The party is over. Now let’s break it down: Here twenty-five of my thoughts, distilled down from four-pages of notes(!), while watching Raw’s twenty-fifth anniversary spectacular...
- JR AND KING STARTED RAW, just like they started so many over the years. Seeing King in his classic outfit was just as wonderful as hearing JR’s voice during the opening camera-pan. Like slipping into warm PJs in the winter.
- HOLY CRAP is that a guy dressed up like “Brain in Drag” behind commentary? Get that guy a trophy.
- MICHAEL COLE AND BOOKER T introduce themselves in perspective of how many years they’ve been associated with Raw. For Cole it’s twenty-one years; for Book it’s seventeen. That’s incredible to me. It puts in perspective how long I’ve been watching. My first episode was October 18, 1999. That’s eighteen-years and three months, just barely more than Booker T, and yet it felt like an eternity between the time I started watching and when Book came over post-WCW. For that matter, WCW Monday Nitro only lasted five-and-a-half years, but again it felt like three times that long.
- STEPH AND SHANE start the show, not Vince. Obviously it’s to set things up later, but I couldn’t help but look at the future of WWE and (presumably) Raw...but which one specifically will be spearheading that future? Steph or Shane? Find out later for the answer!
- THE MONTAGE was great, and it’s notable what they did NOT include: No Katie Vick, no Steph date-raped/married in Vegas, no Mae Young’s Hand, no BikerTaker. I’m sure you all caught a few notable (and perhaps unsurprising) absences. Notable inclusions, for which I was thankful: Eddie Guerrero and Chyna. Also the whole night had a surprising lack (for the most part) of Rock and Hogan. Granted Hogan and Raw only had a brief relationship, but Rock was pivotal in its success.
- VINCE McMAHON is an easy target. He’s old, out of touch, capricious, stubborn, petty, etc. But Vince McMahon is our crazy uncle. You love him despite his flaws, because over the years he’s given you so many presents, they outweigh the insanity.
- I WONDERED FOR A MOMENT IF THE PLAQUE WAS A WORK because I thought to myself “Would Vince really know what ‘Go Fund Me’ is?”
- A-HOLE CHANTS at Vince. So 1998. Really proud of Brooklyn to get into the spirit of the show like that. It really took me back.
- LIKE MANY OF YOU I’M SURE, the moment Vince said he made Monday Night Raw single-handedly I knew called that the glass was about to shatter and Vince would get a stunner. I’m sad we got no Austin promo, however. As much as Hulk Hogan was the superstar foundation on which VKM’s whole Empire was built, Steve Austin was the superstar foundation on which his total domination of all competition was built.
- AS HE LAID THERE, WRITHING IN PRETEND PAIN, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d just watched the last of Vince’s bumps. The man has bled for my entertainment. Literally bled. He’s been thrown from very high places. Put through very wooden tables. Hit with very-not-steel folding chairs, and so many more things. If that was the last bump for Uncle Vince I’m very sad to see it happen.
- SHANE’S SECOND STUNNER was a tribute to RAW itself. Seeing him spray a fountain of beer while sailing through the air was like the flux capacitor taking me back to 2001.
- A THROWAWAY WOMEN’S MATCH? What a tribute!
- YOU HAD JOHNATHAN COACHMAN...BUT NO ROCK TO MAKE FUN OF HIM. Pass.
- I WROTE IN MY NOTES: “Is the Manhattan Center just going to watch this show happen, like WrestleMania 2? But as soon as I said that the Undertaker came out. So...I bet Brooklyn was maaaaaad.
- UNDERTAKER IS SO INFAMOUSLY BAD AT PROMOS I couldn’t tell if he just forgot his lines and had to improvise or if it was supposed to be confusing. Was that a retirement speech or a challenge?
- I LOVE THAT THE MANHATTAN CENTER DOESN’T HAVE A WWF LOGO but does have ICOPRO banners. Outstanding attention to detail, there.
- THE PARADE OF THE GENERAL MANAGERS did not feature Mike Adamle. Jeff Harvey wept.
- THAT’S RIGHT WWE, keep teasing Bryan vs Miz. Just keep it up. It’s not like you have a track record of yanking our Bryan-loving chains and then blue balling us.
- CHRISTIAN CAME BUT NOT EDGE? Also Christian came but they cut off his theme song? What are you even doing WWE is this a night for the fans or isn’t it?
- PARADE OF THE DIVAS was fine, and holy guacamole how is it possible for Torrie Wilson to become more beautiful with age?
- THIS IS YOUR REGULAR REMINDER that (1) Chris Jericho got stationary over and (2) Chris Jericho is the Gary Oldman of wrestling, able to slip into any persona and inhabit it so fully you forget any other he’s ever done.
- IF YOU THOUGHT ELIAS vs CENA would end with Cena on the floor, getting thoroughly got by Elias, without so much as an Attitude Adjustment for his troubles, you are a dirty rotten liar. See you at the Royal Rumble, where I assume payback will be—in keeping with Cena’s traditions—brutal and exponentially greater. Side note: Good for Elias for blossoming as he has. Going from DOA gimmick in NXT to actual-over superstar on Raw. He’s one of the few about whom it can be said got more popular after coming up to the big leagues.
- MEAN GENE still has a voice like solid gold honey. If he had shouted “put that cigarette out!” before the camera cut away I would have slipped into nirvana.
- ARE WE ENDING RAW WITH A DX REUNION? DOES THAT ANSWER MY EARLIER QUESTION? Oh I see there’s a segment left. Also oh I see they’re just hocking t-shirts. No wait they’re giving Finn the rub. Aww. Good for him. He’s so adorable.
- RAW 1000 was better. It did largely the same nostalgia trip (right down to the DX reunion), but advanced the current stories of the day better and featured memorable moments of the present instead of just reminding us of memorable moments from days gone by. This show had nothing on Bryan and AJ’s wedding or on CM Punk’s heel turn. That being said it was a lot of fun, and unlike many other episode’s in Raw’s history, the three hours sailed by. Good job, all.
What did you think, Cagesiders? How would you rate the show? What memories/past-legends do you wish they had included? And, most important of all, what was your first episode of Raw? You may not remember the exact date, but around when did you watch your first episode?
Leave a comment below!