5 Predictions for WWE Raw's 25th Anniversary Special
WWE Monday Night Raw has been a pro wrestling institution since it debuted on January 11, 1993, making the day this article was published the official 25th anniversary of its first episode.
The show began as a one-hour weekly program featuring the best and brightest WWE had to offer. At first, Raw was like most of the other weekly wrestling shows at the time.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what made the Monday night program more popular than other shows scheduled on the weekends, but Raw soon dominated the pro wrestling landscape.
It eventually expanded to two hours before becoming the three-hour juggernaut we see today, making it just as long as the majority of the company's pay-per-views.
WWE is preparing to celebrate 25 years of Raw in style by bringing in several legends who made the show a success over the years and giving fans as many special moments as possible.
James Wortman of WWE.com has posted a list of most of the special guests set to appear on January 22 for the anniversary show. This article will attempt to make some predictions for the monumental occasion.
Reunions, Reunions and More Reunions
If there is one thing WWE loves to do more than anything else, it's pat itself on the back. The company constantly reminds us of its past successes, and it usually comes in the form of a reunion.
This can be a former tag team or stable coming together for a special appearance, or it could be two bitter rivals crossing paths one more time.
We already know Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn will be there, so a D-Generation X reunion is practically a guarantee.
Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Eric Bishoff are also set to appear, so a New World Order segment is likely. We might even see some other WCW references throughout the night to commemorate the Monday Night War between Raw and Nitro.
Stone Cold Steve Austin being present opens the door to revisit numerous rivalries from his stories career, and it's a safe bet Vince McMahon will show up at some point.
The roster still has some veterans who worked alongside most of these legends, so we could be treated to a special match featuring someone we thought was retired for good.
A Title Change
Title changes always generate buzz for the company, and having a belt change hands at the 25th anniversary would be a great way to cap off the night.
One thing we know for sure will take place is an Intercontinental Championship match with Roman Reigns defending the title against The Miz.
The A-Lister has made no secret of his desire to be known as the greatest IC champion of all time, and a win over The Big Dog would certainly go a long way toward building his legacy.
With Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas at ringside to cause all kinds of distractions, The Miz could be booked to defeat Reigns without making him look weak with a clean loss.
If The Miz regains the belt, Reigns can focus on winning The Royal Rumble again so he can main event WrestleMania against whoever leaves the pay-per-view with the Universal Championship.
There is also the possibility WWE could choose to have a different title change hands. Cedric Alexander has a valid argument for a rematch against Enzo Amore for the Cruiserweight Championship, and Kurt Angle could always move The Bar's tag title at The Royal Rumble against Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan to Raw.
We could even see Alexa Bliss drop the Women's Championship to a number of different competitors. WWE could go in any number of different directions at this point.
WWE expects Raw's anniversary special to bring in more viewers than a normal episode. This gives management the chance to give someone from the developmental system a big break.
Being called up to the main roster from NXT is always a big deal for the Superstar being promoted, but having your debut turned into a special moment is even better.
WWE always has a few men and women debut the night after WrestleMania because it knows the audience will be bigger than usual, so the same logic can be applied to the upcoming anniversary show.
The hard part is picking who to take away from NXT to join an already crowded main roster. A lot of people are ready, but some would have a bigger impact than others.
Drew McIntyre, The Iconic Duo or Aleister Black could all reasonably be called up at this point, but the group who would make the biggest impression is Sanity.
Just imagine seeing Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dane and Nikki Cross ambush some legends like DX and leave them knocked out in the ring. It would give the stable a huge boost in popularity and exposure right away.
A SmackDown Crossover
Raw's anniversary is a big moment for the entire company, but half the roster is exclusive to the SmackDown brand at the moment.
It wouldn't be out of the question for management to bring in a few of the bigger stars from the blue brand to give the show some memorable encounters.
Seeing how AJ Styles reacts to Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson joining forces would be interesting, as would Bray Wyatt interacting with the new and improved Bludgeon Brothers.
Having some champion vs. champions matches will always elevate an episode of Raw, so pitting The Usos against Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan would give the fans some brand warfare as well as a show-stealing performance from two talented teams.
Classic Commentary Teams
Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross are both scheduled to appear at the anniversary show, and that means we could get some classic commentary for a few of the night's matches.
Another possible combination would be Vinnie Mac and Jesse Ventura reuniting just like they did when Sheamus won a Breakthrough Battle Royal to earn his first shot at the WWE Championship in 2009.
Michael Cole is a veteran commentator who has worked with just about everyone who has sat at the table for the past two decades, so he could reunite with any number of former broadcast partners.
Bringing in commentary teams from the past is a great way to appeal to everyone's sense of nostalgia for the old days when the ring ropes were red, white and blue and the only way to watch the show was live as it aired.
What would you like to see happen at the WWE Raw 25th anniversary special?