25 years years of RAW on television. We celebrate 25 years of a tremendous television show that has brought us so many amazing moments that have made us feel every emotion under the sun and keeps us coming back for more every week. As we get hyped for the celebrations to begin, we’re counting down our top 25 moments in RAW history.
Shane McMahon Returns
On the February 22nd, 2016 episode of RAW, the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award was given to Stephanie McMahon by her father, Vincent K. McMahon. In the middle of the ceremony, the prodigal son, Shane McMahon, returned for the first time in nine years. The return left Stephanie, Vince and the entire WWE universe in shock and would lead to Shane’s match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, becoming Smackdown Live commissioner, and the storyline he’s embroiled in now, involving Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn.
Live Sex Celebration
One night removed from successfully cashing in his Money In The Bank Briefcase against John Cena at New Year’s Revolution on January 8th, 2006, Edge decided to celebrate by having live sex with his then-girlfriend, Lita. A nip slip and a couple awkward minutes later, the couple would be interrupted by a vengeful John Cena. All said and done, this would go down as one the weirdest and craziest moments on RAW.
Jerry Lawler Heart Attack
I know what you’re thinking…No, Jerry Lawler’s heart attack was not caused by the previous entry. On a serious note though, “The King” had collapsed in the middle of a live episode of RAW in September 2012. It was later confirmed that it was a heart attack. This led Michael Cole to have to soldier on by himself and update the live audience regularly. Telling the crowd that this wasn’t part of any story.
Beginning Of The New Era
Following Wrestlemania 32, the WWE was looking to change the way they were doing things. They did this by promising fans a new and improved WWE that fans would love. Eventually, this has led to a new brand split and a new way of scouting and signing known talents outside of WWE. As this era rolls on, we will see how it unfolds and leads WWE into the future.
DX Invades WCW
When D-Generation X drove up to the Norfolk Scope in a friggin humvee to “invade” WCW, fans and superstars alike were shocked at the fourth wall break. In the past, WWE, then the WWF, hadn’t directly talked about their competition much before this. Seeing the WWF go to this extent to win the Monday Night Wars, still reigns as one of the most memorable moments in the history of RAW
Triple H Marries Stephanie
On the November 29th, 1999 episode of RAW, Stephanie McMahon was set to marry WWE superstar Test, live, in the ring. Little did she know, however, she had already been married for several weeks after Triple H had her drugged and then drove her to a drive-thru wedding chapel in Las Vegas. As an angle, that eventually led to the real-life marriage between the two, this will live on in the hearts of fans as one of the best ways RAW has gone off the air in their 25-year history.
Higher Power Revealed
For weeks leading up to this, the Corporate Ministry had been attacking Vince McMahon and his family. The only help they had was from Stone Cold who once saved Stephanie McMahon from sacrifice to The Undertaker. Vince revealed it was him who had been haunting his family with the now infamous line “It was me Austin! It was me all along”
X-Pac And Outlaws Join DX
After Shawn Michaels went out with a back injury in 1998, Triple H had to look for someone to fill in the shoes HBK had left. The night after Wrestlemania 14, Triple H filled those shoes with a couple of his friends and “picked up the ball” that Shawn Michaels had dropped the night before. “Looking to his friends”, Triple H added a returning X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws and the rest is history as they say.
Once In A Lifetime
April 4th, 2011, the night after Wrestlemania 27, The Rock and John Cena would make history by making a “once in a lifetime” match, one year before it would actually happen. Building the matchup for one year was something that had never been done before and seeing the Rock and John Cena was a dream scenario for many fans. In hindsight, we all know it wasn’t once in a lifetime but that night on RAW, we witnessed something that we may never see again
Austin Stuns McMahon (For The First Time)
Starting off, arguably, one of the best rivalries in the history of the WWE, this came as shock to most watching, as Vince McMahon hadn’t been inside the ring much before this. Also seen as kicking off the Attitude Era, this would be the start of a great period in the history of the WWE, which would see no shortage of stunners
The First Draft
After Vince had bought WCW, the WWE roster was so deep that they needed to split the roster into two, a move that’s still being felt today. RAW and SmackDown would have separate rosters and championships. The draft is still being done today but nothing comes close to the impact of the inaugural draft and the mystery of what it meant for both brands futures.
Pillman’s Got A Gun
On the November 4th, 1996 episode of RAW, Steve Austin was on a rampage and looking to get at Brian Pillman. After arriving at his house, Austin beat up Pillman’s friends and barged his way inside. Pillman pointed a gun at Austin then the TV screen faded to black. This was all an angle of course, and no one was injured but at the time, this was a very controversial segment. Fans and the television network were irate that the WWF would show this type of violence. A shocking and memorable moment, none the less, it left a lasting impact on the minds of fans.
Austin And The Beer Truck
Six days before his bout with The Rock at Wrestlemania 15, Stone Cold would deliver one hell of a present to the corporation. Austin drives a beer truck down to the ring and showers Shane, Vince, and The Rock with beer. This is one of the most memorable moments from RAW and will always have its place in the hearts of fans.
Rollins Turns On The Shield
For the number 12 slot, we turn to a more recent moment. after their debut in 2012, The Shield was the most dominant faction we had seen in a long time. It came as a shock when Seth Rollins turned his back on his Shield brothers in late 2014. This backstab would set up a line of dominoes to fall which saw Seth Rollins win the Money In The Bank briefcase, cash it in on Roman Reigns, and eventually led to all three members holding the WWE championship in one night
On the June 7th, 2010 episode of the RAW, the Nexus would strike. Destroying the ring, ringside, and the people at ringside in a mutinous fashion. Everyone shocked, in the arena and at home watching. They made a statement upon arrival and become one of the most memorable factions in recent memory.
10. Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night
Set up to lead into the illegitimate son angle, Vince Mcmahon got into a limo and it blew up. This was meant to write him off TV and as I said, lead into the illegitimate son angle which would have the “children” of Vince fight over the company. This was all scrapped after the Chris Benoit tragedy but in the heat of the moment, the explosion was a very shocking one
CM Punk Pipe Bomb
In one promo, CM Punk mentioned New Japan, Ring of Honor, Colt Cabana, and plenty of other fourth wall breaks. Without this promo, we may not have the WWE we have today.
Although the end product was not the greatest thing we ‘ve seen in a WWE ring, the initial shock value of seeing WCW and ECW guys working together to fight against the WWE was a tremendous moment and deserves to be in this spot.
Brock Lesnar Returns
The night after Wrestlemania 28, Brock Lesnar returned to a thunderous ovation and would start a path of destruction that is still going to this day. If Brock had never returned, we never would have seen the streak beat, or any of his matches he’s had with John Cena, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, or Goldberg.
“This is Your Life”
Mankind was just trying to be nice to The Rock and throw a birthday party for him. Little did he know though, that this segment would end up being the highest rated segment in the history of Raw.
Austin Versus Tyson
Heading into Wrestlemania 14, the match was set for Austin to face the reigning WWE Champion, Shawn Michaels. This got more interesting when Mike Tyson got himself entangled in the mix and would become the special referee in that match. However, the first meeting between Tyson and Austin did not go quite as planned for Vince Mcmahon. Austin and Tyson would end up throwing words and shoving each other which would make headlines everywhere. It is still one of the best celebrity moments to take place on Raw.
Beginning Of The Attitude Era
During the December 15th, 1997 episode of RAW, a pre-recorded video of Vince Mcmahon sharing with the viewers that the WWE wasn’t going to “insult your intelligence” any longer and would become more realistic. This would become a starting gun for arguably the greatest era in the history of the WWE that holds a majority of the moments on this list.
McMahon Buys WCW
RAW 25 will be a simulcast episode of raw. This will be the first one since March 26th, 2001. During this episode, Vince had announced that he had bought WCW, who was seen as his biggest rivals. Although this was turned into an angle with Shane and Vince McMahon, this was a groundbreaking episode and sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling industry that is still being felt today.
The Night Mick Foley Won The Belt
January 4th, 1999, Mankind AKA Mick Foley won his first WWF Championship, which would be a big moment all on its own. In hindsight, however, the night turned out to be a huge turning point for the then WWF and a giant shift in the industry. At the time, Raw was prerecorded and the WCW had been using this to there advantage and spoiling the results of RAW to viewers. For almost two years straight, WCW had been ahead in the ratings and there were no signs of stopping them. On that night, WCW told fans that Mick Foley would be winning the WWF Championship later that night. Something like 600,000 people switched from WCW’s flagship program Nitro to WWF RAW. This night was the first night in nearly two years the WWF had led in the ratings and they would continue to lead until WCW went out of business in 2001.
The First Episode In 1993
We end the list where it all started for the WWE. The very first episode of RAW was on January 11th, 1993 and started a phenomenon that millions of fans around the globe watch weekly. It’s featured live sex, a beer bath, and a plethora of other memorable moments. We here at Sports Al Dente wish WWE congratulations and warm wishes for another 25 tremendous years.