Before I start, I would like to thank Sulayman and Anthony Hammett for helping me with this article.
On Jan. 11, 1993, pro wrestling fans were introduced to a new show on cable television called Monday Night Raw.
Raw was broadcast live on USA Network. It was something new, unique, and exciting.
It was created by Vince McMahon. His intentions were to make the WWE easier to watch and follow on television.
His plan was a success and Raw has been WWE’s flagship show ever since. Raw has been home to some amazing matches and memories.
From Mankind winning the WWF Championship to The Rock and Mankind’s “This is Your Life” segment and Stone Cold driving a beer truck and a Zamboni to the ring; all these memories were a significant part of RAW continuously dominating the competition.
If not for Raw, the WWE would be out of business.
On Sept. 4, 1995, WCW launched its new Monday night show on TNT called Monday Night Nitro. It aired one hour before RAW and ran for 3 hours and by doing so, WCW was legitimate competition for the WWE.
During late 1995 and all the way up to 1998, the two shows battled for ratings. This battle for superior ratings between the two shows became known as the “Monday Night Wars.”
For 84 continuous weeks, Nitro received better ratings than Raw and for numerous reasons.
Eric Bischoff would give away results of Raw’s matches and since Raw would be live one week and it would air taped the next week, this would make some fans unconcerned about the show.
They figured there was no need to watch Raw because they already knew the outcome of the matches.
WCW also had edgier storylines and they had the New World Order, known as the nWo.
Since WCW was achieving better ratings, the WWE and Raw became an edgier and more violent show. WWE’s new style and era became known as the Attitude Era. The Attitude Era helped increase Raw’s ratings.
In 1999 WWE added SmackDown as another weekly TV show, but everyone knew Raw was still the flagship show of the company.
Then, in 2001 after years of battling, the WWE bought WCW and the WWE became the only major pro wrestling company left in America.
This cemented Raw’s place as the best pro wrestling show because it was WWE’s best show.
After the WWE bought WCW it had an excess of talent, so the WWE decided to separate the rosters.
Some superstars were sent to Raw and others to SmackDown. Once the wrestlers were put on a show that was the only show they wrestled on.
Even after dividing the talent onto two shows, everyone knew Raw was still the flagship of the company.
Superstars, and even the commentators, would rather be on Raw. In the 2008 WWE Draft Jim Ross, Raw’s lead commentator at the time was drafted to SmackDown in the 2008 WWE Draft Lottery.
He was really upset that he was going to be leaving Raw and was very mad because he thought of it as a downgrade. He was also upset that management had not told him he was going to switching shows.
Superstars look at it like this; if you have made it to Raw, then you have made it to the top.
Raw has also always seemed to be the main focus of the McMahons. Raw has also been the main focus in most Pay-Per-Views since the brand extension.
Recently though, Raw’s spot of being the top show has become endangered. Raw is no longer WWE’s best show. Heck, it may not even be the WWE’s third-best show.
For quite awhile now, Raw has been sub par to the WWE’s other shows and since Backlash it has been quite dreadful, to say the least.
There are many things wrong with Raw and here are the biggest problems with the show:
Almost every week since WrestleMania 25, Raw has been the home of Santina, otherwise known as Santino. Sure, Santino is a funny guy. But, I would rather see him wrestle than play dress-up with Vickie Guerrero.
This whole Santino/Santina angle has really hurt the Women’s Division. Beth Phoenix has been stuck in this mess and it has taken her away from the chance of being involved in any other feuds.
Mickie James has also been misused. Kelly Kelly and Maryse have been involved in a lackluster feud that seems to be going nowhere.
Raw’s Tag Team Division is made of The Colons, The Brian Kendrick and whoever his partner is for the night, and Goldust and Hornswoggle.
Raw has a mid card made up of some good talent. They have Kofi Kingston, MVP, Matt Hardy, William Regal, and The Miz.
Kofi Kingston and MVP have been putting on magnificent matches. The Miz has been cutting some good promos and has been decent in the ring whereas William Regal and Matt Hardy have been just kind of there.
SmackDown’s mid-card is absolutely amazing. They have superstars who have been both entertaining in the ring and on the mic.
Their mid-card is made up of Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, and Kane, when he is there.
This group of superstars is better than what Raw has to offer for their main event scene.
Speaking of Raw’s main event scene, it’s horrible. It’s probably been the worst part of the show. No actually, I take that back. Santina/Santino and Vickie Guerrero take the cake for the worst part of Raw.
Raw’s Main eventers consist of Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena, Big Show, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels.
With Triple H and Shawn Michaels out, there aren’t many Superstars in the main event scene on Raw. Since Backlash it has been Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena, and Big Show.
Enough said, but I will elaborate some more.
Factor in the fact all of the superstars I just mentioned have feuded with one another and we have a very boring main event scene on Raw.
Randy Orton could carry an entire show on his back.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed Randy Orton take on Shane McMahon and Ric Flair.
Both times he has ended up looking weak. Why make your champion look weak to a 60-year-old man and Shane McMahon? Shane isn’t even a wrestler!
Batista is well, Batista.
Big Show and John Cena’s feud has at least been fueled with believable hatred. They have also been putting on decent matches and promos, with the help of The Miz. The only problem is, this feud has been done many times before.
Remember WrestleMania 20 and 25? Even during the buildup of WrestleMania 25 this feud looked boring.
Horrible booking and the absence of Triple H and Shawn Michaels is really what’s making this part of Raw so unbearable to watch.
Both ECW and SmackDown have better main event scenes.
ECW has Christian, Jack Swagger, Tommy Dreamer, Finlay, and The Hart Dynasty. It’s fresh and entertaining, two key components Raw’s main event scene is missing.
SmackDown’s main event scene has some great competition as well. Edge is SmackDown’s champion and Jeff Hardy is the number one contender.
We have watched these two superstars battle it out many times before, so I would expect SmackDown switching it up soon.
Along with those two they have CM Punk, Umaga, and many of their mid carders compete in the main event scene.
Guys like Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho help make it exciting and different every week.
SmackDown also uses their heels way better than Raw. Randy Orton is the only main event heel for Raw that is drawing any real heat.
SmackDown has Chris Jericho and Edge; both draw more heat than any other superstar in the entire WWE not named Randy Orton.
Now, to help fix these problems that Raw has.
The Women’s Division on Raw has all the potential to be great, so it should be able to be fixed.
If Raw would just let Mickie James have a real feud with Maryse, then the division would be better.
Instead of having Kelly Kelly feud with the Diva’s Champion so early, she should feud with Beth Phoenix.
This would help both Phoenix and Kelly. Kelly would get better in the ring and Phoenix would actually be back into the swing of things.
After awhile Raw would have four really good women competitors.
Raw’s Tag Team Division could also be fixed.
If they would give The Brian Kendrick a real tag team partner and include Priceless into the division, the tag team division would look a whole lot different.
Raw could still use Goldust and Hornswoggle as comedic relief.
A good intense feud between Priceless and The Colons would help the entire show.
Since Priceless is part of Legacy they are always in the main event and Main Event scene. The Colons could help the babyface Randy Orton is feuding with just to make Priceless mad and get even with them.
The Mid Card may be a tougher fix.
After the draft Raw lost a lot of their mid carders. They lost Jericho, Mysterio, and Kane but gained The Miz, Matt Hardy, and MVP.
Raw should continue to include The Miz in some of the main event feuds. He is really good on the mic and it will help him become better in the ring.
Kofi and MVP have been putting on great matches, so why change that?
When Matt Hardy was on SmackDown he was on quite a roll. He had tons of heat and it looked like he was going to make the jump to main event status.
Now, on Raw, he is teaming up with Regal and not doing much else. That isn’t cutting it.
Even though Kofi just won the United States Championship, I believe Matt should win this Sunday at Extreme Rules. This would allow him to be a heel similar to Edge.
Before Mr. Kennedy was released it looked like he was going to be thrown into the mix of the main event scene.
Now that he has been released many are calling for MVP to make the jump, but I believe that would hurt the mid card.
Raw is in a rough situation because we have seen most of the main eventers feud with one another already.
I’m sure we are headed for a Randy Orton and John Cena feud which will last for quite awhile. This may be Raw’s best choice.
Triple H needs to return and when he does the obvious choice will be for him to continue his feud with Randy Orton.
I think that would be a mistake for Raw. Triple H should feud with Batista for costing him the WWE Championship.
If Triple H and Batista end up feuding then that would change the whole complexion of the main event scene on Raw.
John Cena and Randy Orton will be feuding, Triple H and Batista will be feuding, and Big Show and The Miz could feud with each other.
I believe the promos and matches would be a whole lot better after these changes.
As you can tell, Raw always seems to prevail. Let’s hope this is just a small phase Raw is going through and it will change for the better.
If Vince doesn’t change Raw for the better, he better hope TNA iMPACT stays on Thursday nights.
“From a personal standpoint, the old expression of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger is somewhat true.”
I believe Vince is correct. Raw may have to fall from grace before it can become better and stronger.
What do you guys think Raw should change and do you agree with my proposals?