Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Raw Celebrates 15th Anniversary
On Monday, December 10, 2007, the WWE will air its fifteenth year anniversary of Monday Night Raw. It will be a three hour telecast broadcast live as it has since 1999. Raw began in 1993 and has been a Monday night staple ever since and has been viewed on the USA Network until it spent five years on Spike TV beginning in 2000. In 2005, it returned to the USA Network. Monday Night Raw is also the start of such popular wrestlers as the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker, John Cena, Trish Stratus and Mick Foley.
WWE owner Vince McMahon said this about the show, “Monday Night Raw started as, and continues to be, the most unique television show in history. With its ever changing blend of athleticism, humor, action, drama, soap opera and rock concert content, Monday Night Raw continues with a variety show concept that appeals to a variety of demographics generation after generation.”
Many celebrities have also been seen on Raw either in the ring or watching the action from ringside seats. Celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Mike Tyson, Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Sylvester Stallone, Donald Trump, Motley Crew, Wade Boggs and Kevin Federline have all been on the Monday Night show.
September 11, 1995 saw Raw in a ratings battle with WCW as that company, then owned by Ted Turner, began its Monday night broadcast of Monday Nitro also since Raw was taped once in awhile then, Eric Bischoff often gave away what was going to happen on Raw so fans would stay with Nitro instead of switching over to Raw. Nitro worked and for the better part of eighty weeks, Nitro was number one over Raw in the ratings.
In February of 1997, Raw tried to slow the juggernaut of WCW down by bringing in ECW to Raw when Jerry Lawler challenged ECW and Raw returned to its original home of the Manhattan Center. A few ECW wrestlers answered the King’s challenge including Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, Taz, Mikey Whipwreck and Paul Heyman. After Wrestlemania XIV, Monday Night Raw started to win the “Monday Night Wars” as it saw the presence of Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock. This also started the feud of “the blue collar worker” against the “corporate boss” of Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. This feud enthralled people. Especially those people who have longed to lash out at their bosses.
Monday Night Raw also recently saw the much anticipated return of Chris Jericho on November 19, 2007. The night after the Survivor Series pay-per-view aired. The WWE was debating whether to have Jericho return on Survivor Series but then decided they did not want to overshadow Edge’s return that night.
Three cheers to Monday Night Raw for captivating television and here is to hoping they have a thirty year anniversary someday.