From all areas of media, whether it’s the internet, phone calls, TV ads, text messages, email alerts, smoke signals, messages in a bottle, Morse Code, WWE has taken the liberty to make sure that all walks of life are aware of the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw that is happening on July 23rd 2012, live from St. Louis, Missouri. Taking nothing away from this crowning achievement, because this is an accomplishment that is rarely seen in today televisions standards. Gone are the days when a family sitcom can average about 8-10 years on television. Now shows are struggling to have 10 episodes filmed for them. But above all of the episodes of M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Seinfeld, we see the most unlikely underdog grab that heavyweight crown and we are reminded (or grinded with) that Monday night Raw is the longest weekly episodic television program in TV history and continue they shall.
Raw has provided us with some unbelievable viewing. Television that made those Tuesday morning talks with your buddies on the bus or Tuesday water cooler talk at the office about the happenings that took place the night before on Raw.
Whether it be a solid IC title match between The Rock and Triple H. Or an interview that Mankind delivered. Or even a Diva Segment that held our attention. And could be seeing an actually title change occur on live TV. The smorgasbord of happenings was endless and Raw never failed (for the most part) in giving us something memorable.
Leading up to this 1000th episode of Raw, we have been seeing some great Raw Moments in its history. Whenever I see the visual bumper for it, I always get Goosebumps in me, knowing that I’m about to indulge in some nostalgic goodness. But what tires me is that whenever they do these “Raw Flashback”…I GET THE SAME THING! Not taking anything away from the moments we have all shared together, but sometimes, the WWE wants to act as if Raw did not exist before 1998. With the exception of showing the quick highlight clips of the inaugural episode and the infamous “1-2-3 kid upset”, between Jan 11th 1993 and January 19th 1998, the WWE forgets that Raw was even on the air because we never get any highlights during that 5 year span. And not only that, many moments get over looked beyond that 5 year span.
When WWE gives us our “Raw Moment of the Week”, I got $20 that says that we are going to see one of the following:
-McMahon in the hospital, Austin attacks him
-The Austin Beer truck incident before Wrestlemania 15
-Something involving the 200 guest hosts that they had
-John Cena coming to Raw per the 2005
-Mike Tyson/Stone Cold Scuffle the night after the 1998 Royal Rumble.
But what about those key moments that NEVER get mentioned. I at times hold on to a sliver of hope, hoping that one day, one of these will be mentioned and/or highlighted on a broadcast of Monday Night Raw.
10.) Howard Finkel vs Harvey Wimpleman in a tuxedo match. (January 10th 1994)
This has been an slow burn of an issue with both the veteran ring announcer and the manager. They have always had a passive aggressive relationship where Howard Finkel would not give Harvey the appropriate introduction, according to Harvey’s standards. This got to a point where a Tuxedo match was appropriate for the two and the match would take place on the 1 year anniversary of Raw on Jan 1994.
Aftermath: The Fink wins; but in theory, we all lose due to seeing both of them in their draws.
9.) WWE IC contender battle royal for vacant IC belt/Rick Martel vs Razor Ramon (Oct 11th 1993)
This was a significant Raw moments to me, because this was one of the first times when it was evident that Razor Ramon was indeed a ring general. He and Rick Martel opened the show on Oct 11th 1993. This coming off an announcement made by Jack Tunney that Shawn Michaels has been “stripped” of the Intercontinental title due to not defending it in 30 days. Due to the ruling, that coming up Monday night Raw will hold a 20 man battle royal. The last two men in the battle royal will face off in the next episode of Raw in a 1 on 1 match and the winner will be the new IC champion. Martel and Razor were the last two, and wanted to go at it instantly. The next week, both men put on an excellent match, which told a stellar story. In the end we would see Razor Ramon win his first Intercontinental Championship.
Aftermath: Unbeknownst to the fans, this would actually be a connecting storyline to Wrestlemania 10, where Shawn and Razor would face each other in a ladder match. Shawn claimed he was the real IC champ since he never lost the title. Razor would go on to win the latter match to be the undisputed IC champion.
8.) The Steiner brothers vs The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Championship; Under Québec Province rules (Sept 13th 1993)
The Steiner Brothers have been having a very strong title reign for months now, really being the cornerstone of tag team wrestling in the WWE. The Quebecers were an obnoxious tag team making up of Jacques’ and Pierre, managed by Johnny Polo. This episode of Raw the Quebecers were challenging the Steiner Brothers for the WWF Tag Team Titles, however, the stipulation was what was called “Quebec Province Rules”. These rules were No moves can be executed from the top rope, throwing your opponent over the top rope was illegal and the title can change hands on a DQ or Count out. The Quebecers claimed that these are the official rules in said province. With said rules this would rule out the possibility of the bulldog from the top rope, that the Steiner’s have made theirs and any “Stiner-Lines” over the top rope in which the Steiner’s use to gain momentum. Due to the nature of the match, the Steiner’s found themselves cornered as they were not used to these rules and with Jonny Polo being the obvious distraction, call of this could cause frustration. Leading Scotty Steiner to that brink as he brought in the Hockey Stick of Johnny Polo and used it on the challengers. Per the rules, the Steiner’s were DQ’d and the Quebecers were the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
Aftermath: The Steiner’s never won back the Tag Titles, as the Quebecers went on to hold those belts for another 6 months.
7.) Edge and Lita have “Live/Torrid” Sex!!! (January 9th 2006)
January 2006 was the beginning of a half year of some memorable overall WWE moments. The first PPV of the year was WWE New Years Revolution. The night before the Jan 9th edition of Raw, Edge cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to face John Cena for the WWE Championship immediately after John wins the Elimination Chamber. Edge pin Cena to win the WWE Championship for the first time. To celebrate this feat, Lita decides to give Edge a reward he’ll never forget. She will reward him with live sex, live on Raw in the middle of the ring. The time comes for this segment to begin and in the middle of the ring is a large heart shaped bed. This segment quickly turned into the first 5 min of the TV show, “Silk Stalkings” that used to come on immediately after Raw, where we saw a lot of skin from the two and Lita in a very revealing bra and panties set. And for the added enjoyment of the male audience, there actually was a live female body part slip on Litas behalf which brought the crowd to their feet. Making this segment, that much more legendary.
Aftermath: The ending of the segment ended with Shenanigans
6.) Gorilla Monsoon Ejects Bobbie Heenan from Raw…and the WWF (November 29th 1993)
The pairing of both Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan goes back to the early years of the Golden Era of WWF. So, we’re talking about a good 5-6 years of these two giving us some of the best back n forth commentary. Monsoon and Heenan were welcomed into our homes and their relationship was unlike anyone else’s. The two would spend hours debating back n forth with each other about the state of pro wrestling and the athletes. Heenan would justify his dubious ways as Gorilla had no problems at all, calling his wrong ways out. Bobby Heenan was on his way out the door to leave for WCW, but Gorilla had the honor to physically “throw him out the building and out the WWF”. It was only fitting that it would happen this way on an episode of Raw in late 1993. Before the show went dark, we would see Bobby Heenan giving a final salute to Raw and the WWF.
Aftermath: Heenan would go on to WCW, but never really captured that magic that he had in the WWF. Nothing lacking on his part, but due to WCW not pairing him with the right personality. We would see Heenan once again in the WWF at Wrestlemania 17, where he called the Gimmick Battle Royal with Mean Gene Okerlund.
5.)” The Nature Boy “ Ric Flair vs Mr. Perfect (Retirement Match) (January 25th 1993)
This was a very unique and very exciting match due to the history of both Flair and Perfect. When Ric Flair came into the WWF in 1991, he was soon paired with Mr. Perfect with Perfect being his “Executive Consultant”. In Nov. 1992 at the Survivor Series, Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior were booked to take on Ric Flair and Razor Ramon. The Warrior was no longer with the WWF and live on Primetime Wrestling (the Monday night show, before Raw), Macho Man announced that replacing The Warrior, he wanted Mr. Perfect as his partner. While Perfect and Bobby Heenan had a laugh over it, Perfect thought that it would be a good opportunity to step aside and remove him from being the shadow of Ric Flair. Flair and Heenan were not fond of this and Perfect took it upon himself to no longer be affiliated with Flair. The WWF was not big enough for the two of them and someone had to go. And we were given this incredible match which told the story of a lifetime. In the end it would be Mr. Perfect to reign victorious. Good Bye and Thank you Ric Flair.
Aftermath: Ric Flair would go back to WCW and win 6 more world titles. Ric would be back in the WWF in late 2001.
4.) Brian Pillman is armed as Stone Cold invades his home.
On an episode of WWF Superstars, Brian Pillman has an in ring interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin. To wrestling enthusiast, this was an interview worth watching as this would be the first time we’d be seeing the former members of “The Hollywood Blondes” (WCW Tag Team) in the ring together. But in the WWF, they were billed as being “Long Time Friends”. At the end of the interview, Pillman called Austin “The Best Was, the Best there is and the Best There Will Be”, and Austin attacks him. At the tail end of the attack, Austin “breaks” Pillmans ankle by placing his ankle in-between the top and base of a folded up folding chair and jumped off the top rope and onto the chair “Shattering” the ankle. The next week on Raw, Vince McMahon was interviewing Pillman via satellite while Pillman was at home nursing his injury. During the interview, commotion stirs up as they hear that Austin is on his way to Pillmans house to “finish the job”. In the interest of protecting his home and his family, Pillman announces on Raw that he has a loaded 9mm hand gun and if Austin comes in, he’s going to blow his brains out. This was one of the most intense segments ever on Raw as Austin was nearing closer and close, Pillman was cocking that weapon more and more just ready to pull the trigger. At the defining moment when Austin actually broke in the house and was in Pillmans living room, the camera shot over to Brian pointing the gun at Austin and then the live satellite feed was lost.
Aftermath: According to Vince, Pillman was restrained and the gun was taken away. Both him and Austin were restrained and pulled away from each other. Vince McMahon received A LOT of heat from the USA network regarding this segment, claiming it be “too real”. McMahon had no idea what the difference was between this and a movie having the same kind of scenario happening. Good point.
3.)WWF Monday Night Raw gives us WCW Monday Night Nitro; ON RAW!
On an episode of Raw in May of 2001, all I remember hearing from Jim Ross was this, “After this next commercial break we will be giving you Monday Night Nitro. WHAT?!?! And Nitro they gave us for a couple of segments. The house lights changed the little “WWF” logo in the corner of the screen changed to the “WCW” logo. Ross and Heymans mics went down and Arn Anderson and Mark Madden’s mics went on. Out came Booker T and Buff Bagwell for a one on one match. This was weeks after the World Wrestling Federation purchased World Championship Wrestling. All rights belonged to the WWF. It looked as if this was going to be a regular segment on Raw until Nitro had its own show again, but this lasted very short. But this would be the first that we see Nitro on Raw.
Aftermath: This and about 1 or two more segments would be the only time this plan was done. Moving forward was the invasion storyline.
2.) Fatal 4 Way Tag Team Ladder Match: Hurricane and Kane vs. Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Jeff Hardy & Rob Van Dam vs. Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley (7/10/2002)
What a gem this was! I know the placement of this, may be a bit questionable, but going into this match, you’re really not thinking too much of what it could be, but when you watch it, this is one of the best matches ever seen on Monday Night Raw. Historically the Triple Threat ladder matches have always been something memorable, as we saw them happen at Summer Slam 2000 and Wrestlemania 17. Those matches were of the Dudley Boys, Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boys. And in this match, (with the exception of Kane and Hurricane) each team had 1 represented from those two matches on each team. The match truly was art and they seriously tore the house down. Combining Psychology with amazing spots, told a story that you could never forget and giving us the match of the year in 2002. Outstanding!!!
***Bonus Pick*** (1.5) The Crush Savage Summit
This took place in the latter part of 1993. Earlier in the year Yokozuna faced Crush in a one on one match on Raw for the WWF Championship. Yoko went on to win the match via the Bonzai Drop, but Yoko had more plans for the native Hawaiian. Yoko would deliver 3 banzai drops onto Crush and it took those three to happen for finally, Crush’s “best friend” Macho Man Randy Savage comes to Crush’s aid and pulled him out the ring. Crush has been on bed rest for the entire time while out and on Raw, Crushed called into Raw to have a conversation with Savage. McMahon and Heenan saying he will be on Raw the next week and he has something to say. Crush comes onto Raw and enters the ring with Mr. Fuji. Crush cuts a harmful promo on Macho Man, blaming him for what happened to him. And the only one that had Crushes best interest in mind was Master Fuji. Macho Man cannot hear anymore and enters the ring to confront Crush and to knock some sense into him, that he is better than siding himself with Fuji. Macho’s words of wisdom looked to have made Crush rethink his decision of his alignment with Fuji. Macho asked for Crushes hand in forgiveness and Crush shakes it, bringing the friendship back. But this would be short lived as Crush attacks Savage. Crush would go on to Gorilla press Macho Man on the outside of the ring and dropping him to have Savages teeth land on the steel guard barrier, busting him up. And on top of that bringing Yoko down to give Savage the Banzai drop. Completely laying Savage out and giving us a heartbreaking ending to Raw.
Aftermath: Macho Man would return a couple months later and challenge crush to a match at Wrestlemania 10. Macho Man would gain the victory at Wrestlemania concluding and winning the war.
And the number 1 overseen and never mentioned moment of Monday Night Raw…
1.) ECW Invades Monday Night Raw! Live from the Manhattan Center!
In 1997, WWF started working directly with ECW to give their talent some more exposure. ECW was this renegade wrestling promotion stationed in Philadelphia, PA that had a major cult following and was the hottest indy promotion, possibly on the planet. The week before, Jerry Lawler put out a challenge to the ECW to come onto Raw and bring their best and WWF will have their best available. The next weeks Raw was in the Manhattan Center where Raw Originated. With this wild crowd that came out and packed the Aragon Ballroom expecting to see something memorable, no one went home disappointed. After the first match, a Jobber entered the ring awaiting his opponent. As Raw was in-between segments, Vince McMahon was addressing the home audience but suddenly a monster rumble came from the crowd and all you see are two large men in the ring with said jobber giving him their finishing move, Total Elimination. The Eliminators (Saturn and Kronos) were in a WWF Wrestling Ring! But to make the situation even more deafening, on the microphone was a determined mad man to make sure that world hears him as he stands with the eliminators, takes the mike, points to Jerry Lawler at ringside and with every drop of emotion in him says the infamous words, “YOUR CHALLENGE HAS BEEN ACCEPTED! ECW IS IN…THE…HOUSE!” We have Mr. Paul Heyman standing in the middle of a live WWF Ring Live on Monday Night Raw! The top of the mountain top he has reached. Paul was the single match to light the fuse of dynamite to make this episode of Raw one of the greatest episodes of raw to ever be broadcasted. That night we saw the Eliminators, The Dudley Boys, The bWo, Little Guido, Taz, 9-1-1 and Sabu. Never has this been done on wrestling before where a rival promotion would be on the air with that promotion. But it was done that night. And after that, Monday Night Raw and the WWF overall would never be the same again.
Aftermath: This would be ECW’s launch pad as ECW went on to being bigger and better than it ever has been before. Their First PPV was in April of 1997 and excelled from there. Due to some internal financial issues, ECW would close its doors in 2001. WWF would buy the rights to ECW and would resurrect the promotion as a WWE Brand. Having a reunion show in 2005 and 2006 and launching the brand in June 2006. ECW would be put to a permanent rest in Feb 2010.
The 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw will be held on July 23rd 2012, live from St. Louis, Missouri at 8pm EST/7pm CST on the USA network.
Maurice D. Proffit is a writer for Rant Sports