Monday Night Raw celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary today in Houston, Texas. A show that first aired in January 11th of 1993 and has become one of the most respectable TV shows of all time in American History. With over 1000 episodes and still counting, Vince McMahon has turned Monday Night Raw into a powerhouse producing some of the best entertainment the world has seen.
Thanks to the great minds at WWE , we have been introduced to some of the most iconic figures in entertainment while watching Raw. Stone Cold, The Rock, CM Punk, Mankind, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Triple H and more are just a few of the characters we have all followed throughout the years of WWE.
In honor of Raw and it’s 20th Anniversary The Source Magazine recaps our 20 best moments of Monday Night Raw.
First Episode of Raw – January 11, 1993
Take it back to where it all began, January 11, 1993, a day that would forever alter the world of wrestling and sports entertainment. WWF Monday Night Raw debuted on the USA network live from the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center. The concept of Monday Night Raw was innovative making its predecessors obsolete by providing a live show to television audiences instead of taped matches with voice over commentary added after the fact.
Mr. McMahon, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and Rob Bartlett originally hosted Raw and its ground breaking format proved to be a successful technique shoving all competition to the side. The first episode of Monday Night Raw is undoubtedly historic and a classic with the likes of The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, Koko B. Ware, and The Steiner Brothers all delivering relentless action for the fans. The first ever main event for the company’s flagship brand featured The Undertaker defeating Damien Demento.
A franchise that has marked itself in the history books all began from a humble beginning that would transcend into greatness.
-Beer For Everyone Courtesy Of Stone Cold – March 22, 1999
The rattle snake with one of the most epic moments in Raw history rips right through the flaps and moves the entire titantron rolling right down to the ring with a 16 foot Coors Light Beer truck.
After giving The Rock and The Corporation a piece of his mind, Stone Cold felt like he wanted to share a pre match beer with The Corporation. Austin walks to the back of the truck and grabs a hose only to give The Corporation a beer bath. The best part of it all was seeing Vince McMahon react to the Stone Cold beer bath. I mean who wouldn’t want to give there boss a good beer shower?
-Milk It Does A Body Good – August 20, 2001
The PG version of the Stone Cold Beer Bath. Kurt Angle drives a milk truck right down the crowd of Sacramento and bumps the entire ring which was full of members of the Alliance; at that time headed by none other than the Stone Cold Steve Austin. The crowd went wild but enjoyed a laugh thanks to Kurt Angle and his milk antics. Everything from milk cartons to gallons of milk were used in the segment until Kurt finally brought out the hose and spread everybody in their mama with milk.
Fact: The milk from the hose was not real; food coloring white water were used for the segment.
-Brock Returns With Vengance – April 2, 2012
The Monday Night Raw after Wrestlemania 28 was unforgettable. After losing the night before to The Rock, John Cena was calling out The Rock to the ring to congratulate The Great One on his victory at Wrestlemania. But to the surprise of John Cena and the fans at the American Airlines Arena the ex- WWE heavyweight Champion and UFC Champion Brock Lesnar came out to a gigantic pop.
This was the return of Brock Lesnar to WWE after competing for some time in the UFC. The moment was iconic and surreal. The best part of it all, was seeing John Cena on Brock’s shoulders and receiving an F5 from the beast Brock Lesnar.
-Finally The Rock Comes Back Home – February 14, 2011
On February 14th of 2011 WWE fans at Anaheim and views watching across the world were in shock when WWE revealed their host of that years Wrestlemania. To the surprise of the millions and millions of WWE fans The great one returned to the WWE ring after being gone from the wrestling business for 7 years.
The Rock made it aware that he was back because of his fans and guaranteed that he was never going away. He also let the world know that he had a problem with John Cena for his comments directed to The Rock. That night The Rock started his “Fruity Pebbles” chant and let the world know that he’s back to business and putting boots to asses to anybody stepping in his way.
-Vince McMahon Blows Up – June 11, 2007
This moment had WWE fans in odd. But it’s one of those moments that fans clearly remember when they talk about Raw and its history.
A night that was titled “McMahon Appreciation Night,” it seemed like Vince had a lot on his mind, so much that when he intended to speak he dropped the mic and left the ring. Things got even more erie when the entire Raw locker room was posted on the sides watching McMahon leave the building. A puzzled McMahon hoped into his limo and as soon as he shut the door the limo blew up with McMahon in it. Of course we all know this was a storyline, but it certainly had us questioning ourselves if it was real or not.
-Brian Pillman Has A Gun – November 4, 1996
WWE pushed the envelope on November 4th of 1996 with the Pillman and Austin storyline. Austin had threaten Pillman and his family after injuring Pillman a week before. While conducting an interview with WWE cameras at his house, Pillman was aware that Stone Cold Steve Austin could be in his neighborhood. The Loose Cannon however was prepared for Austin’s arrival, and as soon as the Rattle Snake broke into Pillman’s house, the Loose Cannon pulled out a gun in front of his family and the WWE universe to his defense. The cameras abruptly shut off and left fans in suspense and intrigued to know what happened next. Definitely a key moment in the begging of the Attitude Era.
-Pipe Bomb – June 27, 2011
“The most talked about promo in the modern era”- Dave Meltzer. That being said, the single best promo in pro wresting in about 7 years. Bar none. The best WWE segment in ages, let alone the most entertaining and gripping promo of an WWE Universe era.
Monday Night June 27 2011, CM Punk became a star. Punk sat indian style and delivered one of the most memorable promos in RAW history. All it took was 6 minute and 24 seconds, since than CM became the #2 guy, in the WWE.
The Pipe Bomb was reminiscent of Stone Cold who was that anti-establishment “shooter”. CM Punk is one of, if not the most, well-rounded and intelligent workers in professional wrestling. This promo made wrestling fan my age and older appreciate the element of reality, really hitting close to home. The name dropping, the body language. The disparaging way he says The Rock’s name. Calling Triple H a doofus. I can go on and on.
Had Punk never had the opportunity to air his grievances fictitious or real, WWE’s Money in the Bank pay per view and Punk’s career may have been different. Luckily for us the angle was a HUGE success and that pay per view will forever be CM Punk’s defining moment.
So what exactly has changed in the the CM Punk promo? For starters, Punk likely wouldn’t have won the WWE Championship at the Money in the Bank PPV three weeks later. After winning the championship for the second time at last November’s Survivor Series, Punk has now carried the WWE title for an entire year. Which is the fourth longest title reign in the last fifteen years. Lets keep it veal the title meant shit for a while because it kept being passed around like a cheap whore.
Hot and sexy AJ, geek goddess of all the divas had no TV time time until her relationship storyline with Daniel Bryan and the whole I dig crazy chick movement. The WWE has given talents from various indie stars an opportunity to prove themselves on WWE television. Antonio Cesaro (formerly Claudio Castagnoli) is one, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) to showcases there talents. Hopefully more sooner than later, my buddy Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero) will impress the hell out of you on WWE TV.
Regardless of the promo being a “work” or “shoot” the best promos come from real emotions and that made what CM Punk did so enjoyable. My markdom for CM Punk was already concrete but on this night I became a pepsi apostle.
-Time To Play The Game – January 7, 2002
My appreciation for The King of Kings came at the time when Triple H tore his left quadricep, during a tag team match on RAW in 2001. He injured himself while trying to break up a submission hold applied to his the tag partner Stone Cold Steve Austin. Hunter tore the muscle completely off the bone.
Now this is where the badassery of Hunter and my appreciation for The Game are forever. Hunter finished the match, shit he even sold a Walls of Jericho before he was helped to the locker room by officials. The tear would keep Hunter on the shelf for 8 months. Fast forward to Monday, January 7, 2002 a extremely jacked Triple H received one of the largest welcome back pops, I have ever heard from a Madison Square Garden crowd.
Right from jump Hunter states I am the guy that tonight, officially enters the Royal Rumble. Than a great back and fourth occurs between Angle and Hunter and than HHH delivered a Pedigree to Kurt Angle.…O Yeah 2 weeks later won the Royal Rumble, than went on to defeat Chris Jericho to becoming the WWE Champion at Wrestlemania X8 in Toronto’s Sky Dome. I often wonder what Would’ve been to have Triple H apart of the The Alliance/Invasion angel?
-Austin Goes To Jail – September 22, 1997
September 22, 1997 a date which will live in infamy. At this time Austin was too injured to wrestle, so the storyline had Vince making the decision to kept Austin out of action until he was healed. If memory serves me correct Austin went on a stunning tear. No on was safe. I remember watching an Austin documentary and the stir backstage was could this be the night Vince takes the stunner?
This was a huge deal since no one really got physical with Vince. You have to remember this was before the norm of seeing other wrestlers scrap with McMahon. Austin and McMahon really stuck gold with disgruntled employees living vicariously through this moment. Vince sadly selling this stunner makes this even more memorable.
By the time the Montreal Screw Job took place the idea of Vince McMahon being the by play commentator for the company was long gone. After Montreal Mr McMahon the evil corporate boss was born. After stunner Vince became what we saw. Totally classic moment capped off with Austin being arrested and yelling into the camera “this isn’t over Vince not by a long shot” this would become the feud of all feuds helping WWF get the upper hand during the “Monday Night Wars.”
–Mick Foley Wins His First WWE Title – January 4, 1999
January 4, 1999 was the day Mick Foley, as his Mankind character won his first WWF Championship in a Survivor Series rematch against The Rock. As you may or may not know I am NOT a Mick Foley fan. His books where good reads, but I never marked for his work. Tweet me and try to sway my Foley intolerance. But I think this even was monumental in RAW’s history, and you have to thank WCW for it.
If you did not watch wrestling during the “Monday Night Wars” I feel sorry for you. WWF use to broadcast a live episode of RAW every other Monday and recording the next week’s show every other Tuesday. WCW took advantage of the early results and reviled the outcomes to the pre-taped RAW episodes
Announcing Foley winning the championship backfired on WCW and half a million viewers switched to see Mankind win the world title. According to Foley, in the first chapter of his book Foley Is Good (and the Real World is Faker than Wrestling), this was the night WCW lost its record streak of 84 consecutive wins in the ratings.
His entire career Mick foley was an underdog and becoming WWF champion that something people wanted to see. By this point I wasn’t watching much of WCW. I find it Hilarious how this was the same night as the “fingerpoke of doom” but I didn’t see that because I was too busy watching Foley win the WWF title.
-Chokeslam Of Hell – June 7, 1999
Two giants were in the midst of a brawl, Big Show and Undertaker on June 7th, 1999. During their devastating match, the Undertaker went up the turnbuckle to drop an elbow on Show, but was caught by Big Show’s hand.
Once Show had Undertaker by his neck he picked up and choke slammed him so hard that the Undertaker went right through the ring! Something that the WWE universe had never seen before. At that time I had no idea the ring could break. This lead to many angles with rings breaking and being torn apart, but it was a defining moment in WWE history.
-Who’s Next – March 31, 2003
Goldberg made his WWE debut in 2003. After much speculation surrounding Goldberg and weather or not he would ever perform in a WWE ring, the question was finally answered after The Rock was getting ready to quit WWE because he had defeated all of his competition, Bill Goldberg makes a surprise guest appearance only to let The Rock know that he was The Machines next victim.
Goldberg had a brief stint with the WWE, but his debut was one of the highest rated segments in WWE history.
-Chris Jericho debuts on RAW -August 9, 1999
Debuts can make or break a character and we’ve bore witness to the biggest flops and successes in regards to wrestlers entering the world of sports entertainment. When fans and The Rock watched the clock tick down to zero in the United Center, Chris Jericho dubbed himself as Y2J and swore to shake up the world of sports entertainment. The classic line “Welcome to Raw is Jericho” boasted throughout the arena as the fans roared and The Rock fumed in aggravation. Jericho’s reputation in WCW carried over to his new home, continuing his edgy and boisterous antics in a new realm of wrestling.
Chris Jericho went on to have one of the greatest careers in WWF/WWE history and it all began with this impressive debut.
-DX invades WCW – April 27, 1998
In the world of professional wrestling and the WWF, there are great moments and then there are historic moments that will forever be etched in people’s memory. You can’t help but feel nostalgic when thinking about the Monday Night Wars and the memorable yet controversial moments that came along with it. When WCW began to air its new show WCW Monday Nitro, tensions rose between the two companies in an all out battle for ratings.
Companies rarely mention the competition or acknowledge their existence but that didn’t stop the edgy and no limits group Degeneration X step on enemy soil for a face to face confrontation with WCW. With Triple H leading the troops, DX invaded The Scope in Norfolk, VA where WCW was hosting their event. Riding in on a battle readied Jeep; Triple H taunted the competition and interacted with fans destroying any hype and interest for that episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Despite being unable to enter the arena, DX’s invasion was heard loud and clear and whether WCW wanted to accept it or not DX only had two words for them.
Stone Cold and Mike Tyson Face Off in the ring – January 19, 1998
What do you get when two of the toughest men in the world come face to face for a confrontation? Absolute chaos.
When Mike Tyson made his appearance on Raw, Vince McMahon couldn’t have been any happier as he had big things in store for the former heavyweight champion. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin quickly crashed the party coming into the ring to announce that he would be facing Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship.
Things escalated after some birds were flipped courtesy of the Rattlesnake and an all out brawl erupted with Vince in hysterics. Only the world’s “Toughest Son of a B!tch” could get in the face of Mike Tyson with no hesitation and live to tell the story earning himself a top Raw moment.
Steve Austin attacks Vince in hospital – October 5, 1998
The tumultuous relationship between “Stone Cold” Steven Austin and Vince McMahon finds itself close to the hearts of the fans often being regarded as one of the most entertaining feuds in WWF/WWE history.
Who could forget the special visits Mr. McMahon received during his stint in the hospital recovering from a broken ankle. After a comical visit from Mankind and his friend Mr. Socko, The Rattlesnake, disguised as a doctor, barges in Vince’s room and attacks him repeatedly. After a series of hard hits, Austin attacks the Chairman’s injured leg. To add insult to injury, Vince is knocked out of his bed after being smashed in the head with a bedpan. Leaving Raw on a shocking note, Austin grabs two defibrillators and gives the injured Chairman a good shock. The Doctor’s visit grabs a top spot in Raw history.
-The Rock and Hulk Hogan face off – February 18, 2002
To this day, whether you’re a fan or not, the moment when the “People’s Champion” The Rock came face to face with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan will always be regarded as one of the most electrifying moments in sports entertainment history.
Hogan, New World Order’s leader, walked out into the ring of a sold out Allstate Arena and proceeded to bash the fans for betraying him. After harping on his success the crowd burst into cheers with “The Great One” interrupting Hogan’s rant and challenging him to an “Icon vs. Icon” match at Wrestlemania 18. The crowd instantly loses it with “Rocky” and “Hogan” being chanted at deafening levels. The challenge, accepted by Hulk, was finalized by a Rock Bottom on behalf of The Rock.
A moment like this only happens once and will forever be considered one of the most memorable face-offs in sports entertainment history. A true moment for the fans who witnessed two huge established icons come face to face.
Shane McMahon buys WCW – March 26, 2001
What transpired in Houston’s Astrodome arena will be regarded as one of the many moments that leave Vince McMahon completely dumbfounded. McMahon’s purchase of WCW was a huge deal for the sports entertainment community as he was sitting on top of two huge companies. Ted Turner, the owner of WCW, sold his company to McMahon in a deal that would be sealed at Wrestlemania 17.
McMahon’s announcement that he owned both WWE and WCW was delivered a little premature when his son, Shane McMahon, announced from Panama City, that while a McMahon did now own WCW, it was not Vince, it was Shane-O Mac himself. After Shane defeated his father at WM 17 he and his sister who led ECW would continue to cause trouble for Vince in the following year.
Eric Bischoff Returns As Raw GM – November 6, 2006
During WWE’s first premiere of “Cyber Sunday,” fans voted in Eric Bischoff to be the special guest referee for the D-Generation X vs. Rated-RKO. Bischoff took matters into his own hands to certify Rated-RKO would come on top over D-Generation X.
The following night Bischoff was reinstated by Vince McMahon as RAW’s official General Manager only to be fired in the near future.
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