguing: WWE Raw isn’t just a show; it’s a phenomenon. From a gritty beginning at the Manhattan Center to becoming a cultural juggernaut, Raw has transformed the wrestling landscape. Its history is etched in grudges, cheers, and unforgettable moments.
Step into the squared circle of wrestling history and uncover the stories that make WWE Raw a pillar of entertainment. From the Manhattan Center’s quirks to the controversial Pillman & Austin segment, Raw’s past is as thrilling as its ring battles. Don’t miss the untold tales of the longest-running weekly episodic television show in history.
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Now, let’s dive deeper into the heart-pounding history of WWE Raw:
11. Monday Night Wars: Raw found itself in a legendary battle known as the Monday Night Wars. It went head-to-head with WCW’s “Monday Nitro” during the late ’90s, creating a fierce competition that significantly contributed to the wrestling boom during that era. Raw emerged as the victor in this ratings war, solidifying its status as the flagship show.
12. Evolution of Women’s Wrestling: Raw has played a pivotal role in the evolution of women’s wrestling. From “bra and panties” matches to groundbreaking main events, Raw has witnessed the transformation of women from eye candy to fierce competitors. The Women’s Evolution, with superstars like Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, is one of the defining chapters in Raw’s history.
13. Monday Night Rollins: Seth Rollins, the “Architect,” earned the nickname “Monday Night Rollins” for his incredible performances on Raw. His run as the top champion and his “burn it down” attitude became synonymous with the brand. Rollins’ contributions elevated Raw to new heights.
14. Guest Host Era: Raw experimented with guest hosts, bringing celebrities from various fields to run the show. It resulted in some unforgettable moments, from Bob Barker hosting a special “Price Is Right” episode to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s electrifying appearances.
15. Raw’s Memorable Debuts: Raw has witnessed remarkable debuts. Superstars like The Shield, Brock Lesnar, and Chris Jericho made their presence felt on the red brand. These debuts sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe and set the stage for epic rivalries.
16. The Raw After WrestleMania Phenomenon: The Raw after WrestleMania became a show in its own league. It’s where fans let loose with chants and surprises abound. Iconic moments like the return of The Hardy Boyz and the “This is Your Life” segment have unfolded during these post-WrestleMania shows.
17. Legends Return to Raw: Raw has welcomed legends back to the ring. From The Undertaker’s sporadic appearances to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s beer-swilling antics, these moments remind fans of the show’s enduring legacy.
18. Raw’s Expansion: Over the years, Raw expanded its horizons with the likes of “Raw Underground” and “Raw After Dark.” These experimental shows added a fresh layer of excitement, showing that Raw can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of sports entertainment.
As we’ve delved into the vault of Raw’s history, it’s evident that this show is more than a television program; it’s a cultural phenomenon. Raw’s legacy is etched in moments that evoke emotions and make fans chant “This is awesome!” The pulse-pounding action and jaw-dropping storylines have kept the WWE Universe hooked for decades, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.