There were a few curious production decisions from Raw 25. We’ve written about most of them here at Cageside, including how many Legends returned to appear as extras in other scenes or just hit the stage to wave to the Barclays Center crowd.
According to Sports Illustrated, a lot of that was due to the show being rewritten three hours before going live. While frequent and last minute rewrites have been part of the legend of Raw forever, you’d hope that wouldn’t be the case on such a major event broadcast with a huge cast emanating from two separate locations.
It wasn’t the plan. WWE had plans set to use the show to bring casual and part-time viewers back for WrestleMania season, which is why it opened with the most popular rivalry from wrestling’s Attitude Era peak - Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. The idea was to build from that by having Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon interact with other figures from Raw’s past in pre-taped segments. But in the late afternoon, the creative team learned Fallon wouldn’t be able to arrive early enough to film those. So it was back to the drawing board.
And, per SI, what they came up with was “introductions and waves to the crowd”.
The suspension (and, eventually, release) of Enzo Amore also caused a rewrite, since Amore was scheduled to face Goldust in a match which would lead to the Dudleyz appearance. But it doesn’t seem like that change was a drastic one, since Heath Slater ended up taking the spot scripted for Enzo.
But if you’re bummed you only saw Trish Stratus and Eric Bischoff for a second, blame Jimmy.
UPDATE: WWE sources reached out to Cageside Seats to refute the Sports Illustrated report - “Development of Raw is an iterative process and any changes had nothing to do with Jimmy.”
As mentioned above, given what we’ve heard about the creation of the flagship show over the years, this seems more plausible than getting thrown off by a major star being understandly unable to spend a lot of pre-show time at Raw.