WWE’s top 15 in 15 years of Monday Night Raw
WWE Monday Night RAW has been a cable television institution since its debut on the USA Network in 1993. In 15 years, the show aired 758 episodes and has been the top-rated, weekly basic cable entertainment series since it went live in 1999.
RAW is also the birthplace of household names including The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, John Cena, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler. These and many other superstars had many memorable moments on the program.
Here are the top 15 chosen by WWE:
15. Calling Dr. Austin: East Lansing, Mich: Oct. 5, 1998
After suffering a leg injury a week prior, Vince McMahon was laid up in the hospital. The WWE chairman got a visit from Mankind bearing gifts of balloons, chocolate and a female clown. McMahon and the world were then introduced to Mr. Socko. Later in the show Stone Cold Steve Austin, under the guise of a doctor, decided to make a house call too and clocked McMahon with a bedpan, further embarrassing his nemesis.
14. Raw Is Jericho: Rosemont, Ill: Aug. 9, 1999
In the middle of The Rock calling out Big Show, the millennium clock countdown that had been appearing for weeks on Raw finally made its final tick. The stage went black, fireworks hit and “Jericho” flashed across the TitanTron. With arms stretched with his back to the crowd, former WCW star Chris Jericho arrived. The jump Y2J made to WWE was just another nail in WCW’s coffin during the Monday night war.
13. The Animal Plays the Game: State College, Pa: Feb, 21, 2005
For two years Batista was known strictly as Evolution’s enforcer, but after winning the Royal Rumble the Animal caught wind of an imminent betrayal at the hands of Triple H and Ric Flair. At the contract signing that would determine whether he would jump to SmackDown! or stay on Raw, Batista sent a message to the Raw world champion when he sent the Game through a table. Batista was now his own man.
12. A Hardy Return: East Rutherford, N.J.: July, 11, 2005
Matt Hardy shocked the fans at the Continental Airlines Arena when he made his return to WWE after being fired months prior. Hardy looked for revenge on Edge, who had an affair with Hardy’s then girlfriend Lita. It was truly art imitating life.
11. The Green and Black Attack is Back: Rochester, N.Y.: June 19, 2006
Triple H and Shawn Michaels took to the ring and celebrated the return of Degeneration X, one of sports entertainment’s most celebrated and controversial factions.
10. The Original Wedding Crasher: Los Angeles: Nov. 29, 1999
As the wedding of Test and Stephanie McMahon was about to begin, McMahon made the mistake of asking the crowd if anyone wished to object. Enter Triple H, who along with his DX teammates, was barred from the building. The Cerebral Assassin unveiled a film that showed himself kidnapping Stephanie from her bachelorette party. He apparently drugged the chairman’s daughter and married her while she was unconscious. The shocking abduction ended up being a ruse, and McMahon-Helmsley ruled WWE for many months. It was the first of many wedding angles done on the program.
9. Stop or the Loose Cannon will Shoot: Cincinnati: Nov. 4, 1996
The Hollywood Blondes Brian Pillman and Steve Austin were the best of friends in WCW. However, after Pillman came out to make an appearance on WWE Superstars, Austin ended up shattering his former partner’s ankle. Shortly after the incident, Austin paid a visit to Pillman’s home with a camera crew and announcer Kevin Kelly. Pillman pulled a gun and pointed it at Austin. The screen faded to black. Explosive noises were reported, and Austin was dragged away. USA Network and WWE received a number of phone calls from disturbed viewers. Even WWE admitted it pushed the envelope too far.
8. Tyson versus Austin: Fresno, Calif: Jan. 19, 1998
Coming off a win at the Royal Rumble the previous night, Stone Cold was on the road to WrestleMania 14 and a match with WWE champ Shawn Michaels. Standing in his way was not only Mr. McMahon but former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson. The chairman deemed Tyson ‘the baddest man on the planet,’ which didn’t sit well with Austin. The Texas Rattlesnake gave the bird to Iron Mike, instigating a shoving match that set off a media frenzy.
7. Foley Gets WWE Gold: Worcester, Mass: Jan. 4, 1999
Not even WCW announcer Tony Schiavone could take away from Foley’s moment and winning his first WWE championship against The Rock on a pre-taped Raw. Schiavone gave away the ending on Nitro with the intention of preventing viewers from changing the channel to Raw. Fans did the opposite and proved they wanted to see the title change for themselves.
6. DX Invades WCW: Norfolk, Va: April, 27, 1998
Megaphone in hand, Degeneration X did the unthinkable and invaded the site of Nitro. The group donned fatigues and got fans to chant ‘WCW Sucks.’ It didn’t take long for WCW to order security to bar DX from the premises. Not too long after this incident, the faction tried to get into WCW offices in the CNN building.
5. Hell Freezes Over: East Rutherford, N.J.: July, 15, 2002
In one of the most shocking Raw moments of all-time, Mr. McMahon appeared onstage and shared an embrace with the man who almost put him out of business in Eric Bischoff. The chairman announced that the former president of WCW would be the new general manager and face of Raw.
4. This is Your Life, Rock: Greensboro, N.C.: Sept. 27, 1999
After attacking The Rock the night before at Unforgiven, Mankind tried to apologize with a birthday party for the People’s Champ. During the lengthy segment, Foley dropped balloons and confetti throughout the arena and invited The Rock’s high school sweetheart, former teacher and football coach to the show. Mankind even gave his tag partner a Rock ‘N’ Sock Connection jacket and introduced Yurple the Clown to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ Unfortunately, The Rock reminded Mankind his birthday was in May and not September. The segment was the highest rated segment in Raw history.
3. Bret Screwed Bret: Cornwall, Canada: Nov. 17, 1997
A week after the 1997 Survivor Series the wrestling world was abuzz over the main event that saw Bret Hart lose the WWE championship without submitting to a Shawn Michaels sharpshooter. While everyone had an opinion concerning Hart’s final night in WWE before going to WCW, McMahon stood by his actions, denouncing all critics, stating that ‘Bret screwed Bret.’ The evil chairman character McMahon uses was born.
2. The One that Started it All: New York City: Jan. 11. 1993
New York City’s Manhattan Center witnessed sports entertainment and television history. The small intimate crowd was treated to a show unlike anything seen or done before with Raw debuting behind the idea of being ‘uncut, uncooked and uncensored.’ The kickoff episode featured appearances from current WWE superstars the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, along with hosts Randy Macho Man Savage, Rob Bartlett and McMahon.
1. Raw Ends Nitro: Panama City, Fla. (Nitro)/Cleveland (Raw): March 26, 2001
Fans watched in disbelief as Shane McMahon stood in the center of a WCW ring at the final Nitro. Simultaneously, Vince McMahon was in front of a Cleveland crowd, bragging about his much-publicized purchase of WCW. In the storyline Shane was revealed as the new owner of WCW. The purchase and episode of Raw changed the landscape of sports entertainment forever.
â€¢You witnessed more memories on the Monday Night Raw 15th anniversary show last night on the USA Network. The three-hour show featured past program staples including Trish Stratus, Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. A McMahon family portrait with Hornswoggle was also included.
*****We saw it, very entertaining, many memories. Thanks to NJM for sending the above info from the MiamiHearld.com.*****