WWE Raw: Ranking the 10 Worst Moments in the Show's History
On July 23, the WWE will celebrate its 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. As the WWE is quick to remind you, the show will be the first of its kind to reach that milestone even though it is technically a live sporting event. (Has the NFL ever preached a 1,000th episode?)
Regardless, there have been many moments that live in wrestling history that have come from the WWE's flagship program.
Unfortunately, for every Stone Cold Steve Austin entering on a Zamboni to beat the hell out of Vince McMahon, there's about five moments that have us scratch our heads and wonder what the creative team was thinking.
This article is about the latter. Here are some of the moments in the history of Monday Night Raw that made us cringe, feel uncomfortable and laugh at the company's sheer stupidity.
10. Anonymous Raw General Manager
"May I have your attention, please? I have just received an e-mail from the anonymous Raw general manager...and I quote:"
Those words made wrestling fans cringe for several months before the idea of a talking computer was finally scrapped.
I don't know what the most entertaining part about this was. Was it that Michael Cole sounded like he was reading out of Webster's dictionary? Was it that it could be assumed that nobody wanted to play the part of Raw general manager?
Or was it that the computer dropped a different hint of who he could be every week?
Whatever it was, having a talking computer screen read by Cole just made it seem like there was no antagonist during the show. The worst thing that anybody could do is smash the computer and stroll around like they just did something important.
The worst part? Until a couple weeks ago, we never found out exactly who the anonymous general manager was. Then, the WWE decided to finally close the book and gave us...Hornswoggle.
Sigh...it's lower on the list because it was fairly effective, but it's still bad enough to make the list.
9. The WWE/WCW Merger
The WCW/WWE merger is viewed as one of the greatest moments in Raw history, but when you look at the aftermath, it's really driven the WWE south in the past couple of years.
Since WCW went down, the WWE has lacked legitimate competition (sorry, TNA).
The Monday Night Wars were one of the things that made the WWE step up their game and since that competition has been gone, they've gotten complacent and we've gotten Brodus Clay: The Dancing Funkasaurus (WWE Films obviously wants this to happen).
The WWE has also suffered from an overflow of talent that lead to a dearth of talent in today's WWE. The company can no longer put together two separate brands (and at one time three with ECW) so the action on Smackdown has become stale because they're now wrestling on Raw as well.
The moment when Shane McMahon bought WCW should be viewed as one of the best Raw has had to offer, but at what cost?
8. Vince McMahon Tells Bret Hart: 'You Deserve to Be Screwed'
One of the biggest storylines (and real-life incidents) in wrestling history was Bret Hart being screwed out of the WWE Championship at the 1997 Survivor Series (aka "The Montreal Screw Job").
It would be another 13 years before Hart would return to a WWE ring, but he finally showed up on Raw on Jan. 4, 2010.
After mending the fence with Shawn Michaels earlier in the night, Hart tried to do the same with Vince McMahon. Vince had other ideas and kicked Hart in the groin setting up a match between the two at WrestleMania XXVI.
This would have worked about 10 years earlier, but not in 2010. Hart had suffered a stroke in 2002 that had left him in a wheelchair for a brief period of time. This meant that Hart's once legendary skills in the ring had become a little eroded.
When the two crossed paths on Raw several weeks later, Hart attacked McMahon from behind in an effort to get the ill-fated match "official."
After McMahon told Hart "You deserve to be screwed!" Hart went nuts...kinda. While it wasn't a fault of his own, Hart tried to take out several pieces of equipment and wound up almost taking himself out with one of the boxes.
Hart just wasn't the same guy after his stroke and it led to one of the worst matches in the history of WrestleMania.
7. John Cena vs. Michael Cole
Another moment that just happened recently was the five-star mat classic known as John Cena vs. Michael Cole.
Earlier in the night, Cole lashed out at Cena and blamed him for the Big Show's recent rampage through the WWE roster. Cena scoffed at the notion and was reminded that he could not strike an announcer (a suddenly made up rule...but okay).
Raw general manager John Laurinaitis came out to inform Cena that he could pick his opponent later in the evening, Cena chose the voice of the WWE.
After a "suprise" match with Albert...I mean Lord Tensai, Cena degraded Cole by stripping him down to his boxers, slathering him in J.R.'s barbeque sauce, and boring the millions watching around the globe.
In an era where the WWE should be giving more airtime to a legitimate competitor, this didn't need to happen.
6. Jeremy Piven Threatens to Ban the Miz from 'Summerfest'
The WWE decided to introduce a guest host bit on June 29, 2009, where a celebrity (or a WWE superstar) would get full control of Raw in a general manager position.
Some of the appearances were great, but other appearances made the hosts look bored and uninterested. That's what happened when Jeremy Piven and Ken Jeong appeared as guest hosts.
The duo, who was promoting their upcoming movie The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (which interestingly enough was a flop), couldn't get their lines right.
They not only threatened to send The Miz back to his home turf in Los Angeles (he's from Cleveland), but they also threatened to ban him from Summerfest.
The Miz had to be crushed to be banned from one of the largest music festivals in the country taking place in Milwaukee, but I'm sure his mind was focused on Summerslam later that month.
The boredom of Piven and Jeong was apparent throughout the show and remains one of the most regrettable moments in the show's history.
5. The Three Stooges Make a Guest Appearance
The Farrelly Brothers' remake of the old television characters was about to bomb on the big screen, but they were hoping to get one last push by promoting their movie on Raw. The result was eight minutes of our lives we'll never get back.
The Stooges (played by Chris Diamantopolus, Will Sasso, and Sean Hayes) waddled around Raw and eventually found themselves in the way of a chokeslam from Kane (who produced one of those 'Wait, isn't he a heel?' moments).
The bit was so bad that even Hayes blasted his appearance on Raw which drew the ire of many behind the scenes. It's safe to say these three gentlemen will not be back anytime soon.
4. Vince McMahon 'Dies' in a Limosine Explosion
In the past few years, the WWE has tried to write Vince McMahon off of WWE television. That attempt has failed several times because no matter how many times they "fire" him, the audience just won't believe that he doesn't run the company behind the scenes.
So, in June 2007, they tried to kill him.
McMahon had a rough night and was on his way home when he jumped inside a limo. After a couple of seconds, the limo burst into flames and the "WWE Universe" was made to believe that somebody had just killed him.
Over the next couple of weeks, there was a series of "Whodunnit" segments with the McMahon family vowing to find his killer.
This segment would last just a couple of weeks until Chris Benoit murdered his family and killed himself in the process (more on this later in the list).
McMahon made his return to television in the wake of the real-life incident, and the WWE has gone back to trying to fire him instead of literally firing him.
3. Mae Young Gives Birth to a Hand
It's not like the Attitude Era was completely filled with perfect moments.
One of their storylines lead Mark Henry (who was in his "Sexual Chocolate" days) to have a relationship with Mae Young. Like most things Young was involved in past her wrestling career, it was repulsive, confusing and just plain wrong.
Young announced that she was carrying Henry's child at one point and would conveniently go into labor during an episode of Raw.
After three to four spread out minutes of South Park voices and balloon-stretching sound effects, the creature that finally came out of Young's womb was none other than a human hand covered in silly string.
Gerald Brisco then spewed onto the floor which echoed the sentiments of wrestling fans everywhere.
2. Kane's Storyline with Triple H over 'Katie Vick'
Over the lifespan of Monday Night Raw's 999 episodes, Kane has had a lot of bizarre love affairs. However, this one took the cake as being the worst of the bunch.
As Kane was getting ready to face Triple H for the WWE Championship in 2002, a storyline was introduced where Kane had an old girlfriend who was killed in a car accident.
Triple H alleged that Kane was a little lonely at the time and decided to get on the board (so to speak) post-accident.
This led to a series of uncomfortable promos from Triple H involving a mannequin including a trip to a funeral home where he "re-enacted" Kane's first encounter with a woman.
The storyline remains as one of the company's biggest punchlines and reminds fans of when going too far is actually going too far.
1. The Chris Benoit Tribute Episode
Sometimes, mistakes can be a simple case of jumping the gun before all the facts are known.
In 2007, Chris Benoit was found dead in suburban Atlanta along with his wife and son. At the time Raw went on the air, it was assumed that Benoit and his family had been murdered and a three-hour episode was a tribute to Benoit.
There was just one problem. The WWE found out within the next 24 hours that Benoit was not the victim, but the murderer in a double-murder suicide.
Since then, Benoit has not been mentioned on WWE television and McMahon issued an apology the following night for hosting a tribute show to a murderer.
Benoit's final days have clouded how his in-ring career should be remembered (as I highly doubt he'll be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame ever, despite his accomplishments), but the WWE should have gotten their facts straight with such an unclear situation prior to going on the air.