In honor of Monday Night Raw turning 25 years old this year, we at Sports Al Dente decided to look back at what life was like in 1993 and see what has changed since WWE’s flagship show first hit the air. For example, what you’re reading wouldn’t have been readable in 1993. But what else is different? Let’s look at the drastic changes our society has gone through these last 25 years since the inaugural Monday Night Raw.
This is an easy one to look at, but it’s a great way to compare the two eras. A gallon of gas in 1993 cost $1.16. Today, the average price is $2.49. Gas is usually above $3 in the major cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. While gas prices have gone down since the economic crash of the late 2000s, the price is still more than double what it was in 1993.
Now while we’ve had higher gas prices, we also have had an increase in smart cars. The Toyota Prius didn’t exist in 1993, that’s for sure! Even truck companies like Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge have modified their new trucks to become more fuel efficient. Your car can maximize your gas now, which is an improvement of where cars were 25 years ago.
What was a great unknown has become intertwined in our everyday life. It has replaced things like dictionaries, bibliographies, and encyclopedias. Now, if you want to look up something, you just go to the internet and it tells you within 10 seconds. The internet has easily been the most instrumental advancement of the world since 1993. Its reach will be shown in the next few items listed here.
Could you imagine how the perception of WWE would be different if we could tweet about all the squash matches from the first Raw? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and countless other social media sites have become instrumental not only in wrestling but life in general. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Chances are, it’s checking your phone to see what may have happened overnight. Speaking of phones…
Are you reading this article on your smartphone right now? 25 years ago, the term “smartphone” didn’t exist. Now, more than 2.5 billion people have smartphones. That’s over 35% of the worldwide population with their own version of a mini computer in their hands. Are we even sure our phones make calls anymore?
While cell phones are part of the new technology in the world, it’s just a small piece of the advancements we’ve made in that field. Silicon Valley, California has become a hot bed for new technological innovations. Smartphones, smart cars, smart water! Everything is “smart” now, mostly because of new technology created in the past 25 years. Technology is all throughout our lives and in everything we do.
One of the side effects of the technological revolution has been the shift in jobs in America. For most, growing up and working in a technical or “blue collar” field is something they don’t want to do. Instead, those jobs have moved to engineering, business and other “white collar” jobs. Farming is down in the U.S. as more jobs shift to the private sector. Having a college degree is paramount nowadays to get a job in these fields as well.
Another result of the internet, now people can go to school on their own time with online universities. The University of Phoenix has been the leader of this movement, helping millions of people earn a college degree they never thought they could earn. Almost every college and university offers online classes now, which wasn’t even a possibility in 1993.
The internet has also had major effects on the ways we shop for clothes, products and everything in between. The leader of this movement has been Amazon, which seems to own almost everything in the world at this point. Instead of going to JC Penny’s or Carson Pierre Scott, you can just log on to your computer and buy new clothes. It’ll be shipped to your house within 3-5 days, and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of going to the store. It’s totally changed the way we purchase things and has led to the closing of many brick and mortar stores.
It doesn’t start on Friday at 5 am anymore. Now, it’s Thursday at noon…really? Like, why? Nobody asked for this.
In 1993, grunge music ruled the world. It also was dominated by Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” which was the number one song when Raw debuted. Today, the charts are dominated by pop, hip-hop and rap music. Artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift routinely top the charts. Long are the days you heard bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden on the radio. Now, it’s a heavy emphasis on creating a catchy beat that’ll stay on the charts for a while (SEE: Pitbull).
Video Streaming Services
DVDs and VHS tapes are almost extinct because of sites like Netflix and Hulu. Places like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster are gone because people watch movies online now instead of on disc or tape. More people subscribe to Netflix in America than cable, which is crazy to think about. Everything you would ever want to watch is online now, leaving video stores fighting to stay in business.
Music Streaming Services
Along with movies and shows, music has moved to digital-first as well. How many people buy CDs anymore? Now, all music goes through iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and many other streaming sites. You can now have all your favorite artists and albums on one app as opposed to having to carry all their CDs around.
The explosion of video game systems cannot be understated. Companies like Sony (PlayStation), Microsoft (XBOX), and Nintendo have made a fortune off video games. Nowadays, kids are offered scholarships to schools to play on their eSports teams. The universal appeal of video games has grown 10-fold the past 25 years, becoming the most popular thing kids play with growing up.
How often do you call your family or friends just to talk to them? I would bet the answer is hardly ever. That’s because texting and other forms of messaging have replaced actually calling people. All social media sites have an avenue to directly message someone and talk to them. Emails have replaced sending letters to people as well. We now have numerous ways to contact people, which has decreased the rate we “talk” to people. Are you really “talking” to someone when you’re texting?
24-hour TV Channels
Remember when stations would go off the air by playing the National Anthem? Well, not anymore. Channels now never go off, providing 24/7/365 coverage of everything. News, sports, and entertainment channels are all like this now. Chances are, you can catch a re-run of Jersey Shore at 3 a.m. on MTV if you really wanted to. The 24-hour nature of channels has provided both positives and negatives.
There’s no way around it, media coverage has become more slanted since 1993. Whether it slants left or right, the media seems more polarizing now than it’s ever been before.
The way we consume our media has also shifted. When a big story breaks, where do you go first? Chances are, it’s to your phone to check social media. TV and newspapers have become secondary options for checking political, sports, and entertainment news. Papers have especially been affected, as many local papers have gone out of business due to lack of revenue and funding. If papers and magazines don’t have a strong online presence, then they’re going to have a hard time staying afloat.
Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal
Nobody ever thought this would happen in 1993. In 2015, though, then-president Barack Obama helped pass legislation that denied states from denying people of the same sex to marry. This was seen as a huge step by many for equal protection for everyone in America and has led to numerous same-sex marriages to legally take place.
Marijuana Being Legalized
While not completely legal everywhere, states like California and Colorado have legalized marijuana, which was seen as a “gateway drug” in the 1990s. Once more and more people realized the positive effects the drug could have though, especially on cancer patients, it’s popularity has been on the rise. It’s only a matter of time until marijuana is legalized in every state.
Concussion Movement In The NFL
With the advancements in technology and medical research, the true dangers of playing a sport like football have surfaced. The concussion issue has become a hot-button issue in the NFL, as former players are suffering from CTE-caused symptoms. The NFL has appeared to be resistant to helping its past players seek treatment for their health issues, only recently has the NFL set up a trust fund to help its past players. The concussion debate has scared some parents away from letting their kids play the game, and ratings are down in the NFL partly because of this.
College Football Has A Playoff!
Crazy, I know. But since 2014, we’ve had a 4-team playoff to determine the best team in college football. While the system has some flaws, it has provided for a lot of drama and conversation for the sport. The TV ratings directly reflect said conversation.
We’ve Had SIX New Star Wars Films!
We had the three prequels, two sequels and a separate side story added to the Star Wars universe. Whether you liked the films or not, it’s been a nice addition to the cinematic world to see Yoda, Luke Skywalker, and Kylo Ren on the big screen again.
Independent Wrestling Promotions
Whether it be ROH, NJPW, or PWG, independent wrestling’s popularity is at an all-time high. Social media and the internet has exposed people to more wrestlers than ever before, leading to more companies to flourish and showcase those talents. WWE isn’t the only show in town anymore, which is great for the business.
Remember what it was like to actually buy WWE pay-per-views through your cable provider? Sounds archaic, right? The creation of the WWE Network is a microcosm of the changes WWE has made over these past 25 years. They’ve tripled the number of PPVs they produce in a year. The programming has moved from TV-PG to TV-14, and back to TV-PG again. Raw is live every week. They work 300+ days a year, which is an insane work rate. Through it all, WWE has maintained its spot atop the wrestling world, setting itself up for the next 25 years of success.
WWE will celebrate Raw’s 25 years on the air Monday, January 22nd. The show will be live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with 30 plus legends advertised to appear for the celebration.