25 Years of Being Raw!
I do not have any complaints about my childhood at all. Sure, we may not have had the most money, or the very best, but we never went without anything. But, I can always remember that each and every Monday Night, you could bet my mom, dad, and myself were glued to the television watching wrestling. The show was Prime Time Wrestling. Some of the best moments I have from childhood come from those Mondays. I remember when Andre the Giant in one of his last television appearances made Bobby Heenan stomp grapes. My dad laughed for a good twenty minutes without taking much of a breath. Prime Time Wrestling was special to me. It was the best wrestling show to me at the time, and then one day in 1993 that would all change.
The World Wrestling Federation changed the game forever when they debuted Monday Night Raw. I was used to seeing wrestling in an arena with banners hanging in the rafters. Sure, the matches would not belong, and would just be a big name squashing some wrestler who could hardly defeat a wrestling buddy. That is what wrestling was to me. And then all of a sudden on that Monday night in January, all of that changed. Instead of the huge arenas with banners, we are presented the Manhattan Ballroom. A very small venue compared to what I had been used to seeing. And even matches became somewhat more competitive. Sure, they were still squash matches. But they were a tad better squashing matches. The most significant complaint for me was that we went from two hours to just one hour. That honestly broke my heart as a wrestling fan. That meant my bedtime was moved up an hour. Thank you, Vince McMahon.
Tonight, Raw celebrates 25 years on the air. The one thing that has made Raw really special for me is that the show grew up with me. During my younger days, the show was geared perfectly to my age. The over the top cartoon type characters, wrestling clowns, garbage men, and more. And then my teenager years happen, and thus the Attitude Era sets in. Once I become an adult, the show becomes more athletic. In the past 25 years, Raw has made new wrestling fans over those years.
For me, Raw has been a staple of my life. And in those 25 years, moments have stood the test of time. The moments that stuck with me forever. And to share a few of those moments, in no particular order at all.
As a child picking a favorite match would be difficult. But there was always one that stood out to me and is still one of my favorites to this very day. From the third episode of Raw, Mr. Perfect taking on Ric Flair in a loser leaves the company match. At that time, I didn’t want either wrestler to leave the company at all. When Flair lost, I was sad. Even though I was rooting for Perfect, I still wanted Flair to stay.
My very first Raw Live. It was 2015, and little did I know what was going to happen. But the big moment that night was seeing Sting having a match on Raw. The inner child in me exploded from my chair. I was cheering so damn loud that I may have been hoarse for a couple of days after it happens. That entire night, I felt like the 8-year-old on the couch oh so many years ago.
The Razor Ramon upset. I remember the moment my Dad was just pissed off that they were doing this match on television. It was Razor Ramon vs. The Kid. A virtual unknown to me as a child and I figured he had no chance. Then, in a moment of time that stood still in wrestling, the kid climbs to the top rope and hits the moonsault for the 1…2…3. There was just silence in my house. We were all shocked. And it was awesome.
Austin driving multiple vehicles to the ring. The Zamboni that moved the ring about 3 inches, or the monster truck into the arena. The most famous one, however, would be the beer truck. Austin drives a miller truck into the arena, cuts a promo on Vince, Shane, and the Rock. And The Rock starts to reply, and all of a sudden Austin sprays beer all over the three. And Vince even swam in it. It is a visual that needs to be seen.
Kurt Angle does the same thing, but instead of beer, it was milk over the entire Alliance in 2001. Just as awesome as Austin.
John Cena giving the insult of calling someone a ham sandwich.
DX Invading WCW during the heights of the Monday Night Wars.
The Shawn Michaels superkick to Shelton Benjamin in the Gold Rush Tournament in 2005.
The night Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the title in 2012.
Trish and Lita being the first women to main event an episode of the flagship program.
And there are so many more that I could talk about at great length. Tonight, on the USA Network Raw celebrates 25 years being on the air and I will be watching.
Also, follow @cravinghumor on Twitter for tweets throughout the night.