WWE Monday Night Raw 25-Year Retrospective – Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Monday Night Raw 25-Year Retrospective – Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Thursday, January 18, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Robert DeFelice, Jordan Chaffiotte, and Jonathan Maldonado will talk about all things Monday Night Raw in preparation for this Monday’s Raw 25 special.

It’s the longest running weekly episodic television show in history and we’re going to run through some of our favorite moments and memories while also predicting some moments for this coming Monday’s episode! Let’s discuss…

Question 1: In the 25 year history of Monday Night Raw, what have been some of your most fond memories of the show? What segments stand out in your mind and what matches have stood the test of time?

MALDONADO: My grandfather introduced me to professional wrestling at the tender age of six during the Monday Night Wars. He was partial to the WWF, but during commercial breaks, we caught up with WCW and their NWO shenanigans. For as great as WCW was during this time, my interest mirrored my grandfather’s, I wanted to watch Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker and more. Those characters were just so much more captivating, and they were always welcome in our living room on Monday nights.

Monday Night Raw has created countless moments over the last 25 years. Some of my favorites include Shane McMahon appearing on the Titantron from Nitro to announce his takeover of WCW, Kurt Angle replicating the beer truck moment with his milk truck, the DX tank invasion, Daniel Bryan occupying Raw and Sasha Banks locking in the Banks Statement using the railing to capture the Women’s title from Charlotte.

When I think of Raw matches, Shawn Michaels vs John Cena’s nearly hour-long classic is always top of mind. This was WWE storytelling at its finest. No one expects a random hour-long match, especially on free TV, between the two juggernauts of their respective generations. It was an endlessly fun, unpredictable Raw moment serving up a little something for everyone.

CHAFFIOTTE: Well I have closer to 5 years of Raw to go off of here, but a few stick out in my mind from my days of watching in on Monday nights like a normal fan. Occupy Raw was the height of Daniel Bryan's ascent, and Daniel Bryan was my absolute favorite. A few months later, Paige debuted on the Raw after WrestleMania and won her first championship title. It was before we had gotten into NXT so I had no idea how cool she was and all she would come to represent in WWE and to women's wrestling and if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry now.

Of course, the number one moment for me has to go to the Raw that I saw in person, where Roman Reigns won the world title in Philadelphia. Not only did we get to see Vince McMahon, and Vince McMahon get punched in the face, we got to feel Roman change the tide. That's a rough crowd, it really is, and he slowly got us behind us through sheer force of will. At the end, we chanted "you deserve it" and cheered for him as he gave a passionate dark promo about how he'd never forgotten that night. It was so great, I almost forgot about the fact I spilled nacho cheese on my lap before the show started. Now that's what good wrestling can do.

DEFELICE: For me, this is the number one pro wrestling series of my lifetime. Monday night has been reserved for WWE Raw since before I could remember. A lot of my earliest coming-of-age moments honestly come from pro wrestling and Monday Night Raw. Being a fan primarily in the Ruthless Aggression era, I have fond memories of Edge and Lita’s live sex celebration, being excited for a new match that was called HLA, and was that a shock at nine years old. Of course, how Louisa remember CM Punk’s pipe bomb, Daniel Bryan’s Occupy Raw movement, Austin’s beer truck, Shawn Michaels’ comeback and so many more awesome memories.
In terms of matches, while the quality of in-ring competition has improved greatly in the last five years, I will always be partial to the matches that stood out when I was growing up in a time that it was rare that pro wrestling matches on TV were of a high-quality.

In 2005, Shawn Michaels and Shelton Benjamin put on an absolute clinic that ended with a superkick that I’m sure you’ve seen a GIF of, but if not, here you go. This match changed the way that I viewed what a television wrestling match could be on a weekly basis.

Also in 2005, Shawn Michaels competed against Edge in a Street Fight, and it was so brutal it left an impression on me on what hardcore in WWE could be.

Honorable mentions go to John Cena and CM Punk for their February 2013 classic, Rob Van Dam and Eddie Guerrero for their 2002 Ladder Match, Edge and Flair for their TLC Match in 2006, and I could really go on for days.
Monday Night Raw has been a staple of my entire life, and I can’t wait to see what matches and moments await the next 25 years.

Question 2: In your opinion, who is the biggest star in the history of Monday Night Raw?

DeFELICE: If I were to be is this strictly off of my time watching, the answer would probably be John Cena or Triple H. However, when you really look back at the heyday of the company and Monday Night Raw as a brand, I think you have to say the answer is undoubtedly Stone Cold Steve Austin. There’s no superstar that provided the show with more unforgettable moments and cemented its legacy as must-see TV than Stone Cold. I’m excited to see him come back for Raw 25, and I would love it if he was around on a more regular basis, but that is just wishful thinking.

MALDONADO:Without a doubt the biggest star in Monday Night Raw history is Stone Cold Steve Austin. He’s the patron saint of the Attitude Era and is the man most responsible for taking the WWE from a niche market audience into 1990s mainstream. His no-holds-barred attitude and iconic feud with chairman and owner Vince McMahon took the company over-the-top and drove ratings for the Monday night program. His shattering glass entrance delivered an audience pop every single time it played and you knew you were bound for a great match, promo, beer guzzle or straight-up ass-kicking.

CHAFFIOTTE: While I don't have quite the history to really say here, it's hard for me to feel like anyone has more star power than John Cena. Perhaps it's colored by my time watching wrestling, but Cena is the brand. He can go away for months on end and this still feels like his show. For crying out loud, he can bring a green shirt to a red/blue fight and still feel like he is the most important person on his team. Granted, he was fighting for SmackDown in that case, but the point remains, Raw is WWE, and WWE is John Cena. He occupies a spot previously held by guys like Stone Cold and the Rock, and before them arguably Ric Flair. All are fair contenders for the title, but right now, in the current wrestling industry, John Cena is the franchise.

Question 3: What are some major moments or announcements that you expect from the Raw 25 special?

CHAFFIOTTE: AThis is the perfect opportunity to add some legendary talent into the women's Royal Rumble. The first and most pressing should be Beth Phoenix as one of the few women who has already competed in a Royal Rumble. She may be rusty, but it'll be great PR to get her involved prior to the event. Trish Stratus and Lita are too other top names that deserve a place in the match, provided both are able to compete. Plus then we can have some early match-ups with the current roster to shake off that ring rust. Charlotte vs. Beth Phoenix? YES PLEASE.

Maybe we'll finally get to see AJ Styles face to face with Shawn Michaels after waiting for so long. It's Monday Night Raw, anything can happen.

MALDONADO: We’re in for a wild ride on January 22nd. We’ve got the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw emanating from two venues, a whos-who list of iconic returns who may or may not signify upcoming WrestleMania feuds, and oh, this just so happens to also be the go-home show for the 2018 Royal Rumble. All of a sudden three hours doesn’t seem like enough time.

I fully expect the Undertaker to have his revenge moment on Roman Reigns, perhaps costing him the Intercontinental Title. What I don’t expect is an in-ring return for The Phenom, I really want his Mania Moment at 33 to remain his swan song.

I also expect some Smackdown superstars showing up on the show, particularly any with lots of Raw memories such as The New Day, AJ Styles or even Kevin Owens. With the rumble six days away, anything is possible.
When all is said and done I expect the show will fill us with nostalgia and tease us with dream scenarios by pitting factions old and new against each other in promos, reigniting old feuds (Triple H and The Rock, perhaps?), and just plain ol' celebrating the last 25 years. Overall, it’ll be a genuinely fun night.

DeFELICE: Right off the bat, I expect Undertaker to cost Roman the Intercontinental Championship. He has not been seen since WrestleMania 33, if they’re gonna bother to bring him back, he has to be doing something major and he has to interact with Roman.

In addition to that, I expect to see some kind of interaction between The Kliq and The Club. I would also hope for some type of interaction between Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar, but I won’t hold my breath. Speaking of Brock, it’s the last show before the rumble so I expect some physicality between he and his two challengers.

I definitely expect the Bella Twins to announce their participation in the Women’s Rumble, and maybe even a few more surprise entrants. (AJ Lee, please?)

Is Rock announced? He should totally be there. All in all, I expect a very memorable show and it probably will be Monday Night Raw so entertaining that it won’t be topped for a while.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.


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