The year was 1993, and the world of television was much different than today. Reality shows were non-existent. The only Deal or No Deal Howie Mandel was making was about his cartoon Bobby’s World, and MTV still played music videos as opposed to showcasing their primetime line up of rich kids who just want to be loved liked everyone else.
However, it was in January of 1993 that the wrestling world would began a new program that would become known as Monday Night Raw.
Tomorrow night the WWE will run its 800th episode live from Cincinnati, Ohio and one can only imagine what is in store. Raw has been the longest running show in television history, it's run has been longer than ER and The Simpsons meshed together, and it's on air time is 4:1 compared to Seinfeld’s.
So what is the secret to Raw’s success? To be quite honest, the one of the biggest things that comes to mind is the dedication of the WWE fans for the past 15 years. WWE Raw has moved three times since its initial run, and no matter where the sports-entertainment has went, its followers (including this one) have been ready for it every Monday Night.
However, there are other things in this writer’s opinion that make Raw so unique as compared to other forms of entertainment out there. For starters, for most of its run, it has been live. The only time that show wasn’t on a full time schedule was because of budget reason and that was early on in the Monday Night Wars.
Other than that though, why Raw is special in a lot of ways is its live atmosphere. Even though it’s scripted, it has always had that feel of you don’t now what the hell is going to happen next sense to it. The thing is that Raw brings two hours of new material live every week from a new venue with no off-season. No one else in prime time has that notch under their belts, and that’s another reason Raw has been as great as it has.
Without a doubt, Raw was responsible for many great WWE wrestlers as well. Shawn Michaels and Triple H for starters became DX and brought controversy with them in the form of D-Generation X. From telling fans to S*ck It, to its firing the first shots on then rival WCW (during the Monday Night Wars), to being downright funny, anyone who was a part of DX became a huge name. Also DX was a huge cornerstone of WWE Attitude during the late 90’s.
The next superstar would have to be the most electrifying man in sports-entertainment, The People’s Champ, The Rock. From laying the Smack Down, to telling people it doesn’t matter, The People’s champ was one of the most gifted performers to come out of WWE. From a personal standpoint, The Rock has been one of my idols. Anytime I spoke to crowds, I have tried to be as entertaining as him. His time was short with the company, but his impact is still felt to this day.
Stone Cold and Vince McMahon: Without a doubt this for me was the most entertaining time on WWE Raw, as the everyman Stone Cold Steve Austin went against the boss, Vince McMahon. This feud along with several other things was one of the big reasons why Raw was a show you didn’t want to miss.
Some of the other moments that will always stand out in my mind will always be the emergence of Kurt Angle, Mick Foley winning the championship, The Radicalz showing up on RAW, the debut of Y2J, and the wedding of Stephanie McMahon.
However following the "Attitude Era" one of the things that surprised me the most was the sale of WWE rival WCW on Raw. This not only was the end of one area, but a start of something new and it was exciting. When Shane came out, I just was stunned and happy because WWE won the war. For me that was a moment of personal satisfaction, because many times as a kid I would maintain that Raw was better than Nitro, and even though I was no longer around those people, I knew my choice was right.
In, closing tomorrow night should be full of exciting action. In recent years Raw hasn’t let folks down, from Hogan vs. The Rock, Eric Bischoff on Raw, The WWE Draft, to the success that John Cena, Batista, and Randy Orton along with such legends as HBK, HHH, and Ric Flair, Monday Night is where the action is!
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